Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Gadsden/Hamilton wedding, Durban, 1939

Gadsden/Hamilton wedding, St Andrew's Presbyterian Church, Durban, 20 May 1939.
Front row: Ann Hamilton, Bill (William Bell) Gadsden, Cathrine Gibson Gadsden nee Hamilton, Joan MacInnes. Second row: Bill (William Finley) Hamilton, Annie Hamilton nee Gibson, Maud Gadsden nee Swires, Rex O'Halloran (best man). Back row: Joe Hamilton, Sime (Sydney Bartle) Gadsden.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Bell, James Colquhoun, arrives on the Ferdinande Dec 1872

Unexpected and useful nuggets of information arise while browsing local newspapers. Even a tiny snippet such as the one below fills a gap in the Bell family history.

Natal Mercury 12 Dec 1872

The Ferdinande – 'James Colquhoun, son of Mrs Bell, widow of the late Port Captain Bell arrived in the Ferdinande. He is, we believe, anxious to get employment here, so that he may be with his family.

Engraving of the Entrance to Port Natal, showing a ship
entering the channel, the Bluff at right with Signal Station,
and the Point, left.

James may not have been successful in getting employment in Natal. Whatever the case, he fetches up in England a couple of years later, marrying Sarah Clark at St Mary Stratford, Bow in September 1874. Sarah had been born in Blackfriars London ca 1851. By 1891 James and his large family were living in South Shields where he worked as a Marine Enameller (painting done on ships)..

Confusingly, there were three James Colquhoun Bells: (1) Capt. William Bell’s 5th child and 2nd son, born in the Cape in 1847, (2) James Colquhoun Bell jnr born 1880 in Aldgate to James C and his wife Sarah Bell and (3) James Colquhoun Bell b 1890, son of William Caithness Bell.

'The Six Gems':
six of James Colquhoun Bell's children

Gordon Brown, descendant of James Colquhoun Bell

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Souvenir Saturday: the Ship John Campbell, owner Isaac Oldham Bold

The port of Liverpool: in the foreground the Ship John Campbell, 415 t,
owner Isaac Oldham Bold,
artist Joseph Heard (1799-1859);
Victoria Gallery and Museum.
Photo Credit, University of Liverpool.

artuk.org/discover/artworks/the-port-of-liverpool-in-the-foreground-the-ship-john-campbell-owner-isaac-bold-66954 for larger version of image

This ship, the John Campbell, is listed in Lloyd's Register as sailing from Liverpool to Africa. It may have brought one of Mole's blog visitor's ancestors, Henry James Hanford, to this part of the world in 1844.  

There appears in the BT112 series Britain, merchant seamen, 1835-1857 a Henry J. Hanford aged 24,. born 1817 in Liverpool . It shows a rank of Seaman and experience on the John Campbell in January 1844. He is married late January 1844 and is sentenced to 5 weeks imprisonment in July 1844. Quite a year for young Henry.

Drummond Corrie

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Saturday, May 7, 2016

Souvenir Saturday: Bluff Lighthouse Tearoom and Point Ferry, Durban

In foreground, Bluff Lighthouse Tea Room and gardens; visitors could take the Point Ferry, see pic below,  across the Channel from the docks.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Was your ancestor on Waratah's maiden voyage?

If you believe your ancestor might have been on SS Waratah's maiden voyage, access the passenger list at:


The latest post on Andrew van Rensburg's brilliant blog, Waratah Revisited.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Water for Lightkeepers, Bluff 1878

My great grandfather Thomas Alfred Gadsden, Lightkeeper, writes to the Port Captain:

Bluff Lighthouse, 14th August 1878

To Port Captain Airth

Sir, I most respectfully beg to inform you that the Lightkeepers are running short of water in fact have only a week's supply. Mr Wellington of the Signal Station told me this morning that he is the same predicament. 

Therefore Sir it will be absolutely [necessary] to supply us with water from the other side, and that as soon as possible.

I have the honour to be, Sir,
Your Obedient Servant,
Thos. Gadsden, Lightkeeper

This photograph indicates the isolation of the Bluff lighthouse and its keepers.

Friday, April 22, 2016

Bluff Lighthouse Unusual View

Another in my collection of old Bluff Lighthouse postcards,
taken from an unusual angle and showing the Signal Station, left, and keepers' cottages.
This is pre-1935, probably circa 1920s.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Titanic Anniversary

The sinking of the RMS Titanic occurred on the night of 14 April through to the morning of 15 April 1912 in the north Atlantic Ocean, four days into the ship's maiden voyage from Southampton to New York City.

Ancestry: The Titanic Collection for Family Historians

Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada, RMS Titanic Fatality Reports, 1912
Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada, RMS Titanic Graves, 1912
Titanic Survivors, Carpathia Passenger List, 1912
UK, RMS Titanic, Crew Records, 1912
UK, RMS Titanic, Deaths at Sea, 1912
UK, RMS Titanic, Outward Passenger List, 1912