Tag Archives: Gisborne

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)

Alexander Wright & Elsie Nunns ~ Wedding Wednesday

Alexander Wright & Elsie Nunns wedding - 7 June 1917

Alexander Wright & Elsie Nunns wedding - 7 June 1917

L > R:  ? Nunns, Jack Burgess, Violet Nicholson, Alexander Wright, Elsie (Nunns) Wright, Alice (Cockerham) Nunns, Sam Nunns.

A returned soldier’s wedding took place at Holy Trinity Church yesterday afternoon, when Corporal Alex Wright, of Gisborne, was married to Miss Elsie Nunns, eldest daughter of Mr S. Nunns, of Gisborne.  The bride, who was given away by her father, wore a becoming frock of crepe de chine, with the customary veil and wreath of orange blossoms and carried a shower bouquet.  Miss Violet Nicholson, who wore an embroidered voile dress and black velvet hat, and also carried a shower bouquet, was bridesmaid, and Mr J. Burgess attended the bridegroom as best man.  The ceremony was performed by the Ven. Archdeacon H. Packe, who afterwards played the wedding march.  Subsequently the bridal party repaired to the Trocadero tea rooms, where the wedding breakfast was partaken of.  On their arrival there they were greeted by the Poverty Bay orchestra, with appropriate music.  Amongst the many beautiful presents received was a handsome three-tier cake from Mr and Mrs Findlay.  The usual toasts were proposed and congratulatory speeches were made and the happy couple departed amidst showers of good wishes.

Newspaper clipping from unknown publication, 8 June 1917

Alexander and Elsie are my great grandparents, and married on 7 June 1917 in Gisborne, New Zealand.

Wedding Wednesday is an ongoing series at GeneaBloggers.

The Nunns from Yorkshire

Sam Nunns and Alice Cockerham, my great great grandparents, were from the West Riding of Yorkshire.

Sam was born on February 8th, 1874 in Rothwell, to Henry Nunns and Tamar Dickinson.1 Sam became a stone mason.

Alice was born on March 9th, 1878 in Oulton, to Alfred Cockerham and Sarah Ann Kemp.2 She worked as a domestic servant.

Sam and Alice married on January 11th, 1896 in Oulton Church3, and on November 27th that year, their first child, Elsie, was born.4

What prompted them to sail to the other side of the world?  Whatever the reasons, they sailed aboard the Delphic in 1902 and disemarbarked at Port Chalmers, Dunedin, New Zealand.  Also travelling with them was Sam’s brother Charles.

The family settled in Lawrence, then Ashburton, and had six more children, before moving to Gisborne on the East Cape of North Island in 1914.  Sam and Alice’s first grandchild, George Alexander Wright (my grandfather) was born just three weeks before their last child, Harry, was born.5 6

  • Elsie NUNNS (1896 – 1985)
    • m. 07 Jun 1917 Alexander WRIGHT7
  • Gordon Eurwin NUNNS (1903 – 1964)
    • m. 1925 Elsie Adelaide SHERWOOD
  • Hector NUNNS (1905 – 1990)
    • m. 1927 Elsie Elizabeth WILLAN
  • Hazel Alberta NUNNS (1906 – 2001)
    • m. 1924 Thomas RHODES
  • Charles Dickinson NUNNS (1907 – 1995)
    • m. 1930 Kathleen Marguerite REILLY
  • Margaret Annie Gwendoline NUNNS (1910 – 1990)
    • m. Robert SHULTZ
    • m. DOWNEY
  • Norman Eric NUNNS (1913 – 1994)
    • m. 1938 Mavis MARSHALL
  • Harry NUNNS (1918 – 1997)
    • m. 1942 Mauville BIRKETT

A lot of the information I have about the family is from research done by a first cousin twice removed and her husband. They are currently working on a book about the family, so I don’t want to steal their thunder by posting some of the stories on here. Can’t wait to read the book!  They also kindly supplied the photo of the family, seen here in a recent Wordless Wednesday post.

  1. England, birth certificate for Sam Nunns; 07 Feb 1874, Rothwell; citing Mar 1874 [quarter] Hunslet 9b [vol] 338 [page], General Register Office, Southport.
  2. England, birth certificate for Alice Cockerham; 09 Mar 1878, Oulton; citing Jun 1878 [quarter] Hunslet 9b [vol] 349 [page], General Register Office, Southport.
  3. England, marriage certificate for Sam Nunns and Alice Cockerham; 11 Jan 1896, Oulton; digital image, from original held by [NAME AND ADDRESS FOR PRIVATE USE]; citing Mar 1896 [quarter] Hunslet 9b [vol] 363 [page], General Register Office, Southport.
  4. England, birth certificate for Elsie Nunns; 27 Nov 1896, Rothwell; photocopy, from original held by [NAME AND ADDRESS FOR PRIVATE USE]; citing Mar 1897 [quarter] Hunslet 9b [vol] 303 [page], General Register Office, Southport.
  5. [NAME FOR PRIVATE USE], Nunns Family Tree, GEDCOM file supplied 2011.
  6. NZ Dept of Internal Affairs, “Birth Search,” database, Births, Deaths & Marriages Historical Records (https://www.bdmhistoricalrecords.dia.govt.nz/search/ : accessed Jun 2011), entries for Gordon Eurwin Nunns (1903/591), Hector Nunns (1905/12247), Hazel Alberta Nunns (1906/22306), Charles Dickenson Nunns (1908/4031), Margaret Annie Gwendoline Nunns (1910/24707).
  7. New Zealand, marriage certificate for Alexander Wright and Elsie Nunns; 07 Jun 1917, Napier; citing 1917/3264, Birth, Deaths & Marriages, New Zealand.

Sam & Alice Nunns ~ Wordless Wednesday

Sam & Alice Nunns and family - Gisborne, New Zealand c1915-17

Sam & Alice Nunns and family - Gisborne, New Zealand c1915-17

Front L ->R:
Charles, Norman (Eric), Hector, Margaret (Gwendoline) standing

Back L->R:
Alice Cockerham Nunns, Hazel, Gordon, Sam Nunns, Elsie (my great grandmother)

Wordless Wednesday is an ongoing series at GeneaBloggers.