More on 1956


Mum and dad's wedding group2031

This is a photo of my dad’s side of the family taken on my parents’ wedding day in 1956. What I have always loved about this photo is the flying ducks on the wall behind everyone!  It helps date this as a 1950s photo!

All but two (the two older children) have passed on now.  I can place everyone in this photo with the exception of the man front left.  I think he may be my grandfather’s brother but if so, I don’t know which one unfortunately.

Back right is my dad – the bridegroom – Robert Hendry Smith (1925-2012).  Next to him is his sister, Christina Cameron Smith (1922 – 1998).  Once again I searched for her under the name we knew her as – Christine – but discovered she was another Christina.  When looking for her death certificate, I found two certificates – one under Christine Smith and the other under Christina Smith.  As she is not on my direct line, I did not order it.  Perhaps it means there is one certificate but two possible spellings of her name.

Next to Aunt Christine is her husband, George Ian Duffie (1914-1971).   I remember Uncle George.  I was just 14 when he died (he was 57) and I remember the day very clearly.  He drove home from work and had a heart attack in the car outside his house.  Very sad as his three boys were still young.  Ironically, their youngest son, Stewart, the boy he is touching in the photo, also died young (about 47) from a heart attack in his car!  He in turn left two young teenage children.  In the centre of the photo is my cousin, Ronnie and then his brother Alan.

In front of Alan is my paternal grandfather, William Smith (1896-1982) with my grandmother, Jane Cameron(1890-1981).

I remember them all very clearly.  I just need to find out who the other man in the photo is but, at this stage, I have no way of doing that.  I may be able to do it by a process of elimination when researching the brothers.  One I know came to Australia and had a tomato farm two hours south of where I live.  But that is another story.



My mother's side of the family at my parent's wedding 10 October 1956

My mother’s side of the family at my parent’s wedding 10 October 1956

It seems like yesterday that the people in this photo were very much in my life but they have all passed now.  This is my mother’s side of the family and her mother on the right died within a week or two of this photo being taken.

In the front, centre is my Great Gran, Jemima Chapman (nee Taylor) who seems to crop up a lot in my blogs.  I guess she is the matriarch of this family – on her right is her daughter, my grandmother, Elizabeth Brown (nee Chapman) whom I know very little about. Behind her on the right is her husband, my grandfather, James Brown, (who died when I was four years old).  My grandfather was a joiner and I have vague memories of digging up his garden with a wooden spoon.  I believe we lived with him in Pollock, Glasgow until I was about two.

Behind my Great-Gran is her son, William (Bill) Chapman who is on crutches.   Uncle Bill contracted polio and lost a leg as a child.  It never held him back.  He was a watch-maker and worked in the Argyle Arcade in Glasgow’s city centre.  I used to pop in and visit him occasionally when I worked nearby.  He and Aunt Mary (next to him in the photo) worked hard and were extremely independent.  Aunt Mary had callipers on both legs which I assume was also from polio.  I remember they had a little 3 seater which had hand controls and I remember them going on a driving holiday around Europe.  (My mother doesn’t remember this so I could be wrong).  It was a highlight for them.  Again I know little about Aunt Mary other than that her name was Mary Horne Alexander and she was born in Aberdeen.  I would like to find out more about her and it is on my very long to do list.

Uncle Harry (back left) was my Great-Gran’s other son.  Uncle Harry (Harold Chapman) played the bagpipes.  He was a soldier but I am not too sure of his regiment.  My mother told me the story that Uncle Harry was fighting in the war when he was shot in the heart.  Fortunately for him, he had a tin of corned beef in his top pocket and the bullet went into that!  Later he had some of his hip blown away.  However he survived to tell the story.  His wife in front of him was my Aunt Chris who I remember as a very harsh woman who played the piano.  That harsh exterior she had seemed to disappear when you put her in front of the piano and I remember lot of family parties where we all sang around the piano while she played.  My mother told me that Aunt Chris (Christine Cullen) was pregnant with twins when she fell off a ladder and they were stillborn.  So far I have been unable to find either a birth or death certificate for them.

There was a lot of tragedy around that family but they always had a smile on their faces.

Four Generations of Women


4 generations026

This is a photo of my mother on her wedding day on 10 October 1956 in Glasgow.  In fact this is four generations of women in my family.  In the centre is my great-grandmother (Jemima Chapman b 1886);  sitting down is her daughter, my grandmother (Elizabeth Chapman b 1905); on the left is her daughter, my mother (Janet Brown b 1933) and on the right her sister (Elizabeth Brown b 1932).  The young girl is my cousin (Elaine Robertson b 1954).

This is a happy-sad photo for my mother I am sure.  Happy because it was her wedding day and she was surrounded by her family, but sad because her mother died unexpectedly just a few days later when mum and dad were on their honeymoon.  Gran Brown was a furrier and I was told that this contributed to her untimely death.  I am sure she also had a weak heart but am unsure if these two facts are connected.

I never got to meet her but sometimes my mum would say I looked just like her.  I would like to meet her now.  I am sure she could shed light on some of the mysteries of my family.

My great-grandmother passed away in 1977 and Aunt Elizabeth died in 2001.


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