Monday, November 18, 2013




I finally got time to do another layout.

Lately Ive been receiving some info on my Dad’s Mothers side of the family from my “Lowe” cousins in the UK and this prompted me to do this layout . ( including a wonderful photograph of 3 sister in laws – Susan and Beatrice Lowe, and Elizabeth Ollerenshaw all dressed in their husbands uniforms – this is definitely going to be the subject of its own layout!.



Obviously I need to research much deeper into each of the brothers military service but I felt this was a good introductory layout for a series about their involvement in WW1

Before World War One all the Lowe Brothers - sons of George Samuel and Mary Jane  Lowe, served in the Territorial Army, playing in the band. All 4 went on to serve during the war which had tragic results for the family .
Henry joined the  Sherwood Foresters and enlisted as a stretcher bearer in the 5th Battalion, along with his brother in law Arthur Ollerenshaw.  He was killed on the first day of the Battle of the Somme,  being shot by a sniper whilst carrying a wounded officer from the battlefield ( this event being witnessed by Arthur.
John joined the Derbyshire Yeomanry as a Bugler and a Drummer,  and served at Gallipoli with his younger brother Herbert.
Samuel joined the machine Gun Corps and was one of 170,500 officers and men who served in this Unit. Of this group 62,049 were killed wounded or missing.
Herbert, the youngest brother was a Private in the Derbyshire Yeomanry with his brother John. Sadly he was killed on August 21st 1915, aged just 21,  in the battle for Gallipoli

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Direct Descendant Book–From the Orkneys to New Zealand


My current project is a Direct Descendant Book – Where I start from the furthest Generation back in one particular line and make my way down that line to myself with a page or pages for each person I feature.

I will probably do several of these with different branches but I’ve started with my Brodie family from the Orkneys because I’ve been quite focused on this line of my family tree lately


Here are the first few pages

I started with William Brodie born 1766 ( I actually know the names of his parents but I know absolutely nothing else about them so felt starting with William was sensible


This is the family Group sheet page for William and following this because details are sketchy I have decided to write about life in the Orkneys around the time when William was alive


Williams son John was my GGG Grandfather – here are the pages I’ve done on him so far


Next in line is Elizabeth Brodie who was my GG Grandmother – this is the first generation I have photographs for so she will probably be the subject of more pages – Ill post them in part two of this post some time  soon

Saturday, September 21, 2013

3 Generations of Lennies (McClellans) fight for Australia


Today I discovered that Australian Archives are digitising some of their WW2 files as well as their WW1 files.

I discovered a file for Eric Cecil McClellan which in addition to the WW1 files I have for his father Frank ( Francis David) and his Grandfather David, show that 3 generations of Lennies ( remembering that this branch of the family are definitely Lennies but changed their name to McClellan.


Firstly here is the Attestation paper for David McClellan

( the rest of  file can be found here - )

Digital copy of item

Note he states he fought in the Boer War and also for the NZ Volunteers – this goes along with a story we have from a family genealogist who stated that David made whips for the Prince of Wales during the Boer War, and married his nurse after contracting Rheumatic Fever

So far Ive been unable to come up with any further evidence of his Boer War service unfortunately nor any proof that his wife Myrtle was a Boer War Nurse.


Next is the Attestation papers for David’s son Francis David ( Frank)  for WW1

( rest of the file can be found here - )

Digital copy of item



Francis also appeared to volunteer for WW 2 service for the Veterinary  Hospital

Digital copy of item


and finally Franks son Eric  served in the Australian Airforce during WW2

Digital copy of item


Its great to be able to have access to these documents so readily. I discovered that you can subscribe to the Newly Scanned Records form the Archives website  by adding your email address and any keywords you may be interested in they will send you an alert when new documents are added that may interest you. – What a great service.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

The Wreck of the Fairy Queen





This is the first of a couple of layouts I plan to do with the Fairy Queen wreck as the subject. I would very much like to do a layout about the Lifesaving Rockets, having bought the very interesting booklet The Lifesaving Rockets of Timaru, by D J Batchelor from the South Canterbury Museum on my visit there earlier this month.

While we cant yet prove that William McClellan was on board the Fairy Queen, it seems quite possible. We have not yet found an alternative arrival for him, and according to his Intention to Marry form he had been here approximately 3 years in January 1877 so the timing seems good. It was from the research of Guy Grimmett that I learned that apparently he was taken in by John Lennie.  Perhaps John Lennie was in Timaru on the night of the wreck and was one of the many witnesses to the disaster.

The photo in the layout comes from the South Canterbury museum and one could assume the 9 men lined up are the crew- there are 2 in that line who bear the dark beard we now know William sported.


