Friday, 10 February 2012


My great grandparents, Margaret Ann Hay Forsyth (1877-1929) and James Christopher Musson (1873-1950) were married on the 16th of March 1899 at Rangiora, Canterbury, New Zealand.

They had 9 children.

  1. Jessie Catherine   1899 - 1969
  2. Mary Margaret    1902 - 1970
  3. William Robert     1904 - 1979
  4. James Richard      1906 - 1976 - my grandfather
  5. Walter                  1908 - 1919
  6. Esther Helen         1911 - 1966
  7. Eric Mark             1913 - 1991
  8. Ian Alexander       1915 - 1989
  9. Ivor Forsyth          1918 - 1993

I have yet to find exactly when my grandfather came to Australia from New Zealand

I had the half a dozen little photos with some names and nicknames on the back.  We will never know whether my grandfather brought the photos over with him or if perhaps his sister sent them over later because he was homesick.       (Story at  what-started-my-genealogy-journey)

Recently in my research I found him listed on the New Zealand electoral roll for 1935.
He was living at West Belt, Rangiora - Hurunui, Canterbury.  His father, James Christopher Musson was also there. James snr was a farmer, James jnr was a labourer.  His mother, Margaret Ann Hay Musson , nee Forsyth had died in 1929.

Perhaps this was added reason for his leaving?

Ironically West Belt, Rangiora was the same address for the Forsyth family that I had written to in the 1990s.  They were in fact relatives of my great grandmother.

On my trip to New Zealand to meet all my newly found family I was given a stack of photograph negatives which I had developed after I got home.  They seemed to be ranging in time frames from around the 1920s to the 1940s with some possibly even later.

James Richard Musson is standing centre with the light coloured cap.  I have no idea what year this was taken.  The only other people in the photo I am certain of is his 3rd youngest brother, Eric Mark Musson beside him.  2nd youngest brother, Ian Alexander Musson, standing front right and his father, James Christopher Musson, kneeling front right.  Possibly Ivor Forsyth Musson front left.

Last year I made contact online with a lady named Corrinne who was researching the BIRD family.
 James Christopher Musson's mother was Catherine BIRD.

I had researched the family quite a lot with another cousin, Cathy.  Amongst the photo negatives from New Zealand was also a couple of big photos in the old cardboard frames.

I remembered this one when  contacted by Corrinne

Beatrice O'Malley was Corrinne's grandmother!

Jim and Maggie were my great grandparents!

And then, amongst the photos from the negatives was the following photo.
I had also been given a paper copy of this one on my New Zealand trip 10 years ago.
 On this paper copy was written:

Ron Thackwell with Loraine. Ian Musson, Bill Musson, Joan Audrey Musson nee Farmer, Dulcie Musson seated with Nola Musson , Sally Bird, Eric (Mac) Musson with Tim, Ted McClelland (Dulcie's father), George Barker.
Tom and Beatrice O'Malley with Edna, Doris Thackwell and further right seated is Molly Ford nee Musson.

It turns out that George Bird was Catherine Bird's nephew and the only other member of that Bird family (that we know of as yet) to go to New Zealand.

Corrinne said she had always wondered if her great grandparents had chosen to come to New Zealand because some other family members were already there...... AND ..... finally,  after many years of searching for the date of their arrival in New Zealand, she found the record. ..... Exactly 100 years to the day!   spooky!

She remembered her mother speaking of an Aunty Jessie.  This was in fact Jessie Barker nee Musson who lived at Harewood where the Christchurch airport is now.  Both Nola and Corrinne, who didn't know of each other until yesterday (9th Feb 2012) always spoke of Aunty Jessie's house that was under the runway!  I find it truly amazing that, through family history research and the internet, members of families separated by oceans and generations, are once again connecting after so many years.

My great grandparents rest in the Rangiora Anglican Cemetery, Ashley Street.


  1. Excellent summary Kerryn and as you say wonderful that generations and oceans apart we have rekindled the origonal family ties.

  2. FYI Kerryn, Doris THACKWELL (in the pic sitting to the right of Beatrice o'Malley, her sister) Ron, her husband is holding my mothers cousin Lorraine who... I was flowergirl at their wedding 1958. It was only last year I managed to track her down, thanks to you and Cath, after loosing contact with her over 50 years ago, and her and Ron came to stay with me for a month.

  3. That's wonderful to hear Corrinne, do they live in Australia too?
    When you say Ron, did Lorraine marry a Ron too?

  4. Hi Kerryn, I have just come upon this as I was sorting out correspondence re the BIRD line. Yes, Doris Married Ronald George THACKWELL, their daughter Lorraine married Ronald Henry James BURNETT. Lorraine and Ron are both very much alive and well living in Perth, Western Australia howver they are also very much members of the gray nomads (a nickname given to retirees who extensively travel Australia in a campervan. They had travelled 4000+kms when they came to visit me a coupe of years ago.