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Robert SUTHERLAND b.1836 Scotland - died NZ

Discussion in 'New Zealand' started by MaryY, Apr 13, 2015.

  1. MaryY

    MaryY LostCousins Member

    My husband's gr-great-uncle, ROBERT SUTHERLAND, was born 1836 in Tongue Parish, Sutherlandshire, Scotland. His parents were John Sutherland & Margaret Mackay.
    Robert Sutherland migrated to New Zealand c.1863. Family lore says he returned to Scotland later in life. This may have been as late as 1909, when he erected a memorial to his parents and siblings.
    Family lore has Robert meeting a young lady on the voyage back to Scotland, and marrying her in Dornoch Cathedral (sadly I don't know her name, and can't find this marriage in Scotland - perhaps they married on return to New Zealand). They had at least one child, named John Sutherland, and a grandson Bruce Sutherland. Bruce Sutherland and his wife, Elsbeth?, visited their relatives in Tongue some 20 or 30 years ago. I would love to re-establish contact with this branch of my husband's family, and hopefully re-link them with their Scottish cousins.
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 13, 2015
  2. Alexander Bisset

    Alexander Bisset Administrator Staff Member

    I'll have a look to see if I can find the records I'm assuming you've tried Scotland's people website? Have you searched any passenger list records for ships coming to Scotland in the right period. You mention John Sutherland a child but didn't say where you thought he was born or when? That might help narrow the search for a marriage, or give another avenue to find the wife's name.

    PS. There is no such place as Sutherlandshire in Scotland. The county is called Sutherland, the addition of shire is a Victorian Anglicisation that is simply wrong.
  3. JohnB

    JohnB LostCousins Member

    The memorial site says "On the voyage back to NZ, he met a young lady who became his wife - his descendants have visited Tongue within the last twenty years."

    NZ BDM shows 7 marriages with groom's name Robert Sutherland between 1909 and 12/04/1935 (the most recent date available) with many more Roberts with a second name.

    NZ BDM Marriage Search

    FMP has three passenger lists including a Robt Sutherland (2 in 1909 and 1 in 1910) which you could perhaps check the names of female passengers to get a match, but it would be a big job ?
    Last edited: Apr 13, 2015
  4. MaryY

    MaryY LostCousins Member

    I must confess, it's years since I looked for this marriage. I will try again, next time I'm in Register House.
    Names of Robert Sutherland's son John and grandson Bruce, came to me second-hand from cousins who met Bruce when he visited Scotland decades ago ... so it's all rather vague!
    I stand corrected re Sutherland! The "shire" was only put in, because people tend to use this in Google searches.
  5. Alexander Bisset

    Alexander Bisset Administrator Staff Member

    If JohnB is correct it is likely that they married in New Zealand rather than Scotland. Although family lore as captured on the memorial site might not be correct. As he suggests you could look at the NZ BMDs and check the brides name against the passenger lists he suggests.

    I Googled Sutherlandshire and got lots of stuff about an area in Australia. In fact everything on the front page was about Australia rather than Scotland. I'm a great believer that just because people "tend" to do something wrongly doesn't mean we should encourage them in their ignorance ;) It's not that important but it does show that it can be confusing if you use the wrong terms. Forgive me if I'm being overly pedantic.
  6. JohnB

    JohnB LostCousins Member

    Hello MaryY,
    I see the note on the memorial site has now been altered to show Robt met his bride-to-be on the return trip to Scotland, so I take this to mean you are quite sure of that, in which case my comments above should be ignored. Sorry, I do not seem to be able to edit my previous reply.

    Does family lore give any clues as to what occupation Robert, John and/or Bruce had in NZ. or where they might have lived? Either detail would help to trace them from Electoral Rolls or newspaper reports at this end i.e. distinguish them from others with the same name. Robt must have been reasonably wealthy to afford the return trip to Scotland and memorial, so it's likely there are some records of his time here in NZ.
    Last edited: Apr 14, 2015
  7. Margery

    Margery LostCousins Member

    Commonly known as "The Shire" to anyone in the Sydney metropolitan area.:rolleyes:
  8. JohnB

    JohnB LostCousins Member

    Reading the memorial note again, I see it's unclear exactly when Robert returned to Scotland, but if it was 1909 he would have been 73 yrs old.

    You mention in first post he married in Dornoch Cathedral, but the memorial note says he may have married in NZ?

    It seems unclear how long he stayed in Scotland after arranging for the memorial, and unsure if he ever returned to NZ?

    Have you any idea when or where he died?

    Can anyone recall if Bruce mentioned where he was from when he visited some 20 -30 years ago?
  9. Alexander Bisset

    Alexander Bisset Administrator Staff Member

    It strikes me that if you know he died in NZ after 1909 and that he was born in Scotland in 1836 it may be the most fruitful line of enquiry to find his death certificate as this may well name his wife.

