Wind Beneath Their Wings

GmaMountainfriend
Daphne & Gwen at Mt Cook, New Zealand 1939

Cute pic, huh?

On the back, someone has written in pencil, ‘Daphne & Gwen at Mt Cook’.  This information is repeated underneath in my grandmother’s unmistakable pen scrawl (presumably in case the pencil faded) before adding ‘1939’.

Gwen, on the right is my grandmother, and on the left is Daphne, her best friend.

I know this because Grandma often spoke of her ‘best friend, Daphne’.  I wish I could remember the stories – unfortunately, I don’t – but I definitely remember her name, Daphne. So when I came across this photograph again, I decided to learn a bit more about the woman who featured heavily in Grandma’s early life.  I messaged my father and asked if he knew her surname.  Morrison.  She became a doctor and married a doctor, and Dad thought her married name was Adams.

Googling ‘Dr Daphne Morrison New Zealand’ resulted in only 2 appropriate hits. The first, a brief mention in what appears to be the ‘women’s section’ of The Press newspaper on Boxing Day, 1944.  (It was interesting to see the surrounding wartime articles and advertisements aimed at women on the full page.

daphnemorrison - thepress26Dec1944p2
The Press, 26 December 1944, p2

Dr. Daphne Morrison, who has been assistant house surgeon at Dunedin during this year, is visiting Picton for a week or two before taking up her new duties as house surgeon at the Waikato Hospital.

Second, a page on genealogieonline with her bmd information which showed Dad was correct – she was a doctor who did indeed marry a Dr Adams.

daphne2

Of course, without confirmation I can’t be completely sure but the dates and places were very similar to my grandmother’s.  My ancestry search didn’t yield anything although when I googled ‘Daphne Phyllis Morrison’ this information was found on the ancestry site.  I’m not sure what I’m doing wrong, but I am still unable to find records or trees relating to Daphne despite this information apparently being there.

daphne

I found some other information here where it says she had 7 grandchildren but the ancestry links suggest that none are still alive (which I don’t really believe).  So I post this information in the hopes that a family member may contact me for more adorable pictures of Daphne and Gwen’s friendship and perhaps have some of their own to share with me.

New Zealand Railway poster c. 1930-39
New Zealand Railway poster c. 1930-39

 

 

Birthplace Pedigree Charts

You may have seen a lot birthplace pedigree charts posted online recently.

I created charts for my own and my husband’s family’s countries of birth knowing that it would visually represent something that I think is pretty rare.

My pedigree:

palmerbirthplacepedigreeMy husband’s pedigree:

ebbansbirthplacepedigree

Notice anything?

5 generations of English heritage on both the maternal and paternal sides, all the way through.

And this pattern has continued further back too.  In fact, the ONLY ancestor I’ve discovered not born in England (so far) was born in America (6th generation) to English parents, due to her father’s service in the British military.  Surely, she is considered English too?

Either way, I’d like to know anyone else who has this.  I’ve been led to believe it’s pretty rare due to a programme aired (ten years ago now) where people who thought they were completely English found out they were anything but.

Is it so rare?

If you would like to compile your own chart, head to AnceStories for a pre-made template.

Oh, Chrysler!

alexgibsonreidjanet

A couple of years ago, I posted the above picture of my grandmother’s family enjoying a roadside picnic in front of a ‘mystery mobile’. (The original post can be seen here).

When my ‘car-brained’ brother came to visit a little while ago, I recruited him to help me find out more about the car in the picture.  After much google searching, we believe the car to be a 1927/28 Chrysler Imperial 52 coupe.  For comparison, here are some other pics of this model:

 

source: ‘Antique Automobile Club of America’ forums

 

source: Hemmings Motor News (Reader’s Rides)

I also found this vintage (American) advertisement on the ‘Imperial Club’ website:

 

source: Imperial Club

 

(zoom of the ’52’):

New Chrysler “52”
I’m pretty sure this is the right one but I welcome any corrections or other information.

 

Bombay Love Story Continued…

Obituary Notice for Drusilla WILLS (nee WREFORD)
(Auckland Star, Volume LXV, Issue 140, 15 June 1934, p3)

This obituary for Drusilla WILLS (nee WREFORD) featured in my previous post stated that:

Mrs. Wills is survived by two children. Mr James Wills and Mrs. D. Evans, and 15 grandchildren, and 20 great-grandchildren.