(From the Timaru Herald, Aug. 29.) It is with deep regret we have to record a series of shipping disasters which happened at Timaru on Wednesday last ; three vessels having been driven ashore during a strong south-easterly gale, and one of the number totally wrecked. Luckily no lives were lost, the seamen — eighteen in all — being safely rescued, some being saved by the rocket apparatus, others by the assistance of a number of willing hands on shore. The vessels in the roadstead at the time of the catastrophe were four in number — tho brigs Silver Lining and Fairy Queen, the three-masted schooner Duke of Edinburgh, and the ketch "Wanderer. The Fairy Queen, brig, 214 tons, Spence, master, was owned by Messrs Nipper and See, commission agents, Melbourne and Sydney, and was one of the finest vessels of the kind with the exception perhaps of the Prospero, that has ever -visited this port. She was an Aberdeen clipper, nearly new, and was well found in every respect. She arrived in the roadstead on Aug. 12 from Newcastle, with a cargo of 345 tons of coal, consigned for Mr Henry Green, the whole of which with the exception of twenty tons had been discharged before Saturday last, and these remaining tons would have been out and the vessel away, we are informed, by Sunday. or Monday at the latest had coal bags been procurable. The gale commenced during Tuesday night, and blew steadily till Wednesday morning without having any great effect upon the sea. Towards noon, however, the wind and rain increased, and such heavy breakers rolled in shorewards that fears were entertained for the safety of the vessels riding at anchor. All four ships were pitching heavily, and the two smaller vessels were shipping seas occasionally, but it was apparent that if their cables were in good order there was no likelihood of their coming ashore, as the anchors were holding securely.
The sea continued to increase in fury till about; twenty minutes after one, when the gun at the flagstaff, where Capt. Mills, the harbour master, was keeping a sharp look-out, announced that something was wrong. It was then seen that the brig Fairy Queen had parted her cable, and was drifting in towards the reefs off Sea View Villa.
The signal had the effect of attracting a large number of persons to the beach. In addition to the rocket-apparatus being placed in readiness to be conveyed to any place it might be needed, the lifeboat crew were ordered to be ready for action, though it was pretty plain that their services would not be required. After the parting of the Fairy Queen's cable another anchor was dropped from the brig, which fortunately held on fast, but not before she had drifted a good cable's length towards the shore, leaving only about a length or so between her and the reef. Apprehensions were still felt for the safety of the vessel, not only by those on shore but also by those on the vessel, for soon after 2 p.m. signals were hoisted stating that the one cable had parted, and the second would in all probability do likewise.
The brig however, continued to hold firmly, and attention was directed to her till 3.15 p.m., when suddenly, to the surprise of all, it was seen that the three-masted schooner, Duke of Edinburgh, which had hitherto been behaving admirably, parted, and drifted towards the shore, passing dangerously close to the ketch Wanderer. When about a chain from the shore, at the point where the remains of the old breakwater lay, and where a rocky reef just out, the schooner's jibs were hauled up, and the vessel steered in a southerly direction, with the idea, everybody hoped and believed, of endeavouring to lay up to the wind and stand to sea. Not so, however, for the rest of the sails were seen to be clewed up, and the vessel steered towards the shore, and beached immediately in front of the Government Landing Service shed, where she swung round, her stem pointing towards the south. The rocket apparatus was at once placed in position but not used, as the vessel was so close in that a rope was thrown on board from the shore. The cradle was then set to work, and five of the seamen were taken off in a very short time, — only twenty minutes having elapsed from the time of the vessel breaking loose, to her virtual abandonment. The scene on the beach when the Duke was coming ashore was somewhat animated, a large number of the male inhabitants of the town having turned out as well as a few of the opposite ***, although it was raining in torrents the whole time. During the latter port of the afternoon the rain fell heavier, while the wind considerably diminished, the consequence being that the sea smoothened to such a degree that strong hopes were indulged in that the other three vessels would safely hold to their anchors. These hopes, however, were of very short duration, for no sooner did the darkness set in than both wind and sea sprung up stronger than ever. The whereabouts of the vessels, could only be ascertained by their lights, which could be seen at intervals as the vessels rose out of the trough of the sea. Very few believed that the crafts could long stand such weather, and in this they were right, for at about 7 o'clock the cry was raised that the Fairy Queen had broken loose. She was then seen to be drifting towards the beach in a northerly direction, and a blue light was burned on shore indicating a good position to strike the beach. Unfortunately she went too far to the northward, and struck on a rocky reef, about four chains above where the Duke of Edinburgh was lying, the sea rushing clean over her. A small fire was immediately lighted, and the apparatus fixed, by which a rope was dropped fairly between the vessels masts. Just after this a barrel of pitch was procured, and lighted on the rocks a little way up the cliffs. By this time a large number of persons assembled. The excitement now was at its highest. What with the fury of the wind and the blinding rain, the fierce hoarse moan of the breakers ashore, and the thought that possibly life might be sacrificed within a stone's throw of safety were sufficient elements to move the surging crowd collected on the sea beach ; the light from the tar barrels bringing out in strong relief to the pitchy darkness of the night ,every stick and rope of the doomed vessel, and lighting up the faces of the anxious sailors collected on the forecastle, was another element fanning the excitement, showing both the danger and the means of help. No time was lost in getting the cradle again to work, and one by one the seamen (nine in all) were conveyed to shore amid the cheers of the crowd, the mate and captain coming last. The journey to the shore must have been anything but a pleasant trip, for now and then a heavy sea would roll in momentarily hiding both man and basket. From the time the vessel broke away the the men were rescued very little over half an hour had elapsed. The crew were only just got off in time, for a few moments after the last had been pulled ashore an enormous roller struck the vessel and caused the mainmast to go by the board, at the same time forging the vessel (which had hitherto been lying head on) broadside on to the rocks, the deck canting towards the shore. The sea continued to drive her in, till, by means of the broken mast, which was attached to the vessel by the rigging, a person could, by watching his opportunity, get on board. At about ten minutes to eight o'clock it was observed that the after part of the vessel's bottom had been stove in, and her speedy breaking up seemed certain. Shortly after this the galley was observed to be on fire, and while everybody was conjecturing as to whether the remainder of the wreck was going to be burned, or whether the water constantly breaking over would extinguish the flames, a cry was raised that there was another vessel ashore. To rush away from the burning vessel and peer into the darkness, rendered all the more difficult; to see through by the drenching rain falling, was the work of a moment. The brig Fairy Queen continued on fire throughout the night, burning a hole in the deck, 1 a quantity of coal, and a portion of the rigging. The fire was partly extinguished early yesterday morning, and shortly afterwards the vessel, as she laid, was put up to auction .
Whilst at this point we have no absolute evidence to prove or disprove the story, family legend has William McClellan as a sailor on board the Fairy Queen on the night it wrecked in Caroline Bay Timaru. The story goes that John Lennie took William in after the wreck and gave him a home - a move that was to prove a turning point in our famiy history, as on the death of John Lennie 3 years later, William married his widow Elizabeth and together they bought up the Lennie children and the one son, William, that they had together

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Jean Love Grant


Scottish naming conventions can be a double edged sword with family research cant they? – On one hand in a small community you can end up with multiple children born with the same name in the same generation making it difficult  to work out which child belongs to which parents, but on the other hand – sometimes it can be a huge bonus – a great clue to help work out who belongs to who, as is the case with my Grant Family.


