Helen McDonald

#663, (4 Dec 1850 - 31 May 1899)
     Helen McDonald was born on 4 Dec 1850 at Bogs of Linkwood, St Andrews-Lhanbryde, Moray, Scotland ,

McDonald & Grigor
Helen, lawful daughter of Robert McDonald Boggs of Linkwood and Mary Grigor his wife was born 4th December 1850.
Witnesses at the Baptism:
Helen McDonald and William Fleming.1,2,3

She was the daughter of Robert McDonald and Elizabeth Grigor.

Helen appeared on the 1851 Scottish Census of 30 Mar 1851 in the household of Robert McDonald at Bogs of Linkwood, St Andrews-Lhanbryde, Moray, Scotland ;
McDONALD Robert, Head, M, 49, Farmer of 100 acres, employing 3 Lab, born Aberlour, Banff.
McDONALD Elizabeth, Wife, M, 29, Dallas, Moray
McDONALD Hellen, Daur, 4mths, St Andrews
MAWVER James, Stepson, 6, Boharm, Banff
FLEMMING William, Servant, U, 21, Farm Lab
INNES Alex, Ser, U, 14, Farm Lab
DAW John, Ser, U, 17, Farm Lab
DUNCAN Jessie, Ser, U, 20, House Servant
JAMES Jane Ser, U, 18, Out House Servant.4

Helen appeared on the 1861 Scottish Census of 7 Apr 1861 in the household of Robert McDonald at Bogs of Linkwood, St Andrews-Lhanbryde, Moray, Scotland ;
MacDONALD Robert, Head, Mar, 60, Farmer of 100 acres, employing 3 Men & 2 Boys, Aberlour Banff
MacDONALD Elizabeth, Wife, Mar, 41, Dallas Moray
GRIGOR William, Brother in Law, Unm, 29, Shepherd, Dallas Moray
SMITH Thomas Hitchins, Boarder, Unm, 23, Assistant Civil Engineer, England
ROSS William, Servant, Unm, 21, Ploughman, Urquhart Moray
MAVER James, Servant, Unm, 16, Ploughman, Boharm Banff
LAURENCE John, Servant, Unm, 14, Herd boy, Polliswood Moray
YOUNG John, Servant, Unm, 12, Herd boy, Montrose Forfar
GRANT Isabella, Servant, Unm, 23, Dairy maid, Aberlour Banff
McLEOD Christina, Servant, Unm, 28, Cook, Inverness Inverness
MacDONALD Ellen, Dau, Unm, 10, Scholar, St Andrews Lhanbryde Moray
MacDONALD Elizabeth, Dau, Unm, 6, Scholar, St Andrews Lhanbryde Moray
MacDONALD Margaret, Dau, 4, St Andrews Lhanbryde, Moray
MacDONALD Isabella, Dau, 4, St Andrews Lhanbryde Moray
MacDONALD Alexander, Son, 2, St Andrews Lhanbryde Moray.5

Helen recorded the birth of Betsy-Chisholm McDonald on 11 Oct 1870 32 South Guildry Street, Elgin, Moray, Scotland ,

Betsy-Chisholm MacDonald
(Illegitimate) at 2.25am
Parents: Hellen MacDonald, Daughter of a Farmer
Hellen MacDonald, Mother was the informant.1,6

Helen appeared on the 1871 Scottish Census of 2 Apr 1871 in the household of Betsy McDonald at 34 South Guildry Street, Elgin, Moray, Scotland ;
McDONALD Betsy, Head, Widow, 47, Retired Farmer, Dallas Elginshire, 5 rooms with windows and 2 children at school
McDONALD Hellen, Dau, Unm, 20, Dressmaker, St Andrews Lhanbryde
McDONALD Betsy, Dau, Unm 16, General Servant, St Andrews Lhanbryde
McDONALD Isabella, Dau, Unm 14, At School, St Andrews Lhanbryde
McDONALD Margaret, Dau, Unm 14, At School, St Andrews Lhanbryde
McDONALD Alexander, Dau (sic), Unm 12, At School, St Andrews Lhanbryde
McDONALD Mary Ann, Dau, Unm 8, At School, St Andrews Lhanbryde
CHISHOLM Betsy, Grand Child, 5 months, Elgin, Elgin.7

Helen McDonald married John Leslie Brown on 27 Dec 1872 at 7 Stewartsville Street, Partick, Lanarkshire, Scotland ,

After banns according to the Forms of the Established Church of Scotland.

