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Topics - groat

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Free Photo Restoration & Date Old Photographs / Sunbeam photo Margate
« on: Thursday 06 June 19 14:43 BST (UK)  »
I'm trying to date this photograph of my grandmother Helen White, previously Bunyan, nee Cheyne.
I'm fairly sure it was taken on the beach at Margate. On the back it has Sunbeam Photo Ltd, 82 Sweyn Road, Margate. I understand that the number identifies the photographer and his (possibly her??) pitch but I don't know how to establish the date. My grandmother was born in 1886. I think the frock has a thirties look about it. Can anyone help? If anyone is good at ages I could post another picture of her where I do have the date. Thanks

Mayo / Patrick McDonald - Born Castlebar 1840/1
« on: Monday 09 August 10 17:38 BST (UK)  »

I'm trying to trace the ancestry of Patrick McDonald, born Castlebar in 1841 or 1842. He joined the British Army in December 1862 at York when his "age last birthday" was 22. His birthplace looks like "Parish Angles, Castle Barr" (could this be the enlisting officer mishearing Aglish???).His occupation was given as "Farm Labor". Family legend is that he had an ancestor Walter McMahon (or similar) who fought at Waterloo but I have no documentary evidence of that. In 1870 in Brighton he married Bridget Brangan of either Clare or Tipperary (Clare in 1891 census, Tipperary in 1911 census). She was the daughter of John Brangan, shoemaker, and his wife Bridget whose ancestors I would also like to trace but perhaps that's another topic.

This topic is related to,358842.msg2357688.html#msg2357688

Any help warmly welcomed.


Free Photo Restoration & Date Old Photographs / Photos from another topic
« on: Tuesday 24 February 09 18:20 GMT (UK)  »

It has been suggested to me in another topic that I post these photos in this section for any help you may be able to provide.

They relate to two other topics:-,352420.0.html


Three of them are somewhat faded so any enhancement would be appreciated but more particularly I am interested in dating information and any other identifying features such as clothes. I know all the people but the dating information may be suspect in the cases of the soldier "Patrick McDonald" and his wife "Grandma Mac" having been added by their son for his daughter (except for the more modern inscription below the original inscription on"Grandma Mac 1870" which was added by me some years ago).

The inscription on the fourth photo "Flora MDS" is by an unknown hand.

Thank you for any help you may be able to provide.

Armed Forces / Soldiers Patrick McDonald and John McDonald
« on: Friday 06 February 09 10:52 GMT (UK)  »
Can anyone tell me how to trace the service records of these two soldiers (my great-grandfather and grandfather)?

Here’s what I know.

Patrick McDonald was a Trooper (Private?) in the 10th Hussars (according to family papers) or possibly 21st Hussars (according to his wife’s death certificate). According to the 1891 census he was born in Belfast about 1841 but in the 1911 census this has changed to Castlebar, County Mayo in 1840. In May 1870 he married Bridget Brangan, born County Clare c 1844, in Brighton, East Sussex. At the time of his marriage Patrick was resident in Preston Cavalry Barracks, Brighton. In 1871 Bridget was living with her mother in Brighton with no mention of Patrick who was presumably away soldiering. Bridget had four children born in 1872 in Colchester, 1873 in Canterbury, 1878 in Matra, India and 1882 back in Brighton. In 1891 the whole family was living together in Brighton with Patrick now a Pensioner. !n 1901 he and his wife were in an old people’s home in Old Shoreham Road, Hove, Sussex. Bridget remained there till her death in 1917 but by 1911 Patrick was apparently an inmate in Steyning Workhouse. According to (not very reliable) family papers, Patrick died in 1924 in Chelsea Hospital and was buried in Brookwood Military Cemetery, Woking, but I haven’t been able to verify any of those facts (date, place of death, place of burial). Also according to family papers, Patrick's father (or more likely grandfather) Walter McDonald, fought at Waterloo, but maybe I should post that in a separate topic.

John McDonald was born in 1978 in Matra India. In 1905, possibly on leave from his posting at The Curragh, County Kildare, he married Mary Dorette Sophie Flora McDonald (or possibly MacDonald) at a Catholic Church in Kensington High St. He (or rather she!) had 5 children born The Curragh 1908, Guildford 1909 and 1911, Preston (Lancashire) 1912 and Blackburn 1913 (my father). In 1905 he was a sergeant in the East Lancashire Regiment. In 1911 his wife was at a military base in Guildford with 3 children but no sign of husband. From family papers I understand he ended WWI as a Lieutenant and Quartermaster but haven’t been able to verify this. He died around 1951 at which time he was a resident Chelsea Pensioner. What happened to him between the end of WWI and his death I don’t know. His wife died aged 37 in 1915 and he apparently had very brief compassionate leave from France to organise his children which he did by scattering them to relatives around the country and, in my father’s case, to an orphanage.

I have been trying to build up a better picture of the careers of these two men but don’t know how to find out about their military records. Can anyone help?

Thank you for reading this far.


London & Middlesex Completed Lookup Requests / Flora Marie Dorette Sophie McDonald
« on: Saturday 10 January 09 16:28 GMT (UK)  »
I'm posting this in the London section simply because I have to start somewhere and London was where Flora was in 1905. Maybe the Yorkshire section would be more appropriate?

Flora Marie Dorette Sophie McDonald was my grandmother. She died on February 12th 1915 aged 37 at Mellor Brook, Blackburn and was buried at Blackburn Cemetery on February 15th.

Both her maiden and her married surname were McDonald.

