Starting out

My mother, who is now 80, has a particular fondness for India that she inherited from her grandmother, Minnie (Mignonette Cockburn), who lived in Bengal and Mussoorie for much of the first 21 years of her life.

Minnie standing behind Rani, who is holding Virginia on the swing.

Minnie, Rani and Virginia: Dunedin, NZ, 1932 (approx).

During her secondary school years in Dunedin, New Zealand, my mother spent a lot of time with Minnie, who lived near her boarding school. Minnie, an entertaining story teller, shared both fascinating and incredible stories about her life in India – and these proved unforgettable for Mum.

“Ulrich went to Kenya where he was eaten by a lion.”

She also left her a photo album that contains about 30 photos of Mussoorie and surrounding areas, taken in about 1897.

My own grandmother, ┬áRani (Minnie’s daughter), also ‘inherited’ this love of India from Minnie – and when I was a small child she in turn repeated the now-thoroughly-embellished India stories to me.

Mignonette Cockburn > Rani Hyde (nee Bennell) > Virginia Nelson (nee Hyde) > Anne Nelson (that’s me).

How this project started

A while ago I started the sojourn into family history research that so many embark on and from which so few quickly return.

As I disappeared into Google, online databases, genealogy message boards, the National Library and Archives NZ,┬ámy mother (Virginia) expressed her interest in finding out more about where her grandmother had lived in India and “what they did there”.

On this website I’ll share with you what I’ve found out – in case you’re also researching a branch of the Cockburn family; or have an interest in one of the places, occupations or events in India that I’ve come across.

Leave a comment

Filed under CockburnHistory, FamilyHistory, Uncategorized