Saturday, 18 January 2014


Today we say Happy Birthday to my second Great Aunt, Mary HAMILTON - the eldest sibling of my maternal G-G-Grandfather, William Cunningham Bontine HAMILTON.

Mary is one of those ancestors that I refer to as “well padded” because she is easily found in all the main record types. She was born, married, lived and died in a very small geographical area and is easily identified in the census returns.

Born on this day in Kilmalcolm in 1821, Mary made her appearance only 2 months after the marriage of her parents, Alexander HAMILTON  & Ann WILSON.  Her baptism is recorded in the parish records alongside those of her siblings; a very convenient snapshot of a family as it grows 

On 18th December 1821 Mary marries tailor Daniel McDonald 

By the 1851 census we see that her family has grown to 4 children.

Sadly, on the 5th September 1859 Mary died of “child bed fever” after the birth of her 7th child Mary Hamilton MCDONALD.

Another birthday to celebrate today is that of my paternal second Great-Great Uncle John NIVEN. One of 9 children, John was the older brother to my Great-Great Grandmother Margaret NIVEN and was born on this day in 1801 in Forteviot, Scotland.  Sadly, I know nothing else about John, but wish him a Happy Birthday never the less!

Friday, 17 January 2014


Today we celebrate the birthdays of both a paternal & a maternal first cousin.

On the maternal side it is a very Happy Birthday to cousin Jo. Born in 19(cough-cough) to Auntie Pat & Uncle Den, Jo now divides her time (haha) between family in the UK & family here in Oz! Come back soon JO!

Best wishes also to cousin Eric, son of Auntie Charlotte & Uncle Bob and last heard of prospecting in Lightning Ridge.

Wednesday, 15 January 2014


Today we celebrate the marriage of my maternal g-g-grandparents, Edwin GALE & Louisa KENNETT.

Edwin and Louisa were married on this day in 1885 at the Parish Church in Cheriton, Kent. At the time, Edwin was a Corporal in the 10th Hussars and would have been stationed at the Shorncliffe Army Camp while Louisa had been born and raised about 9 kilometers away around Lyminge. 

This was a second marriage for Edwin whose first wife, Alice Matilda EVANS had died in childbirth in 1882, leaving Edwin with a young daughter, Maud. However, Louisa did not take on the role of step-mother as Maud was raised by her paternal grandparents after the death of her mother.

Louisa and Edwin went on to have at least 6 children during their marriage and as is to be expected from army life, each of the children has a different place of birth. Percy Edwin (granddad) was born in Aldershot in 1886, Lionel Sidney in Hounslow in 1887, Albert Victor in York in 1889 and Charles Edwin was born in Clogheen Ireland in 1892 (and sadly buried there the following year). Even after he retired from the army Edwin & Louisa moved around. Their only daughter, Mabel Olive Lily was born in Edmonton in 1902 & finally, Arthur Vernon was born in Newington in 1906. Interestingly, on the 1911 census, Edwin records that there were 9 children born alive of this marriage with only 4 currently still living but I have yet to find any record of the other 3. 

 After 34 years of marriage, Louisa passed away. She was buried in a common grave at the St Pancras Cemetery in Camden on 28th July 1919.

Thursday, 9 January 2014


Well today is the 9th January and I have little more than a few names today.

Born on this day in Shropshire in 1814 was Elizabeth MANSELL, first child of my paternal 3Xgreat grandparents George MANSELL and Mary LEES. Elizabeth was three years older than my g-g-grandfather William and the eldest of 5 children. Happy birthday to my second great-great aunt Elizabeth.

Also born on this day was my paternal great-great uncle, James MANSELL. Born in Ketley Shropshire in 1842, James was the younger brother of my g-g-grandparents William MANSELL and Elizabeth ARCHER. Sadly James died at the age of 9 in June 1851. Happy birthday James.

Monday, 6 January 2014


As it is the 6th January today I will focus on my paternal Aunt, Auntie Madge. Born in 1901, Margaret Lillian MANSELL was the eldest child of Ivor & Margaret MANSELL and was my Dad's oldest sister.

From the 1911 Census we see that as a 10 year old, Madge was living in a 5 room house in Cameron Street, Norton-on-Tees with her parents and 5 siblings as well as Emma SMALL a 20 year old domestic general servant (I have yet to connect this Emma with Madge's mother Margaret who was a SMALL before marriage).

Some time after her marriage to Horace Matthew JOHNSON in Stockton in 1928, Madge & Horrie went to live in London at 7 Braywood Road, Falcolnwood where they remained (according to the electoral rolls) until about 1965.

This is the address referred to frequently in the letters from Dad to Mum during their courtship in 1940. It was the place they would regularly meet while Dad was on leave and Mum was working in service in London. I believe it is also the place from which they first planned to marry in 1940 before an unexploded bomb in Braywood Road put an end to their plans.

Some time after 1965 Madge & Horace returned north as they died in North Yorkshire in 1976 and 1984 respectively.

Happy birthday Auntie Madge!

(Photo taken on one of the many occasions Mum & Dad met with Madge, in the fur coat, and Horace, far left. Also in the photo is Uncle Ivor, at back right and Allan, the son of Madge and Horace born 1929, in front)

Saturday, 4 January 2014


It was quite unintentional that the first of the family tree commemorations in my new years project should fall on my birthday. A fitting coincidence rather than design as, hard as I tried, I could not find an ancestor anywhere in the tree, who had any recorded life event on the 1st, 2nd or 3th of January. So here I am, celebrating and commemorating for the first time this year.

Of course, the other important birthday today is that of one of the newest generation. So Happy Birthday to my beautiful great-niece, Aurora!

Historically, we have both a birthday and a wedding to celebrate today.

Janet MACKENZIE born on this day in 1833 was the younger sister of my maternal great-grandfather Ronald MACKENZIE, which I believe makes her my second great-great-aunt. I know little else about Janet other than she was the second youngest of 5 children (like me) with three brothers and one sister (again, like me). More coincidences?

Today is also the wedding anniversary of Edith HAMILTON and John GREIG who married in Port Glasgow in 1886. Great-great-aunt, Edith was the youngest sister of my maternal great-grandmother Annie Wilson HAMILTON and one of the lucky 4 of 11 children who survived to adulthood. John was the son of Alexander GREIG and Isobel PROCTOR and at the time of his marriage was a journeyman blacksmith. Sadly to date I have not been able to find any later trace of the couple in either Scotland or England.Their wedding was announced in the Greenock Telegraph:

"Edith, daughter of late W.C.B. Hamilton to John Greig, at Ivy Bank, Port Glasgow on 4th Jan 1886" (Greenock Telegraph 6.1.1886)

Wednesday, 1 January 2014


Today begins the first post of what I intend to be an annual project which will look at celebrating the “hatches, matches & dispatches” in our family tree. The goal is to post what I have learned so far about an ancestor or ancestors on the anniversary of a significant event in their life. For some of these people I may know very little but for others I hope I can present some interesting details which will go some way towards bringing these relations to life.

January reveals several commemorations, from the birth of GG-grandfather William Cunningham Bontine Hamilton in 1832, through a few 19th century wedding anniversaries and a couple of contemporary birthdays which just happen to share the same date. Significant dates for January include the 4th, 15th. 19th, 24th, 27th and 30th.