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John Ponsonby was the son of John Ponsonby & Margaret Toner or Tonner.  He was born "abt. 1817", and this is based on ages given in the Censuses in Scotland, where he went with his ½-brother James Ponsonby after the 1841 census, but likely not long after this.  He met Helen (Ellen) Docherty in Port Glasgow, Scotland, she was from County Derry (although no idea where, that's the other part of the story).  John & Helen Doherty (Docherty) were married 23 Feb 1846 at St John's RC Church in Port Glasgow.  

John was a Sawyer by occupation, age is out in the 1851 census, but have located him in the 1861, 1871, and 1881 censuses as well, and his age at death on May 8, 1887 at 64 Levenhaugh Street, Dumbarton, was 70 years, which works with the ages in most of the censuses, and brings date of birth to ca. 1817.  I have copies of the records for his marriage, births & marriages of his children (there were 12 born, 2 died in infancy), and his death all from Scotlands People.  Not sure about uploading them here (i.e., will do so if it helps?).  

 

Additional Information
Date of Birth 1817 (circa)  
Date of Death 8th May 1887  
Mother (First Name/s and Maiden) John Ponsonby. At Cavan Lower in Donaghmore at 1857 Griffiths (listed as Punch). Died at Cavan, Killygordon, Stranorlar 12 Sep 1864, age 80 yrs, death reported by son Charles Ponsonby. John md 2x, only know for sure of 3 children (sons).  
  Margaret Tonner (from John's death record in 1887), could also be Toner. She died shortly after his birth, as he had a ½ brother James Ponsonby b. about 1820, whose mother was Mary Paton (could be Patton). She would have raised John.  
     

References

1851, 1861, 1871, 1881 census Scotland Northern Ireland. Great Britain.
1857 Griffiths Valuation of Donegal Ireland VIEW SOURCE
Church marriage in 1846, copy from Scotland People Northern Ireland. Great Britain.

Communities Associated with this Ancestor