East Coast Hussars

[First published in the Genealogix of June 2016]

My Scottish-born gg-grandfather Robert Johnston was no stranger to the militia.  He spent time working as a tailor in Shanghai.  When not racing horses, he was a member of the Shanghai Volunteer Corps.  He returned to Ireland in the late 1870s where he married Elizabeth Foster.  The newlyweds headed to New Zealand on the Duncraig and settled in Gisborne, Poverty Bay.

It was a peaceful time in New Zealand.  The New Zealand Land Wars were over.  But in 1883, Māori leader Te Kooti was pardoned by the government and started travelling around New Zealand.  His announcement that he would like to return to Poverty Bay was greeted with horror by the locals.  They remembered the massacre of 54 settlers and Māori at Matawhero in 1868, just after Te Kooti escaped from the Chatham Islands.

The Poverty Bay area was already well served by militias.  They had an artillery corps and various rifle corps to defend the locals and a “Naval Volunteer Artillery and Torpedo Corps” to defend the port.  By 1887, they had decided that they were missing one thing – a cavalry.

A petition was started to ask for a cavalry – to be named the East Coast Hussars.  Robert Johnston was one of the signatories.  On April 7, 1887 the petition was sent to the government.  It noted there were 50 signatories and likely to be 30-40 more.  A further letter, the next day, adds “The movement is a genuine one each man being supplied with horse and equipment and depositing £5 towards cost of uniform”.

Robert’s signature is just under the crease!  Held at Archives New Zealand, Wellington

Petition 2

Letter 7-4-1887
Letter accompanying the Petition. Held at Archives New Zealand, Wellington

Letter 8-4-1887 1

Letter 8-4-1887 2
Following letter on April 8 1887. Held at Archives New Zealand, Wellington

On May 2, 1887, the Poverty Bay Herald notes that the East Coast Hussars have been gazetted by the Governor General.  It noted the entrance fee was £5 5s and the annual subscription was £1 1s.

Hussars accepted - The Gazette 29-04-1887 - cropped
The Gazette – 29 April 1887

The nominal roll shows members started being enrolled on April 27, with Robert becoming an official member on May 12.  They were ably led by Captain George J Winter.

Their first parade took place on the evening of May 17.  Thirty members turned out for squad drill, sword and carbine exercise.  Over time, reports have that the cavalry became “an efficient unit”.

As is usual with these things, Robert, being a trooper and not an officer, got little mention in the newspaper reports of their exploits.  In April 1888, he does get a mention.  The Hussar’s training camp was attached by a bunch of young men.  “Three or four men were wounded, the most serious case being that of Trooper Johnston.  He received a charge of powder from a rifle right in the face.” (Poverty Bay Herald, April 3, 1888).  He was sent home.  My Grandad noted that he remembered his grandfather’s powder burns.

Powder burns - Poverty Bay Herald - 3-4-1888
Poverty Bay Herald – 3 April 1888

But what about Te Kooti?  It wasn’t until February 1889 that he seriously started to head towards Poverty Bay.  Reports had him at Waioeka near Opotiki with up to 250, possibly armed, followers.  The locals and therefore the government were having none it.  They mobilised a force which included artillery, Navals from Auckland, Ponsonby and Waitemata, Police and 65 East Coast Hussars.

The contingent, numbering around 200, marched north.  If you believe the city newspapers of the time, the effort proved ridiculous.  They portrayed Te Kooti as a drunk and not much of a threat.  He was quickly arrested and taken to Auckland.

This was the only active service the Hussars saw.

A newspaper report on January 28, 1892 from the AGM of the Hussars noted the Defence Minister had suggested a change from a cavalry to a mounted rifles unit.  Captain Winter agreed that it seemed like a good idea and wouldn’t involve much change to their drill.  They decided to leave the matter for another year – “Their uniforms were not worn out yet, and the change would mean new uniforms.”

In May 1892, the East Coast Hussars successfully hosted their annual ball.  It is the last heard of them.  They were quietly disbanded before the end of the year.


