b: 17?? d: 18??
Nothing is as yet known about the father of Thomas Graham
(below). From Brian Graham, who passed away in August 2007, it is believed that the family may have originated from the
plantation village of Caledon, Co. Tyrone (on the border with Armagh and Monaghan), before migrating to Belfast. It is also
believed that in addition to Thomas, this earliest member of the Graham family had a daughter called Margaret.
Children of Unknown GRAHAM:
b: 1809 d: 21/5/1878
Margaret Graham was listed as a 69 year old mill worker resident at 131 Little York Street, Belfast,
in the parish of Shankill, when she died on 22 MAY 1878. The cause of death was debility, suffered for two years, and the
informant to the registrar was Eliza Graham, from 206 York Street (spouse to Thomas Graham,
and Calum's and Jamie's four times great grandmother). Crucially the record notes that Margaret was a spinster making it likely
that she was an older sister to Thomas (Source: GRONI D/1878/47/1007/12/340).
Margaret was buried on the 22nd at City Cemetery, in lair B512. Thomas was the grave owner. In
the burial record her cause of death was noted as consumption, essentially tuberculosis. She was stated to be Church of Ireland
by denomination and the cost of the burial was 7 shillings and sixpence (Source: Belfast City Council burials database).
b: abt 1820
Calum's and Jamie's four times great grandfather - see below.
b: abt.1820 - bet 1885 and 1901
Thomas was Calum's and Jamie's four times great grandfather.
Thomas was from Ireland, and from his grandson Brian Graham (see below), who sadly
passed away in August 2007, it is believed that he and his family may have originated from the plantation village
of Caledon in County Tyrone (bordering counties Armagh and Monaghan).
It is believed that Thomas married Eliza Taylor at some stage prior to April
1845, the period when civil registration for non-Catholic weddings commenced in Ireland. Various records suggest that his son
Thomas was recorded as having been born within 1846, the earliest known child for whom we have any evidence
In an 1850 Belfast street directory, Thomas was
listed as a carding master at a flax mill, and we know that he became an overlooker in the York Street Flax Mill
from about 1852, on account of a prosecution some twenty years later which identified the fact (see below). In the 1863-4 Belfast Street Directory he
was noted as residing at 86 Henry Street and as being a 'spinning master in mill', and at the same address as a 'mill
overlooker' in 1868.
|York Street Flax Spinning Co. mill circa early 1880s
In his son Thomas' wedding record
from 1868 he is noted as a teacher - despite the difference here, there is in fact a family tradition that Thomas
did work as a teacher, as recalled by our cousin Renee Fisher in 2005. In what capacity he worked as a teacher is unknown
- it is possible that it meant that he was an instructor in the factory, as opposed to school teaching. In 1870 Thomas was then noted as a reeling master
at 92 Henry Street (Source: PRONI www.proni.gov.uk).
From his daughter Wilhelmina's birth
certificate in February 1871 it is noted that Thomas was a 'railing master' (sic) resident at 38 Ship Street in the Shankill
District of Belfast, Ireland, and was Church of Ireland by way of religion. On September 6th 1871 he is further noted in
the death certificate of his 1 year old granddaughter Alice as living at 2 Canning Street, and in November he was residing
at 206 York Street, as noted in the death certificate of his son Albert, the record also noting that he was
a 'mill worker'.
Thomas worked for the York
Street Flax Spinning Company Ltd, founded in Henry Street in the 1820s, and which by the 1860s was one of the largest
flax spinning mills in the world. A description of the mill from 1888 was recorded by the Institution of Mechanical Engineers and
can be read here. We know that Thomas worked for the firm because on 26 NOV 1872 he was prosecuted by Edward Orme Esq. R.M. and John Preston
Esq. J.P. at Belfast Petty Sessions Court for "employing six females in reeling room after 6pm on November 12th", a breach
of the Factory Act. An HM Factories Inspectorate report for the half year ending April 1873 (sourced here via Google Books) details the case. It states that
The Defendants having proved that the offences were committed by the overlooker
(Thos. Graham) in contravention of their positive orders, and without their knowledge, consent, or connivance, and having
summoned Graham into Court to answer the charge, the offences were transferred to him.
It seems that Thomas was only formally prosecuted for employing two of the six women
late, and was fined £2 penalty and 6s 6d in costs. His defence was noted as follows:
The Defendant who has held his present position as overlooker for
20 years without previous offence, acknowledged that he was in fault, and urged extenuating circumstances.
The judge was lenient. For the charges concerning the other four women he stated that they
Withdrawn on payment of costs, as I considered a fine of £2 14s 6d sufficient punishment for a working
In the 1877 street directory for
Belfast Thomas was again noted as a reeling master at 206 York Street, and in 1880 he is still there but listed as an overlooker.
In his son William's marriage record from 1885, Thomas is again noted as a reeling master (Source: RootsIreland).
It is known that Thomas, like his sons and grandsons in the shipping industry regularly travelled across the Irish Sea
to look for work in the Barrow in Furness, Liverpool and Belfast. From the 1881 census for
Barrow in Furness, Lancashire, England, Thomas was listed as a 60 year old clerk from Ireland, married to a 50 year Eliza,
also from Ireland, and with three children present - shipwrights Edwin (aged 19) and William
(aged 16), and scholar Wilhelmina (aged 10), all born in Ireland. This record would place Thomas'
birth year in either 1820 or 1821 (Source: 1881 census England and Wales, RG11/4291/55/p.11, Barro in Furness). The marriage
certificate of his son Edwin on 27 JUN 1881 in Barrow also notes Thomas' occupation as a clerk.
There is, however, a bit more going on within the same page - Thomas next door neighbour, at 80 Marsh
Street, is a Samuel Lunn and his wife Annie - this is in fact Thomas' daughter, Annie
Graham, who had married Samuel Lunn in 1869. Her census entry notes that of her five children present, two were born
in Barrow-in-Furness - Thomas Lunn, born about 1874, and Annie Lunn, born about 1876. Whether
the Lunns sailed across the Irish Sea to England first, or whether Thomas and his family accompanied them, or perhaps themselves
crossed the water first, is as yet unknown. Thomas is recorded in the 1877 street directory for Belfast as the occupant, but
that may equally have been a house supporting members of his household whilst he worked in England.
In Belfast it is known that Thomas and his family regularly worshipped in St. Pauls Church of Ireland
on the York Road, Belfast. As well as living at 206 York Street, family tradition has it that they may have
also possibly resided at some point at Brougham Street.
Thomas would seem to have died between approximately 1881, when he was noted in the census in Barrow in
Furness in England, and 1901, when his wife Eliza was noted in the 1901 census as a 75 year old widow (and again as a widow
in her death record in 1904). His death record cannot be located in Belfast, and as such, it is possible that he may
have passed away in England. If so, the likeliest candidate for a death record entry is that indexed for a 71 year old Thomas
Graham in 1885 Q1 Barrow-in-Furness Vol 8e p.565, though the age is a few years out from that given in the 1881
From a document held by Thomas' grandson Brian, concerning a grave purchased by Thomas in 1871, there
were several children, and one grandchild, identified. Using this as a sopurcem, and other sources, the children of Thomas
and Eliza are noted below.
CHILDREN of THOMAS GRAHAM and ELIZA TAYLOR:
b: abt 1846 d: 20/5/1882
Thomas married Anna Robinson in an Anglican ceremony on 13 JUN 1868 at Trinity Church
in Belfast. Thomas was noted as being of full age, and a mechanic, whilst Anna was a minor. Thomas was the son of Thomas
Graham, a teacher, whilst Anna was the daughter of John Robinson, a linen bleacher (Source: GRONI
Despite his father's occupation as a teacher, and not a reeling master, this does appear to be the
correct relationship, as following their marriage, Thomas and Anna had a baby who died in infancy, and who was buried in the
Graham family plot in Belfast City cemetery - owned by Thomas Graham, reeling master.
Thomas died on 20 MAY 1882 at Lilliput Cottage, Belfast, aged 36. The cause of death was heart disease,
and he was noted as a plaiter. The informant two days later was a Robert Mahaffey, of 15 Bentnick Street,
Belfast, who was present at the death (Source: GRONI D/1882/48/1007/20/446 Belfast Urban 2).
Thomas' widowed wife Anna Graham remarried to 60 year old widower David Wilson, gardener, on
9 MAR 1885. His father was James Wilson, farmer, and Anna's confirmed again as John Robinson,
farmer. The wedding took place at Albert Street Church after license, and the witnesses were a James Davidson
and Catherine Martin (Source: GRONI M/1885/B1/474/2/187 Belfast).
Anna was later noted in the 1901 census as being aged 50, and residing on the Limestone Road,
Belfast, with her husband David (retired grocer, 60), son Thomas (unemployed engine fitter, ill, aged
30) and his wife Edith Mary (25), her grandson Thomas Graham age 1, and daughter Elizabeth
Whyte (31) and her husband Thomas Whyte (31, limited company secretary in the printing business).
(Source: National Archives of Ireland, 1901 census).
Children of THOMAS GRAHAM and ANNE ROBINSON:
Elizabeth Frances Graham
b: 6/7/1869 d: 24/10/1959
Elizabeth was born on 6 JUL 1869 at 152 Corporation Street, to Thomas Graham
plater, and Letitia Anne Robinson. The informant to the registrar on 15 JUL 1869 was Eliza Robinson,
of 15 Boyds Street, who was present at the birth. In the record she is actually noted and indexed under the name of Letitia
Anne Graham, but this is also given as the name of her mother and would appear to have been a mistake. A separate
and later baptismal record sourced from Roots Ireland notes her as Elizabeth Frances Graham (Source: GRONI U/1869/47/1007/7/108
Belfast Urban 1).
Elizabeth married newspaper manager Thomas Whyte on 14 FEB 1899 at Mariners Church
of Ireland. Elizabeth was noted as being of full age, the daughter of Thomas Graham, plater, a shop assistant of
full age, and resident at 9 Somerville Gardens. Thomas was also of full age, the son of Patrick Whyte, carpenter,
and was resident at 82 Springfield Road. The witnesses were James Spence and Frances Graham
(Source: GRONI M/1899/B1/413/4/192 Belfast).
In the 1911 census Elizabeth is noted as residing on Oldpark Avenue, Belfast, and as a 41 year old
wife, married for 12 years and with three children, all scholars - Thomas Graham Whyte, aged 9, Eileen
Annie Whyte, aged 8, and John George Whyte, aged 4. Husband Thomas is noted as
a 41 year old secretary of a limited company. All were Presbyterian and born in Belfast, and with the exception of John, all
could read and write (Source: National Archives of Ireland, 1911 census).
Elizabeth died at the age of 90 on 24 OCT 1959 at 33 Ashley Gardens, Belfast, Co. Antrim, Northern
Ireland. She was buried 2 days later in Belfast City Cemetery in Lair F2 180. Her husband Thomas, who predeceased
her on 31 AUG 1953, aged 84, was also buried previously in the same lair on 2 SEP 1953. He had been resident at the same
address, but had died in Purdysburn Hospital (Source: Belfast City Council burials database). Following his death Thomas left
estate valued at £273 17s 4d, with his daughter Eileen noted as the executor, and as a spinster - probate was granted on 16
SEP 1953. Following her mother's death, Eileen was again called upon to act as executor, with probate granted on 2 DEC
1959 - her mother's estate was valued at £1909 5s 11d (Source: PRONI wills calendar database).
CHILDREN of ELIZABETH GRAHAM and THOMAS WHYTE:
Thomas Graham Whyte
b: 1/7/1901 d: 3/5/1953
Thomas was born in Belfast on 1 JUL 1901 (Source: GRONI U/1901/48/1007/82/167 Belfast).
In the 1911 census Thomas was noted as a nine year old scholar, resident with his parents at Oldpark
Avenue, Presbyterian, able to read and write, and born in Belfast (Source: National Archives of Ireland, 1911 census).
Thomas died on 3 MAY 1953 at 3 Castlemaine Avenue, Ewell, Epsom, Surrey, England. The GRO reference
for his death certificate is GRO D 1953 Q2 Surrey.Mid.E Vol 5g p.149 - however he left estate valued at £129 13s to his widow
Margaret Elizabeth Gibson Whyte, which was recorded on the PRONI wills calendar database in Northern
Ireland, and which notes his date of death. Probate was granted on 19 AUG 1953 at Belfast (Source: PRONI wills calendar database).
The same record was resealed through the English probate system in London on 1 SEP 1953 (Source: England and Wales, National
Probate Calendar, Ancestry.co.uk).
Eileen Annie Whyte
Eileen was born in Belfast on 11 MAR 1903 (Source: GRONI U/1903/49/1007/114/241 Belfast).
In the 1911 census Eileen was noted as an eight year old scholar, resident with her parents at Oldpark
Avenue, Presbyterian, able to read and write, and born in Belfast (Source: National Archives of Ireland, 1911 census).
On 16 SEP 1953 Eileen was made the executor of her father's will in Belfast, his estate being valued at £273 172 4d.
In the will calendar abridgement, she is noted as a spinster. Following her mother's death, Eileen, still a spinster, was
again called upon to act as an executor, with probate granted on 2 DEC 1959 - her mother's estate was valued at £1909
5s 11d (Source: PRONI wills calendar database).
John George Whyte
John was born in Belfast on 28 JUN 1906 (Source: GRONI U/1906/49/1007/124/62 Belfast).
In the 1911 census John was noted as a four year old scholar, resident with his parents
at Oldpark Avenue, Presbyterian, unable to read and write, and born in Belfast (Source: National Archives of Ireland, 1911
Thomas was born on 24 SEP 1870 at 38 Ship Street, Belfast, Co. Antrim, Ireland. His father was noted
as a plater, and his mother as Annie Grahams was recorded as the informant on the 30th (Source: GRONI U/1870/47/1007/8/426
Belfast Urban 1).
Thomas married Mary Edith Campbell on 19 FEB 1896 at Christ Church of Ireland, Belfast.
He was noted as a marine engineer of full age and resident on the Falls Road, whilst she was 20 years old and resident
at 37 Glenwhirry Street. Her father was a land steward, whilst Thomas's was a plaiter. The witnesses were Harry L.
Davis and Agnes Morrow (Source: GRONI M/1896/B1/393/6/149 Belfast).
b: 1/10/1871 d: 8/9/1872
Alice was born on 1 OCT 1871 at 2 Tramway Street, Belfast, Co. Antrim, Ireland. Her father
was noted as a plater, and her mother was the informant on 19 OCT 1871 (Source: GRONI U/1871/48/1007/9/132 Belfast Urban 2).
Alice did not survive long, dying on September 6th 1872, the cause of death not listed in
her burial certificate. Her address was 2 Canning Street, and no religion was listed for her either. She was buried at 2pm
at Belfast City Cemetery just two days later, at a cost of 7s 6d, with the lair registered to Thomas Graham,
Alice's grandfather, who had purchased the lair a year before for the burial of his 15 years old son Albert. The grave was
in Section B, lair 512 (Belfast City Council: Order for Burial).
b: abt Nov 1848
William was baptised on November 3rd 1848 at St. Anne's in
the parish of Shankill in Belfast, County Antrim, Ireland. He was noted as Church of Ireland by way of his denomination, and
the officiating minister was the Reverend Henry Alexander Burrowes.
With another of Thomas's son baptised as William in 1864,
it would seem that this first William died in infancy.
b: abt Feb 1851
John was baptised on February 7th 1851 at St. Anne's
in the parish of Shankill in Belfast, County Antrim, Ireland. He was noted as Church of Ireland by way of his denomination,
and the registrar was noted as C. Allen.
When Edwin travelled to the United States in 1913 he listed
his brother John's address as Lilliput Street, Belfast in the passenger manifest.
Anna Maria Graham
b: abt Sep 1852
Anna Maria was baptised on September 3rd 1852 at St. Anne's
in the parish of Shankill in Belfast, County Antrim, Ireland. She was noted as Church of Ireland by way of her denomination,
and the registrar was G. F. Mathews (Source: RootsIreland.ie).
More colloquially known as Annie, on 18 SEP 1869, and at the age of 17, she married a 23 year
old carpenter called Samuel Lunn, the son of shoemaker James Lunn. Annie was noted as the
daughter of Thomas Graham, reeling master, and as with Samuel, she resided in Belfast. The wedding took place
at St. Anne's Cathedral Church of Ireland, and the witnesses were a Henry McAteer and a Mary Ann
Close (Source: GRONI M/1869/B1/418/32/101 Belfast).
The 1881 Census for Barrow-in-Furness in England shows that Samuel and Annie were resident at
80 Marsh Street, next door to Annie's father Thomas. Also present in their household were five children, William J
Lunn, aged 11, Elizabeth, aged 9, Thomas, aged 6, Annie, aged
4, and Emily F Lunn, aged 2. Both Thomas and Annie were born in Barrow-in-Furness, with the rest of the children
noted as being Irish. This suggests that Samuel and Annie may have moved to England between 1871 and 1874. Samuel was noted
as a 40 year old ship wright, and Annie as aged 28 - twice the age gap as noted in the marriage register (FindmyPast 1881
census: Barrow, ED23, RG11, piece 4291, folio 55, p.11).
CHILDREN of ANNIE GRAHAM and SAMUEL LUNN:
William James Lunn
William was born in Belfast on 2 NOV 1870 (Source: GRONI U/1870/47/1007/8/490 Belfast)
William was further noted as having been born in Belfast and as being aged 11 in the 1881 census for
Barrow in Furness, England (FindmyPast 1881 census: Barrow, ED23, RG11, piece 4291, folio 55, p.11).
Elizabeth was born in Belfast on 1 JUL 1872 (Source: GRONI U/1872/48/1007/10/77 Belfast)
Elizabeth was further noted as having been born in Belfast and as being aged 9
in the 1881 census for Barrow in Furness, England (FindmyPast 1881 census: Barrow, ED23, RG11, piece 4291, folio 55, p.11).
b: abt 1874
Thomas was noted as born in Barrow in Furness, England, and aged 6 in the 1881 census for
Barrow (FindmyPast 1881 census: Barrow, ED23, RG11, piece 4291, folio 55, p.11).
b: abt 1876
Annie was noted as born in Barrow in Furness, England, and aged 4 in the 1881 census for
Barrow (FindmyPast 1881 census: Barrow, ED23, RG11, piece 4291, folio 55, p.11).
