Peter ALLAN & Sarah SHORT Family of Wark-on-Tweed, Northumberland, England – 1820s to 1950s

TABLE of CONTENTS:  Because this section is lengthy I have summarized its subdivisions below:

SECTION I.  PETER ALLAN (1823-1905) and SARAH SHORT (1824-1902)

SECTION II.  CHILDREN of Peter Allan & Sarah Short – and their families:

  1.  Thomas Allan (1847-1921) m. Isabella Nesbit (1854-1899)
  2.  Leonard Allan (1848-1903) m. (1)Agnes Logan (1848-1898) and (2) Elizabeth Rutherford (abt 1853-1943)
  3.  Mary Allan (1850-1936) m. David Melrose (1849-1907)
  4.  Margaret Allan (1853-1897) m. William Brownlees (1846-1908)
  5.  Peter Allan (1856-1861)
  6.  Sarah Allan (1858-1941)
  7.  Isabella Allan (1860-1929) m. (1) Thomas Short Lockie (1858-82)  and (2) John Bolton (1857-1918)
  8. Elizabeth Ann Allan (1863-1949)
  9. Georgina Jane Allan (1867-1909) m. John Bruce (1868-1930)


SECTION I.      PETER ALLAN (1823-1905) & SARAH SHORT (1824-1902)

Peter ALLAN (1823-1905) and Sarah SHORT (1824-1902) are my maternal great-great-grandparents. They were born almost two hundred years ago in England into a world very different from that of their descendants in 2019. It was a time when most of the population of the United Kingdom lived and worked in rural areas. People whose families worked in agriculture but did not own land had no vote, and no say in the government of their country.  In 1832 the first Reform Bill expanded the franchise to men who rented land of a certain value but no women and not all men had been enfranchised by the time both Allans died, early in the twentieth century. It was not until 1918 that all male citizens of Britain over the age of 21 got the vote. Some British women were given the vote in 1918 but it was not until 1928 that all women over the age of 21 became eligible to vote there. It is interesting to note that in 1880 Peter Allan was on the voters’ list in the Poll Book for his area.

There was no free public education in England when Peter Allan and Sarah Short were young or even when their children were young so many people in their circumstances could not read or write, limiting their employment opportunities.  It was not until the 1880s and early 1890s that free and compulsory education for children to the age of eleven was made available in England.

Rapid industrialization and urbanization in the United Kingdom in the nineteenth century also greatly altered the world during Peter’s and Sarah’s lifetimes and resulted in many members of their family moving away from the rural areas to live and work in cities. As well, many of their younger relatives, nieces, nephews, grandchildren decided to leave the U.K. and seek opportunities in other countries like Canada, the United States, Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa, often never to return to the “old country”.

Below is a small map of the area in which Peter Allan and Sarah Short spent their lives. For an idea of the scale – Berwick-upon-Tweed on the coast is about 14 miles from Coldstream and Wark, two small communities near the left edge of the map.  The names of villages where members of the family lived or worked at different times have been circled. The wavy grey line running from approximately the top-centre of the map is the border between Scotland and England. It follows the River Tweed for a good part of this map.

Map courtesy of “1990 AA Big Road Atlas Britain”, p47

My mother’s mother, Isabella (m.s. Brownlees) Cameron (1874-1958), left her parents’ home in the industrial city of Gateshead, County Durham, to live with her maternal grandparents Peter Allan (1823-1905) and Sarah Short (1824-1902), in the village of Wark-on-Tweed, by the Scottish border, sometime between the census of 1881, when she was six, and the 1891 census, when she was sixteen.  I do not know the reason for this move but it may have been a way for her grandparents to help their daughter and son-in-law’s large family. Or, perhaps the aging grandparents also needed help at home. Grandma remained with the Allans until their deaths. Because of this move she seems to have forged closer ties with the grandparents, cousins, aunts, and uncles, that lived in that area and she left many photos and post cards from these individuals.

I inherited these old photos and post cards and it was the desire to bring them out of old albums and dusty boxes that prompted me to post what I have on this website. I hope that some other relatives of these long deceased individuals will find them to be of interest.

The Allans often had grandchildren living with them. In 1871 the eldest Brownlees grandchild, James (1868-1876), was with them. In 1891, as well as sixteen-year-old Isabella Brownlees, they also had a nine-year-old grandson, William Lockie, living at their home in Branxton Buildings, Wark-on-Tweed. William Lockie was the only child of their daughter Isabella Allan (1860-1929).

Below are some photos of Peter Allan and Sarah Short, their children and grandchildren and information I have gathered about them. The photos are an eclectic assortment, reflecting those relatives with whom my grandmother maintained the closest ties. Not all of the photos were marked but I have indicated the ones where my mother or I have made our best guesses. If anyone reading this has differing information on any of the photos I would appreciate hearing from you via the “Contact” section of this website.

Also included are scans of some old postcards to or from these people. Some of them are photographs of places where they lived or buildings in their communities. Post card collecting was a popular hobby in the early 1900s and sometimes the sender will say to my grandmother, “Hope this is one you don’t have”.

Peter Allan (1823-1905) – photo taken at the G.W.Gibson studio, Coldstream and Wooler, probably around 1900.  Many of the family’s photos were taken by the photographer G.W. Gibson so I was interested to note a report in the Berwickshire News of May 8, 1906: “At the Burgh Court yesterday G.W. Gibson, photographer, Coldstream for driving a motor car without an identification plate at the back was fined 5 shillings or 3 days.” He must have been very dashing and very visible on the streets of Coldstream for motor cars seem to be a rarity there and even in Edinburgh in picture post cards from that time.

PETER ALLAN was born Nov 13, 1823 in the tiny village of Buckton, parish of Kyloe, county of Northumberland, in northeastern England. Buckton is about eleven miles south of Berwick-upon-Tweed. The parish of Kyloe lies just across from the isle of Lindisfarne or Holy Island. He was christened Dec 17, 1823, at Lowick.

Although this information needs further checking for verification, I think his parents were Thomas Allan (1764-1830) and Margaret Drysdale (abt 1797-1847) who were married Nov 13, 1814 at Greenlaw, Berwickshire, Scotland. The couple had seven children: one daughter, Margaret Allan (1815-1901) who married Thomas Weatherburn (1816-1887) at Lamberton Toll in 1843, and six sons, Thomas, Robert, James, William, Peter, and George. Peter Allan (1823-1905) was the second youngest of the family. Several of the other sons remained in that part of Northumberland and some information about their spouses and children is available from census and BMD records.

In the 1851 census, Peter Allan (1823-1905) is listed as a farm labourer at Thornton Park (about five or six miles southwest of Berwick-on-Tweed) on a farm of 288 acres owned by Ralph Nicholson, age 60. For outdoor work Mr. Nicholson employed seven men, including Peter Allan, and five women; he also had three indoor servants. The Allan family lived in one of the six cottages provided for farm workers.  Peter gained experience and by the 1861 census, when he was 37 years old, he had become a farm steward or manager on a farm a few miles away at Fenham Hill in the parish of Holy Island.

The family probably moved to the Cornhill/Wark area in about 1862 for their daughter Elizabeth Ann Allan was born in the Parish of Ford, Northumberland in 1862. Ford is close to Cornhill and daughter Georgina Jane Allan was born in Cornhill Parish on April 1, 1867.

By the 1871 census Peter had become the farm steward at a farm at Wark-on-Tweed owned by the Laing family. This newspaper clipping from the Berwick Journal shows that he had become an integral part of the community and was invited to give a toast when his employer, George Laing, hosted a dance on the occasion of his brother James Laing’s marriage.

This news item, copied from the Berwick Journal in 1870, notes that Peter Allan, farm steward, gave a toast to the newly married couple at a wedding dance for Mr & Mrs James Laing.

