In researching our line of Ansons, we have come across several pieces of family lore concerning George Anson and his wife, Margaret Dinning Anson. Because of the many confusing and sometimes contradictory stories circulating, we have decided to post this FAQ. All of our answers here are based on actual documentation: birth records, marriage records, census records, and (for questions on the English peerage) the 1938 Coronation Edition of Burke's Peerage. Clicking on the highlighted and numbered text will bring you to the corresponding numbered endnote which documents the source for each piece of information.
Q. Who were the parents of George Anson of Quasqueton?
According to the baptismal records of St. Peter's Collegiate Church in Wolverhampton, Staffordshire, England, our George Anson (born 13 March 1813 (16); baptized 15 March 1815 (17)) was the son of William and Jane Anson (written elsewhere as Hanson and Hanston (18)). A search of marriage records for the same church lists the marriage of a William Anson (called Hanston) and a Jane Carrier on 16 March 1807 (19). This is the only couple we've found with the right names and married at about the right time to be the parents of our George Anson. We are still searching for conclusive evidence that this William Anson and Jane Carrier are the William and Jane Anson listed on George's baptismal record. We're hoping to find a copy of William Anson's will or another contemporary record to prove the link. It is suggestive that in the 1827 Wolverhampton Directory of Trades, there is only one William Anson listed, and his occupation and address match exactly the William (H)anson named in George Anson's baptismal record.
We are still searching church and other official records for information about George's parents. A search of the baptismal records of St. Peter's Collegiate Church reveals only one William Anson (born in 1787) and only one Jane Carrier (born in 1784) that would be the right age to be George's parents. While we do not yet have conclusive evidence that these are the correct William and Jane Carrier Anson, it is suggestive that nearly all of the baptisms, marriages, and burials for two generations of our Anson family have occurred in this church.
The St Peter's parish records also show that William and Jane Anson had two other children (20). Their first child, Sophia, was baptised on 5 June 1808, and an elder son, William,was born on 24 May 1810 and baptized on 30 March 1812.
Q. Was George Anson of Quasqueton related to George, Lord Anson, the Admiral who circumnavigated the globe?
We have not yet found any connection between our George Anson of Quasqueton and the family of Lord Anson, although we are still searching. According to Burke's Peerage, Admiral George Anson, Baron of Soberton (21), was the great-uncle of the first Lord Anson, Earl of Lichfield. George, Lord Anson died without issue, so the title of Baron passed to his nephew, the son of his sister Janette Anson and her husband Sambrooke Adams. This nephew, George Adams, changed his name to Anson by royal license. His grandson, Thomas William Anson, later became the first Earl of Lichfield (see next question, "Was George Anson of Quasqueton the second son of an earl?").
Q. Was George Anson of Quasqueton the second son of an earl?
No. Many stories have circulated about George Anson of Quasqueton being related to Lord Anson, the Earl of Lichfield, at Shugborough Hall (22) in Staffordshire, or of our George Anson being the second son of Baronet Anson of Birch Hall (the brother of the first Viscount Anson). We have checked out both of these stories with the listings in Burke's Peerage, which has pedigrees of all the titled families in England. The short answer is that neither George Anson nor his father William can be traced to these families.
Burke's Peerage tells us that the first Viscount Anson, Thomas (23), was born in 1767. His eldest son, Thomas William, was created Earl of Lichfield in 1831. Viscount Anson did have a brother George, but this George was born in 1797 and died in India in 1857. This is obviously not our George Anson of Quasqueton.
The first Viscount, Thomas Anson, also had a brother William, who was born in 1772 and was created Baronet of Birch Hall in 1831. Some people have come to the conclusion that this is our George Anson's father. However, Baronet William Anson (24) had several sons and daughters. His eldest son, John William Hamilton, was born in 1816, three years after our George Anson, and four years after George's older brother, William. Baronet Anson's third son was named George, but he was born in 1820 and later became the archdeacon of Manchester. As you can see, neither dates or facts for the Anson Baronets match what we know about our George Anson.