Even though I know very little about her life, Jean Grant, my Great Grand Aunt, has been very important to my research. Her father was William Grant, - a very common Scottish name and I didn't know when he arrived in New Zealand and little about his past except he was from Ayrshire, in Scotland, but on searching through the many William Grants born in the early 1850s one stood out.
On Jan 29 1852 was born in Fenwick Ayrshire, a son William to John Grant and Jean Grant nee Love. This wonderful clue encapsulated in a lovely name . The Scottish naming convention which can make life confusing for family research in this instance was exceptionally helpful - Jean, being the second daughter of William Grant and Louisa Abbott would be named after her fathers mother, making it so much easier to confirm to me I had found the correct branch of my family to add to my family tree.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Benjamin Farrer 1788-1877


Benjamin Farrer, my 4th Great Grandfather was born in 1788 in Pontefract , Yorkshire to parents John Farrer and Ann Place. Benjamin became a well known watchmaker and silversmith, living and working in Beastfair and later Corn Market . He married Ellen Thompson in 1808 at age 20 and had 8 children, many of whom went on to further education and went into professional careers including a Doctor (Robert Farrer), Chemist (John and Charles Farrer),Customs Officer (Benjamin) His eldest son William Thompson Farrer followed in his fathers footsteps and became a Clock and Watch Maker in Pontefract. His wife Ellen died in 1854 but Benjamin lived a long life In 1861 he is listed as living in “Farrers Yard”, Cornmarket as a retired watchmaker aged 74, and then later in 1871 still in the same place at age 84 living only with his elderly servant Elizabeth Jackson - who appears in the census aged 71.
Benjamin died on Nov 28, 1877 aged 89.


(Hmm ….Servant??? – at 71? – I wonder??!!!)

Thursday, August 22, 2013

WILLIAM BRODIE–An Orcadian in New Zealand


When I discovered that Elizabeth Brodie was not the only member of her family to arrive on the “Merope” I discovered a whole new branch of the Brodie family  who emigrated to New Zealand.

One of them was William Brodie who looks like a he might have been a bit of a character based on this photo of him and his wife Jean

Jane & William Brodie



Here is a layout I did about William Brodie .WilliamBrodie

Born at the Orkney Islands in 1852, William Brodie migrated to New Zealand on the ship Lady Jocelyn in 1872,following his sister Jessie, half brother James Petrie, and cousin Elizabeth Lennie,who had migrated in 1870.
Having trained as a blacksmith under David Lennie Master Blacksmith, in Stronsay, Orkney he soon found work at his trade in Christchurch and elsewhere under the employ of Mr G G Holmes at Bangor, in the 1880s, and at Pigeon Bay where his sister Jessie resided with her husband George Mackay. Then, from 1890 for a time at Duvauchelle, and later from 1900, at Little River he engaged in farming on his own account and was quite successful at the business. When still a comparatively young man he returned to the land of his birth. Later he married Jean, the second daughter of the late Mr and Mrs Pettigrew of Duvauchelle Bay .
William and Jean never had children but together they made two further trips to the Orkneys, and on returning to New Zealand the second time settled down to a well earned rest at No 9,Oxley Street , St Albans He was a member of the Edgeware Bowling Club and the members of that club acted as pallbearers at his funeral in August 1929. The Presbyterian Church, Betwick Street of which William was a valued member was well represented at his funeral.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013



Yesterday I was lucky enough to receive a copy of this wonderful photo of William McClellan ( first time seeing him)  with Elizabeth Lennie and her children John, David,Catherine, Lizzie and Letitia ( who appears to change her name to Louisa later).

The McClellans 1876a

The photo has been dated 1876 and this seems accurate though I would hazard a guess it is late 1876.

Leitita was born in October 1875 and the child here appears to be around a year old. Additionally we know that Elizabeths husband John Lennie died some time before March 1876.  

If indeed this photo was taken in 1876 then William and Elizabeth are not yet married yet he looks very comfortably ensconced in the family which is interesting in itself.


The regalia worn by the family appears to be that of the Independent Order of Good Templars which I knew that William was a member of from articles in Papers Past .

I still have no confirmed date that William arrived in New Zealand  and one would expect that being of a Nautical Occupation, he would have been one to have had occasion to drink, but it appears at least as early as 1876  he was a follower of the Temperance movement and in particular the Masonic type organisations who preached the evils of Alcohol.




The Independent Order of Good Templars was a temperance society for either sex . It was founded in 1851 in Utica New York but its membership spread quickly world wide. It was introduced to New Zealand by the Rev. B.J.Westbrooke, who was a minister of the Primitive Methodist Church. The first Lodge Charter in NZ was in Invercargill in 1872. It became headlines news in the newspapers and this added to the popularity of the cause and in a short time the I.O.G.T became one of the most popular organisations in this country. By 1876 when this photo was taken there were over 7000 members in New Zealand .
The great mission of Good Templary as set out in its Platform, may be summed up in very few words. It is simply:
1.—To take the people from the drink by means of the Total Abstinence Pledge and the protective associations of the Lodge Room.
2.—To take the drink from the people by the process of legislative enactment and the faithful enforcement of liquor prohibition
William McClellan and Betsy Lennie, with her children John David,Catherine, Lizzie and Letitia all dressed in the regalia of the I.O.G.T.
The family later joined the Salvation Army which was also based on Methodism and preached Temperance.


It appears the Lodge name in Pleasant Point was the Anchor of Hope Lodge as per this article regarding a meeting of the lodge



W stands for Worthy in these titles and based on reading I have done on Titles and Officers of the Lodges it appears William was the Worthy Inner Guardian which was a Ceremonial officer


The family were still part of the Good Templars in 1883 when son John Lennie died .



Sunday, August 11, 2013

Ellen Hardy Miller

I’ve posted about Ellen Hardy before. She intrigues me a lot, partly because she’s so beautiful in the photos we have of her, and also of course because of the sad story of her romance.

Recently I found out that she had a much earlier Katikati connection than we had previously known of.

While going through Katikati school records I found an Ellen Middlebrook that didn’t fit in with the timeline of the only other Ellen Middlebrook I knew of in Katikati ( My Great Grandmother).

This particular record is for an Ellen Middlebrook who’s guardian is Mrs Middlebrook and who has a birthdate of 20 Jan 1874 which is Ellen Hardy’s birth year.  – she was registered into Katikati Number 2 school on 16 April 1883 and stayed until 17 May 1883 from where it says she was going to Auckland.

Samuel and Mary Jane had only just got married the year before and had no children at that stage, so I suspect the Mrs Middlebrook who is the guardian is in fact Ellen Middlebrook sr. ( Samuels mother and Ellen Hardy’s Grandmother) .

