Headstone mystery is solved

A family photograph that belonged to my grandmother of a headstone following a funeral in memory of four children, led me to research their story.

David Cunningham & Christina Thomson - Seafield Cemetary, Edinburgh

Searching ScotlandsPeople Death Index, I found  Christina Cunningham dying aged 8 months, she died of bronchitis and pneumonia on 20th February 1895 at 31 James Street, Pilrig in Edinburgh. Searching the Birth Records, Christina Thomson Cunningham was born on 13th June 1894 at 31 James Street, her parents were David and Christina Cunningham Nee Thomson.

David Cunnigham, a Draper, married Christina Thomson in Edinburgh on 1st June 1888.

Searching the Birth and Death Indexes the other three children were found:

Margaret Cunningham known as Maggie was born on 18th November 1890 at 16 Glen Street, Edinburgh and died on 7th October 1891 at 132 Easter Road, Edinburgh aged 11 months.

Alexander Cunningham was born on 10th September 1896 at 31 James Street, Edinburgh and died there of incterus neonatorum (jaundice of the newborn) on 17th September 1896 aged 7 days.

Jessie Cunningham was born on 15th July 1899 at 31 James Street, Edinburgh and died there on 15th May 1900 aged 10 months.

I found the family in the 1901 Census still living at 31 James Street, two other children were recorded:

James Cunningham was born on 17th February 1889 at 16 Glen Street, Edinburgh and died unmarried of phthisis pulmonalis (pulmonary tuberculosis) on 31st May 1923 at Templand Farm, Lochmaben, Dumfriesshire aged 34 years.

Annie Cunningham was born on 12th November 1892 at 132 Easter Road, Edinburgh and died unmarried of pulmonary tuberculosis on 25th June 1921 at 49 Bellevue Road, Edinburgh aged 28 years.

No other children were recorded in the 1911 Census, therefore it appears that David and Christina Cunningham had six children.

The next step was to research David Cunningham’s birth and death. David Cunningham was born on 27th May 1861 in Penicuik Parish, Midlothian, son of James and Annie Cunningham Nee Weir. A retired Master Draper, David died of apoplexy on 2nd June 1926 at Bellevue Cottage, Abington, Lanarkshire.

The Scotsman on Friday 4th June 1926 carried David’s death notice:

At Bellevue Cottage, Abington on the 2nd instant, DAVID CUNNINGHAM, formerly of 49 Bellvue Rd, Edinburgh, beloved husband of Christina Thomson, in his 67th year. Funeral at Seafield Cemetery, Leith Links on Saturday 5th instant. Friends please meet at the Cemetery gate at 3pm.

Christina Cunningham Nee Thomson was born on 13th September 1855 at Crieff, Perthshire, daughter of Alexander and Margaret Thomson Nee Black. Christina died of cerebral thrombosis on 2nd November 1927 at 11 Sime Place, Galashiels, Selkirkshire.

The records at Seafield Cemetery (held at the Crematorium) confirmed that David and his children are buried in plot D825, however his wife Christina is buried separately with her two siblings in plot D31.

I visited Seafield Cemetery and recorded the details from the headstone:

Erected by David Cunningham in memory of his children

MAGGIE aged 11 months
CHRISTINA aged 8 months
ALEXANDER aged 10 days
JESSIE aged 10 months
ANNIE who died 25th June 1921 aged 28 years
Also JAMES who died 31st May 1923 aged 34 years
Also the above DAVID CUNNINGHAM died at Bellevue Cottage, Abington 2nd June 1926 aged 67 years
Also CHRISTINA THOMSON, his widow, died at Galashiels 2nd November 1927 aged 72 years

God wanted them in heaven where children rest.

Sadly no headstone exists for Christina and her siblings.

It’s a truly sad story that David and Christina survived their six of their children.

The conclusion is that the photo may have been taken following the funeral of Annie Cunningham in 1921, her name doesn’t appear on the headstone and she was the next family member to die after Jessie in 1899.

David Cunningham was the eldest brother of my grandmother’s father, James Cunningham. David was therefore my great great uncle.

David & Christina Cunningham - July 2014

Seafield Cemetery – September 2015

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