John Harrison Rogers – Henry Robb’s son in law – Yard History Meets Family History Research

At this point, partly in answer to a question posed some months ago, and partly in terms of sharing information which may help genealogists, I am going to digress slightly into some of the background of my Uncle John.

My Great Uncle John was John Harrison Rogers born in Tynemouth 14.3.1904 and died in Edinburgh 10.12.77 On the death certificate it describes my father (William Patterson) who notified the death as his nephew – technically he was not, my mum was John’s niece, dad is married to her. However, but in the sadness of losing Uncle John, it’s understandable that he described himself that way as, like all of the family, he was close to him and was treated as a nephew by him.

John married my auntie Mary McIntosh Robb (born in Greenock 1.7.1911 died in Edinburgh 19.9.1983) on 4th September 1943 and the picture above is of their wedding at St Georges Church West, Edinburgh.

The wedding photo shows the two of them with my mum, Suzanne Gaylor Robb (now Patterson), as a small child in the foreground. Beside Uncle John is his best man, James Anderson whose daughter’s comment on this blog quite some time ago has precipitated this post. I am not absolutely certain who the bridesmaid is, but am hoping readers may clear this up for me. The man in the middle at the back is Mary’s father Henry Robb born 7th Sept 1874, died 17.8.1951, the founder of Robb’s. It gets confusing as he, his son, and later his grandson, my uncle, were all Henry Robb … as were previous generations before the yard was founded too! At least my Grandmother and Grandfather gave my uncle a middle name, which helps a bit with identifying who is who. Otherwise, “Henry Robb senior”, “Henry Robb junior”, “Old Henry”, “Young Henry” and all the other relative appellations can lead to a merry dance as you work out which generation is being spoken about!

The wee hat and forehead peeking up between the bride and groom’s shoulders is probably that of my great granny Mary Baird McIntosh Cowan (18.11.1872-15.2.1949). Yep, my imaginative family, named their daughter the same but with a name omitted in the middle – however, in their defence, that’s what people did in those days as anyone else who has ventured out into genealogy will be only too familiar with!  They married on 1st July 1903 in Ayr.

I would guess that the gentleman at the back left as we look at it was Thomas Edward Rogers, the father of the groom, but am not certain, it could be his brother Thomas E. Rogers – vive la difference!

John’s brother, Thomas E. Rogers served in the diplomatic service and was involved in helping clear Bobby Moore of accusations of stealing a bracelet in Bogata, details of that are on the net. Wikipedia lists ambassadors and other diplomatic posts and that’s where I found out more about him, though my mum knows the bracelet story along with many of the family stories. She also says that a lot of what Uncle Tom did was very hush hush. His first wife, according to my mum, was called Audrey and he had a second wife known as Jinx. I’ve not managed to find any further information on either of these.

Their sister was Emily C. A. Rogers. She never married but was often at Auntie Mary and Uncle John’s when we visited and I wonder if she is the bridesmaid in the picture. All three of them were really kind to us and treated us like grandchildren (John and Mary had no children). Aunt Emmie, as she was known, used to go through to the other room to play games with us whilst the adults did boring talk stuff so she too is remembered very fondly.

Just to tidy up the genealogical links in case anyone is seeking further information on John Harrison Rogers’ ancestry:

The parents of John, Tom and Emily were Thomas Edward Rogers and Lucy Jane Browne.

Thomas Edward was born 1875 died 15.4.1958 in Saltcoats. He was a ships plater on one certificate I’ve read and shipbuilder on another, probably down to the registrar – those in the know of shipyards would specify the trade rather than using the generic ‘shipbuilder’ label!

Thomas Edward Rogers’ parents were Edward Rogers (shipbuilder) and Emily Cope.

Lucy Jane Browne, Thomas Edward’s wife, was born 1872 and died 20.1.58 at the infirmary in Kilmarnock.  Her parents were Harrison Browne and Eleanor Dixon. Later on, registrars being rather good at dropping letters here and there, Lucy’s name loses the E from the end of the Browne.

Uncle John worked at the yard for many years, but I don’t know much of the detail of that. So here’s the chance for readers to contribute their knowledge, as well as a wee note to myself to check out the archives when I can next get in to do more research.


About Ruth Macadam

Great Granddaughter of Henry Robb. School teacher.
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6 Responses to John Harrison Rogers – Henry Robb’s son in law – Yard History Meets Family History Research

  1. Bill Patterson says:

    Emmy is indeed the adult bridesmaid. Mum’s little mouth was shut because she had lost her front milk teeth just before the wedding – so everyone smiled at her not smiling!
    Dr James Black was the minister.
    Uncle John’s brother Tom wrote a book about his experiences as a Diplomat – “Great Game, Grand Game, Memoirs of India, The Gulf and Diplomacy” published by Duckworth in 1991. His wife’s name was Jinks.
    Uncle John was a Director of the firm and was an excellent Procurement Officer with a great talent in obtaining good quality at best possible cost. He was also extremely knowledgeable about all manner of issues.
    James Black’s daughter married Edward Burness whom we think was Chairman of Leith Dock Commission.

  2. Sue Jones says:

    Can anyone help with research about Herny Rob (died 1951) and the Rolls-Royce that he purchased in 1937 from Mjr E Platt of North Wales – any photos or tales would be great. We have just acquired the car from USA and it will be arriving with us on Thursday 27th Aug 2015 at Real Car Co in Bethesda North Wales – about 5 miles from where it was 1st registered. We know that the reg nr was JC23500 but sadly do not have enough evidence to reunite the number and car.


  3. Sue Jones says:

    I meant reg JC3500 not JC23500!


    • Ruth Macadam says:

      hi sue
      not sure, but if this was the case i will probably have some information in my archives which i will check next time i am in the boxes etc
      how great that it’s still in existence, great grandpa would be pleased!

      • Sue Jones says:

        Hi Ruth

        That would be great, any mention or photos we would love to see, especially if we can tie in the registration number to the car. I know from your notes and various other sources that HR senior died in 1951 then his son in 1968 but is the 3rd HR still with us? From the chassis cards it say that HR senior owned the car in June 1937 and the next owner is in USA in 1982 – if we can find any missing link it would be great. I have photos of the car if you would like some – it has just arrived in the UK and will be with us in North Wales tomorrow!


      • Sue Jones says:

        Hi Ruth

        the car has now arrived with us after a long sea voyage and it looks like we have found a new home for her! The customer’s wife has the initial JC which is the same as the original reg nr of the car. Any joy with any research or photos of Mr Robb with the car or tales of high jinxs? Regards


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