It has been a fascinating trip through the lives of our ancestors and I've only just skimmed the surface. In the next few years, sooner rather than later, I'll spend time in Scotland (with maybe a detour to Halifax) going to the places our people lived and the graveyards where I might find further details of their lives and deaths. Thanks to Dr Kim Price of the Victorian Professions project, I now know of the Lamb Collection which, I'm told, has records of everything there is to know about Dundee around the time of David and Martha's lives. I'd also like to meet other of David and Martha's descendants and am thinking of how I might search them out.
Family was clearly important to our Andersons. Names were passed down the generations - James, William, Ellen, Vida, Jessie, Louis/Louisa, Marion, Elizabeth, Eveline/Evelyn - and recorded connection - Anderson, Robertson, Menzies, Oldfield, Bain. Children were named after their parents and grandparents and, in some cases, the parents' siblings who had died prematurely. This pattern began fading for those born in the C20th although some names - Douglas, Chase - continued to record connection. My grandsons between them carry Anderson, Alan and Charles into future generations.
The wills arranging James’ and David’s estates were an eye-opener. I had expected to see the principle of primogeniture at work, everything going to the eldest son. It may have been that “irremovable property” (e.g., real estate) was transferred to the eldest son as a matter of course, which was the custom of the time, and so not written into a will. But the moveable (everything else) property, in the first instance and apart from some minor bequests, went to their wives, Janet and Martha, with small specific bequests to their children, daughters and sons more or less equally.
In David’s case, the will stipulated that the estate went to the widow/er “for the love and favour which we have for one another and for other good cause and considerations”. Further, that if David died first and Martha remarried, her next husband couldn’t touch it. Similarly, the husbands of their daughters were excluded from any access to or control of their wives' inheritance. James’ will had similar provisions. He set up a trust from which the trustees were to ensure Janet/Jessie received her annuity biannually, at Whitsun (about seven weeks after Easter) and Martinmas (November). James’ will is quite frustrating. Twenty pages long (David’s is six), written in beautiful C19th script much of which I can’t read. It looks as though he’s leaving bequests to a wide range of people outside the family, disposing of a range of real estate, tools of trade, and the like, with justifications: except that, try as I will, I cannot decipher the handwriting.
Another will was that of James and Janet’s daughter, Janet, that I wrote about for the Victorian Professions project (the project’s interest was in “David Anderson, banker, Dundee” and his family). I haven’t found the original will but it seems to have been customary to report any of interest in the press and it was from those archives that I found an 1897 report of specific bequests from Janet’s estate. The bequests were mainly to some of Janet’s nieces and their daughters, but not to all. Only one nephew was remembered but the widow (Rebecca) of another received what must have been a valuable £100. Apart from an unknown legatee (who, I think, was a close friend of Janet's because he, along with her nephew, James, and GH Ferrier were awarded probate) and some charitable bequests, Janet’s estate stayed in her family.
Another surprise was discovering the Andersons were Episcopalians/Anglicans. Episcopy was a child of the Reformation. In Scotland so, too, was Presbyterianism and the struggle between the two saw their respective fortunes and political influence rise and fall over subsequent centuries. In essence, they were bitter rivals. I suspect Rebecca was Presbyterian because WD was an Elder of Dunedin’s First Church (Presbyterian) and he was vocal against religious trappings, such as rich vestments or the use of incense that are found in Anglican and Roman Catholic worship. With admirable tolerance (pragmatism?) migrant brothers William, Charles and John married their respective wives in Dunedin’s Presbyterian Knox Church but I notice on Charles’ death record that he was buried by Church of England Minister, BM King. The discovery explained for me why the Rev Harry was “sometime Vicar of Lowestoft” on the back of the photo of his parents. I’d always thought our family had a long history of being staunchly Presbyterian.
A characteristic of Scottish migration is a tendency to move in family groups and our Andersons offer several examples of this:
• the holus bolus move of most of David’s and Martha’s children to Halifax, Yorkshire, from Dundee;
• William, Charles and John’s emigration to Dunedin;
• Louisa’s migration to South Africa then, although we don’t know if they joined her, several of the next generation also heading that way from both the UK and NZ;
• many of younger generations migrating either together or after an advance guard, so to speak, to North America.
