Friday, October 30, 2009

edward and kate alkin

On Wednesday, I went to the Lower Circular Road Cemetery in search of the Alkins grave ... my great great grand- parents. It was surprisingly easy as the records held in their office go back to the early 1800's.
So there they were, together under a very precariously balanced headstone.
The inscriptions are legible and it is true that Edward died in the vicinity of the Sunderbans, at a place called Madaripore on 18th December 1895. He was fifty-three years old. Although Madaripore is to the north and east of the Sunderbans (now in Bangladesh), it is still connected to the delta and waterways of the area. So did he die in the Sunderbans or in Madaripore. Maybe he was taken there and pronounced dead.
This small detail, the date Edward died, has opened up further avenues to explore. There are a number of archives in Kolkata and as I'm here for five weeks, it might just be possible to uncover some more of this story. I'm intrigued.


  1. Glad you're doing some family research too! You were a stones throw from the Armenian Church - did you know that? (St. Gregory's that is).

  2. oh no, I didn't realise. I'll probably go back there as I'm thinking about cleaning up the grave and setting the headstone upright. Is the Armenian Cemetery here?

  3. If you're in the Lower Circular Road cemetery, which from your pictures, looks like it to me, then yes the Armenian Church is close by. The best way is if you come in thru the main gate (there is small office on the left), you probably went into an office on the right to look at the records? Stay on the main central path and walk it (collecting children, dogs and others along the way!) all the way to the end - this is at least a mile! At the end the path runs out, but if you look to your RIGHT you will see more graves, then some well kept graves just beyond. This is the Armenian section. At the ARmenian section you will see a high wall with large double gates in it. These should be open, if not bang hard and someone will come and open up. Inside the wall you will find the St. Gregory's Church, known and the Armenian small church. You may be asked to introduce yurself to Cha Cha, the manager. He's about 90 and very deaf, so be prepared to shout a lot! there aren't many graves inside by the church, the majority of the graves are outside (from where you've just walked). However, having said all that, I'm not sureyou've got anyone in the St. Gregory's churchyard. I think all yours are over at the Nazareth church, which is a 30 min taxi ride. Unfortunately I hear that the Nazareth church is closed for renovation at the moment. You can probably still walk in the compound (and see Joseph's grave) but I don't think they're letting anyone in the church at the mooment. If you speak to Hasmik she'll be able to tell you, and introduce you to Fr. Khoren at the same time. Good Luck!

  4. Michele,
    Edward William Alkin and KateAlkin (nee Dudding) are my great grand parents. U ntil now I did not know where they ended up.
    Their son Reginald Bernard Alkin was my mother's father.

  5. Michele,
    Edward William Alkin and KateAlkin (nee Dudding) are my great grand parents. U ntil now I did not know where they ended up.
    Their son Reginald Bernard Alkin was my mother's father.
    He Moved to Western Australia in 1912 to work on the State Shipping Service. Two other sons (Horace and Francis) of Edward and Kate eventually ended up there also.

    The "Heath" comment above was added by me via my son's account accidentaly

    Trevor Kidd

  6. Hi Liz, I am descended from Edward's brother and Kate's sister. Would love to know more about Edward's family.
    Pat Pike
    New Zealand

  7. Hi Pat,
    I've only just found your comment ... Liz Chater is a friend and researcher of the Armenian community in India (and beyond).
    Please email me at
    Are you in contact with Trevor Kidd in Western Australia?
    He mentioned that Edward's brother and Kate's sister married.
    Look forward to hearing from you

  8. I have a chest from an orphans asylum dated 1901, the owner is named as Reginald Bernard Alkin. A link?

  9. Yes - very likely.
    Reginald Bernard Alkin was my grandfather on my mothers side.
    He and his brother Horace Egbert Alkin were both attending the "Merchant Seaman’s Orphan Asylum" at Wanstead in Britain in 1901.
    He was 12 and his brother 13 or 14. I know this from the 1901 census. They were getting their schooling there because their father Edward Alkin had died in the delta region of Calcutta (Kolkata now). Their mother Kate and older sisters stayed there.
    Both boys went to India and took up sea careers - Horace worked as a river pilot /harbourmaster on the Hoogaly River and Reginald became an engineering officer on ships in the Far East (near north to me!). He worked in the Western Australian State shipping service and died in 1940 while serving in the Australian navy. He is buried at Rookwood cemetery near Sydney NSW.

    I would be interested to know if the chest ended up in India, Australia or survived in the UK.

    The school they attended in 1901 continues today in another location.

    My email address is