09 December 2011

Could this be Winifred Elizabeth Hardie born 1900 in NZ?


  • Subject: Unknown
  • Date: about 1903
  • Photographer: Robert Barcham, Petone, New Zealand

This one was a little harder to find as I didn’t have much to go on except for what you see above. I could find absolutely nothing on the ‘La Cigale Art Studios’ but I suspect it was the name of Robert Barcham’s Photography business. It’s taken me all day to finally click on to the fact that Robert’s surname is Barcham and not Bareham! I couldn’t understand why I was getting very few hits in the NZ BMD records online and those I did get weren’t helping at all.

I then found that Robert Barcham, photographer, in the electoral rolls was living in Masterton in 1900, by 1905 he had moved to Petone, in 1911 he was in Island Bay, Wellington, 1914 he’d moved to Woodville and by 1928 he was in Hastings where he lived until his death in 1960. For those not familiar with NZ Petone is not far from Wellington so the time frame for this photograph is probably just after 1900 to sometime between 1911 to 1914.

Armed with this knowledge I then searched through the electoral rolls for a Hardie family living in Hutt Park, Petone. I’m still not sure whether the initial before Hardie is an ‘R’ or an ‘M’, maybe neither. In 1905 I found George & Elizabeth Hardie living at Hutt Park, Petone, George was an engine driver while Elizabeth is listed as ‘married’. In 1911 Elizabeth Hardie was still living at that address & still ‘married’ but George wasn’t listed, however, it seems he didn’t die until 1930 so he should be there somewhere. In 1928 George shows up again but this time living at 101 Tinakori Rd, engine driver, living at the same address is Winifred Elizabeth, spinster, Elizabeth is not listed so she may be the Elizabeth Hardie whose death is registered in 1918 aged 56 yrs.

On checking the NZ BMD Indices I found the following:-

1891/4605 Hardie  Herbert John,  Elizabeth & John George
1892/6264 Hardie  Ernest Charles,  Elizabeth & George
1893/7407 Hardie  Cyril George,  Elizabeth & John George
1894/13219 Hardie  Harold William,  Elizabeth & John George
1900/4188 Hardie  Winifred Elizabeth,  Elizabeth & John George

George’s full name was John George and checking back on the electoral rolls I found one entry for a John George Hardie in 1896 living in Tutaekara (Pahiatua region), he was an engine driver. Although they had been married for at least six years by then Elizabeth is not listed that year, perhaps it was too soon after women were first given the vote in 1893:-

On 19 Sep 1893 the governor, Lord Glasgow, signed a new Electoral Act into law. As a result of this landmark legislation, New Zealand became the first self-governing country in the world in which all women had the right to vote in parliamentary elections.

There doesn’t seem to be a marriage for John George & Elizabeth in the NZ records, nor is there a death for a John George Hardie, no George fits the time frame but there is one George John who does:-

1930/12250 Hardie  George John  73Y

That gives a birthdate of 1857 which fits in with Elizabeth’s of 1862.

Papers Past was my next stop and here I found an article on Winifred’s marriage in 1928 to Charles Albert Ernest Purdey:-




















From this we gather that the bride’s mother wasn’t there, Winifred was the only daughter and that although her father received the guests at the reception he didn’t give her away.


Then we have a coroner’s report on the death of John George Hardie aged 73 in 1930, but was this the right person? Further investigation brought up the final proof in the Public Trust Notice:-

























One last note: Charles & Winifred Purdey had a son named Trevor Ian born in 1931 & died in 1947, he is buried with his father in the Karori Cemetery in Wellington. As far as I can find out they didn’t have any other children but as the NZ Birth Indices online stop at 1911 I can’t be positive about that. If it is the case then there are no descendants to claim Elizabeth’s photo, probably the very reason it ended up in a second hand shop.

ancestry.com; NZ BDM Online; Papers Past; NZ History


So there we have it, absolutely no proof whatsoever that the photograph is of Winifred Elizabeth Hardie but quite a nice lot of information about the Hardie Family of Petone & Wellington.

If any of the descendants of this Hardie family would like to have the above photograph (if it is her) I would be delighted to pass it on. Contact by email is preferable but if you are going to leave a comment please don’t forget to include your email address.

Dawn Scotting

08 December 2011

Amy Mary Trim 1870-1959


  • Subject: Amy Mary Trim
  • Date: Jan 1893
  • Photographer: Henry Wayland, Rembrandt House, 11 Lee Road, Blackheath, Greenwich
  • Found: eBay

Births Mar 1870
TRIM  Amy Mary    Wandsworth  1d 596

Amy was the daughter of Albert Trim & Ellen née Stedman, born 31 Jan & baptised 27 Feb 1870 at St Luke’s Church in Chelsea, Middlesex:-

baptism-web  Albert was a clerk and they resided at 32 Lockington Rd, Battersea. However, in the 1871 census their address is given as 18 Lockington Rd:-


Source Citation: Class: RG10; Piece: 706; Folio: 55; Page: 36; GSU roll: 823343.

