Research for the maternal side of my husband’s family started with this family plot in the Woolston Cemetery on Rutherford Street where Edward Milner, his wife Mary née Thompson, and their children Elizabeth, Uriah, Daisy Ethel, and Maria are also buried.
Searching found that Edward, born in 1847, was the sixth of ten children of William Milner and Sarah Walker, of Bridgnorth, Shropshire, England. His occupation was that of a wheelwright.
Edward and his wife Mary were married 29 Nov 1868 in Ilkeston, Derbyshire and had a total of ten children: Mary Elizabeth 1869-1872, Charles William 1871-1943, Elizabeth 1873-1954, William 1874-1949 and Sarah Ann (Annie) 1875-1956 all being born in England.
The Milner family emigrated on the “British Empire” arriving in Auckland 7 October 1875.
It is not known when they arrived in Christchurch. Five more children were born in Christchurch New Zealand; Uriah 1877-1890, Maria 1879-1906, Daisy Ethel 1882-1965, Edward Jnr. 1889-1964 and Charles Ural 1891-1966. Edward Snr. appeared to name his children after the names of his brothers and sisters and the family lived around the area of Sydenham, Waltham and Phillipstown. Sarah Ann Milner married James Higgs Jnr. who learnt his trade as a butcher from his father in Lyttelton then opened shops in Christchurch with his sons.
Another brother of Edward’s, William Milner, emigrated to New Zealand in 1865 on board the “Armstrong” and settled in the East Cape of the North Island having two marriages and siring seventeen children. He was listed on the passenger list as William Milner but appeared to add to his name as he was also known as William Baker Milner, Ronald William Milner and also William Baker Ronald Gavin Milner. Various records show that under those names all have the same date and place of birth in Bridgnorth and of the same parents.
Uriah who died at the age of 12 years 10 months when he had an accident while trying to ride on the draw bar of a tram. Maria; Daisy Ethel; Edward Jnr; and Charles Ural, were all baptised in St Saviour’s Church, Sydenham which was in existence from 1878 to 1967.
This church was at 12 Buchan Street and ran through to Hawden Street and took up the whole frontage of Brougham Street. It was eventually demolished in 1972 and the site is now occupied by the A.A. Technical Services Branch.
The Edward Milner Jnr. known as Ted, a carter and carrier who worked around the Leeston, Southbridge, Doyleston and Christchurch area, married Kathleen Mary Barrett in 1916 and they were the parents of my husband’s mother, Joan Denyse Milner 1919-1992 who married Frederick Archibald Angus Small in October 1945. Joan had an older brother Edward Ural 1916-1984 a sister, Florence Jane (1928-2016), and Graeme Michael born in 1930 and who is still living in 2021 at the age of 91 years.
Contributed by Katharina Small