Saturday, October 15, 2016

Genealogy trip to Otago

My husband, Ross, would like to go to Scotland and see where his ancestors came from. So as a first step, we started researching his New Zealand ancestors. It turns out that 4 of his 16 GG grandparents (Thomas Grainger and his wife Margaret nee Murie; James Bain and his wife Marion nee Christie) are what they call First Families of Pakeha (ie white) New Zealanders (ie excluding Maoris who have been here for close to 1000 years). All 4 of them arrived on the 9th ship from the UK. It was called the 'Larkins' and was built in Calcutta in 1808. Apparently it was on its last legs having already done a few convict transports to Australia and some passengers refused to board, instead choosing to take a newer ship that actually took 7 weeks longer than the Larkins. The Larkins sailed from London to Port Chalmers (near Dunedin) in 96 days, arriving on 11 Sept 1849. I couldn't find an image of the ship but here is the figurehead (an Anglo-Saxon warrior) that was saved when it was finally broken up in Australia in 1876. The teak timber was used to build houses.
After what must have been a harrowing voyage, the conditions on shore were not so great either as suggested by this quote by a Sara Lowe that we found at Toitu "...if I could have guessed half the inconveniences attending us in such a new settlement I would never have come."

We visited Toitu, the Otago Settlers Museum, including their archives. We found lots of interesting information including a diary of the Larkins' voyage, the conditions in Dunedin, family trees, and photos. They have a huge portrait gallery and Ross' GG grandfather James Bain and his daughter Catherine are in one of the displayed portraits.

We also visited the genealogy collection at the Balclutha library where this wonderful retired deer farmer, Betty, showed us lots of local books and historical records. On the way back to Dunedin, we stopped in Milton at the Fairfax cemetery and found the grave of his maternal grandparents. 

We spent one morning at the Hocken Library at the University of Otago, which has a lot of historical documents. But all we found that was relevant to Ross was a document transferring shares in the Taieri and Peninsula Milk Company from Thomas Grainger to Margaret Lindsay Robertson in 1894. We were briefly excited about finding a biography of an Andrew Liddell, who lived from 1842-1942, and had arrived from Paisley, Scotland. We were hoping he was the father of Ross' G grandmother Elizabeth Liddell but he wasn't. In fact, he was born a Docherty and when he arrived in New Zealand, he changed his surname to his mother's surname Liddell. The name change wasn't mentioned in the biography so it took a while to figure it all out. His mother had died on the voyage to NZ so perhaps it was in honour of her or maybe Liddell was a classier name or maybe he wanted to dissociate himself from his father for some reason - haven't figured it out. 

I was hoping to figure out one other family history problem and that was the parentage of a paternal GG grandmother Marion Cadzow, who we believe was born in Glasgow in about 1829. I thought Cadzow would be an uncommon name but we found lots of Marion Cadzows. We came close but it turned out that the one we thought was 'our' Marion Cadzow was still living with her parents in 1851 when our Marion Cadzow had already married James McCombie and was living in Glasgow. 

We also managed to do a little sightseeing while we were in Dunedin (and not just cemeteries). 
View from Highcliff Road

Dunedin Railway Station

Here's the pub on Shiel Hill in Anderson's Bay, where Ross' dad used to leave him in the car while he had a few pints with his mates. The bartender would come out with lemonades for all the kids left in the cars!

We also visited an early 20th century mansion called Olveston, which appears almost exactly as it did over 100 years ago. Worth a tour and it's not as dark and creepy as Lanark Castle. No photos allowed inside but I did get permission to take a photo of the Mahjong table.

On the drive home, we stopped at Naseby and tried curling for the first time ever at the Maniototo Curling rink. They gave us a lesson and we played for 2 hours. Ross was a natural but I had to switch to the stick for children and old people to avoid falling on my face trying to get the stone down the ice!

We then drove to Oamaru, had a beautiful dinner at the Riverstone Kitchen, and drove home the next morning to pouring rain and 3C. Perfect timing! 

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