Albert Trim head mar 30 clerk born Isle of Wight, West Cowes
Ellen Trim wife mar 30 born Petworth Sussex
Beatrice E Trim dau 3 born Chelsea Mdx
Albert S Trim son 2 born Battersea Surrey
Amy M Trim dau 1 born Battersea Surrey

Albert was listed as being a ‘waiter’ on Amy’s marriage to Charles Kendall James in 1896:-


Charles & Amy James were at home in 73 Woodlawn Rd, Fulham, London on the night of 2 Apr 1911 along with her brother William Ernest Trim.


Charles & Amy had been married 14 years & had one child who had died. Dorothy Mary James had been born in the last quarter of 1897 and while visiting her maternal grandparents in Shorrolds Rd, Fulham was baptised at St John’s Church, Walham Green, Fulham on the 10 Jan 1898. Her death was registered soon after in the 1qtr of 1898 at Fulham RD.

So it seems there won’t be any descendants to claim Amy’s photograph but I’m sure there will be some family out there who are descended from any one of her five siblings:-

Beatrice Ellen 1867-1948
Albert Stedman 1868-1897
Tom Parker 1872-1953
Ada Fanny Elizabeth 1875-?
William Ernest 1879-1969

Their father, Albert, was born in West Cowes on the Isle of Wight about 1840. He was aged 8 mths in the 1841 census & living with his widowed mother, brother William and half sister Susan Parker aka Trim. Maria Parker married William Trim on 1 Jan 1832 at Northwood on the Isle of Wight.

Albert Trim married Ellen Stedman in the 3qtr 1865 in Kensington.

ancestry.com; familysearch.org; FreeBMD; Isle of Wight Family History Society

Further details on this family may be seen on the Strangers in a Box database on WorldConnect.
If any of the descendants of this Trim family would like to have the above photograph I would be delighted to pass it on. Contact by email is preferable but if you are going to leave a comment please don’t forget to include your email address.

Dawn Scotting

Trip to Queenstown

This large group photograph was in a batch lot of photos I picked up in an antique shop. It looks to me to have been taken sometime in the 1970s or maybe 1980s. I’ve researched some of the names on the back and most if not all of the people seem to have lived in or around the area of Papatoetoe in Auckland. So I would think a social club of some sort. A friend of mine has identified the hotel in the background as being Eichart’s Tavern in Queenstown, NZ.


The names I can read are:- Jimmy Nield, R & Beverley Barthow, Christine Leckie, Margery & Des Sale, Janet Craig, John & Marie Brennan, George & Lorna Pearse, Jack & Wym Ivatts, Ron & Phyl Docherty, Mrs & Miss White, Dorothy & Roy Wilson, Alex & Nan Britton, Robert & Judi Tuppen, Hazel & Arthur Sloggett, Louise Hawley, Nora Murphy, Isabel Holmes, Paul, Gerry, Cathy & Marjorie Stewart. Two I can't read and a few are missing.

If you are related to anyone in this photograph and would like a copy of it please contact me, the first person to do so gets the original.

Contact by email is preferable but if you are going to leave a comment please don’t forget to include your email address.

Dawn Scotting

29 November 2011

Henry Norton 1818-1893 - Mayor of Carmarthen


  • Subject: Henry Norton
  • Date: before 1893
  • Photographer: T Fall, 9-10 Baker St, Portman Square, London West
  • Found: eBay

Photographer, Thomas Fall, was born on 19th October 1833 in Leyburn, Yorkshire. In 1867 Thomas Fall moved down to London to work as a photographer in the famous portrait studio of Elliott & Fry. By 1875 Thomas Fall had established his own photographic studio at 9 Baker Street, London. After he passed away in 1900 the new owners continued to trade under the name of Thomas Fall upto 1990 when they retired. However, it seems this Carte de Visite photograph was taken sometime in the 1890s when head & shoulders only became popular.

Written on the back is ‘Henry Norton father of Frances Marshall’.

Frances Annie Margaret Norton married Frank Marshall in the 4qtr of 1887, their marriage was registered in Carmarthen in Wales. Her birth was registered in Carmarthen also in the 4qtr of 1852.

      1861 Census - Source Citation: Class: RG9; Piece: 4141; Folio: 58; Page: 4; GSU roll: 543241.


Here we have Frances at home in 1861 with her parents and four siblings, living at Green Hill, Carmarthen, Carmarthenshire. Henry was a ‘Common Brewer & Coal Proprietor’, aged 42 born in Longstone Hall, Derbyshire. From that I ascertain that he is most probably the Henry Norton found on the IGI, bap 27 Sep 1818 at Great Longstone, Derbyshire, parents Charles & Elizabeth Norton.

