The Raison Family – with connections to Merriott

Also spelt variously as Rayson, Raisen, Raisin

Merriott Records to 1812 The Raisons of Merriott The Joseph & Barbara Raison Family after leaving Merriott
Info from IGI and Certificates courtesy of Jenny Robert Raison (senior) Levi Raison and Family
Immigration to New South Wales, Australia Immigration to Canada  

Although this family appeared only relatively briefly in the Merriott records, I had a query about the family from a lady named Jenny, and we have started researching the surname further.  I feel sure that if enough research is done, the various families listed in different villages in the censuses during the 19th century could well be connected further back.  The usage of unusual names such as Levi, Eli, Simeon, Isaac, Job & Tryphena among the families stirs the interest.   If anyone else has research to add to this page, please feel free to share!

Earliest Merriott Records – up to 1812

Marriage 1 October 1700 Mary Rayson and William Willmott
Marriage  21 April 1744 Mary Rayson? and Wm Geep
Baptism 20 January 1784 William, BC Elizabeth Raisin
Burial 1 November 1803 Mary Raisin
Marriage 4 January 1781 Mary Raison of Montacute, and John Eason

The Raisins of Merriott 

(1) Joseph & Barbara

On 4 September 1845, Barbara Lacey, a spinster of Church Road, Merriott, daughter of John Lacey, Labourer, married Joseph Raisin, also of Church Road, a Labourer and son of Robert Raisin, a Labourer.  Witnesses to the marriage were John Lacey jnr and William Pike.

The only child of this family baptised in Merriott was Mary Ann Raisin, born 19 January 1846 and baptised on 1 March 1846.

Please see below for more information about this family after leaving Merriott.

(2) Robert & Hannah

Robert & Hannah Raisin/Raison baptised three children in Merriott:

26 March 1849 James, born Feb 26.  Father Robert noted as a Labourer of England’s Row, Merriott
25 Dec 1853 Elizabeth, born Nov 5.  Father Robert noted as a Labourer of Eight Acres, Hill Gate, Merriott
11 October 1863 Charles, born 20 August 1863.  Father Robert noted as the Gate Keeper of the Haselbury Turnpike Gate.

I think this Robert Raison (born about 1824)  was brother to Joseph (born about 1819) and therefore son of Robert Raison (born about 1790)

(3) William & Ann

A William & Ann Raison are listed on the 1841 census of Merriott: Ref:  21;  Bow,  Raison?  William 80, Shepherd born Somerset and Raison? Ann 80, born Somerset

These two are later listed in the Burials: 2 March 1845 Anne Raisin 86 of Merriott; by coroner’s warrant; died 23 February [ ie born about 1759]
20 February 1848 William Raisin 88  of Kingstone; died 16 February [ ie born about 1760]

Could these possibly be the parents of Robert Raison (born about 1790)?

(4) Others

The only other mentions of the surname in the Merriott parish registers and censuses are the following:

1861 52 056;  High Street, Merriott.    Raison Mary Ann Servant U 15 Som, West Coker
1871 29 058; Crewkerne.   Raison Thomas Lodger U 42 Gardener Som, Crewkerne

Marriage:  29 September 1923 William George Raison, aged 28,   Bachelor of Haselbury; Signed the register; a  Labourer.  Father:  John Raison, a Mason married Bessie Saunders 26, a  Spinster of Merriott, signed the register; Father: Alfred Saunders, a  Dealer Witnesses:  Michael Saunders and Ethel Pike.

The Joseph & Barbara Raison Family after moving from Merriott

A contact by email from Jenny, whose Great Grandmother was Martha Raison, daughter of Joseph & Barbara.  Jenny has sent for some certificates
relating to this family.   See below.

