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Rebecca’s mother, Catherine Gray, was born in Kiltearn, Ross-shire, to farmer William Gray (1792-1878) and Cathrine Forbes (1812-84). (I have found a father (David, no dates) for William Gray and parents (William Forbes and Flora Ross, no dates) for Cathrine Forbes.) Catherine was the second of eight Gray children, she had five sisters (Christina, Flora, Jessie, Mary and Margaret) and two brothers (Donald and David).


Donald G (ca1830-1915)

Donald married Mary McKenzie (ca1839-1911) on 25 July 1867 in Kiltearn. At the time of his marriage, Donald’s occupation was “agriculturist” (farmer, expert in agriculture). It looks as though Donald and Mary may have been cousins. On the marriage register both their mothers’ family name was written “M.S. Forbes” although it was a common family name in the area. The couple must have migrated very quickly to New Zealand because their first daughter was born there in 1869.

Donald and Mary lived in Dunedin’s North East Valley where his occupation was “dairyman”. During one search of PapersPast, I found an item

about a Donald Gray being fined 2/6 as a consequence of his cows wandering around NE Valley. Stupid cows. Mind you, he was again fined 2/6 in 1890 for allowing his cows to graze on the public roads - in Australia this is called the long grass - still, it looks as though our Donald was a serial offender. In 1881, North East Valley had 2,754 residents (not including Maori). To draw intensively (not quite plagiarise) from a 1905 Cyclopedia of New Zealand, North East Valley was a thriving centre for dairy farming. It also was home to tanneries, dye works, fellmongeries, rug and mat manufacture, a brick kiln, two steam laundries, and a stone quarry. A thesis written by WAV Clark in 1961 “Dunedin in 1901” A Study in Historical Urban Geography describes North East Valley as “a workingmans’ suburb” but noted the houses were new and of good quality. Mind you, the scholar quoted from a 30 January 1899 edition of the Otago Daily Times that spoke of there being “a reign of terror in the valley and respectable women are afraid to be out alone after night-fall”.  The entry for North East Valley in today’s Encyclopaedia of New Zealand says it is a “Long narrow valley, previously on the main road north. Northeast Valley is on the road to Mt Cargill and an alternative route to Waitati. Annual competitions – in running, and in rolling Jaffa sweets – are held on Baldwin Street, reputedly the world’s steepest street” (in 2019, this record was challenged by a street in Wales). Mary died at home, 5 Mechanic St, North East Valley, on 24 September 1911. Donald himself died at his daughter’s home (12 Crown Street, North East Valley) in 1915. The couple had two daughters.

Mary Christina G (1869-73) lived just four years. There is a sad little death notice in Dunedin’s Evening Star (26 May 1873) announcing the death,

finishing with “Inverness papers please copy”.

Catherine Jane G (1872-1941) married painter and paper hanger David Syme Beath (1873-1946) in 1903 and it wasn’t long before they experienced North East Valley’s troubles. In 1905, the Otago Daily Times reported the trial of a multi-aliased miscreant who had received, amongst other things, a ribbon watch guard, a gold tie pin, and a gold muff chain belonging to Mr Beath. Catherine gave evidence as to the circumstance and extent of the robbery.

I have found no births for the couple. In his will, David left his estate to his sisters: Jessie Cameron (Invercargill), Mary McIvor (Raglan), and

Margaret Reekie (Dunedin). Catherine and David are buried with Donald and Mary in Dunedin’s Northern Cemetery (Lot 10 Block 27).


Christina (Chirsty) G (1834- )


Christina married John Ross (1829- ) on 15 May 1862 in Fodderty. has offered an 1873 death date for John, in Chalmers Hospital, Edinburgh. The date would certainly match the birth date of their youngest child although another hint has them continuing to become parents until 1880. More hints suggest Christina died in Derby in 1919; ScotlandsPeople offers 42 deaths of women named Christina Ross between 1883 and 1921.

I have found nothing definitive for the children we know about. Again, the names are so common as to make an educated guess impossible. An

Alexander Ross whose birth details match Alexander Gray R’s is a blacksmith in Contin in 1891. There are border control records for 64 year old Catherine Forbes Ross arriving in the UK in 1936 then, aged 67, nurse Catherine Forbes Ross crossing from Canada to the US in 1938. In 1949, this person arrives from Canada heading for her Glasgow home. If it is our Catherine Forbes Ross, perhaps she made regular visits to visit family who had migrated to the US and/or Canada. One of her records mentions ‘Nelson, BC’ which is where Scots-born Flora Gilroy neé Ross lived, who could have been our Flora Ross. To confuse matters further, this Flora Ross married John Gilroy in Derbyshire, England: you can see how challenging this ancestry business is. Is this our Christina and her family in Derbyshire? Or a doppelgänger family that shares the same names and vital dates?