Then I was lucky to hit upon Henry when searching ancestry.com and found the same photograph in a family tree. His parents were Charles Edward Baron Norton & Elizabeth Tucker. Henry was a J.P and the Mayor of Carmarthen from 1859-1873.

ancestry.com; familysearch.org; FreeBMD; Sussex PhotoHistory


He is most probably well documented on the Internet so I won’t do any further research. If anyone has Henry Norton in their family tree and would like this photograph of him I’d be happy to pass it along at no cost to you. Contact by email is preferable but if you are going to leave a comment please don’t forget to include your email address.

All the information I’ve found on this family may also be seen on the next update of the Strangers in a Box database on WorldConnect.

Dawn Scotting

10 November 2011

The Burke Family of Mangatoki


  • Subject: Burke Family
  • Date: c1925
  • Photographer: James McAllister, Stratford, New Zealand


I found this photograph on TradeMe in 2009 but at the time wasn’t able to place the family at all. Now that the NZ Electoral Rolls are available online I gave it another go but I still wasn’t able to pin them down. It wasn’t until I was searching in Papers Past that all of a sudden there they were after I inadvertently left out the ‘o’ in Bourke:-



I searched on both spellings and found quite a lot of entries, mostly in the Stratford area.


Alexander Sydney Burke married Lena Maria Dorothy Hartwig in 1899 in New Zealand (Lena’s birth registration name was Lena Cathrina Maria Hartwig).

1900/17318 Burke  Rene Gladys  Lena Maria Dorothy Alexander Sydney
1902/1698 Burke  Unita Sylvia  Lena Maria Dorothy Alexander Sydney

The various newspaper articles & electoral rolls puts them living in and around the Mangatoki area of Stratford, Taranaki. They had two daughters, Rene Gladys born 1900 and Unita Sylvia born 1902.

Alexander wasn’t born in NZ so I searched further afield for him. His daughters were bridesmaids for an Albert Thomas Burke also of Mangatoki so I thought they might have been brothers. I searched the NZ BMDs and found that Albert was the son of William & Martha and on the new familysearch.org site I found their marriage plus four birth records of their children. Unfortunately Alexander Sydney wasn’t one of them! So I resorted to wending my way through the 8833 instances of the name ‘Burke’ in the two Taranaki papers where I struck gold!


William & Martha Burke must have arrived in NZ sometime before 1879 when the first of their NZ children was born. I’ve had no luck in finding them in a passenger list yet. Here is their marriage:-

groom's name: William Burke
groom's age & status: 23, single
bride's name: Martha Smith
bride's age & status: 22, single
marriage date: 20 Nov 1866
marriage place: Killoughter, Cavan, Ireland
groom's father's name: William Burke
bride's father's name: William Smith

And a small tree with the children I’ve found so far.

                          William Burke - Martha Smith                                         
                                              m 20-11-1866
                   St Columba Church, Killoughter, Co Cavan, Ireland
Children born in Drum, Co Monaghan, Ireland
Richard    John William  Alexander Sydney  Mary Anne  James Robert 
18.9.1867   -17.1.1869-          -c1871-         -23.8.1873-   -14.2.1875-

Children born in New Zealand
Samuel Joseph   Henry  Albert Thomas  Robert Charles  Lillian      Norman
      -1879 -       -1882 -        -1883 -             -1885 -      -1888-   -23.6.1893-      


St Columba Church, Killoughter, Co. Cavan on the left & the small village of Drum which is in Co. Monaghan but within one mile of the Cavan border. It is located 16 miles from the county towns of both Cavan and Monaghan and four miles from Cootehill in Co. Cavan. Drum Village is the Republic's only Protestant Village and is strongly Presbyterian.

ancestry.com; NZ BDM Records; familysearch.org; Google Maps, Colin Boyle/flickr.com
Church photograph © Eric Jones and licensed for reuse under the Creative Commons Licence.


Further details on this family may be seen on the Strangers in a Box database on WorldConnect.
If any of the descendants of this Burke family would like to have the above photograph I would be delighted to pass it on. Contact by email is preferable but if you are going to leave a comment please don’t forget to include your email address.

Dawn Scotting

28 July 2011

The Flower Family of Whangarei, New Zealand.

A few years ago I picked up a handful of candid photos plus 3 studio photos that all seemed to be connected somehow, it wasn’t until a week ago that I was able to finally connect most of the people in them thanks to ancestry.com having the NZ Electoral Rolls available.

