10 April 2009

Norah Mary Cissie Mills

On the 3 Jul 1916 Norah sent this postcard from Whakatane to her sister Elsie.

norah-&-family-18 norah-&-family-1

A week earlier on the 26 Jun 1916 Elsie & her sister Ida send a postcard to their brother Leslie for his birthday. Leslie was at the City Freemens School in Brixton (London), probably a boarding school. The card was posted from New Cross SE (London).



Five months later on the 20 Nov 1916 Norah wrote two more postcards. One to her sister Elsie in which she mentions how lovely it would be if they could all be together at Christmas and that she hopes Bob is able to get home to be with them. The other one to her mother for Christmas.

norah-&-family-4 norah-&-family-10


On the 11 Sep 1918 Marjorie sent a birthday card from Greenwich SE10 to Mrs Mills.



I found the address on Google Maps, Wrigglesworth St is the one running off to the right, it seems #6 is one of the houses in the block of houses we're looking at.

6 Wrigglesworth St, nr Monson Rd, Lewisham, London SE14, UK

View Larger Map

On an unknown date Ida sent a birthday postcard to Norah and Elsie sent one to her Auntie Ada thanking her for the hair ribbon.





I've had these postcards for many years, picked them up from a secondhand shop on a whim one day, husband thought I was mad paying $3 each and $4 for the hand coloured one! I've puzzled over who the Mills family were all this time so now that the NZ records are online I thought I'd have another go at finding out and again I hit the jackpot, I'm on a roll! I concentrated on Norah as she was the only one I knew lived in NZ, for however long I didn't know though. This is her story....

I found a marriage in NZ in 1924 for a Norah Mary Mills to James Alexander Penman. I hunted in the 1901 UK census for Norah but just couldn't come up with a Norah who had siblings with any of the names above. Then I idly typed in her & her husband's name into Google and wow Peter's family tree appeared here. With lots more research into the NZ records and finally finding the Mills family in 1901 (listed in the index under MILLO) and consequently in other census I now have a small family tree for this family.


Henry Mills was baptised on 20 Sep 1840 in Hanslope, Buckinghamshire. On 17 Dec 1860 he married Mary Taylor, she was born about 1834 in Ockley, Surrey. On 28 Dec 1867 their son Henry Benjamin Mills was born in London. In the 1871 census they were all living at 28 Nicholas Lane, St Nicholas Acons, London. On 4 Jan 1893 Henry Benjamin married Isabel Frances Fortune [1qtr Islington RD].

In the 1901 census they were living at 311 Essex Rd, Islington, London.

Source Citation: Class: RG13; Piece: 186; Folio: 78; Page: 21.

census1 census2

Elsie Frances Sarah born 1 Aug 1894
Robert Henry born 16 Feb 1896
Norah Mary Cissie born 29 Sep 1897
Ida Isabel born 4 Sep 1899

Father Henry died on 27 Oct 1905 [4qtr Greenwich RD] aged 36. In the 1911 census in Greenwich, London I found wife Isabel with children Elsie, Norah & Ida as well as two more sons - Leslie Edward Fortune born c1902 in Islington and Ernest Albert born 4 Oct 1904 in Greenwich.

Further research found that mother Isabel died on 25 Jan 1930 in Auckland, New Zealand and is buried in the Waikumete Cemetery (5 mins drive from where I live). Isabel was born on 4 Feb 1868 in Cramond, Midlothian, Scotland to parents John Fortune and Sarah Ann nee Kettle. Isabel had a brother, Robert Henry Martin Fortune, who also came to NZ where he married Jessie Cameron Stewart in 1905, he died on 10 Oct 1920 in Whakatane and is buried in the Whakatane Cemetery.

Some, if not all, of Norah's siblings came to NZ & married here and some are also buried in the Waikumete Cemetery. The cemetery records are online and searchable so today armed with a few plot details we visited the cemetery to see if we could find some of them.


In Loving Memory
of Our Mother
Isabel Frances
Died 25th Jan 1930 aged 58
And of Our Sister
Ida Isabel Mills
Died 11th May 1931 aged 31
At Rest


In Loving Memory
My Dear Husband/Elsie Frances
John Albert/Loved Wife of
Lundberg/J. A. Lundberg
Died 24th Apr 1951/Died 2nd Oct 1954
Aged 70 Years/Aged 60 Years
Forever at Rest/Re-United

The headstones are not in good condition, covered in moss etc and I forgot the scrubbing brush I was going to take so we had to scrape it all off with DH's small pocket knife!

I have more photos if anyone would like them and for more information on the Mills family please check out my Strangers in a Box Family Tree on WorldConnect.


NZ BMD Historical Records
Peter Brown's Family Tree
Waitakere City Council - Waikumete Cemetery Records


If you know of/are related to any of the above families please contact me, I'd really love the postcards to go to a descendant who will treasure them.

Dawn Scotting


Sheila @ A Postcard a Day said...

I was tickled to see the City (of London) Freemen's School mentioned because I used to work in the field of education and often had dealings with them.

You've given me ideas of what I can do with a collection of postcards centred on a family near Canterbury in Kent. It was collected over many years obviously and it is fascinating to see the family growing up through the cards.

Christine H. said...

What a beautiful assortment of cards, well worth the cost. Thanks for sharing them.

Unknown said...


Not sure if you will still see this post after 10 years.

I am researching my wifes family tree.

Her father is Graeme Edward Mills (Aged 82) and lives in Hastings
Her grandfather (Paternal) was Leslie Edward Fortune Mills (1902 - 1958) Who was born in England. Leslie came to New Zealand with his mother and siblings - his father having passed away in the UK.
We believe Leslie Edward Fortune Mills'father was Henry (Robert Henry) born 1896.

I would absolutely love to get more information as I'd love to give my father in law his family tree.

Best regards

Nigel Homburg

courtneycotton01@gmail.com said...

Nigel, send me an email, my address is at the bottom of the right side column on this page.