Recently, (in 2022) some other photos of the Allan family have become available, shared by David Melrose of England who scanned pictures from the photo album which was started in 1871 by his great-grandmother, Mary Allan (later Melrose) (1850-1936). She was the eldest daughter of Peter Allan and Sarah Short.

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Peter Allan (1823-1905)  This picture was the first one in Mary (m.s.Allan) Melrose’s photo album which she began in 1871. Given its place of honour in the album it is most likely that this is her father, probably taken in 1871 or a few years earlier when he was in his 40s. Taken at the John Foster studio in Coldstream.   Photo courtesy of David Melrose.
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Sarah (m.s. Short) Allan (1824-1902) probably in the 1860s when she was in her early 40s. Taken at the John Foster studio in Coldstream.  Photo courtesy of David Melrose.
Sarah Short (1824-1902) taken at the G.W.Gibson studio, Coldstream and Wooler, probably in 1900 or the late 1890s when she was in her 70s. Note her fine lace shawl and elaborate head dress. It is possible that this clothing may have been mourning wear in response to the death of her daughter Margaret in June 1897. Mourning wear was often made of dull black or dark fabric like this, in contrast to the shiny, vibrant dress in the photo of her which is just above this one.

SARAH SHORT was born October 11, 1824 in the small village of North Middleton, Northumberland, about seventeen miles from her future husband’s village of Buckton. She was christened twelve days later on October 23 at Wooler in the  Cheviot Street Presbyterian Church. Her father was Leonard SHORT (abt 1799-1844) an agricultural labourer. Her mother’s name was Mary HOGG (1803 – 1853).

DNA Note: From the company FamilyTreeDNA I purchased a mitochondrial or mtDNA test. This is the test that traces maternal DNA only. Following my mother’s mother’s mother’s mother’s  line (and on and on ) back through Sarah Short (1824-1902) and earlier generations, it seems that this female line goes, not to northern England or Scotland, as I expected, but to Finland! I have not yet been able to trace this line back to find her name and the time that our female ancestor arrived in Britain. But, I have noticed that some of the distant cousins, fifth cousins or even more remote, that appear on my “cousins list” from FamilyTreeDNA do have Finnish or Scandinavian names.

Leonard SHORT (abt 1799-1844) and Mary HOGG (1803-1853) had eleven children:

  • Leonard Short (1821-1843). Died age 22, no children.
  • Thomas Short (1823-1886), married Ann Carr (1832-1873), 5 children.
  • Sarah Short (1824-1902), married Peter Allan (1823-1905), 9 children.
  • John Short 1826-1829. Died age 2.
  • Isabella Short (1829-1885), married William Taylor (1826-1893), 8 children.
  • John Short (1831-1899), married Elizabeth Turnbull (1832-1883). They had three children, Barbara Short (1864-1948), Leonard Short (1868-1945), and Mary Jane Short (1871-1926), Many of my grandmother’s post cards were from this couple’s daughter, Mary Jane Short and some were from their son Leonard who sent cards from Paris and then from Buffalo, New York. Leonard Short emigrated to the United States in 1891 but made at least one return visit to England because he sent a postcard to his cousin Sarah Allan in England in 1906 after he got back to Buffalo. (see postcard below)
  • William Short (1833-?)
  • George Short (1835-1925), never married. His niece Mary Jane Short (1871-1926) lived with him as his housekeeper for many years.
  • Margaret Short (1838-1872), married James Tweedy. They had 3 children.
  • Samuel Short (1840-1843). Died age 3.
  • Leonard Samuel Short (1844-1850). Died age 6.
The laconic note, “Arrive Safe Len”, that the Leonard Short (1868-1945) mentioned above sent to his cousin Sarah Allan at Branxton Buildings, Cornhill on Tweed on Aug 22, 1906 after he arrived in Buffalo, New York.
The address side of the above post card from Leonard Short.

Short is a common name in Northumberland and although I purchased quite a few Birth, Marriage, and Death records sometimes they did not contain enough information for me to be able to connect them to our family. Sorting out the Shorts must be a project for another researcher!

It took a lot of searching to find the marriage record for Peter Allan and Sarah Short but finally I discovered that they did what many Presbyterians in the north of England did at that time – they crossed the border into Scotland. They were married August 8, 1846 at Mordington in the southwest of Berwickshire. The record for this marriage is found in the Lamberton Toll records.

As is often the case with women ancestors I was not able to find out much about Sarah Short. On every record she is listed as a daughter, wife, or mother but there are no letters or newspaper reports that could give some indication of her personality or her interests. Several descendants were given her first name and three honoured her by being given both her names – a granddaughter Sarah Short Melrose (1883-1966) and two great-granddaughters, Sarah Short Melrose (1905-1905) and Sarah Short Cameron (1910-1992). Sarah Short died December 18, 1902, aged 78.

This is a photo post card from 1905 taken by Geo. W. Gibson of Coldstream, showing Branxton Village. Branxton Buildings where the Allan family lived for many years is not shown here as it is a little further along the road which branches off to the right. Thanks to Tom Matthewson in England for this information about Branxton Village and Buildings. I had incorrectly assumed that the cottages on the left were probably where the Allans lived.
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A closer view of the man, woman and dog.
This post card is addressed to my grandmother, Miss Brownlee, Tweed Bank, Kelso. She had lived at Branxton with her grandfather until his death in 1905. The upside down text says, “What do you think of this photo of auld Sandy? Like him isn’t it. Got box all right. All well. Jeanie” Postmarked at Cornhill-on-Tweed September 26, 1906. Is “auld Sandy” the man or the dog?
Another view of Branxton with one of the residents standing by the cottage door and a dog lounging on the road. This was from a post card dated October 3, 1906, posted at Cornhill-on-Tweed.
On the back of the postcard pictured above, addressed to Miss Brownlee, Tweedbank, Kelso, posted at Cornhill-on-Tweed, October 3, 1906. “Now Bella don’t you think this good of the old village. So sorry I did not see you when you were down. With the kindest love from M. Hardy.”
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Three of the Branxton cottages in the summer of 2019. Thanks to Thomas Matthewson in England for the photo.
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Branxton farm house in summer 2019. In the 1901 census it seems that Peter Allan, his wife Sarah, daughter Sarah, granddaughter Isabella Brownlee and grandson William Lockie lived in this house which had been built in about 1894. Thanks to Thomas Matthewson in England for this photo.

When Tom Matthewson sent me the above photo of Branxton farm house where the Allans lived I realized that house was depicted on a post card from Grandma’s album but there had not been enough information on it for me to realize what or where it was. I am very grateful to Tom for taking the photo and permitting me to solve one little mystery. Below is the old post card from 1908 with a transcription of its message.


This post card, with a picture of  the farm house where the Allans lived was  sent to my Grandmother in Canada just a couple of months after she left England. It must have been enclosed in a letter or parcel as it has no postal address or stamp.
“August 18, 1908  Now Bella Dear, just think of here & you’ll feel just in a dream for as you mind & think again alas, you’ve crossed the stream. Sarah thinks had she been further out she’d been bigger, but you see her quite plain. She was mangling the clothes & ? got up her chest. I tell her send us a one of your house soon.”
Although the card was not signed, the writer was probably Bessie Allan (1862-1949), another of my grandmother’s aunts. The woman in the doorway, I now realize, is my great-grandmother’s sister Sarah Allan (1858-1941) [also grandma’s aunt].  She continued to live at Branxton after their father’s death, keeping house for her widowed brother Thomas Allan (1847-1921) who became the farm steward.

A photo post card of Wark-on-Tweed, about 1900-1906.

“Wark. Dear S[arah], I am sending you a view of the old place. Isn’t it good? Thank you for your letter of sympathy when father died. I feel very lonely now I miss him so much. With love I am your  ? ? ? [can’t read the last few words].” Sent to Miss Allan, Branxton Buildings Cornhill-on-Tweed. Postmark says: Coldstream 5:15 PM Ju 20, 1906.
Peter Allan continued to farm and be an active member of the community until his death on March 18, 1905 at the age of eighty-one.

