Does anyone have any information on William GUNN of Helmsdale who migrated to New Zealand?

+4 votes
William GUNN was born circa 1850 in Helmsdale, Sutherland, Scotland.  He migrated to New Zealand where he married Elizabeth Jane MELTON in Timaru in 1878.  Does anyone know anything about this man, his family in Sutherland?


in Genealogy Help by

4 Answers

0 votes
William Gunn born 8 Jul 1848 Clyne, Sutherland, Scotland. Parent John Gunn and Elizabeth Gordon.

William Sutherland Fraser Gunn b. 19 Dec 1852 Dornoch, Sutherland, Scotland. Parents Alexr. Gunn, Elizabeth Sutherland.

James William Sutherland Gunn, b. 7 Dec 1846 Dornoch, Sutherland, Scotland. Parents Alexander Gunn, Elizabeth Sutherland.

William Gunn born 29 Sep 1855 Eddrachillis, Sutherland, Scotland. Parents Hugh Gunn and Margaret MacIntosh.
by Frank Gill G2G Astronaut (2.2m points)
William Gunn born c1850
I have just checked Scotlands People and this must be the family of my William GUNN.

I also found the marriage certificate of William GUNN and Catherine BANNERMAN.

Thanks to Frank and to Kevin for their help.

Hi Jeni,

You'll find in Scotland's People that Catherine Bannerman died at the age of 60 years on 6. Dec. 1869. Her husband William Gunn died on 26. Nov. 1871 at the age of 76 years. Both were buried at Helmsdale, Sutherland.

You'll fiund William in the 1871 Census at Dunrobin St, Kildonan. He gives his age as 74 years, widower, occu[pation 'Fenar' & farmer. With him are his 23 year old daughter Johanna Gunn, his 8 months old granddaughter Isabella Little and his 26 year old daughter Davidina Gunn, whose name has been wrongly transcribed as 'Laurelina' on the Ancestry 1871 Census.

Davidina Little died in Helmsdale on 9. Jan 1922, aged 77 years. You can view her gravestone on the internet by searching "Kildonan War Memorial, Helmsdale, Vina Little, died 23. Aug 1941" (= her granddaughter)

There is a photo of the Helmsdale Little Butcher Shop, (probably taken around the time of WWI) on the internet ( This shop was owned by the family of William Gunn's sister Davidina and her husband Donald Little.
0 votes

Hi Jeni,

Hopefully you have seen the notice in the Timaru Herald (13/8/1878) announcing their marriage on 6 Aug at St. Mary's Church.  William Gunn was an ironmonger in Dunedin and Elizabeth was the eldest daughter of the late John Melton of Timaru.

William Gunn went on to become a Dentist.  He had a brother in Dunedin, Alexander, and the following link gives the details of their parents in Scotland.

A short biography of William Gunn is at this link (Evening Post, 19/12/1914):

On 23/5/1879 William and Elizabeth Gunn had a daughter, Elizabeth Catherine, d.1963. Her biography is at:

In 1881 they had a son William Alexander

On the 25th Feb 1883 they had a daughter, Ellen Louisa, born and died in Timaru d. 27/8/1943.

In 1885 they had a son, Gordon Melton

in 1888 they had a daughter, Alice Johanna who died in Timaru 10/5/1980.

Elizabeth Jane Gunn d. 20/10/1937, buried 22/10/1937 in Timaru, aged 83.

William Gunn d. 16/12/1914 in Timaru, aged 64. (4 photos available).

There are several references to the 2 boys, William and Gordon, in school sports in the Timaru Herald 22/10/1898.

If any of the links don't work for you, let me know.

 Good luck, Kevin

by Kevin Sands G2G6 Mach 2 (28.7k points)
William GUNN b 1850
William GUNN b 1850
Hi Kevin

I have just joined wikitree and this is much easier than trying to work from outside.  The Northern Cemetery information, I did not have and this certainly appears to be correct, William was a chemist.  I have a feeling the grandfather may have been an ironmonger too...must check that now.

Hi Jeni,

William GUNN, (born 15. Mar. 1850) was the son of William GUNN ( 12. Nov 1794 - 26. Nov 1871, Helmsdale) and Catherine BANNERMAN (about 1809 - 6. Dec.1869).

His paternal grandfather was Alexander GUNN and his maternal grandparents were David BANNERMAN & Helen McKAY.

for more information contact me: 'getus' at NZ hotmail
This has been really useful. I have been researching the gunn family tree and have got to hugh gunn and davidina (little?) Any help would be grateful in fitting william and alexander in thanks
Davidina LITTLE ms GUNN was a sister of William GUNN b. 1850 Helmsdale, Scotland.  Can you please clarify who Hugh GUNN was, I don't know of any Hugh at this stage.

0 votes

I have been browsing information about my family history and came across your request and the responses.

I am the granddaughter of Gordon Melton Gunn.  I would be really interested to find out more information about the Gunn side of my family.

Please feel free to contact me.


Jessica Adams

(Christchurch, New Zealand)
Hi Jessica

My great uncle, Robert STOUT was married to Alice Johanna GUNN.   Alice was a sister of your Gordon Melton GUNN.

William GUNN b 1850 in Helmsdale, Sutherland, Scotland married Elizabeth Jane MELTON b 15 Mar 1852 in London, England on 06 Aug 1878 in Timaru, New Zealand.

Children to the marriage were:

Elizabeth Catherine b 23 May 1879, Dunedin; William Alexander b 1881; Helen/Ellen Louisa b 25 Feb 1883; Gordon Melton b 28 Jan 1885; Alice Johanna b 03 Jun 1888; James Tweddle b 1890 and John David, no birth details.

I presume you would already have that info.

0 votes
William Gunn Born Helmsdale, Sutherlandshire, Scotland and his wife are buried in the Timaru Cemetery, NZ He died 16th dec 1914. The surname Gunn is widespread in the South Cnterbury area.
by Nola Moses G2G6 Mach 1 (11.7k points)

Thank you.  I have information on William and his family in Timaru, New Zealand.  I don't have descendants of the children, or all information on the children of William and Elizabeth GUNN.  Having put my query up here, I have a bit more information on William in Helmsdale, which is fabulous.


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