Eliza O’Brien (1816-76) a military seamstress from Dublin, is the paternal great-great-grandmother of actress Kate Winslet (pictured above) star of the blockbuster movie Titanic.
In 1831, age 16, she married a soldier in the Grenadier guards (the regiment who guard Buckingham Palace). Together they had 11 children, at least 3 of whom died in infancy.
Her husband William Colquhoun Jr. was from Holborn in London but had an Irish surname - Colchún aka Cahoon / Colhoun / Colchoun (the name of a Scottish Clan that settled in Ireland). William was a Drum Major in the 30th Regiment which served in Ireland from 1831 to 1834, so it possible that it was in Ireland that they met.
The couple then seems to have been stationed in Bermuda with the 30th Reg. from 1834-1839 (the Bermuda Church Register has a burial for his daughter on 9 Oct 1834 and a possible baptism for his son on 24 Feb 1839).
In the 1841 Census for England, they were living in Holland Street, Westminster, Middlesex (civil parish of St John The Evangelist in London) when Kate Winslet's great-grandmother, Marian Colquhoun aka Mary Anne (nee Colguhoun) Rackely was just 5 months old. William's occupation is listed as "Army P".
In 1855, William was Principal Warder in Dartmoor Prison (source: Marriage certs of daughters Rachel and Elizabeth).In 1856 Eliza was widowed when William Colquhoun died at age 57.
In 1871 Eliza was living on York Street, St Margaret, London, England. Eliza described as the head of the family, living with her widowed daughter Mary Ann (Marion) Rackley and two grandsons: Arthur and Albert Rackley. This record confirms Eliza was born in Dublin, Ireland. Age 62, Eliza was working as a "needlewoman", her daughter an "Ironer" and their neighbour Annie Marden/ Marsden was a seamstress.
Marion Colquhoun (1841-1896) first married John Rackley (1820-1870) a Sergeant on the Cold-Stream Guards in March 1860. The couple were recorded in the Tower of London in Westminster in the Census of 1861.
On 25 July 1871, she re-married Sgt Thomas Frederick Bick A.S.C. of Kensington Barracks. She was then known as Mary Anne Bick or Brick. Together they had 7 more children: Percy Victor Bick, Maude, Maria, Blanche, Violet, Minne and Florence Edith Bick. It is through Florence Bick's marriage to George Robert Sims that Kate Winslett is descended. Their daughter, Blanche Florence Sims who married Charles Winslett, is Kate's paternal grandmother.
Eliza O'Brien Colquhoun died in February 1876, age 67.
This WDYTYA episode featuring Kate Winslet's Irish ancestors first aired on BBC on 12 August 2019.
|Date of Birth||1816 (circa)|
|Date of Death||Feb 1876|
|Spouse (First Name/s and Maiden/Surname)||William Colquhoun (1799-1856) of Holborn, London son of William Colquhoun Sr.|
|Number of Children||11|
|Names of Children||Rachel Jane Colquhoun 1832-34 | Elizabeth Harriet Colquhoun b. 1836 | Rachel Colquhoun 1838-1858 | William Colquhoun Jr. 1840-46 | Mary Anne Colquhoun 1841-1896 | Charlotte Colquhoun 1846- | Issac Samuel Colquhoun 1846-1927||VIEW SOURCE|
|Occupation||military seamstress||VIEW SOURCE|