Membership of a militia is usually one of those things that you know you know.  It can be quite difficult to find out if you don’t.  Newspaper articles rarely name troopers or riflemen unless they’ve been naughty or injured.  However, if your family came from a small town, it’s likely someone was in the local militia.

If you know the name of the militia, have a look on Archway.  Archives New Zealand hold a large array of records on militias including correspondence and nominal/capitation rolls which you can view here in Wellington.  Newspapers can help you understand what they got up to once you know they were members.

Other sources include:

NZETC – New Zealand Electronic Text Collection



An Edwardian Wedding

This post accompanies my previous entry on a Victorian wedding in England.  Here’s how it was done in New Zealand a few years later.  This is the wedding of my 2x great-uncle Robert Foster Johnston to Ethel Millar McFarlane on 16 January, 1913.  Robert Foster was one of my Lost Children, now found.

My Johnston cousins were kind enough to provide me with this lovely photo of Ethel and her bridesmaids on her wedding day:

Photo of Bridal Party

And to go with it, we have the report of the wedding in the Wanganui Chronicle, on 17 January, 1913.  It’s under the heading “Orange Blossoms“.  Again, I’ve added some more paragraphs to make it easier to read!


Balbraith, Durietown, the residence of Mr. Andrew McFarlane, was the scene of a happy gathering yesterday on the occasion of the marriage of his youngest daughter, Ethel Millar, to Robert Foster, only son of Mr. R. Johnston, of Gisborne.

The wedding ceremony was solemnised on the lawn, the Rev Mr. Calder, of St. Andrew’s, officiating, and the many guests assembled in honour of the event provided a pretty and unique scene in delightful surroundings, the beautiful day and pretty garden contributing largely to the general joyousness of the occasion.

The bride wore a beautiful wedding dress of ivory charmeuse with wreath and veil, and she carried a lovely shower bouquet; while her going away-dress was a coat and skirt of apricot coloured cloth, with hat en suite.

The bridesmaids were Miss Annie McFarlane, sister of the bride, the Misses Elsie and Bessie McFarlane, nieces of the bride, who wore white embroidered muslin dresses and carried bouquets, the Misses Olive Johnston, sister of the bridegroom and Melva Thompson, niece of the bride, who wore hailstone muslin, dresses trimmed with Valenciennes lace and pale pink sashes, and carried shepherds’ crooks with pink silk ribbons. Mr. P. McBrearty, the bridegroom’s business partner acted as best man, assisted by Messrs. G. E. Jago and M. Chamberlain, as groomsmen.

Mrs. R. Johnston, mother of the bridegroom, was present, and wore a handsome dress of vieux rose shantung silk, trimmed with cream net and lace scarf, and black lace hat. Miss Ena Johnston’s dress was of white embroidery, with grey hat and cerise plume. Miss McFarlane looked charming in pale grey silk relieved with blue and biscuit-coloured tagle straw hat with grey and blue plumes; and Mrs. Richings Grant, of Timaru, sister to the bride, wore a stylish dress of saxe-blue silk with black hat. Mrs. D. McFarlane wore a navy blue coat and skirt and black and white hat and Mrs. J. Mc Farlane a champagne coloured shantung costume and black hat with large black plumes. Mrs. P. Thompson, of Dunedin, sister of the bride, wore an electric blue poplin dress, with large black hat, and Miss Mary McFarlane a blue silk taffeta dress and hat to match.

Among the numerous and handsome gifts from the friends of the young couple were a beautiful marble clock from the members of the Victoria Swimming Club, of which Mr. Johnston was secretary, and a pair of palm stands from his fellow boarders.

The wedding breakfast was partaken of in the grounds, and we must not omit reference to the very artistic, wedding cake which was the work of Mrs. Richings Grant. After a very happytime spent by the assembled guests, Mr. and Mrs. Johnston left by motor-car for Palmerston North en route for the South, bearing the good wishes of their many friends, with whom we join in hoping they will enjoy a long and prosperoug married life.


