James Parnie Dansken was born in 1876 in Partick, Glasgow. He was the son of John Dansken (1836-1905), surveyor and President of the West of Scotland Branch of the British Astronomical Society, who donated a 13-inch reflector and 4-inch refractor telescope to the Royal Technical College. James Parnie Dansken followed his father into the surveying profession, becoming a Fellow of the Faculty of Architects and Surveyors. On 6 May 1903, he was entered onto the Trades House of Glasgow Burgess Roll. James was a partner in the firm of John Dansken & Purdie, Measurers and Property Surveyors, Valuators & Assessors of Fire Losses, from which he retired in May 1933. He died in 1947, aged 70.