Reportedly, the Ansons of Shugborough Hall attended the church of St. Michael and All Saints at Colwich (25). It certainly seems more likely that the Earl of Lichfield would attend a church close to Shugborough Hall rather than at Wolverhampton, which is about 20 miles away from the Hall.
It is worth noting that on George Anson's baptismal record, his father William is listed as a cabinet locksmith. George himself worked as a locksmith and steel toy finisher in England, and as a blacksmith and gunsmith in America. It would be unlikely for any close member of a titled family to be working in such a trade.
Further information on the Anson peers can be found on our "Burke's Peerage on the Ansons" page, which lists all children of the first Viscount, Thomas Anson; his brother, Sir William Anson; and the first Earl of Lichfield, Thomas William Anson.
Q. Was our George Anson disinherited for marrying a penniless, illiterate girl?
No. While it is true that on the marriage record of George Anson and Margaret Dinning, both George and Margaret signed their names with an "X", this is not proof that either was illiterate. Many couples of that time signed their marriage record with an "X" rather than a signature.
Margaret Dinning Anson could write and read, at least by the time she came to America. We have several letters written to her by her uncle Jack Thorington that indicate she wrote often to him. These letters also prove that Margaret Dinning Anson was probably not penniless, or at least that she had family who were fairly well-off. Her uncle, Jack Thorington, was a lawyer from Montgomery, Alabama, and frequently sent her checks of $50 or more to help her and her family. Margaret also had another uncle, William Granville, who was a well-established Episcopal pastor in Medina, Ohio.
Q. How many children did George and Margaret Anson have?
We're not quite sure. The count ranges from fifteen to eighteen children born between 1835 and 1862. Here is the listing we have:
1. William George Anson -- b. October 15, 1835 (26), d. July 10, 1936
2. Joseph Anson -- b. August 15, 1837 (27), d. January 13, 1933
3. George Anson -- b. about September 29, 1839 (28), d. between October and December 1844.
4. Catherine Anson -- b. about April 4, 1841 (29), d. about June 12, 1842
5. Henry Anson -- b. November 26, 1842 (30), d. June 22, 1892
6. George Anson -- b. January 16, 1845 (31), d. November 23, 1923
7. Eliza Catherine Anson -- b. November 8, 1846 (32), d. July 2, 1935
8. Emma Jane Anson -- b. about October 9, 1848 (33), d. possibly between October and December 1848
9. Samuel Anson -- b. April 1850 (34), d. before 1880
10. Granville Anson (I) -- b. between 1850 and 1852 (35), d. September 1, 1852
11. Granville Anson (II) -- b. 1854 (36), d. between 1870 and 1889
12. John Thornton Anson -- b. September 2, 1856 (37), d. September 10, 1938
13. James Anson -- b. 1859 (38), d. between 1870 and 1889
14. Edward F. Anson -- b. August 1860 (39), d. February 7, 1893
15. Walter Denning Anson -- b. January 1, 1862 (40), d. June 17, 1882
The children we have dates for are the ones we have found through baptismal records, census records, and cemetery records. A biography of George Anson published in 1881 (41) lists eighteen children, including a second son named Samuel (possibly born in 1858 or between 1860 and 1870), and two unnamed children who died in infancy. These children have not been mentioned in any official source that we have found.
Q. Is the town of Anson, Texas, named after one of George Anson's sons who later returned to England?
No. According to the Anson (Jones County), Texas (42), Chamber of Commerce, the town is not named for any of our Ansons, but after a gentleman named Anson Jones (43). This Anson Jones was born in Massachusetts in 1798, lived in the United States his entire life, and was the last president of the Republic of Texas. The story about an Anson who came from England, settled in Texas, and then went back to England and had the town of Anson, Texas, named after him is false.
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