My great-grandmother, Robert Foster’s sister May Elizabeth is notably absent.  She had recently given birth to my Grandad, so was probably not up to travelling from Gisborne to Wanganui.  It’s not a quick journey even today!

Ethel passed away in 1925, leaving two sons.  Robert Foster remarried but had no further children.  He died in 1954.  His second wife, Auntie Ed, I remember visiting often as a child.

Robert Johnston – World Traveller

Updated: 14 September 2013

Everyone should have a lying toe-rag of a Scottish gg-grandfather.  My husband has one (his is much better).  Mine, Robert Johnston, only told a small lie.  About his age.  Probably to get married.

But before Robert Johnston got married, he had travelled further than nearly all of my other gg-grandparents (and many of them immigrated half way around the world!) and further than any of his ancestors.  So let’s go back to the beginning.

Robert Johnston (“no middle name” as Grandad noted) was born in Falkirk, Scotland.  Officially, in New Zealand, he was born on Christmas Day, 1851.  Grandad explains in his notes:

In later life he looked much older than a man born in 1851.  He is suspected of knocking about 10 years off his true age to avoid her parents opposing marriage to a woman born in 1860.  His Christmas Day birthday was probably also a myth, to match his wife’s birthday, which was New Years Day.

Intrigued by this, I went looking in the Scottish census.  Knowing that Robert had been a tailor, I looked for a Robert Johnston, born in Falkirk, as much as ten years before 1851 and with a tailoring family.  I found one.  Robert was born around 1844 to John Johnston and Helen Young.  John was from East Kilbride (just south of Glasgow) and Helen was from Falkirk (north east of Glasgow).

John was a tailor and “master employing 2 men” in 1851.  They lived in Bo’ness (full name Borrowstounness!), West Lothian.  By 1861, the family had returned to John’s home town of East Kilbride where they lived in a house with 4 rooms with one or more windows (got to love the census!).  At this point, Robert was 17 and a tailor’s apprentice.

At this point, this family was all supposition.  Recently, I received a copy of Robert’s death certificate from my Johnston cousins.  That, combined with his marriage certificate, confirm that I have the right family.  However, I have yet to find his birth record.

So what happened next?


Yip, China.  You only have to look at the 19th century buildings in Shanghai to see the Western influence.  Apparently, having your clothes tailored was another home comfort that the British imported to China.  And quite often apprentices would travel out with their masters.  (See the history on Dave’s Custom Tailoring website and the Streets of Shanghai).

So what was Robert doing there?  When did he get there?

I’ve been busy working on the when.  The University of Bristol is studying Chinese Maritime Customs and has started publishing/linking genealogical information on the net.  In the 1877 Chronicle and Directory for China there is a R Johnston working as an assistant at Sayle & Co – the Shanghai branch of Robert Sayle (now John Lewis Cambridge).  The directory describes Sayle & Co as “linen drapers, silk mercers, tailors etc, corner of Nanking and Szechuan Roads”.  This is probably our Robert.

He’s also listed in the 1872 Directory with Sayle & Co, but there is no listing for him in the 1867 China Directory, so he wasn’t in the far east at that time (nor was Sayle & Co.).  My search of the 1871 census in the UK has failed to find him.  It is possible he was on his way to China.

So he was obviously still continuing in aspects of the tailoring trade.  Shooting was his other occupation.  (And how the family knew he was in China!)

There is still (hopefully) within the family a rather large, not particularly attractive silver cup he won for shooting for the Shanghai Volunteer Corps (SVC) in 1878 or 9.  Rather frustratingly, my Grandad did not note down the inscription and I haven’t seen the cup for over a decade.  Grandad noted that Robert had powder burn scars on his face from “a blank shot being fired at him from too close a range during practice manoeuvers”, although this may have been from later…

The SVC was a militia formed to protect the foreign settlements in 1853.  It continued until the Japanese occupation in 1942.  From what I’ve found on the history of Shanghai, not much happened in 1870s, so Robert had plenty of time to practise his shooting!

