Elsa Lillie Martha (Lilje /Wierck) Weldon

Link to Ancestry UK

Elsa was born in Hamburg on October 29 1881 in Hamburg, Germany, to the “Gastwirt” (landlord) Heinrich Willem Lilje and Charlotte Louise Wilhelmina Lilje (born Kӧnig). However, for reasons that are not clear, she was raised by a different family, the Wierck’s.

As a young woman, she left, “to go into service” in London. There is a record of her at an address in Mayfair, where she was listed as “a servant”. There, she met Archibald McNeilage, who she is said to have married about 1902. In 1907 they emigrated to South Africa with the three oldest of her four children. The last of their children, Kate, was born in South Africa, in Zeerust.

In 1915, she married John Charles Weldon, with an address in Queen Street, Kensington. (It’s not clear how the relationship with Archibald McNeilage had ended: he was still alive until the 1950’s). Later they moved to Frere St, Bertrams. With John Charles, she had three further children – Margaret Lillian, John Charles , and Patrick Joseph.

John Charles died in 1934, leaving Elsa a widow to raise three children alone, during the depression years of the 1930’s. Margaret at that time would have been about 15, John Charles II about 11, and Patrick just 7. As a consequence, all the children had their schooling interrupted, either by leaving early to find full=time employment, or by working part-time alongside their schooling, or both.

After all three children had married and left home, Elsa would have been left living alone in Bertrams. At some stage, she must have moved in with Patrick and Doreen, because when the family moved to Cape Town sometime in about 1953/54, she joined us, and until her death in 1954 lived with us in Fish Hoek. I have a few memories of her from that time, and definitely recognise her in this picture:

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