Given names: 
Given address: 
Sheet No: 40

Biography contributed by Katherine Blakeley:

Christian/Christina McTavish was born on 22 March 1853 in Cromarty, Rosshire, Scotland – daughter of John McTavish, a shepherd, and Ann McKenzie.

Christina married John Urquhart, a gardener in 1873, they had three children in Cromarty. In 1879 the family emigrated to Otago on the Nelson. A further six children were born in New Zealand.

In 1882 the family’s home was destroyed by fire. Christina left the house for a few minutes with the children, leaving a fire burning in the kitchen. Very little was saved and the two adjoining houses were also badly damaged. The house and furniture were insured. Another fire occurred in 1887 which caused less damage.

In 1903 Christina applied for a separation order, alleging persistent cruelty and asking for the custody of their children under 16 and weekly maintenance.

“The marriage had been unhappy for many years, and latterly the respondent had been drinking heavily, and had ill-used his wife. He contributed but little to the maintenance of the home, though he earned about 8s a day.” Christina gave evidence that John had “frequently turned her out in the night, and she had had to take refuge in the coal shed”. Some of the children gave evidence supporting their mother.

The Magistrate made an order for separation and “trusted the parties would speedily come to terms and agree to live together again on amicable terms”.

They appear to have come to some agreement as they were living together in 1911. Sometime afterwards they moved to Auckland, where John died in 1923. He is buried in the Waikumete Cemetery. Christina was living in Ponsonby in 1938 when she fell at her home fracturing her thigh, she was admitted to hospital in a serious condition. She died three weeks later on 23 August and was buried in the Purewa Cemetery.


BDM online NZ
DCC Cemetery Records
Family Search 
Otago Nominal Index
Papers Past
Scotlands People
Purewa Cemetery
Auckland Council

See also Caversham research databases

Click on sheet number to see the 1893 petition sheet this signature appeared on. Digital copies of the sheets supplied by Archives New Zealand.

Community contributions

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