Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Great-grandmother Annie Woods and her father Patrick Byrne

I am so excited.  After years of research, I have received the following information:

"WOODS, (Mrs.) Annie.
Wife of Charles Woods, Esq. Builder and Contractor,  Doornfontein Johannesburg,T. 
Born near Grahamstown,  C.P.
Daughter of Patrick  Byrne Esq.
Education. Greenhill Convent, Bloemfontein, O.F.S.
Member. Agricultural  Soc.; S.A.N.U. and various local charities.
Her husband is the owner of a large Stud Farm adjoining the Govt. Stud Farm,  Standerton, T.
Favourite Recreaction. Tennis and outdoor sports.

3 daughters, 2 sons- May, Constance, Ivy; Reginald, Harold.
Add: Northwold Lodge, Doornfontein, Johannesburg, T."

My comments:  Having this information opens up many doors in what was a brick wall.  Having received Annie's name and that of her father in very valuable information.  Furthermore, we now know that there was another daughter, May who was still alive in 1938 (the year of the source of this information). 
Having the address of the house where my granny lived as a child is very special to me.
 

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Mckenzie Siblings - Document


The draft of the document covering the lives of the children of John and May Mckenzie, is progressing very slowly.

We urgently require more infomation about Audrey, Ralph, Grace, Mary, Victor, Lily, John, Edith, Janet and Duncan.

Any memories of a parent, aunt or uncle will add to the success of this project.
Please will all their descendants contact me as soon as possible, as I need information to complete this project. It cannot be a success without your help.

Thank you one and all. I am looking forward to hearing from you.




Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Two Unknown Great Uncles

Family research can be quiet tedious but then out of the blue, one receives information that is quite exciting. This recently happened to me when I received a letter from Aunty John Egenes informing me that Granny Dryden had two brothers. Now, I had always known about her sister Connie who married into the famous Ball’s Chutney family… and I had always presumed there were just the two of them.

The eldest brother, Harold Woods, was a banker and lived at Hartebeestpoort. The other brother was Reg Woods, who probably lived somewhere in Johannesburg. So now the search is on to find their descendants and try to put the jigsaw pieces together.

Anyone with information on these two brothers or their descendants, please contact me.

Family News

We are looking for any family news for this blog.

As anyone celebrated an anniversary, graduation, special occasion? The birth of a new grandson, death of a cousin etc. Church confirmation, Matric results... anyting of interest.

Did any family members run the Comrades Marathon?

Please contact me for further details.
buchanatree@gmail.com.

Thanks
Stella!

Monday, January 7, 2013

Early Memories of my Parents – Colin Mckenzie

The earliest I can remember is snow at Glenluce. I remember been very cold. I also remember Dad giving the farm workers a Christmas party behind the Glenluce house.

Dad had a truck, brown I think. He brought a huge slab of stone to make a bridge across the drain at the back of the house. It was dragged there with oxen. I was in the truck when Dad drove off the stone bridge with the back wheel and the oxen pulled the truck out.

There were oak tress down the side of the house. I climbed them all.

I was very small when Mom went to tea next door and I was left in the care of a maid. Her name I don’t recall, but she was strict with me. But, I still managed to put the sewing machine needle through my thumb. There I sat with a thread through my thumb until Mom came home, expecting the hiding that the maid had promised.

Dad had a dog called Rodger. He followed me everywhere and was very protective.

There was a gold fish pond in front of the house. I was not allowed to go there alone.

I think we moved in about 1960 when Dad went to work at Orange Grove. It was only at about this that time I started to remember my older brother and sisters. I do not recall Stella been born.

At about this time, Dad stopped in a dark spot under the pine trees on Orange Grove and showed us a sputnik, the first Russian space ship. I still look at and for space ships today.

The first time I climbed the mountain (Indumeni Platberg), I was 6 years old. Dad told Joseph (a farm worker) to look after me. He wanted to stop and smoke the whole way and I wanted to climb. He got to the top of the mountain out of breath. I climbed this mountain 65 times.

John and I were with Mom, talking to her on her bed. (I think John has this bed now). She was smoking Cameo cigarettes. She offered me one. I was about 11 years old. I took one puff and coughed my lungs out. I never touched smokes again (except to put match heads in them! *Another story for another day.)

Dad bought a brand new bakkie for R1280.00. I learnt to drive in that bakkie.

We went on holiday once a year, normally to Eden Park at ‘Tweni (Umtentweni on the Natal South Coast). Eden Park is still there today. We spent many happy hours fishing for Shad at the ‘Tweni rocks. Little did I know that we would have restrictions on Shad today. I was 10 years old when Dad bought me a strong pair of binoculars. The shop where he bought them is still in Port Shepstone and I still use them to this day.

Mom fishing
As a child I had a leaking heart valve. This made life hard as I could not run without over-heating. I went with Mom to see my cousin Edward in Johannesburg. (Dr Edward Gale). We went by train. We were about 10 km from Jo’burg when a bomb went off. We had been delayed somewhere, so we missed the bomb. We heard it but we missed it.

