Tag Archives: Wright

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)

The Mystery Baby and the Man in Uniform ~ (Not So) Wordless Wednesday

Last week I posted this photograph of my great grandparents, Elsie Nunns and Alexander Wright.  Except when I sent the photo to my mother to see if she knew who the baby was, she replied saying “that’s definitely not Elsie in the photo”.  (Umm, Mum, I’ve just posted it on my blog and said it’s Elsie – don’t tell me it isn’t so!)

Elsie Nunns & Alexander Wright

My great grandparents, Elsie Nunns & Alexander Wright - but who is the baby?

Okay, so after a few phone calls between my mother and me, and my mother and a second cousin (who now has the original photo), I think we’ve come to the conclusion, that yes, it is Elsie.  *phew*

What caused the confusion was the identity of the baby, and Alex being in uniform.

The most likely candidate for the baby in the photo is my grandfather, George, who was born in May 1918.   The baby looks around 12 – 18 months old (?) so if he is the baby, this would have been taken around mid to late 1919.

Elsie and Alex married in June 1917.  At that point, Alex had been discharged from the New Zealand Expeditionary Force, and that would be why he wasn’t in uniform for his wedding.   So why would he be in uniform in 1919? From checking uniform images online, it does look like an NZEF one.

The other thing is, Alex seems completely disinterested in a. the baby; and b. having his photo taken.  It doesn’t seem like a ‘Happy Family’ type snapshot!

It would be useful to get the photo dated properly, maybe by what Elsie is wearing.  The photo was in the possession of Elsie’s aunt originally – maybe the baby is one of Elsie’s cousins?  The aunt married in 1910, so it’s not unlikely. Perhaps then this was taken before Elsie married Alex, and before he was discharged from the NZEF?

Wordless Wednesday is an ongoing series at GeneaBloggers.

Alex & Elsie ~ Wordless Wednesday

Elsie Nunns & Alexander Wright

My great grandparents, Elsie Nunns & Alexander Wright - but who is the baby?

Wordless Wednesday is an ongoing series at GeneaBloggers.

My Heritage Pie ~ SNGF

Every Saturday night Randy Seaver sends out a Saturday Night Genealogy Fun challenge at Genea-Musings.  Usually I miss out because of the time difference, but this week I thought I’d just post a day late!

Our mission was to list our 16 great great grandparents, along with their birth, marriage and death dates. Then, determine their birthplaces, and (for extra credit) create a pie chart showing their countries of origin.

My magic 16 are:

Michael GAFFANEY. Born on 31 Oct 1836 in Belper, Derbyshire, England. Michael died in Arowhenua, South Canterbury, New Zealand, on 11 Jul 1911; he was 74. Buried on 13 Jul 1911 in Temuka Cemetery, Temuka, New Zealand. Occupation: Farmer

On 26 Dec 1863 when Michael was 27, he married Margaret BROSNAHAN in the Catholic Chapel, Christchurch, New Zealand.

Margaret BROSNAHAN. Born on 8 Dec 1844 in Co Kerry, Ireland. Margaret died at Belper Farm, Main South Road,Temuka, New Zealand, on 16 Aug 1927; she was 82. Buried on 18 Aug 1927 in Temuka Cemetery, Temuka, New Zealand.

Bartholomew O’ROURKE. Born abt 1844 in Co Kerry, Ireland. Bartholomew died in Station Street, Napier, New Zealand, on 13 Nov 1923; he was 79. Buried on 15 Nov 1923 in Old Napier Cemetery, New Zealand. Occupation: Carter, Miner.

On 2 Sep 1869 when Bartholomew was 25, he married Bridget POWER in the Roman Catholic Church, Charleston, West Coast, New Zealand.

Bridget POWER. Born in 1846 in Clonmel, Tipperary, Ireland. Bridget died in Napier, New Zealand, on 18 Jul 1914; she was 68. Buried on 19 Jul 1914 in Old Napier Cemetery, Napier, New Zealand.

Martin BURKE. Born in 1840 in Co Mayo, Ireland. Martin died in Nazareth House, Sydenham, NZ, on 27 Nov 1918; he was 78. Buried on 28 Nov 1918 in Sydenham Cemetery, Christchurch, New Zealand. Occupation: Farmer.

On 2 Feb 1861 when Martin was 21, he married Ann PHILP in St John’s Catholic Church, Perth, Scotland.