There are no other granddaughters named Ellen born in 1874 so it must be Ellen Hardy.


I love this photograph of Ellen and her daughter Ethel and I thought it was perfect for this kit called Tell me a Story


Tuesday, August 6, 2013

The Not-So-Mystery Wedding



Among the photos in our Great Grandfathers photo album was this photo Rachel and I fondly named “The Mystery Wedding” .
Like many of the photographs in the album there were frustratingly no names on the back of the photo. That lead me to believe that the people in the photo were well known to my G Grandfather.  Like a dog with a bone I kept going back and looking at this photograph trying to get some clues .
One thing about the photo really struck me as interesting and that was the age of the couple on the far left. It really looked like they were Grandparents rather than parents.  This was indeed a clue as I knew that Pa’s niece Lucretia Jeanette Lennie had been brought up by her maternal grandparents.  Her mother having died when she was a child, and her father and brothers moved to Australia.
I  knew that Lucretia ( who was known as Jean) had married Charles Stanley Hawkey in 1913 and this coincided quite well with the fashions in the photograph, but still wasn't convincing enough  proof. 
I googled Charles Hawkey and found a few tidbits of information about him- he was a boot seller in Timaru but couldn't find any photographs of him . More searching on the name Hawkey though proved more fruitful, as I discovered that Charles’ father Tom Hawkey had been the Mayor of Timaru in 1913 right around the time of the wedding.
Google didn't furnish me with any photos of Tom though, so I wrote to the Timaru City Council asking if they had any photographs of previous councillors.
Within 24 hours I had a photo of Tom Hawkey, Mayor of Timaru which was evidence enough for me that this indeed was the wedding of Lucretia Jeanette Lennie to Charles Stanley Hawkey . Lucretia attended by her Grandparents Lucretia and Samuel Peake, and Charles by his parents.
Though we probably never will know who the bridesmaid and best man were, I suspect Charles was attended by one of his brothers as there is quite a resemblance between the men especially around the eye area.
Charles died in 1956, and soon after, Jean and Pa ( her uncle) became companions to each other in their twilight years. I wonder if they had always kept in contact or if they rediscovered each other late in life.

H. Whitnall-Smith -Photographer


Henry Whitnall Smith was an Auckland Photographer who had studios at 298 Queen Street above  Milne and Choyce Department Store and later at Victoria Arcade, and is credited as being a professional  photographer for more than 50 years.
While he appears to have been primarily a portrait photographer, he also appears credited for numerous “news” type photos in the early NZ
Newspapers  He became part of the Middlebrook family when  he married Jane Thompson Middlebrook, daughter of  John and Mary Ann Middlebrook.
It appears that the Middlebrooks  made good  use of the photographer in the family as quite  few of the photographs I have in my family history collection bear the  Whitnall Smith logo such as thephoto on the left of my Great Great  Grandfather Samuel.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

The Wedding of Mollie McClellan


I’ve previously posted about the weddings of my Grandmother Bettie  and the wedding of her brother Mervyn


This time its the turn of their sister Mollie  ( Betties older sister) . I photographed the painted portrait shown in this layout at the home of Mollies daughter.


The journalling on this layout is from The Evening Post dated 21 January 1933

The Wedding was solemnised recently at Trinity Methodist Church, Newtown, of Mollie Louise, eldest daughter of Mr. and Mrs W. McClellan, Millward Street, and Roy Osmond, eldest son of Mr and Mrs R.O. Lamason, Tanera Crescent. The Rev. Mr Bramwell-Scott officiated.
The bride, who was escorted by her father, work a sheath-like frock of whit satin, trimmed with pearls. with long tight-fitting sleeves. Her embroidered tulle veil was caught back from the face with orange blossom and fell in graceful folds to form a train. She carried a sheaf of Christmas Lilies and blue delphiniums On leaving the church she was presented by her cousin, Joy Pritchard, with a lucky horseshoe. In attendance were her sister, Miss Bettie McClellan ( chief bridesmaid) and Miss Edna Bryant who were dressed in amber Georgette over gold, with long silk net mittens and lemon crinoline picture hats trimmed with amber and gold velvet. The carried sheaves of deep gold roses, delphiniums, and apricot coloured sweet peas . The also wore amber necklets and earrings( the gifts of the bridegroom).
The brides mother was in blue silk morocain, relieve with pale coffee coloured lace and a hat to tone, She carnied a bouquet of rose pink carnations. The bridegroom's mother wore brown crepe de chine relieved with tangerine . Her bouquet was of deep gold roses. The bridegroom’s brother Mr J. Lamason was the best man and Mr W. Third, groomsman. The church was beautifully decorated with blue hydrangeas, Iceland poppies and Christmas lilies. ( the work of Mrs Bramwell Scott). Mr L Thawley L.A.B. officiated at the organ.
A reception was afterwards held in the Trinity Hall when about a hundred guess were entertained. Later the bride and bridegroom left for Christchurch, the bride travelling in a black and white ensemble, with hat to match.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Annie Elizabeth Grant and William McClellan




William McClellan and Annie Elizabeth Grant were my Great Grandparents.

They were married on November 7th 1900, at 7 Owen Street Newtown Wellington ,which according to the marriage certificate below appears to have been the home of Annie’s father William Grant.


Both appear to have been Salvation Army members at the time of their marriage, and the officiating minister for the ceremony is named as Major Cain, who was the Army’s secretary for the Colony of New Zealand



From the Newspaper notice above we can see William was living with his Mother in Thompson Street in Wellington at the time of the marriage, which indicates that his  mother Elizabeth McClellan remained associated  the Salvation Army church  after her 2nd husbands death.

Her husband William McClellan had joined the Salvation Army some time in the 1880s as far as we can be aware, and it is suspected that the Army had something to do with the family’s move from Pleasant Point to Woodville prior to Williams death.

Elizabeth’s grandmother Sarah Ann Abbott was a devoted Salvationist, and it appears that  the rest of the family followed suit.

I hope to do more research on the connections of both families to the Salvation Army soon.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

The Woman in the Photo – The Evidence


I had scanned this photo from a pile my mother gave me years and years ago. I had no idea who it was or even what side of the family the people might be related to and to be honest at the time I was only barely getting started with my family history interests and didn’t think of things like scanning the backs of photographs .


