The Henderson Family

Particularly for my sons, I include this page about the Henderson family. Christine Henderson was my first wife. I met Chris in Guildford, Surrey, in 1966. Shortly after we met, I was to call on Chris at her home in Bramley, near Guildford, and thus I met her mum and dad, Donald and Monica Henderson. Even before we were married, I heard, through Chris, of the history of the Hendersons going back to Victorian times and the Hendersons associated with the British-built Argentinian railway system.

After Chris and I were married, I was to enjoy my chats with Don Henderson. He told me about his service in the RAF and how he and Monica met, when she was also serving in the forces (in the WRAF). I heard from Chris about the death of Don’s parents during the latter stages of the war caused by the dropping of a German bomb on their house near Croydon. This must have been a terrible blow for Don and his brother, especially as the war was nearly over by this time, in 1944. Chris and I travelled to Rugby, which was the home of Monica Henderson (nee Packer) and we met Monica's sisters and parents. Both Monica’s parents had been brought up in the farming world and that was clearly evident from the meeting with Mrs Packer. She was definitely a country girl. On my first visit to her house, she took me up the garden to show me her vegetable patch, and in the process dived into the garden shed and brought me out a glass of her homemade elderflower wine! A bit cloudy with bits floating in it! I toasted the old lady in the garden and drank it down. Not bad if you didn’t look at it! Hopefully, I will publish my notes about the maternal ancestors of my sons when time allows. But for now let us show what we know about the Hendersons...

In the late 1960s, I was introduced to Don Henderson’s aunties, who lived in an idyllic location in West Sussex near the sea. They lived in Sea Lane, Middleton-on-Sea, in a beautiful thatched cottage. I was fascinated to meet these two spinsters and on my first visit we had afternoon tea sitting in their beautiful cottage. I was told that they partly lived off their pensions from the Argentinian railway company. Since then I’ve always wanted to know more.

Now, after many years have passed, I’ve been caught with the bug of looking into one’s family history. This section is dedicated to the Hendersons.

We’re not exploring the origins of the name Henderson back into ancient times, but just to confirm, my understanding is that the name Henderson originates from Scotland and there are three possible sources of the name:

  • The Hendersons who lived in the Scottish Borders
  • The Hendersons of Clan MacDonald of Glencoe
  • The Hendersons of Clan Gunn

I don’t know where Don Henderson’s family originate from, as this is just a short piece about his immediate family looking back into Victorian times. I’ve proved that there is definitely a connection between Donald Henderson’s family and the Argentinian railway. I don’t know if there’s any direct family connection with the great civil engineer Sir Brodie Haldane Henderson (1869 – 28 September 1936), but I will set out the information that I’ve researched, which shows some interesting connections into Latin and South America by Donald Henderson’s ancestors. Certainly, it will be fascinating to research this area further. As far as Monica is concerned, I’ve been able to find some records of the family living in Bilton, near Rugby, and that confirms the farming connection.

Below you will find a simple family tree of Donald Henderson’s ancestors:







The detective work to trace Donald Henderson’s ancestors was initially quite straightforward. I already knew were he got married, so it was straightforward to find out his father and mother’s name from the marriage certificate. The rest of the detective work was a little bit more involved and I have been assisted by Mathew Homewood, a genealogist who lives here in Lewes. As you can see from the chart above and the information below, we considerably expanded the Henderson family tree. I’m really pleased that we have been able to confirm the connection with South and Latin America. As yet we don’t have a formal connection with Sir Brodie Haldane Henderson, although as you can see from this article both Sir Brodie and Harry Henderson had the same middle name. It’s tempting to say there is a connection, but confirmation or otherwise will have to wait until we can further investigate the matter further.

Not only do we have an interesting connection with the Americas, as Harry Haldane (Donald’s father) was working for a time for the Cuban Central Railways, but we have also found a firm connection with Argentina via Harry's brothers, Duncan and Douglas. They must have both emigrated there. At the bottom of this page you will see a copy of a ship's list from 1906, showing both brothers. (Their names are about a third of the way down the page.) It is possible they had already emigrated there before 1906, and this list just shows them returning there. This is corroborated by two further points – firstly, they were both married by 1906, but their wives don't appear on the passenger list, and secondly, there is no trace of Duncan or Douglas on the 1901 English census.

