----- Original Message -----
From: "Jill Jelbart" <jilljelbart(a)bigpond.com>
To: "Nigel Seeley" <nigel(a)seeley.demon.co.uk>
Cc: "SRILANKA-L(a)rootsweb." <SRILANK-L(a)rootsweb.com>
Sent: Saturday, October 12, 2002 1:40 PM
Subject: Ceylon- Davidson's & Somerville's
Many, many thanks for your info it was very exciting to read and it has
enabled us to gain a better picture of our ancestors and their friends.
You mention that St Paul's, Kandy was opened in 1846, I therefore assume
that it was a new church as we have copies of handwritten baptismal
dating back to 1833, obtained from St Paul's, Kandy prior to the
Do you know whether it was built on the site of the old church?.
I understand that there was a company named "Somerville & Co" in Colombo,
you know of it and it's owners. We wondered if James
Isabella Somerville, could have been related to these Somerville's as we
have not been able to locate any info on Isabella's ancestry or whether
was born in Ceylon.
I refer to an earlier Rootsweb email from Robyn Clarke (nee Armitage)
regarding her Ceylon ancestors who had a family company named Armitage &
and note that an ancestor born in Ceylon was named Henry Turnour
Do you know of any connection between the Armitage's and Henry Turnour.
You appear to have a great deal of knowledge of Ceylon, I would be very
interested to hear of your connections, where you currently live and
you have visited Ceylon.
If you have any suggestions for further research I would greatly
----- Original Message -----
From: "Nigel Seeley" <nigel(a)seeley.demon.co.uk>
To: "Jill Jelbart" <jilljelbart(a)bigpond.com>
Sent: Saturday, October 12, 2002 9:04 AM
Subject: Re: British Garrison Cemetery, Kandy
> Dear Jill,
> I was fascinated to read your letter, as several names jumped out at me
> immediately. Ceylon is so small, and so well documented, that given
> it is usually possible to answer the kind of questions you have
> from sources close at hand I can quickly make the following
> but you may know all of this already:
> The Hon. George Turnour (the younger) was the eldest son of the Hon.
> George Turnour (1768-1813) who married Emelie de Bausset in 1796, and
> served in the Ceylon Civil Service, 1811-1813. He was born at Jaffna,
> Ceylon, 11th March 1799, went to England in 1810, was gazetted to the
> Ceylon Civil Service in 1817, and on his arrival in Ceylon in 1820
> succeeded Edward Tolfrey as assistant to the Commissioner of Revenue. He
> was then variously Assistant in Chief Secretary's Office, 1821;
> Collector, Colombo, and Collector, Kalutara, January-June 1822;
> Agent, Saffragam, 1825-1827, and at Tamankaduwa; Revenue
> Kandy, 1828-1832; Government Agent Central Province, 1833-1841; and
> finally Assistant Colonial Secretary and Treasurer, 1841. He left the
> Island on 2lst September 1841. Turnour published the first scholarly
> English translation of the great historical chronicle of Ceylon, the
> Mahavansa, in 1837, and four historical papers in the Ceylon Almanac. He
> died at Naples on l0th April 1843. Although referred to as "The
> Honourable", George Turnour the younger was not entitled to this form of
> address by descent, unlike his father who was the fourth son of an Earl,
> but he acquired it in his capacity as a senior colonial administrator.
> This links in neatly with another godparent you list, as Lieutenant
> Alexander Atchison, Ceylon Rifles, married Jane, youngest
> Hon. George Turnour (senior), at Kandy, on November 10, 1832.
> Staff Officer at Kandy, 1835-40.
> This might then lead one to conclude that Mrs. Catherine McPherson was
> probably the wife of Lieut. Colonel James MacPherson of the Ceylon
> who seems to have become a coffee planter, purchasing Helboda
> Pussellawa, and who died in 1844.
> Samuel Northway died at Gangaruwa on July 29, 1850, aged 47 years, and
> buried at Kandy. The Northways also had connections with the
> St. Paul's Church, Kandy, was opened in 1846, and didn't have a
> of its own. However, in addition to the old Garrison Cemetery
> the Mahayaya Cemetery and the Holy Trinity churchyard. The numerous
> memorial tablets inside St. Paul's Church (no Davidsons) are listed in
> invaluable and authoritative book:
> LEWIS, J. Penry. List of inscriptions on tombstones and monuments in
> Ceylon, of historical or local interest, with an obituary of persons
> uncommemorated. Colombo: Government Press, 1913.
> The only Davidson listed by Lewis is Jane, d. Batticaloa, 1779, an
> daughter of Alexander Davidson of India, but while all the
> this book are properly indexed, many names of family members and friends
> occur in notes and can only be found by more extensive reading.