Emily Frances Lunn
Emily was born in Belfast on 21 SEP 1878 (Source: GRONI U/1878/48/1007/18/404 Belfast)
Emily was noted as having been born in Belfast, and as being aged 2, in the 1881 census for Barrow in Furness,
England (FindmyPast 1881 census: Barrow, ED23, RG11, piece 4291, folio 55, p.11).
Robert Hall Lunn
Robert was born in Belfast on 26 SEP 1880 (Source: GRONI U/1880/57/1007/24/116 Belfast Urban 11).
Robert did not live long, dying on 22 OCT 1880 (Source: GRONI D/1880/57/1007/13/236 Belfast Urban 11).
Samuel was born on 11 JUL 1885 in Belfast (Source: GRONI U/1885/48/1007/34/242 Belfast Urban 2).
Robert was born in Belfast on 31 JUL 1885 (Source: GRONI U/1887/48/1007/39/297 Belfast Urban 2)
Wilhelmina Graham Lunn
Wilhelmina was born on 27 OCT 1889 in Belfast, Co. Antrim, Ireland. Her birth record is the only Irish record to state
her mother's name as Anna Maria, as opposed to Annie (Source: GRONI U/1889/48/1007/45/152 Belfast Urban 2).
b: 1856 d: 30.11.1871
Albert is listed on a grave lair paper held by Renee Fisher
as a 15 year old child buried by Thomas at Belfast City Cemetery on December 2nd 1871.
Albert died at 206 York Road on 25 NOV 1871, aged 15. The cause of death was phthisis, as suffered
for 6 years, and the informant to the registrar on 12 DEC 1871 was Annie Graham, of 206 York Road (possibly
his older sister, though she had married by then) who was present at the death. Although his father Thomas was not noted on
the certificate, it did state that Albert was the son of a mill worker (Source: GRONI D/1871/48/1007/8/286 Belfast Urban 2).
b: 28/3/1862 d: 31/1/1943
Calum's and Jamie's three times great grandfather - see
b: 18/11/1864 d: after 1881
William was born on 18 NOV 1864 at 86 Henry Street, Belfast. He was noted as the son of a millworker,
with his mother given as the informant on 7 DEC 1864 (Source: GRONI U/1864/48/1007/1/338 Belfast Urban 2).
William worked in life as a shipwright and boilermaker, and is located at 82 Marsh Street in
Barrow in Furness, Lancashire, in the 1881 English census (RG11/4291/55/p.11).
William married Margaretta McCall by license
on April 27th 1885 at Saint Paul's Church of Ireland in the parish of Shankill, Belfast.
At the time he was resident at 16 Bentick Street and was a 22 year old ship plater. His father was Thomas Graham, a reeling
master. Margaret was 21 and noted as the daughter of pork cutter John McCall, resident at 27 Israel Street. The witnesses
were George Subman and Margaret Ferguson, and the minister Rev C. Scott. (Source: RootsIreland).
In the 1901 street directory for Belfast, William was listed as resident at 7 Shandon Street. In the
census for the same year, William was noted as a 36 year old boilermaker, born in Belfast, able to read and write, no knowledge
of the Irish language and Church of Ireland by way of religious persuasion. Margaret was noted as 35 and from Belfast, whilst
several children were also listed. 13 year old daughter hester was a biscuit packer, 11 year old Thomas was
a scholar, 10 year old John was a scholar, as were 8 year old Margaret, 6 year old Maryann
and 4 year old William. All were born in Belfast, and all could read and write except for Margaret, who could
only read, and the two youngest, who could do neither.
On June 15th 1904 William's wife Margaret passed away, though the certificate does not list a reason
for her death. At the time of her death, Margaret was 39 and lived at 32 Ballynure Street, Belfast. From family burial papers
held by Thomas Graham's granddaughter Renee Fisher, it is known that Margaret
was buried in the Graham family plot at the City Cemetery on the 18th. The costs of her burial was 7s 6d, as noted on her
death entry, and the owner of the grave was stated to be William Graham, which would seem to confirm that Thomas was by now
In the 1907 street directory for Belfast, William was still listed at 32 Ballynure Street, and as
a boilermaker. In the 1911 census, William was still on Ballynure Street, though by now at number 17. He was listed as a 45
year old boilermaker and a widower, born in Belfast City, and could read and write. Also present were his three daughters
Hessie, Margaret and Mary, and son John. The census also records that
William had eight children, with seven still alive in 1911.
It is not yet known what became of William after this.
CHILDREN of WILLIAM GRAHAM and MARGARET McCAULL:
Hester was born on August 8th 1887 at 33 Killarney Street in Belfast, Urban District 3. Her father
was noted as William Graham, a plater, and mother Margaret McCaull. Margaret was the informant to assistant registrar S. Mercer
(Source: GRONI U/1887/49/1007/67/490 Belfast).
In the 1901 census, Hester was noted as residing at 14 Ballynure Street with her family, and
as being a biscuit packer. In a 1901 street directory, Hester (Hessie) was noted as residing at 14 Ballynure Street, Belfast.
She was still there in the 1910 directory.
Known more colloquially as 'Hessie', she was then listed in the 1911 Belfast census at 17
Ballynure Street, Clifton, and as a biscuit packer at the local factory. She was born in Belfast, and could read and write.
b: abt 1889
Thomas was born in about 1889 in Belfast, and was with his family in the 1901 census at Shandon Street,
where he was noted as a scholar.
John was born on 5 OCT 1890 in Belfast, Co. Antrim, Ireland (Source: GRONI U/1890/49/1007/76/383 Belfast).
In the 1901 census John was noted as a ten year old scholar living with the family at Shandon
In the 1907 street directory for Belfast, John was noted as a labourer residing at 14 Ballynure
Street, having taken over the occupancy from his sister Hessie Graham, his sister. John was recorded
in the 1911 Belfast census at 17 Ballynure Street, Clifton, and as a machine tender at a factory. He was born in Belfast,
and could read and write.
Maggie was born on 18 MAY 1892 in Belfast, Co. Antrim, Ireland (Source: GRONI U/1892/49/1007/81/324
In the 1901 census she is noted as Margaret, an eight year old scholar living with the family at Shandon
Also as Margaret she was further recorded in the 1911 Belfast census at 17 Ballynure Street, Clifton,
and as a flax spinner at a mill. She was born in Belfast, and could read and write.
Mary Ann Graham
Mary was born on 1 AUG 1894 in Belfast, Co. Antrim, Ireland (Source: GRONI U/1894/48/1007/59/183
In the 1901 census, as Maryann she was noted as a six year old scholar living with the family
at Shandon Street, Belfast.
Mary was further recorded in the 1911 Belfast census at 17 Ballynure Street, Clifton, and as a flax
doffer at a mill. She was born in Belfast, and could read and write.
William was born on 21 MAY 1896 in Belfast, Co. Antrim, Ireland (Source: GRONI U/1896/48/1007/65/140 Belfast).
In the 1901 census William was noted as a four year old scholar living with the family at Shandon Street, Belfast.
Ellen Morrow Graham
b: 10/4/1898 d: 28/5/1899
Ellen was born on April 10th 1898 at 7 Bentinck Street, Belfast. Her father William was a boilermaker, and her mother
was Maggie McCall. The informant was Mary Ann Maginess.
Ellen tragically died in infancy on 28 MAY 1899, aged just one year and a month, at 51 Conlon Street. She was buried
in the Graham family plot at City Cemetery, in lair B512 (Source: Belfast City Council burials database).
Albert was born on 21 OCT 1901 in Belfast, Co. Antrim, Ireland (Source: U/1901/48/1007/83/265 Belfast).
b: 22/2/1871 d: 18/8/1938
Wilhelmina was born at 38 Ship Street, Belfast, Ireland on February 22nd 1871, and christened
at St. Anne's Church of Ireland in the Shankill by the Reverend Henry Alexander Burrowes on March 31st just a few weeks later.
Her father was listed as Thomas Graham, a reeling master, whilst her mother was Eliza Taylor (Source: RootsIreland).
Wilhelmina is located as a scholar at 82 Marsh Street in Barrow in Furness, Lancashire, in the
1881 English census (Source: 1881 E&W RG11/4291/55/p.11).
On 30 APR 1898 Wilhelmina, aged 26 and by then a stitcher, married 22 year old joiner James
Campbell, son of James Campbell, joiner. James was resident at 10 Broadbent Street, Belfast, whilst
Wilhelmina, noted as daughter of Thomas Graham, reeling master, was resident at 131 Nelson Street. The marriage
was performed at St. Anne's Church of Ireland, after license, and the witnesses were James Carson and Lilly D. Jackson (Source:
GRONI M/1898/B1/418/92/153 Belfast).
The 1901 census notes the couple resident at Hillman Street, in Belfast's Dock Ward. Wilhelmina was
aged 27, from Belfast City, Presbyterian and able to read and write. Her husband James was aged 23, a joiner, Presbyterian,
also able to read and write, but from Co. Tyrone. Also present was their 2 year old son James, born in Belfast
(Source: National Archives of Ireland 1901 census).
The 1911 census reveals that Wilhelmina was now residing at 4 Moyola Street, in the Duncarin ward
of Belfast. She was noted as aged 39, from Belfast, Presbytyerian, able to read and write, 13 years married and the mother
of six children, all of whom were still alive. James was aged 33, a joiner in the shipyard, from Tyrone, and there were six
children present, all from Belfast - 12 year old James (scholar), 9 year old Norman
(scholar), 7 year old Violet (scholar, unable to read or write), 5 year old William (scholar,
unable to read), 3 year old Robert and 1 year old Bessie (Source: National Archives of Ireland
James died aged 56 on 17 MAY 1934 in Belfast, and was buried in City Cemetery two days later in lair
K2 267. His last address was 95 Deerpark Road in the city. Wilhelmina died four years later on 18 AUG 1938, and was buried
two days later in the same lair. Her last residence was also noted as 95 Deerpark Road (Source: Belfast City Council burials
CHILDREN of WILHELMINA GRAHAM and JAMES CAMPBELL:
James was born on 12 MAR 1899 in Belfast, Co. Antrim, Ireland (Source: GRONI U/1899/48/1007/74/365
The 1901 census noted James as resident with his parents at Hillend, Docks ward, Belfast. In 1911
he was noted at 4 Moyola Street, Duncairn ward, Belfast, as a 12 year old scholar.
Norman was born on 14 MAY 1901 in Belfast, Co. Antrim, Ireland (Source: GRONI U/1901/48/1007/81/493
The 1911 census noted Norman at 4 Moyola Street, Duncairn ward, Belfast, as a 9 year
Violet was born 24 APR 1903 in Belfast, Co. Antrim, Ireland (Source: GRONI U/1903/48/1007/88/188 Belfast).
The 1911 census noted Violet at 4 Moyola Street, Duncairn ward, Belfast, as a 7 year
William was born on 13 JUN 1905 in Belfast, Co. Antrim, Ireland (Source: GRONI U/1905/48/1007/95/80
The 1911 census noted William at 4 Moyola Street, Duncairn ward, Belfast, as a 5 year
Robert was born on 19 MAY 1907 at Belfast, Co. Antrim, Ireland (Source: GRONI U/1907/48/1007/100/291
The 1911 census noted Robert at 4 Moyola Street, Duncairn ward, Belfast.
Bessie was born on 17 SEP 1909 in Belfast, Co. Antrim, Ireland (Source: GRONI U/1909/48/1007/106/384
The 1911 census noted Bessie at 4 Moyola Street, Duncairn ward, Belfast.
b: 29/12/1911 d: 30/12/1911
This unchristened child of James and Wilhelmina was stillborn on 29 DEC 1911 in Belfast, Co. Antrim,
Ireland, and buried a day later at City Cemetery's Public Ground. The couple were resident at 128 Spamount Street. The child's
sex is not recorded on the Belfast City Council burials database.
28/3/1862 - 31/1/1943
Edwin was Calum's and Jamie's three times great
|Edwin, aged 76, and third wife Sarah Ann, taken in Belfast 1939 at his son Brian's wedding.
Edwin was born on March 28th 1862. Although this was some two years before statutory registration
commenced in Ireland, the date was recorded by his son Brian in documents which were discovered by his daughter
Renee following his death in 2007.
The earliest record discovered so far concerning Edwin is the 1881 census
for Barrow in Furness, England, where he was listed as a 19 year old shipwright living at 82 Marsh Street, the house of his
father Thomas and mother Eliza. Also present were his younger brother William
and sister Wilhelmina. His next door neighbours were the family of his sister Annie, married
to Samuel Lunn and with five children (Eng 1881 census: Barrow, ED23, RG11, piece 4291, folio 55, p.11).
Edwin married three times in his lifetime, the first time to Florence
Teresa Halliday, on June 27th 1881. In this record Edwin is again noted as a 19 year old riveter from 82 Marsh Street, and
the marriage took place at Trinity Presbyterian Church, Barrow-in-Furness. The minister was the Reverend William Ferguson,
and the witnesses were Samuel and Annie Lunn, his sister and brother-in-law (GROEW:
M 1881 Q2 Vol 8e p.119).
With Florence he had seventeen children, though only eight of these survived
infancy. Not long after their marriage the couple moved to Partick in Scotland, where Edwin would have taken up work in the
shipyards - in the birth certificate of their son Edwin, born in February 1884, Edwin senior is again listed as
a rivetter. Within the next two years the family were back in England, likely in Barrow again, where in approximately 1886
another son, Robert was born. From 1888, the family appear to have resided mainly in Belfast, although it is believed that
Edwin may have travelled at one point to Passage West shipyard in Cork, Ireland, for a brief period for work.
From Edwin's granddaughter Renee Fisher, it is known
that he regularly travelled from one side of the Irish Sea to the other to take up shipbuilding work at both Belfast and Barrow-in-Furness.
At one stage in his life he also travelled to Boston in the US state of Massachussetts to find work in the shipyards, but
returned after an unknown period away.
In 1890 Edwin is listed in the Belfast and Ulster Street Directory as residing
at 12 Garden Street in Belfast. The birth record for his son Thomas on 30 JUL 1891 lists the family residence as 44 Upper
Canning Street, and the 1892, 1894 and 1895 directories confirm that they stayed here for a while. By 1896 Edwin
had relocated with his family to 35 Upper Canning Street.
The 1901 street directory for Belfast records Edwin at number 35
Upper Canning Street, but the 1901 census has the family listed as living
at 30 Upper Canning Street. In this Edwin was recorded at Upper Canning Street as a 39 year old married steam
vessel rivetter, born in Belfast, and Church of Ireland by religion. His 37 year old wife Florence was noted
as Church of Ireland and as born in Gibraltar. Also present were eight children: 17 year old steam vessel rivetter Edwin,
15 year old Robert, 13 year old John, 11 year old William, 9 year old Thomas,
7 year old Ernest, 6 year old Florence and 4 year old Gerald. All were
scholars, and all could read and write, with the exception of Florence, who could only read, and Gerald, who could do neither.
All were also born in Belfast except for Edwin junior, born in Glasgow, and Robert, born in Lancashire. Robert was also noted
as being deaf and dumb.The family were still there by January 1905, as
that address was listed by the authorities for Edwin on his daughter Florence's death certificate, she having died tragically
at the age of ten from enteric fever.
In 1907, Edwin is recorded as living back at 35 Upper Canning Street in the
Belfast Street Directory, but by the 1910 directory, Edwin is found
to have relocated to 67 Duncairn Gardens. It is here that the family were recorded in the 1911 census for Belfast, with a
49 year old Edwin listed as a rivetter, able to read and write, and as an adherent of the Church of Ireland.
|Florence's grave at City Cemetry, Belfast
On September 18th 1911, Edwin's first wife Florence died, leaving him as
a widower. The cause of her death was chronic nephritis, basically a kidney disease, and from her statutory death register
entry, it is known that the family were still resident at 67 Duncairn Gardens. She was buried in Belfast's City Cemetery,
and it is noted in her death entry that she was Church of Ireland by way of religion. Edwin's great niece Renee
has grave papers dated September 20th 1911 concerning Florence's burial in the City Cemetery of Belfast, some two days
later. Renee very kindly visited the cemetery in January 2009 and located the grave (which also contains the couple's daughter
Florrie) and photographed the headstone to her grave which has unfortunately fallen over. On a subsequent visit in 2011,
Calum's and Jamie's father also visited the cemetery and took additional photos (see right).
The inscription on the headstone reads as follows:
The Beloved Wife of
Died 18th Sept 1911
Also FLORRIE their daughter
Died 3rd Jan 1905
A year later, Edwin signed the Ulster Covenant, on Saturday, September 28th 1912, also known as "Ulster
Day". This document was signed by almost a quarter of a million adult Protestant men, whilst a further quarter of a million
women signed an equivalent document, a declaration of loyalty to the Crown. Edwin signed the covenant at the North East Unionist
Association Rooms on Brougham Street, in the district of Duncairn. At this time, he was recorded as living at 70 Mountcollyer
Street, just off York Street in North Belfast. The fact that Edwin senior signed it, as opposed to his son Edwin, is
confirmed from the signature itself, which matches Edwin senior's signature on a letter to the Tank Corps in 1920 (see below).
His son Ernest also
signed the document(PRONI:D1327/3/4339).
BEING CONVINCED in our conscience that Home Rule would be disastrous
to the material well-being of Ulster as well as of the whole of Ireland, subversive to our civil and religious freedom, destructive
of our citizenship, and perilous to the unity of the Empire, we, whose names are under-written, men of Ulster, loyal subjects
of His Gracious Majesty King George V, humbly relying on the God whom our fathers in days of stress and trial confidently
trusted, do hereby pledge ourselves in solemn Covenant, throughout this our time of threatened calamity, to stand by one another
in defending, for ourselves and our children, our cherished position of equal citizenship in the United Kingdom, and in using
all means which may be found necessary to defeat the present conspiracy to set up a Home Rule Parliament in Ireland. And in
the event of such a Parliament being forced upon us, we further solemnly and mutually pledge ourselves to refuse to recognise
its authority. In sure confidence that God will defend the right, we hereto subscribe our names.
