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The wives of Alexander Cunningham

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The wives of Alexander Cunningham

Postby rubypaw » Fri Aug 17, 2018 10:08 am

Alexander Cunningham b 1818 Fife Scotland married twice. His first marriage was to Christina Allen b 1824? Lisbane? Ireland to Australia 1841 on the 'Allan Ker'. Alexander and Christina married 1846 in Geelong as this was before BDM in Victoria the only details are the bride and grooms names and where the marriage took place. Christina had 4 children and died 28/5/1855 at Chatswood, Victoria. Unfortunately her death certificate lacks most details including where she was buried. How do I find her parents or anything else about her?

Alexander married a second time to Hanorah Mary Keane b 1839 in Limerick Ireland. Her parents from her marriage certificate are Daniel Keane and Margaret Butler. It was a second marriage for her. The first being to Kane? with 2 living children. How do I find out more about her first marriage and children and when she came to Australia.

Alexander and Hanorah had two daughters Elizabeth Ann b 1865 Chatsworth, Victoria and Catherine Mary b 1867 Wickliffe, Victoria. Both girls were sent to St Joseph's Industrial school, Geelong as wards of the state in 1871. They stayed there for 10 years. Did they marry? What happened to them after leaving the industrial school? Alexander died in 1874 in the Ararat Asylum and Hanorah died in 1904 in Geelong. Her death certificate was completed by a neighbour who left out most of the information. Any help at all would be fantastic.
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Re: The wives of Alexander Cunningham

Postby Fernhilljj2 » Sat Aug 18, 2018 7:49 am

Alexander and his family lived at an interesting time for the new colony, but challenging to research now.
Alexander was Scottish, so likely to be Presbyterian, so his wife Christina is likely to be protestant too. There is a Lisburn near Belfast, Ireland, but just a guess.
Does the 1846 Geelong marriage record indicate by which minister or in which church they were married? Is there an early church record (not just the index entry) which may list the witnesses? (Just in case one of the witnesses is a relative.)

There is a baptism entry for an unnamed son of Alexander in 1854 at HOPK which I think will be Hopkins River or Hopkins Hill station. Possibly this was the William John Cunningham who died in 1930 at Minyip, Victoria, aged 76, son of Alexander and Christina. You may already have this certificate, but if not, it may be helpful if it leads to a marriage certificate with more details.

The Hopkins Hill station was one of the Clyde Company properties until 1854. The Clyde Company Papers have been published and indexed. For Victoria, they start around 1836 and go through to the late 1850's. They are business papers, but you may be lucky and find a mention of Alexander working for the Clyde Company near Geelong then moving out to Chatsworth, or perhaps just find some background information about Hopkins Hill station. The Geelong Heritage Centre may be able to help you and may have other Geelong records not yet on-line. I have assumed Alexander was a farm worker in Victoria, as Chatsworth was an agricultural area.

John Moffat purchased Hopkins Hill in 1854 and may have been Alexander's employer when Christina died in 1855 (or 1856?). His home there, Chatsworth House, is still standing so perhaps it is worth enquiring about any surviving local records that would be relevant? Any idea who looked after the baby when Christina died? Relatives also working at Chatsworth? By this time the gold-rush was in full swing so lots of incentive for family members to come from Ireland.

Regarding Hanora Mary, she appears in the indexes as Honora or Hanora nee Bourk(e)/ Burk(e). Without the full certificate I don't know which of Keane or Bourke is her maiden name and which is her married name. If you don't already have them, the full certificates for her marriage and the birth certificate of both daughters are worth getting just in case one has more information about her birthplace etc. One might just say Ireland, but another may give the town or parish if you are very lucky.

The Geelong Family History Group has an index entry for Hanora Mary, in their publication The Pivot Tree, no 30:382. (From the GSV index). There is a copy held by the Genealogical Society of Victoria (GSV) also. It may refer to her death and be something you already know, but worth checking if you haven't seen it?
Hope this helps.
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Re: The wives of Alexander Cunningham

Postby ianbee » Sat Aug 18, 2018 8:28 am

Fernhilljj2 wrote:Does the 1846 Geelong marriage record indicate by which minister or in which church they were married? Is there an early church record (not just the index entry) which may list the witnesses? (Just in case one of the witnesses is a relative.)

St Andrew's Presbyterian Church, Geelong, 17.8.1846
Alexander Cunningham + Christian Allen
Bachelor + Spinster
Addresses River Hopkins, River Leigh
Minister Andrew Love
witnesses transcribed as A... Wilson, Stewart Walker

Burial of Alexander Cunningham at Ararat General Cemetery, 20 August 1874
age 55
residence Asylum
occupation Storekeeper
remarks - Removed to Private Ground ... cat=392499

Geelong Cemeteries Trust
Geelong Eastern Cemetery
Hanorah Mary Cunningham
age 65
date 1 May 1904
location EAS-UNK-X-825-X

UNK = Section Unknown!
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