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.