    I think we also have to be careful. You say he migrated to NZ in 1863 and erected the memorial in 1909. However he may have returned to Scotland and met his bride at any point during that period. In fact I'd say its likely he was married before 1909, although it could have been afterwards. It's less likely he married "a young lady" when he was in his 70s+, unless of course he did indeed have a lot of money :)

    There are only 4 candidate Dornoch marriages in the period
    1872    SUTHERLAND    ROBERT    GRANT    JANET        DORNOCH (SUTHERLAND)    /SUTHERLAND    047/00 0007       
    1875    SUTHERLAND    ROBERT    CALDER    BELLA        DORNOCH (SUTHERLAND)    /SUTHERLAND    047/00 0002       
    1899    SUTHERLAND    ROBERT    MACKAY    ANNIE        DORNOCH (SUTHERLAND)    /SUTHERLAND    047/00 0006       
    1915    SUTHERLAND    ROBERT    GUNN    JOANNA JANE SWA    DORNOCH (SUTHERLAND)    /SUTHERLAND    047/00 0008       
    So it is possible if he married it is one of these. It would only take 20 credits to view each of these and as luck would have it the Daily Record newspaper in Scotland is doing a give away before 30th April 2015. If you login to Scotland's People and click buy credits then enter the voucher code "scotlandnow" you will get 20 free credits. I've told Peter about the offer so I expect he will include it in his next newsletter.
  10. VTinOZ

    VTinOZ Member

    Thanks for the heads up on the Scotlandnow voucher Alexander, very useful.
    • Agree Agree x 1
  11. MaryY

    MaryY LostCousins Member

    Sorry for delay in replying, the alert emails have stopped arriving for this thread. Alas I am not sure of anything, and should have worded the memorial note with that in mind. I was definitely told that Robert Sutherland his wife, wherever they married, settled in NZ and had their family there.
    I did look at the NZ deaths, but none of the R Sutherland's were born as early as 1936.
    Unsure of Robert's occupation, but most likely farmer of some kind, as his forebears were crofters.
  12. MaryY

    MaryY LostCousins Member

    I looked at the NZ deaths on-line, and couldn't find one born as early as 1836.
    Thanks for doing the search. I got the free credits the other day, thanks. They bought 3 images (as I had to repeat the search, which "wasted" 1 credit). So I can rule out the 1875, 1899 and 1915 marriages in Dornoch. Will look at 1872 in Dornoch, and also search the wider area, next time I'm in Register House.
  13. JohnB

    JohnB LostCousins Member

    This Robt. Sutherland died 11/07/1919 aged 83 and shown as having spent 60 yrs in NZ. Pretty close!

    He's also listed as a farmer. Unfortunately, it appears there is no headstone or record of anyone else in the same plot.
    If you want to order Death Cert it can be done here
    with details 1919/6801 Sutherland Robert age 83Y

    Good Luck!
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 17, 2015
  14. raven

    raven LostCousins Member

    Do you have an inkling as to which part of NZ he settled in?

    I have a list of the freeholders, 1882 and there are 10 Robert Sutherlands - all but one are in the South Island.

    In the Early Settlers list there is just one Robert Sutherland listed, but he was here in 1858 - as an agriculturalist.

    Doing a quick search of the NZ bdm's I've found a Robert Sutherland married Ellen Wilson 1875; had a son John Wilson b. 1877. John Wilson Sutherland m. Charlotte Martha Jones 1906; they had a son Bruce b. 1915 - any chance this could be them? I can do further checking if you like. My marriage search disk has become corrupted somehow otherwise I could possibly have found Bruce's marriage for you.
  15. Alexander Bisset

    Alexander Bisset Administrator Staff Member

    This is the 1872 one
  16. jenata

    jenata New Member


    Robert Sutherland, died 1919, age 84, buried Waikouaiti Hawkesbury Cemetery NZ.
    Hope this helps
  17. MaryY

    MaryY LostCousins Member

    Thanks JohnB. I looked at ancestry.co.uk Public Member Trees, several have this Robert Sutherland as born in Caithness to different parents, and leaving Scotland in 1859. I know these trees aren't always reliable! Would the NZ death certificate show parents' names? Otherwise it wouldn't help, as I don't yet know wife's name. (Going round in circles!)
  18. MaryY

    MaryY LostCousins Member

    Alexander, thanks so much! The 1872 marriage is another "nil point", a widower age 50, my guy would have been single age 36.
    Looks as if one part of our family story - marriage in Dornoch Cathedral - is fantasy! Makes me wonder about the rest of it.
  19. MaryY

    MaryY LostCousins Member

    Hi raven
    Alas it's all so vague, I have no idea where my Robert Sutherland settled after migrating to NZ c.1863. He was definitely born 3 Jun 1836 in Tongue, Sutherland. There are ancestry.co.uk Public Member Trees with Robert Sutherland who married Ellen Wilson, being born 1845 in Halkirk Caithness and dying 1880. I'm beginning to wonder whether their grandson, Bruce Sutherland, went hunting his ancestors, and fetched up in Sutherland by mistake!
  20. Alexander Bisset

    Alexander Bisset Administrator Staff Member

    Mary it is easy to imagine someone having written down some details reading Sutherland as the place when actually it was just the surname. So often when people write things down its unstructured and missing lots of dates and places. Perhaps something was misread at some point as being the county of Sutherland when actually they were never there? Yet you seem so sure he was born in Tongue? Why is that?

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