John Brown, aged 23, ShipJoiner, Bachelor, Usual Res: 7 Stewartsville Street, Partick
Parents: William Brown, ? Joiner & Margaret Brown MS Heard?
Helen McDonald, aged 22, Domestic Servant, Spinster
Usual Res: 7 Stewartsville Street, Partick
Parents: Robert McDonald, Farmer (dec) & Elizabeth McDonald MS Grigor

Witnesses: John Blain (Sic) and Jane Grigor
Certificate is extremely hard to read.1,8

As of 27 Dec 1872,her married name was Brown.

Helen immigrated on 25 Mar 1876 from Glasgow Scotland via "City of Dunedin" to Canterbury, New Zealand , with Betsy McDonald

"City of Dunedin"

Ship 1085 Tons, sailed Glasgow 25th March 1876 and arrived Lyttelton 1st July 1876
This fine vessel, prior to the amalgamation with the Shaw Savill Co, was owned by the Albion Co. She was a typical emigrant ship of 1085 tons register, and was built specifically to carry passengers from the Clyde to Dunedin. The accomodation was in the 'tween decks, the space being divided into three by bulkheads, single women being in the after compartment, married amidships, and single men in the forward compartment. The City of Dunedin completed ten voyages to Port Chalmers, direct from Scotland.
White Wings - Sir Henry Brett

This voyage had No Sickness on board and took only 97 days, and on board were 276 souls, equal to 237 adults.

Single Women:
McDonald Mrs Betsy, 43, Lanark, Housekeeper
McDonald Betsy, 22, Domestic Servant
McDonald Bella, 20, Domestic Servant
McDonald Margaret,20 Domestic Servant
McDonald Mary A, 14
Total cost to the Government for passage £80 (£16 each)
Single Men:
McDonald Alexander, 18, Lanark, Brassmoulder
Cost of £16
Families & Children: - to Rangiora
Brown John, 26, Lanark, Joiner
Brown Helen, 25
Brown Isabella, 2
Brown Maggie, 2 months
Total cost to the Government for passenge £41.9,10,11,12

Helen was present on the 1893 Electoral Roll Ashburton, Canterbury, New Zealand , in the household of John Leslie Brown.

BROWN, Helen, Ashburton, domestic duties, residential
BROWN, John Leslie, Ashburton, builder, residential.13

Helen died on 31 May 1899 at Ashburton, Canterbury, New Zealand , at age 48 years, 5 months and 27 days

Helen Brown aged 48 years
Parents: Robert McDonald, Farmer & Betsy McDonald formerly Gregor
Born St Andrew Morayshire, Scotland and been in NZ 23yrs.
Married in Partick, Lanarkshire Scotland when aged 23 years to John Leslie Brown

Living Issue:
Bella 24 (Isabella)
Mima 21 (Jemima)
Nellie 18 (Ellen)
Pollie 16 (Mary Ann)
Willie 15 (William)
Annie 13 (Ann)
John 11 (John)
Leslie 10 (Leslie)
3 Males & 5 Females

John Leslie Brown, husband of the deceased, Ashburton was the informant.1,14

Helen's cause of death on 31 May 1899 was from Cardial disease - 1 year
Syncope - 2 minutes.

Helen's death notice appeared on 1 Jun 1899 in the "Ashburton Guardian", New Zealand ,

At Cameron Street, Ashburton, on Wednesday, May 31, HELEN, the beloved wife of J L Brown, builder, in her forty-eighth year - after a long and painful illness.


The Friends of Mr J L Brown are respectfully informed that the Funeral of his late beloved wife, HELEN, will move from his residence, Cameron Street West, on Friday, 2nd inst, at 1.30pm for the Ashburton Cemetery.
Baker Bros, Undertakers.

