Elizabeth (Lizzie) Carson was aged 19 or 20 when she married on 3rd May 1877 in the 2nd Presbyterian Church, Saintfield, County Down.  She was from Killinchy Woods, daughter of labourer John Carson.  We would just love to learn more about her family.  Anyway, six months later she and her husband Hugh Douglas were aboard the Carnatic on their way to New Zealand, arriving in Port Lyttleton after an uneventful voyage of only 88 days (77 days if we deduct 11 days wasted  in the Channel before they could get under way properly).

Hugh was an agricultural labourer dependent on seasonal work, an insecurity that was made worse by (a) the rural depression of the 1880s, and (b) the fact that they had 10 children.  At one stage Hugh was declared bankrupt. This was a family under stress, reflected in their changes of address from one electoral roll to another, and the kids' changes of school - they attended at least two and as many as five, and were taken out of school as soon as was allowed.

Lizzie seems not to have coped too well with all of this, and was in and out of institutions, a misfortune which no doubt added to the family's difficulties. Hugh was in despair and got himself to trouble a few times (e.g. dropping the kids off at the Charitable Aid Board office, and on two occasions attempting to get Lizzie out of Sunnyside by threatening behaviour).

The children all married, and some of her sons-inlaw were interesting fellows: one was a prominent leader of the unemployed and disposeesed during the 1930s depression, another started off as a ophaned waif living under the bridges of London and ended up a Mayor, and another was working down in a coal mine when a major eathquake struck in 1929.

Elizabeth Carson and her six daughtersLizzie died in care in 1945.

This photo is thought to have been taken on her birthday a year or so before she died. It shows Lizzie surrounded by all six daughters, survivors of turbulent times.


Additional Information
Date of Birth 1st Jan 1856 (circa)
Date of Death 1st May 1945



  • A John CARSON married 1856 to Blanche CLELAND of Killinchy Woods. His father was Hugh CARSON ad the CARSONS were in Kilmore Co Down. It seems John had a brother Thomas born 1833..see the 2nd link below)

    You can find the original marriage record by clicking on the ' Civil' tab and once the index page opens after typing in the details ( Downpatrick is the Civil District), click on the ' image' link at the bottom of that page...the website is free to use but you need to register:


    Statutory marriages run from 1844, births from 1864 and deaths, so far, from the 1870's ( more are being added) but you can buy records for a small fee..

    You might find something of interest here as well ( this site has recently intoduced captcha but its free and amazing) considering millions of records were lost in the great fire of 1922):



    Thursday 21st October 2021 11:15AM

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