The North China Herald newspaper for that period is available to subscribers, but has a search facility to those who aren’t.  A kindly source has given me scans of a couple of issues which mention Robert.

Under ‘Amusements’ on January 17, 1878, there is the report of the No 2 S.V.C Monthly Challenge Cup.  Despite the cold weather – “so cold that several of the men found it difficult … to hold their rifles steady”, and not managing to hit the local iceskaters or duck shooters, the winner was Private Johnston with 41 points.

In November 1879, Corporate Johnston again top scores, but is handicapped into second as he was a previous winner.  This time the report goes:

Corporal R. Johnston made the highest total, namely 60 out of a possible 70, including five successive bulls at the 500 yards’ range and four bulls out of his seven shots at the shorter range…

So he was obviously a good shot!

Robert Johnston's Cup 1879

Robert Johnston's Cup 1879 - stem   Robert Johnston's Cup 1879

This is the cup in possession of my cousin Mike.  It’s from a Spring 1879 competition.  Photographing shiny silver cups is quite difficult but it says “Consolation Cup, won by Private Johnston, No 2 Company, Spring 1879 Meeting”.

The index for the December 31, 1879 issue, gave the following tantalising snippet:

… during the Hunt Mr. R. Johnston and Mr. W. Cole man both of Messrs. Sayle and Co. had met with accidents and sustained …

Fortunately, my source has given me that article.  Both Robert and Mr Cole were participating in the “Christmas Day’s Paper Hunt” when they fell off their horses taking a jump, each breaking a collar bone.  Another hunter was less fortunate – he was beset by the locals!

There is no evidence to suggest Robert was married during his time in Shanghai.  He was in his 30s at this point so he could have, but if so, his wife was either dead or abandoned by 1880.

Robert left Shanghai sometime in 1880.  In February, 1882 he was married and in Auckland, New Zealand.

Via Ireland.

He got a job in Ireland as “chief cutter” at £150 per year (quite a lot for those days).  Where is unknown, but it can’t have been too far from Enniskillen.  There he married Elizabeth Foster on 4 October 1881 – by licence.

It needed to be a quick marriage.  On October 7, the Duncraig left the East India Docks for New Zealand with Mr and Mrs Robert Johnston onboard (Auckland Star).   (I think it’s actually the 27th since it couldn’t take 3 weeks to get a few miles down river to Gravesend, could it? But why let the facts get in the way of an entertaining story!).

From Auckland Robert and Elizabeth went to Gisborne where they set up home and lived until their retirement back to Auckland in early 20th century.  Grandad viewed Gisborne as a strange choice describing it as a “backwater”, but Robert had a very successful life there. The National Library has a photo of Gladstone Road in 1875 which gives you some idea of how big the town was.

And it didn’t get him away from the in-laws – the Foster family all moved to NZ too!

But he never mentioned his own Scottish family and claimed to have no brothers and sisters.  He had 5 (see below).

Robert appears in the Cyclopedia of New Zealand of 1902 with picture:

Mr. Robert Johnston, J.P., who entered the Gisborne Borough Council in 1891, and also became a member of the Hospital and Charitable Aid Board and the High School Board of Governors, was born at Falkirk, Scotland, in 1851, and was brought up to the trade of a tailor. Mr. Johnston came to Auckland by the ship “Duneraig” in 1880 [sic], and shortly afterwards settled in Poverty Bay, where he established the business which has since borne his name. Mr. Johnston served for about six years as a corporal in the East Coast Hussars. In Freemasonry he is a Past Master of Lodges Montrose, S.C., and Turanganui, E.C. He was one of the founders of the local lodge of Druids, and has held office as Senior District President. Mr. Johnston was married, in February, 1880[sic], to a daughter of the late Mr. J. Foster, of Inniskillen, Ireland, and has three daughters and one son.

Photo of Robert Johnston - Cyclopedia of NZ

So still shooting!  But still no action!