Then recently I got in contact with a cousin who was also doing family research on  our McClellan branch of the family  and I sent her scans of photos I couldn’t identify, and it turned out she also had some of the same photos which helped narrow down the branch of the family each photo came from. One of the ones we both had copies of was this one.

It  was still a bit of a mystery for a while until she sent me a scan of the back of her copy of the photograph.

34 Back of photo 4


Firstly the writing on the back is a huge help as we knew what family lived in Campbell Street through Electoral Roll LIsts.

Elizabeth ( Betsy)  McClellan lived in Campbell Street from 1914 until she died in 1924.

Also living at the same address were her daughter Lizzie Gjording, and her husband Peter and their two children Eric and John.

A little research on Electric Studios revealed they worked out of 80 Manners Street in 1914 



Through to 1921



Elizabeth McClellan would have been  in her late 70s early 80s during this period .

The child could either have been Eric or John  Gjording, depending on the year the photo was taken. Eric being born in 1911 and John in 1914.   I suspect as there is only one child in the photograph that perhaps it is Eric, dating the photo to the earlier period that Electric Studios was operating out of 80 Manners Street.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Searching for our Roots The McClellan Family History


It appears I am not the first member of the family to have a desire to trace my roots and find lost family members. Through my research I have discovered that my Great Grandfather William McClellan also had the same interest. My first evidence of this was a chance find- in the British Lloyd's Weekly Newspaper in 1910 he had placed an advertisement in the Lost Relatives column looking for the brothers of his father. ( In doing so I hope he is very pleased that all these years later he provided me with a wonderful clue in my search for his fathers roots!) .
Then in the World War 1 records file of one of his nephews I found a letter written by the red cross some 34 years after the end of the Great War, requesting information on the whereabouts of that nephew on behalf of relatives in New Zealand. These relatives are highly likely to be My G Grandfather and his niece ( the sister of the lost man) who had got together in their later years.
it appears that the genealogy gene is very strong in our family. Williams son Keith apparently did a huge amount of research and wrote a 400 page account of the family tree, but sadly this seems to have been lost. So now its my turn, along with my 2nd cousin we together are chipping away at the many brick walls so we can write our own account of what is turning out to be a hugely interesting family tale.


Thursday, July 18, 2013

The Lennies/McClellans


In the last few weeks Ive learned a lot more about my Orkney ancestors since my earlier posts

One of my biggest finds/and frustrations  is in regards to my 2x G Grandmothers older sons.




Betsy( Elizabeth) Brodie married John Lennie in Stronsay Orkney and they and their family of 3 children ( David, John and Catherine) immigrated here and settled in Pleasant Point in 1870 .

Betsy and John had a further 2 more children, Lizzie, and  Louisa ( who seems to have been registered as Letitia at birth)


Some time around March  1876 John Lennie died ( we know he was buried then but cant find any record of the death ever being registered)

Their second son John Lennie died in 1883.

The eldest son David Married Lucretia Peake in 1887  and they lived in Pleasant Point. He was a pound Keeper and ranger there in 1897, and had trained as a Blacksmith

David and Lucretia didnt have much happiness in regard to child rearing. They lost a baby ( David) in 1889, then lost a baby ( Samuel in 1898  and a son Eric aged 7 in 1901 .  They had  a daughter and  2 sons who survived to adulthood, Lucretia Jeanette , William Henry, and  Francis David, and   At some time between 1897 and 1900 David and Lucretia moved to Wellington and Lucretia was once again pregnant . 


Unfortunately the baby, Margaret, was stillborn and Lucretia died soon after the birth due to complications of childbirth.


What I knew next was that David remarries in Australia, and I found both Francis and William both on Australian Electoral Rolls but all 3 had taken the surname McClellan ( that of Betsy’s second husband and my Great Great Grandfather)


Fast forward to this month and my cousin Rachel has found an old photo album belonging to my Great Grandfather and there are many photographs in there we need to identify so I took the scans to one of my mothers older cousins to get some opinions





She immediately said the top right photo was Dave ( having never met him she must have been told this at some point )

She gave me a copy of the bottom left photo which says Yours Truly  W H McClellan

Very quick research proved that indeed David McClellan did serve in the Australian 5th squadron 2nd Mounted Regiment as a Shoe Smith ( he lied about his age – taking at least 5 years off his age I assume to get in)

William Henry McClellan was indeed in the British Merchant Navy and Royal Navy – his medal card I found at British Archives this morning

It seems to me that the man on the top right – supposedly David – is the same man who is seen sitting in the top left photo . ( That would make the boy my G Grandfather who was 12 years his junior)

I think the younger man in the bottom right photo is extremely similar looking to William Henry in his Naval uniform beside him – dont you??

If its not William then it probably is his brother Francis . ( Francis also served in WW1 for Australia)

The older man though I dont know- he is still a mystery.


What do you think? – Am I grasping at straws here – ?


On a side note… What happened to the daughter Lucretia Jeanette – well Ive talked about her in a previous post  – .

Whether she kept in touch throughout her life with her Uncle ( My G Grandfather) or whether they found each other later in life I don’t know but I do know that in their twilight years, after the death of their respective spouses, they became great companions . I suspect she knew very little of her brothers family in Australia as I have found a Red Cross letter attached to Francis’ war file, dated 1952  enquiring for his whereabouts , as family in NZ hadnt heard from him since before the First World War.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Mother and Daughter–Mary Jane Middlebrook and Ellen Winifred Middlebrook



These two gorgeous photos are of Mary Jane Middlebrook ( nee Rea) and her daughter Ellen Winifred Middlebrook.( My Great Great, and Great Grandmothers)

Mary Jane Rea married Samuel Middlebrook at “Riversdale” in Katikati on 23rd May 1882

They had 6 children of whom Ellen was the third, being born in 1887.

I loved how similar the poses were in these photos and how alike Mother and Daughter look, though is it just my imagination or does Mary Jane look  a little like she has more of a “wild” personality than her more proper looking daughter. I personally think the Irish rose certainly shines through in Mary Jane’s photo, with the choker and the slightly ruffled hair and the eyes gazing into space as if imagining all the better things she could be doing rather than posing for a photograph.

