14 – 1885 — Christisons

Posted originally on January 28, 2015 by Neil

This series of posts is the most comprehensive I have done on family history. I am doing them backwards here so that in due course they will appear sequentially.

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Me being atavistic…

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My grandfather, Roy H Christison (1886-1962) — late 1880s

I am not sure whether the marriage of his father John Hampton Christison to Sophia Jane Lillie on 24 May 1880 killed the minister, but…

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Yes, people also called her Sophia Jean. And I actually remember her as she died in 1952.

And here is Brechin, where John H came from:

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That photo actually came with the Christisons from Scotland around 135 years ago!  Nearby in Arbroath is this magnificent ruin:

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In 1772, the famous English diarist, Dr Samuel Johnson, passed through the town, and noted: “The Monastery of Aberbrothock is of great renown in the history of Scotland. Its ruins afford ample testimony of its ancient magnificence. I should scarcely have regretted my journey had it afforded nothing more than a sight of Aberbrothock.”source

When in 1885 John H Christison had a vineyard at Hinton where my grandfather Roy was born he called his property Aberbrothock.

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Quite the Romantic was John H, and a noted Professor of Scottish Dancing (and etiquette).

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January 1880

You can read more about this rather amazing but tricky character in my post My great-grandfather: “morally dubious to say the least.”  My cousin Ray Christison is mentioned quite a bit on that post; he has written a book about John H: Shapeshifter – the strange life of John Hampton Christison, Professor of Dancing. Here is an interesting snippet by Ray from the comment thread on my post:

Neil, I have been trawling through my old notes and have begun writing a full biography of John Hampton Christison (currently about 5,000 words and growing). I will publish it as a small book. You asked about John dancing before Queen Victoria. John listed his major dancing awards in the 1882 Manual of Dancing & Etiquette. He stated this: “at Edzell Castle, 1873 I took first prize, a Highland dirk, at Balmoral Castle in 1875, second against thirty, most of them professional men”. Queen Victoria may or may not have been present when John danced at Balmoral Castle. Given John’s penchant for self-promotion I find it bizarre that he would not have specifically mentioned this in a work as important as his Manual of Dancing & Etiquette. I have a very vague memory of Kathleen Christison telling me that he danced there before one of the other royals, however I can’t find any notes to corroborate this.

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See also October 2016: Two romantic old buildings: Scotland and NSW.

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Victoria Hotel, Hinton NSW: Built in the 1840s it is now one of Australia’s oldest continually licensed hotels.

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