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Help finding Alexander Lawson, 1801

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ProfilePosted byOptionsPost Date


MarieCeleste Report 26 Jun 2013 19:53

This is odd, Mike posted the 1870 census that showed Alexander and Mary A with the Smiths.

There's also this record:

1870 United States Federal Census

Name: Alex R Lawson
Age in 1870: 69
Birth Year: abt 1801
Home in 1870: Philadelphia Ward 17 Dist 50 (2nd Enum), Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Gender: Male
Post Office: 1228 N Front St

Household Members:
Name Age
Alex R Lawson 69
Mary A 61
Alexander 30

None of the columns re: occupation and birthplace have been completed on the page.

The street address for them is 1302 N Front.


MarieCeleste Report 26 Jun 2013 20:01

Shame there wasn't more info on this to say which one he was:

Selected U.S. Naturalization Records - Original Documents, 1790-1974

Name: Alexandra Lawson
State: Pennsylvania
Court Type: Circuit Court and District Court
Court Location: Western District, Pennsylvania
Naturalization Record Type: Declaration of Intention

All it says is he was a native of Ireland and declared his intention on 8 Oct 1832.


Helen Report 26 Jun 2013 20:03

I have the 1870 census Mike posted, as well. There are a couple of weird things on this. First, this is the first time I've seen the "R" in the elder's name. It's usually in Alex Jr.'s name. Secondly, his "R" is not there. The duplicate of what appears to be Alex and Mary might be accounted for by the parents visiting married Smiths on one day, and at home on another, IF the enumeration was actually done on two separate days. Another way of accounting for it could be that 1302 N. Front St was the boot-making store, and they were counted there, and then counted again in their home, later that night, with the Smiths. That would account for duplication. It would be wrong, of course, lol, but it could account for it.


Helen Report 26 Jun 2013 20:13

MarieCeleste - the Declaration of Intent you posted - it seems to me this must have been done while Alex Sr. was IN the USA, not from Ireland, in order for it to be a specific PA court. It has to be Alex Sr, since Jr. was not born at the time of the Declaration. Since the rest of the family did not immigrate until 1847, that would seem to indicate that if he arrived 1818 on the Lancaster, he went back and forth a bit. The children were born, ostensibly in Ireland, while he was in the USA, otherwise. And that just won't do. :) I would have thought the back-and-forth would be cost-prohibitive. How very odd.


MarieCeleste Report 26 Jun 2013 20:18

Helen, that's what makes me think that there was more than one of that name - I agree that the idea of him commuting across the Atlantic seems infeasible.


MarieCeleste Report 26 Jun 2013 20:27

I mentioned that on some of the city directories there's also an Alexander Lawson who was a weaver. Found this:

New York, Passenger Lists, 1820-1957
Name: Alexander Lawson
Arrival Date: 5 Nov 1830
Birth Date: abt 1806
Age: 24
Port of Departure: Liverpool, England
Port of Arrival: New York, New York
Ship Name: Eugene

This one is a weaver from Ireland. It states he was heading to Canada. He appears to be travelling alone so perhaps he went to Philadelphia instead? That could possible account for that 1832 declaration (all conjecture though).


Helen Report 26 Jun 2013 20:48

I agree, it is conjecture. A comfortable one, in terms of the Declaration, to be sure :) Especially since weaver arrived 1830, and the declaration is 1832. This makes more sense than commuting boot-makers.


Helen Report 27 Jun 2013 15:46

I'm still struggling with how to find records of Alexander Lawson b 1801, in Ireland. Ship records indicate the family coming to Philadelphia in 1847, but I cannot find them as a group in Ireland, so that I can connect them. Any thoughts on this?


Potty Report 27 Jun 2013 17:51


Eringobragh who often posts on here is very good with Irish records but with the little info you have, it might be difficult. I have tried familysearch but nothing seems to come up. The only Irish censuses remaining are 1901 and 1911,both too late; the rest were destroyed in a fire in 1902, There is a partial 1851 one but it is just of one County, Antrim and there are no Lawsons listed. There is also an extract of the 1841/51 that was compiled from Pension Records. If you are an Ancestry member, you can find out about it here:

I have looked and there is only one Lawson family:

Ireland, 1841/1851 Census Abstracts (Northern Ireland)
about Isabella Lawson
Isabella Lawson
Estimated Birth Year:abt 1780
Census Location:Londonderry
Census Year:1851
Name Age

Andrew Lawson 56
John Lawson 36
Peggy Lawson 36
Mary Ann Lawson 5
Elizabeth Lawson 3
Mary Lawson 28
Isabella Lawson 71
John Lemmon 43
Pat Lemmon 56


Helen Report 27 Jun 2013 23:32

Thanks, Potty. While they could very well be related to my bunch, I don't see the connection at this point. I'm really not sure what to try next. I was thinking to try to find counties with clusters of Lawsons, then trying the church records in those areas. Does that seem realistic?


Potty Report 28 Jun 2013 14:45

This is the website for the Irish 1901/1911 censuses, it's a free:

There are 490 Lawson's mentioned in the 1901, fairly well spread out over the country. You mentioned a connection to Old St Joseph's church, which is catholic so at least you know which denomination to search for.


Helen Report 28 Jun 2013 18:12

Thanks Potty. Much appreciated :)