George R (1863- )
William Gray R (1865-1931)
Alexander Gray R (1866- )
Annie R (1868- )
Jessie R (1869- )
Donald R (1869- )
Catherine Forbes R (1871- )
Flora R (1873- )


Flora G (1837-1875).


I have found little about Flora and no records of children. She married Murdo McLennan (no dates) on 1 August 1861 in Fodderty. Her death in 1875 sounds unpleasant. The cause of death was erysipelas cerebral disease (this could be erysipelas and cerebral disease). In any event, erysipelas is a streptococcus disease similar to cellulitis most often afflicting the face or legs. Its symptoms are large raised red patches possibly with blisters, fevers, and/or chills. It may be the cerebral disease was a consequence of the infection which she suffered for 12 days before dying.

Jessie G (ca1839-1925)

Jessie may have been the Jessie Grey, 27, servant, who travelled to New Zealand on the same voyage as the Finlaysons in 1872. If so like her brother-in-law, her age was fluid over her life. According the the Scottish censuses, she was aged 2 in 1841 and 12 in 1851. All I had found for her was that she had paid for brother David's headstone when in died in 1890. Then I was contacted by a researcher of NZ's Suffragette Petition who suggested Jessie had married Stephen Kimber (1814-1911) in Christchurch in 1895 (I have corroborated this through NZ's marriage records and Jessie Kimber's will). The bride would have been aged around 56, the groom 81. Mr Kimber's first wife, Esther, had died months earlier and I'm wondering if Jessie had been the housekeeper if Esther had been ill. Stephen Kimber was a prominent early settler in Christchurch, eventually farming at Greenpark, around 27 kilometres outside the city. After her husband's death, Jessie returned to live in Dunedin for the next 14 years. She bequeathed all her estate to her great-niece, Elsie May Smith, daughter of Jessie Flora Finlayson/Smith and granddaughter of Catherine Gray/Finlayson.   



Margaret G (ca1850-)

Margaret may also have migrated to New Zealand. The only reason I suggest this is because I can find no information about her other than on census forms up to 1861. There are no spinsters named Margaret Gray on the electoral roll but nine Margaret Grays marry in New Zealand between 1870 and 1900. Two aged about our Margaret’s age die in that period, one in 1874, the other in 1881.

Mary G (ca1841- )


Mary married Murdo Matheson (ca1845- ). I can find no further information about the couple other than they had at least two daughters.

Mary Urquart M (ca1873- ).
Jessie M (ca1879- ).

The lack of information about Mary, Murdo and their family may mean they died, migrated or merely slipped between the bureaucratic cracks.

David G (ca1844-1890)


David was the second last of William and Flora’s children and their younger son. On the 1861 census form, he was a scholar/farmer. He was a forester when he married Margaret “Maggie” Ross (1846-1921) on 21 December 1876 in Lochbroom, a remote village towards the west of the Highlands. One source (1835) says, somewhat defensively, that while records are few, Lochbroom has germinated men of genius and talent.

Shortly after the birth of their first child, the couple migrated to New Zealand, arriving in Dunedin in October 1879 on the Timaru and settling

around Milton. Then, just 10 days after his niece’s husband, Charles Anderson, drowned, David died. His horse had rolled on him while he was chasing another horse that had escaped from its owner, breaking several of David’s ribs. The Evening Star said David had “lingered in great suffering” until he died on 17 June 1890. The newspaper also noted that David’s son had been killed in an accident only three months before his father’s death. David had been both an insurance agent and a rabbit inspector and, the newspaper continued, a champion piper at Dunedin’s Caledonian gatherings for many years. This, for me, casts another light on family life in the Highlands if the Gray family could afford pipes and made music to ring around the hills. His headstone was erected by his sister, Jessie. The extended family rallied around to support Maggie. William Bain Anderson, related through his sister-in-law, Rebecca, organised contributions to a relief fund for the widow and her children. The Clutha Leader published a statement of the monies collected that totalled £290/2/7. On the list that included Donald Gray (£1) and WB Anderson (£15/6/0) were two concerts that contributed £22/17/7 to the tally.