And further, we individually declare that we have not already signed
|Mountcollyer Street, Belfast - Feb 2006
Also from the same house was a signatory to the women's
equivalent of the Covenant, the Declaration of Loyalty - Matilda Graham. It has taken some time to establish
who this was, but thanks to a tip off from a contributor to Ancestry.co.uk (bobandmarie1971, in New South Wales), it has now
been established that this was in fact Edwin's second wife - though when she signed the Declaration of Loyalty, she was
in fact on the point of marrying Edwin, and was therefore not quite a Graham yet! Just two days after signing the covenant,
Edwin and Matilda Blair, daughter of John Blair and Mary Ann McMichael, married
on September 30th 1912 at Fortwilliam Presbyterian Church in Belfast, within the parish of Shankill. The witnesses to the
wedding were Charles and Sarah Richardson. Edwin was noted as a rivetter and a widower, whilst Matilda was
a spinster. Matilda was baptised in Lismoney, Moneymore, Co. Londonderry on March 13th 1871. William's father was Thomas
Graham, deceased, whilst Matilda's father was John Blair, also deceased (Source: GRONI M/1912/B1/511/7/55).
In the 1913 Belfast street directory, Edwin was again listed
at 70 Mountcollyer Street, with his job description given as a rivetter, and was almost certainly working at Harland and Wolfe
at this point, like his son, and may therefore have worked in the previous years on the Titanic.
On April 26th 1913 Edwin sailed to the United States with
his wfe Matilda and 9 year old son Harold, arriving at Ellis Island on May 5th. In the records Edwin was noted as being a
35 year old boilermaker from Belfast, and Matilda as a 30 year old housewife from Ballygowan. Their destination was to Brooklyn,
where they stayed with Edwin's brother-in-law John T. H. Walsh, at 912 40th Street. The
record also noted that Edwin's brother was his nearest relative in the country from 'whence he came', and that John was resident
at Lilliput Street, Belfast (Source: EllisIsland.org). Passage for the three was paid by Edwin's brother-in-law John J. H.
Walsh, based at 912 40th Street in Brooklyn. In the record Edwin is noted as having a fresh complexion with sandy hair
and blue eyes, and as being five feet six inches tall, whilst Matilda had a fresh complexion, fair hair and blue eyes, and
was five feet three inches in height. Harold was also noted as being fair haired and with blue eyes.
Just a few months later in September, Edwin's son Thomas
joined him in New York, where Edwin's address was now noted as 912 40th Street, Brooklyn - the address previously given for
Edwin's brother-in-law John Walsh. It is not known how long Edwin remained in the States, as a return manifest has as yet
to be located, but he was certainly back by late in 1914.
By 1914 Edwin and Matilda
had moved back to Bootle, near Liverpool, England. We know this for the simple tragic fact that Matilda died there of pulmonary
tuberculosis on December 17th 1914. Her body was conveyed by the Liverpool boat back to Belfast where she was then interred
at Belfast City Cemetery (section MI, class 2, number 939). Matilda's burial record, obtained from Belfast City
Council, notes that she had been residing at March Lane in Bootle, and that the grave was owned by the same Charles Richardson
who had witnessed her wedding. Matilda was survived by two children to Edwin, a boy and a girl.
In 1915 Edwin was still living in England, living at 7 Grey Street
in Bootle. It was from here that some of his sons went to war, signing up in different regiments. With two infants at least
in the house, Edwin soon remarried
for a third time, to a widow and mother of two by the name of Sarah Ann
. Her previous husband, James McLean Stitt
, had died in 1905 aged 29, just a
month before her second child had been born. The couple had married at Saint Patrick's Church of Ireland, Ballymacarrett, Knockbreda,
Belfast, on July 6th 1902 (source: Emerald Ancestors
website). At the time of James' death, Sarah-Ann was only 23, and was left to bring up her two young
children by herself for the next 10 years.
Sarah-Ann sailed from Belfast with her two small children aged 10
and 8 to Liverpool to be married to Edwin, and was fortunate to reach him alive. On the night
she sailed from Belfast to Liverpool in 1915, the Lusitania was sunk by German U-boats just off the south coast of Ireland
with a huge loss of life. The Lusitania had also been heading
for Liverpool docks. This dates her voyage to England to approximately May 7th 1915. After
joining the Grahams at 7 Grey Street, Bootle, Sarah Ann and Edwin were
married in West Derby registration district, Lancashire (1915 M Jul-Sep Vol 8B, p886), and shortly after had three children in Bootle. A note found
in Edwin's son's Brian's papers after his death in 2007 noted that Edwin had been living at 24 Irving
Street, Litherland, Liverpool, on 26th July 1916, when daughter Maureen was born, and that Edwin
was listed at that point as a Boilermaker (Journeyman).
On July 2nd 1919, Edwin was again listed as a riveter on his son Ernest's
marriage entry in the Belfast register.
On July 31st, Edwin wrote to the Tank Corps with regards to his son John's
medal entitlement. The following is the letter, in which Edwin mentions that his son was cuirrently at sea, in fact on his
way to the United States:
The family later returned
to Belfast in approximately 1923/1924, but at this point they were no longer Irish citizens, but Northern Irish citizens,
the island having been partitioned by the British just a couple of years prior to their return.
By this stage, Edwin and Sarah were heavily involved with the Ulster Christian Spiritualist Association, a highly controversial
body at the time with its beliefs in the power of mediums to contact the dead. It may well be that Edwin and Sarah became
interested in the discipline whilst living in England. The following article from the Irish Independent on Wednesday July
28th 1926 records a remarkable occurrence involving Edwin:
Wednesday, July 28th 1926
SPIRITUALISM IN BELFAST
Unusual scenes were witnessed at the Belfast city cemetery at a service
under the auspices Belfast Christian Spiritualists' Association. The service was held around the grave of Mrs M'Dermott, mother
of Mr John M'Dermott, medium of the Association, who died three weeks ago.
Upwards of a hundred Spiritualists were present. Some of them had cameras,
and photographs were taken, as an official stated, of the spirits of the departed friends of those around the grave. The service
was conducted by Mr M'Dermott, and consisted of prayers, singing, and an address.
Mr. Edwin Graham, secretary of the Association, said it was a very hard
thing to obtain spirit photographs, and he added that the plates would be developed in a day or two, and they would then see
if they had been successful. Mrs M'Dermott was a native of Glasgow, but had been in Belfast for the past year.
The story was also covered by Irish Times on the same day, in an almost word for word copy of the above:
Wednesday, July 28th 1926
Service in Belfast Cemetery
Our Belfast correspondent states that unusual scenes were witnessed at
a Service held yesterday at the City Cemetery under the auspices of the local Christian Spiritualists' Association. The Service
took place around the grave of Mrs McDermott, mother of Mr John McDermott, medium of the Association, who died about three
weeks ago. Upwards of a hundred spiritualists, some of them carrying cameras, wre present and during the singing photographs
were taken. Mr McDermott conducted the Service, which consisted of prayer, singing and an address.
Mr. Edwin Graham,
secretary of the Association, explained that the Service was purely evangelical, and that many photographs had been taken
with the object of photographing the spirits of departed friends of persons present at the grave. "It is a very hard thing,"
he added "to obtain spirit photographs". He added that when the photographs were developed, in a day or two, they would know
whether they had succeeded in their object. Mr Graham explained that a special Service for Mrs McDermott had been held previously
in the Hall. She was a native of Glasgow but had been in Belfast for the past year.
However, the Times also
followed up the story in August:
Wednesday 18th August 1926
PHOTOGRAPHS IN A CEMETERY
Belfast Spiritualists Claim
The photographs taken in Belfast City Cemetery during the burial of Mrs McDermaid, wife of
Mr John McDermaid, President of the Ulster Christian Spiritualist Association, with the object of recording the spirit forms
of relatives which were believed to be hovering over the grave, were produced in Belfast last night.
say our Belfast correspondent, are apparently out of focus. They show small white clouds over the people assembled round the
grave. Mr McDermaid claims that in the photographs he can see the spirit forms of three departed relatives. Mr Edwin Graham,
the Secretary of the Association, is convinced that he can see his brother. The Association invites inspection of the photographs.
It should be noted that in July 1926, John McDermott was also prosecuted in Belfast for fraud! The following
is to be found at the Glenravel Family History Project website's Belfast Timeline section:
John McDiarmad, of Ava Street, who is president of the Belfast Christian Spiritualist Association was
charged that he “did pretend to tell fortunes to deceive and impose on his Majesty’s subjects.” He was put
under bail of £10 for his future good behaviour.
Nor was the story confined to Ireland! In the Manchester Guardian, on the 28th July 1926 (p.9), we get some more detail
about the extraordinary meeting:
SPIRIT PHOTOGRAPH IN CEMETERY
(From our Correspondent)
The Belfast City Cemetery was the scene of a remarkable incident yesterday.
About one hundred members of the local branch of the Christian Spiritualists' Association gathered round the grave of one
of the members who died three weeks ago, and after a short service a dozen of the Spiritualists produced cameras for the purpose,
they said, of taking photographs of the spirits of the people interred in the graves around. While the cameras clicked hymns
In the history section of the current Belfast Christian Spiritualist Association (http://belfastspiritualistchurch.com/id18.html
), the following brief summary is listed, with what is believed to be a reference to Edwin's wife Sarah:
Spiritualism in Northern Ireland started amid the furore of religious and
political activity surrounding the covenant of 1912. Although war was brewing in Europe, a few people in Belfast were quietly
but earnestly seeking another very important aspect of human expression much frowned upon, especially in the intense
atmosphere that prevailed in a country of such deep religious feelings.
In the area of the Custom House steps, renowned for many years as the Speakers
Corner of Belfast, various people gathered to discuss almost every subject under the sun, those few initial pioneers of the
Spiritualist movement - Mr Morrison, Mr Moore, Mr McCormick and Mr Skelton got together to discuss the many aspects surrounding
They eventually rented a room in Victoria Street to study, practice and
investigate psychic phenomena, thus the Spiritualist movement was born in Belfast and Ireland.
Their little gatherings continued to grow as they merged with similar groups
to become known as the Belfast Spiritualist Alliance, holding regular Sunday meetings aswell as mid-week activities
in a top floor room at 39 High Street.
As interest in Spiritualism spread, they moved first to Chichester Street
and then to Central Hall in Rosemary Street where the group flourished until the property was bombed in the Easter Monday
air raid in 1941.
The Alliance then accepted an invitation from a group meeting at 45 May
Street which was functioning well under the leadership of a truly excellent Medium of high spiritual character, Sarah
Edwin eventually died at 39 Upper Frank Street, Belfast, on January 31st 1943, aged 80 years of age, and noted
as a boilermaker. The cause of death was myocarditis. His widow, Sarah, was the informant on 1 FEB, and was also noted
as resident at 39 Upper Frank Street (Source: GRONI D/1943/57/1007/80/244 Belfast Urban 11).
Edwin was buried in the City Cemetery on February 2nd at plot F2 (Class 4), number 145. The plot was previously
bought by Sarah Ann for her first husband's James Stitt's funeral on June 23rd 1905, and is shared also
by her niece May Greer who died at the age of just 17 hours. The cause of Edwin's death was again noted as myocarditis
senility, and he was again noted as a bolilermaker resident at 39 Upper Frank Street. The cost of his burial was 15 shillings
(Source: Belfast City Council burials database).
Sarah Ann survived in the city until her own death on November 1st 1967, aged 85, and was also later buried in the
same plot on the 4th. At the time of her death she was resident at 23 Wynchurch Road, Belfast.
CHILDREN of EDWIN GRAHAM and FLORENCE HALLIDAY:
b: 12/2/1884 d: 19??
Edwin was born at 11.50am on February 12th 1884 at 54 Merkland Street, Partick, Renfrewshire, Scotland.
His father was noted as a rivetter, married to Florence Halliday at Barrow-in-Furness on June 27th 1881. Florence registered
the birth on February 25th, at Partick (GROS B 1884 646/03 252).
In the 1901 Irish census, Edwin was noted with his family at Upper Canning
Street, Belfast, as a 17 year old steam vessel rivetter. He was unmarried, Church of Ireland and able to read and write. His
birthplace was noted as Glasgow (Source: National Archives of Ireland 1901 census).
In the 1911 census for Belfast, Edwin is again noted with his family
as a 27 year old brass moulder living at 67 Duncairn Gardens, a member of the Church of Ireland, and able to read and write.
His birthplace was recorded as Scotland, and his occupation as a rivetter (Source: National Archives of Ireland 1911 census).
On 16 JUL 1911, 27 year old Edwin married 23 year old Catherine Hamilton, daughter
of Abraham Hamilton, a tailor. Edwin was a rivetter, and son of Edwin Graham, boilermaker, and lived at 56
Gainsborough Drive, Belfast, whilst Catherine resided at 26 New Dock Street in the city. The marriage took place at the Mariners
Church of Ireland, was performed by Hedley Brownrigg after license, and the witnesses were Samuel Boyles
and Mary Jane Boyles (Source: GRONI M/1911/B1/413/7/144 Belfast).
CHILDREN of EDWIN GRAHAM and CATHERINE HAMILTON:
Edwin John Hartrick Graham
Edwin was born on 26 JUN 1912 at 13 Cosgrove Street, Belfast, Co. Antrim, Ireland. His mother was
Catherine Hamilton, and his father Edwin was noted as a rivetter, resident at the same address
- he also acted as the informant to the registrar on 18 JUL 1912 (Source: GRONI U/1912/48/1007/113/460 Belfast Urban
b: 1885 d: 19??
Robert was born in Lancashire, England, in approximately 1885, as noted
in the 1901 census for Belfast.
In the 1901 Irish census, Robert was noted with his family at Upper Canning
Street, Belfast, as a 15 year old scholar. He was unmarried, Church of Ireland and able to read and write. His birthplace
was noted as Lancashire (England). He was further noted as deaf and dumb.
In the 1911 census for Belfast, Robert was noted with his family as a 25
year old brass moulder living at 67 Duncairn Gardens, a member of the Church of Ireland, and able to read and write. He was
again noted as being deaf and dumb, and born in England.
It is believed that Robert married a girl by the name of Brown
and that the couple had a daughter, before Robert died, aged 40. He lived on Dock Street, Belfast and worked in life
as a copper print writing expert.
CHILDREN of ROBERT GRAHAM and (UNKNOWN) BROWN:
All that is known at present is that this child was female.
b: 19/9/1887 d: 19??
John, or Jack, as he was better known, was born at 98 Cosgrave Street, in Belfast, Ireland, on
September 19th 1887 and christened on October 2nd 1887. His father was noted as a rivetter (Belfast Urban 2, Roots Ireland).
In the 1901 Irish census, John was noted with his family at Upper
Canning Street, Belfast, as a 13 year old scholar. He was unmarried, Church of Ireland and able to read and write.
In the 1911 census for the city, John was noted as an unmarried 23 year old painter,
a member of the Church of Ireland, and able to read and write.
John was an enlisted soldier during the First World War, having joined the Army Service
Corps in Liverpool at the Old Haymarket on September 8th 1914. The Long, Long Trail website describes the Corps as follows:
The unsung heroes of the British army in the Great War -
the ASC, "Ally Sloper's Cavalry" - were the men who operated the transport. Soldiers can not fight without food, equipment
and ammunition. In the Great War, the vast majority of this tonnage, supplying a vast army on many fronts, was supplied from
England. Using horsed and motor vehicles, railways and waterways, the ASC performed prodigious feats of logistics and were
one of the great strengths of organisation by which the war was won.
In his attestation papers, John's age was listed as 26 years and 356 days, placing his
birth at 16 SEP 1887, and in Belfast. His occupation was noted as a painter and decorator, he was unmarried, had never
been an apprentice, had never been sentenced to prison, was Church of England by religion, and had never before been in the
armed forces. When enlisting, John took the following oath:
I, John Graham, swear by Almighty God, that I will be faithful
and bear true Allegiance to His Majesty King George the Fifth, His Heirs, and Successors, and that I will, as in duty bound,
honestly and faithfully defend His Majesty, His Heirs, and Successors, in Person, Crown, and Dignity against all enemies,
and will observe and obey all orders of His Majesty, His Heirs and Successors, and of the Generals and Officers set over me.
So help me God.
His medical examination papers show that John was five feet
three and a half inches tall, had a 33 inch chest, and vaccination marks on both his left and right arms (having been vaccinated
as an infant). His physical development was noted as fair. On a separate document, he was noted as having fresh complexion,
blue eyes, and brown hair. His next of kin was his fater Edwin, mistakenly listed as Edward, and resident at 56 Dryden Street,
His service papers show
that John joined the 2nd New Army, as part of the Army Service Corp's 106 Company, part of the 9th Divisional Train attached
to the 9th (Scottish) Division, on September 9th 1914, and on May 8th 1915 he was promoted to Lance Corporal.
On May 10th 1915, John embraked on the S.S. Maidon
from Southampton, arriving at Havre in France the following day, and from there to his first theatre of war, where
he worked as an office clerk. On July 22nd he joined 104 Company of the 9th (Scottish) Divisional Train. This division
was involved in some of the most notorious battles of the entire war, including the Battle of Loos (1915), the Somme Battles
of Albert, Delville Wood and Le Transloy (1916), the Arras Battles of Scarpe (1st and 2nd) and Passchendale (1917). It
is not yet known if or how much John was involved at or near the front, through on October 27th 1915, he got into a spot of
bother "in the field" for "having lost his way making own attempt to front", for which he was severely
From January 12th to 20th 1916, John was on leave, and again
from August 3rd to 15th in 1917, where he was still noted as part of 3 Company, 9th Divisional Train. On November 6th
1917, John was injured when a horse kicked him in the knee, sending him to hospital until the 24th, at which point he rejoined
The records are feint, and at some stage after this he voluntarily
asked to be reverted back to the rank of private. He was compulsorily transferred to the Tank Corps on January 7th 1918 and
on the 30th was noted as posted at the Depot. On February 23rd 1918 he was posted as a gunner to "Tanks No. 5 Ad. W.