Some of the photographs are addressed to Auntie Hazel so it seems some of her photographs have found their way into an antique shop after she passed away. I’m sure there must be some descendants of the Flower family who would love to have these photographs back again.

The first one is “To dear Auntie Hazel from wee Merle Flower, aged 1 year & 9 months”

Second is “Owen Lawrence Flower, 6 weeks old”.


Merle Jean Flower was the daughter of Wilfred Sydney Flower & Edna Rowe neé Conaghan, probably born sometime before 1928. Wilfred & Edna also had two sons, Donald Barrie & Desmond Wilfred. Alfred Sydney had four siblings one of whom was Lawrence Vivian. Lawrence married Mabel Jane Fussell in 1925 so I would presume they are Owen’s parents in the photo. Lawrence & Mabel may have also had a daughter Lola Joy.

Another brother was John William Flower who married Hazel Evelyn Coup 1936 in Whangarei, presumably she is Auntie Hazel. The last sibling is Catherine Margaret Flower who married George Percival Moore in 1923.


Best Wishes to Hazel from Lizzie and below Lizzie & Luther are the couple in the middle.


To me the middle girl in the first photo looks very much like a younger version of the Lizzie in the second photo. They are both quite small candid photos so I’ve enlarged them for comparison. The second photo has the date of Aug 1951 and ‘4 West View, Wooldale’ written on the back along with the names of the people. I’ve Googled the address but the only Wooldale I can come up with is in Yorkshire, England. So it’s a mystery as to who Lizzie & Luther are at present.


On the front of this photograph is “Dear ‘Aunty’ Hazel and ‘Joe’, Best Wishes for the coming Year from Angus, Evelyn Wilson and family”. I found Angus & Evelyn Wilson living in Paparoa Northland in 1946 which is just a hop, step & a jump from Pahi, Angus was a soldier then, don’t know how they might be connected to the Flowers though.


This one was taken on 16 Mar 1956 at Lake Okataina in Rotorua, the ladies are listed thus on the back ‘Effie, Doris, Elsie, Hazel’, so I think that means Hazel is the one on the left hand end.


This is a photograph of the Dressmaking Staff at D W Jack & Sons of Banks St in Whangarei.

Here you can see the premises of T G Palmer Photographers in Cameron St, Whangarei.


I’m not sure just which one of the two girls in the front Maggie Flower is and neither have a I found a Margaret Flower so far except for Catherine Margaret who could have been known by her middle name. The ‘To Billie with love’ is interesting because the photo below is addressed to ‘Billy with love 1931’.This one is taken in the Bell Studios in Auckland. I didn’t originally think this photo was connected to the Flowers but with both of them being addressed to Billie/Billy it seems like there could be a connection, unfortunately Electoral Rolls don’t give nicknames!


There could be a resemblance between the woman in this photo and the one on the left of the three woman apple pickers above.

The small Flower family tree I found is:-

Sydney Flower married Elizabeth Downie in 1899 in New Zealand. Sydney was born in NZ in 1871 but there are no parents names listed on his birth registration entry. Elizabeth was the daughter of Peter & Margaret Downie & was born in NZ in 1879.

Sydney & Elizabeth had the following children:-

1911/1401 Flower  John William  Elizabeth Sydney m Hazel Evelyne Coup
1901/2964 Flower  Wilfred Sydney  Elizabeth Sydney
1899/17449 Flower  Lawrence Vivian  Elizabeth Sydney
1903/2244 Flower  Catherine Margaret  Elizabeth Sydney

Their various spouses & children are listed above.

ancestry.com; NZ BDM Records; Coup Family Tree; Vans Family Archive


If any of the descendants of the above Flower family would like to have these photographs please get in touch with me. Contact by email is preferable but if you are going to leave a comment please don’t forget to include your email address.

All the information I’ve found on this family may also be seen on the next update of the Strangers in a Box database on WorldConnect.

Dawn Scotting

13 July 2011

Skinner Family of Cranbrook, Kent & Sussex.


  • Subject: Mary Ann Skinner (supposed, not proven)
  • Date: c1900
  • Photographer: Henry W Tubb, Portland Rd, Hove
  • Found: Sussex, UK

Nick Miskin in the UK very kindly sent me these photographs from an offer he sent to a genealogy magazine, luckily for me no one else claimed them and I became the lucky recipient. I had thought they might be connected to my Skinner family who were from Sussex, sadly that was not the case. However, they are such lovely photos I thought there must be someone connected to them out there who would treasure them so I set about trying to find out who they were.

**********            **********            **********            **********            **********            **********

From the information that was sent to me with the photographs and various other sources I’ve been able to glean the following:-

On the 9 Apr 1787 James Skinner married Mary Carpenter in St Mary’s Church, Sellindge, Kent. On the marriage entry James is listed as being a bachelor from Beckley, Sussex and Mary a spinster from Sellindge. Witnesses: Sarah Collings and Francis Godden.