Ann PHILP. Born in 1840 in Ceres, Fife, Scotland. Ann died in Burnham, NZ on 13 Mar 1895; she was 55. Buried on 15 Mar 1895 in Darfield Churchyard, Canterbury, New Zealand.

John BURTON. Born abt 1826 in Co Tipperary, Ireland. John died in Redwoodtown, Blenheim, New Zealand, on 29 Jun 1897; he was 71. Buried on 30 Jun 1897 in Omaka Cemetery, Marlborough, New Zealand. Occupation: Carter, Labourer.

On 17 Jan 1859 when John was 33, he married Bridget MAHONEY in Galbally, Co Limerick, Ireland.

Bridget MAHONEY. Born abt 1843 in Galbally, Co Limerick, Ireland. Bridget died in Blenheim, New Zealand, on 22 Nov 1900; she was 57. Buried on 24 Nov 1900 in Omaka Cemetery, Marlborough, New Zealand.

Ephraim WRIGHT. Born on 8 Jan 1860 in Polstead, Suffolk, England. Ephraim died in South Eastern Hospital, Deptford, Kent, on 26 Nov 1894; he was 34. Occupation: Labourer, Engine-Fitter.

On 13 Mar 1882 when Ephraim was 22, he married Mary Jane CLARK in St Stephen, Lewisham, Kent, England.

Mary Jane CLARK. Born abt 1856 in Co Monaghan, Ireland. Mary Jane died in Greenwich, Kent, England, on 12 Feb 1932; she was 76. Occupation: Laundress.

Sam NUNNS. Born on 8 Feb 1874 in Rothwell, Yorkshire, England. Sam died in Auckland, New Zealand, on 5 Apr 1945; he was 71. Buried on 4 Oct 1945 in Taruheru Cemetery, Gisborne, New Zealand. Occupation: Borough Employee, Stone Mason (journeyman).

On 11 Jan 1896 when Sam was 21, he married Alice COCKERHAM in Oulton Church, Oulton, Yorkshire, England.

Alice COCKERHAM. Born on 9 Mar 1878 in Oulton, Yorkshire, England. Alice died in Gisborne, New Zealand, on 17 Jul 1954; she was 76. Buried on 19 Jul 1954 in Taruheru Cemetery, Gisborne, New Zealand.

Michael McGONNELL. Born abt 1840 in Newry, Co Down, Northern Ireland. Michael died in Waiongana, Taranaki, New Zealand, on 5 May 1929; he was 89. Buried on 7 May 1929 in Te Henui Cemetery, New Plymouth, New Zealand. Occupation: Signalman, Farmer, Boatman.

On 28 May 1888 when Michael was 48, he married Louisa TUNNECLIFFE in New Plymouth, New Zealand.

Louisa TUNNECLIFFE. Born abt 1858 in New Plymouth, New Zealand. Louisa died in Waiongana, Taranaki, on 26 Jun 1926; she was 68. Buried on 29 Jun 1926 in Te Henui Cemetery, New Plymouth, New Zealand.

Henry John Forrest FLOREY. Born on 1 Oct 1862 in Pembroke Place, Chatham, Kent, England. Henry John Forrest died in Te Araroa, East Cape, New Zealand, on 5 Oct 1913; he was 51. Buried on 6 Oct 1913 in Te Araroa, East Cape, New Zealand. Occupation: Cook, Tobacconist, Billard Maker.

On 10 Mar 1885 when Henry John Forrest was 22, he married Ann Elizabeth (Annie) HORNE in Auckland, New Zealand.

Ann Elizabeth (Annie) HORNE. Born abt 1864 in Cape Town, South Africa. Annie died in Newton Road, Auckland, on 9 Mar 1907; she was 43. Buried on 12 Mar 1907 in Remuera, Auckland, New Zealand.

Country of origin
Ireland: 8
England: 5
Scotland: 1
South Africa: 1
New Zealand: 1

My great great grandparents' birthplaces

And as an added bonus for readers, here’s a pie chart showing final resting places.

My great great grandparents' resting places

Note: Source citations available on request.

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.

