George's father: brief glimpses of his life

(With thanks to the former Catherine Wolff of England. In June, 2005, while living in Worthing, West Sussex, she came across my web pages about George, and e-mailed me. It turns out she and I share great, great Macdonald grandparents and so are third cousins. Catherine has accumulated a great deal of genealogical information about these Macdonalds, and has generously shared it with me. I am indebted to Catherine's research for the following material, much of which comes from census records she has tracked down.)

Michael MICHAEL Anderson MacDonald was born in Edinburgh, Scotland in 1853. His grandparents were Scottish, and so were his parents. His father, John Macdonald, was born in 1825 in South Leith, and his mother, Sophia Smith, was born in 1822 in Edinburgh. They were married in Edinburgh on June 15, 1849. John started as a printer in Edinburgh and moved to London in 1854, were he continued as a printer and proofreader.

Michael had an older brother, Andrew, also born in Edinburgh in 1851. He also had four younger brothers and a sister, all born in London. They were: John William, born in 1855; Charles, born in 1857; Mary Sophia, born in 1859; Alfred Thomas, born in 1861 and Frederick Cleeve, born in 1866. Alfred was Catherine Wolff's great grandfather. In 1861, the family lived at 5 Holley St., Hackney, London.

When he was in his late teens, Michael joined the British army. In 1871, at the age of 18, he had left home and was a private in the 35th Regiment.

Holy Trinity

On September 25, 1880, after banns had been duly posted, Michael married Annie Richings, also a Londoner. He was 27, she was 20. The wedding took place at the Anglican Church of the Holy Trinity in Dalston, now East London. That's the church above, as it looks today.The vicar, Rev. R.S. Hassard, presided. That's a photocopy of the marriage certificate, below.

Marriage certificate

The couple moved into a house at 142 Tottenham Rd. in Hackney, London, right beside Michael's parents who had moved to 140 Tottenham Rd. Michael's sister Mary and his two youngest brothers, Alfred and Frederick were still living at home with their parents. Michael was working at this time as a "printer's reader," or proofreader, following in his father's footsteps. It was at the Tottenham Rd. home that George was born a year later, and likely his sister Maggie, five years after that.

At some point Michael and his family moved away, and ten years later, were to be found at Hanover Rd., Harrow, still in the London area. Michael was still working as a "press reader." Nine-year-old George was going to school. And Michael's wife's sister Nelly had moved in with them all.

By 1901, the family had moved again, this time to Headstone Road, still in Harrow. By now, Michael appeared to have become well-established professionally and was described as a "journalist author." Nineteen-year-old George appeared to be doing well, too, and was described as a "reporter." The family must have been comfortably off, because they had a live-in servant, Kathleen Haroman, described as a "general domestic." That's a portion of the 1901 census below, from which this information comes.

1901 census

Ten years later, the family was in yet another home in Harrow, on Cunningham Park. Michael, now 58, was listed in the 1911 census as an advertisement writer for house furnishing and decorating, while Maggie, 25, was working for the telephone company. George was no longer with them; he had emigrated to Canada in 1903. The rest of the family lived on Cunningham Park until at least 1918.

Sometime after that, Michael, his wife Annie, and daughter Maggie moved to Torquay, a seaside community on the southwest coast of England, where, according to our family oral tradition, Michael continued his journalistic career.

He died in that area in 1940 at the age of 87. Annie died the following year at the age of 80. And daughter Maggie lived on in Torquay until 1966, when she died at the age of 80.

(With thanks to Diane Maltz, of Harrow who lived in the Cunningham Park house in 2011 and sent me the information about it. She also sent me details and documentation about the Macdonald household and the deaths of the Macdonalds in later years.)

George's home page | The early years | Millie | Letters to his grandson

Memories of private life | George and the R-100 airship | Final tribute

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This page created August 1, 2005. Last updated November 11, 2011