DEATH of PETER ALLAN: There was a lengthy list of relatives and friends attending Peter Allan’s funeral in an item that appeared in The Berwickshire News of March 28, 1905. It seems that only men attended funerals at that time. No mention is made of any women being there even though five daughters and at least three granddaughters lived in the immediate area.

The funeral of Mr Peter Allan, farmer, Branxton Buildings, took place at Carham Churchyard. The Rev. J.W. Coutts, of the Rodger Memorial Church, Coldstream, officiated the services at the house, and the Rev. A.B. Coulson, Vicar of Branxton, assisted by the Rev. J.C. Lysaght, Vicar of Carham, officiated at the graveside. The chief mourners were Mr. Thomas Allan (son), Mr. Melrose, Coldstream; Mr J. Bolton, Edinburgh; and Mr J. Bruce, Alnwick (sons-in-law); Mr. P. Allan; Mr. T. Allan, Stainford; Mr. David Melrose, Glasgow; Mr. A. Melrose, Edinburgh; Mr. L. Melrose, Mr G. Melrose, and Mr John Melrose, Coldstream; Mr. J. Allan, Kerchesters; Mr. L. Allan and Mr W. Lockie, Branxton Buildings, (grandsons); Mr. Thos. Taylor, Newcastle; and Mr. T. Allan, Lowick (nephews). There were also present Mr Matthewson, West Moneylaws; Mr. Dickson, Campfield; Mr. Turnbull, Wark; Mr. Allan, Westfield; Mr Allan, Paston; the Rev. M. Forsythe, Crookham; Mr Fairnington, Branxton; Mr. R. Carmichael and Mr. Hume, Coldstream. Apologies were sent from Mr Askew-Robertson, Mr Collingwood, and ex-Provost Porteous, Coldstream, who were unable to be present. Mr Thos. Fairnington, Branxton, had charge of the funeral arrangements.

Above is the transcription of an item in the Berwickshire News in March 28, 1905.

Postcard of Carham Church yard, site of Peter Allan’s funeral and burial in 1905. The church is called St. Cuthbert’s.

The firm of Melrose & Porteous in Coldstream, where his nephew Leonard Melrose worked, was responsible for settling Peter Allan’s estate. In the May 8, 1906 edition of The Berwickshire News the following report appeared:

BRANXTON BUILDINGS FARM STOCK SALE. The whole of the farming stock and implements on the farm of Branxton Buildings, Coldstream, which belonged to the late Mr Peter Allan, was, on Friday offered for sale by Messrs John Embleton and Son, Berwick. The stock consisted of 179 ewes and fat hoggs, 42 cattle, 9 horses, sow and pigs. There was a good attendance. Prices realized: – Sheep – Three-quarter bred ewes with cross Oxford (single) fat lambs, 90s; three-quarter bred ewes with cross Oxford (double) lambs, 84s, do., single 75s; half-quarter bred ewes with cross Oxford (single) lambs, 77s and 75s; three-quarter bred ewes with three-quarter bred (double) lambs, 75s; three quarter bred ewes , with 3/4-bred (single) lambs, 64s and 60s; fat hoggs, (rough), 58s, 57s, 57s6d, 54s6d, 53s6d, and 48s. Cattle: Fat steers, £20 5s, £19 17s 6d and £19 12s 6d; fat heifers, £18, £17 and £15 5s; yearling cattle, heifers, £4; milk cows, £14, £8 and £6; calves £5, £3 and £2. Horses: Tom, 11 yrs old, bay, £26; Charlie, 9 yrs old, £27; Miss, 6 yrs old, £15; Tip, aged, £9, Bet, aged, £20; Billie, 5 yrs, £26; Dainty, 11 yrs old, £20; Donald, bay horse, 7 yrs, £35.

The amount of stock listed indicates that Peter Allan had been a fairly substantial farmer himself as well as acting as farm steward for Mr. Laing. I found it interesting that the horses for sale were listed in the newspaper by their names. The combined value of the horses, according to the website, would be between £18,000 and £67,000 in 2017, depending on which comparators are used. Note that at that time in Northumberland a “hogg” was a sheep of either sex about 9 to 18 months old, not a pig.

This was one of Grandma’s postcards, probably dated about 1903-1908. Although it was one which was not written on or mailed I expect that she acquired it because it was a typical scene in the area where she lived. Farmers like her grandfather owned large flocks of sheep which sometimes had to be moved along the village roads. Note the two working dogs, one border collie almost obscured by the hedge on the right. The people pictured in this photograph could even be friends or relatives.



Peter Allan (1823-1905) and Sarah Short (1824-1902) had a family of nine – three boys and six girls born over a twenty-one year period from 1846 to 1867.

1.  Thomas ALLAN (born 18 March 1847 – 1921), lived to age 73 or 74.

The eldest son in the family was named Thomas, in the Scottish tradition, after his father’s father. His birth and baptism are recorded in the register of the Belford Scotch Church, Northumberland. At the time his parents were living in Bucton, Klyoe Parish. Thomas married Isabella Nesbit (1854-1899) on 11 May, 1878. They had three children: Peter Allan (1879-1942), Thomas Allan (1881-1939), and James Nesbit Allan (1882-1902).

Thomas Allan (1847-1921)’s second son, also a Thomas Allan (1881-1939), had twin sons, Michael A. Allan and James Douglas H. Allan, born in 1917. This family raised horses used in steeplechasing and my Grandmother had some snapshots of the twin boys doing that sort of riding, probably when she visited in 1934. There is also a portrait of the twins as young men, taken at the photo studio of “G. Watt Melrose, Kelso”. By the time that the National Register of England and Wales was compiled at the beginning of World War II, on 29 September, 1939, Thomas’s older son, Thomas Cyril (b 1906), with the assistance of the 22-year-old twins, had taken over running the family farm as their father died earlier in 1939.

The twins, Michael and Douglas Allan (b. 1917) taken at the studio of G.Watt Melrose, Kelso [I am not sure which is which.]
Douglas Allan (1917-1981) and Michael Allan (1917-?)


The Allan twins and their horses, about 1934.

Michael Allan and his wife Winnifred Lyne in 1947. Photo courtesy of David Melrose.

2. Leonard ALLAN (1848-1903), lived to age 55.

The second son, Leonard Allan (1848-1903) was named after his mother’s father, Leonard Short.

Leonard married Agnes Logan (1848-1898) in 1875. The couple had two daughters and five sons –  Jane (1878-1950), Sarah (1879-1890), Peter (1880-1974), John Logan (1881-1939), Leonard (1883-1889), James Bartholomew (b. 1886), and another Leonard (b.1891). After Agnes’s death Leonard married again, on April 27, 1900, to Elizabeth Rutherford of Morebattle (born 1853-1855, died 1943).

Leonard, who was living and working as a Farm Steward at Kerchesters, in the parish of Sprouston, Roxburghshire, Scotland, died unexpectedly at age 55, of a perforated ulcer of the stomach and acute peritonitis on Aug 2, 1903. His widow, Elizabeth Rutherford, lived on for almost forty years and died at Allanbank, Morebattle, on July 16, 1943,  aged 88.

Leonard & Agnes’s oldest son, Peter Allan (1880-1974), emigrated in 1919 to British Columbia, Canada where many of his descendants live today.  Peter’s son Leonard Allan (1905-1987) compiled a family history in the 1980s and his daughter Catherine shared some of it with me. An excerpt, below, from Leonard’s history gives a sense of how and why decisions were made to emigrate and how family members remaining in England felt about their leaving.

