born about 1843* in New York, USA
died on 31st January 1911 in Grindelwald, Switzerland
 
Grace Duncan was a daughter of

Caroline Franklyn

and

Alexander Duncan

. She married

Thomas Robertson

(II) on 15th August 1871 and had 5 children; among them

Grace Robertson

, Robin and Katya Müller's great-grandmother, as their youngest daughter (b.1879). Their other children were a son, Duncan, who died aged 11 months (birthday unknown); Margaret Maud Isobel (b.1875, m. Robin Johnson); Anne Caroline (b.1877, died unmarried between the wars); and John Seymour (b.1882, m. 1907 Constance Bettington). (John Humphreys mentions another source that refers to Miss Bettington as Beatrix, the youngest daughter of Mr. J.B.Bettington, of Brindley park, new South Wales. The discrepancy is explained by her son's memorial, where she is named as Constance Beatrix Robertson.)

John Humphreys

writes:
"She married Thomas Robertson in Melbourne on 15/8/1871. It was a Presbyterian wedding held at the Menzies Hotel. He was 47 years old, and a prosperous member of the squattocracy; she was about 27. According to a family legend she had been looking after the children of one of his brothers, which was how they met.

So Alexander and Caroline had evidently migrated to Australia, married, had two daughters, returned to England, had a third daughter and crossed the Atlantic; Grace was their fourth daughter; then they travelled the relatively modest distance to Pennsylvania, where their first son and fifth daughter were born. It is easy to imagine Caroline as typically pregnant, at sea and constantly looking round in case small children disappeared overboard."

Free inhabitants in West Philadelphia in the County of Philadelphia,
State of Pennsylvania […] 16th Day of September 1850

'1600' is the 'Value of real estate owned', presumably dollars.
The oblique stroke is in a column 'Attended school within the year'.
'Free' presumably means that the census excluded slaves.

Alexander Duncan        37   M     Bookkeeper      1600       Scotland


Caroline Duncan      32   F                                    England
Caroline Duncan            10   F                                    N.S.Wales   /
Agnes        9   F                                    N.S.Wales   /
Eliza               8   F                                    England        /
Grace       6   F                                    New York

  

/

DuncanGrace.Grave
Kopfleiste.Basis.pur
born about 1843
died on 31st January 1911 in Grindelwald, Switzerland

Grace Duncan

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DuncanGrace.Portr2

Until recently I had not been able to trace Grace Duncan's parents. Births, marriages and deaths in New York were not recorded at the time. However I found her in Pennsylvania in the US 1850 Census (16 Sep 1850), then 6 years old. Her parents were Alexander Duncan (then aged 37) and Caroline Duncan née Franklyn (then aged 32):

DuncanGrace.Child

Right: Taken about 1885, this picture of "Mrs. Tom Robertson of Togganma..." (Toganmain) and one of her children (probably John Seymour, possibly Grace) comes from Mrs. Lyell Horwood's family album. We are very grateful for her contributions.

Above: this portrait of Grace Duncan is an excerpt from the photograph shown below

* Grace Duncan's year of birth:

 
To estimate the year of Grace Duncan's birth there are two sources available:
 
1. According to the book "Thos. Robertson & Sons" ("compiled by Diana M. Halmarick", Victoria, Australia), on the 31st January 1911, the day of her death, Grace Duncan was 67 years old.
2. According to the US census data, on the 16th September 1850 she was 6 years old.
 
The two data leave us a timespan for her birthday from 15th September 1843 to 31st January 1844. So the year 1843 appears a bit more likely as her year of birth than 1844 (the difference between 1911 and 1843 - in integers - could also possibly explain why on Grace Duncan's grave stone her death age is mentioned as 68, see bottom of this page).

Right: Grace Duncan's tombstone
in Grindelwald, Switzerland

Transcription:  

 

".......
GRACE ROBERTSON
WIDOW OF
THOMAS ROBERTSON
OF TOGANMAIN
...
WHO DIED AT GRINDELWALD
JAN 31st 1911
AGED 68 YEARS"