Elsa Martha Lilje Wierck, Mystery Woman?


Born 29 October 1881,  to Heindrich Wilhelm Lilje & Charlotte Louisa Wilhelmine Koenig.

There is a typed reproduction of a birth certificate issued Germany in 1941 (complete with Nazi stamp) that clearly states her name was Elsa Martha, and her parents were the “Gastwirt” (landlord) Heinrich Willem Lilje and Charlotte Louise Wilhelmina Lilje (born Kӧnig).

The timeline for Elsa Wierck on the Shaw Hallett website confirms this

The timeline for Heinrich Lilje on the Syrek website names her as his daughter, b 29 Oct 1881

Married about 1902 to Archibald McNeilage (1903 – 1941)

Married 6th September, 1915 to John Charles Weldon (1878 – 1934),

Confirmed by a marriage certificate.


When and why did her name change to Wierck?

Timeline on the Shaw Hallett website states that her “mother” Sophie Wierck (borh Blohm) died 1936, and her “father” Ernest O. Wierck 1943.

Timeline for Sophie Wierck on Syrek website does NOT include Elsa among her children

Why such weak DNA links to Wierck?

Was she legally married to Archibald McNeilage?

I have seen neither a marriage nor a divorce certificate prior to her marriage to John Weldon, nor did Archibald die before that marriage.

Who was E Winter?

Listed in the 1901 census as a cook, in the service of a London family, aged 19, and born in Germany. The census extract is included on the Syrek website as a source for her residence in London at the time. If she was Elsa Lilje / Wierck, why “Winter”? What is the evidence that this is the same person?

There is also an entry in the ship’s register for the voyage out to S Africa in 1907, with E Winter, aged 22 – but six years after the 1901 census, that date does not look right to be the same E Winter.

Who was the father of Anita Maria Melada?



Between the documents and assorted family trees on Ancestry UK, we appear to have:

three mothers

  • Charlotte Louisa Wilhelmine Koenig
  • Maria Sophia Dorothea Lilje
  • Sophie (….) Wierck

three fathers

  • Heindrich Wilhelm Lilje
  • Peter Heinrich Wierck
  • Ermest Otto Wierck

children by three different men:

by Archibald McNeilage

Archibald, Elsie, Kate

by unkown

Anita Maria Melada

by John Charles Weldon

Margaret Lillian; John Charles II; Patrick Joseph


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