I am also pleased that Mathew Homewood was able to find the records of two ancient aunts, who I met in the late '60s, from my sketchy description of two old ladies who lived in Sea Lane Middleton-on-Sea, with one of them having the name Jess. Not much to go on so a great success.

Harry Haldane Henderson (1882-1944) was one of 11 children. (On the 1911 census, Harry’s mother stated she had given birth to 11 children; 9 of whom were still alive.)

Harry’s parents were George and Elizabeth Henderson; both born in London around 1847. George was a corn merchant. The family moved many times; we have the following addresses/locations:

1871 – 12 Mostyn Terrace, Brixton
1873-1875 – Hayes, Middlesex
1877 – Gladholt Villa, Brondesbury, Middlesex
1881 – ‘Glenmohr’, Wallington, Surrey
1891 – 10 Weighton Road, Penge
1901-1907 – 27 Selby Road, Penge
1911 – ‘Sandhurst’, Beechwood Avenue, Kew Gardens

George Henderson died sometime between 1891 and 1901. He would have been around 50 years of age. George and Elizabeth’s children were as follows:

  1. Bernard George Henderson – Born in Lambeth in 1869. Sent to school in Seaford, Sussex.
  2. Mildred Henderson – Born in Brixton in 1871. Married Frank Barton, coal merchant of Brasted, Kent, in 1900. They initially lived in Brasted. Mildred died on 9 February 1963, aged 91. Her address was given as ‘Beverley’, Sea Way, Middleton-on-Sea, Sussex.
  3. Duncan Ross Henderson – Born in Hayes, Middlesex, on 12 May 1873. Sent to school in Seaford, Sussex. Emigrated to Argentina.
  4. Douglas Henderson – Born in Hayes, Middlesex, on 2 August 1874. Married Helen Carlotta Price at Battersea on 27 October 1898. They emigrated to Argentina.
  5. Frank Henderson – Born in Hayes, Middlesex in 1875. Died the same year.
  6. George Frederick Henderson – Born in Brondesbury, London, on 22 September 1877.
  7. Jessie Louise Henderson - Born in Brondesbury, London, on 6 October 1878. Never married. Died in the Chichester area in 1971, aged 92.
  8. Sydney Henderson – Born in Wallington, Surrey, in 1880.
  9. Howard Henderson – Born in Wallington, Surrey, in 1881.
  10. Harry Haldane Henderson – Born in Wallington, Surrey, in 1882. Married Edith Annie Meadows at the Wesleyan Chapel, Westow Hill, Lambeth, on 31 August 1907. At the time, he was working as a railway clerk. He eventually became a public company registrar. Harry and Edith were living at 27 Bourdon Road, Penge, in 1911. At this time, Harry was recorded as working for the Cuban Central Railway Ltd. By 1918, they were living at 32 Wordsworth Road, Wallington. They remained there for over 25 years. On 23 June 1944, their bodies were found at this address following a German air attack the previous day. Harry and Edith were aged 59 and 57 respectively. (See next section for details of Harry and Edith’s children.)
  11. Janie Henderson – Born in Tulse Hill, London, on 29 May 1883. Never married. Died in the Chichester area in 1971, aged 88.

Harry & Edith Henderson's Children:

  1. Owen Howard Henderson – Born in the Bromley area in 1912. Was a private in the army during the Second World War.
  2. Jessie Eileen Henderson – Born in the Bromley area in 1914. Died with her parents at 32 Wordsworth Road, Wallington, on 22 June 1944. She was 29 years old.
  3. Donald Henderson - Born at 32 Wordsworth Road, Wallington, on 31 January 1923. Became a flight sergeant in the RAF. Married Monica Melrose Honor Packer at St Mary’s Church, Bilton, Warwickshire, on 18 Mary 1946. Donald died at the Guildford General Hospital, Surrey, in August 1998, aged 75.
  4. Olive M Henderson – Born in the Croydon area (almost certainly at 32 Wordsworth Road, Wallington) in 1925.

Supplementary Notes

We haven't found a death record for either of Harry's parents yet, Henderson being a fairly common name. However, Mathew is fairly confident he has traced their marriage in 1869. If Mathew is right, Harry's mother's maiden name was 'Wilson', and his grandparents were George and Eliza Henderson – both of London. Harry's birth certificate would confirm his mother's maiden name, allowing us to go back at least one more generation. We know for definite that Harry's grandmother was called Eliza, born in London around 1826, as Harry's sister Jessie was staying with her at the time of the 1911 census.