On the 29 Mar 1789 James & Mary had a son, Jacob, baptised at Sellindge.

On the 13 Jan 1810 Jacob Skinner married Phoebe Crampton in St Dunstan Church, Cranbrook, he is listed as a bachelor from Staplehurst, Kent and she a spinster. They had at least five children:-

25 Dec 1814 Susanna dau Jacob & Phoebe - at St Dunstan, Cranbrook
19 Apr 1818  Mary Ann dau Jacob & Phoebe - at All Saints, Staplehurst
14 May 1820  John son Jacob & Phoebe - at All Saints, Staplehurst
10 Nov 1822  Jacob son Jacob & Phoebe - at All Saints, Staplehurst
17 Sep 1826 James son Jacob & Phoebe - at St George, Camberwell, Surrey

These three burials were in the Staplehurst parish registers:-

30 Sep 1827 Jacob Skinner abode Cranbrook, aged 38 years
25 Nov 1829 James Skinner, aged 68 years
23 May 1833 John Skinner, aged 13 years, abode Frittenden

Jacob dying two years before his father & other son John a few years later. That puts James’ birth year at about 1761, nothing further found on James.

Jacob’s widow, Phoebe, remarried on 1 May 1828 to John Fenn at All Saints, Maidstone and in the 1841 census they were living at Milkhouse St, Cranbrook with their son Charles Fenn and Phoebe’s son Jacob Skinner (born 1822), ages were rounded down to the nearest 5 years in 1841.


Milkhouse Street – a hamlet in Cranbrook parish, Kent;  2 miles northeast of Cranbrook.  It contains the church of Sissinghurst chapelry, a Wesleyan chapel, and ruins of an ancient Church of England chapel. The following was found on the qwiki.com site:-

sissinghurst-milkhouse street

Sissinghurst is a small village in the county of Kent in England. Originally called Milkhouse Street, Sissinghurst changed its name in the 1850s, possibly to avoid association with the smuggling and cockfighting activities of the Hawkhurst Gang. The nearest railway station is at Staplehurst. Sissinghurst is situated with Cranbrook to the south, Goudhurst to the west, Tenterden to the east and Staplehurst to the north. It sits just back from the A229 which goes from Rochester to Hawkhurst. Sissinghurst's history is similar to that of nearby Cranbrook. Iron Age working tools have been found and the village was for centuries a meeting and resting place for people travelling towards the south coast.

The following is part of a headstone found in the Cranbrook churchyard:-

cranbrook church

In Memory of Jane: wife of William Hoad and daughter of Robert and Jane Crampton: aged (44 years?) also of Phoebe: wife of John Finn and daughter of Robert and Jane Crampton who died May 25 1845 aged 56 years.

This gem was sent to me by Carol who I found online soon after my research started, it was written by her Great Grandfather Walter George Skinner, Jacob & Phoebe’s grandson, when he was 99 yrs old:-

Grand Mother’s maiden name was Phoebe Crampton, B. 1790, and my Grandfather, Jacob Skinner, B.1787,  was a Carrier. Made two trips per week to London. He had a good business and moved in the upper classes. When my Grandfather died (Jacob I) my father ran away after the funeral. He was only 3 years old, a woman took him back to his home. After a while his mother (Phoebe) married a man named John Finn. He turned out to be no good. He got away with a fortune. He hated my father (Jacob II) and Father reciprocated in full measure. When he was 12 years old he walked from Cranbrook Common to Brighton 50 miles, got a job as page boy and was blessed with a wonderful memory, memorized both speeches of Prime Minister Ben Disraeli & Gladstone & recited them for entertainment at the hotel. (The hotel was The Royal Oak Hotel & has been newly refurbished and opened last year, 2010, as a hotel again.)

Jacob would have been 12 yrs old in about 1834 but as he was at home in Cranbrook again by the 1841 census it seems his exciting life in Brighton must have ended all too soon.
In 1851 he is living at Hazelden Common, Cranbrook listed as a single 27 yr old lodger in the home of William Potter. (Source Citation: Class: HO107; Piece: 1619; Folio: 105; Page: 13; GSU roll: 193520.)

By 1861 he was still in Cranbrook, now married, he was listed as an ag lab servant living in Cambden House, the home of John Wilson a retired schoolmaster. Living in a Cambden Cottage was his wife Mary & daughter Ellen. (Source Citation: Class: RG9; Piece: 507; Folio: 96; Page: 22; GSU roll: 542651.)