Except for this little snippet from the Poverty Bay Herald on April 3, 1888:



On Saturday night a crowd of civilians, mostly composed of young men, made an attempt to take possession of the camp. A good number of them were in possession of rifles with blank cartridge, some, it was discovered, also firing shot.

Three or four men were wounded, the most serious case being that of Trooper Johnston. He received a charge of powder from a rifle right in the face. Dr Pollen was sent for, and the injured Trooper was taken home.

This might account for Robert’s powder burns that Grandad thought came from Shanghai.  Although our family is noted for not letting the truth get in the way of a good story!  It does appear to be Robert as he’s the only Johnston on the Capitation Roll for 1888.

I’ve done a separate post on the brief history of the East Coast Hussars.

Robert died in Auckland in 1925.  His Gisborne Times obituary (21 Jan 1925) gives you an inkling of the man he was and the esteem in which he was held:

With much regret the friends of Mr Robert Johnston will learn of his death, which took place at Mt Eden, Auckland, yesterday morning.

For over forty years, the late Mr Johnston was closely identified with the progress of Gisborne.  He was born at Falkirk in Scotland in 1851 and came out to Auckland in 1880 [sic] by the ship Duncraig, settling in Gisborne shortly afterwards.

Mr Johnston was brought up to the trade of tailoring and in 1880 [sic], he established the business of Messrs R Johnston and Co in Gladstone Road in conjunction with Mr Thos. Sweet.  In later years Mr Johnston was in partnership with Mr Harry Miller under the title of “Johnston & Miller”.  On account of ill health he retired from business last year and went on a health recruiting trip to Honolulu, afterwards taking up his residence in Auckland.

The late Mr Johnston took a keen interest in public affairs, being at times, a member of the Borough Council, Hospital Board and High school Board.  He was an enthusiastic Freemason and was a past Master of Lodges Montrose and Turanganui.  Mr Johnston was also a prominent Druid, reaching the rank of Senior District President.  In his younger days he took a keen interest in military training and served in the East Coast Hussars.

The deceased gentleman was especially interested in the conduct of Cook Hospital and for some years held the position of Deputy Chairman.  He was a very regular visitor to the institution and did much to cheer its afflicted inmates.  In this connection many there are who will not soon forget the sympathetic interest which he displayed in their welfare.

The late Mr Johnston leaves a widow and a family of three – Mr Bert Johnston (Auckland), Mrs HW Black (Gisborne) and Miss Olive Johnston (Auckland) to mourn their loss and to them will be extended the sincere sympathy of a wide circle of friends.


I’ve found the “List or Manifest of Alien Passengers for the United States Immigration Officer at the Port of Arrival” for Robert’s trip to Hawaii.  He arrived in Honalulu on 21 July 1923 on the SS Niagara having left Auckland on 10 July.

Robert is accompanied by his wife Elizabeth and her sister Margaret Foster Mrs Johnston (no relation), who was a widow at this point.  Margaret went for a month and Robert and Elizabeth for 8 weeks.

Questions on the manifest include “Whether a polygamist” and “Whether an anarchist”.  Our Johnstons answered no to both!  It also gives a physical description of them:

Robert       5’9″  Fair complexion     Brown hair   Blue eyes

Elizabeth   5’7″  Fair complexion     Grey hair      Grey eyes

Margaret   5’8″  Dark complexion   Grey hair      Brown eyes

In lieu of colour photographs (and photographs in general!), this is the best we’re going to do on what they looked like.

And despite being born on the other side of the world, they were all New Zealand citizens.

Robert and Elizabeth returned to New Zealand on the SS Niagara on 18 October.