I’ve found this family in other villages’ censuses:

1851   West Chinnock, Rickhay RAYSON Joseph, Head, 35, Farm Barton, born West Chinnock
RAYSON Barbara 27, Spooler, born Merriott
RAYSON Mary Ann 5, born Merriott
RAYSON John 2, born West Chinnock
1851   West Chinnock, Rickhay RAYSON Robert, Widower, 61, Agricultural Labourer, born Chiselborough. [Father of Joseph RAYSON above]
RAYSON Hannah, Daughter, 33 Housekeeper, born West Chinnock
1851   West Chinnock, Snail’s Hill LACY John 55 Agricultural Labourer, born Merriott
LACY Betty 63, born Merriott.   [Parents of Barbara Lacey/Raison]
1851   West Chinnock, Snail’s Hill LACY, Joseph 23, Agricultural Labourer, born Merriott [brother to Barbara Lacey/Raison]
LACY, Jane 20, born East Coker
LACY, Louisa 8 months, born West Chinnock
1861 RG 9/1641 West Chinnock, Lower Street Joseph Rayson, Head, Mar, 44, Dealer in Marine Stores, born West Chinnock
Barbara Rayson, Wife Mar 37, Dealer in Marine Stores, born Merriott
John Rayson Son Unmarried 12, born West Chinnock
George Rayson, Son, U, 9 born West Chinnock
Sarah Rayson..  looks like Daur of S.. maybe Son, maybe Sister, aged 7 born West Chinnock
Levi Rayson Son U 5 born West Chinnock
Tryphena Rayson Dau U 3 born West Chinnock
Louisa Rayson Dau U 1 born West Chinnock
1861   West Chinnock, Rickshay RAYSON Robert Head Widower 71, AgriculturalLabourer born Haselbury Plucknett
RAYSON Martha Dau U 43.. Looks like.. Flax Thread Winder? born WestChinnock
RAYSON Job Nephew U 22 Agricultural Labourer born West Chinnock
1871 RG 10/ 2413 page 4 West Chinnock

RAISON Joseph Head, mar, 52, Hawker bags & bones born West Chinnock
RAISON Barbara Wife Mar 47 born Merriott
RAISON John Son Widr 22 Lab (in the yarn factory) Sailcloth born West Chinnock
RAISON Levi Son Unm 14 Shoemaker out of employ born West Chinnock
RAISON Tryphena Daur 10 born West Chinnock   (not listed as scholar.)
RAISON Martha Daur 8 Scholar born West Chinnock
RAISON Sarah J Granddaughter 4 mo born West Chinnock

Information from the IGI and Certificates received by Jenny:

Robert Raison died 28.12.1873 in West Chinnock  from ‘natural decay’ ! The informant was James Guard, husband of Robert’s daughter Hannah.
Joseph Raison died 13. 01 1895 in West Chinnock  from ‘brain softening’ ! the informant was Tryphena Bedford ( the daughter with the 2 sons born ‘out of wedlock’)
Barbara Raison died 08.04.1895 from influenza and Bronchitis. Very difficult to read  where, it looks like Lapen.[ Maybe Lopen?]. The informant was Julia, but not possible to read the surname, only that it begins with an O.
Sarah Jane Raison born 11.12.1870  the Granddaughter in the 1871 census was the daughter of John. He married Sarah Jane Gray in  the Sept quarter 1870. I have found a death for her in the March quarter in 1871.

It seems likely that Levi Raison, the son of Tryphena went to Canada. I couldn’t find him on the 1901 census, but I have found a match in the Canadian Immigrant Records. He is shown in the 1901 Province of Ontario Census , so it is likely that he joined his uncle John Raison, who was in the same area.

From the IGI  I found Levi Raison the son of Robert and Mary was born 08.06.1828 in West Chinnock . He married Francis Parker about 1850 in West Chinnock . They had two children. Ann Elizabeth born 1851 West Chinnock and Hannah born 1855 West Chinnock . The Index gives a death for Francis as 1857 but no location.