Flora G (1878-1943) married farmer Stephen Kenny (1876-1954) in 1906. I suspect Flora had a somewhat difficult married life. In 1907, Stephen Kenny

and William Aitken appealed against being dismissed from their jobs as railway surface men for drinking during working hours, having idled then left work before knock-off time (Otago Daily Times, 19 Dec 1908). PapersPast does not offer the outcome of their appeal. In 1920, he bought 1,000 acres at Milburn, Otago, taking immediate possession. Four years later, the previous mortgagee brought an unsuccessful case against the mortgagor to the effect that she had no right to sell it on to S Kenny. Then in 1928, it looks as though Flora had left him because he was bailed on charges of having failed to maintain her (Otago Daily Times, 30 Aug 1928), in relation to an application for a separation. When he died, he left all he had to Flora Margaret K, his only living child. In the 1930s, the directories show that Flora and her sons were living in the same electorate, centred around Milton. NZ Archives has a will for Flora Kenny who died in Pukurangi, Central Otago, in 1943, which could well be hers but it cannot be viewed electronically for me to be sure. I do know she is buried with her mother in the Otokia cemetery. There were three Kenny children.
Flora (Fodda) Margaret K (1907-1992) trained as a nurse and lived in a war veterans home in her later life. She is buried in the same plot as

Jeanie Lawther Bennett (1906-1982).

James Eric K (1908-1940) married Ida Emily Miller (1907- ) in 1933. I can find very little about the couple other than an entry in the 1935

electoral roll where his occupation was miner then the 1940 cemetery record where his occupation was baker. He died quite young and is buried in what looks like the Miller family plot in the Andersons Bay cemetery. Interestingly, nobody named Ida Emily is on the headstone, implying she is a centenarian or married again and is in another grave. PapersPast offers only a 1940 advertisement for claimants against his estate to contact solicitors Mitchell and Tonkinson and a 1929 report that James, along with a James Murray, had been fined £1 with 10/- costs for failing to turn up regularly for territorial parades.

David Norman K (1910-1940), bacon factory worker, pork butcher. He was living at The Grove, Milton, on the 1935 and 1938 rolls with his mother.

David also died in 1940, aged 30. A report of his death says he had worked at Messrs Hitchons Ltd and was a member of the Loyal Milton Lodge. Not quite an afterthought, the report concluded that he had married Adeline Boyle and they were parents of a young child. From this, found that David and Adeline Frances Boyle (1915- ) had married in 1935 and that she was still a widow in 1981, living at 7 Mechanic Street, NE Valley, which, presumably by pure coincidence, is the house next door to that where her mother-in-law’s brother and wife were living 70 years previously.

Eliza G (1880-1975) married railway porter then stationmaster Thomas Michael Franklin (1887-1966) in 1914. The couple does not seem to have had


William Forbes G (1881-1890) was aged eight years and four months when he died following an accident in Titri, Waihola, in February 1890. Although

there are a couple of death notices, there is no press report of the event to know the circumstances of the accident. However, his death certificate gives the causes of death as cellulitis, pneumonia and exhaustion. It looks as though the poor boy damaged himself, possibly not very seriously, but a wound became infected with staphylococcus/streptococcus leading to cellulitis. The pneumonia may have been a separate condition, the associated coughing may be related to William’s exhaustion. For me, the death certificate has thrown up more questions than it answered.

Catherine Ross G (1883-1960) married hairdresser George Henry Terry (1879-1934) in 1905. The only thing of interest I’ve found is that George Terry

won a claim, plus costs, in 1912 against Alfred George Ferguson who had agreed but failed to pay 3/- a month for hairdressing and shaving services, not to mention a private soap pot and brush. Catherine and George had six children.
Catherine Edna T (1907-07).
Kathleen Lila T (1908-87) who was a pastry cook and lived as an independent woman all her life.
Elsie Winifred T (1910-76) married storeman George Hughan (1902-83). The couple had two children. George Peter H married Sharon Patricia

Milner and they, in turn, became parents of Rachael and Wendy; Glenda Jessie H married Ray Yardley and they became parents of Brendon Ross Y, Paula Ellen Y, Stephen Ray Y and Warren Y.