R. Coy". On March 21st 1918 John was vaccinated, though the document is too faint to see against what! He was sent back to
Britain shortly after, sailing to Southampton on board S.S. Huntscraft on June 27th 1918, his total overseas service
in France having been 2 years and 242 days. A character reference on his file from this time states that he was of good
sobriety, reliable, intelligent, and a good clerk - "Pte Graham was a very reliable man and extremely trustworthy"
was the comment from Captain Walter, the officer in charge of the 9th Divisional Train. However, on July 2nd 1918, John
was deprived 8 days pay for having overstayed a leave of absence, as noted by the Captain of the Reserve Unit Tank Corps.
John was moved to "Tank 7d Btn" on November 16th 1918. On
November 20th 1918, John was again promoted to the rank of Lance Corporal, but from January 4th to 20th 1919, he was hospitalised
with the flu. On January 21st 1919 he was back at a Depot.
On March 29th 1919, John was demobilised and transferred
to Class Z, Army Reserve. His home address was recorded as 7 Gray Street, Bootle, Liverpool, but a note on his service record shows a
later address as 119 South Homan Avenue, Chicago, Illinois, USA, the first clue that showed John emigrating after the war.
Upon demobilising, John signed a form stating that he did not wish to make any claim regarding any disability that may have
been incurred during war service.
On May 7th 1920, John arrived at Ellis Island, New York.
He sailed on board the S. S. Celtic from Liverpool, and on the manifest was listed as a 32 year old unmarried painter who
could read and write in English. He was a British citizen, though Irish (born in Belfast), and was last noted as having resided
in Liverpool. The next of kin was noted as his father, Mr. E. Graham, 7 Gray Street, Bootle, Liverpool, England, and his intended
destination was 112 Sacramento Boulevard, Chicago, Illinois, the home of his brother Thomas. He paid for the ticket himself,
was carrying a sum of at least $50, and was intending to remain in the United States and to naturalise. He was not a polygamist
or an anarchist, and had no intentions of overthrowing the United States Government! He was in good health with
no disability, was five foot, six and a half inches tall, of fresh complexion, fair hair and blue eyes, and with no identifying
In August 1921, John obtained three medals for his military service, being the 1915
Star, the British War Medal and the Victory Medal.
Alexander William Graham
b: 7/9/1889 d: 1958/60
Alexander was more colloquially known as William thoughout his life. He
was born on September 7th 1889 in Belfast, at 12 Garden Street (Belfast Urban No.2), with his father noted
as Edwin Graham, rivetter, and his mother as Florence Halliday. Florence informed the registrar, signing herself as Florence
Graham. (The fact that he was christened Alexander William would seem to confirm that his mother's father was of the same
name, despite being noted in one record as William Alexander Halliday).
In the 1901 Irish census, William was noted with his family at Upper Canning
Street, Belfast, as an 11 year old scholar. He was unmarried, Church of Ireland and able to read and write.
In the 1911 census for Belfast, William was noted as an unmarried 21 year old boilermaker, a
member of the Church of Ireland, and able to read and write.
William grew up to become a plater/boilermaker and worked at Harland
and Wolfe. His brother Brian recalls that he lived at Lilliput Street in Duncairn and was married and had one son, named after
CHILDREN of WILLIAM GRAHAM and (UNKNOWN):
William lived in the Braniel Estate in Castlereagh, Northern Ireland.
b: 30/7/1891 d: 19??
Thomas, or Tom, as he was better known, was born on 30 JUL 1891 at
44 Upper Canning Street, Belfast, Co. Antrim, Ireland. His fatehr was noted as a rivetter and his mother Florence was
the informant to the registrar on 13 AUG 1891 (Source: GRONI U/1891/48/1007/50/157 Belfast Urban 2). Thomas was baptised on
Belfast on August 13th 1891, and was resident at 44 Upper Canning Street, Belfast, Co. Antrim, Ireland. His mother was the
informant to registrar J. Johnston (Roots Ireland).
In the 1901 Irish census, Thomas was noted with his family at Upper
Canning Street, Belfast, as a 9 year old scholar. He was unmarried, Church of Ireland and able to read and write.
In the 1911 census for Belfast, Thomas was noted as an unmarried 19 year old grocer, a member
of the Church of Ireland, and able to read and write.
On September 5th 1913, Tom arrived at Ellis Island in the United States, having crossed the Atlantic
from Liverpool on board the S.S. Adriatic. He was a 22 year old unmarried grocer, could read and write, was born in Belfast,
and for his nearest of kin in his home country, he listed his brother Edward Graham, residing at 190 Nelson Street, Belfast.
Tom's destination was Brooklyn, where he was going to stay with his father Edwin, who was residing at 912-40 Street in the
New York district. Tom had $24 to his name and it was his first trip to the USA. He was not a polygamist or anarchist,
and was not up for overthrowing the government. He was in good health, was not disabled, was five feet three inches tall,
had a fresh complexion, auburn hair and blue eyes, and had no distinguishing marks.
During the First World War, Tom was subject to the US military draft on 5 JUN 1917.
The surviving draft card records his address as 2414 Warwick Avenue, Chicago, Illinois, and his birth was confirmed as having
happened on 30 JUL 1891 in Belfast, Ireland. His occupation was a checker for the Border Milk Co. at Monroe and Rockwell.
He was of caucasian appearance, had red hair, and blue eyes, and was of medium height and build - he had no disabilities. Tom
had declared his intention to naturalise, and stated his nationality was now of the US, and he had no dependants requiring
support. His marital status was noted as single (Source: Ancestry US World War 1 Draft Registration cards 1917-1918, record
IL-1493580-4779, accessed 18 APR 2014)..
On May 7th 1920, Thomas was later noted as residing at 112 Sacramento Boulevard, Chicago, on the Ellis
Island immigration record of his brother John. In the 1920 US Federal Census for Illinois, Thomas is decribed
at the same address as being 28, alien (not naturalised), and born in Ireland, with his parents noted as having been
born in Ireland and Spain. His occupation was noted as a foreman in a papery (?) company. Thomas was married to Alice,
who was 25 and born in Illinois, with both parents listed as being French. Also present was Donald,
their son, aged 3 years and eleven months, and born in Illinois.
In 1930, the family are again found in Chicago, with Thomas mistakenly listed as a 36 year old man
born in New York. His 33 year old wife Alice is noted again as born in Illinois, but her father is this time German, and her
mother French. Thomas is now a salesman in laundry. Their son Donald was listed as 12 years old and born in Illinois.
In the 1940 US census, recorded on April 1st, we learn that although Tom and Alice were in Chicago
on April 1st 1935, they had now relocated to 4530 No. 27 Street, Milwaukee in Wisconsin, a rented property. 45 year old Tom
again noted his birthplace as New York, with 43 year old Alice again from Illinois. Tom was now a laundry manager, which he
had worked at for 52 weeks and had been paid $3120 (Source: Ancestry.co.uk).
CHILD of THOMAS GRAHAM and ALICE:
b: abt Feb 1916
In the 1920 US Federal census Donald was noted as aged 3 years and 11 months, and as having been born
in Illinois, USA (likely in Chicago). The census was recorded over a month from jan 5th 1920, so it is presumed that Donald
was born in about Feb 1916.
b: 20/5/1893 d: 7/2/1894
Albert was the first of two twins to be born to Edwin and Florence on 20 MAY 1893 at 44 Upper Canning
Street, Belfast, Co. Antrim, Ireland. In his brother Ernest's birth certificate their father was noted as a rivetter,
and their mother was the informant. Ernest was born at 7.30am, but the sequence of the record entries numbering shows that
he was the second twin born that day (Source: GRONI U/1893/48/1007/55/331 Belfast Urban 2).
Albert tragically died in infancy at the age of just 8 months, at 44 Upper Canning Street. He was
buried a day later at Belfast City Cemetery in lair B 512 (Source: Belfast City Council burials database).
b: 20/5/1893 d: 23/8/1942
Calum's and Jamie's great great grandfather -
b: 19/3/1895 d: 3/1/1905
The existence of Florence first came to light from a family grave paper, and from a
Florence, more colloquially referred to as Florrie, was born on 19 MAR 1895 at 35
Upper Canning Street, Belfast, Co. Antrim, Ireland. Her father Edwin was noted as a rivetter, and the informant to the registrar
on the 28th was a Maggie Davidson, present at the birth, who lived at 31 Upper Canning Street (Source: GRONI U/1895/48/1007/61/170
Belfast Urban 2). Florrie was baptised on March 28th 1895 (Source: UHF births/baptisms).
In the 1901 Irish census, Florence
was noted with her family at Upper Canning Street, Belfast, as a 6 year old scholar. She was Church of Ireland and able to
read and write (Source: National Archives of Ireland, 1901 Census).
Florence died tragically at the age of ten on January 3rd 1905 from enteric fever in
January 1905. She was buried in the Graham family plot at Belfast City Cemetery on January 4th, and was joined in the same
plot (lair B513) in 1911 by her mother. At the time of Florrie's death she was resident at 30 Upper Canning Street.
The inscription on the stone reads:
The Beloved Wife of
Died 18th Sept 1911
Also FLORRIE their daughter
Died 3rd Jan 1905
b: 11/3/1897 d: 19??
Gerald was born on March 11th 1897 in 35 Upper Canning Street, Belfast,
County Antrim, Ireland and baptised on April 22nd 1897. His mother was the informant to the registrar (Roots Ireland).
In the 1901 Irish census, Gerald was noted with his family at Upper
Canning Street, Belfast, as a 4 year old scholar. He was Church of Ireland and able to read and write.
In the 1911 census for Belfast, Gerald was noted as a 15 year old messenger, a member of the
Church of Ireland, and able to read and write.
|Gerlad's first ship, HMS Blenheim
On April 10th 1919 he joined the Royal Navy, spending an initial period
of training at HMS base Vivid II at Devonport, before taking his first assignment as a rating on board HMS Blenheim. On June
9th 1920 he was promoted to the role of stoker on board HMS Iron Duke, an occupation he maintained right through the
Second World War until the point when, according to family history, he was captured at Zeebrugge by the Germans
and spent the rest of the war as a POW.
The National Archives in England hold a service card for the first twelve
years of his service, and provide a wealth of information on Gerald's early naval career. He was described as being five foot
five inches in height, with a 35 inch chest, blonde hair and blue eyes, with a scar on his forehead above his nose, and faint
tattoo marks on his hands and arms.
A list of ships on which Gerald served is then listed:
HMS Vivid II base, Devonport - Apr 10th 1919 to May 28th 1919
HMS Egmont - May 29th 1919 to Jan 14th 1920
HMS Iron Duke - Jan 15th 1920 to Mar 8th 1921 (becoming a stoker on June 9th 1920)
HMS Vivid II base, Devonport - Mar 9th 1921 to Aug 14th 1921
HMS Blenheim (Torch) - Aug 15th 1921 to Sept 11th 1921
HMS Diligence - Sept 12th 1921 to Aug 31st 1922
HMS Egmont - Sept 1st 1922 to May 31st 1923
HMS Diligence - June 1st 1923 to June 30th 1923
HMS Egmont - July 1st 1923 to August 12th 1923
HMS Woolwich - Aug 23rd 1923 to Aug 29th 1923
HMS Vivid II base, Devonport - Aug 30th 1923 to Oct 23rd 1923
HMS Glorious (Dartmouth) - Oct 23rd 1923 to Jan 31st 1924
HMS Dartmouth - Feb 1st 1924 to May 27th 1924
HMS Thunderer - May 28th 1924 to Sept 26th 1924
HMS Vivid II base, Devonport - Sept 27th 1924 to Jan 5th 1925
HMS Carysfort - Jan 6th 1925 to Sept 7th 1925
HMS Cornus - Sept 5th 1925 to Jan 5th 1927
HMS Vivid II base, Devonport - Jan 6th 1927 to at least Jan 1st 1929 (when his record was transferred)
There are also listed annual appraisals for his character and ability, recorded on December 31st
of each year between 1919 and 1928. Every one of them records that he had very good character, and his ability from 1921 to
1925 was recorded as 'superior', with 'satisfactory' noted for the other years. He was also paid a war gratuity whilst on
board one of his two tours on HMS Egmont.
Gerald's brother Brian
recalls meeting him when his ship HMS Malaya docked in Bangor Bay in 1936.
Family tradition has it that Gerald
married a woman called Ellen (Nellie) Yardley in Litherland on Merseyside, and then returned to live in the
Sydenham area of Belfast. A Gerald Graham is noted as having married a Mary E. Yardley in West Derbyshire
in the first quarter of 1921 (Source: FreeBMD.org.uk GRO M 1921 Q1 Vol. 8b p.337 W. Derby).
A Gerald Graham, boilerman, is noted in the PRONI wills database as having died on 28 NOV 1965,
with a grant of probate made on 15 DEC 1965 to a Gerald Graham, clerk. His address was 151 Park Avenue, Sydenham, and he died
at Musgrave Park Hospital, Belfast. He left estate to the value of £929 8s (Source: PRONI Will calendars 1858-1965 database).
b: 24/3/1899 d: 24/3/1899
This unnamed child was stillborn and was buried in the Graham plot at City cemetery, lair B512 on
March 24th (Source: Belfast City Cemetery).
b: 5/3/1900 d: 10/3/1900
Harold unfortunately did not survive for very long. He was born in Belfast in early March 1900 and
baptised on March 19th 1900, resident at 35 Upper Canning Street, Belfast. His father informed the registrar (Roots Ireland).
Harold died aged just ten days on March 15th 1900, and was buried two days later in the Graham
family plot at the City Cemetery, in lair B 513.
Frederick Davison Graham
b: 6/7/1901 d: 21/3/1902
Frederick was born on July 6th 1901 at 35 Upper Canning Street, belfast (Urban No.2)
and later baptised on July 29th. His father was noted as Edwin Graham, rivetter, and his mother as Florence Halliday, though
Florence appears to have witnessed the registration, signing herself as Florence Graham.
Frederick tragically did not survive long, dying at the age of seven month on March
21st 1902 at 35 Upper Canning Street, Belfast. He was buried in Belfast City Cemetery on March 24th 1902, in lair B 513, as
noted on a lair paper held by Renee Fisher, his niece, and on the Belfast City Council cemetery database website.
b: abt 24/10/1903 d: 28/11/1964
This second son called Harold was born at 35 Upper Canning
Street, Belfast, and baptised on October 24th 1903. His mother was the informant to the registrar (Roots Ireland).
In the 1911 census for Belfast, Harold was noted as an 8 year old scholar, a member
of the Church of Ireland, and able to read, but not yet write.
In April 1913 Harold accompanied his father Edwin and stepmother Matilda on a voyage across the Atlantic
to New York, to stay with Edwin's brother John in Brooklyn. It is not known how long Harold was in the US, but his parents
were certainly back in Britain by late 1914.
Harold was a member of the Royal Scots Fusiliers in about 1925/26. In Jul-Aug 1926 he married
Sarah Jane Boyd in Portsmouth, England (GRO M 1926 Q3 Vol 2B p.1240 Portsmouth). In Oct-Dec 1926 the couple
had their first child, Florence Graham, at Portsmouth.
From his Scottish death certificate in 1964, it is known that Harold eventually became
an assistant laboratory assistant to the Natural Coal Board, and was again noted as being married to Sarah Jane Boyd.
He was resident in Old Cumnock and died at 64 Bryce Avenue at 0.30am on November 28th 1964. His father was listed as Edwin
Graham, boilermaker (deceased), and his mother as Florence Halliday (deceased). No cause for his death was listed. The informant
to the Cumnock registrar on December 3rd was his daughter Florence, residing at 46 Bodney Road, Newport, Monmouthshire (GROS:1964/610/A/34).
CHILDREN of HAROLD GRAHAM and SARAH JANE BOYD:
b: Oct-Dec 1926
Florence was born Oct-Dec 1926 in Portsmouth (GRO B 1926 Q4 Vol 2B p.638 Portsmouth).
Florence was resident at 46 Bodney Road, Newport, Monmouthshire, Wales in November 1964,
at which point she visited Scotland to record her father's death in the Cumnock register.
b: abt 29/12/1904 d: 1/1/1905
George was born at 35 Upper Canning Street and baptised on December 29th 1904. He was the twin
of his sister Marion (E299 p.60). His father was the informant (Roots Ireland).
George only survived for two weeks, dying at 35 Upper Canning Street on 1 JAN 1905. He was buried
the following day at the Belfast City Cemetery public burial ground (Source: Belfast City Council burials databse).
b: abt 29/12/1904
Marion was born at 35 Upper Canning Street and baptised on December 29th 1904. She was the twin
of her brother George (E299 p.60). Her father was the informant (Roots Ireland).
It is not yet known what became of Marion.
b: 1??? d: ????
Edward was listed in a passenger manifest as brother to Thomas Graham when
he sailed over the Atlantic to New York in 1913, with Ned's address in Belfast given as 190 Nelson Street.
According to Renee Edward was an enlisted soldier during the
First World War. After the war ended, he came back to Belfast and lived in the York Street and Docks area. He married
and had at least one son.
CHILDREN of EDWARD GRAHAM and UNKNOWN:
All that is known of Edward is that he was known more colloquially as Eddie.
CHILDREN of EDWIN GRAHAM and Matilda BLAIR:
b: Bet 1912-1914
The name of this male child has as yet to be established, though it is believed he was born in Belfast. It is
possible that it was a Samuel Blair Graham born in Belfast Q3 1913, but that is simply working on the coincidence of both
Blair and Graham appearing in the same name.
b: Bet 1912-1914
The name of this female child has as yet to be established, though it is believed she was born in Belfast.