I am however most grateful she did pose as this, so far is the only photo of Mary Jane that we know of.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

A Photo Tree


Here is an example of a  custom made personalised photo tree that we are going to be selling  at Memories in Time


Over the next few weeks we will be starting to add some products that might be of interest to Genealogists so keep checking back regularly



This photo tree can be customised to fit up to 12  photos but looks best with between 7 and 10.

Cost $30+p&p for 8x8 inch print ( or digital copy if preferred) . Framing in dark walnut box frame can be provided at additional cost if required.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

An Easter Wedding


The photo below is one of a number that my cousin scanned from the photo album of our Great Grandfather William McClellan.

Many of the photos are unidentified but this one was easy to pick. We knew that her Grandfather Keith was the best man in this wedding, and my Grandmother Bettie is a flower girl along with her sister Mollie. It was an easy deduction from there that this was the wedding of their eldest brother Mervyn ( William John  Mervyn )McClellan to Elsie Lillian Hammond ( known as Lil)

A search of paperspast bought up a wonderful description of the wedding which I used for my journalling for the layout below


An Evening wedding took place on Easter Monday at Trinity Methodist Church, Wellington South, when Elsie Lillian, daughter of Mr and Mrs H Hammond, Island Bay, was married to Mervyn, eldest son of Mr and Mrs W McClellan, Wellington South. The Bride wore a dainty frock of white French georgette, with radium lace and silver beads; a long tulle veil formed the train, and was work with a coronet of silver lace and orange blossom ( lent to her by her cousin, Mrs Giblin).
The wedding bouquet was of white cactus dahlias, roses and begonias. The bridesmaids were Misses Reita Hammond ( chief) and Elsie Croskery, wearing pretty frocks of flame and cyclamen georgette, trimmed with crystal beads, and coronets to tone with their frocks. They also carried beautiful bouquets to tone with their frocks.
‘Two smaller maids, Mollie and Bettie McClellan, were in frocks of eau-de-nil georgette and silver lace, with coronets to match and they carried pale pink Victorian posies.
Mr K. McClellan was best man and Mr L. Clark was groomsman.
A reception was afterwards held at the Newtown Library Hall, where the guests were received by Mrs Hammond( mother of the bride) wearing a frock of black French crepe de chine, trimmed with radium lace and hat to match, and carried a bouquet of red roses. Mrs McClellan ( mother of the bridegroom) was in grey embossed marocain and georgette and a hat to match, her bouquet being of lavender flowers. The bridegrooms present to the bride was a white fox fur, and each of the bridesmaids gold armlets
Evening Post April 19 1926

Thursday, July 4, 2013



I had this photo sitting in my pile of unidentified photographs for years. Periodically I would try and identify where the photo was taken to try and discover what the significance of it was to my family. For years I was unsuccessful, then on a totally unrelated google search I spied a photograph of Pleasant Point Railway station which I noticed had a large shed in front of the station. A Google Street view trip to Pleasant point showed me that the church in the photo still stands though significantly altered from how it looks in this photo, but the placement of the small spires and the raised edge of the back wall were a confirmation that I had discovered the correct location. Pleasant Point was the town settled by my 2x Great Grandparents Betsy Brodie and William McClellan.

Monday, July 1, 2013

A New Discovery–Brodie Cousins



Discovering a whole new branch of my family tree rates among one of my bigger discoveries in my family history research journey.
The find came about with a chance search of the entire passenger list of the Merope, the ship in which Elizabeth Lennie( nee Brodie) and her family sailed on to New Zealand from their previous home in the Orkney Islands. I was surprised to see another passenger with the name Brodie. Jessie Brodie, aged 19, Dairy Maid travelled as a single woman on the same ship. I suspected there must be a connection between the two women , but how to prove it?
I started by researching the name Jessie Brodie in the Scottish Census records and quickly discovered Jessie's story.
Jessie Brodie , born in 1851 was the daughter of Andrew Brodie and Eliza Sandison .
At the time of the 1851 census she was 7 months old and was living in Rothiesholm, Stronsay with her parents and her half brother James Petrie, aged 3. However by 1861, Jessie and James are no longer living with their parents, but are working for the Stevenson family at Kirbist Farm ,on the tiny island of Elgisay as servants, aged just 13 and 10 .
Some hours of research and many emails later I made contact with Eddie Sinclair, who turned out to be a 4th cousin. Still living in the Orkneys he had a family tree with links yet unknown to me.
He confirmed the relationship between Elizabeth and Jessie as first cousins.
Andrew Brodie was the youngest son of William and Betsy ( Miller) Brodie and Elizabeth's father , John, Elizabeths father was the first son of the same couple.
Eddies family tree had much detail on Jessie's family right down to current generations the same age as my children, and through the names on that tree I was able to make contact with another “new to me ” cousin Ian, who is a Great Great Grandson of Jessie Brodie and lives here in New Zealand.
I learned from the new information I received that Elizabeth and Jessie were not the only Brodies to make the long journey from the Orkneys to New Zealand , William, Jessie's younger brother also joined them in New Zealand. He worked as a blacksmith , married but had no children. He returned three times to the Ornkey Islands during his lifetime. It was perhaps on one of those visits he convinced his brother Andrew to emigrate. Andrew arrived around 1881 . Andrew didn't marry and died at Sunnyside in 1906 of Pneumonia.
Jessie's half brother James Petrie also emigrated on the Merope with Jessie and Elizabeth . I'm yet to research his life in New Zealand.
There are many other Brodies who settled in the South Island and I suspect some of these may be other relatives of Elizabeth and Jessie who followed them to a new life at the bottom of the world.
What struck me immediately was how alike Jessie and Elizabeth were in their looks. What we discovered was a definite Brodie “look” - with many of the Brodie descendants having the same heavy brow and deep set eyes.
So far Ive found no evidence that Jessie and Elizabeth had much contact after their arrival in New Zealand. Elizabeth and her husband John Lennie settled in Pleasant Point, near Timaru and Jessie initially worked for the Hay family in their home Annadale in Pigeon Bay , Canterbury before marrying George McKay and joining him on the family farm also at Pigeon Bay Canterbury.
Elizabeth suffered several tragedies during her life in New Zealand. with her first husband John Lennie dying prematurely in 1876.
She remarried William McClellan in 1877, and moved at some point in the 1890s to Woodville where her second husband also passed away in 1894.
She spent her latter years living with her daughter
Lizzie in Wellington. Elizabeth died in 1924 aged 86.Jessie died 2 years later aged 75.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Some Detective Work

Recently a cousin got hold of the photo album which had belonged to our McClellan Great Grandparents. She set to work scanning the photographs which turned out to be a real treasure trove.