I found an Immigrant Index for NSW and it shows this family arrived in  Sydney on the Himalaya on 10.05.1855. The second child is only shown as an infant, and along side is’ bv’. As she was not born on board I assume she was in quarantine.

Also from the IGI  I found Samuel Raison was born 13.11.1830. He married Margaret Salisbury about 1855. They had a daughter Tryphena born 1856 in West Chinnock .  On the Index it gives her death as 1857 but no location.  Looking at the Immigrant Index the family arrived in Sydney on the Zemindar in 1857. Alongside Tryphena’s name it gives ‘dv’ so it seems likely she died on voyage?

Family Names

The names in the Joseph & Barbara Raison family are interesting, in that the censuses show other families of Raisons using these same unusual Christian names.  There was another Levi Raison at Chiselborough, another Levi Raison at Puckington, plenty of George Raisons, Martha Raisons and so on. Almost as if all these families living in different areas of Somerset (but not too far away from each other) were using a bank of “family names”. Levi is the one that stands out quite a lot, as it is not a generally common name in my experience.  This area needs more research to attempt to link the families together.

The Previous Generation: Robert Raison (senior)

I have last found him in the 1861 census, but I still have to search 1871. So far I think his children were: (tentatively)

  •  Hannah abt 1818
  •  Martha abt 1818 (not sure if Hannah = Martha and one was just written wrongly)
  •  Joseph abt 1819
  •  Robert abt 1824
  •  Levi abt 1828
  •  Samuel abt 1830

I’’ve found Robert Raison (senior)  in the 1871 census of West Chinnock – aged 81, Widower, head of household also containing daughter Hannah Geard aged 54 years,  and son in law James Geard, Blind, aged 49. Both Robert & James are listed as Agricultural Labourers not able to work.  

Robert Raison’s (senior) death is  listed as aged 84, Yeovil District Volume 5C Page 367 in the March quarter of 1874.

The Next Generation:  Levi, son of Robert Raison and Mary Patten

I found a website pertaining to the immigration of Levi to New South Wales , Australia , with his first wife Frances Parker and first child. I have tracked Levi through the death of Frances, his second and third marriages, and children in New South Wales.   The website said Levi was the eighth child of Robert Raison and Mary Patten… which means there should be a lot of other children to find. Also during tracking Levi I found a Samuel emigrating to NSW two years after Levi, with wife Margaret and child Tryphena,  and moving to the same district as Levi. I tried to contact the authors of the website but the mail bounced back.   

This Samuel Raison was the brother of Levi.  He married Margaret Salisbury of West Chinnock in 1855. Levi married Francis Parker of Chiselborough about 1850.

1851 Chiselborough RAISON Levi 22, Labourer born West Chinnock
RAISON Frances 22, Glover born Chiselborough
RAISON Elizabeth Ann, 4 mo, born Chiselborough
Levi was son of Robert Raison & Mary Patten.
Frances died after 1855 in Australia.

Immigration to New South Wales, Australia

Information from New South Wales Immigrant Index 1844 – 59 at: http://www.records.nsw.gov.au

1855 “Himalaya” RAISON Levi 27
RAISON Frances 27
RAISON Female infant Born on Voyage
1857 “Zemindar” RAISON Samuel 26
RAISON Margaret 25
RAISON Tryphena 1 Died on voyage

The Families in New South Wales

Information from the New South Wales Births Deaths and Marriages Indexes at:  http://www.bdm.nsw.gov.au

William & Anne PARKER Frances Raison (First wife of Levi RAISON)   1857
Levi & Mary RAISON

Levi RAISON Married (2nd) Mary M ANDERSON on 8th July 1858, registered at
Kiama.Mary McIntyre RAISON died 15th January 1870 at Yellow Rock, Kiama, New South Wales

1. Edward 1859 Kiama 1859 Kiama
2. Robert – later married Annie FAULKS 1861 Kiama 1895 Wollongong
3. Donald – later married Emma Jane BALL 1865 Kiama  
Levi & Susan RAISON