CHILDREN of EDWIN GRAHAM and SARAH-ANN
b: 26/7/1916 d: Oct 2009
Maureen is believed to have been born on 26th July 1916, as recoirded in notes kept by her
brother Brian which were discovered by his daughter Renee following his death in 2007.
Maureen was later married to a gentleman by the surname of Cavan, with whom
she had two children. She lived in Belfast, Northern Ireland, finally passing away in October 2009, aged 93.
CHILDREN of MAUREEN and (UNKNOWN) CAVAN:
Terence currently lives with his family in Carrickfergus, County Antrim, Northern Ireland.
b: 1918 d: 21/8/2007
|Brian and his wife Eileen in Belfast on their wedding day in 1939.
Brian was born in Bootle, Merseyside, in the second quarter of 1918 (GROEW West Derby, Lancashire,
Vol 8b, p.561). He was christened at St. Leonard's Church on August 3rd of that year, and then returned with his family to
Belfast in 1923/24 at the age of about 5 or 6.
As a youngster, Brian visited Calum's great great grandfather Ernest Graham
and his wife Charlotte at their home in Esmond Street, Belfast, and remembers playing on the street with
Ernest junior, the boys' great grandfather.
Brian grew up to become a draughtsman at Harland and Wolfe and joined the
Trade Union movement, becoming an official within it. He married Alice Eileen Mary (1920 - 11/3/2003)
and had three daughters, and a son, who tragically died in infancy.
Brian spent his retirement living in Belfast, and at the age of 70 he completed
a degree at Queens University Belfast. His wife Eileen tragically passed away before him on 11 MAR 2003, and at the time was
noted as being resident at Apartment 105, The Belgravia, Lisburn Road
Brian sadly passed away at home in Belfast, surrounded by his family, on August
21st 2007, and was duly buried two days later in Roselawn Cemetery in lair P 3121, where his wife Eileen had previously
been buried on March 13th 2003. He had been suffering from kidney, bowel and lung cancer, which had only discovered at
the start of the year. His residence at time of death was also Apt 105, The Belgravia, Lisburn Road.
We are forever indebted to Brian for the information that he was able to share with us, without
which the Graham side of our tree would never have been anywhere near as developed.
|Brian's grave in Roselawn Cemetery
CHILDREN of BRIAN GRAHAM and EILEEN (UNKNOWN):
i) Brian Graham
b: 6/1/1940 d: 18/4/1940
Brian was the couple's first born, but tragically died in infancy on 18 APR 1940 in Belfast,
Northern Ireland, the cause being gastro-enteritis, of which there was a epidemic at the time. According to Brian's sister
Renee, his death broke his parents' heart.
Brian was buried at lair M1 94 in the City Cemetery. His last place of residence was noted
as the Ulster Hospital and 39 Upper Frank Street, Belfast. (Source: Belfast City Council burials site).
ii) Eileen Graham
Eileen is married to Thomas Elkins and has two children, the family currently
residing in Norwich, England.
CHILDREN of EILEEN GRAHAM and THOMAS ELKINS:
iii) Renee Graham
Renee currently resides in Drumbeg, Northern Ireland. She is
married to Harry and has two daughters, and currently works as a CAD/IT manager.
Renee contacted Calum's and Jamie's father in September 2006 and it is from her that much
of the Graham family's earlier years have been worked out, for which we are eternally grateful.
CHILDREN OF RENEE GRAHAM and HARRY:
Karen is married to Thomas, better known as Tommy, and
CHILDREN of KAREN and THOMAS:
Kelsey lives in Northern Ireland and regularly competes in the Scottish Open figure skating
Jamie currently resides in Northern Ireland.
Lara currently resides in Northern Ireland.
Julie has two children.
CHILDREN of JULIE:
iv) Joan Graham
Joan lives in Carnmoney, County Antrim, Northern Ireland. She is married to Ronald
and has five children.
CHILDREN of JOAN GRAHAM and RONALD:
b: Q3 1920 d: 25/8/1990
Desmond was born in the 3rd quarter of 1920 in West Derby, Lancashire (GROEW 1920 Q3 W. Derby
Vol 8b p.735).
Desmond grew up to become a chief engineer in the Merchant Navy. Oner voyage from Belfast
to New York is noted as having arrived in the the States on Feb 10th 1943, with Desmond noted at that stage as a 5th Engineer
who had signed up for a year's service on the 'Empire Jet'. The record notes Desmond was five feet eight and a half inches
in height, and that he weighed 175 pounds (Source: Ancestry.co.uk).
It is known that Desmond married somebody called Bertha, who was born
in about 1922, and who passed away on 14 FEB 1984 at 5 Grand Parade, Belfast, Northern Ireland. Bertha was subsequently buried 2
days later at Roselawn Cemetery in lair S 2788.
Desmond sadly died of lung cancer on August 25th 1990 and was buried 3 days later at
Roselawn Cemetery in lair S 2788. His address at time of death was 61 Rosepark, Dundonald, Belfast.
|Desmond's and Bertha's gravestone at Roselawn
CHILDREN of DESMOND GRAHAM and BERTHA (UNKNOWN):
Little is yet known of Colin, except for the fact that he trained to become a doctor.
b: 7/12/1926 d: 7/12/1926
This unnamed daughter was tragically stillborn on December 7th 1926, and buried 2 days later
at Belfast City Cemetery in the Public Ground. The child had been born at Ulster Hospital, Templemore Avenue. An address of
54 Mount Street is given in the burial record on Belfast City Council cemetery website - possibly Edwin's and Sarah's address
at the time.
20/5/1893 - 23/8/1942
Ernest was Calum's and Jamie's great great grandfather.
|Ernest in the Royal Engineers in the Second World War
Ernest was born at 7.30am on 20 MAY 1893 at 44 Upper Canning Street in Belfast, Co. Antrim, Ireland,
the twin of Albert. His father Edwin was noted in his civil birth record as being a rivetter,
and his mother Florence was the informant to the registrar on 5 JUN 1893 (Source: GRONI U/1893/48/1007/55/331
Belfast Urban 2).
In the 1901 census Ernest was noted as a 7 year old scholar residing with his
parents at 16 Upper Canning Street in Belfast. He could read and write, and was Presbyterian by way of religion. Ten years
later Ernest was noted as a 17 year old painter resident at 34 Duncairn Gardens in the city, again with his family (Source:
National Archives of Ireland 1901 and 1911 censuses).
The next record of Ernest concerns his signature to the Ulster Covenant on Saturday,
September 28th 1912, also known as "Ulster Day" (see above). He signed the document at the North East Unionist Association
Rooms on Brougham Street, in the district of Duncairn. At this time Ernest was recorded as living at 70 Mountcollyer Street,
just off York Street in North Belfast (PRONI:D1327/3/4339).
Ernest married Charlotte
Harper Montgomery on July 2nd 1919 at St. Matthew's Church of Ireland in Belfast, just three years prior to the partition
of Ireland. At the time of the wedding, Ernest was resident at 7 Grey Street, Bootle (on Merseyside, England), whilst Charlotte
lived at 14 Esmond Street. The officiating minister was the rector, Robert Walker, whilst the witnesses were Hugh
Gibson and Lilian McCracken.
For most of his life,
Ernest worked as a painter for Harland and Wolfe shipyard in Belfast. Between
1934 and 1942, he and Charlotte lived at 14 Esmond Street in Belfast, and after Ernest's death, Charlotte continued
living at the same house until her own death in 1974. Whilst living at Esmond Street Ernest was occasionally visited by his
younger brother Brian, who describes him as having been quite a responsible man who was very particular in the way that he
Ernest's granddaughter Cherie, grandmother of Calum and Jamie, recalled
how her grandfather Ernest and his wife Charlotte were both spiritualists, both being members of the Spiritualist
Church on the Shankill Road. However, this may be a confusion with Ernest's father Edwin, who was certainly
During the Second World War, Ernest signed up for the military, and signed up, it is believed,
with the Royal Engineers, though his service record has still to be confirmed. According to his granddaughter Eileen
Gamble in 2014, he fell ill during service and was forced to return home, where he subsequently died of cancer in
Ernest died in the
Royal Victoria Hospital in Belfast of acute pulmonary oedema and carcinoma of the lungs, at the early age of 49. His death
was registered at the General Registry Office in Belfast by his son John on 24th August 1942 (Belfast urban
district number 9, book 81). Ernest was buried in the City Cemetery's Glenisla Extension on August 25th, at lair V1 251. His
address at the time of death was 14 Esmond Street.
CHILDREN of ERNEST GRAHAM
and CHARLOTTE MONTGOMERY:
b: 17/3/1922 d: 23/10/1972
Calum's and Jamie's great grandfather - see below.
John M. Graham
b: after 1922
John was the second oldest and known as "Jackie" colloquially. John worked
at Harland and Wolfe shipyard in Belfast, and married Margaret "Meta" Kirker and had two children.
The following was discovered in 2014 about Jackie, thanks to contact with our cousin Eileen. Jackie died around 1980, and his wife Meta passed away after him, with both buried in Roselawn cemetery in Belfast."
The couple had two children, Maureen and Jackie junior - Jackie died in a car accident many
A photograph taken at the Belfast based wedding of his sister Irene to Stanley Gamble in the early 1950s includes Jackie standing
at the far right of frame, alongside his mother and brother Ernie.
Children of John GRAHAM and Margaret KIRKER:
John "Jackie" Graham
b: 19XX d: ????
All that is known of Jackie junior is that he was killed in a car accident.
Irene P. Graham
b: 23/8/1930 d: 22/10/1978
Irene was born on August 23rd 1930 in Belfast, where she was also subsequently raised. On her tweltfth birthday in 1942, her father Ernest passed away
from cancer, having returned home from the Continent, where he had been fighting with the British Army.
Irene grew up in Belfast and later went on to work as a floor supervisor
in Gallaghers cigarette factory in the city.
At some stage in the early 1950s, Irene married Stanley Gamble,
in Belfast. At the wedding her bridesmaid was Calum's and Jamie's great grandmother Martha Graham (nee Smyth), wife of Irene's brother Ernest, the boys' great grandfather. Also present at the wedding from
the Graham side were Irene's brothers Ernest and Jackie, and her mother Charlotte. Her nephew Billy
Graham, Martha's son, was also present.
|Irene's and Stanley's marriage in early 1950s, Belfast
The couple went on to have two daughters, Eileen and Lynne.
A huge thanks is due to Eileen, who contacted us in September 2014, and provided many useful photographs anbd updates on several
members of the Graham, Gamble and Montgomery family lines.
Irene eventually passed away aged just 48 on October 22nd 1978 at 14 Esmond Street, Belfast, and was
buried 3 days later at Roselawn Cemetery, near Castlereagh in east Belfast, in lair S 2187.
Irene's husband Stanley died the following year aged 50 on February 10th 1979 at 14 Esmond Street,
and was also buried 3 days later at Roselawn Cemetery in Belfast, in the same lair.
The headstone on Irene's and Stanley's grave bears the following simple inscription:
In loving memory of
our dear parents
22nd October 1978
10th February 1979
CHILDREN of IRENE GRAHAM and STANLEY GAMBLE:
b: early 1950s d: Jan 2013
Lynne was born in Belfast. She married Brian Sterling and
had a daughter, Leigh Anne, who subsequently married Kenneth and has three children of her
own - Nicole, Tre and Elisha.
After several years of illness Lynne passed away in January 2013.
Eileen was born in Belfast in the early 1950s. She is married to George,
originally from Edinburgh, and has a son, Stuart. She is currently living in Co. Antrim, Northern Ireland.
A huge thanks to Eileen for getting in touch in September 2014, afer spotting our post on the Belfast
Forum about the Graham family, made eight years ago. Thanks to Eileen we not only have more information on Calum's and
Jamie's great grandfather's family, but also many photos, for which we are very grateful for permission to use on this site.
|Lynne (left) and Eileen (right) photographed in 1958
b: after 1922
|Florrie Graham, date unknown
Florence, known moe colloquially as Florrie, was
the youngest of this branch of the Graham family. She worked as a personal secretary at Gallaghers cigarette factory in Belfast.
Florrie married a Londoner, Gordon White, and had
two children, Janice and Graeme. After Florrie and Gordon divorced, she returned to Belfast
with Janice and purchased a house in Esmond Street, across the road from her parents. After her sister Irene
died she returned to England, where it is believed that she settled in Camberley, Surrey.
Florrie's daughter Janice is believed to have married a gent with the
surname of Holmes and to have settled in Frimley, not far from her mother, but nothing more is known
of what became of this branch of the family as yet. Similarly nothing more is as yet known about Graeme.
It is unknown if Florrie is still alive at present.
Children of Florence GRAHAM and Gordon WHITE:
Believed to reside in England.
Current whereabouts unknown
17/3/1922 - 23/10/1972
Ernest was Calum's and Jamie's great grandfather.
Ernest was born at 14 Esmond Street, Belfast,
Northern Ireland, on March 17th 1922. The informant to the registrar on the 29th was a neighbour, Elizabeth
Patterson, who resided at 19 Esmond Street, and who was also present at the birth. In Ernest's birth entry,
his father was listed as a painter (GRONI:T9856/Belfast Urban No. 10/Bk 46/#450).
Ernest, more colloquially known as Ernie, worked
his apprenticeship as an electric welder at Harland and Wolff shipyards in Belfast. During the Second World
War, he could not join the British Army as his work was protected as a restricted trade, the government viewing his ability
to help build ships to be more of a priority than going to fight as a soldier.
On July 10th 1943, Ernie married Martha Smyth, daughter of William McKeever Smyth and Annie Evelyn Lesley Watton. Their first child, Ernest Graham, tragically died in 1943 shortly after birth, but the couple
went on to have another four children together. The couple settled in the town of Carrickfergus, nine miles north east of
Belfast on Belfast Lough, and according to his second son Billy, Ernie's local pub was in the town's North
In early years, Ernie's home church was St. Matthew's Church of Ireland near Esmond
St on the Shankill Road, although in later years he became an atheist. According to his son Billy, Ernest refused to join
the Orange Order and the Masonic Lodge, as he did not like secret or sectarian organisations. And according to his daughter
Cherie (Calum's grandmother), he was fascinated about outer space, just like Calum's father! Cherie also remembers that he
was interested in art, and that her mother always described Ernie as being a good artist himself.
Back in the Belfast shipyards, Ernie's dislike of religious bigotry led to his disagreement with Harland
and Wolff's policy regarding the treatment and employment of Roman Catholics in the predominantly Protestant workplace. One
of Ernie's closest friends in Belfast was a man called Michael, who was a Roman Catholic, and the religious
discrimination he found in the shipyards against his religion was enough to cause Ernie to leave to seek employment elsewhere
in England. He once told his son Billy that he would never work in Ireland again, because of such discrimination. And
he always referred to his homeland as Ireland, and not Ulster!
Ernie's daughter Charlotte, later
to be Calum's and Jamie's granny, has many fond memories of her father. She remembers how he always used to lift every
child in the house up and kiss them and hug them before he left for work, and remembers how he would never let anyone go to
bed with a dispute unresolved, believing that you should "never go to bed on a bad note". She also remembers that at their
house of 2 Chichester Square in Carrickfergus, Ernie built a small rockery in the back garden.
After seeking employment in England, Ernie and
Martha moved in approximately 1953 to South Africa, where Ernie had gained employment with a company called Wesso. They lived
in both Durban and Johannesburg for about three months, but when unrest in the country over apartheid became too much, they
were forced to leave the country and return to Ireland. Ernie's son Billy has vivid memories of being awakened in
the middle of the night to be evacuated from their home because of this unrest.
In the following year, another contract was
to take Ernie to Saudi Arabia, to work as a boilermaker for George Wimpey & Company Ltd on the Aden Petroleum
Refinery and Harbour Project there, though on this occasion Martha put her foot down, deciding to remain in Carrickfergus
with the family.
|Aden Petroleum Refinery and Harbour Project, from Wimpey News, April 1954
The Board of Trade passenger lists at the National
Archives in Kew (BT26) record Ernie's eventual return to London on September 10th 1954, with his address of future permanent
residence recorded as 2 Chichester Square, Carrickfergus. Ernie's job was listed as an electric welder on the document, and
he was stated to be a one class passenger, having sailed from Aden.
Accompanying Ernie back from Aden was a friend, Jimmy Foy,
from belfast who was married to a lady called Rita. In February 2011, Your Family Tree magazine celebrated its one hundredth
issue, and as a part of the proceedings I contributed a case study about my 2 x gt grandmother Florence Graham (nee Halliday).
A Carolynn Bianchi from Southampton recognised the names of Ernie and Martha from a small family tree diagram and has
since been in touch to explain that she was Jimmy's daughter. In her possession she had two letters written by Ernie after
his return from Aden, which she has very kindly given to me. The first was written shortly after the birth of Ernie's son
Michael in 1955:
same address 9/8/55
Sorry pal I havent written you sooner but enclosed please find
10 of the 13 reasons why I have been ashamed to write to you. I'll send the other two as soon as possible. The 13th reason
was that Martha has given birth to a baby boy & of all dates, it was born on the 12th July & I have been busy helping
with the housework.
I have started work in the Yard again Jim, & for the first
4 weeks Tommy Brown kept me tacking - probably because I was out of the Yard 5 years. I am now on piecework & have proved
I can still slash it as good as the rest. Martha got your postcard OK but is unable to answer it just yet.
She wants to know how Rita is getting on - no results yet?
I sold my camera yesterday Jim, for £45 & got Martha a
pram with the proceeds so I don't think I done a bad job by bringing it home from Arabia. It nearly broke my heart to part
with it but it just had to be done.
By the way, the Brooke Marine Eng Co. Ltd Lowestoft are looking
for welders & are paying around £27 per wk. 3 (7.30s) + Sunday on time rate, no piecework.
I'll sign off now Pal & apologise for not paying you back
a lot sooner.
I am, your nearly teetotal Ernie
P.S. Give my love to Rita.