There has been a lot of detective work done and close comparisons of the photos to find people who appear in more than one photo, of which there are many, but some were complete mysteries


One such mystery was this wedding photo

20 Mystery marriage!


Between the two of us and our parents we couldnt identify anyone in the photo at all.  We named it the Mystery Wedding photo and it intrigued us.

As part of the research Ive been doing in regards to the McClellan/Brodie/Lennie family, I made contact with another couple of new to me relatives, and on a totally unrelated note I asked one if he knew who it was who my G Grandfather lived with after his wife died.

We knew it was a relative and we thought perhaps a cousin and the name bandied about was Jean Lennie, but I couldnt find a Jean Lennie anywhere in my tree who fit. It was suggested that perhaps it was Lucretia Jeanette Lennie and maybe she went by the name Jean which is certainly less of a mouthful.


Lucretia has a bit of a sad story and I need to fill you in on that to explain further.Her father was David Lennie , ( 1865-1949) . He was the eldest son of John and Elizabeth Lennie ( who became a McClellan on remarrying after Johns death)

David married Lucretia Peake

April 1887 Marriage LENNIE - PEAKE - On April 27th, at St. Mary's Church, by the Ven,. Archdeacon Harper, David Lennie, of Pleasant Point, to Lucretia, only daughter of Samuel Peake, Timaru (Timaru Herald )

Lucretia and David had 5 children. Lucretia Jeanette was the eldest, then followed Francis David, Eric Cecil ( who died aged 7) Samuel Joh ( who died aged 5 months

LENNIE. At Wellington, on July 13th, 1898, Samuel John, the beloved son of David and Lucretia Lennie, aged 5 months. Deeply regretted.

And finally Lucretia died from complications of childbirth giving birth to the last unnamed child with whom she is buried. It appears that Francis, aged less than 12 at the time, ran away from home, perhaps stowed away on a ship because next he his heard of he is in Tasmania .David left his daughter in the care of her maternal Grandparents, Samuel and Lucretia Peake, and followed Francis to Australia, remarrying there in 1903


So back to my detective work, when I realised that there might be even more of a connection with Lucretia Jeanette, I wondered if this in fact could be her wedding photo, after all there appears to be only one set of parents, the other set much older and possibly grandparent age. I learned her wedding was in 1913 which fit the fashions in the photographs quite well.

A theory developed in my head that perhaps this was her wedding and so I did a bit of googling of the name of her husband Charles Stanley Hawkey, and with some research I found his father Tom Hawkey had in fact been Mayor of Timaru in 1913 .

Today I emailed the Timaru Council asking if they could perhaps identify Tom Hawkey from my wedding photo and the passed the request on to the South Canterbury Museum.

I was elated to find that indeed this was Tom Hawkey – who appears as Father of the Groom in our mystery wedding photo



So the mystery wedding is no more a mystery. The Old couple on the left must be Samuel and Lucretia Peake, I suspect the best man is a brother of Charles, and the woman to his right , his mother Priscilla Hawkey

We may never know the identity of the bridesmaid however this doesnt deter me from continuing to pore over these photos until  more of our mysteries are solved

Monday, June 17, 2013

The Wedding


I did this quick arty style layout using a gorgeous wedding photo that I’ve had for years.

The photo ( hand coloured ) is of my Great Grand Aunt who i knew of all my life as Aunty Ede. She was a Salvation Army member as were many of the Grant /Abbott families she is descended from.

I know very little about the wedding except that the flower girl on the far left is my Grandmother, and the one on the far right with the gorgeous red hair is my grandmothers sister Mollie.  The girl in the middle is Pauline Grant who was the daughter of Ediths brother James ( Jim) Grant .

Edith Emily Marion Grant was the youngest daughter of William Grant and Louisa Mary Abbott, and one of 7 Grant children.  She would not have known her father very well at all as he died in 1906 when she was less than 7 years old .

My Great Great Grandmother Annie Elizabeth Grant was Edith’s eldest sister, there being 22 years between them in age .

Edith married John Alexander Montgomery ( known as Jack) on September 26 1923, but sadly Jack died in an accident in 1933 aged only 35.

They had only one daughter – Wendy, who Edith bought up as a single mother.
Edith lived till the age of 85, dying in 1984.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Gertrude Goodwin

I dont know much about Gertrude Goodwin yet, but this photo is so pretty I just had to use it in a layout.
What I do know about Gertrude is that she was the fourth child, and eldest daughter of James and Mary Ann ( Nee Gleeson) Goodwin and was born in 1885 . She was the sister of my Great Grandfather Phillip. 
Gertrude married Robert Job Maisey jr , son of a farmer ,who in 1917 was a labourer and later became a farmer in Morrinsville –
Gertrude and Robert had 2 children, Mervyn Claude, born 1910 and Ivy Beatrice born 1912 who at the time of writing is still alive.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

William Henry Goodwin 1881-1918

Its been a while since I made a post on this blog due to real life taking priority over genealogy, but today I managed to do a layout which features the elder brother of my Great Grandfather.

Journalling on this layout reads:
William Henry Goodwin, my Great Grandfathers eldest brother. Named for his grandfather, and a man I knew nothing of until recently. and how sad. How easily these lives that were given so frequently in the name of the freedom  are forgotten.
In researching his Military file I could find little information. on his death. It simply lists that he died in the field in France, ( like so many thousands of other young men) - It makes me  wonder if his family at home ever knew any more details. If this were my son and he had given his life for his country, I would want to know at least where he died and what battle was being fought. It reeks of how little the lives of these men were worth at the time.
William Henry is buried at Anneux British Cemetery, one of 37 New Zealand men buried there who died on the same day.