George Albert T (1912-1982) married Phyllis Sayer (?-2004), George may have been a brass finisher (1946) or a proprietor (1957). A George

Albert Terry appealed to the Supreme Court about a licensing decision affecting Dunedin's Robert Burns Hotel (undated). A person of that name also divorced a Jessie McKenzie Terry in 1943 (this person was a resident of Christchurch's Sunnyside Mental Hospital in 1946); and was acquitted of killing someone while driving drunk in 1939. This person was born in 1912, was short (5'6"), with dark hair, blue eyes, a Roman nose and a deformed left ear. At death, George was a governing director. Phyllis and George’s headstone is in Dunedin’s Green Park cemetery.

Another child was both born and died in 1915.
According to, Ivan David Henry Terry (1920-1981), laundryman, salesman, real estate agent, married Margaret Hannah Halliwell in

Canada in 1944, perhaps he was stationed there during the war. The couple divorced in 1968. Perhaps Margaret and the children returned to Canada because there is an 1981 residential record for a David Terry in Saskatchewan. Ivan married Janice Rosemary ?, shortly after his divorce from Margaret. His occupation at death was company director. Ivan and Margaret had three children: David Ivan T (1945 - ), born in Winnipeg; Diane K T; and Janet R T.

Donald Ross G (1884-1952) married Sophia Dunn McKenzie Fraser (1890-1945) in 1914. Donald worked for 40 years with the Post and Telegraph

Department, first as a linesman then as line foreman. The Lake Country Mail reported his retirement, on superannuation, saying he had “conscientiously and efficiently looked after the telegraph and telephone communications of the district” (19 November 1947). Further, “naturally, he is a widely-known and respected identity” whose decision to spend his retirement in Queenstown was welcomed. The gap between the couple’s first and second child was probably caused by Donald’s war service. I can’t definitely report the safe return of Private Gray in 1919 as our Donald Ross Gray, nor the Rifleman Gray who won a silver teapot in the annual Wakatipu Defence Rifle club in 1926. The couple had five children.
Donald Fraser G (1915-92) passed his proficiency exams in 1930 and divorced Kathleen Margaret ? in 1955. While the cemetery record labels him

a labourer, on the electoral roll he was a carpenter. He is buried with his brother, Alex, in the Queenstown cemetery.

Olga Jean G (1921-c1991) married farmer  George Ross Cockburn (1908-92) in 1938 and divorced him in 1957. suggests the couple

were parents to six children. Her occupation was cook. Between 1968-81, she was sharing a house with home science instructor, Margaret Shirley Cockburn who, in 1963, was a lecturer and in 1981 a university lecturer. Margaret had earned first class honours with her bachelor degree in 1957, I’m assuming she was Olga’s daughter.

Alva Beath G (1922-1992) married moulder Allan John Stanley (1918-2002) in 1957. The couple lived in Wellington, they had four children. A son,

Stephen Paul S, was born and died in 1959 but three of the four entries for children in are marked ‘private’.

Alex Ross G (1927-92) was married to Annie May (Diack?), the couple divorced in 1966. Alex was a contractor in 1957 and a prospector in 1981.

In 1967 and 1979, he applied for prospecting licences with a George Edward Brassell and a David William Gray. No occupation is given in the cemetery records. Probate of his will was granted in Dunedin in 1993, at the time of his death he had retired to Palmerston. There is a David William Gray, carpenter, in Invercargill but I can’t find a link to us.

Eunice Melva G (1929-74) married Mr Holland (?) between 1963 when she is still Gray on the electoral roll and 1974 when she died, a widow. She

is buried with her parents in the Queenstown cemetery.

Margaret G (1886-1986) married farmer John Cameron (ca1869-1953) in 1905, their station was The Reefs Run at Pukerangi. Margaret lived to be 100

years old, dying while a resident of Glamis Hospital, Dunedin. According to hints, they had three children.
Alexander Lancelot C (1907-88) was variously a labourer, a farmer and a publican (Strath Taieri Hotel, Middlemarch) during his life. He married

widow Hilda Rose Aubrey (1920-95) in 1948. No children have been hinted at.

Unis Adlein C (1909-1917) was described in a memoriam as “a dear little niece”.
Ian David C (1917-68), who married Eve Dorcas (1927-83), was a musician, in his day job he was a panel beater. The cemetery records say he

was a trombonist, known as ‘Dorsey’ Cameron, and a NZEF Band Entertainer with the NZ Concert Party. The couple does not seem to have had children.