1854 25 Dec SKINNER Jacob m Mary Hayward, Cranbrook Parish

Marriages Dec 1854
Hayward  Maria    Cranbrook  2a 773   
Skinner  Jacob     Cranbrook  2a 773

But I get a bit ahead of myself here! With the photographs came this piece of paper, handwritten on both sides:-



From this I gathered that these were the children of Jacob’s brother James & his wife Julia:-

1849 16 Jan SKINNER James m Julia Elizabeth Manwaring, Cranbrook Parish

I had found James & Julia in the 1851 census with their two young children George & Mary Ann plus John Fenn listed as ‘father in law’, John turned out to be not Julia’s father but James’ step-father. They were also living in Hazelden Common, five houses away from Jacob. (Source Citation: Class: HO107; Piece: 1619; Folio: 106; Page: 14; GSU roll: 193520.)

That was when I realised that the Ellen listed above was the daughter of Jacob & Mary so after much toing and froing between the IGI and all the various census up to and including 1911 I found that all the children listed on one side of the paper belonged to Jacob & Mary and the other side was Julia’s death along with her son George the following day.

These are then the children I have for Jacob & Mary (first 3 children died in a plague):-

Walter James born 30 Oct 1855 died 11 Apr 1859 Cranbrook, Kent 
Rosa Ann born 30 Jun 1857 bap 11 Oct 1857 died 16 Apr 1859 Cranbrook, Kent  
William Alfred born 8 Aug 1858 died 18 Oct 1858 Cranbrook, Kent
Ellen born 21 Feb 1860 Cranbrook bap 6 May 1860 mar 1892 (Charles Pearson) died 1937 Croydon, Surrey
Walter George born 10 Dec 1861 Sissinghurst mar Ellen Josephine Pirtle died 25 Jan 1962 Illinois, USA 
Alice born 1867 Sissinghurst mar 1895 (Albert Martin) died 1945 aged 77 Hastings, Sussex 
Clara born 1869 died 1894 aged 25 Cranbrook, Kent 
Mary Ann born 1871 Sissinghurst mar 1891 (William Grace Mihill) died 1952 Brighton, Sussex 
Bertha Elizabeth born 1874 Sissinghurst (living in Hastings in 1911 but nothing further known)
Hilda Julia born 1878 Sissinghurst mar 1899 (Christian P Christenson), nothing further known 
Eveline (Evelyn) born 17 May 1879 Sissinghurst died 1976 Hastings, Sussex

All of these photographs originally belonged to Evelyn who was a housekeeper for Nick’s father before he married. Evelyn never married, she was apparently a talented artistic lady who painted watercolours, wrote poetry and was the author of a book published about 1960 (title unknown). She lived in Hawkhurst, Kent before 1938 when she moved to Hastings, Sussex, in the 1950s & 60s her address was in St Leonards on Sea, Sussex.


  • Subject: Unknown
  • Date: c1899
  • Photographer: Thomas Donovan, 1 St James’s St, Brighton
  • Found: Sussex, UK

This is another of the photos sent to me, couldn’t make up my mind whether this was a girl or boy, I thought probably boy because of the short hair but posted it onto a RootsChat group to get an expert opinion about it including the date, the consensus was a boy with this sage advice from Jim:-

The seated artist by Marion Imp Paris was a design registered in 1892. The Reg. No. 41062 is in the bottom right hand side of the card & on the left hand side is the date code. Although MIP date codes aren't an exact science this one appears to give the date of 1899.

More on the photographer Thomas Donovan can be found on this website.

So what was Evelyn’s connection to these photos? Apart from her having lived in Hove in 1911?

1911 Census
Reference RG14PN5201 RG78PN229 RD80 SD2 ED27 SN26
25 Boundary Rd, Hove, Sussex
Evelyn Skinner lady help 31 spinster born Cranbrook
(living with two elderly sisters)

There was one other photograph that had me puzzled for quite awhile:-


Up until I found Carol I was unable to find a marriage for Evelyn’s sister, Mary Ann, as there were too many Mary Ann Skinner marriages to know for sure which one she was.

Marriages Dec 1891  
Mihill  William Grace     Brighton  2b 560   
Skinner  Mary Ann       Brighton  2b 560

Carol had known Gerald when she was younger as he was a cousin of her mother’s, ‘Gerald Myhill also called "Geoff or Jeff", born in England as he had a rich English accent. He was a dispatch rider in WWI & rode a cycle between Amien and occupied Germany. He had a wife & girl child in England’.


Back of postcard photograph of Gerald giving the date of 1 Sep 1915 and his British Army service records .


