Source: 18th Battalion Nominal Roll, April 1915.
Joined underage and note the biographic details below:
First I would like to say I’m very excited to find a site that addresses the
England to South Africa Immigrants! I’ve been trying to research my
husbands family, and have hit nothing but deadends for over a year..
hopefully this is the place! (My fingers are crossed!) Heres what I have
so far from his Grandfathers Immigration papers, Marriage License and Death
Greatgrandfather: William Charles(?) Lonsdale, born somewhere in England
Greatgrandmother: Anna Swan (According to marriage license…in his death
certificate she’s listed as Annie Smith) don’t know where she was born,
could have been Ireland or Scotland.
Grandfather: Harry Samuel Lonsdale…This is where most of the confusion
comes in. On his Naturalization papers he put Born in Chester, England, Nov
18, 1894. On his Death Certificate and Marriage License it says he was
born in Ladysmith, South Africa, Nov. 18, 1898…my father-in-law says the
later is the correct place and date.
Here’s how the family story goes as I’ve heard it:
According to Harry his family (father & uncles) were magistrates. He had
several sisters but no brothers that we’ve heard of. He never went back to
South Africa or England, my father-in-law never knew his grandparents or any
Harry left his home in Ladysmith, South Africa at the age of 16, this would
be appox. 1914, he had wrecked his father’s car for the second time and knew
he was in big trouble. He was heading for Australia where he had an Uncle,
but got the wrong ship (?) Another passenger told him in a conversation
that this ship was headed for America. I can’t find any records at Ellis
Island for him. He ended up in Canada though and was in the Canadian
Infantry during World War I. According to his Natruralization Papers he
came the the United States on a Ferry from Windsor Ontario, Canada to
Detroit, Michigan in April of 1919.
The family says he lied about his age to join the Army and fight in the war,
that’s where the descrepancy with his birthdate comes in, I don’t know why
he listed two different birth places though. He also claimed that his Great
Uncle was Lord Lonsdale in England. At some point his parents, or his father
anyway, moved back to England, where Charles died sometime in the 1940’s.
I don’t know if this enough information to go on…seems like it should be,
but I’ve gotten nowhere! My husbands father is the youngest in his family
and he is 69, I would really like him to know his heritage at some point
before it’s too late, but I’m not doing a very good job. Hope someone has
ANY information or some helpful hints on where else I can look. Anything
would be MOST APPRECIATED.
Thank you in advance.