Christmas at the Town House was always fun. I could not work our how Aunty Mary could cut the steam pudding so it only had on sixpence. Mom and Dad would not say. One year I watched from a distance and saw how she put the tickie in each time she served. I still have a tickie from Christmas.

On New Year’s Day, we often had a braai where anybody could come. The only rule – no booze!

My brother John and I used to keep snakes. I used to take a pet Night Adder to school in my pocket. We were sitting in hall one day when the girl behind me screamed “slang”. My pet had it’s head out of the pocket. Trouble I knew was coming so in the confusion, I put it in my scants, so if I was searched the snake was safe. Luckily it did not bite me as this would have taken a lot of explaining to Mom.!

One day the dogs were barking in a strange way. Under a sheet of sink-plaat, I found a one metre Puff Adder that had just given birth to about 30 babies, which were each 10 cm long. I wanted to catch them to send to the Snake Park in Durban. I saw big bucks here. Just then, Dad pulled me back and shot the snakes with his stove-pipe shot gun. There wasn’t enough left for snake and kidney pie! Dad saved my life that day as a new born Puff Adder has a fatal bite. Dad was bitten by a Cape Cobra. That gave him a hard time!

We got home one night and the yard was full of black people. In those days, you never locked your house and Dad’s shot gun stood in the corner in his bedroom. On asking, we discovered that one of the women had been bitten by a snake. We had snake bit serum but we only had ox syringe needles, which are as thick as drain pipes!! Half went into her bum and half into her leg. She survived but had a sore bum for a while!

In Memory: Vivienne Lily McKenzie


Lily, with her twin brother Victor, were the 9th and 10th children of John and May Mckenzie. The twins were born in Dundee on the 19th April 1912. Lily died, I believe as a result of cancer, on 16 February 1966 and was buried in Dundee.

I only have two memories of Aunty Lily.  As I was only 6 years of age when she died so I do not remember much about her. My first memory was of us having a meal, probably a Sunday lunch, at the Town House. My brothers had secretly mixed salt with the sugar in the sugar bowl. Tea was served after the meal. Everyone was sitting around the table, enjoying each other's company, when Aunty Lily was the first to taste the tea! One can only imagine the reaction!!!

My other memory was of her funeral. I was not allowed to attend, as I was considered too young. I spent the time with Aunty Ursula Klingenberg at Victoria Tea Room, who kindly tried to explain what a funeral was. My parents took me to see the grave a few days later.

My brother Colin, has sent me this memory of Aunty Lily:

I only knew this Aunt for a few short years when I was young. She was a grand old lady and I still remember her teaching me at Sunday School.

One of the things she was very strict about was measuring the rain. Her father had kept rain fall records at the town house in Dundee, since he built it. One hot summer afternoon there was a very brief thunder storm. Only a few drops fell. One of my sisters and I thought we could help the storm, so we added some ice blocks to the rain gauge. Along came Aunty Lily to measure the rain and we disappeared. All we heard her say was "so little rain and I measured over two inches"

I never owned up for doing this. I know that if I had, she would have instructed me to go to the back of the yard and cut a quince stick so that she could dust my pants for me.

It would seem that this was an Aunt on whom one could pull a few pranks, as long as one did not get caught!

In Memory: Mary Eleanor Mckenzie


Mary was the 3rd child of John and May Mckenzie.

Mary grew up with the desire of becoming a nurse. However, circumstances within the family home, found her forsaking her career choice in order to become the family’s home keeper.

Mary was gentle soul who’s love for all her nieces and nephews was very obvious. She was a wonderful cook and baker. Her cakes tins were always full of treats, especially tea biscuits. She made it a habit to bake biscuits in the shape of the letters of the alphabet – being sure that there were enough for the first letter of the children’s names. The cake tins were kept in cupboards in the passage and were such a temptation to the young ones. Mary never married and her nieces and nephews filled her life with joy.

The ginger-beer which she brewed for Sunday School picnics was a firm favourite. It was served in huge white enamel jugs.

Mary’s name has to be linked to “Christmas in the good old days.” She stood up very early to begin the cooking and produced an amazing spread in time for lunch. And she never missed the Christmas Day church service! The turkey was cooked to perfection with all the trimmings. Christmas pudding always included a few coins and every year all the children hoped they would find one in their bowl.
Mary was good to her servants, who lived on the premises. They were always well clothed and ate well. I have memories of the day one of the ladies retired – I am sure there was tears in Aunt Mary’s eyes.

I cannot remember Aunt Mary saying a bad word about anyone. We always felt welcome in her home, no matter what the time of day. The front door of the Town House was always opened and we were welcome to come and go as we pleased.

Giving up the old family home was an emotional experience for Aunt Mary. Together with her sister Grace, they moved to a flatlet and some 10 years later, to the Eventide Home for the Aged in Dundee.
It was here that Mary spent her remaining days, been served by others and resting after years of serving those whom she had loved so dearly.