Here we have his marriage before the war & the birth of his son after the war, apart from the death of Edith in 1945 nothing more is known of Edith or son Charles:-

Marriages Mar 1912  
Mihill  Gerald G  Wille  Stockton  10a 121   
Wille  Edith  Mihill  Stockton  10a 121

Births Mar 1920
Mihill  Charles R  Wille  Paddington  1a 135

Deaths Dec 1945
Mihill  Edith  53  Brighton  2b 311

Soon after the birth of his son we find Gerald arriving at Ellis Island:-

First Name: Gerald
Last Name: Mihill
Ethnicity: English
Last Place of Residence: Brighton, England
Date of Arrival: Jul 24, 1920
Age at Arrival:  27    Gender:  M    Marital Status:  M  
Ship of Travel: Baltic
Port of Departure: Liverpool
Manifest Line Number: 0011

The ship’s manifest says he was going to stay with his Uncle W G Skinner who lives at 123 Indiana St, Chrisman, Illinois for an uncertain period. He was 5’ 10” tall, had a pale complexion, brown hair & grey eyes & was born in Brighton, England, read the ship’s manifest here.

The next available US census wasn’t until 1930, I found Gerald living at Melrose Place 105, Peoria Twp, Peoria Co, Illinois with his second wife Julia & a new son Kenneth W aged 2. Here it seems he was called up for WWII in 1941:-


Gerald died on the 5 Jun 1986 and was buried in the Alton Cemetery, Madison Co, Illinois. Nothing more is known of Julia or Kenneth (by me).

Back to his parents in England, I found them in the 1901 census living in Aldrington, Hove:-

Source Citation: Class: RG13; Piece: 939; Folio: 67; Page: 20.
1 The Parade, Station Rd, Aldrington, Sussex
William G Mihill 47
Mary A Mihill 30
Gerald G Mihill 7
William G Mihill 4
Evelyn M Mihill 3
Gladys C Mihill 1

That was when I realised that Gerald could be the young boy in the second photo at the top of the page. I also had those photographs dated to around 1900, the boy looks to be about 5 or 6 so that puts the photos taken about 1898 as Gerald was born in Dec 1892. Which means that his mother, Mary Ann, is the person in all four photos although the first one may be another sister, the other three photos definately look to be the same person to me (& others I asked). Around 1899, Henry W Tubb set up a photographic studio in Portland Road, Hove, opposite Portslade Railway Station. Describing himself as an "Artist Photographer", Henry Tubb took studio portraits at his Portland Road studio.

Which brings me to the last two photographs, these are of an older woman, both look to be the same person to me:-


I couldn’t find much on the photographer William A Dennis except that he was living in Croydon in the 1901 census. I had these photos dated too and it seems they were also taken around 1900 with the second one being no later than 1904. On the back of the small photo is this:-


Another sister of Evelyn & Mary Ann, Alice, married Albert Martin in 1895 and this address is the exact same address they were living at in the 1911 census. Alice was born in 1867 so if this photo was taken around 1900 she would have been only 33 and the woman in the photo looks to me to be in her 60’s at least. Which leads me to believe they might be photos of their mother, Mary neé Hayward, born about 1836, she was living with Alice in the 1901 census in Hastings, Sussex. Yet another sister, Ellen, was living in Croydon with her husband & children in 1901 & 1911 so maybe Mary lived with both daughters from time to time.


That brings me back to Jacob’s brother James Skinner born 1826 in Camberwell, Surrey.

Another excert from 99 yr old Walter George Skinner’s letter:-

My mother's maiden name was Mary Hayward. Their 3 first children died during a plague, she had nursed my Uncle James’ wife who died. Uncle James took his 3 daughters and went to Australia Gold mining making an independent fortune. For some reason he lost it. He married again and saved enough to put him in good shape. 

James Skinner’s wife, Julia, died on the 15 Mar 1859 & was buried at Cranbrook. This is where I came unstuck slightly with the names of their children. We know from the above that their son, George, died the day after his mother so that left me three daughters to find. The eldest, Mary Ann, was aged 1 mth in the 1851 census (taken on 30 Mar) so I knew this birth reg was hers:-

Births Mar 1851
Skinner  Mary Ann     Cranbrook  5 94

Then I had a bit of luck and found a website about the Monaro Pioneers of NSW in Australia and their database of the settlers & their descendants. The children listed for James are:-

Mary Ann born 1851
Ellen born 1853
Julia Elizabeth born 8 Jun 1856

Births Jun 1856
SKINNER  Julia Elizabeth     Cranbrook  2a 448

There doesn’t seem to be a birth reg for Ellen but in 1853 there is this one:-

Births Sep 1853
Skinner  Susan    Cranbrook  2a 401

Susan doesn’t seem to appear in any census after that and there is no death reg for her so one wonders if there was either a mistake on her birth reg or her name was changed later?

From searching the Australian NSW Historical Indices I found the following marriages for James’ 3 daughters and a possible marriage for him plus his death a few years later:-



You will find more on the Australian Skinner family on the Monaro Pioneers website.

