Charlotte Richardson was my 5th great grandmother. I’ve always had a special interest in Charlotte, as she was my mother’s mother’s mother’s mother’s mother’s mother’s mother. Considering that researching female ancestors is often more difficult than researching male ancestors, I love that I’ve been able to go back 7 generations and 240 years on my maternal line.
When I first researched Charlotte, I had her parents as John Christopher Richardson and Mary Flintoff. John & Mary were among the over 1,000 immigrants from Yorkshire, England who settled in the Chignecto Isthmus between 1772 and 1775 (for those of you who don’t know Atlantic Canada very well, the Chignecto Isthmus is the neck of land that joins New Brunswick and Nova Scotia). John & Mary made the journey from Yorkshire in 1774, with two young children and a third born en route. Their son, Joseph Providence Richardson, so named because he was born on the ship, “The Providence”, is also a direct ancestor of mine.
In 2014, I met a distant cousin, Arthur Owen, who is also a descendant of Charlotte Richardson. He had evidence that was inconsistent with Charlotte being the daughter of John & Mary Richardson. Arthur had previously used DNA to disprove the oft-cited parentage of another of his ancestors. Since I’m a female-line descendant of Charlotte, we realized that if we could find the right people to compare to, we could use mtDNA to test various theories about Charlotte’s parents. In 2016, with support from Arthur, I did just that.
In an upcoming series of blog posts, I will explain the process I followed. In the meantime, suffice it to say, I had to throw out everything I thought I knew about Charlotte’s parents, and begin anew!
Here’s the new story of Charlotte.
Charlotte Richardson was born in about 1776 in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island. She was the daughter of James Richardson and Hannah (Unknown). James died when Charlotte was about 6 years old, following which Hannah married David Dobson. Ten years later, in 1794, Charlotte, then age 18, married her step-father David’s younger brother, Richard Dobson, age 25.
Charlotte and Richard settled in Cape Tormentine, New Brunswick, where they raised 12 children, including my 4th great grandmother, Mary Ann (Dobson) Allen. At the time of the 1851 census, Richard, age 82, and Charlotte, age 75, were living near at least two of their children – their youngest son Job and his young family, and my ancestor Mary Ann Allen, then widowed, and 6 of her 11 children.
Charlotte’s husband, Richard, died in July 1855, as did her son Job two years later. In 1861, she was living with her daughter-in-law Eliza (Wells) Dobson, widow of Job, and their four young children.
1861 Census of New Brunswick, Westmorland, Botsford – Pg 11
Charlotte died some time after 1861, having had 12 children, at least 120 grandchildren and at least 91 great-grandchildren (those were the numbers in Richard’s obituary in 1855 – no doubt there were more grandchildren and great-grandchildren by the time Charlotte died.)
The reason I chose Charlotte for this week’s 52 Ancestors post is because the prompt for this week was “longevity”.
With the exception of Miranda Allen, who died of dropsy at age 39, my maternal ancestors have all lived good long lives. So if longevity is passed down through mitochondrial DNA, I’d say I’m in pretty good shape!
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