“My brother Donald and I were sent on a visit to our Aunt Jean (my father’s sister) in Coldstream, Berwickshire, in the summer of 1919 before our departure for Canada. Aunt Jean took Donald and I to visit all the relatives in the area from Morebattle, Roxburghshire to Branxton in Northumberland. Our return home to Lamash [Isle of Arran] was delayed by a railway strike so we had about a two month stay in Coldstream.

My Aunt Jean did everything she could to persuade my father to change his mind about emigrating to Canada but to no avail. We were the only nephews and nieces she had at that time. She already had a brother in South Africa and another brother who had gone to Australia.

My father was in the 1st Seaforth Highlanders with the Imperial Army during the First World War and was in India, Mesopotamia and Palestine during the War. While in Palestine he met his brother Leonard who was there with the Australian Light Horse. My father came home from the army and expressed his intention to emigrate to Australia. My mother, who had two brothers in British Columbia, persuaded him to go to Canada instead so that’s where we settled.

The family, father, mother and five children, sailed from Glasgow, October 22, 1919, on the S.S. Cassandra of the Anchor Donaldson Line. We arrived in Quebec on October 31st and immediately took the train for Vancouver, B.C. We arrived in Vancouver, November 5th.

Thanks to Catherine Allan for sharing her father, Leonard Allan’s story. His careful research was very helpful to me when I started to research further and to write about the Allan family.

The photo below is of Leonard Allan (1849-1903) & Agnes Logan (1848-1898)’s daughter Jane Allan (1877-1950), the one who had tried to dissuade her brother Peter from emigrating.  [In Scotland and northern England the names Jane and Jean seem to be interchangeable, so this Jane is also called Jean within her family.] Jane and my Grandmother, Isabella Brownlees, were first cousins, near in age, and good friends. When my Grandmother had a stroke in her early eighties and could no longer recognize everyone, she thought that my sister, who was about sixteen, was Jane Allan.  There must have been a strong family resemblance.

Jane (m.s. Allan) Walker (1877-1950)

In 1912, Jane Allan (1877-1950) married George Walker (1885-1937) who was a baker in Coldstream. Below is a picture of his bakery cart which was used to deliver baked goods to customers in the town and area.

George Walker’s bakery cart in Coldstream. There is no date on the snapshot but given that it is a horse-drawn cart and there are no motor vehicles on the street I would guess that it is between 1905 and 1920. It is probably George Walker driving the cart or it could be an employee of his.
This advertisement for the Walkers’ Bakery was in a small promotional booklet published by the Town Council in Coldstream. My Grandmother brought the booklet home from her one return trip to England and Scotland to visit family for five months in 1933/34. Under the ad she has written, “a Cousin”.
The front cover of the booklet on Coldstream which contains the advertisement for the Walkers’ bakery. On the top margin Grandma has written, “Isabella Cameron, my hometown in Scotland.” Information inside notes that the population of the town in 1921 was 1,295 persons and that the distance to London was 332 miles and to Edinburgh, 48 miles. Many of Grandma’s aunts, uncles, and cousins went to live in Edinburgh but only her brother Tom Brownlees went to live in London.
This small map of the Coldstream district is included in the booklet and shows many of the places that members of the family lived at different times such as Stichill, Sprouston, Kelso, Coldstream, Wark, Cornhill, Crookham, Carham, Greenlaw. The thicker dark line shows the railroad and the many stations, often just two or three miles apart, that made travel to all the villages easy even for those without horses or automobiles.
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John Logan Allan (1881-1939?)

John Logan Allan (1881-1939?) In the 1901 census he was living with his parents Leonard and Agnes Allan at Sprouston, working as a ploughman. By the 1911 census both his parents were dead and he was living with his widower Uncle Thomas Allan (1846-1921), and his Aunt Sarah Allan (1858-1941) at Branxton. He was working as a hedge cutter. His brother Leonard Allan, age 20, is also living with them.

John must have made at least one visit to Canada because I have a post card addressed to “Mr John L. Allan c/o Mr. William Taylor, Gainsboro, Sask, Canada” and then re-addressed to Virden, Manitoba. It was posted at Kelso, Roxburghshire, Scotland on April 12, 1909 and pictured the village of Kerchesters where some of the Allans lived. Either he left the card for my Grandmother for her album or it arrived too late and he had already left. He was back in England by 1913 when he married Jane Carr.

A photo postcard of Kerchesters near Kelso, Roxburghshire, Scotland where John Allan’s family lived.
The post card sent from Kelso on April 12, 1909 to John L. Allan c/o Mr. William Taylor, Gainsboro, Sask., Canada, then readdressed to Virden, Manitoba where it made its way to my grandmother. John also had relatives named Taylor so he may have been visiting another member of the extended family who had decided to emigrate.

Neither John Logan Allan (1881-1939) nor his sister Jane (m.s. Allan) Walker (1877-1950) had children. I am uncertain as to what happened to the two brothers who went to Australia/New Zealand and South Africa.

3. Mary ALLAN (1850-1936), lived to age 86.

Mary, the third child and eldest daughter of the Allan family, was named after her maternal grandmother, Mary Hogg.  On January 9, 1874, in Coldstream, at the Free Church Manse, after Banns, Mary married David Melrose (1849-1907). Her address was Lees, the large manor house where one of her sisters later worked as well. Her occupation was Dairy Maid and his was Bank Clerk.

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This picture is from Mary’s photo album. She is in the back row, third from the left.  It appears to be a group shot of the staff at Lees House when she worked there as a dairy maid in the early 1870s. Photo courtesy of David Melrose.

For about forty-two years David Melrose worked as a clerk and accountant at the British Linen Company Bank in Coldstream. When he died in 1907 at the age of 58 there was a lengthy account of his funeral in the Berwickshire News on November 26, 1907, listing those in attendance. Just like in the report of Peter Allan’s funeral in 1905, the newspaper reported only men in attendance.

Mary and David Melrose had eleven children, one girl and ten boys. Two of the boys died as young children but the rest of the family lived to adulthood. At least five of the boys served in the British Army in World War I.

Mary had a photo album, which she started in 1871. Her great-grandson David Melrose of England inherited this album and he has shared the photos with me and given me permission to post them here on my website. To go to the album click on the link here:

Mary ALLAN Melrose (1850-1936)’s Photo Album

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This photo comes courtesy of David Melrose of England who inherited the photo album created by his great-grandmother Mary (Allan) Melrose. It shows Mary Allan (1850-1936)  and her husband David Melrose (1849-1907) and their first two children Richard Melrose (1874-1920) and Peter Melrose (March 1876- January 1878). Alison Melrose notes that it is almost certainly a post-mortem photo of young Peter so will have been taken very shortly after his death in 1878. This type of photo was very common in Victorian times and may be the first and only photo taken of the deceased child.
A view of the High Street in Coldstream, Roxburghshire from a post card mailed on December 29, 1904. The clothing worn by people on the street indicate that the photo was probably taken around that time. The Melrose family members would have walked and shopped along this street.


