From Peterhead to Grave

Northern Cemetery Dunedin
Otago Harbour from Northern Cemtery Dunedin

Sometimes as genealogists we have to wait years for answers.
Waiting for the required records to become available.
Waiting for the chance to visit somewhere that may hold the key. Waiting for some kind of miracle.

But by some extraordinary stroke of luck, I didn’t have to wait long at all (or do much work) to find the answers to the puzzles I listed on my Emigrating to New Zealand post.

As I searched for more information on the Rimutaka (there were a few ships with this name), I came across The Northern Cemetery site. This site, I’m told on the home page, “brings together information from many different research sources to offer you a unique view of one of New Zealand’s most interesting cemeteries”. On this site I found excerpts from the book “From Peterhead to Passchendaele” written by Roy Buchan, who also turns out to be one of my distant relatives.

It also contains the following transcribed monumental inscription for some members of this family buried in the Northern Cemetery, Dunedin:

Monumental Inscription
In memory of
1830 – 1910
and Wife
1830 – 1915
1888 – 1908
1858 – 1926
and Wife
1860 – 1910
Arrived in NZ on ship Rimutaka, 1893
from Peterhead, Scotland

and lie buried here.

In loving memory of

Died 5th June 1988

Aged 41 years.

In loving memory of

Dearly loved wife of ROBERT
And loved mother of
Died 22nd March 1972.
Died 4th January 1995
Aged 90 years.
“Keep a green bough in your heart,

And God will send you a singing bird.”

In loving memory of

Dearly loved husband of LORELEI
Loved father of ROSS, MURRAY & ALISTAIR
17-11-1926 – 6-1-1999
1894 – 1978
The information I found on this site allowed me to answer the questions I had on my Emigrating to New Zealand post :

* Which Jessie and John are recorded above Alex’s family and how do they link to my family?

Jessie is Alex’s sister and John Buchan is her husband – I would now like to find out if John’s family were closely connected to Jessie’s.
*What happened to Alex’s sister Jessie (is she the Jessie mentioned above) and brother Charles?


Jessie also travelled to New Zealand on the Rimutaka (see answer above). It appears Charles stayed in Scotland:

“Four of their children were: Peter (1858), Jessie (1860), Alexander (1862), and
William (1872). These sailed with their parents to New Zealand, but there is
thought to be at least one other who stayed behind”.

* Which Jessie Buchan is buried in the family grave with Charles and Jessie (born Janet RITCHIE)?

“Their daughter Jessie died at the age of twenty in 1908 of meningitis and is buried in the same plot with her mother, who died two years later in 1910”.


* Who is Master John? I’ve had no record of this person so far – is he Charles and Jessie’s son?


He is John & Jessie’s son, apparently just tagging along with his grandparents.


I also now have more family members to fit into the tree.


NOTE: I did find an error in this information, which should be a warning to all of us NOT to accept all that we’re given without question. It appears the author confused Janet/Jessie Buchan (1833) with her daughter Jessie Buchan (1860) when he writes that her maiden name was also Buchan. I have much evidence to prove that her maiden surname was RITCHIE.


Thank you to all the people involved in sharing the information I found on The Northern Cemetery site – it is VERY much appreciated.
Image on left: “From the Road to the Northern Cemetery” by George O’Brien found on Auckland Art Gallery

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