Tag Archives: 1911 census

Alexander Wright ~ Sunday’s Obituary (and a mystery)

How apt that today I am posting my great grandfather’s obituary – on the 55th anniversary of his death.1

Obituary of Alexander Wright, clipping from unidentified publication, 01 Aug 1956

Obituary of Alexander Wright, clipping from unidentified publication, 01 Aug 1956

OBITUARY

MR. A. WRIGHT

A prominent figure in musical and friendly-society circles for many years, Mr Alexander Wright died yesterday at Gisborne and is to be interred at the Taruheru cemetery tomorrow, following a service to be held in Cochrane’s private chapel at 2.30pm.

Mr Wright was born in London and came to New Zealand as a boy, residing first in Christchurch and later coming to Gisborne, where he commenced his working life.  He volunteered for overseas service soon after the outbreak of the First World War and suffered wounds on Gallipoli which resulted in his being invalided back to New Zealand.

Mr Wright took up employment with Ormonds Motors after regaining his health and in 1917 married Miss Elsie Nunns at Gisborne.  He then transferred to Napier and in a residence of about nine years there, became a prominent figure in the entertainment world.2

I wonder if there was more to the obituary? It doesn’t sound like it’s quite finished – unless it was published in a Napier publication, and so only included information pertinent to that locality?

The obituary answers a few questions we had about Alex, though it raises several more!

How did he get to New Zealand “as a boy”? He’s definitely in England in 1901 (with his mother Mary Jane in Deptford), and I have a postcard addressed to him when he was in the Irish Fusiliers based at Aldershot – the postmark looks as though it is dated April 20, 1911.3 (I’m no expert – but it looks similar to those I found online).  If I’m correct about the date, Alex was still in England at 20 years of age.

Postcard addressed to Private A. Wright, from his sister Lavinia
Postcard addressed to Private A. Wright, from his sister Lavinia

Postmark up close:

Postmark detail

Postmark detail

On the front of the postcard is a photograph of the sender, his sister Lavinia Wright:

Postcard sent to Private A. Wright, from his sister Lavinia

Postcard sent to Private A. Wright, from his sister Lavinia

I found a possible reference to him in the 1911 census4, with the 1st Battalion Royal Irish Fusliers and correct age and birthplace, but he’s listed as “Alexander Patrick John Wright”, so I’m not entirely convinced this is our Alex. The middle names look as though they’ve been added afterwards, perhaps (and there are another couple of instances of this on the same page).

1911 England census (Alton, Hampshire) - detail (image copyright findmypast.co.uk)

1911 England census (Alton, Hampshire) - detail (image copyright findmypast.co.uk)

I also discovered an A. Wright on several ship crew lists5:

  • S.S. Themistocles, sailed from London  arriving 27 Oct 1912 in Sydney, NSW : A. Wright, born London, 20, Asst Cook
  • Rangatira, sailed from London arriving 20 Mar 1913 in Sydney, NSW : A. Wright, born London, 22, General Seaman
  • Ballarat, sailed from London arriving 11 Aug 1915 in Sydney, NSW : A. Wright, born London, 23, Asst Cook

They could all be the same person, or maybe no. 2 is our Alex?  He was definitely in New Zealand by 1914, when he enlisted with the New Zealand Expeditionary Force.

Sunday’s Obituary is an ongoing series at GeneaBloggers.

  1. “Online Cemetery Record Search”,  entry for Alexander Wright, burial 02 Aug 1956; database, Gisborne District Council (http://www.gdc.govt.nz/online-cemetery-record-search/ : accessed 21 Oct 2010); MI:  “NZEF, Great War Veteran 10/800 L/Cpl A WRIGHT, Wellington Regt, died 31 July 1956 aged 65″.
  2. “OBITUARY”, obituary of Alexander Wright, clipping from unidentified publication, dated 01 Aug 1956; photocopy, original held by [NAME AND ADDRESS FOR PRIVATE USE], grandson of deceased.
  3. Postcard addressed to Private A. Wright, sent by Lavinia (Wright) Luxton, dated 20 Apr 1911(?); digital image, original held by [NAME AND ADDRESS FOR PRIVATE USE], granddaughter of A. Wright.
  4. 1911 England census, Hampshire, Alton, St Lucia 1st Battalion Royal Irish Fusiliers, Institution; entry for Alexander Patrick John Wright; digital image, FindMyPast (http://www.findmypast.co.uk/ : accessed 19 Jun 2011)
  5. Ancestry.com. New South Wales, Australia, Unassisted Immigrant Passenger Lists, 1826-1922 [database on-line]; Ancestry.co.uk (http://www.ancestry.co.uk : accessed 19 Jun 2011)

