Emigrating to New Zealand

R.M.S Rimutaka via NZ Shipping Company Association

Going through the cemetery records yesterday inspired me to look further into my family’s immigration. The Dunedin Cemetery Records often include the (original) nationality of the deceased as well as how many years they had been in New Zealand.

My Buchan family immigrated to New Zealand from Scotland in the late 19th century. For years, I’d only had a scrap of paper with family names scrawled on it, said to be from the ship my family sailed on – the Rimutaka (1893). The scrap was given to me by my grandmother, who had been given it by someone else. Although I believed the information to be accurate, any good genealogist knows the original source should be consulted. Luckily findmypast.com has made outgoing UK passenger lists between 1890 – 1960 available online. Although, not the same as the feel and smell of using the actual records themselves, it’s certainly a lot better than transcriptions (these are available too).

Shipping Schedule of the Rimutaka 1893

Despite having this information for my great grandfather Charles (and his parents and siblings), I wasn’t sure how his grandfather, also Charles Buchan, made it over to New Zealand.

Charles Buchan was born in a small fishing village in Aberdeen, Scotland in 1830. I have used the census to trace Charles through his life. A fisherman, and sometimes ship carpenter, Charles and his family were last seen in the 1891 census in Peterhead, Aberdeen but I knew he died in New Zealand. A search on findmypast.com discovered him on the same ship as his son and grandchildren!

Buchan, Mr Chas; Mrs Jessie; Mr Peter; Mr William; Master John

The first and last pages of the document were provided for free which fortunately contained my 5 year old great grandfather Charles with his parents and siblings!

Buchan, Mr Alex; Mrs Agnes; Master Chas; Master Alex; Master James

So, in 1893 Charles Buchan (Sr) moved with his wife, children and grandchildren to New Zealand.

I now have a few new puzzles to solve:

  • Which Jessie and John are recorded above Alex’s family and how do they link to my family?
  • What happened to Alex’s sister Jessie (is she the Jessie mentioned above) and brother Charles?
  • Which Jessie Buchan is buried in the family grave with Charles and Jessie (born Janet RITCHIE).
  • Who is Master John? I’ve had no record of this person so far – is he Charles and Jessie’s son?

SOLVED – answers to these questions can be found here

3 thoughts on “Emigrating to New Zealand”

  1. My Grandfather's cousin was Alexander “Roy” Buchan who wrote “From Peterhead to Passchendaele” & I am fascinated to know how we all CONNECT with the above Buchans—you mentioned you are “distantly” related.

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