I don't have any family photographs that remotely ressemble a group of performers like the Merrymakers featured in this week's Sepia Saturday prompt image above. All I can offer this week is a group photograph that I believe must have been taken on some Scottish hillside in the vicinity of the town of Turriff in Aberdeenshire, Scotland, in 1919.
My grandfather Oliver Desmond Cruickshank 1893-1985 served as a sapper in the NZ Expeditionary Force from mid 1916 until the end of World War 1. Although considered to have been only slightly wounded, he carried shrapnel in his forehead for the rest of his life. According to my aunt Nella, Oliver didn't go back to New Zealand right after the war but stayed on in the UK until mid 1919. While there he commenced a course of training to become an architect in London and was also able to visit his grandfather's family in Turriff, Aberdeenshire. Grandparents Adam and Charlotte Cruickshank nee Joss had emigrated from there to New Zealand in 1863, together with Adam's brother William and his wife Jane nee Imlah and family, and Adam and William's mother Janet Mackie. Janet died in 1880, Jane in 1905, Charlotte in 1908, William in 1911 and Adam died 1914, but no doubt they had passed on the details of their Scottish families to their children and grandchildren, and had they been still alive they would have been pleased to know that young Oliver had taken the opportunity to go up to Turriff from London and meet some of his Scottish relatives.
Either Nella or Oliver has written names on the back of the photograph, as shown below, but unfortunately they are not very enlightening. In fact I would not have recognised Oliver, sitting cross-legged second from left, if he hadn't been identified. The young boy sitting in front of him is named as Duncan, Janet's brother. Duncan James Cruickshank, 1915-1978, was a third cousin to Oliver. Duncan could only have been 5 or 6 at most in this photograph, although he looks older. He followed in his father's footsteps as the town pharmacist, as did his son Alan after him.
Duncan and Janet's father was George Morrison Cruickshank, Turriff pharmacist and son of Alexander, who was a first cousin to Oliver's grandfather Adam Cruickshank. George Morrison Cruickshank 1874-1960 was married to Jessie Ann Cruickshank 1885-1954, whose parents were Alexander Cruickshank and Jessie. The surname Cruickshank is a common name in Aberdeenshire and it appears that George and Jessie Ann weren't related, other than by marriage. I think the lady identified as Jessie, one of the two older women sitting together behind Duncan, must have been his grandmother Jessie, who would have been about 60 in 1920, rather than his mother Jessie Ann who would have been 35. The gentleman standing at the back seems to have been identified as G Uncle Jim. The only possibility I can see for him on the family tree as far as I currently have it is bachelor James Cruickshank, 1873-1951, brother of George and uncle of Duncan. At present I think that only Duncan and Jim were related to Oliver's Cruickshank line. I have no idea who Frank and Gladys might have been but they were not siblings of George or Jessie Ann, and I also don't know what the letters MG refer to. More research is clearly required!
To read other Sepian blogs that are probably more related to the Merrymakers prompt this week, click here.