One of the reasons we traveled all the way to the LDS Gore Branch on Sept 17th was because it was close to Dunedin and records show that we have ancestors buried there. On those tombstones would hold the information key to getting their temple work done. It warmed my heart as I watched Bob begin the search for his Forsyth line. It was truly a hearts of the children turning to their fathers moment. I felt like I was Sherlock Holmes setting out on a trip of discovery! Though they are not my family, they are Bob’s and they are my children’s and grandchildren’s bloodlines and I found myself surprisingly excited!
The Northern Cemetery is one of three cemeteries in Dunedin and dates back to the 1840’s. For the first time it dawned on me that if you’re going to try to get to multiple cemeteries, go to the oldest one first. This first gravestone was close the where the records that said John Forsythe was buried. It was completely buried in the shrubs so I pulled it all back, brushed off the debris and saw the name John! The rest was mud caked and with no tools at hand I just used my fingers…
Bob was complaining about all the dirt flying but I was on a mission! Unfortunately, I did not find our John….but I did find someone’s John McDonald!
This graveyard holds 17,770 graves. It was well indexed but the graveyard was a mess with many of the gravestones toppled over and broken. We thought it was vandalism but an older gentleman, walking his dog said it was from a massive earthquake. It must have happened quite some time ago because of the layers of debris, moss and dirt that clung to the stone. There were quite a few plots as well that had no gravestone at all. We found one of the burial sites that a Forsyth was suppose to be buried in but no markings anywhere to indicate he was there. Bob is pointing to that site.
Bob hit paydirt (maybe not the best term) when he found a plot with not only a gravestone but lots of names on it. Pictures could not capture the worn out letters so I typed it, sometimes having to trace the carvings to detect letters and numbers.
Below are the gravesites we found in Dunedin, New Zealand in the Northern Cemetery:
In Loving Memory
David Forsyth – Solicitor – Age 55 – Died Dec. 30th, 1909 – Son of David Forsyth – Farmer – Ballachraggan Ross-Shire, Scotland
(Someone had come can carefully cut lettering to cover the deteriorating letters. The D and the V fell off revealing the white stone underneath)
From top to bottom
James Eldest Son of – James and Ellen Forsyth – Born February 7th 1865 – Died August 20 1882
Jessie Eldest Daughter – June 13th 1872 – Died Nov 10 1886
John 4th Son – Born June 5th 1870 – Died May 15th 1890
George Millar Forsyth – Born Sept 23 1866 – Died May 23 1907 – Second son (George died on the North Island from a railroad accident at age of 41)
James Forsyth – Born July 27 1839 – Died June 20 1920 – Father of the above
Ellen – Beloved wife of – James Forsyth – Born Sept 21 1837 – Died July 10 1924
Elizabeth Millar Forsyth – Second daughter of above – Born (no day, month or year) – Died August 8 1948 – Age 73 (Born either 1875/76)
I Know That My Redeemer Lives
Separate gravestone for George Millar Forsyth (Husband of Elizabeth Millar Forsyth) We think it was erected by the Main Trunk Railroad
Erected – Employed on the North Island – Main Trunk Railroad – To the Memory of – George Millar Forsyth – Inspector of Works – Who was accidently killed – in the execution of his duty – At Waiouro – 23rd May 1907 – Aged 41 Years – Loved Most By Those Who Knew Him Best – FORSYTH
Picture of railroad in Waiouro, North Island
In Loving Memory – Margaret – Beloved Wife of George Forsyth – Died April 16 1909 – Age 60
Jean Forsyth Duncan – wife of Peter Duncan. Not sure if she connects
Fairfax Cemetery in Milton, New Zealand. It had been a long day and it was turning dusk. This particular city does not have digital graveyard records. It is all still analog so we had no way of going online to locate the one gravestone we were looking for. We knew from our Dunedin online records someone was buried in Milton. We went to the oldest side of the graveyard and split up to see if we could find anything before the sunset. It was cold and wet but it would be our only chance. Bob took off to the other end and I meticulously went from stone to stone hoping for a miracle. When I came across this gravestone I yelled out to Bob that I had found it!!! Being cold was forgotten…and for those that know me best…that was another miracle!
In Loving Memory of – Charles Jr. Forsyth – April 21st 1862- Died 1950 – his wife – Flora Inch Forsyth – 1871 – 1948 (Married on April 21st 1896)
On Sept. 17th we attend church in Gore, a 2.5 hour drive so that we could go to Dunedin’s graveyard after. Milton was on the way and Bob glanced at a street sign named “Forsyth”! You can find this street next to Cozy, Charming and Countryside…complete with little lambies.
Just taking this all in!
Are we related?
While visiting with the locals at church last Sunday we mentioned Bob’s ancestral name of Forsyth. They told us that Forsyth was a big name in New Zealand and particularly in Dunedin. We were told to make sure to go see the Rugby Stadium while in Dunedin. Oh my goodness…this place is legit! Robert Peter Forsyth Barr made his wealth in investment banking and has 20 offices dotted throughout both islands. His father was Peter Barr…an accountant. His mother was May Forsyth from Greymouth New Zealand. May was the daughter of Craig Forsyth who was the Mayor of Greymouth. He was born in 1847, son of William Forsyth and Margaret Nee Craig from Girvan Glasgow, Scotland (see document below).
Bob just found a Forsyth history on google that connects all these stories. It’s a lot to read but for those that want to untangle this and understand your family history, here it is: