Arthur and Martha… I mean, Mary

I mentioned in my previous post that I’d like to know more about Arthur BUCHAN’s next marriage as their children are mentioned in Roy Buchan’s book ‘From Peterhead to Passchendaele’.  He had married his first wife, Christian BUCHAN in 1857 who had died by the 1861 census.



Marriage of Arthur BUCHAN and Christian BUCHAN 1857


I located Arthur and his sons on the 1871 census who were now living with Arthur’s new wife, Mary and their new half siblings – Andrew, Mary and Elspet. 

Arthur & sons with new family on 1871 census

A search of the IGI located a marriage between Arthur and Mary BRUCE in 1864 which I then downloaded.  Strangely, Mary’s parents are not listed.



Marriage of Arthur BUCHAN and Mary BRUCE 1864

A further search of the IGI uncovered the births of their children, Isabella and Peter.  This Peter is ‘Uncle Peter’ who Roy refers to as “a shadowy figure who followed the family to New Zealand, arriving in about 1910”. Auntie Isa was also mentioned in letters written by Roy’s father and uncles during World War I. “a rotter who deserted his wife and children” (Buchan, R., From Peterhead to Passchendaele, 2003, p145).

I would say there’s a whole new story there.


Kissing Cousins?

I’m still reading Roy Buchan’s fabulous ‘From Peterhead to Passchendaele’ which has thrown up some more avenues of research but have been wondering about Jessie’s husband who was also a BUCHAN.   John’s parents, Arthur and Christian BUCHAN sounded familiar but the same names do keep cropping up in these fishing villages.  How closely related were they?

The first step was to download their marriage certificate to prove the parents of John.

Marriage of John BUCHAN and Jessie BUCHAN (8 Nov 1883 – 4 Port Henry Lane, Peterhead (bride’s home))

Then I located the family on the 1861 census. Christian was deceased and 2 of her sisters were living with Arthur – most likely helping with the 2 young children.

Arthur BUCHAN and his young sons, John and Arthur on the 1861 census at 21 West Row, St Combs

I suspected she died during childbirth but she actually died shortly before the census was taken of consumption and pneumonia.

Death of Christian BUCHAN  –  2 Mar 1861

I then looked to the transcribed 1851 census.  Christian and her sisters were there and again appeared in 1841 with their other siblings. Which I will soon look closer at as a study of the village of St Combs.

Roy lists other children of Arthur and Christian but mentions that he believes some are half brothers and sisters and therefore children of another union after Christian died.  Before I look further into the BUCHAN – BUCHAN connection, I’d like to find out more about this second union.

Inquests and Articles

This morning I received some death certificates for members of my BUCHAN family.  On Alexander Ritchie BUCHAN’s certificate it states his cause of death as ‘Verdict of Jury – Sudden Failure of the Heart’.
Part of Alexander Ritchie BUCHAN’s death certificate – 1896
My grandmother mentioned in a letter years ago that “Grandad B [a fisherman] was actually pulling in a fishing net, when he apparently ( I presume) had a heart attack & died at age 34”.  I had no idea there was an inquest into his death though.
I searched through the newspapers on New Zealand’s wonderful Papers Past site and found a mention in the ‘Casualties’ section:

A sudden death occurred about 8 o’clock on Wednesday night, 2nd. Alexander Buchan, who was engaged fishing with his brother John in the lower harbour, had just hauled in the net, when he went to the bow of the boat and fell forward, and on his brother going to him found he was dead. An inquest was held on Thursday afternoon when after hearing the evidence of Charles and John Buchan, John Keenan, and Dr Cunninghame, the jury returned a verdict that deceased died from sudden failure of the heart. Deceased leaves a wife and five children in very poor circumstances. (Otago Witness – 10 Dec 1896, p15)

Otago Witness – 10 Dec 1896, p15

His wife Agnes (nee FINDLAY) was left with 5 children under the age of 9 – their daughter was only 3 weeks old!

Alexander was buried in Port Chalmers cemetery on the 5th December 1896.  Also buried on the plot were members of the GRANT family who I believe to be unrelated and a Robert JONES (according to the Cemeteries Database on the Dunedin Ciy Council website).  On the entry in the Cemeteries Database is the note:”GRANT PLOT: CONSENT OF CHURCH”

image via flickr

It seems that the church took pity on Alexander’s family (who had only arrived in the country 3 years earlier) and because of their “very poor circumstances”, buried him in this plot as an act of charity.

I am really keen to find any surviving inquest records as I know nothing about a brother called John!

Next Steps:

  • Locate inquest records (if any)
  • Search for church records that may mention the burial
  • Research ‘brother John’

More Chiropody at Trentham

My mother found more of my great grandfather’s cartoons depicting Trentham military training camp (New Zealand) in World War I (see the original post here):
That First Trentham Feeling
on Trentham Pebbles in Bill Massey’s boots
(Buck – Copyright)
Recruits Coming into Camp
(Buck.17. Copyright 1917 – Trentham)
S.M. Try one on his head Sergeant
[sign] Massey’s Massage Institute – hours any old time – cupping done gratis
[sign] Notice – Don’t hurry – Wait your turn
(“Buck” Copyright 1917 – Trentham)
Innokulatin dun ere – Don’t sass the dokter – By order
(copyright Buchan)
Bill Massey was New Zealand’s prime minister at the time.
I received a reply from Archives New Zealand.  Unfortunately, they seemed to ignore my request to accredit the images to Charles BUCHAN and instead focussed on which records I could access for a fee.

Chiropody at Trentham

I’ve finally managed to scan some of my grandmother’s photos that I brought back from my holidays.
This one appears to be a photograph of a sketch:
‘Chiropody at Trentham’ – Buchan 1916
On the back, my grandmother has written “Done by Charles Buchan during WWI.  He was in medical unit doing chiropody“.

Charles BUCHAN was my grandmother’s father.  She had written a letter to me years ago, when I first became interested in family history, in which she told me:
“Dad had a slight heart problem (valve) so had not been accepted for active service & ended up in medical corp & it was there that he did his training (or experience) in CHIROPODY (lots of feet there to practice on) & on returning to NZ, decided to set himself up as CHIROPODIST much to Grandma Reid’s disapproval. ‘Why on earth would he decide to out on his own, when CLUFFS (or whoever) would have been more than happy to re-employ him?'”
Grandma REID was Charles’ mother-in-law, who seemed to be a rather stern sort (maiden name – Janet HUNTER – grandaughter of James BROWN).  I’ve tried to research ‘Cluffs’ and its variations but came up blank (any help from New Zealand would be welcome).
While trying to find out more about Trentham Military Camp, imagine my surprise when I stumbled upon this page from Archives New Zealand :

There was no mention of Charles by name or any further information on his drawing but a look around provided me with another World War One sketch by my ancestor:

Swabbing While You Wait – another drawing by Charles Buchan, 1916

I had never seen this picture before and got very excited.  I will be contacting the archives to see if I can obtain a copy of the second image or at the very least if they will credit the images to Charles.

Trentham Camp and Upper Hutt District, 1914-1918