Richard True: Search for Kersting’s Mary continues

The Musgrave Trail

I’ve continued the search for ‘Kersting’s Mary’ and have found that Mary Musgrave and her parents went on another voyage the following year 1954, this time it was to Lisbon, Portugal on the Alcantara. However, after this it has been difficult to find any definitive information to follow the ‘Musgrave trail’ further.

The Gilmour Trail

Mary Gilmour and her parents also went on another voyage together in 1959, to Melbourne, Australia on the Iberia. This made me think that they may have been emigrating there, but on the passenger list it showed that their ‘Country of future permanent residence’ was Scotland. Amongst the details listed were full names, dates of birth and a permanent address:

Walter Cockburn Gilmour (b 23 Jul 1898), Dorothy Mary Gilmour (b 25 Mar 1903) and Mary Margaret Gilmour (b 29 Jan 1942) of Mistylaw, Bridge of Weir.

I now decided to focus on Scottish records and was able to establish a number of useful pieces of information:

  • Walter Cockburn Gilmour married Dorothy Mary Noble in 1931 at Paisley
  • Mary Margaret Gilmour’s birth record showed that she was born at Bridge of Weir, near Glasgow, in 1942 and that her mother’s maiden name was Noble
  • A further birth record search found that she had an elder brother, Walter Noble Gilmour born in 1932, also at Bridge of Weir

I made further searches for Mary, but could not find any definitive results. So I now turned my attention to Mary’s brother, Walter Noble Gilmour, and found that sadly he had died in 2015 at Poole, Dorset. This then led me to a probate record, which revealed details of his will and grant of probate at Oxford. Surprisingly the will was drawn up when he was living at Sanctuary Cove, Queensland, Australia in 2007. (Could Mary’s trip to Australia in 1959 with her parents have been to visit her brother?) His wife is shown as Christina Gilmour and his son as Mark Noble Gilmour.

Next I searched for information about Christina Gilmour and discovered through electoral register records that between 1998 and 2022 she had lived at a number of addresses in Sussex and Dorset, initially with her husband. The latest address (2018-2022) was in Bournemouth, Dorset and I wrote to her there to see if she could help with my attempts to find her sister-in-law Mary Margaret Gilmour.

Just over a week after sending the letter I was excited to receive an email from Christina who had kindly forwarded the information in my letter to her sister-in-law Mary. She had also lived in Australia, but was now living in North Wales.

A few days later I was delighted to receive an email from Mary expressing her fascination with my search and surprise at seeing the photo, which had ‘brought back long forgotten memories’.

I also received feedback from Christina, her sister-in-law, saying that she and the rest of the Gilmour family were delighted to hear the story.

Richard True

Courtauld Digitisation Volunteer

18 Dec 2022