In September 1955, Jimmy's wife Rita gave birth to
a daughter - Carolynn - and Ernie sent through another letter (undated, but between September and Christmas 1955):
2 Chichester Sq, Carrickfergus, Co. Antrim
Dear Jim & Rita,
I received the £ OK & for same I wish to thank
you both. I was a bit too late to send it to the Masonic but I hope they will accept it next month - if not, well they can
go to "Hades". I'm not worrying about them anyhow - they've never done anything for me so why should I care about them?
It's good to know that I have two real friends to whom
I can turn to though God knows I don't deserve anyone to think about me - I am too silly when I have money in my pocket &
I can't rest till I've blown the lot. Some day I shall learn a bit of sense.
I'm sorry I haven't answered your letter sooner but
I am on the nightshift & have only the weekend to do anything.
Jim, I have been working with old "Hammy" for the past
two months & he told me that he will see you if you are over for Xmas.
Have you had any word of a new contract yet? I received
word from Mathew Hall Ltd & was informed that they have have had too many applications for the project in Jamaica &
that I am out of luck, so that is that.
I am enclosing a photo of my latest off-spring - he
is now about 5 months old & weighs 16lb 4 ozs - nearly as heavy as me.
How about young Foy, how is she doing?
Well pals, this is all I have to say at the moment
except thanks again & I shall pay you back after Xmas so until I hear from you
I remain with itchy feet
Ernie's work overseas saw him away from
home for considerable periods at a time, and it was shortly after his time in Saudi that things were to deteriorate
in the marriage. According to Billy, his father returned home after a long period away to find that his wife had had two children
that were not his. Calum's grandmother Charlotte remembers that the couple had a meeting to discuss their future, at which
she was sent upstairs out of the way. The meeting did not resolve their situation and she recalls him leaving, never
to be seen again. Billy recalls that Ernie stayed in the town for a few more days after this, after which he then took
his things and left Ireland forever.
|Ernie, photographed in February 1969
Ernie subsequently went to Carlisle
in northern England to take up a further contract as a welder. Whilst here, he ended up having an affair with a woman
by the surname of Bains. Martha and Ernie soon after divorced.
Ernest then moved
to Cumberland in England, settling in the town of Egremont. It is not known whether he continued his relationship with
Mrs Bains, but it is known that he lived for a while at 76 Kings Drive in the town. In approximately 1954, however,
Ernie further moved south to Wales, taking up residency at the Alexandra Hotel in Pembroke Dock, where he remained a guest
for the next eighteen years.
On October 24th 1972, Ernie died tragically in an accident at Pembroke Dock
in Wales, whilst welding inside a huge oil container on the new Amoco terminal. Just prior to the accident, his
daughter Charlotte had started writing to him in Wales, and both she and her husband Colin Paton
had been on the point of going to visit him, but it was, however, too late.
The following articles
made the front page of the Haverfordwest edition of the Western Telegraph and Cymric Times
on Thursday, October
26th 1972, reporting the initial news of the accident:
Thursday, October 26th
TWO PLUNGE TO DEATH IN REFINERY ACCIDENT
Two men died after falling from scaffolding
on an oil storage tank under construction on the new Amoco Refinery site in Milford Haven on Tuesday morning.
The accident occurred at 10.55am. One
of the men died instantly, while the other initially survived the fall only to die in the ambulance while being rushed to
hospital in Haverfordwest.
Shortly after the accident workers at
the nearby Esso Refinery stopped work and walked off the site in sympathy with the relatives of the dead men, as did the men
on the Amoco site.
The dead men were employees of Procon,
the main contractors involved in the construction of the refinery, who employ the majority of the thousand construction workers
on the Robeston West site.
H.M. Coroner was immediately informed
of the fatalities and H.M Inspector of Factories was also advised, and is understood to conduct an investigation.
The men, one a welder, the other a steel
erector, fell a distance of 36 feet to the inside base of the steel tank after scaffolding on which they were standing collapsed.
Late yesterday afternoon, police at
Milford haven released the name of one of the men, Mr Trevor Phillips, a young man with a wife and child, of 52 Lindsway Park,
Cardigan Road, Haverfordwest.
Mr Phillips formerly resided with his
parents at St Isell’s Avenue, Merlins Bridge.
The other man who was named was Mr.
Ernest Graham, of the Alexander Hotel, Diamond Street, Pembroke Dock, where he had stayed for eighteen years.
Mr. Graham was very well known in the
town and was a popular figure in the R.E.O.C. and R.A.F.A. clubs. He had no relatives living locally but was understood to
be a divorcee with a married daughter.
Aged 48, he was a native of Ireland
and had spent part of his life in Egremont, Cumberland.
In the aftermath of Ernie's death, his son-in-law
Colin Paton was able to obtain leave from his naval base at Faslane in Helensburgh to travel to Pembroke
Dock to collect his personal effects from the Alexandra Hotel. At the same time, the following obituaries
were recorded in the Belfast Telegraph after Ernest's death:
Thursday October 26th 1972
GRAHAM - Oct 24, 1972 (result of an accident
in Wales), ERNEST, beloved son of Charlotte and the late Ernest Graham, 14 Esmond Street - deeply regretted.
- Oct 24, 1972 (result of an accident in Wales), ERNEST, deeply regretted by his sorrowing family circle, 10 Chichester Square,
Carrickfergus. In Heaven you rest, no worry or pain, God bless you daddy, till we meet again.
Shortly after, on Monday, December 11th 1972, an inquest
was held into the two deaths, and the Western Telegraph and Cymric Times of Thursday, December 14th again
reported the proceedings of the coroner and the jury's verdict into the inquest:
Thursday, December 14th
WELDING FAULT CAUSED MEN’S DEATHS, CORONER’S STATEMENT
A scaffolding clip which had not been
fully welded was said at a Milford Haven inquest on Monday to have been the cause of the accident in which two men fell 35
feet to their death at the Amoco Refinery site at Milford Haven.
The man who had done the welding had
left the firm three days prior to the accident to return home for personal reasons, and the inquest was told, had not been
The inquiry was on 29 year old James
Trevor Phillips, a steel erector, of Lindsay Park, Haverfordwest, and 50 year old Ernest Graham, a welder, of the Alexander
Hotel, Pembroke Dock.
After listening to two and half hours
of evidence, the jury returned a verdict of accidental death in accordance with medical evidence. Before retiring, they were
told by the South Pembrokeshire Coroner (Mr. J. F. Johnson) that it was not often they could come to a clear and quite unequivocal
cause of death on accidents, but in this accident the cause was the clip breaking away from the side of the tank. And it was
quite clear that it was badly welded.
"THAT IS LIFE"
“It was sheer chance that the
man who put it there was not one of the deceased,” he commented. “But that is life”.
The Coroner in his summing up also stressed
that in the case of Phillips, who was still alive when put into the ambulance, “no treatment on this earth” could
have done him any good, even if he could have been taken to a top class hospital.
The Coroner said that on the day of
the accident, October 24th, the men were engaged in removing distortions, from the shell of Tank No. 44, high up
on the side of the tank. They were working on staging fastened to the inside of the tank by means of clips and angle brackets
and scaffolding planks. One of these clips had broken away from the side of the tank as a result of which the two men were
thrown to the ground a distance of some 35 to 40 feet.
The Factories Inspector had, in fact,
been able to identify positively the clip which had broken away and it broke away because it was badly welded.
The clip was produced at the inquest.
Dr. C. L. Hollick, consultant pathologist,
said that in Phillips’ case the cause of death was circulative failure due to torn blood vessels in the chest.
Describing Mr. Graham’s injuries,
Hollick said that the cause of death was multiple fractures of the skull due to cerebral contusions.
Mr. Cyril Wardle, North Park Farm, Wiston,
a welding supervisor at the Amoco site, said their scaffolding was erected at the tank by Mr. Kenny Page, Mr. Trevor Phillips,
Mr. Adam Jeffrey and Mr. Gordon Matthews. All the clips inside the tank would have been put in by Mr. Matthews.
On the Friday before the accident Matthews
did not turn up for work, and Graham was put in his place.
“Matthews has not been heard of
since,” continued witness.
Witness said he visually checked all
the clips and they all appeared to be satisfactorily welded on.
Mr. Adam Jeffrey, 80 Spring Gardens,
Haverfordwest, a clipper employed by William Neill at the Amoco site, said he was working in Tank Number 44. He and Page went
to the scaffolding above Phillips and Graham. Later, Phillips and Graham started to come up to their level and the staging
“They were thrown to the floor
of the tank”, he said, “We got down to the floor level and I sent Mr. Page for an ambulance.”
Mr. Kenneth Page, 31 St. Lawrence Avenue,
Hakin, a steel erector employed by William Neill, said the staging in Tank Number 44 had been erected about ten days earlier
and the clips had been welded on by a welder he knew only as Gordon.
Describing the accident, he said he
heard “a clatter” and looked down to see Phillips hitting the floor.
When he got down to ground level he
found Mr. Graham lying near the tank wall, and Mr. Phillips a few feet away.
Mr. Page said he had worked on other
refineries and had seen clips like these coming away on “three or four occasions”. He said it had not resulted
in a fatal accident, however.
Mr. Donald James Ellis, of 14 Latham
Avenue, Cheshire, area erection manager for William Neill said he went to the tank, where the accident had occurred, on November
2nd, to try and ascertain how the accident had happened.
During his examination, he found the
clip which had pulled away from the tank. He examined the clip and agreed with Mr. George the Factories Inspector and Mr.
Boswell, the metallurgist present, that the clip had not been a full weld.
“The majority of the welding was
still adhering to the tank wall and there was little welding on the clip itself”.
With the inquest over, a death certificate was finally
issued for Ernie on December 15th 1972. The cause of death was listed as multiple fractures of the skull with cerebral contusion.
Curiously, the occupation and usual address has Ernest described as a welder of 76 Kings Drive, Egremont, Cumberland, England
- yet Ernie had left Cumberland some 18 years previously. The informant was J. F. Johnson, the Coroner for the County
of Pembrokeshire (GRO:1972/Haverfordwest/no:89).
Ernie was cremated in accordance with his wishes, and his
ashes interred in a cemetery in Pembroke.
In 1977, five years after Ernie's death, his eldest son
Billy, on a visit from Australia, decided to go to Pembroke to try and pay his respects and to find out more
about his father's life there prior to his death. The following recollection tells us a good deal about Ernie's life
in his last years:
In 1977, I went over to Pembroke and took Michael
with me. When we arrived at the Hotel Dad had been living in, quite a few people virtually headed for the hills when they
saw Michael. Looking at Michael, you can be forgiven for mistaking him for Dad (apart from the red hair). Dad was extremely
popular with the local clientelle of the hotel. Aparentally, the life and soul of the party. They told us that he could sing
a song or two (something I don't think I ever heard) and was always full of mischief and fun. He was very much missed. We
paid the cemetery a visit and I cannot remember if we actually saw the urn containing the ashes or not (so long ago).
CHILDREN of ERNEST GRAHAM and MARTHA SMYTH:
b: 10/7/1943 d: 5/1944
Ernest died at the age of ten months and was buried
at Carnmoney Church of Ireland graveyard, with his grandmother and grandfather.
Edna Smyth Graham
|Billy with his parents Martha and Ernie, and elder sister Edna - Belfast 1948.
Billy was born in Belfast, Northern Ireland and was then duly christened
in St. Matthew's Church of Ireland on the Shankill Road, Belfast, by the Reverend Mitchell.
Billy lived initially in Belfast and then in the Sunnylands estate
of Carrickfergus, Co. Antrim, Northern Ireland, residing at 53 Chichester Square, 2 Chichester Square, and from 1966, 2 Salia
Avenue. With his father taking up work abroad as a boilermaker, Billy also spent some time in 1953 living in South
Africa, before returning with the family back to Ireland after a few months living in both Durban and Johannesburg. He vividly
recalls being awakened in the middle of the night to be told to leave, as rioting had begun in the area where they lived,
the cause being tied to the apartheid regime currently in place at that time.
Along with the other Graham children, Billy was sent every Sunday to
Joymount Presbyterian Church's to attend the morning and evening services and to attend Sunday School. According to his sister
Cherie, Billy apparently used to open his offering envelope up every week, lift out the money and put back in a penny, though
he himself claims this to be untrue.
|Billy, with sister Charlotte (Cherie) mother Martha, and neighbour - Sunnylands, Carrickfergus, 1953
As a young lad, Billy attended Sunnylands Primary School, and then moved to secondary education at Ardlee Grammar
School in Greenisland. However, he hated going to this school, and in 1952 transferred to Carrickfergus Intermediate Secondary
Modern School, the school at which his sisters were attending.
Life in Carrick provided Billy with many fond memories, and many not so fond. One of his pet hates as a
result of living there is snow. Whenever it snowed, his mother Martha would get him to dig out the front path to allow
her to get out of the house, an activity he absolutely hated. Another not so fond memory is the label of "The Fighting Grahams"
that was applied to his family, due to its extraordinary gift of being able to make two stones fight if it could. It
was a label that Billy was particularly determined would never apply to his own family.
Billy was also a member for six years from age 11 to 17 of the 2nd Carrickfergus Boys' Brigade Company (Joymount
Presbyterian Church), the same company which Calum's and Jamie's father Chris and uncle Colin
would later briefly join in 1980.
Along with three friends, including one called Sonny Alexander, Billy created a football
team in Carrickfergus called the Red Stars, which was based at the town's Barn United ground, and with whom they both played.
Billy was also involved with the organisation of the local YMCA on Lancastrian Street, as well as working voluntarily with
a local deaf and dumb school in Greenisland. As a part of his YMCA escapades, Billy recalls achieving one thing that
many besieging armies over the centuries failed to do, in that along with a friend, he broke into Carrickfergus Castle after
it had closed. Having gained access, they flew a large YMCA banner from one of the 800 year old fortress's windows, all
of which have subsequently been fitted with bars!
To earn money as a teenager, Billy worked at a fish and chip shop on West Street called Alexander's (also
known as the "middle chippy"), and still jokes to this day that he makes better fish and chips than Calum's and Jamie's
grandmother Cherie! He recalls the boys' grandfather Colin Paton
coming into his shop on many occassions to get "a chip", and that he had a "bit of a swagger"!
Upon leaving school, Billy took up an apprenticeship at Courtaulds, where he started to train to become
an industrial plumber.
In 1968, Billy went on an Outward Bound youth trip to Moscow, Russia, making
him to date the most internationally travelled of the Graham clan. The trip was a junior youth leaders tour,
with his name having been put forward by Carrick YMCA youth leader Jim Weir. Billy was one of only
two from Ireland to be chosen, the other being a lad called Charlie Caslakes. Several others from Scotland
also went, along with one from Wales and the rest from England. The group set sail for Russia on the S.S. Estonia, and
upon arriving in the country they visited many cities including Moscow and Leningrad. One of Billy's many memories was of
seeing an embalmed Lenin in Red Square, with whom he would in later years share a similar hairstyle. Billy's recollection
of Russia was that "you could not breathe without permission in those days in Moscow", the secret police following them
everywhere. He also remembers Russian girls being worthy of attention!
In August 1969, Billy signed up in Belfast to emigrate to Australia
on an assisted passage scheme known as the "ten pound pommy ticket", fed up with the sectarian atmosphere of Northern
Ireland life. As a condition of his trip, he was to remain in Australia for at least two years - if he returned before then
he would have to repay his passage to the British Government. Billy flew out to Australia, the flight taking two days, and
arrived at Sydney where he was put up in a youth hostel for a few days, a place that he thoroughly despised, so much so that
he was out of there within a week. Billy had intended to find work as an industrial plumber, which he had been told was something
that the country was crying out for, but upon his arrival he was suprised to discover that the country had stopped working
with lead some ten years earlier, forcing him to seek work elsewhere.
A few months later Billy moved to Melbourne, where he has remained ever
since. After spending several years working in a plastics company, Billy eventually bought a company called Ezibinder
in 1980 with a business partner, and successfully continues to run the business until this day. (The company website at http://www.ezibinder.com.au/ will help you cater for all your Australian plastic stationery needs!)
Not long after arriving, Billy met and subsequently married Australian
girl Beth in the early 1970s. Beth hails from Ballarat, where her parents still live, and has a brother
and a sister. One of her fanilies claims to fame is that in 1910, Beth's grandfather Arthur E. Loveland was
asked to chauffeur Lord Kitchener around the town whilst he was on tour in Australia to get the country prepared
for a forthcoming possible war against Germany.
In 1977, Billy and his wife Beth returned for a visit to Ireland and England to visit family. As well
as visiting his sister Cherie and her family in Plymouth, Billy also visited Pembroke, where his father had
worked and ultimately died five years earlier in an industrial accident in 1972. The following are his recollections
of the trip:
In 1977, I went over to Pembroke and took Michael
with me. When we arrived at the Hotel Dad had been living in, quite a few people virtually headed for the hills when they
saw Michael. Looking at Michael, you can be forgiven for mistaking him for Dad (apart from the red hair). Dad was extremely
popular with the local clientelle of the hotel. Aparentally, the life and soul of the party. They told us that he could sing
a song or two (something I don't think I ever heard) and was always full of mischief and fun. He was very much missed. We
paid the cemetery a visit and I cannot remember if we actually saw the urn containing the ashes or not (so long ago).
Billy and Beth today have a family of three children, Bradley,
Roslyn and Alison, as well as four grandchildren, Mikayla and Brock
(named after racing car driver Peter Brock, who died in 2006) both of whom are Bradley's, and Josh
and Emily, Roslyn's and Daniel's twins.
In Melbourne, Billy also took up an active interest in the scouting movement, working with
young people in the area, whilst his wife Beth (nicknamed Gecko because of her fascination with her many
pet lizards) has been working with the Joey Scouts age group since approximately 1991. In 2000, Bill took up a three year
stint as District Commissioner of Scouting for Greater Dandenong, his term ending in May 2003. Since then, he has gone
back to advising the Lord Casey Rover Crew.
Billy still returns to Carrickfergus in Ireland every few years to catch up with
the family, his last visit in July 2001 sadly to attend the funeral of his mother, Martha Graham (nee Smyth).
|Are the Saints really as good as the Geelong cats?!
