19 February 2018

The KERSHAW Family

Today’s photo was sent to me a few years ago but until recently I had forgotten about it. I wasn’t sure, from the few details on the back, that I would be able to find out about this family but it turned out to be relatively easy. It’s a shame the photo is not in good condition.



There were too many Kershaw birth registrations to be absolutely sure which ones were Janet, Mary & Florence so I looked for a Kershaw family in the 1901 census with three daughters of the same names and here we have them:-


Father David was an Overlooker in the Cotton Mill and both he & his wife Margaret had been born in Scotland. Daughters Janet (eldest) born in Manchester, Florence & Mary (youngest) were both born in Rawtenstall. Also living with them was David’s brother Alexander Kershaw aged 22 born in Manchester.

On further investigation I found this family in a few trees on ancestry and was able to ascertain the following:-

David Kershaw married Margaret Cowan Brown McGregor on 18 May 1892 in Glasgow, from other information on the marriage certificate they were first cousins, David aged 22 a bachelor and Margaret 31 a spinster. Their mothers were McGregor sisters Agnes & Jane, Margaret was illegitimate and that’s why she had the McGregor surname.

To make sure I had the right family I checked the GRO website for the birth registrations of the three girls which also gives their mother’s maiden name:-

1893 4qtr Prestwich – Janet Thompson Kershaw – McGregor
1897 2qtr Haslingden - Florence Nightingale Kershaw – McGregor
1900 1qtr Haslingden - Mary Kershaw – McGregor

Then very suddenly disaster struck, father David died and was buried on the 29 Sep 1903 aged 35. Janet died in 1906 aged 13, Florence died in 1910 also aged 13.


GRO Reference: 1903  S Quarter in PRESTWICH  Volume 08D  Page 224
GRO Reference: 1906  D Quarter in ALVERSTOKE Volume 02B  Page 366
GRO Reference: 1910  D Quarter in LANCASTER  Volume 08E  Page 453

In the 1911 census mother Margaret was a patient in the Homeopathic Cottage Hospital in Southport, Lancashire, widow aged 50, she is listed as having given birth to three children with only one of them still living. I found daughter Mary aged 11 living with William & Elizabeth Ann Gill as their niece, Elizabeth Ann turned out to be the sister of David Kershaw. Margaret Cowan Brown Kershaw died soon after on the 20 Jul 1912 in Meathop, Westmorland, her address was given as Stanley House, Heysham, Lancashire in the probate of her will.


So poor little Mary had lost all of her family before she was 12 yrs old. I haven’t found her arriving in NZ yet but she married here in 1928 to William Hector Lynn Wilson, on the marriage entry his name is given as just Lynn Wilson:-

1928/1531 Mary Kershaw    Lynn Wilson

As you need to wait 100 years before birth registrations show up on the NZBMD website I don’t know how many children they may have had although you will see on the back of the photo that someone has written ‘Mum’ underneath Mary’s name so there must be at least one.

Both Mary & Lynn Wilson died in Auckland and are buried in the Papakura Cemetery:-


References: ancestry.com.au; NZBDM Online; GRO Online.


If anyone connected to this family is interested in this photograph I’d be delighted to send it to you, please contact me at:-

Dawn Scotting