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On the back of the postcard above which shows the High Street, Coldstream, postmarked 6:30 PM Dec 29, 1904 at Coldstream, is a message to, “Master J. Melrose, c/o Miss Allan, Branxton Buildings, Cornhill-on-Tweed. I expect to be across on Sat. hope you are enjoying yourself and keeping out of mischief. G.M.” I assume that this card is to John Melrose (1895-1970), nine years old, visiting with his aunt Sarah Allan ( 1858-1941) at Branxton and that the card is from his brother George Melrose (1890-1956) age fifteen, from the family home in Coldstream.
This card shows the Tweed River with a short bridge joining the Scottish village of Coldstream on the left and England on the right where the villages of Cornhill and Wark-on-Tweed are situated. The Melrose family lived in Coldstream while the Allans and Brownlees lived in Wark and Cornhill. The Melroses lived in Monument Cottage (obscured by trees in this photo) which is just to the left of, and named for, the tall monument (visible under the word “Coldstream”). The monument was erected in honour of Charles Albany Marjoribanks (1794-1833), a Scottish politician of the Liberal Party who was MP for Berwickshire 1832-33. There are some lovely recent photos of Monument Cottage and its surroundings at the website

This post card must have been enclosed in a letter or parcel to my Grandmother as there is no address or post mark. It was probably sent from one of Grandma’s aunts – Sarah or Bessie Allan sometime between 1925 and 1930. “The Tweed was near up to the wall last month not the like for over 40 years. Leet [a smaller River] over all these Bridges & then salmon galore. Mary [Melrose, formerly Allan] has still a nice garden & hens & works a lot herself as she can & Sarah [Mary’s daughter Sarah Short Melrose] polishes on & on eye. Mary was in at Edinburgh in the summer to see Andrew & Len’s houses together. Andrew calls his Branxton.” Mary Melrose’s sons purchased houses next door to each other in Edinburgh, Leonard at #18 Traquair Park and Leonard at #20. Property valuation records show that in 1925 Leonard was still living at home in Coldstream while Andrew was renting a flat in Edinburgh at 36 Roseburn Street.  By 1930 they were living at their homes on Traquair Park. They were still residing at these homes at the time of Andrew’s death in 1942. Leonard was the informant of Andrew’s death so both names with their addresses are listed on the death certificate. The houses still exist and can be seen on Google’s maps.
The MELROSE CHILDREN, all born in Coldstream, and living only a mile or so from my Grandmother’s home at Wark-on-Tweed were the cousins she seemed to know best and who continued to send her photographs after she had moved to Canada. In order of age, they are:

i.)    Richard MELROSE  (28 April 1874 – 18 Mar 1920)

Richard, the eldest Melrose child, was named after his paternal grandfather. He married Helen Walker Dods (1865-1928) in 1897 in Leith South but they soon moved to England where he worked as a Seed Merchant’s Foreman in Boston and Sleaford, Lincolnshire until his death at age 45 in 1920. They had two children: Isabella Smith Melrose (1899-1915) and David Melrose (1904-1981). David married Isabel Holben in 1930 but the couple do not seem to have had any children.


Although this photo from Grandma’s album was unlabelled I think that it is Richard Melrose (1874-1920) and his wife, Helen Walker Dods (1865-1928). The Melrose family lived in Coldstream, just across the Tweed River from where the Allans lived. Grandma and Richard were born the same year, just a few months apart. Richard’s wife was nine years older than him and this woman does look to be older. The photo was taken at the G.W. Gibson studio in Coldstream. The same couple appears in the photo below which includes my grandmother.  In 1897 Richard Melrose and Helen Walker Dods were married in Leith, the place where the group photo below was taken.fullsizeoutput_1e2d 2.jpeg

This group photo which seems to be outdoors rather than in a studio was taken by the Fairburn Crown Studio, Crown Street, Leith. My grandmother, Isabella (m.s. Brownlees) Cameron (1874-1958) is the woman on the far left with the unusual flowered & feathered hat. The woman in the centre and the man on the left are the couple who appear in the photo above taken at the Gibson studio in Coldstream. I think that they are Richard Melrose and his wife Helen Walker Dods. The young woman on the right might be Jane Allan (1877-1950). The picture is undated but the style of the women’s clothing indicates the 1890s.

ii) Peter Allan MELROSE (Mar 1876- Jan 1878).

The second son of the family was named after his maternal grandfather. Sadly, his death notice appeared in the Berwick Advertiser on Feb 1, 1878 stating  that he was just one year and ten months old. It does not give the cause of death.

iii.) David MELROSE (1878- 29 Nov 1947)

In 1878 a third son was born and named after his father. In 1903 he married Mary Murray Hardie (1874-1963) in Montrose, Angus. In the 1891 census he is working as a law clerk apprentice but at the time of his death, at age 69, he was an Insurance Manager. He had three children: Mary Clark Melrose (b. 1904) who married James Alexander Muirhead in 1935; David Oliver Melrose (1908-1959) who married Phyllis Gee in 1939; and Jean Allan Melrose (1910-1994) who married Thomas Edward Donaldson (b.1897).

My mother said this was a cousin named Jane Melrose. Given that the names Jean and Jane are often used interchangeably in Scotland I think this is probably David Melrose’s daughter Jean Allan Melrose (1910-1994). The age of the woman in this photo, and her clothing and automobile would fit with Jean.

iv.) Peter Allan MELROSE (1879 -19 Sept 1965) – The fourth son was named after his brother who died in 1878 and his maternal grandfather.

By the time of the 1901 census Peter, age 21,  was working as an assistant ironmonger in Edinburgh. He and his brother Leonard, age 19 were living with their father’s sister and her husband, Violet and James Cockburn.

In 1903 Peter married Isabella Smith (1878-1953). By the time of the 1911 census he has been married for seven years and is living at 35 Caledonian Park (or Crescent), with two daughters Mary Morrison Melrose, age 7, and Isabella Smith Melrose, age 4. A third daughter, Sarah Short Melrose, died shortly after birth in 1905. David Melrose born 3 July 1913 was the last child in the family.

In World War I Peter Melrose served as a Private in the Machine Gun Corps (#99534).

Peter Melrose (1879-1965)
Peter Melrose (1879-1965) in his Machine Gun Corps uniform.

After the War Peter continued to work as an ironmonger in a shop on George Street in Edinburgh. A descendant of his notes that some of the iron fencing he made is still in use on Edinburgh streets. On his death certificate in 1965 his occupation is listed as Ironmonger (Master) retired. His son David Melrose (1913-1991) of London was the informant of Peter’s death.

This snapshot of Peter Melrose (1879-1965) and his wife Isabella Smith (1878-1953) was probably taken during my grandmother’s visit to Britain from Dec 1933 – April 1934.
This is an unlabeled photo but it looks like the same couple as in the above photo which was labeled – Peter Melrose (1879-1965) and his wife Isabella Smith (1878-1953). Probably also taken in 1934.

v.) Andrew Oliver MELROSE (1881 – 12 Jan 1942)  The fifth son, Andrew Oliver Melrose was born in 1882. His middle name came from his paternal grandmother Janet Oliver. On Sept 5, 1906 in Eccles, Berwickshire he married Margaret Miller (1870-1952). They had two daughters Margaret Leslie Melrose (1907-1935) and Mary Allan Melrose (1910-1981).

Andrew Oliver Melrose (1882-1942). In World War I he served as a Gunner in the Royal Garrison Artillery. He enlisted 7 Dec 1915 and was medically discharged 15 May 1918.
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Andrew Oliver Melrose (1882-1942)

At the time of his death in 1942, at age 60, Andrew worked as a stockbroker. His widow and younger daughter continued to live at the family home, at 20 Traquair Park West, Corstorphine, Edinburgh. Andrew had named that house Branxton after the place where his maternal grandparents had their home.

Andrew, his wife and their daughter Margaret are buried in Corstorphine Cemetery, Edinburgh. The gravestone is pictured in “Find-a-Grave”. Margaret Leslie Melrose (1907-1935) died at age 28 of pulmonary tuberculosis and toxaemia while her father Andrew died of acute bronchitis and cardiac failure.

vi.)   Sarah Short MELROSE (29 Aug 1883 – 11 Dec 1966)


Until November 2022 I believed that this photo was Mary (Allan) Melrose (1850-1936) but discussions with her great-granddaughter Alison Melrose in Australia have made me realize that it is not Mary but is her daughter Sarah Short Melrose (1883-1966). The confusion arose because on the back of the photo, which was taken at the Gibson studio in Coldstream, was written, probably by Mr Gibson, “Mrs Melrose, Monument Cottage, Tweed Terrace, Coldstream”. This was Mary’s married name and her home address.