Billy has never regretted his move to Oz, and was invited to become an Australian
citizen in the late 1990s, which he proudly accepted. Today he continues to work at Ezibinder, is a keen supporter of the
AFC club St. Kilda (go on the Saints!), and a regular drinker at the Corkman, the Quiet Man and the Celtic Club of Melbourne,
where he discusses his republican Australian views and gets to judge the odd musical seisiun or three!
When Billy's sister Charlotte, Calum's and Jamie's grandmother, went on holiday to visit him
and his family in 1998, she was the first member of the family to have gone over to see him in Australia since his settling
Billy has been revisited in Australia by his sister Charlotte
in 2006, and in July 2007 was visited for five days by his nephew Chris Paton, along with his wife Claire,
and boys Calum and Jamie, where a great time was had by all! Chris made a brief return
visit in October 2010 as part of a ten day lecture tour of Australia he was giving, and on two subsequent visits
in November 2011 and February 2014.
|L to R: Rosalyn, Beth, Brad, Alison, and Billy - July 16th 2007
CHILDREN of WILLIAM GRAHAM and BETH:
Bradley Mark Graham
|Bradley and Lauren, Melbourne city centre, July 21st 2007
Over Christmas 1999, Bradley spent three months working as a deckhand
with Fanta Sea Tours at Airlie Beach in Queensland, and then joined Mack Towing and Transport in March 2000, attending routine
breakdowns and the like, including one visit to a broken down hearse, complete with coffin!
In 2001 Brad moved onto interstate driving along the eastern Australian
seaboard, before deciding in December 2001 to settle in Eagleby, South Brisbane, Queensland,
a twenty hour drive away from Melbourne. In 2002 he took up work with Trewin Transport, delivering boats and caravans, but
later worked in and around Brisbane as a truck driver for Coastline Vehicle Transport, where he delivered hire cars between
depots. As a trucker, Bradley developed an interest in country music, having bought various tapes by artists at different
truck stops on his many routes.
Bradley became a father to wee Mikayla, born to
his wife Lauren, turning his parents into doting grandparents for the first time! The family continue
to live near Brisbane, and have now also been joined by their next creation, Brock. In July 2007 Calum
and Jamie (along with their parents) got to meet Brad and his family in Melbourne for the first time, after they
flew down for a visit.
In October 2010, Jamie's and Calum's father Chris then spent three enjoyable
days with Brad and his family, as part of a lecture tour which included a stopover at Brisbane. Brad attended his cousin's
lectures in Brisbane and is now Australia's most informed genealogist on all issues to do with Scottish land and church history
(haha!). Apologies to other members of the Graham family - during his stay, an unfortunate technical glitch appeared on this
website, when the Geelong football logo suddenly replaced that of St. Kilda on his father's entry. Scotland's top internet
experts are currently trying to repair this glitch, and it should be noted that Brad's support for Geelong is merely a coincidence
and in no way, shape or form can this be used in evidence against him! And a huge thanks to Brad for taking Chris to
Paton Street in Brisbane (not quite royalty, but he is working on it!).
CHILDREN of BRADLEY GRAHAM and LAUREN:
|Mikayla Graham, July 2007
Mikayla Lillian Jane Graham
Mikayla lives in Eaglesby, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia.
In July 2007 Mikayla's parents brought both her and her wee brother Brock to Melbourne, not
only to visit her grandparents, but also to see her cousins, Calum, Jamie and Chris, on their first trip to Australia. At
first a bit shy, Calum, Jamie and Mikayla soon hit it off! As part of the trip, Mikayla, the Grahams and the Patons visited
Healesville wildlife park, where she and her cousins were able to touch lizards, to watch koalas being fed and to see a raptor
display. None of them were disappointed!
|Tyla and big brother Brock
Brock was named after Peter Brock, the racing car driver, who was killed in an accident.
So much can be said about Brock, but to summarise, he is a mad wee boy, has very sharp
teeth and likes to leave his mark! :)
Tyla Martha-Joan Graham
Tyla is the latest edition to the Queensland Grahams!
|Brad, Lauren, Mikayla & Brock - Kangaroo Point, Brisbane (Oct 2010)
Rosalyn Elizabeth Graham
In 1999, Roslyn started a degree in Swinburne University in psychology
and psychopysiology. Complementing her studies, she also worked part time as a technician in the Neurology Department
at Monash Medical Centre (where her mother works), helping with EEGs, as well as a job at Dandenong Central Pharmacy.
In her spare time she also played women's hockey.
Also in 1999, Roslyn visited Carrickfergus in Northern Ireland with her
father and sister Alison, to meet her father's family.
In July 2001, Roslyn accompanied her father back to Carrickfergus for
the funeral of his mother, Martha Graham (nee Smyth), her grandmother, where she met her cousins Chris and Robert Paton for the first time, as well as wee Calum, her first cousin once removed. Although it
was a sad occasion, it was good to meet her for the first time, and to watch her tragically fail all the Australian questions
in the Dobbins Inn pub quiz!
Roslyn graduated in March 2002, and no sooner had she done so than
she went on a ten week trip to Europe, initially doing a three week Contiki tour on the Continent, followed by a three
week tour travelling around the island of Ireland, and then spending the last four weeks torturing herself again with family
in Carrickfergus (with her aunt Edna), in Scotland (where she stayed with her cousins Chris, Robert and
Calum Paton), and finally in England (with her aunt Cherie).
Upon her return to Oz, Roslyn signed up to do a Diploma in Accounting
at Chisholm TAFE, which she finished in 2004.
Roslyn is married to Daniel Slater. The couple live in Narre Warren,
with their twin children.
Children of Roslyn GRAHAM and Daniel SLATER:
Josh Winston SLATER
Josh is Emily's twin brother, and lives in Narre Warren.
Emily Helen SLATER
Emily is Josh's twin sister, and lives in Narre Warren.
|The bubs - and Josh and Emily! (October 2010)
Aly is the baby of Billy and Beth's family...!
At school in Melbourne, she learned to play the piano and the flute,
as well as hockey, her real passion. Outside of school she was a member of the Venture Scouts, and worked part time in
the Big W store at Parkmore Shopping Centre.
In 1999, Alison went with her parents on a visit to Carrickfergus in
Northern Ireland, to meet her father's family.
After completing her Year 12 VCE exams in 2002, Alison started a degree
in Science in 2003 at Monash University in Melbourne, particularly enjoying Biology. Like her elder sister Roslyn,
she also took up doing shifts at Dandenong Central Pharmacy to earn a little extra pocket money during her studies.
And like her father, Alison is a keen follower of Antrim in the Gaelic, but
unlike the rest of her family, has been trying to learn some of the basics of Irish Gaelic, and probably learning the
hard way why few people bother any more!
|Sensors indicate Klingons on the starboard bow! (Oct 2010)
In 2005, Alison finished her degree in Science at Monash. followed in
2006 with an Honours in Biochemistry there. She impressed the hell out of her family with her thesis entitled
and potential interaction of the nuclear transporter importin 3 and nuclear pore complex component nucleoporin Nup153 in mouse
testis". The first line from the thesis abstract makes exciting reading:
Spermatogenesis involves multiple cellular transitions to form mature sperm from germ line stem cells,
steps which require changes in transcription factors (TF), chromatin remodelling factor and cell cycle regulator action within
Indeed it does, but rather than list the whole abstract, it is suffice to say that Aly has
spent a lot of time and effort to successfully prove beyond any scientific, theological or ethical doubt that St. Kilda is
quite simply the best AFC club, not only in Melbourne, but in the whole of Australia!
A big thanks to Aly for giving her cousin Chris a tour of her DNA lab in Melbourne. It didn't
really clarify the mouse testes thing, but was immensely helpful to his knowledge of the use of DNA in genealogical research!
And a particular thanks to Aly for the lengthy scientific discussion in her mum's house conclusively showing why most of the
Grahams have red hair!
|Paton and Graham cousins - Healesville, Victoria, July 2007
Charlotte Harper Graham
b. 29/6/1950 d. 28/11/2013
Calum's and Jamie's paternal grandmother - see
Ernest Michael Graham
Martha Graham (nee Smyth) had a further two children after splitting with Ernie, Nicole and Mark.
Although they were both given the Graham surname, because
they are not Ernie's children, I have included their stories with Martha on the Smyth page.
Charlotte Harper Graham
29/6/1950 - 28/11/2013
Charlotte was Calum's and Jamie's
Cherie's mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA)
profile was established following analysis of her son Christopher's DNA in 2007. This form of DNA was passed to her from her
mother Martha Smyth, her mother's mother Annie Watton, etc along the maternal line. Her haplogroup is H, meaning that
her maternal ancestors eventually go as far back as an ancestor that the boffins in white coats have named Helena. The sample
of DNA was matched against the Cambridge Reference Sequence by the Sorenson Molecular Genealogy Foundation, and the following
differences (mutations) to the sequence were noted:
HVR1: 16519C HVR2: 263G HVR3: 315.1C
If anybody has the same mtDNA mutations as Cherie and her children,
it will be extremely likely that they share a common maternal ancestor somewhere in the last 500 years. Cherie's mtDNA profile
is shared by her four children, and her brothers and sisters. MtDNA can only be passed from women to their children, and not
Charlotte was born on June 29th 1950 at 53 Chichester
Square in Carrickfergus, County Antrim, Northern Ireland, and was shortly after christened at Joymount Presbyterian
Church in the town. Named after her grandmother Charlotte Harper Graham (nee Montgomery), Charlotte became more colloquially known as Cherie, a pet name given to her by her father,
In her early years, her brother Billy nearly killed her...! Whilst in the pram, Billy innocently decided to
keep stuffing Cherie's face with chocolate, until the point where it was almost life threatening, as she started to choke
on it. Billy received a hiding for his "attempt" on his sister's life!
Just two years after Cherie was born, she
and her family moved to the nearby house of 2 Chichester Square in the town, and it was from here that she had a fond
memory of her father building a rockery in the back garden of the house. Cherie also recalled that the kids
were not allowed to play in the garden by their mother, Martha, when the washing was put out on the line to dry. She further
recollected that she had a tricycle as a we'un which was eventually passed onto Michael when she outgrew it.
|Cherie in approximately 1953 at 2 Chichester Square, with brother Bill, mother Martha, & neighbour.
In the early 1950s Cherie went with her parents and brother Billy
to live in South Africa for several months, as her father, Ernie, was an electric welder working on an overseas
contract there for George Wimpey. In November 2013 Billy recalled that they were based in Johannesburg "not quite a year,
between six months and twelve months" and that they lived in a "motel complex type thing". On one occasion he remembered them
going on a visit to a village outside of Johannesburg, on a trip arranged by the servants - they were fascinated by Cherie's
very white Northern Irish skin and Billy's red hair - "apparently they had never seen red hair before!" according
to Billy. The family had to leave South Africa very quickly, however, as the apartheid regime was embedded in by the
government there, and opposition grew. Billy recalled them having to leave at the dead of night and having to hide in cars
as flashlights were shone in, etc. When they returned to Ireland, Cherie's father was soon off again, this time to Aden, but
without the family, as Martha had not wanted to travel abroad again.
When Cherie was only a toddler, her mother and father separated, after
it was discovered that Ernie was having an affair with a Scottish woman over in England, and the family were then raised in
Carrickfergus by Martha alone. At one point the couple nearly got back together again, and Cherie remembered that she
was sent upstairs in the house when they tried to discuss patching things up. But things soon fell apart at the meeting, and
when Ernie went upstairs to say goodbye to Cherie and the other children, that was the last that she would ever see her
father alive, as he shortly after moved back to England.
As a young girl, Cherie attended Sunnylands Primary School until 1961.
Her first teacher was Mrs. Baxter, who Cherie adored, and who taught her to read. Subsequent teachers were Mrs. McAlister,
Mrs. Horscroft, Mr. Joiner (known as "Jolly" Joiner), and then Miss Skelton, who was involved with the Boys Brigade at North
Street Presbyterian Church. The headmaster was Mr. Gorman.
Whilst in her primary school years, Cherie remembered going over
by ferry to Liverpool, England, to see her aunt Sadie for a short holiday with her mother, and also
recalled another holiday with her brother Michael, when they went to see their aunt Beattie
in Wigan, England.
Cherie recalled her early years as a young girl in Carrickfergus
as being one raised by a strict mother, but full of fun. She noted how her mother used to sing Salvation Army songs to her
as a child, and also remembered how every Saturday Martha used to give her sixpence pocket money, with which she
used to go to the picture house in West Street. Martha also bought her three comics every week, the Bunty,
Judy and Mandy, as well as magazines and comics for the rest of the children. Whenever Cherie would
go for messages for other people to the local shops, she was not allowed to receive money for going, as Martha always told
her that she should not be paid for doing a good turn for someone.
On one occasion whilst doing messages for her mother, Cherie
nearly got into some serious grief with her. Having bought the messages, she received a penny chew in the change. Whilst
walking home she realised that she would get into trouble, and so returned to the shop and asked for the money back for the
chew. The shopkeeper gave her the money back, but allowed her to keep the chew anyway, impressed with her honesty. When Martha
saw her daughter walking in the house with a chew, however, she nearly tore strips off her, until Cherie quickly explained
what she had done, after which she was let off!
As a young girl, Cherie was terrified of going
to sleep in the dark, and so to make her feel better, the landing light was always left on for her. On one occasion, her elder
sister Edna called her downstairs to do the dishes, despite the fact that their mum had always said that Cherie
was too young to wash up. Edna was having none of it, and when Cherie refused to come downstairs to wash the dishes, Edna
switched off the landing light on her and then banged the ceiling with a brush to terrify her. She was soon downstairs crying
her eyes out...! A fonder memory she had of bedtimes was that of her father making sure that everyone went to bed with any
disagreements sorted before going upstairs, believing that you "couldn't go to bed on a bad note".
Cherie also had fond memories of Christmas. Every year, each of the
kids in the house would be given an apple, an orange and a silver coin from Santa, and then their presents, which in Cherie's
case would usually be some books. However, with the kids knowing where the presents were hidden before Christmas Day, the
books were usually already read by the time they were opened! Dinner would then be eaten before the Queen's speech was palyed
on the radio in the afternoon. Cherie remembered how the routine changed from Hallowe'en 1960, as the family obtained
a brown boxed black and white Decca television, meaning that the Queen's speech could now be watched rather than listened
to. Cherie's favourite programme as a youngster was "Journey to the Holy Land", and she recalled innocently placing a damasc
table cloth over her head as she watched it, playing at being a nun herself - not a game usually played in Protestant circles!
Cherie's favourite actor as a child was Vincent Price, her favourite actress was Dianna Durban, and her favourite singers
were Elvis Presley, Jean Vincent and Gene Pitney.
|School photo from Cherie's teenage years
Cherie went onto secondary level education at Carrickfergus
Intermediate Secondary Modern School, where she stayed until 1964. She loved studying French, English and History, but
hated shorthand and typing. She was proud of the fact that in her last year at the school she came first in the
class with English, Maths, French, History, Geography, Science, Domestic Science and Religious Education. As an enthusiastsic
netball player, Cherie also went on many netballing trips around the country playing for the school team, and her photo is
still on the wall of the school today as part of the 1964 team. Many years later, whilst working as a cleaner at the same
school, her sister Edna came across a photo of Cherie amongst some files that were to be thrown out - it was duly liberated!
Life as a teenager saw Cherie joining the Girls
Brigade at Joymount Presbyterian Church, which she attended every Tuesday night for five years, until she turned 14. On every
Wednesday she also attended the church's Good News club. Cherie
was sent by her mother Martha every week to Joymount Presbyterian Church, along with her brothers and sister. Martha
was very strict about their religious upbringing, they had to go to Church in the morning, Sunday School in the afternoon,
and back to Church again in the evening.
As she grew older, Cherie would occasionally babysit
for a Scottish girl who lived across the road from her, earning fourpence on top of her pocket money. With her money, she
would attend the dances at the town hall in Carrickfergus every Saturday night.
At the age of thirteen, Cherie had her first boyfriend,
a young lad called Bobby Fenton who lived in the town's Woodburn estate. Her first date with him was at the Ideal Cinema on
West Street, and she remembered that shortly after he went on holidays and brought her back a shell encrusted jewellery box,
with her name written on it. He didn't last!
A year later, Cherie left the Girls Brigade and joined the Girl Guides, simply because
her friend June Fleming was a member. Also aged fourteen, Cherie left school and took on a job as
a shop assistant at Simpson's Drapery Store on West Street in Carrickfergus, where she sold wool, buttons etc, working
five days a week, Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays, with Wednesday off. With her wages, the first item
of clothing that she ever bought for herself was a turquoise blue dress with beige zigzag stripes on it.
|Cherie at the age of 16 outside her house at Salia Avenue, Sunnylands, Carrickfergus - 1966
In 1966, Martha moved her family to 12 Salia Avenue in the recently built Sunnylands estate
of Carrickfergus, the first house for the family to have central heating installed - this was necessary because of Cherie's
disabled brother Mark. Cherie had many fond memories of Mark, stating that he was the only thing in their
lives that the family never fought over, as all of them equally adored him. On one occasion, she remembered taking Mark out
in a pram, and a neighbour called Mina Bailey coming up to her and taking pity on Mark. Cherie defiantly told her where she
could take her pity, and within minutes Mina was round at Martha's front door to complain. Martha knew that it was unlike
Cherie to be so defiant, but when she heard the reason for the outburst, Martha stood up for her daughter and also told her
where she could go!
As she grew older, and with her father not on the scene, Martha began to rely more on
Cherie for help with Mark in the family home. It was because of this that Martha vetoed Cherie from joining the Queen Alexander's
Nursing Corps, within the Royal Navy, saying that she was needed at home to help with Mark.