She was the wife of John McDonald born around 1874 (I haven’t found his birth record yet but he had older siblings born 1872 and 1873). They were married 6th September 1905 at the Church of Our Lady of Victories, High Street, Kensington. Her address in the Wedding Report was given as St John’s Wood Park and her parents listed as Mr John and Mrs McDonald of Scarborough. In the BMD index she appears as Mary Dorette S F McDonald. Her husband (my grandfather) was in the army and his address for the marriage was given as The Curragh.

This is all the information I can find about her and her parents. No census records – no birth record – nothing prior to her marriage in 1905. With such a distinctive name you’d think it would be easy to track down her origins. Has anyone any suggestions as to where I might look next?



PS I have a photo of Flora if it might help but I don't know how to post it!

Canada Lookup Requests Completed / Margaret Kennedy, New Westminster
« on: Wednesday 15 October 08 15:18 BST (UK)  »

I'm trying to trace the parents of Margaret Kennedy who in August 1947 was living at 174 E 12th Ave, New Westminster, British Columbia. At that time both her parents were alive.

Margaret had an Aunt Maggie aka Mrs Simpson living in 1947 in Aberdeenshire (and probably in Aberdeen).

Margaret was also the niece of my grandmother born (illegitimate) Helen Cheyne in Kintore Aberdeenshire in June 1886. Helen's mother was Christina Simpson.

I have a letter dated August 1947 from Margaret Kennedy addressed to my mother, to whom she refers as her cousin, which says "Mother heard from Aunt Maggie you had a son" (me!).

I would be grateful to anyone who could help or simply point me in the right direction.



Aberdeenshire / Hill of Kintore
« on: Monday 12 May 08 17:24 BST (UK)  »

In 1891 there was a household  living at Hill of Kintore, consisting of Margret Ramsay 67, her daughter Maggie E Ramsay 25, and her grandson William A M Ramsay. There was also a boarder Hellen Cheye 4.

Apparently next door was a further, or possibly part of the same, Ramsay family consisting of Charles 38, Ann 39 and children Emmie, Jennie, William and Charles.

By 1901 the address Hill of Kintore appears no longer to exist, although Charles and Ann (now Annie) and their family can still be found at Hill Crofter's House, Kintore.

In 1881 Margaret 57 and Maggie 15 were living at Hill of Kintore together with William Ramsay 60 (husband and father)

Does any one know where and what Hill of Kintore was and/or if anything of it remains today?

Does anyone know anything about the Ramsays I have mentioned and in particular does anyone know anything of the boarder Hellen Cheye whom I believe to be my grandmother Helen Cheyne born in Kintore (illegitimately) to Christina Simpson, apparently aged 14, on June 26th 1886? It would be interesting to know whether there was a family connection leading to her boarding with the Ramsays or some other reason.
I don't really know how such matters (finding homes for illegitimate babies born to teenage girls) were dealt with in those days. I am sure there is a fascinating story there if only someone could shed some light on it.

Best regards and thank you for any help you may be able to give,

This picture probably shows my Grandmother Helen Cheyne born June 1886, her Aunt Aggie (DOB not known but possibly early 1880s) and two earlier generation folk one of whom may be my great-grandmother born 1871 (yes - that's right! My Grandmother was born to a 14 yr old). Picture probably taken in or around Rothienorman, Aberdeenshire.

My dating guess was late 1920s/early 30s but I'm no expert.

Any guidance would be very welcome.

Aberdeenshire Lookup Requests / Helen Cheyne, Born Kintore June 26th 1886
« on: Saturday 03 May 08 13:33 BST (UK)  »
This is my first visit to RootsChat so I hope this post is in order and in the right place.

I am seeking information about the early life of my Grandmother born Helen Cheyne, June 26th, 1886 in Kintore. Her mother was Christina Simpson and her father was named as James Cheyne, the birth being registered as illegitimate. James Cheyne was a ‘farm servant’ and Christina Simpson a ‘domestic servant’, both residing at ‘St John’s Wells, Fyvie. (Quite a way in those days from Kintore!)

Neither of them is listed at that address in either the 1881 or the 1891 census (in Christina’s case for obvious reasons!) and I have had no success in tracking down a likely candidate for James Cheyne in the 1881, 1891 or 1901 censuses.

Christina Simpson appears to have been born on July 27th 1871, the daughter of William and Ann Simpson (nee Rothnie), at the Mains of Schivas, Tarves. This means she would not yet have been 15 when Helen Cheyne was born.

Christina Simpson appears in the 1881 census living (aged 10) with her mother and siblings William 7, James 5 and George 2 at  Burnend Cottar House, Ellon.

My Grandmother told me that her early life was spent in Rothienorman, before she was sent aged 13 to England as a domestic servant. She could have attended school at either Fisherford or Folla Rule. I haven’t yet been able to consult the school records for Fisherford and I can’t find any records at all for Folla Rule (although I have visited Folla Rule and seen the old schoolhouse).

My Grandmother had a relation known as ‘Aunt Aggie’ who visited her in the 1950s at her home in Barnes in South West London. ‘Aunt Aggie’ was also known as Mrs Simpson and could have been related, possibly by marriage, to Christina Simpson.

If this rings a bell with anyone I have a photograph of Aunt Aggie. that I have tried to attach to this posting.

Helen Cheyne, by now known as Nellie, was married to James Bunyan at Wandsworth Registry Office on August 1st 1915 and the marriage certificate names her father as James Cheyne, Police Sergeant, so he would appear to have been alive and possibly still in contact at that time.

I am trying to trace the relevant James Cheyne and also piece together what happened to Helen Cheyne between June 1886 and August 1915, mainly, for the purpose of this enquiry, between 1886 and 1900 which is when (as she told me herself) she came to England. Obviously I should have asked her more when she was still alive but I was young and did not think of such things then.

I would be grateful if any one out there could give me any pointers.

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