Sunday, 21 October 2012

Kedzlies from Scotland to New Zealand

This time last week I had one Kedzlie on my tree. Now I have upwards of 30 and rising! A comment left on my tree led me to contact a friend of a living Kedzlie in New Zealand who had been trying to find out where her family came from.

May Irene Kedzlie born 1901 in New Zealand married Colin George Sievwright.  This information from a cousin in New Zealand and it checked out on NZ records. Her father was Alexander Charles Kedzlie, born 1866 but parents were not recorded. At this point many would give up, but I am determined.  Kedzlie is not that common a name - I had never heard it before so I searched for all the Kedzlie births in New Zealand and entered data into an excel spreadsheet so I could sort them by year of birth.

I could see that the only Kedzlies recorded having children between 1857 and 1871 were John and Elizabeth and decided to assume that they were the unrecorded parents of all three with no parents.

I had a wee look on familysearch for Kedzlies and saw that there were a lot in Inveresk and Musselburgh, Midlothian, Scotland  near Edinburgh

I then looked for a marriage of John Kedzlie to Elizabeth. Nothing on familysearch but ancestry gave a marriage to Elizabeth Cossar in Australia in 1854. Hadn't I just seen "Cossar" on the list of births? This was sounding good despite being Australia. Familysearch had one child Ellen Janet born to them in 1855 so they must have come to New Zealand between 1855 and 1857.

I turned by attention to Elizabeth Cossar and looked for her death on NZ records to get an idea of her birthdate. Found Elizabeth Catherine Kedzlie died 1915 aged 79 giving a DOB of 1836.  Some googling and looking on family search, other family trees and  censuses leads me to believe her to be the daughter of George Cossar a tanner from Edinburgh who married Susana Gallet in Hanley Castle in Worcestershire. Elizabeth was born in Tewkesbury and the family moved back to Edinburgh by 1851. Other Cossars are found in Australia too.

I am suspecting by this time that John Kedzlie is the son of butcher George Kedzlie in Inveresk censuses in 1841 and 1851 but there is no John to be found in the censuses with the family or anywhere else.

The biggest breakthrough though was in online newspaper archives New Zealand's papers past and Australia's trove.

I found an obituary in the Otago Witness (scroll d0wn about 3/4) for John Kedzlie who died in 1903. It recounts his birth in 1821 in Musselburgh, that he left for Australia in 1849, married Elizabeth Cossar  there and moved to New Zealand in 1856. I found a record for the latter journey too.

I also found a baptism on 6  Sep 1821 to George Kedzlie and Helen Cleugh in Inveresk and Musselburgh. 

And his death is reported in the Northern Star in Australia as well; he is the eldest brother of Alexander Kedzlie which supports my theory of him being the son of George Kedzlie the butcher. Alexander was born in Musselburgh in 1831.

All this research took about 3 days (well it's been raining here) and I did it all on my laptop at no additional cost to my ancestry subscription.  I had a lot of fun looking and what a great feeling of satisfaction when it all ties in.

John Kedzlie on my ancestry tree  I f you have an ancestry account, you should be able to see this tree. If it is not a UK account you have change the url from to .com or .au or whatever.


  1. hi, ummm, i just searched Kedzlie on google and ended up here. I am the son of Cathy Sanderson( i was given up for adoption by her in 1980). I am pretty sure she was the daughter of a Kedzlie in NZ.I do not know what one...

    My name is Vaughan Brown now, that changed a few times earlier on, but please write back to me at

  2. I am pleased to say I was able to put Vaughan in touch with his birth family.

  3. I have created a family tree on that encompasses these ancestors and more. Search for Kedzlie Family Tree.