Robert and Elizabeth’s children

Robert’s wife Elizabeth outlived him by 15 years dying in Auckland in 1940.  They had the following children:

  1. Robert Foster Johnston (1883 – 1954)
  2. May Elizabeth Johnston (1885 – 1940) (She died three weeks after her mother and a month after her husband – not a good time for Grandad)
  3. Ena Nellie Johnston (1891 – 1920)
  4. Olive Margaret Johnston (1899 – 1967)

Here’s the only photo of Elizabeth I have, taken outside her house in Auckland in the 1930’s:

Robert’s Siblings

From a combination of census and parish records, I believe John Johnston and Helen Young had the following children:

  1. Janet Liddle Johnston (b.1842, Falkirk) – she may have married a John Dalrymple and had a daughter called Janet Liddel Dalrymple (b.1873, Shotts, Lanarkshire)
  2. Robert Johnston
  3. James Young Johnston (b.c.1846, Bo’ness, Stirlingshire) evidently immigrated to Canada some time before 1872 as he married Jessie Fraser (b.c.1848) in Nova Scotia in 1872.  From the Canadian census, I can’t see any children.  James may have died before 1891 as there is a widowed Jessie Johnston living in New Brunswick.  In 1895, she married Asa Crowningshield (as his third wife) in West Springfield, Mass, USA.
  4. Margaret Johnston (b.c.1848, Bo’ness, Stirlingshire)
  5. John Johnston (b.1849, Cambuslang, Lanarkshire) – possibly died young as not listed in subsequent censuses
  6. Helen Johnston (b.c.1852, Bo’ness, Stirlingshire)
  7. Jane Johnstone (b.1855, Bo’ness, Stirlingshire)

Finding the Lost Children

Updated: 18 June 2012

Photos of your ancestors are great!  Until you have one (or ten) where you don’t know who the subjects are.  This post is dedicated to some photos I have in my possession of children who I didn’t know who were!  And now I do.  And it’s to remind everyone out there that if you know who someone in a photo is, write it neatly in pencil on the back!  Then questions won’t get repeated!!!

Photo from the Pyne family collection

The search for these children can be categorised under “famous last words”.

This photo is in the possession of one of my Pyne cousins in Ireland.  He generously let us borrow the albums and scan the photos.  Many his mother had identified, but this one she had not.  Probably because it was taken in Christchurch, New Zealand.  This narrowed the field of potential subjects a bit – they had to be one of the descendents of Arthur Pyne in NZ – one who was still keeping in touch with the Irish side of the family.

With some pointers from the Helpful People on Trade Me’s Genealogy forum, I have found a few things that might help.  Firstly, there is an interesting information on Meers & Co on the Early New Zealand Photographers blog which helps with dating.  So secondly, it was likely that the photo was taken some time between 1886 and 1900 – give or take.

So who were they?  The combination of boy/girl (can’t tell who’s oldest), boy, girl (and assuming they’re siblings and not a combination of cousins – this is the famous last words bit) is quite unusual. Interestingly, many of the Pyne g-grandchildren were runs of girls or boys, not alternate as the photo would suggest.

Tentatively they have been 4 of the children of Denis O’Callaghan and his wife Martha Jane Phillpot, as they had alternate boy/girl children.  But this was a bit hard to believe.  Denis was the first Pyne grandson to leave Ireland and was long thought dead at sea until he turned up in NZ.  Contact with the family in Ireland doesn’t seem all that likely!

I recently got in contact with one of Denis and Martha’s descendants.  She says all her family is blonde or red so the children are too dark to be hers.

So I went back to another Arthur Pyne descendant I hadn’t been in touch with for a while.  And after her reply, I sat there thinking I’m pretty sure I asked her about this before!  And like before she came up with the answer.

They are Francis Arthur Pyne (1874-1930) and his sister Fanny Pyne (1877-1941) who are the children of William Beynham Pyne and Agnes Walker Smith.  With them are their younger cousins (famous last words!) Arthur Charles Beynham Pyne (1880-?) and Ida May Pyne (1882-1852) the children of Charles Frank Masters Pyne and Caroline Chisholm Smith. Interestingly, they’re double cousins as their fathers were brothers and their mothers were sisters.

Arthur and Ida’s parents both died within months of each other in 1885.  They were either living with their uncle and aunt or were grouped for a photo that would have gone to their half-uncle George Masters Pyne of Ballyvolane.

Boys dressed as girls

For a while my train of thought expanded to – but what if the smallest child is a boy…?

