Mary Heddle

Mary Heddle Cockburn

My Maternal Great-Grandmother

John and Mary (Heddle) Cockburn with their five youngest children in the early 1920's in Hamilton, Ontario - Jack, Gert, Fred, Harold and Bob.

My maternal great-grandmother, Mary Heddle, was born on November 29 1870 to John Heddle (general labourer) and Mary Shearer Stickler at home in Kirkwall, Orkney, Scotland.  


Orkney, also known as the Orkney Islands, is an archipelago in northern Scotland, 16 kilometres north of the coast of Caithness. Orkney comprises approximately 70 islands, of which 20 are inhabited. (Wikipedia)


I have visited Kirkwall and found the Heddle home at St. Catherine's Place.


Mary was the third child of seven born in the family; one of her sisters, Fanny, born two years before her, died at the age of three of an unknown cause.  She had four other sisters (including another Fanny) and one brother.


The Scotland Census in 1871 and 1881 lists Mary Heddle living with her parents and siblings at  Catherine Place in Kirkwall, Orkney; she was not listed as living with her family during the 1891 census, however by 1901, at age 30, she was living in Leith, Edinburgh with her mother and younger brother John.  Her father had died the previous year of pneumonia.


In June 1903, Mary, working as a domestic servant, married John Cockburn in the United Free Church in South Leith. Their first child, Catherine (Katie), was born in 1904.  In 1905, John left Scotland for Canada and in 1905, Mary and Katie left family in Scotland on board the SS Mongolian and joined John in Canada.  Mary and John settled in Hamilton Ontario and went on to have five more children, including my grandfather, Harold. Unfortunately, at the age of 17, