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Louisa and Thomas's children

John Anderson F ((1868-69)



John was born towards the end of 1868 and was baptised at Kingcross, York, on 29 November. I think he was Louisa and Thomas's first-born. Given they married in 1864 then increased their family every 18-odd months from John's birth, the first childless three years are a mystery. His name may have been an amalgam of his paternal grandfather’s name and his mother’s family name. He was buried on 22 March 1869 aged six months.


John F (1870- 1942?)


John was baptised on 24 July 1870. He will have been named for the same ancestor his deceased brother was. John is listed in the 1871 and 1881 censuses, and that’s that. Farrar was, and probably still is, a very common name in Yorkshire. Among male Farrars, John/Henry/Thomas dominate as given names. I have absolutely no clues at all as to which might be our John. No marriage or death hints were offered by While there are several “John Farrar”s in migration lists, none have identifying information. However, emigrate is what he did. John Farrar, cousin, signed the death notice of Donald Anderson Edgar in Cape Town in 1917. Another record, this one less definitive, is the 1942 death notice of Yorkshire-born, 73 year old John Farrar in Cape Town. If this is our John Farrar, he was a photographer. His wife was Caroline Esther Russell (1865-1952) and, from his death certificate, they were parents of Gladys Maude F and Mabel Mary F (1903- ) who married an Alfred Darby.


Bertha Mary F/Edmunds (1871- after 1942)



Bertha was with her parents for the 1881 and 1891 censuses. She was the only child of the family at home in 1891. If the family is the one in the 1895 migration record, she may have been the “Miss Farrar” accompanying her parents to South Africa. On 21 March 1899, BM Farrar married M Edmunds in Durban. Martin Edmunds (1864-1942) was born on the Isle of Wight to James Edmunds, shoemaker, and Hannah Scovell. In 1881, Martin was a carpenter’s apprentice in Newchurch, Hampshire. Sometime between this census and his marriage, Martin migrated to South Africa where, in 1925, he was an electrician. Bertha and Martin had no children. His death record notes they were “without community of property” which, Mr Google tells me, means they were not joint owners of marital property. Bertha appears on a couple of migration records. In 1925, she and sister Louisa arrived in Southhampton, she was travelling alone when next arriving in 1937.


Ellen Martha F (1873-before 1897?)


Ellen was baptised on 8 June in King Cross, Halifax (her father’s occupation “gentleman”). She may have been named for her aunt, Ellen Martha Anderson/Edgar who had died at the beginning of 1873. Neither she, nor her younger sister, Louisa Maria, were in the family home in 1891. Instead, they were living in London with an aunt, Sarah A Farrar. Sarah was an independent woman who ran a boarding house in Arundel Square, Islington. Ellen’s occupation was “invalid”.  I have found nothing more for Ellen. Her name doesn’t appear in the South African databases, nor does it appear in the English 1901 census with her aunt or anywhere else. Her mother’s aunt, Janet/Jessie Robertson, amended her will in 1897 to include bequests to Louisa’s daughters Bertha and Louisa. There was no mention of Ellen which implies she had died.


Louisa Maria F (1875- 1934)



Louise Farrar.png

Possibly named for her mother and her aunt, Louisa was baptised on 20 June in King Cross Halifax, as her sister had been two years earlier. She was helping her aunt run the boarding house in 1891 before she is found (via WD’s photo albums) in Johannesburg ca1907. I think the photos are of Louisa Maria because the woman looks to be in her 30s and is not titled ‘aunt’, unlike the photographs of her aunts Maria Oldfield and Elizabeth (wife of James).

Louisa remained an independent woman all her life. In 1925, she arrived in Southampton from

Mozambique with Bertha. Then her name is on a probate list for Grahamstown, Cape Province, in 1934. Unlike the other deaths found in the South African databases, there is no record of relationships.    

In terms of family records, South Africa remains a place of mystery. Various members of the

extended Anderson family (and at least two Finlaysons) travelled there so the connection was well known over 100 years ago. This knowledge has now been lost and their lives there remain frustratingly elusive.

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