The photo on this layout is one from the Auckland Museum Cenotaph Database. Im not 100% convinced it is the right photo as the text under the photo says Corp. W Goodwin from Morrinsville. - 
My William was a Private and was from Ngaruawahia before his signed up , however it appears there is only one other William Goodwin who died in WW1 and he has the correct photo so Im hopeful that the photo above is in fact my William Goodwin.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Ellen Hardy–Commonly known as Mrs Miller–and Daughter Ethel



I have very long and involved stories to tell about Ellen Hardy, but for this photo, which is so different from the usual family photos taken during Victorian times,I just wanted to display it in a pretty fashion.

Ellen Hardy’s photograph was the subject of biscuit tin lids. Apparently back in the early years of the 20th Century the biscuit companies used to put photos of beautiful girls and women on the lids of their biscuit tins. I’ve never seen one like it myself but I wonder if perhaps this photo was for one of those tins.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Obituary Mrs Margaret Rea


The Rea family are still quite a mystery to me. I have very little information on them and I understand from the few people who have attempted to research them that its a difficult family to trace.

Mary Jane Rea was my Great Great Grandmother. I would love to know more about her. She left my GG Grandfather in Katikati and came to live in Ponsonby in Auckland at least as early as the beginning of the 20th century , though they remained married all her life.

Her Mother was Margaret Rea, the rather imposing woman in the photo below.


The journalling is from her obituary in the Auckland Star February 6 1925

One of the links with the early pioneering days of Katikati was severed by the passing away on Tuesday last of Mrs Margaret Rea at the residence of her daughter Mrs Stanaway. The late Mrs Rae with her husbandand four children came out to New Zealand in 1875 with the first batch of settlers under the late Mr G Vesey Stewart, founder of the Katikati settlement. Throught the fifty years since arrival in the country the deceased lady resided at Katikati, and it is believed she was the last of the band of original adults who took part in the building of the settlement. The late Mrs Rea by her sterling qualities, kindly disposition and readiness to tender help and advice, endeared herself to all who knew her. her Husband predeceased her 12 years ago. She leaves four daughters and 2 sons.

Monday, January 28, 2013

The Goodwin Brothers

This layout features a photo of my Grandfather and his two brothers.
Trevor Owen Goodwin was my grandfather. Born in 1912, and his brothers Phillip Austin ( known as Austin) and Warren Basil were each born 2 years apart.
I’m picking this photo was probably taken around 1925, with Trevor looking to be nearing his early teens.
There was originally a 4th ( older ) brother – Lester Rae Goodwin who was born in 1909. Sadly though he died aged just 4 years in 1913 of cancer of the eye.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

A Letter of Recommendation


A brief background to the layout below. Stewart Rea was my 3x Great Grandfather. He was one of the “ Number 1 party” – the first group of Irish settlers to accompany George Vesey Stewart to begin a settlement in KatiKati in the Bay of Plenty.

The Sam Middlebrook mentioned in the article on the first page,  who was in the employ of the Lands and Survey Department was my 2x Great Grandfather. He eventually married Mary Jane, one of Stewart Rea’s daughters.


Journalling on this layout reads:

The Stewart’s lived at Lisberg near Ballygawley in County Tyrone and Vesey Stewart built up a business as an estate manager. He also built a linen mill at Lisdoart, also near Ballygawley. With the mill he also erected houses for the staff which are still standing in 2010. However this venture failed and near bankruptcy and with the land and religious troubles escalating during the 1860s and early 1870s, he began to think of emigration, not only for himself and family, but as an ‘Ulster plantation’. Vesey Stewart departed London on the 19 December 1873 on-board the ss Mongol, the first steamship to New Zealand. He was looking for land suitable for his proposed settlement. In late April 1874 Vesey arrived in Tauranga and was very impressed with the area.The Survey Office put at his disposal a young man named Sam Middlebrook and together they rode towards the northern end of the harbour, through trackless hills, swamps and rivers.
Application for 10,000 acres of land was made to the Waste Lands Board and Vesey returned to England and began the task of recruiting suitable families and friends through the Orange Lodges in Northern Ireland to join his Ulster Plantation in New Zealand.
On June 8th 1875 the Carisbrooke Castle left Belfast with 238 settlers, among them the Rea ( or Wray) family who had worked on his estate in Ireland. In January 1877 Vesey Stewart began arrangements for the 10,000 acres adjoining the original block for a second party of special settlers. He returned ‘home’ with many letters of support from the first party and wrote Notes on the Origins and Prospects of the Stewart Special Settlement, Katikati, New Zealand; and on New Zealand as a Field for Emigration . Again he went on a recruiting campaign and his second party, which included his parents Captain Mervyn Stewart, his wife Frances, his brother Hugh, Hugh’s wife Adela and their son Mervyn left for New Zealand on the Lady Jocelyn. On the 17 August 1878 the Lady Jocelyn arrived in Auckland with 378 immigrants for Katikati on-board.
The letter opposite, written by Stewart Rea (or Wray as the name was sometimes spelled) ,was clearly a great letter of recommendation and assurance to the future settlers of the KatiKati Region.
P2 - transcription of letter
Sir- Being informed that you are about to start for Ireland with the object of bringing out a second party of settlers to locate upon the lands adjoining us, which you secured from the Government for that purpose on such favourable terms, permit me to wish you a pleasant voyage, every success in your mission, and to say a few words of what I think of this country as a home.
I have 80 acres of right good land: a beautiful stream runs through it and whilst the greater part of it is a sort of rich loam, easily worked, I have enough bush to keep me in firewood all my life,and that of many generations after me. All this free of rent for ever. In fact, the trees are larger and the foliage richer, than those at Favor Royal at home. I have about 15 acres in cultivation and the crops are certainly magnificent, and far surpass my most sanguine expectations. My house is comfortable and I feel quite happy and contented, and never regret leaving old Ireland, with its miserable wet climate, for the bright skies of New Zealand.
I have no hesitation in strongly recommended any sober and industrious man, with a few hundred pounds capital, to join your second party, and of course if he has a wife and grown-up family to assist him, so much the better. But you will be able to give a more experienced advice on these points than I can, and looking forward with pleasure to seeing you back with us
again, with many of our old friends and countrymen, with hearty
thanks for your unvarying kindness to me since I left
Ireland with you in 1875.
Yours very gratefully ,
Stewart Wray.