William seems to personify family connection with his shared business interests as "Anderson Brothers", and his support for Charles' family after the latter's death. For reasons I don't understand - perhaps someone who knows about these things can tell me - Rebecca was "firmly bound" unto the Registrar to pay £1,400 in relation to the deceased Charles' estate. The same document has executors/administrators William and a Frances Leitch (wool classer) also bound to pay £700 each. These amounts seem to be bonds refundable if Rebecca lodged all required documentation by a specified date. Maybe the costs were a consequence of Charles having died intestate. As we saw, William also raised funds for Charles' in-laws when a bread-winner died, and hosted visits from them to Gore. It was perhaps this generosity and family orientation that Fin was reciprocating when he moved to Riwaka to help William's orchardist/farming endeavours after Wallace left for South Africa.
I've also thought about the move to Halifax that lasted a couple of generations mirroring the Anderson presence in Dunedin. After just a couple of generations, we have gradually peeled away until none of us remains living there although the family grave, begun by Charles and his son, Ronald Vivian, has begun anchoring us to our roots. My next visit to New Zealand will include time in Dunedin to locate the various plots and addresses this history has found.
Vocational patterns also suggest family connections. For example, David’s half-century networking with Dundee’s (and beyond) financial, business and trade circles must have facilitated his children’s social, marital and occupational opportunities just has his father’s breadth of contacts and reputation must have helped him. Son James’ merchant and banker occupations, perhaps conducted conjointly, must have been helped by his father’s connections and influence. Daughters’ marriages also reflected the circles their fathers moved in.
William and Charles did their (admittedly) rocky apprenticeship together in Yorkshire’s woollen industry. They took their experience with them when they migrated and joined with John - apparently trading as Anderson Brothers, Ravensbourne - to use their complementary roles (wool buyer, skin/fleece processor, dyer) to best effect in Dunedin’s woollen industry. Charles also kept his finger in the finance pie during his years in Halifax. There was a hitherto unknown cluster of pharmacists in one generation of Andersons.
Previously unknown to me, we were, and maybe still are, a presence in South Africa. At pretty much the same time around the beginning of the C20th, Louisa Anderson/Farrar and at least some of her family, many of her nieces and
nephews then some of the next generation from both the Old World and the New headed that way. South Africa's records are in a parlous state, apparently, having been poorly kept or lost over the decades. I have found nothing from
official sources in my searches. There have been glimpses of Farrars in some records but, without knowing where they were, or what they did, I'm not prepared to even guess whether they are 'ours'.
It was interesting to see that David and WD shared scientific interests
although I don’t know whether WD knew this about his grandfather. As
with Mount Rosa “a desirable place so seldom on the market”, WD built
Altair (named after the 12th brightest star in our night sky) “a classic
Dunedin home”: homes where they both nurtured and took great pride in
their grounds as well as their houses. The wall at the front of Altair was built
by WD to honour his son's (Alan) memory. As with Mount Rosa, Altair was sold
following its owner's death.
Mount Rosa remains a family memory. John B named his Dunedin property
after it, his childhood home. An advertisement of its sale was in my mother’s
possession then mine and I sought it out when I had the opportunity in the
1990s. Josephine visited the property this century.
On a more sombre note, there seems to be a streak of mental sensitivity in
our line. Janet Robertson died in Dundee's mental asylum. The puerperal
mania that killed Vida Mary McCall was hereditary. Elizabeth’s suicide was
attributed to temporary insanity (although I have strong doubts about that.
I also have strong doubts about her husband and feel that a cold case investigation would yield interesting results). Charles may or may not have committed suicide. WD was hospitalised at least once that I know about and subjected to ECT for depression (maybe bipolar disorder, given the story about his behaviour in Dunedin’s St Joseph’s Catholic cathedral, where he yelled at the officiating priest mid-service for having his back to the congregation and speaking in Latin, not English).
The obituaries I have found all report the Andersons were well known in their communities, indicating their sociable nature, the visibility of their activities and, for some, their prominence in civic affairs. I have been surprised at the number who didn’t marry, or, if married, did not have children. On the other hand, when the times were right, there seems to have been little reluctance to divorce if this was the best (or maybe honourable) option.
I expect to find more about our Andersons as more sources become available or when you can fill in some gaps. When I am finally forced to buy a new computer, I will re-create Our Andersons as a book so that we do not risk access to our past by technological inadequacy. In the meantime, we can continue amending this site as we learn more about the lives that came before ours.