The First Bonsons?


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The Bonson Family? 

At present our knowledge of the Bonson family goes back only to William born in about 1773 and living in Shoreditch in London from the 1790’s. Unfortunately, at the present time it has not been possible to establish for certain where he came from or who his parents and family were.

There are many possible options; there were other Bonson’s in the Shoreditch area at this time although we have not established where they were from either, there were other Bonson’s in other areas of London - notably in the east end of London and some in the Westminster end; there were some Bonsan’s who were attending the French Huguenot Church in Spitalfields and then there were Bonson families throughout the country as well! The maps below give an idea of how they have spread throughout the country between the 16th and 19th centuries. (But bear in mind that the IGI have not fully indexed for all dates for all parishes in the UK and the indexes of registered births did not begin until 1837.)

bonsons 16th c

bonsons 17th c

bonsons 18th c

bonsons 19th c

bonsons 20th c

Bonsons in the 16th Century

Bonsons in the 17th Century

Bonsons in the 18th Century

Bonsons in the 19th Century

Bonsons Now


Of course a further complication is that this might not even be an English name; there are Bonson Families in Switzerland and Denmark, there are at least two towns in France called Bonson and of course there is the age old problem of mis-spellings - even in the present ‘literate’ age this is a name that is constantly misspelt - with Bronson, Benson and Brunton being common variants - so imagine what it was like in times when literacy levels were much lower!

Bonson, Rhône-Alpes, France

Bonson, Alpes-Maritimes, Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur, France

 bonson villages1

It is interesting to know that there were Bonson's in North London at the time of William’s parents - ironically from the records of trials at the Old Bailey! As I have said, there is at present no indication that William was connected in any way with these two but the occurrence of the name is perhaps significant and gives us some new pointers as to where his family might be found. Interestingly, the areas do roughly correspond to parishes where other London Bonson baptisms have been recorded in the IGI

Bonsons at the Old Bailey

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