Final note: I was unable to find out what happened to Phoebe’s son, Charles Fenn, after the 1841 census. John Fenn’s death was registered in the 2qtr of 1853 in Cranbrook.

ancestry.com; Ellis Island; Find My Past; FreeBMD; IGI;
Kent Look-up Exchange; Mid Kent Marriages Index;
Monaro Pioneers; NSW BDM Historical Records;
RootsChat Photograph Dating; Sussex PhotoHistory;
Staplehurst Genealogy & Local History.

Disclaimer: Most but not all of my research on this family has been verified, you must do your own research to be sure it is 100% correct.


Many thanks must go to Carol Zeilbeck Motley who helped me so much with anecdotes & details from her Skinner family history & without whom I would never have found out so much. Also, thanks to Cindy whose Phoebe Crampton-Skinner-Fenn burial first put me on the right track. Roz from the Kent Look-up Exchange was also very helpful with look-ups in some of the Kent parish registers. Thank you ladies.

If you managed to read right to the end of this saga you will realise I have found a home for the photographs but I’d be very happy to send other descendants high resolution copies of them so please don’t hesitate to contact me if you are connected to this Skinner family in any way. You might just find a few new rellies along the way!

Here is a link to the Strangers in a Box Family Trees on WorldConnect, updated today.

Contact by email is preferable but if you are going to leave a comment please don’t forget to include your email address.

Dawn Scotting

07 March 2011

One Lovely Blog Award


Thanks to Julie of the Anglers Rest blog for awarding me the One Lovely Blog Award. It has been a lovely surprise and I am really delighted to receive it.

Here are the rules for accepting the award:

  • Accept the award, post it on your blog together with the name of the person who has granted the award and their blog link.
  • Pass the award on to 15 other blogs that you've newly discovered.
  • Remember to contact the bloggers to let them know they have been chosen for this award.

I haven’t done any blog hopping in such a long time that I’m going to have to fill in my picks gradually, I’ve started by choosing a few of my old favourites:

  1. Photo-Sleuth
  2. A Festival of Postcards
  3. Photo Detective
  4. Early Canterbury Photographers
  5. Reminiscene Postcards

06 January 2011

Emmeline Mary Christy 1868-1945


  • Subject: Miss Emeline Christy
  • Date: before 1905
  • Photographer: Kingham, Victoria Studio, Cauldwell St, Bedford
  • Found: UK

This attractive young woman is possibly Emmeline Mary Christy born 1868 in Ashwell, Hertfordshire. I say ‘possibly’ because there is a marriage record for an Emmeline R Christy in 1910 although I cannot find a birth record for that Emmeline. There is one other birth record for an Emmeline Christie in 1856 but as that was in Tynemouth I think it’s too far away from Bedford to be her. As Emmeline Mary lived in Ashwell, which is just over the border from Bedford where the photo was taken, I’m presuming Emmeline Mary is the right one.

Emmeline was the daughter of Henry Abram Christy and Matilda Ann née Christy who were married by licence in St Pancras Middlesex in 1860:-


Births Sep 1868
CHRISTY  Emmeline Mary     Royston  3a 282

Here she is at home with her parents in 1891 in Ashwell, Hertfordshire:-

Source Citation: Class: RG12; Piece: 1101; Folio 25; Page 12; GSU roll: 6096211.


And with her widowed mother in 1901 in Ashwell:-

Source Citation: Class: RG13; Piece: 1292; Folio: 26; Page: 10.


I had no end of trouble finding Emmeline in the 1911 census but came up trumps when I searched for her leaving the birth year blank. She had taken 5 years off her age, obviously because she had married a man 16 years her junior!

Reference RG14PN17227 RG78PN1059 RD371 SD1 ED22 SN88



Marriages Sep 1905
Christy  Emmeline Mary    Pancras  1b 55   
TOTT  Arthur Christopher     Pancras  1b 55

After 5 years of marriage with no children Emmeline possibly died without issue but we’ll just have to wait for the 1921 census to find out! She died in 1945 and Arthur in 1953:-

Deaths Dec 1945
Tott  Emmeline M  77  Wigton  10b 620  

Deaths Jun 1953
Tott Arthur C 68 Wigton 1a 181

Emmeline’s parents both left wills when they died in 1897 & 1907:-

England & Wales National Probate Calendar (Index of Wills and Administrations),1861-1941


Deaths Jun 1897
Christy  Henry Abram  61  Royston  3a 257

Deaths Dec 1907
CHRISTY  Matilda Ann  73  Royston  3a 338



If anyone knows anything about or is connected to Emmeline Mary Christy please do contact me, I would love to pass this photo onto a family member. Contact by email is preferable but if you are going to leave a comment please don’t forget to include your email address.

Dawn Scotting