©   Kurt Müller 2018
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born about 1843* in New York, USA
died on 31st January 1911 in Grindelwald, Switzerland
Grace Duncan was a daughter of

Caroline Franklyn


Alexander Duncan

She married

Thomas Robertson

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

Grace Robertson

, Robin and Katya Müller's great-grandmother, as their youngest daughter. 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 sons memorial, where she is named as Constance Beatrix Robertson.)


Grace Duncan's tombstone
in Grindelwald, Switzerland

John Humphreys

"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 sixth daughter were born. It is easy to imagine Caroline as typically pregnant, at sea and constantly looking round in case small children disappeared overboard.
If they gave their ages correctly, Alexander must have been born between 17/9/1812 and 16/9/1813 and Caroline between 17/9/1817 and 16/9/1818."

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 the census excluded slaves.

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):

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


Franklin          5   M                         Pennsylvania  /
Kate          2 F                         Pennsylvania

* 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).

There is no verified picture of Grace Duncan available (yet?), but one of these ladies of unknown identity might well be her. All these "portraits" are from pictures taken in Australia during Grace Duncan's lifetime and brought to England by her daughter Grace.





Above: This lady might be the most likely candidate to be Grace Duncan for showing the probably greatest similarity of all with her daughter Grace.
Above: This lady might also be Grace Duncan; there is some similarity with her daughter Grace at an older age. Below: is this lady possibly the same as the one above?
Above: The lady first from left might be (see below) Grace Duncan, the young woman in white is probably Grace's daughter Grace Ethel, the two men appear on other pictures as well and seem to be part of the Robertson environment (family?). The other lady, in black, though, might be Grace Duncan, as well.
born about 1843
died on 31st January 1911 in Grindelwald, Switzerland

Grace Duncan

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