Aged sixteen, Cherie underwent an immense trauma, when her sister Edna binned her teddy
After three years working in Simpson's in Carrickfergus, Cherie left and took up work
in Belfast's prestigious Robinson Cleevers store, on Royal Avenue. However, when the Troubles started to flare up she
quit the job, finding that Belfast was increasingly becoming too dangerous a place for her to work in.
|Cherie and Colin on their wedding day, 1969, Carrickfergus
In August 1969, a couple
of days after her brother Billy had emigrated from Ireland for Melbourne in Australia, Cherie married submariner
Colin Paton, originally from Belfast, but raised for most of his life in Carrick. The engagement had only been a few days, and she
had had to obtain special permission from her mother Martha
for a sheriff's warrant, being under 21 years old. The wedding took place at Joymount Presbyterian Church on August 30th 1969,
and the witnesses were her uncle Tommy Smyth and aunt Margaret. The only other family member
in attendance was her new mother-in-law Jean Paton (nee Currie). For their wedding presents she received a fibreglass tray from her aunt Margaret, a set of bedsheets from her
mother, and some cake plates from her new mother in law, Jean. Cherie's funniest memory from the day concerned an incident
on the evening of the wedding day. They had all gone for a meal at the Coast Road Hotel, but had afterwards returned to Jean's
house. As Colin's mother went to wash her son's shirt, Cherie stopped her, telling her that she was Mrs.
Paton now and she would sort it!
For their honeymoon, the couple spent two days in Bangor in County Down. On the way the taxi driver carrying
them offered to let them stay at his house, which the two accepted. On the first night, the Saturday, they went to see The
Magnificent Seven at the local cinema; on the Sunday night they went to the Royal Naval club, the only place in town
that would serve drink on a Sunday. When the honeymoon finished, Colin went off to sea for six weeks.
With Colin away, Cherie had started a new job at Carreras cigarette factory to the west of Carrick on the
Shore Road, but had to stop after only three weeks when she received a message from Colin that he was to be posted
to Barrow-on-Furness, and that she would have to come over. She moved over, and the couple set up their first home together
at 5 Torridge Drive, a three bedroomed house in the town's naval accomodation. Shortly
after crossing the water, she took up work at a sewing factory in Barrow, and then at a men's drapery shop, but soon
found herself pregnant with her first child Chris. She remembered that at her time in Barrow she
would socialise at a local pub called The Periscope. A search online has found some information about this pub - it was
called The Periscope, and was based in Walney, just south of where Cherie lived, and was themed around a
submarine. From the Barrow Pubs website at http://www.barrowpubs.co.uk/pubNOPQ.html, the pub is noted as having been built in 1969 to serve the estate where Cherie lived, and that it was themed around a submarine,
with even the toilets known as 'heads'. Upon its opening a working
periscope was installed from an old T class submarine,
but this was removed when local residents complained of "peeping". (It was renamed "The Island Tavern" in 2006). Towards
the end of her pregnancy she returned to Carrickfergus to be looked after by her family.
|Chris's christening - Cherie and sister-in-law Sheila
Shortly after Chris's birth
in Larne, Cherie and Colin moved to 12 Nelson Place in Helensburgh in Scotland, on the north side of the Clyde, with
Colin now based at HMS Nelson at Faslane. One of the first family events were was Chris's christening on board HMS Churchill,
to which her brother Michael and sister-in-law Sheila Cobby (Paton) attended as godparents.
Cherie gained work at a hotel (now the Queen's Court flats) and she used to take Chris with
her to work in a pram, leaving him sleeping quite happily beside the radiator in the hotel kitchen, whilst she merrily worked
On one occasion in Helensburgh she took Chris
shopping with her and as a part of this she visited a butchers shop. She parked her pram, went inside, bought her messages,
left the building, got onto a bus and made her way home. Forgetting one thing, of course - Chris! When she got home, she suddenly
realised what she had done, and in a mad panic, made her way back into town, to find him outside the shop where she had left
The following year, her second son Colin was born in Helensburgh
(followed a couple of years later by her daughter Dawn). During her stay in Scotland, several members of
her family crossed the water to visit on a few occasions, including her mother, brother Michael and sister Nicolle.
It was whilst in Scotland that Cherie decided to try and get in touch with her father again,
with him now being based in Pembroke Dock, Wales. She wrote to him in 1972 to let him know that she was now married and
had two children, and he replied favourably, sending her some money to buy presents for them and indicated that he was
keen to meet up with her to see his grandchildren. A meeting was arranged, but tragically, just two weeks before it
would happen, Ernie was killed in an industrial accident in Pembroke Dock. Although it was actually a day off for him,
he had arranged at the last moment to cover for a welder friend, and then subsequently fell from a scaffold that collapsed in
the oil storage unit that he was working on. Cherie was devastated at the news, and Colin went to Pembroke to sort out his
father in law's affairs for her. If there was some consolation, it was the fact that Ernie was obviously proud enough to be
keen to see his grandchildren, and had at least died with the happy knowledge that his daughter had re-established
contact with him.
|Cherie with kids and sister Nicole (1977)
At some point in 1974 Cherie and her family moved to Plymouth in the south
west of England, initially staying at Leefield Drive, in Naval married quarters, and then from 1975 at 53 Wycliffe Road in
the Laira Green district. One of her memories concerning the move to Laira was when the next door neighbour, Fern,
introduced himself to her - he asked Cherie if she had a maid? Panicking that she was now living in an area well above her
class, she was soon relieved to learn that 'maid' was simply the local vernacular word for 'daughter' - Fern had simply seen
Dawn with her outside the house, and was being polite!
One of Chris's favourite memories from Plymouth was watching his mother baking every week,
not least because he was allowed to clean the bowl out after once she had spooned the mixture into the respective baking trays.
Cherie would make buns, cakes and Cornish pasties, as well as her legendary barbecue sauce. On one occasion her daughter
Dawn refused to do what she was told, at which Cherie ordered her to kneel on the baking tray, after which she pretended to
start putting her into the oven. Amidst the tears, discipline was soon restored! As well as baking, Cherie also made jam each
year, from wild blackberries picked by her sons from the allotments at the bottom of the road, and from gooseberries and blackcurrants
grown in her own back garden.
During her stay at Wycliffe Road, Cherie and family were visited by her husband's mother
Jean Currie in 1975, who was there for Chris's first day at school, Laira Green Primary. Later in 1975 or 1976, Cherie
created a Father Christmas outfit for Chris for a school play, by turning his duffel coat inside out to show the red inside
lining, and adding cotton wool to it and to his wellies.
In 1976 Cherie gained a job at Perrillas Fish restaurant, about a mile or so to the east
of Laira, not far from the city centre. She worked here for a couple of years, and on occasion would bring home some chip
wrapping paper or some printed leaflets for her kids to have something to draw on the back of.
On one shore leave visit, Cherie's husband Colin turned up with a beard, which she was
having none of, ordering him to remove it straight away. Whilst he was at sea, she worked at three
different jobs in Laira. She worked as a chip shop attendant in the city centre, and as a bar maid at both the Royal
Marine pub and the local bingo hall. She would regularly bring home leaflets or wrapping paper from her chip shop for the
kids to draw on. Whilst at Laira, her third son Robert was born.
In about 1977, Cherie's mother Martha, along with her sister Nicolle and niece Cheryl
arrived for a visit, which lasted for a year. This was likely in the aftermath of the death of Cherie's brother Mark in Carrickfergus
in February 1976. Nicolle and Cheryl were both enrolled at Laira Green Primary School, alongside Chris, Colin and Dawn.
|Charlotte outside her Glenfield home in Carrickfergus (1999)
In 1978 Cherie gained a job at the Royal Marine club on Torridge Way (the pub has long since been demolished).
However, by now her relationship with her husband had turned sour, and the couple decided to split up. Cherie took Dawn
and Robert, the two youngest children, with her back to Carrickfergus in Ireland, whilst Colin took custody of the two eldest,
Chris and Colin, returning himself to Carrick some six months later.
Cherie initially lived with Dawn and Robert in North Street, in a flat over the butcher's shop, and then
in a house at Rosebrook Avenue. She continued to work in chip shops in the town, initially in Castle Chippy across the
road from Carrickfergus Castle, then the chippie at the end of West Street, and eventually the chip shop beside Crazy Prices
superstore in Woodburn, where she worked for many years.
Although initially prevented from seeing her other two sons (and preventing her husband seeing his other
two), she secretly arranged to meet Chris after bumping into him one day in the town's North Street. The picnics were arranged
at Legg Park, beside the Model Primary School, though on one occasion, with him being late she returned home only to find
him running to catch up - the picnic was duly held in her sitting room. For a short period custody of her daughter Dawn was
transferred to her husband, though it was regained a few months later. The split between them was fairly acrimonious, but
in later years, following their divorce, it improved to a degree, and the children were freely allowed to see both of their
In Carrickfergus Cherie drew on her previous experience working in a chip shop in Plymouth, gaining work at
the Fish and Chicken restaurant at the west end of West Street, run by John McGookin. After a brief stint at Castle Chippy,
facing Carrickfergus Castle, she took up work at the Golden Chip in 1984, a chippy beside what was then the Crazy Prices superstore
at Woodburn (now the Co-Op). She worked here for the next fifteen years. On many occasions when her son Chris finished his
newspaper delivery money collection run on a Friday evening he would make his way back home to Castlemara, passing
her shop and getting a 'pastie bap supper' and a can of Lemon Fanta on the way, which she would pay for him at a staff rate.
In the mid 1980s Cherie moved to 1 Rockfergus Crescent in the
Glenfield estate, a house obtained with the aid of the MP, and later head of the Alliance Party, Sean Neeson, where she
lived until mid-1999. Whilst living in the Glenfield estate, she became an enthusiastic member of the Church of the Nazarene,
and worked as a youth leader in the church's Caravaners organisation, having completed CLT training at the church teaching
children on weeknights and then taking away them on annual camps in Northern Ireland. She was involved in various town
parades with her group, including participation at the Victory in Japan celebrations on August 20th 1995, which was attended
by a royal visitor (possibly Queen Liz mk 2). Amidst her fundraising activities she completed a (miraculous!) 3 hour
sponsored silence in the first week of May 1996, and in the same month a sponsored walk with her group from the church to
the Lough shore and back again. On one occasion Cherie wrote a small play for her children to perform, entitled "The 12th
Day of July", where she tried to point out to her children the wrongs of sectarianism. (It is interesting to note that the
key protaganists in the play were named after some of her mother's brothers and sisters.)
|Cherie, unwilling guest star in "The Birds"! - Australia 1998
her son Chris went to university in England without any grant aid whatsoever in 1991, Cherie gave him £200 to help him
through the first weeks there. At that time she did not have much money, and had been saving hard for months to try and
give him at least some help. Very grateful for her help, he promised her that when he graduated from university, he would send
her to Australia to see her brother Billy as way of saying thanks. In the summer of 1998, he finally sent her off on
the trip of a lifetime to Melbourne, Australia, to see her big brother Billy, his wife Beth, her nieces
Roslyn and Alison, and nephew Bradley - the first of Billy's relatives
to have ever visited him from Ireland. Prior to going, Chris teased her that as she was going to have to change flights in
the Middle East, she would have to wear a veil in the airport, as that was the culture. The sight of her practising with a
tea towel on her head in her kitchen at Carrick was priceless! When she did get to Oz, she stayed with Billy and family for
three weeks and both she and they had an absolute ball, attending barbecues, sight-seeing, and just plain catching up with
the whole Aussie experience. She brought Chris back a pair of Aboriginal sticks as souvenir - he still hasn't got a clue what
they are supposed to be used for!
On May 21st 1999, Cherie was
awarded the Caravan LeRoy Haynes Award by the International Caravan Office, the certificate expressing its "sincere admiration"
for Cherie "in grateful recognition of your outstanding volunteer service and ministry in Caravan". On 28 JUL 1999 she also
gained a Basic Children's Worker Certificate as part of the Church's Sunday School Ministries' Division's Continuing Lay Training
Programme (having also previously done lay training with the church in 1993). As part of her application to become offically
qualified as a volunteer, she noted her interestes as reading and walking, and stated that as "a single parent and learnt
how to cope with my own children's problems so I am able to cope with the children we have in our organisation. I love the
work that I have been asked to do".
The Aussie trip, however, had proved
to be quite a life changer for Cherie. Not long after she returned to Ireland, she decided to move to England to
start life afresh with her new partner Jim McKeown. She moved to Wolverhampton shortly after July 1999, settling
in the city's Bristol Street, just off the Penn Road, initially at number 23 and then at 33, and across the street from
her daughter Dawn, who had been in Wolverhampton since she left university in the mid-1990s. Initially she worked in PJ's
Sandwich Bar in the city, but with the increase of Dupertron's Disease, a hereditary condition that seizes up the fingers
and toes, she had to give up the job.
Cherie became a grandmother for the
first time in 2000 with the arrival of Calum Graham Paton. The excitement was obviously too much for her, as in January 2002 she suffered a mild heart attack (she'd have
killed me for saying that!), although she fully recovered from it. Whilst in hospital she was visited in her
ward by son Chris, who brought a balloon saying "It's a boy" on the side. Half the hospital wished her well on her heart
issues, the other half congratulated her on her new arrival - she laughed all the way back to the house at that one!
At the same time Cherie decided to
learn some computer skills, studying how to use various Windows based applications through Outset, a charitable organisation
that provided technological and office related training for people with disabilities. Through the charity in May 2001 she
achieved a certificate from Oxford and Cambridge RSA Examinations for Stage 1 Computer Literacy and Information Technology.
A few months later Cherie attended a 'Day of Achievement' and met Simon Weston OBE, the Falklands veteran who had suffered
severe burns during the war with Argentina in 1992, someone she was very proud and honoured to have met.
|Cherie's and Jim's wedding day - September 28th 2002
On September 28th 2002, Cherie
married Jim in Beckminster Methodist Church, Pennfields, Wolverhampton, with the reception
held at the West End Club in the evening. She remained in Wolverhampton for four more years, but in the summer of 2006 they relocated to Manchester, where they continued to foster children from
broken homes on short term placements for the Swiis agency. During their time together they fostered some thirty six children
in total over the course of a decade.
Cherie also made frequent
trips to Ballycastle once a year for the Auld Lammas Fair, and two trips together to Australia to visit Billy and family down
under once more. In 2011 she also travelled to the United States for the first time to witness the wedding of her son Robert
to Susan Connachan in Las Vegas.
In May 2013 Cherie learned that she had advanced stage
bladder cancer, but was determined to fight it. For several weeks she went through a course of radiotherapy to try to reduce
the tumour before its removal, but it was a fight against time which would take its toll on her.
Nevertheless, in the summer her spirits were kept high
by the arrival of a third grandchild, her son Colin's daughter Pippa, and even as her health declined she
was adamant that she was still going to Colin's wedding in Portsmouth later that summer, which she did. Colin and Mel married
on board HMS Warrior, but Cherie was equally the belle of the ball, proudly watching as they exchanged vows. She joined the
guests at the reception afterwards in the Maritime Club in Portsmouth, and returned to Manchester the following day, mission
A couple of weeks after the wedding, Cherie, accompanied by her husband and her son Chris, attended the
Christie's hospital in Manchester where she learned the disastrous news that her cancer was by now terminal. Even then she
was determined to fight it, and planned to have a massive family get together at Christmas, which she was looking forward
to immensely. Sadly her health declined very quickly, before she finally passed away on Thursday November 28th 2013, at 8.55pm,
in her bedroom at 31 Whiteley Street, Clayton, Manchester.
Cherie's death was registered by Jim and her son Chris
in Manchester on Monday 2nd December 2013. The cause of death, as certified by Dr. Bannuru, was 'poorly differentiated squamous
cell carcinoma of bladder', with Jim listed as the informant, and Cherie's occupation as 'foster carer'. The following notice
was placed in the Manchester Evening News on Tuesday 3rd December 2013:
(CHARLOTTE HARPER) (CHERIE)
On Thursday 28th November, passed
away peacefully at home, after a long illness, aged 63 years. Cherie a much loved Wife of James, a loving Mother to Chris,
Colin, Dawn and Robert. A devoted Grandmother to Calum, Jamie and Pippa, a dear Sister and Aunt, also a Mother-in-Law to Claire,
Susan and Melanie. Funeral service and committal to be held at Blackley Crematorium on Friday 6th December at 1pm. Family
flowers only please, donations if desired to Macmillan Nurses. Cherie will be sadly missed by all her Family and many many
Friends. All enquiries to Arron Turner c/o Alan J. Bradley & Sons Funeral Service, 900 Ashton New Road, Clayton, M11 4GT.
Tel 0161 223 0101.
Cherie was cremated on Friday December 6th 2013 at Blackley
Crematorium, with the service carried out by her old friend and pastor from the Church of the Nazarene, John Paton. A
wake was held at the Conservative Club in Clayton, attended by her husband, three sons Chris, Colin and Robert, grandsons
Calum and Jamie, as well as other family members.
Following her death, the Chief Executive Officer of SWIIS
Foster Care sent Cherie's husband Jim a letter on December 5th 2013 paying tribute to her foster caring work. He noted
Cherie was immensely respected
by our Foster Care team and was a wonderful example to everyone of how love and compassion could change the lives of even
the most vulnerable of children for the better... Cherie epitomised everything that we endeavour to achieve within SWIIS
and we are extremely grateful for work you have undertaken for all of the children you have cared for over so many years.
In his concluding comments he added that:
I hope that the legacy that
Cherie has left to all the children you have cared for so long offers you some degree of comfort, the difference that you
made to the lives of so many children will I am sure never be forgotten by the children themselves. Cherie will always be
fondly remembered and highly cherished by the staff of SWIIS.
As much as this web based family
history was created for Calum and Jamie, it is now also respectfully dedicated to the memory of my mother, Cherie - never
again will we hear Mum say "Och, son!", before laughing at being caught out in a practical joke!
We love you loads Mum - Claire, the
boys and I will all miss you dearly. xxx
CHILDREN of CHARLOTTE GRAHAM and COLIN PATON:
Connecting to Calum and Jamie
Charlotte Harper Graham married Colin Paton
Son, Christopher Mark Paton, married Claire Patricia Giles in 2000
Sons, Calum Graham Paton and Jamie