My searches of the NZ BDM showed me that Thomas & Drusilla had 3 children:

Richard Henry, Drusilla Howard and James Howard WILLS birth registrations
So you may presume (as I did) that: 
a) their son Richard Henry died prior to 1934; and 
b) the Mrs D Evans referred to is their daughter, Drusilla Howard.
However a search of Wills/Evans marriages from 1865 only came up with 2: 
WILLS/EVANS marriage registration
This means that one of the surviving children was actually ANOTHER daughter called Charlotte (and the D being her husband’s initial).  However, there was no birth record of a Charlotte WILLS.  So, IS this Charlotte a daughter of Thomas & Drusilla?
I was able to find the marriage of Drusilla Howard WILLS (spelt Drucilla – one of the 3 births listed) to a William SHORT in 1899.  
I checked the WREFORD pedigree compiled in 1908 (more on that another time) which notes Drusilla and Thomas had SIX children.  With only 3 of those listed in the online BDMs – is it possible to find these other children OR was the compiler mistaken?
Next Steps:
  • Check birth notices in newspapers (Papers Past)
  • Check BDM for WILLS deaths prior to 1934
  • Scour newspapers for any other references to the family

Bombay Love Story

After receiving an email asking whether Drusilla WREFORD (the 14 year old innkeeper originally mentioned in my post Pub Crawl) met her husband, Thomas WILLS on the voyage to NZ, I delved further into this family.  It was a good question and one I hadn’t really thought of since she was not my direct ancestor and I have so much to research on my genealogical plate.  However, my curiosity was piqued and I donned my detective cap to find out more.

After some apparent hard times, George & Harriet WREFORD, who had apparently ran the Hare & Hounds Inn in Witheridge, Devonshire (c1861), emigrated with their 8 surviving children to New Zealand aboard the Bombay on the 26 Nov 1864.  Sadly, their youngest daughter, Mary Ann died on the voyage, aged 2.

My first step was to consult the 1864-5 passenger list for the Bombay voyage these WREFORDS took and funnily enough there was a Thomas WILLS on board aged 23.  Drusilla was 17 at the time so quite possible they could meet and take a fancy to one another.  Or perhaps they were already betrothed before leaving England?  I diverted course to search for Thomas on the UK censuses but without having any more information about him abandoned that search and turned instead to the fabulous NZ Papers Past website.
Sisters Augusta, Drusilla and Sarah Grace
nee WREFORD
Although I was initially searching for marriage notices, most of my day has since been spent reading the articles and snippets which mention my ancestors and their neighbours, revisiting old avenues of research and getting to know the other members of this family.  My search also led me to the NZ Births, Deaths & Marriages online where I was able to locate the WREFORD sisters’ marriages (or at least their registration numbers).
WREFORD sister marriages including Drusilla’s to Thomas WILLS
So proof that 14 year old innkeep, Drusilla married somebody called Thomas WILLS.  The 1865 marriage made it seem likely but there was still no real evidence to suggest it was the same Tom on the Bombay with the family.
Drusilla’s Death Notice
(also mentions sister Sarah Grace)
Until… serendipity stepped in.  Tweaking the newspaper search words to ‘bombay’ and ‘wreford’ led me to the obituary notice for Drusilla
Obituary Notice for Drusilla WILLS (nee WREFORD)
transcribed below
(Auckland Star, Volume LXV, Issue 140, 15 June 1934, p3)

The death occurred on June 13 at Onehunga of Mrs. Drucilla Wills, aged 89 years.  She was a daughter of the late Mr. and Mrs. George Wreford, and came to New Zealand with them when a child in the ship Bombay.  Her late husband, Mr. Thos. Wills, was a passenger on the same vessel. They were married at St. Peter’s Anglican Church, Onehunga, by the late Rev. Dr. Purchas, and settled at Awhitu, where Mr. Wills engaged in the gum trade for many years.  When he retired from business Mr. and Mrs. Wills went to reside at Onehunga.  Mrs. Wills is survived by two children. Mr James Wills and Mrs. D. Evans, and 15 grandchildren, and 20 great-grandchildren.

Ta – dah!