Yes, boys wore dresses in those days.  As my husband likes to point out – it’s amusing that all the upper class men who fought in the Great War grew up wearing pink dresses.

The only family with that many boys in a row is that of Jasper Pyne O’Callaghan and his wife Winifred Alice Baker.  They had 12 children in total so which 4?  And why only them??  And Jasper has never struck me as one to write home either…?

Further consultation on Trade Me resulted in me going back to Plan A – she’s a girl.

It was suggested that she had been ill not long before the photo was taken.  Apparently it was quite common to cut the hair of sick children.  This would make it easier to wash and/or would stop it “draining the nutrients”.   It might also explain why she looks tired compared to her siblings.

The Lost Children in Auckland

This is another one where asking your distant cousins will find you an answer.  I have the original of this photo which I knew came from my Mum’s side of the family.  Since it was taken in Auckland that meant it came from her father’s side (her Mum being a Pom/English).

I recently re-established contact with my Johnston cousins.  Various members of my family have been in touch with them over the years (and I suspect asked exactly the same question I asked!), but no one ever writes the important things (like who’s in that photo) down.  Anyway, my Johnston cousins have confirmed that it is from my Mum’s side of the family and more specifically the Johnstons.

These are the first three children (of four) of Robert Johnston and Elizabeth Foster – (from l to r) Ena Nellie Johnston (1891-1920), Robert Foster Johnston (1883-1954) and May Elizabeth Johnston (1885-1940).  It was probably taken around 1893.

My gg-grandmother Elizabeth Foster immigrated to NZ with her husband Robert Johnston in 1882.  Not long after her parents William Foster (c.1839-1904) and Isabella/Elizabeth Corrigan (c.1836-1919) immigrated with all her siblings and they settled in the Gisborne area.  So here are the details of William and Isabella’s children:

  1. ELIZABETH FOSTER was born on 01 Jan 1860 in Enniskillen, Fermanagh, Ireland and died on 18 Sep 1940 in Mt Eden, Auckland, New Zealand. She married ROBERT JOHNSTON on 04 Oct 1881 in Garvary Church of Ireland, Enniskillen, Fermanagh, Ireland, son of JOHN JOHNSTON and HELEN YOUNG. He was born about 1844 in Falkirk, Stirling, Scotland and died on 20 Jan 1925 in Auckland, New Zealand.
  2. “MAGGIE” MARGARET FOSTER was born about 1861 in Fermanagh, Ireland and died on 07 Oct 1933 in Auckland, New Zealand. She married JAMES JOHNSTON on 01 Mar 1881 in Garvary Church of Ireland, Enniskillen, Fermanagh, Ireland. He was born about 1860 and died on 22 Oct 1917 in Auckland, New Zealand.
  3. ANNE JANE FOSTER was born on 18 Jun 1864 in Enniskillen, Fermanagh, Ireland. She married DAVID DAWSON in 1888 in New Zealand. He was born in 1863 in New Zealand.
  4. WILLIAM FOSTER was born about 1867 in Fermanagh, Ireland and died before 08 Dec 1895 in Auckland, NZ.
  5. “JACK” JOHN FOSTER was born on 19 Feb 1869 in Enniskillen, Fermanagh, Ireland and died about 1950. He married (1) RACHEL GREENE on 28 Aug 1896 in Gisborne, New Zealand. She was born on 10 Mar 1873 in Te Arai, Gisborne, NZ and died on 16 Mar 1950 in Hamilton, Waikato, New Zealand. He married (2) “LIL” ADA LILLIAN MORGAN on 28 Aug 1945 in Masterton, New Zealand. She was born about 1881 in New Zealand and died in 1956 in New Zealand.
  6. SARAH FOSTER was born on 22 Jun 1870 in Enniskillen, Fermanagh, Ireland. She married JOHN WILLIS in 1899 in New Zealand.
  7. JAMES FOSTER was born about 1877 in Enniskillen, Fermanagh, Ireland and died in 1948 without marrying.
  8. MABEL FOSTER. She married MR SMITH.