David Oscar G (1889-1950) married Margret Wright (1897-1977) in Dunedin on 19 January 1916. They became parents of three children.

Lila Margaret G (1916-2006) married Robert Gawn (1900-1979). hints that they had two children but I have found details of only

storeman Russell Thomas G (1936-2002) whose wife’s given names were Janice Isabella.

Eunice Adleen G (1920-1967) married married Gordon Raymond Currie (1916-1979) and the couple made their home in his hometown, Timaru. tantalises by saying the couple had three children but names none of them. However, in 1969, a Graeme Thomas Currie, driver, was living at 35 Whitcombe St, Temuka, with Gordon.

George G (1920-1999) was Eunice’s twin brother. He was a cabinet maker. He was living with his parents in Forfar St, Mosgiel in 1947. again teases by hinting he had a wife and two children, one pink the other blue.

Catharine (1832-1914)


Catharine (or Cathrine/Catherine) was born on 10 November 1832 in the parish of Kiltearn by the Cromarty Firth north of Inverness. There may still have been a Druids’ stone circle in the vicinity at the time. It was “removed for the progress of agriculture” sometime in the nineteenth century. That’s a pity.

Catharine was about 21 when she married 39 year old Finlay Finlayson in Contin in 1853. They had a child every 18 months or so until Mary’s birth

in 1869. In 1872, the whole family left the Highlands for Dunedin on the other side of the Earth. It looks as though at least one of her brothers had already made such a move and others of her family were either there or migrated at much the same time as she did. By the time of his death in 1977, Finlay had begun reaping the benefits of the migration. He had a house and could afford to put a headstone on his father’s grave back in the Highlands. It may have been, however, that his marriage had not survived the move. I suggest this because his estate was left to his ‘infants’ with no mention of their mother.

As well, the death certificate for John Arthur Finlayson, the mystery in the Finlayson family plot in Dunedin’s Northern Cemetery, records his

parents being Finlay and Catherine. Given John Arthur was aged 30 when he died in 1911 of Brights Disease (a kidney disease), his parentage would have been something of a miracle, Finlay having died in 1878. Apparently it was the custom to register a mother’s dead husband as the father of a subsequent child if she had not remarried. John Arthur F was a photographer and shared the same address with Catherine.

The 1891 City Directory has Catherine living in Hanover Street where she stayed until a move to 18 St Andrew Street was logged in the 1911

Directory. In later entries, she is living in Hanover Street or 14 Hanover Hall; before that it was “left hand side, from Filleul St”. Mr Google tells me there was a Brethren Hall on the corner of Hanover and Filleul streets at the end of the nineteenth century. Given her occupation was “housekeeper”, she may have acted in that capacity for the church manse or perhaps the Hall was residential. PapersPast indicates Hanover Hall had a public function through appeals for items lost between the hall and other places. It was also successfully registered by the City Council in 1903 although it remains a mystery as to its purpose. By way of a hint, also registered at the same time were the Princess Theatre and the Dunedin Orchestral Society’s Hall. In the late 1890s, her daughter, Rebecca, was at the same address. Presumably so, too, were Rebecca’s sons.


Catherine Finlayson, Upper Hanover Street, is prominent on that page

of 1893’s Suffragette petition - other pages have the names of Finlayson

and Gray women who are likely to have been ours. In the first decade of the twentieth century, John Arthur F lived at that address then at 18 St Andrew Street with Catherine, where he died.

When she died, aged 80, Catherine was living at 46 (or 53, depending

on which newspaper report is to be believed) George Street. Rebecca had been supporting Catherine, financially and practically, probably since her mother had become too old to continue housekeeping duties or perhaps since Rebecca had the financial wherewithal to help out.

On the evening of Saturday, 15 August, she found her mother’s body

in bed where it had been for several days. When Rebecca had visited Catherine on the Tuesday, the latter had complained of chest pains but chosen to do nothing about them because they were just more of the same and, as they had before, would go away. Catherine’s doctor said her heart was badly diseased and her death expected.

Catherine lived a long and eventful life, coping with whatever was

thrown at her by circumstances. I imagine her photographer son took her image more than once, it is a pity none have survived for us to see this resourceful woman.

16.3 Catharine's inquest 1914.png
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