I took that note to mean that the photo was of Mary, but Alison, who has a great deal of expertise arising from her career as a museum curator who worked with collections of nineteenth century photographs and costumes, notes that the the sitter is young and her blouse is of a style that came into fashion in the early years of the 20th century. This led us to believe that it was Mary (Allan) Melrose who ordered the photo and was going to pay for it and pick it up but that the subject was her daughter Sarah – perhaps taken to celebrate a special occasion such as Sarah’s 21st birthday which took place in August 1904. If it was a picture of Mary, who was born in 1850 and was in her twenties in the 1870s the clothing would have been very different. Mr Gibson opened his photo studio in about 1890 when Mary was 40 years of age. It is apparent that this photo is a young woman, not a woman in her forties.

Sarah, the family’s only daughter, seems to have lived all her life in Coldstream in the family home, Monument Cottage, Tweed Terrace. She must have looked after her mother until she died in 1936.

In 1942 Sarah married William Hardie (1878-1952) of Coldstream, who worked as a Saddler. He died in 1952. They had no children. Sarah died at Momument Cottage in 1966, at the age of 83, of cardio vascular degeneration.

Below is a post card from Sarah that was in my grandmother, Isabella (Bella) Brownlee’s collection. I realized that the sender was Sarah Short Melrose because she mentions their grandfather and she was the only possible grandchild that it could be. The card is dated August 1, 1904 and is suggesting that her cousin Bella accompany her on a day trip to Spittal which is adjacent to Berwick-on-Tweed, about fifteen miles away. Spittal is famous for its fine beach.

The Melrose home, Monument Cottage, is not really visible on this card but it is right next to the tall monument sticking up on the left of the card and from which Monument Cottage got its name.

Braehead Walk, COLDSTREAM Valentine Series.  “Hope you haven’t got this one. Be good.”
To Miss Brownlee, Branxton Buildings, Cornhill-on-Tweed. Postmarked at Coldstream 8:30 am August 1, 1904. “Could you not manage down on Thursday to Spittal with me. Send a post card and let us know if you can get. I am getting on A.1. Thought you would be over yesterday. Hope grandfather’s keeping well. With best love to all from Sarah. [The mention of their grandfather indicates that this “Sarah” must be  Isabella Brownlee’s cousin Sarah Short Melrose, age 20, who lived at Coldstream.]
This photo which was shared by David Melrose of England includes: Back row Sarah Short Melrose (1883-1966), her mother Mary (Allan) Melrose (1850-1936), Mary Anderson Stavert (Hunter) Melrose (1892 -1965), wife of George Melrose (1889-1956). Front row: David Richard Melrose (1921-1984) and Agnes (Nancy) Stavert Melrose (1916-1982) – children of George Melrose and Mary Anderson Stavert (Hunter) Melrose. The photo must have been taken in the late 1920s or early 1930s

vii.)  Thomas MELROSE ( 30 May 1885 – 1962)

The seventh child of the family, Thomas Melrose, was born May 30, 1885. On October 10, 1911 when he married Mary Burt (1879-1970) in Edinburgh both of them were working as  Sorting Clerks and Telegraphists for the Post Office. Their first child, David Melrose (Jan 31, 1912 – 2007) was born in Edinburgh. Mary was staying at 36 Roseburn Crescent with Thomas’s brother Andrew Melrose who registered the birth. Thomas had gone on to Australia a little earlier and Mary and the baby joined him when they were ready to travel.

When I first published this section of my website I had no further information about the Melrose family in Australia but since then I have been in touch with two of the descendants of Thomas and Mary Melrose who generously shared the following information and photos.

Granddaughters Margaret Small and Alison Melrose note that after moving to Australia Thomas worked for the Victorian Railways and became a Station Master. He worked first at Warracknabeal where second child Andrew Burt Melrose (1913-1983) was born, then moved on to Dimboola where the  twins, Thomas Allan Melrose (1916-2009) and Edith Blair Melrose (1916-1997), were born. Later, the family moved to Stawell where the children all grew to adulthood. By the time World War II started the family was living at Echuca.

Thomas Melrose (1885-1962), his wife Mary (Molly) Burt (1879-1970) and their two oldest children, David (b.1912) and, on the swing, Andrew (b.1913). Taken while on holiday at Geelong in late 1915 or early 1916. Photo courtesy of Alison Melrose.
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Edith Blair Melrose (1916-1997) and Thomas Allan Melrose (1916-2009). Photo courtesy of Margaret Small who notes, “Mum is looking sullen because Allan has her best shoes on!”
Thomas (1885-1962) and Mary (1879-1970) Melrose in 1939. Photo courtesy of Alison Melrose.
Edith Blair Melrose (1916-1997) and Thomas Allan Melrose (1916-2009). Edith, a nurse, was a Lieutenant in the Australian Army Nursing Service in World War II (1939-1945) and Allan, a teacher, became a Lance Corporal in the 2nd/8th battalion. Photo courtesy of Margaret Small.

viii.)   Leonard MELROSE (1887-1963)

Leonard was a solicitor’s clerk prior to World War I, working for the firm of Melrose & Porteous in Coldstream. He joined the army on 10 Feb 1915 at age 27 and must have been one of the larger recruits as he stood 5′ 11.25″. He was promoted to Sergeant on 20 Feb 1915 and became a Staff Sergeant on 9 April 1917. His army record notes that he served in Italy, at Tarento and Faenza, and was “Mentioned in Dispatches”.  This record also notes that he was hospitalized with “epidemic fever” on 16 Oct 1918 . Quite likely this “epidemic fever” was what came to be called Spanish Influenza. It was raging around the world at this time and killed at least fifty million people. Luckily, Leonard survived and was discharged from the Army on 11 Jan 1919.

In about 1914 he became a Freemason and in 1924 was appointed Grand Treasurer of the Grand Lodge of Scotland in Edinburgh. He lived at #18 Traquair Park, next door to his brother Andrew who lived at #20. He named his house Faenza  after one of the places in Italy where he served while in the Army.

In 1926 he married Mary Hume (1888-1950). After Mary’s death he married Edith Eleanor Farr (1904-1995). In the Berwickshire News of Tuesday Sept 11, 1951 there is an account of their wedding which took place in St. Martin’s Episcopal Church, Tynecastle, Edinburgh. It notes that Leonard “is an all-round sportsman and his football brought him under the notice of several first division teams. After playing two trials for Newcastle United he was signed by the Heart of Midlothian, with which team he remained for a season. He is a member of the Scottish Masonic Curling Association.” I don’t think Leonard had any children.

Left to Right: Mary Anderson Stavert (nee Hunter) Melrose (1892-1965) [George Melrose’s wife], Leonard Melrose (1887-1963), and his second wife Edith (nee Farr) Melrose (1904-1995). The photo is not dated but is probably from the period 1951-1963. [Thanks to David Melrose of England for sharing this photo.]
ix.)  George MELROSE (26 Sep 1889 – 20 Feb 1956)

George Melrose (1889-1956) in World War I. He served as a Private, then Corporal and Acting Sergeant in the 18th Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders.

George Melrose followed his father into a career in Banking. He worked as a Bank Teller in Coldstream where he lived prior to and after the War. In 1916 he married Mary Anderson Stavert Hunter (1892-1965). [pictured above with Leonard Melrose and his wife.] They had three children- Agnes (aka Nancy) Stavert Melrose (1916-1982), David Richard Melrose (1921-1984), and Mary (May) Hunter Melrose (1925-2003).

x.)   John William MELROSE  (28 Aug 1891 – 9 Nov 1895)

This little fellow was born at the family home of Monument Cottage, Coldstream and died there at the age of four from a combination of pneumonia and diphtheria.

xi.)  John William MELROSE  (20 Nov 1895 – 1970)

The eleventh and last child in the family was born just eleven days after the death of his four-year-old brother and was given the same name, John William Melrose.