GG-Grandparents – Maternal Side

Updated: 30 March 2017

My mother, to put it bluntly, is descended from peasants.  Upwardly mobile peasants as they’re the side that has come up, as opposed to my Dad’s side that has gone down.  However, if you go back a few generations prior to their arrival here, her family is made up of the common people and therefore her lineage is not as well documented as my father’s side.

General note: children with a ‘+’ are known to have descendents, those with a ‘-‘ are known not to.  If there is neither, then I don’t know.

Please post a comment if you have further information or if there are any errors.  Child(ren) in caps are my ancestors.  Further posts with more information on each will follow in due course.


b. 1848 in County Tyrone, Ireland to Robert Black (1820-1887) and Rachel C Greacen (1818-1872)

immigrated to Queensland with parents and siblings on Fiery Star in 1863, then onto Christchurch, NZ in 1865

d. 28 Jun 1931 in Auckland, New Zealand

m. 27 Nov 1872 in Magherafelt, Londonderry, Ireland


b. 1854 in Cressona, Pennsylvania, USA to William E Wilson (c1820-1859) and Matilda Bushe Wilson (c1830-?)

returned to Ireland with her parents and sister Florence in 1859 where her father suddenly died, and immigrated to NZ with husband Robert in 1873 on the Bangalore to Melbourne and the Albion to Lyttleton.

d. 7 Mar 1939 in Auckland, New Zealand


+ Robert Frederick Black

+ Thomas Arthur Black

+ William Ernest Black

+ Arthur Garfield Black


+ Florence Margaret Black

– Eric Wilson Black


b. c.1844 in Falkirk, Stirling, Scotland to John Johnston (1815-?) and Helen Young (1813-?)

worked in Shanghai as a tailor before returning to Ireland to marry

d. 20 Jan 1925 in Auckland, New Zealand

m. 04 Oct 1881 in Garvary Church of Ireland, Enniskillen, Fermanagh, Ireland


b. 1 Jan 1860 in Enniskillen, Fermanagh, Ireland to William Foster (c.1839-1904) and Isabella/Elizabeth Corrigan (c1836-1919)

d. 18 Sep 1940 in Mt Eden, Auckland, New Zealand

immigrated to NZ on the Duncraig in 1882 – all children were born in NZ and Elizabeth’s parents and siblings also immigrated to NZ


+ Robert Foster Johnston


– Ena Nellie Johnston

+ Olive Margaret Johnston


b. 21 Feb 1840 in Salterforth, Yorkshire, England to James Widdup (?) and Elizabeth Hartley (1815-1880)

James’ parents were not married and his father’s name only appears on his marriage certificate.  His mother later married John Inman and had 3 daughters – Sarah, Elizabeth and Jane.

d. 20 Jul 1891 in Great Marsden, Lancashire, England

m. 15 Nov 1862 in Church of Colne, Burnley, Lancashire, England


b. 28 Mar 1843 in Dent Fold, Colne, Lancashire, England to Eli Titherington (1807-1850) and Sarah Hartley (c.1808-1870)

d. 24 Jul 1894 in Great Marsden, Lancashire, England


John Hartley

Sarah Hartley

Elizabeth Hartley

– Rennie Hartley

Joseph Hartley

+ Herbert Hartley



b. 06 Jul 1839 in Thornton Parish, Nelson, Lincolnshire to Thomas Kime (1805-1881) and Mary Leesing (1811-1889)

d. aft 1911

m. 05 Dec 1861 in Billingshay Parish Church, Lincolnshire


aka Sallie

b. 04 Dec 1841 in Swineshead, Boston, Lincolnshire, England to William Wright (1817-1861) and Elizabeth Goose (1818-1843).  William secondly married Julia Barnsdale/Barsdale and had a son Richard (1845-?).

d. Betw Jan and Mar 1895 in the Burnley area of Lancashire


+ Thomas Wright Kime

– Wright Kime

Sabina Kime

John Robert Kime

+ Mary Jane Kime


Emily Elizabeth Kime