Given names: 
Given address: 
Leith St
Sheet No: 169
Central Dunedin

Best guess is that the surname is 'Sismey', probably Ann Elizabeth Sismey.  There is a George Sismey, Leith Street listed in 1895 Stones street directory (but not 1892). He is also listed on the 1893 electoral roll at this address - his occupation is given as 'seaman'. There are no female 'Sismey's on the 1893 or 1896 electoral roll, so this suggests she may have signed the 1893 petition but did not register to vote.

BDM lists the marriage of Ann Elizabeth Towers and George Henry Sismey in 1891. George Henry Sismey died in 1932 aged 76. Ann Elizabeth Sismey died in 1938 aged 83. These are the only 'Sismey' marriages recorded from 1875-1930 and deaths recorded from 1892-1950.

By 1896 there is a George Sismey listed as living in Auckland - the only Sismey on the electoral roll in that year.  The 1900 electoral roll lists Elizabeth Sismey, West Street, Auckland, Domestic duties and George Sismey, ss Iona, Seaman, Auckland.  From 1905 Ann Elizabeth and George Henry Sismey are listed in Auckland on the electoral roll - in 1935 they were at Henley Road, Eden, Auckland. Ann is listed as 'married'. 

Matthew Arbuckle Towers listed 'Mrs E. Sismey, Hellier House, Grey Street, Auckland' as his mother when he enlisted for the First World War -  - this is almost certainly Ann Elizabeth's son and George's stepson.

Other information:

Emily Sismey, only daugther of George Sismey of Auckland, married Clifford Hallam on 13 Apr 1911

Arthur Ashwell Towers, youngest son of Mrs G Sismey, Henley Road, Mt Eden died 12 Feb 1939, brother of Matthew.

This memorium notice for George confirms Matthew and Arthur were his stepsons.

A son, H[arry] A[lbert] Towers died on 8 November 1918. He had a sister and brothers.

BDM confirms Harry Albert Towers was born in 1883,  Matthew Arbuckle Towers was born 1885 and Arthur Ashwell Towers in 1888  to Elizabeth and William Arbuckle Towers. Emily Sismey was born in 1893 to Ann Eliza and George Henry Sismey (which might explain why her mother didn't vote!)

William Arbuckle Towers died in 1889.


Another less likely possibility is 'Ivimey'. There is a Julia Ivimey listed on the 1893 electoral roll. Her address is given as 'Castle Street', which is next to Leith Street. We believe this could be the mother of All Black Frederick Ivimey, in which case her maiden name was "Elder'.

Here is an image of the signature:


- please email [email protected] if you can provide any more information to confirm one of these names, or suggest another.

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

2 comments have been posted about Mrs Sismey?

What do you know?


Posted: 26 May 2019

Ann Elizabeth (nee Ashwell 1855-1938) married William Arbuckle Towers (1850-1889) in Scotland. They had a daughter, Elizabeth Towers 1873-1910, emigrated to Dunedin about 1880 and had sons in NZ, 1883 - 1931 Harry Albert Towers, 1885 - 1960 Matthew Arbuckle Towers & 1888 - 1939 Arthur Ashwell Towers.
William Arbuckle Towers died 14 April 1889 in Dunedin Hospital aged 38 and is buried at Southern cemetery.
The widow Ann Elizabeth next married George Henry Sismey in Dunedin in 1891 and had a daughter, Emily Sismey 1893-1958.
Ann & George later moved to Auckland. George Henry Sismey died April 1932 aged 75 & Ann Elizabeth Sismey died May 1938 aged 83 (of Natural Causes/Old Age) and they are buried at Hillsborough

Of Note: their 1st daughter, Elizabeth Towers married William Aitken (1870-1947) in Dunedin in 1894 and their first son, Alexander Craig 'Alec' Aitken became a Professor in Edinburgh. He became a Reader in statistics in 1936, the year he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society. Ten years later he was appointed to Whittaker's chair.
He had an incredible memory (he knew π to 2000 places). He had the idea of accelerating the convergence of a numerical method. He also introduced a method of progressive linear interpolation. In algebra he made contributions to the theory of determinants. He wrote several books, one of the most famous being The theory of canonical matrices (1932). There is much about him on the net and can be seen on youtube.
Another of Elizabeth's sons, Leslie Milner Aitken was a journalist and the chief sub-editor of the Christchurch 'Press'

Andrew Ivamy

Posted: 04 Oct 2013

There are both "I" and "E" variations of the spelling of the family name. It certainly looks like "Ivmay" However, looking at the "Mrs" makes me think the second and third letters are actually 'rs' while the first letter looks more like an "S" which would make "Srsmey"

brothers and sisters of the time had differant spelling "Issmey" and "Iffmey" as well as Ivimey (and Ivimey-Cook) are found in the UK.

If a George Ivamy is residing at the same address (which I doubt) then this could be his sister.