Postcard to a brother

Yesterday I posted a photo of my half great great aunt, Mary (Mollie) Freeth, dressed up in Japanese costume. She sent this postcard to her (half) brother, Alexander Wright, my great grandfather, who was with the Royal Irish Fusiliers at the time.  This is what she wrote on the back:

Postcard from Mary Freeth to Alexander Wright

Postcard from Mary Freeth to Alexander Wright, date possibly around 1910

Alec Wright
10207 D Company
Royal Irish Fusiliers
Salamanca Bks
Inf???
Aldershot

Here’s luck for the 17th of ould Ireland

Here is a copy of Will’s snapshot of me – it is not so good as his is it. How are you getting on? also Hilda I hope she is well – give her my love. Have you seen Rose Godfrey lately? Give her my love. I must write to her soon. Am very busy just now – with fond love from your big fat Japanese sister Mollie.

As far as I know (from family legend), Alexander deserted from the army and somehow turned up in New Zealand. I need to do some digging and find out more about his time with the Fusiliers, and also how he managed to get passage to New Zealand.

Actually, I was originally told he’d deserted from the navy, because of this photo:

(Ephraim) George Wright

(Ephraim) George Wright

On the reverse is inscribed the name “Alexander”:

(Ephraim) George Wright - reverse

(Ephraim) George Wright - reverse

Family members concluded that Alexander had been in the Royal Navy, and had jumped ship. I’ve since identified the mystery sailor as Alexander’s brother, (Ephraim) George Wright, and that it is his handwriting on the back. He obviously wrote on the photograph to whom he was sending it!

This is the Face of Genealogy

Mary Jane Carroll (previously Wright, previously Freeth, formerly Clarke)

Mary Jane Carroll (previously Wright, previously Freeth, formerly Clarke)

This is my great great grandmother.  If it hadn’t been for genealogy, I would never have known about this wonderful woman, and my life would be all the poorer for that.

This post is in response to a recent article published by LAWeekly.

Percy Luxton, Merchant Seaman ~ Maritime Monday

Poor Percy, I have seriously neglected finishing his tale. Though to be honest, I know only a little of his life.

Last time we met Percy, he had worked his passage over to Bermuda and was living there with his parents and two sisters. From captions on some photos, I’ve deduced he was a merchant seaman. Since he’s the only one I’ve found in my family tree so far, I’m kind of excited! I need to get myself off to the National Archives and check out their Fourth Register of Merchant Seaman’s Service, which covers the years 1913 -1940.

So that’s my tenuous maritime link. What happened to Percy after Bermuda? Well, he must have turned up back in England, because he married Daphne Wills in 1934 and the marriage was registered at Dartford. I found a photograph of them, and I wonder if it is a wedding photo?

Percy and Daphne Luxton

Percy and Daphne Luxton

His mother Lavinia (bless her green pen!) wrote on the back of the photo, and obviously sent the photo to her brother Alex (my great grandfather) in New Zealand.

She also sent this photo of Daphne and her son “Terry John”

Daphne Luxton and son Terry John

Daphne Luxton and son Terry John

According to my cousin Lally, Percy and Daphne had three sons: Terry, Paddy and Sean, and Percy worked “on the railway”.

Percy and his wife Daphne came out to New Zealand for a visit, probably in the 1960s – it was after my mother had left home, and she was living in Auckland, as she didn’t meet them. My great grandfather Alex, Percy’s uncle, had died in 1956, but they visited family in Gisborne, and also stayed for a couple of weeks with Percy’s cousin George and his wife Jean in Taranaki, my grandparents. Apparently, they drove my grandmother a little “round the bend”, says Mum, as they didn’t want to go anywhere, just happy to sit around, chat and drink cups of tea!

Jean Wright and Daphne Luxton

Jean Wright and Daphne Luxton

Daphne looks like she’s enjoying herself nonetheless!

I don’t know what happened to Percy and Daphne – hopefully I can find out one day.

Percy again ~ Wordless Wednesday

Percy Luxton, Bermuda, 1923 (photograph by Eileen Luxton, sent by Lavinia Luxton to Alexander Wright, NZ)

Percy Luxton, Bermuda, 1923 (photograph by Eileen Luxton, sent by Lavinia Luxton to Alexander Wright, NZ)

Percy Luxton, Bermuda, 1923 (photograph by Eileen Luxton, sent by Lavinia Luxton to Alexander Wright, NZ) - reverse

Percy Luxton, Bermuda, 1923 (photograph by Eileen Luxton, sent by Lavinia Luxton to Alexander Wright, NZ) - reverse

Wordless Wednesday is an ongoing series at GeneaBloggers.

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]).