John William Melrose 1895-1970. He served in the Royal Garrison Artillery like his older brother Andrew. If only more people had followed John’s example of signing their photos with their full name! And he has lovely legible hand writing.
John William Melrose (1895-1970) and Beatrice Harris (1887-1953), married on January 13, 1919. True to form, John has carefully written the wedding date on the photo mount. The photo cover says “A Portrait by Mora Limited Brighton”. I had searched for their marriage in the Scottish records without success but after noticing the location of the photo studio that took the wedding picture I went  to the English marriage records and found that they were married at Steyning, Sussex. Further research showed that Beatrice was born in Croydon, Surrey and her family lived in the Steyning registration district at the time of the 1911 census when, at age 24, she was working as a Stationary [store] Assistant. Her parents  were probably still living there in 1919 when John and Beatrice were married .

The couple made their home in Scotland. At the time of Beatrice’s death at age 66 on July 15, 1953 she and William were living at 16 Seafield Road, Broughty Ferry, Dundee, Angus, Scotland. He was working as an Insurance Manager. I have not found any descendants of this couple.

John married again, in 1954, to Mary (May) Winnifred Mabin (1915-1977).

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John William Melrose (1895-1970) and his second wife Mary (May) Winnifred Mabin (1915-1977) in 1959.  (Photo courtesy of Alison Melrose)


4. Margaret ALLAN (1853-1897), lived to age 44.

The fourth child of Peter Allan and Sarah Short, Margaret Allan, married William Brownlees (1846-1908) of Cornhill-on-Tweed in 1871. They moved to Newcastle and later to Gateshead. They had thirteen children including my grandmother Isabella Brownlees (1874-1958).

An extensive section on Margaret’s family is in another part of this website called “Grandma’s Family” – click here to link to that section:  Grandma’s Family -Isabella Allan Brownlees Cameron (1874-1958)

Margaret died in Gateshead on June 3, 1897 of carcinoma of the stomach leaving eight children, four boys and four girls, ranging in age from 6 to 24 years. Five of her children had predeceased her.

Later in June, The Berwickshire News published this death notice: At 12, Frederick Street Gateshead on 3rd June, Margaret Allan beloved wife of William Brownlee and second daughter of Peter and Sarah Allan, Branxton Buildings, aged 44 years.

There was no photograph of her among my grandmother’s many pictures but one of the photos in Mary (Allan) Melrose’s photo album may be of her. I have narrowed it down to a couple but can’t be sure which is her.

I wonder if she was a red-head like her daughter, my grandmother, pictured below.

Margaret’s daughter, Isabella Allan Brownlees (1874-1958). Isabella moved to Canada in 1908 and married Donald Duncan Cameron of Berwick-on-Tweed who had emigrated in 1905. They had five children. All of their descendants live in Canada and the United States.


5. Peter ALLAN (1856 – 11 Nov 1861).   The fifth child and youngest son of the Allan family was born in 1856, baptised at Lowick on April 16, 1856. He died at age 5, on November 11, 1861, at Berry Hill, parish of Ford. His father Peter Allan, farm labourer was in attendance at his death which was from Croup which he had for three days.

Croup, according to the Mayo clinic website, is “an infection of the upper airway which obstructs breathing and causes a characteristic barking cough”. “Croup is usually caused by a viral infection, most often a parainfluenza virus.”  Modern drugs such as steroids or epinephrine are now used to treat the illness by reducing inflammation  of the airways but, prior to their being available, many young children died from Croup.


6. Sarah ALLAN (21 May 1858 – 7 March 1941) lived to age 82.

This is either Sarah Allan (1858-1941) or Bessie Allan (1863-1949) – my mother was not sure which. I think it is more likely to be Sarah, the aunt who was still living at Branxton Buildings with her parents when my grandmother lived with them. The photo was taken by Turnbull & Sons, Artistic Photographers, most likely at their studio at 10 Jamaica St, corner of Argyle Street in Glasgow. The advertising information on the back of the photo also lists addresses for the studio at 23 Garfield Street, Belfast, 37 Hamilton Street, Greenock, and 14 Dundonald Rd, Kilmarnock but those locations would be less likely. From online information about the studio and its various locations it seems that the picture would have been taken between 1892 and 1902.

Sarah Allan, the sixth child of Sarah and Peter Allan never married. After her father died in 1905 Sarah continued to live at Wark in Branxton Buildings. In 1911 she was there keeping house for her widowed brother Thomas Allan (1846-1921) and her nephews, Leonard Allan (1891- ?) and John Logan Allan (1881-1939). She is the aunt that my grandmother stayed with when she returned to England/Scotland for a visit from December 1933 til the end of April 1934. At that time Sarah Allan lived on Leet Street in Coldstream. She died on March 7, 1941 at Coldstream. Her nephew George Melrose was the informant of her death.

When my grandmother came to Canada she brought a gold bangle bracelet and a dress with a feather stole, given to her by her aunts, Sarah and Bessie Allan. The dress, even in its somewhat creased, worn and fragile state today is an example of the intricate hand work that went into dresses of that period. Both front and back had the same beaded and fancy thread work giving the look of an elaborate necklace.The close up of the sleeve shows the beading and stitching.



The feather stole.







7. Isabella ALLAN (Dec 1860- 21 Aug 1929), lived to age 68.

Isabella (aka Bella), the seventh child of Peter and Sarah Allan was born in the last quarter of 1860 while the family was living in Holy Island Parish. At age twenty, in early 1881, she married Thomas Short Lockie (1858-1882) whose family lived next door to the Allans at Branxton Buildings, Wark. They had one son, William Lockie, born later in 1881. Thomas died  on Nov 21, 1882, of typhoid fever at the age of twenty-four, after less than two years of marriage. Given that his middle name was “Short”, just like Isabella’s mother, I suspect that he may have been some sort of cousin but have not been able to confirm this.

About four and a half years later, in the first quarter of 1887, Isabella married John Bolton (1857-1918). They moved to Edinburgh where he worked as a Fruit Warehouseman according to the  1901 and 1911 census. The Boltons continued to live in Edinburgh until their deaths ( John in 1918 and Isabella in 1929) but it seems that young William remained with his grandparents at Branxton.

Many of the postcards in Grandma’s album were from Bella in Edinburgh to her son, sister or niece living at Branxton or Kelso. Some samples:

Posted Nov 17, 1904. An early 20th century street scene from Edinburgh, showing the Post Office and Waterloo Place. Although some of the men’s suits are similar to those worn in many different decades, the women’s floor-length dresses & elaborate hats are typical of the time.
Message on back of above post card, mailed  to Miss Brownlee, Branxton Buildings Cornhill on Tweed, from Edinburgh Nov 17, 1904. “The Birds home is Wester Howgate, Penicuik. Got here safe and glad all well. Wishing I was out. My cold is better but won’t be this week. We may go to the inn (?) on Saturday to please them as its moonlight. Thus is my day at home & no visitors. With love I.B.”  [The abbreviations, lack of punctuation & complete sentences makes it seem very much like a present-day text message!]
A popular park or “Public Gardens” in Edinburgh.
On the back of the postcard above is a birthday greeting to Isabella Brownlee, Branxton Bdgs, Cornhill on Tweed, on the occasion of her 29th birthday, from her Aunty Bella, posted in Edinburgh 9:30 pm Dec 2, 1903. “Wishing you many happy returns of the day Dec 3rd. Pleased Father is keeping better. Your affectionate Aunty Bella”
An unusual colourized version of a scene on Princes Street, Edinburgh’s main street, from a card mailed in 1906.
A message from Isabella Bolton (I.B.) to her sister Miss B. Allan, Tweedbank House, Kelso, “Thanks awfully. Got them all safe just before going out.” Many very brief post cards were sent, much like text messages today. The mail service was so good that cards were often delivered the day they were sent.

