Tuesday, April 11, 2023

The story of my maternal great grandaunt – Charlotte Milne born in Scotland 1854


I don’t know about you, but sending for and receiving vital records by mail is still one of my special joys. 

With so many records available online, we don’t have to send for records as often as we did 10 or 20 years ago, but, it’s still sometimes necessary.

While I was at Rootstech this year, working away at the Family History Library, I decided to order a record from the General Register Office of the United Kingdom.  It’s a record I’d been wanting to order for several years.  The death certificate for my maternal great grandaunt, Charlotte Milne. 

I know that Charlotte was born 10 Jan 1854 in Aboyne, Aberdeen, Scotland to Charles Milne and Margaret Ritchie.

This is her baptismal record that I located on microfilm at the FHL a few years ago. Scotland, Select Births and Baptisms, 1564-1950

(Click on any image to enlarge it)

Baptismal records from microfilm #991253 located in 2011 at the FHL. 

A close up of the entry for Charlotte Milne - born 10 Jan 1854, daughter of Charles Milne, Labourer at Mill of Dess and Margaret Ritchie, his spouse. Father's information matches what I see on the death certificate.

Charlotte was the 3rd child born to Charles & Margaret.  She had two older sisters, Margaret Ewen Milne and Mary Elizabeth Milne.  Two years after Charlotte was born her parents had a baby boy, Andrew Charles Milne, who became my great grandfather.

My Milne line has always been of great interest to me because Milne was my mother’s maiden name.  I knew both of her parents.  Over the years I have tried to learn as much as I can about my Milne’s from Scotland.

I have not been disappointed in my research.  To read the story of Charlotte’s sister’s husband, who had a very sad ending, you can click here FOLLOW UP ~ William Beechey, his wife and 3 children killed in WW I Bombing - 1915

Two records I had located indicated that Charlotte died in Wales in 1935.  She had never, to my knowledge, married.  She often worked as a domestic and sometimes a nurse.  The last I know of her she was living in Detroit, Wayne, Michigan with her nephew Joseph A. Milne and his family, which included my 6 year old mother.  When I asked my mother about Charlotte, she did not remember her.

Charlotte never married, but it seems she hopped back and forth from the United Kingdom to the United States more than once.

I have the following Events in my Legacy program for Charlotte:

  • 1861 & 1871 UK census – living with her parents in Aboyne, Aberdeenshire, Scotland

  • 3 Nov 1882 -  Immigration to the United states with her mother Margaret

  • 1885 and 1895 Detroit city directory listing – boards 236 3rd with her mother Margaret

  • 1911 – Back in the UK living in Wimbledon, Surrey, England working as a servant/housekeeper in the Henry Rayne household.

  • 1917- 1922 – Back in the U.S. living in Toledo, Ohio working as a Nurse.  I wasn’t sure this was her until I read her niece’s wedding announcement in the newspaper.  They mentioned family and included Charlotte Milne of Toledo, Ohio.

  • 8 Nov 1921 – Listed on the passenger record for the ship Scythia coming to the United States, arriving in New York.  Did she leave Ohio and travel back to the UK and then return?

  • 1930 – Enumerated in Detroit, Wayne, Michigan living with her nephew, Joseph Milne and family.

Now, given that Charlotte was 76 by the time of the 1930 census, I would have expected she died either in Michigan or somewhere in the U.S. close to family.  Of course I looked and looked for any records for her after 1930. 

I came up empty until in May 2011 I got a shaky leaf on Ancestry with reference to the England & Wales, National Probate Calendar(Index of Wills & Administrations), 1861-1941

MILNE Charlotte of 40 Wyndham street Cardiff Spinster died 24 December 1935 Probate Llandaff 20 January to Florence Ann Geen (wife of George Henry Frank Geen). Effect £294 18s 4d 

Could this really be “our” Charlotte?  A probate in Wales? 

Further research revealed a Death Index for England & Wales, 1916-2005 listing Charlotte Milne, age 83 died in Cardiff in 1935.  That is consistent with the probate record.

And there my search ended until I could decide whether to order the record referenced in the death index.  Might it reveal enough information to verify that this is the correct Charlotte Milne?

Fast forward 12 years and I finally decided to bite the bullet and order this death record.  Believe me, I had hoped it might show up online and I did check periodically.

After nearly a month, my record came in the mail.  Will it have the information I need to confirm Charlotte’s date and place of death?

And, here it is!  A death certificate for the Charlotte Milne who died in Cardiff, Wales on 24 Dec 1935.

Death certificate for Charlotte Milne

I immediately see the following significant details……….

·       Place of death – Marwolaeth, Cardiff West in the County Borough of Cardiff

·       When and Where died – 24 Dec 1935 at 40 Wyndham St. UD

·       Name and surname – Charlotte Milne

·       Sex – female

·       Age – 83 years

·       Occupation – Spinster, companion help (domestic)

·       Daughter of Charles Milne Farm labourer (deceased)

·       Cause of death – Syncope, cardiac dilation, haemoplegia

·       Signature and residence of informant – F. Geen, present at death 40 Wyndham St., Cardiff 

One of these buildings is the place where Charlotte died.  

40 Wyndham Street, Cardiff (courtesy of Google Earth)

I am now convinced based on this evidence that this is “our” Charlotte Milne.  The death index and probate record refer directly to this same person.

It’s nice to finally know.  I have always wished that death records from the U.K. listed the burial location, but they don’t. 

Since Charlotte never married or had children, it’s up to us, as family members to remember her and honor her life.  I’ve looked through the family photos I have from my Milne side and don’t see any photos that could be her.

That’s the end of Charlotte’s story for now.  I may never learn more, but if I do I would be delighted.

What journey's have you taken in finding a particular ancestor's information?  I'd love to hear about in your comments or on your own blog post.

If you are related to or connected to anyone in this blog post, please get in touch.  Let’s exchange information.

Happy hunting,

Michigan Girl

Copyright ©  2010-2022   Diane Gould Hall




  1. I agree with you about honoring the life of those who never married or had children. A great great aunt of mine who never married or had children took great care of her parents and siblings. I have a few items that "Aunt Margret" sent to my Mom.

  2. Who is Florence Ann Geen? A sister? A friend? A niece? If you obtain the actual probate record, you may find more family information. The probate records of spinsters and bachelors can be gold mines!


I look forward to reading your comments. If you have any connection to the people mentioned in this blog, please let me know. I write about mine and my husband's ancestors and would welcome new information or meeting a new cousin or two. Thanks for visiting and come back soon.