The four RITCHIE sisters were all born in Aberdeenshire but were living in Weston-super-Mare from some time pre 1900(?) till the 1950s. Only the oldest - Jane - married, and she was my mother's maternal grandmother under her married name Pettie. I've tried to set down here the important details of the family immediately before and during their lives in Weston, in the hope that others in Weston or Aberdeenshire might be able to fill in some more details of their lives and how they came to be in Weston. Some of this information came from a genealogist, who lists no sources and makes some obvious suppositions for the sake of a story, but my son Robert Burnham has verified as much as possible. The family tree is in Family Search along with all the known sources.
For photos, please see Petties and Ritchies at https://www.flickr.com/photos/61381495@N03/albums
There are two other names of interest here, who are connected to the family but not related: Dolly Rose GOULSTONE and Bertram Edward J COTTLE.
According to the genealogist, Jane Ritchie's husband, my great-grandfather, was born Henry PETTY in Cheltenham in 1836 (christened 11 September), and by 1851 he was a tailor's apprentice. In 1861 he was married to Sophia Mills, a milliner, was known as Henry Vincent Petty, was working as a tailor and was living with Sophia's mother. In 1871 Henry and Sophia were now running a boarding house in Cheltenham as well as working at their jobs. But in 1881 we have no more record of Sophia, and Henry was lodging in Brighton working as a tailor foreman. In 1891 he was back in Cheltenham and was a journeyman tailor.
What follows is surprising, if it is not a major case of mistaken identity. We don't know why he came to be in Aberdeen, but he married Jane Ann Ritchie at 11 Union Buildings, St Nicholas district, Aberdeen, on 25 August 1892. We have the marriage certificate. He was using the Scots spelling of his name PETTIE, gave his age as 40, and his address as 45 Montpellier Buildings, Cheltenham, which (looking at the street) seems to be a fictitious address: the numbering of this street goes up to 43 and it is unlikely there ever was a number 45. The younger age was used on subsequent English censuses and on his burial record at the Milton Road cemetery, Weston.
The dates of what happened next is not clear but we know that Annie Henrietta (my grandmother, always known as Dolly) was born in December 1894 and Catherine Amy was born in June 1897, both at Jane's mother's home in Inverurie. My mother told me that Jane returned to her home town to give birth to Dolly, but it may be that they were still in Scotland when the girls were born.
In 1901 Jane, Henry and Jane's younger sister Agnes (Aggie) were living in Weston with the couple's daughters and two boarders. A picture of Dolly around this time shows her outside "St Kilda", 9 Jubilee Road, with a sign in the window advertising "Apartments". The Kelly's Directory for 1902 lists a "William Pettie" as a tailor at St Kilda, and a Weston Mercury supplement in July 1902 lists Mr and Mrs Pettie there.
In 1911, the family were still together with Dolly, now 16, listed as working as bookkeeper, and a woman boarder. Jane used the name Jennie in that census. Jane's sisters Johanna (Hannah), Aggie and Catherine (Kitty) were now all living in another household in Weston. This was probably at Maycot, 12 Beaufort Road. Aggie had a son called Alfred (Fred) Ritchie who was living with the three unmarried sisters and was aged 6. The sisters may have moved to Weston from Inverurie following the death of their mother Ann Fraser in 1903 (their grandmother Agnes Crane died in 1911).
The 1914 Kelly's directory lists Henry as offering apartments at Maycot. That year he died: according to the burial record on 10 February he was 62, but likely he was 77. Business did not stop: I found an ad in the Gloucestershire Echo of September 1914 advertising apartments at Maycot.
After that, it seems Jane moved in with her sisters at Maycot. She is recorded as Jennie Ritchie, the proprietor at Maycot, in Kelly's of 1919.
As well as being busy with paying guests or boarders, Maycot seems to have been the place for many family holidays. Dolly's and Cath's families were close and often spent Christmas, Easter and summer holidays together there. Both my mother and her cousin Betty put their memories of those happy times on record. I have memories of Hannah and Aggie when I was a very small boy. My mother was born there and my father first met my mother there.
Through my mother, I have many pictures from the garden at Maycot, mostly in the 1920s, and there are many people I'd like to identify. They may be relatives (perhaps visiting from Scotland) or friends.
Dolly Goulstone was a long term resident at Maycot from some time from before the war until (probably) after Hannah died in 1955 and Maycot was sold. I have childhood memories of her too. She was an Armenian refugee, blinded in a massacre in the Armenian genocide, and adopted by Walter and Amelia Goulstone of Weston. She died in Plymouth in 1993. There is a group page about her on WikiTree.
Bertram Cottle dedicated a photo album to someone in the family, and it contains many of the Weston photos that my mother had. He was born in Bath in 1902, married Valerie Mctoldride in Ealing 1953 and died in Tonbridge in 1974. He may be in some of the pictures. I'd like to know his connection to the family.
Dates for the people concerned:
Henry Vincent Pettie: 1836 or supposedly 1851-1914
Jane Ann Pettie nee Ritchie: 1868-1937 (recorded as Jennie in the 1911 census)
Johanna (Hannah) Ritchie: 1875-1955 (Birth record gives her as born in 1873)
Agnes Innes Fraser (Aggie) Ritchie: 1880-1960 (Birth record gives her as born in 1877)
Catherine Sangster Fraser (Kitty) Ritchie: 1882-1930
All above died at Maycot apart from Agnes, who died at 65 Moorland Road, Weston. All are recorded as buried in the cemetery at Milton Road.
Dolly Rose Goulstone: 1904-1993, died in Plymouth.
Bertram Edward J Cottle: 1902 Bath - 1974 Tonbridge, Kent