I am forwarding a copies of my emails to Geoff Summers in the hope that
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
I was very excited to receive your message and wonder if you can help me
find out whether my ancestors are buried in this cemetery.
My great, grandmother Jane Davidson, was born in Kandy on 18/3/1831. She
and her sister Elizabeth (brn 12/10/1833) came to Australia in 1848 with
Frederick and Amy Young, we do not know what happened to her other sister
Laelia (brn 24/10/1836) and her brother Frederick (born 21/6/1838).
Her father James Davidson was the Paymaster Sergeant with the 78th
Regiment of Foot he disembarked from the "Hooghly" at
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 birth and
baptism in the Army Register book of BDM's and photocopies of St Paul's
Kandy handwritten records of the christenings of her sisters and
Her mother was Isabela or Isabella Somerville, we have not been able to
obtain any information relating to where she was born or her parentage.
died 8/12/1838 at the age of 38 and James died, aged 52, on 2/3/1845.
were buried at Kandy.
Is it possible to find out whether James and Isabella Davidson and their
children Laelia and Frederick are buried in the cemetery, also anyone by
name of Somerville. If not, do you know whether there is a
attached to St Paul's Church. Laelia's godparents were "The Honourable
George Turnour, Esq" "Mrs Jane Atchison" and "Mrs Catherine
Frederick did not have any godparents and was christened privately within
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 and
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 may
have established a tea plantation and that it was given to Chancery when
died or lost during an uprising. Eventually, an army barracks was
it which was named the "Davidson Barracks". Jane spoke
fluently including ancient Chinese and Indian as spoken by Tamils and
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 would
very much appreciate hearing from them and to receive assistance in
their graves and ancestry. We are happy to provide donations.
Albury, NSW, Australia.
Further to my email to you yesterday. After further review of the notes on
graves and your query at the end regarding James McPherson, I wonder if
James could be the husband, child or parent in law of Mrs Catherine
McPherson, godmother to our great grandmother's sister Laelia. Is the age
of James known or could N.B. indicate newborn?. Is Kingussie the name of a
place or plantation?
Do you have an email address for any of The Friends of the British Garrison
Cemetery, Mr Carmichael and/or the Kandy National Museum.
I hope to visit Kandy sometime in the future and am anxious to trace any
info relating to my ancestors. My father always thought that a sister of
Jane was taken to America by godparents or relations. Three years after
they were orphaned in 1845, Jane and Elizabeth came to Australia but we have
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 live with
godparents or relatives who stayed either stayed in Ceylon or departed the
Another story handed down in the family indicated that Jane was a governess
to the children of a high official (such as a British Viceroy or Governor or
Any suggestions or assistance for further research you may be able to offer
would be greatly appreciated.