The funeral of the late wife of Mr J L Brown took place this afternoon and was attended by a large number of friends. The funeral service was conducted both at the house and graveside by the Rev G B Inglis.15

Helen was buried on 2 Jun 1899 at Ashburton Old Cemetery, Ashburton, Canterbury, New Zealand ,

died 31 May 1899
aged 48

(purchaser John Leslie Brown.)16

Helen Brown
Ashburton Cemetery
photo courtsey Alan Brown

Helen and John had 9 Children.

Father*Robert McDonald (c 1801 - 20 Jan 1863)
Mother*Elizabeth Grigor (26 Nov 1819 - 31 Dec 1893)

Child of Helen McDonald

Children of Helen McDonald and John Leslie Brown


  1. [S1] Certificate held on file, Held by Ailsa Corlett, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia. Hereinafter cited as Certificate held on file.
  2. [S32] GROS, Scottish OPR's (www.scotlandspeople.co.uk: pre 1855), 1850 St Andrew Llanbryd, Moray, 142/00 0020 0139. Hereinafter cited as Scottish OPR's.
  3. [S22] Birth and Marriage Entries, International Genealogical Index (IGI) (Woolloongabba, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia: Genealogical Society of Qld, 1988 Version), C111424/0801.
  4. [S28] 1851 Scottish Census (www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk: New Register House Edinburgh, 30 March 1851), 1851 St Andrews, Lhanbryde, Moray 142/00 007/00 004. Hereinafter cited as 1851 Scottish Census.
  5. [S79] 1861 Scottish Census (www.scotlandspeople.co.uk: New Register House Edinburgh, 7 April 1861), 1861 St Andrew-Lhanbryde, Moray 142/00 003/00 002. Hereinafter cited as 1861 Scottish Census.
  6. [S11] Scottish Record Office BDM Indexes, online www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk, 1870 Elgin Moray, 135/00 0242. Hereinafter cited as Scottish Record Office BDM Indexes.
  7. [S76] 1871 Scottish Census (www.scotlandspeople.co.uk: New Register House Edinburgh, 2 April 1871), 1871 Elgin Moray, 135/00 011/00 019. Hereinafter cited as 1871 Scottish Census.
  8. [S11] Scottish Record Office BDM Indexes, online www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk, 1872 Partick, Lanark, GROS 646/03-0253.
  9. [S50] Records Housed at National Archives NZ, Archives, Wellington, Wellington, New Zealand "New Zealand, Archives New Zealand, Passenger Lists, 1839-1973," index and images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/FSTK-1NY : accessed 11 March 2015), Betsy Mcdonald, 01 Jul 1876; citing City of Dunedin, Ship, Arrival Port Canterbury, National Archives, Wellington; FHL microfilm 004412234.; Housed at National Archives New Zealand. Hereinafter cited as National Archives Records.
  10. [S10] Newspaper, Various Papers, Christchurch "Star" Saturday 1st July 1876 page 2 and Monday 3rd July 1876, page 2. Hereinafter cited as Newspaper Article.
  11. [S10] Newspaper Article, Details as per "Wairarapa Daily Times" of Mary Ann Pauling Obituary - 17 April 1939, held on file (information on ship name is incorrect).
  12. [S61] Passenger Lists, Shipping Records ), http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.com/~ourstuff/…. Hereinafter cited as Shipping Records.
  13. [S6] Elections, Electoral Roll (Auckland, New Zealand: BAB Microfilming, 1853 - 1967), 1893 NZ Electoral Rolls, Ashburton Canterbury. Hereinafter cited as Electoral Roll.
  14. [S2] NZRGO, Lower Hutt, New Zealand, NZ BDM Indexes, Held by Ailsa Corlett, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia, Folio No 1023, June Qtr. Hereinafter cited as NZ BDM Indexes.
  15. [S10] Newspaper Article, Ashburton Guardian, Vol XXI, Issue 4812, 1 June 1899, Page 2 & 3 and 2 June 1899 page 3.
  16. [S3] NZSG, NZ Cemetery Records (Auckland, New Zealand & Online Council Databases: NZSG, 1988), Ashburton District Council Online Database: Area 34 Plot 2. NZSG R01.02, No 1066. Hereinafter cited as NZ Cemetery Records.