In 1901 William Lockie (1881-1961) was still living at Branxton Buildings with his grandparents, working as a shepherd. In the 1911 census the family was living at Branxton Steads where William continued to work as a shepherd. In 1906 he married Sarah Jane Ford and they had several children – William Lockie, born 1906, Eleanor Lockie, born 1907, John Bolton Lockie, born 1909, Sarah Allan Lockie, born 1912, James Ford Lockie, born 1914, Thomas Short Lockie, born 1919, Catherine Jane Lockie, born 1920, George Robert Lockie, Isabel Allan Lockie, Elizabeth Ann Allan Lockie, Peter Allan Lockie. [Thanks to John Oliver Wilson, grandson of William Lockie, for a complete list of the children.]


8. Elizabeth Ann ALLAN (1863- 16 Mar 1949), lived to age 86.

My mother knew that this was one of the Allan sisters but she was unsure which one. It is Elizabeth or Sarah. My guess is that it is Elizabeth Ann Allan (1862-1949), usually called Bessie by the family. Stamped on the back of this photo – John Foster Photographer Coldstream.

Elizabeth Ann Allan, or Bessie, the eighth child of Sarah and Peter Allan. did not marry and seems to have worked as a housemaid from an early age and later as a housekeeper, mostly in Scotland. In 1871 at age eight she is at home with her parents but by age 18 in 1881 she is working just across the Scottish border at Lees House in Coldstream as a housemaid.

A post card of Lees House where Bessie worked in the early 1880s. This picture is from a post card sent to my grandmother “Xmas 1926 with love from Aunty Sarah” but is probably very similar to the way it looked when Bessie worked there several decades earlier.

This  rather grand establishment, a current picture of which can be found online, was owned by Sir John Marjoribanks (1830-1884), 3th Baronet, of Lees.  He or other members of his family are not in residence at the time of the 1881 census as the head of the household is listed as 73-year-old Jessie Hogg, a poultry-woman who actually lives at #8 Lees Cottages. There are ten servants at the house including a butler, a groom, a housekeeper, a scullery-maid, a kitchen maid, a laundry maid, a housemaid, a dairy maid, and a Page Boy.

By the 1901 census Elizabeth Ann seems to be  living by herself in Edinburgh, as housekeeper of a home in Colinton. On August 21, 1929 she is living at 17 Bellevue Road, Edinburgh with her widowed sister Isabella Bolton. Elizabeth is the informant of her sister’s death.

At the time of her death, at age 87 in 1949, Elizabeth resides on Slitrig Crescent in Hawick, Scotland. Her nephew Peter Allan Bruce (1898-1976) who also lives in Hawick is the informant of her death.


9. Georgina Jane ALLAN (April 1, 1867 – May 12, 1909), lived to age 42.

Although this photo from near the front of Grandma’s album was not labelled I think that it is the wedding picture of Georgina Jane Allan (1867-1909) and John Bruce (1868 -1930) who married on 30 Nov 1894 at Branxton, Northumberland.  Georgina, the youngest of Grandma’s aunts, was only seven years older and married right near the time that Grandma seems to have started her photo album.  The photo studio is the Collingwood Fine Art Co. of Morpeth. Morpeth is in Northumberland but is  about forty-five miles from the place of the marriage – unless they had a branch in the area around Branxton but which is not noted on the card. I have not been able to find anything about this studio. Morpeth is, however, about half way between Georgina’s  home and the town of Monkwearmouth where John Bruce lived and worked for the North-Eastern Railroad.

Georgina Jane was the ninth and last child of Peter and Sarah Allan. At age 27, Georgina Jane, known to the family as “Ina”, married John Bruce, age 26, on 30 Nov 1894. They were married at the parish church, Branxton, Northumberland, “according to the Rites and Ceremonies of the Established Church, after Banns” by the vicar A.B. Coulson. Witnesses at the wedding were Thomas Allan (probably her brother), Bessie Allan (her sister), and Thomas Bruce (the groom’s brother).

Branxton Parish Church (St. Paul’s) where Georgina’s wedding took place. Part of the church dates from the 12th century although most of the current building was constructed in 1849. It is very close to the site of the Battle of Flodden Field between the Scots and the English which took place in 1513.  [Info from ]
This picture was in Grandma’s album along with the Bruce wedding photo so I think that this must be the vicar A.B.Coulson. It was the fashion at the time for a couple to keep a photo of the minister who married them. It was taken at the Gibson studio of Coldstream and Wooler, not the one in Morpeth where the bridal couple were photographed so perhaps he had copies on hand to give to the couples he married.

At the time of their marriage John Bruce was a Trolleyman on the North-Eastern Railway, living at Monkwearmouth. Georgina Allan was a spinster, living at Branxton Buildings, Wark, with her parents. In the 1901 census and in 1905 at the time of Georgina’s father’s death, the couple were living at Alnwick, Northumberland. Some time after this they took up farming at Stichel in Scotland just about five miles away from Georgina’s relatives in Coldstream, Cornhill and Wark-on Tweed.

Georgina and John Bruce had one child Peter Allan Bruce (1898-1976) born in Sunderland, Durham.

Post card sent from Georgina (Ina) Bruce in Alnwick to her niece Isabella Brownlee at Branxton Buildings, Cornhill on Tweed, postmarked Alnwick Sept 28, 1904.
The postcard dated Alnwick, Sept 28, 1904, perhaps sent after a visit to the family at Branxton, notes, “Arrived home all safe & Allan has been off to School. He was very tired. Nothing but haws lying all over. J. has got a dog. Will be at Coldstream Station by 3.20 train on Sat Oct 1st. from Ina.” Allan is her six-year old son.

Georgina died on 12 May 1909 at Stitchel Mains, Stitchel, Roxburghshire at age 42. According to her death certificate (from Scotland’s People) she died after 1.5 days of “Shock and Syncope, result of an accident”. This may mean that she had a large blood loss. As the family were living on a farm her accident could have been with farm machinery or equipment but I was unable to find any documentation of the tragedy. Her son was only eleven years old.

By the time of the 1911 census John Bruce has remarried, to Elizabeth Jane Anderson, age 49, who was born at Kelso, Roxburghshire.  John Bruce died in 1930 at age 62.

Another unlabelled photo but it looks to be the man in the wedding photo above so I think it is John Bruce (1868 -1930). Taken by “A & G Taylor Photographers to the Queen”, undated but presumably before Queen Victoria’s death in 1901. This studio was granted a Royal Warrant in 1886, accoding to info in the book, “Dating Nineteenth Century Photographs” by Robert Pols, published by the Federation of Family History Societies in 2005,

Peter Allan Bruce (1898-1976) remained an only child. At the age of twenty-four,  on 27 April 1923, he married Beatrice Dorothy Lockie (abt 1897-1983) at Newtonlees, Ednam, Roxburgh, Scotland. They had two children – Janet Thomson Bruce and John Bruce. Peter Bruce was residing in Howick, Scotland at the time of his death in 1976.



As Peter Allan (1823-1905) and Sarah Short (1824-1902) had nine children and thirty-six grandchildren they now have many descendants, scattered across the globe – in the United Kingdom, in Canada, the United States, Australia and probably other countries. Among the six generations that have come after them are descendants with surnames that include: Allan, Antonyshyn, Barber, Berchoff, Brown, Brownlee, Brownlees, Brownless, Bruce, Cameron, Cannon, Darmiento, Dunn, Forsyth, Hopkins, Jensen, Jobes, Koss, Kyle, Littlejohn, Littlewood, Lockie, Meins, Melrose, Rapley, Robertson, Rosenstein, Skjeie, Small, Somerville, Sweeting, Weatherburn, Wilson, and Wright. No doubt there are others of whom I am not aware.

~ Pamela Forsyth, Edmonton, Canada, Originally posted in January 2019. Corrections & revisions have been made in February 2020,  January & December 2021, July and October 2022, and April 2023.