God Bless You, Aunt Lavinia! ~ Thankful Thursday

Handed down to my mother from her Aunt Audrey were a collection of photographs and postcards that had belonged to Audrey’s father, Alexander Wright, my mother’s grandfather.  My mother and I didn’t know who most of the people were in the photos, but Alexander’s sister (and my great great aunt) Lavinia and her green pen helped me solve several mysteries!  She wrote on the back of many of the photographs, often with a distinctive green pen, so even the ones that she hadn’t signed with her name, it was clear who the writer was.  And she obviously had corresponded regularly with my great grandfather as the postcards are mostly from her.

Yesterday I posted a photograph from Lavinia, presumably sent to Alexander.  Doing a quick Google search, I found a reference to an old poster appealing for help on “France’s Day” – the date of the appeal was July 14, 19151.  So now I have an approximate date for my photo!

I’m not sure who the two boys are with her – one is most probably Percy, Lavinia’s son (and Alexander’s nephew), who would have been around eleven.

Lavinia Ellen Wright was born around 1883.  I’ve been unable to find her birth registration in the GRO indexes on FreeBMD, though there is a likely candidate registered in the September quarter in Greenwich that year, but with the name Lottie Elizabeth Wright.

In 1891 Lavinia is living with her parents and siblings in Deptford, London, and then seems to disappear for the 1901 census.  However, in 1902 she marries William John Luxton2, and by the time the 1911 census rolls round, she’s at 42 Ravensbourne Road in Forest Hill living with husband William, their son Percy (7) and daughter  Eileen (1)3.

(The census data has been mis-transcribed on findmypast – Lavinia is listed as ‘son’ of William with a birth date of 1904, so I couldn’t find her initially until I searched on her husband’s name.  Her son Percy doesn’t appear in the transcription.  It’s obvious the two lines of data – Lavinia’s and Percy’s – have been combined into one entry, and I’ve notified findmypast.)

Percy William’s birth was registered in the September quarter 1903 in Greenwich.  Eileen Mary’s birth was registered in the September quarter 1909 in Lewisham.  And I found another daughter registered in the September quarter 1913 – Lavinia Alexandra.4

Lavinia (Alexandra), Percy & Eileen Luxton, May 1923

Lavinia (Alexandra), Percy & Eileen Luxton, May 1923

Lavinia (Alexandra), Percy & Eileen Luxton, May 1923 (reverse)

Lavinia (Alexandra), Percy & Eileen Luxton, May 1923 (reverse)

I love this woman! If only all our family photographs had been captioned in this way.  Many thanks to my dear aunt.

Thankful Thursday is an ongoing series at GeneaBloggers.

  1. The 2FunAdGuyz.com, WORLD WAR I NURSE POSTER FRENCH RED CROSS DAY;
    http://www.the2funadguyz.com/wowarinupofr.html : accessed 20 Apr 2011.
  2. “England & Wales, FreeBMD Index: 1837-1983,” database, FreeBMD (http://www.freebmd.org.uk/cgi/search.pl : accessed 29 Nov 2010), marriage entry for William John Luxton and Lavinia Ellen Wright; citing Mar 1902 [quarter] Greenwich 1d [vol] 1395 [page].
  3. “1911 England Census, William John Luxton (age 27) household, Forest Hill, London,” findmypast, (http://www.findmypast.co.uk/ : accessed 20 Apr 2011), citing PRO RG14/2838, Lewisham registration district, Sydenham sub-registration district, ED 32, household 225, 02 Apr 1911.
  4. “England & Wales, FreeBMD Index: 1837-1983,” database, FreeBMD (http://www.freebmd.org.uk/cgi/search.pl : accessed 29 Nov 2010), birth entries for Percy William Luxton (citing Sep 1903 [quarter] Greenwich 1d [vol] 1034 [page]), Eileen Mary Luxton (citing Sep 1909 [quarter] Lewisham 1d [vol] 1155 [page]), and Lavinia Alexandra (citing Sep 1913 [quarter] Greenwich 1d [vol] 1835 [page]).