> Good luck with your research !
> Nigel Seeley.
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: Jill Jelbart <jilljelbart(a)bigpond.com>
> To: <SRILANKA-L(a)rootsweb.com>
> Sent: Friday, October 11, 2002 12:31 AM
> Subject: Fw: British Garrison Cemetery, Kandy
> > I am forwarding a copies of my emails to Geoff Summers in the hope
> > fellow researchers may have info on any of the families
> > ----- Original Message -----
> > From: "Jill Jelbart" <jilljelbart(a)bigpond.com>
> > To: "Geoff Summers" <geoffsummers(a)clara.co.uk>
> > Sent: Thursday, October 10, 2002 2:34 PM
> > Subject: Re: British Garrison Cemetery, Kandy
> > > Hi Geoff,
> > >
> > > I was very excited to receive your message and wonder if you can
> > > find out whether my ancestors are buried in this cemetery.
> > >
> > > My great, grandmother Jane Davidson, was born in Kandy on 18/3/1831.
> > > and her sister Elizabeth (brn 12/10/1833) came to Australia in 1848
> > > Frederick and Amy Young, we do not know what happened to her other
> > > Laelia (brn 24/10/1836) and her brother Frederick (born 21/6/1838).
> > >
> > > Her father James Davidson was the Paymaster Sergeant with the 78th
> > Highland
> > > Regiment of Foot he disembarked from the "Hooghly" at Colombo
> > > Army records indicate that he was based at Kandy from 1828 to 1831
> when he
> > > was discharged 31/8/1831. We have a copy of the entry of Jane's
> > > baptism in the Army Register book of BDM's and photocopies of St
> > Church,
> > > Kandy handwritten records of the christenings of her sisters and
> > >
> > > Her mother was Isabela or Isabella Somerville, we have not been able
> > > obtain any information relating to where she was born or her
> > She
> > > died 8/12/1838 at the age of 38 and James died, aged 52, on
> > Both
> > > were buried at Kandy.
> > >
> > > Is it possible to find out whether James and Isabella Davidson and
> > > children Laelia and Frederick are buried in the cemetery, also
> > the
> > > name of Somerville. If not, do you know whether there is a
> > > attached to St Paul's Church. Laelia's
godparents were "The
> > > George Turnour, Esq" "Mrs Jane Atchison" and "Mrs
> > > Frederick did not have any godparents and was christened privately
> > 5
> > > days of his birth which leads us to believe he may have been ill and
> > > Elizabeth's godparents were Mr Samuel Northway, Mrs Elizabeth Kirby
> > Mrs
> > > Emma Young.
> > >
> > > From family info handed down we believe James was given a grant of
> land by
> > > the government, possibly for a first time mail delivery, we think he
> > > have established a tea plantation and that it was given to Chancery
> > he
> > > died or lost during an uprising. Eventually, an army barracks was
> > on
> > > it which was named the "Davidson Barracks". Jane spoke
> > > fluently including ancient Chinese and Indian as spoken by Tamils
> > Sikhs.
> > > She conducted a language school in Melbourne.
> > >
> > > If anyone has any knowledge of this family, the army barracks, tea
> > > plantations owned by Davidson or Somerville's or the godparents we
> > > very much appreciate hearing from them and to receive assistance in
> > tracing
> > > their graves and ancestry. We are happy to provide donations.
> > >
> > > Regards,
> > >
> > > Jill Jelbart
> > > Albury, NSW, Australia.
> > Hi Geoff,
> > Further to my email to you yesterday. After further review of the
> > graves and your query at the end regarding James McPherson, I wonder
> > James could be the husband, child or parent in law of Mrs
> > McPherson, godmother to our great grandmother's sister Laelia. Is
> > of James known or could N.B. indicate newborn?. Is Kingussie the
> of a
> > place or plantation?
> > Do you have an email address for any of The Friends of the British
> > Cemetery, Mr Carmichael and/or the Kandy National Museum.
> > I hope to visit Kandy sometime in the future and am anxious to trace
> > info relating to my ancestors. My father always thought
that a sister
> > Jane was taken to America by godparents or relations. Three years
> > they were orphaned in 1845, Jane and Elizabeth came to
> > been unable to trace Laelia and Frederick therefore we would like to
> > determine whether either or both of them died in Ceylon or went to
> > godparents or relatives who stayed either stayed in Ceylon or departed
> > country.
> > Another story handed down in the family indicated that Jane was a
> > to the children of a high official (such as a British Viceroy or
> Governor or
> > Indian Rajah.
> > Any suggestions or assistance for further research you may be able to
> > would be greatly appreciated.
> > Regards,
> > Jill Jelbart
> > ==============================
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