Levi RAISON married (3rd) Susan HAZELTON in 1870, registered at Wollongong, New South Wales

1. Charlotte Hannah 1871 Kiama  
2. Isabella Mary 1873 Kiama  
3. Susan 1875 Kiama  
4. George William 1876 Kiama  
5. Henrietta E 1879 Kiama  
6. Jessie 1881 Kiama  
Robert RAISON Levi   1904 Albion Park
Samuel & Margaret RAISON Samuel 1859 Kiama  
Hannah 1861 Kiama  
George 1863 Kiama  
Mary A 1865 Kiama  
John 1867 Kiama 1867 Kiama
Mary J 1869 Kiama  
Robert & Annie RAISON
Albert 1885 Kiama  
George 1887 Kiama  
Robert 1888 Kiama  
Charles 1889 Kiama  
George 1891 Kiama  
Elsie A 1893 Kiama  
Lily 1895 Wollongong  
Robert & Harriet RAISON Harriet   1908 Granville
William H   1869 Sydney
Robert H & Agnes E RAISON Robert H   1898 Sydney
Isabella   1921 Redfern
George W & Marion RAISON Marion P 1905 Albion Park 1905 Albion Park
Robert   1909 Wollongong
Grace M   1913 Wollongong

Immigration to Canada

I’ve had a few people contact me about immigration of Raisons to Canada.

NOTE:  I have made a few corrections to this section on 16th July 2007 – notably changed all the “Tabitha”s to “Talitha”s, after an email from Doug Sly.
Doug Sly’s wife is a descendant of the Raison family, who came to Leeds County in 1875 from West Chinnock, Somerset.   Sarah Jane Gray was a daughter of William Gray and Harriett Chant, of West Chinnock. Sarah Jane married John Raison, one of the sons of Joseph Raison and Barbara (nee Lacey).  Their daughter Sarah Jane Raison was born about 1871, just before her mother died.   John then married Talitha Selina Langdon in 1874, and daughter Susannah was born in January 1875. The family then emigrated to Canada later in 1875.   Sarah Jane married Edward Randall in Delta, Leeds County, Ontario, Canada, in 1898.

John & Talitha Raison went on to have 11 children together.
The following shows the descendants of John Raison:

John Raison (1848) and Sarah Jane Gray (1852 – 1871) Sarah Jane Raison (1871) married Edward Randall
in Ontario in 1898.
John Raison (1848) and Talitha Selina Langdon (abt 1852).

John died 1926 Harlem, Leeds County, Ontario;   Talitha died in
1930 Harlem, Leeds County, Ontario.


Susanah Langdon Raison (13 Jan 1875 Somerset)
Barbara Ellen Raison (30 Nov 1876 Harlem, Ontario, Canada)
George Henry Raison (24 Oct 1878 Harlem, Ontario, Canada)
Edward Raison (13 Nov 1879)
Martha Victoria Raison (25 Oct 1880 Harlem, Ontario, Canada) married
John Henry Pattemore (born 11 Feb 1881 in Chantry, Ontario, Canada)
Marriage date:  11 Feb 1902, Methodist Church, Harlem, Ontario, Canada
Levi Raison (1 Nov 1884)
Talitha Raison (23 Apr 1887)
Alice Elizabeth Raison (23 Aug 1889)
Arthur Edward Raison (10 Apr 1892)
Stanley Raison
(5 Apr 1894)
Florence May Raison
(7 May 1898)

Thanks to Doug and also to Jenny Addison for the detail on these Canadian Raisons.
The John Henry Pattemore mentioned above was son of George Pattemore, born 26 Dec 1853 in West Chinnock, and Martha Ann Leeder.   George and Martha married in Chantry, Ontario, Canada in 1878.   In turn, George was one of 10 children of Thomas Pattemore (born about 1820, Merriott) and Anne Hallett (born about 1818 West Chinnock). 

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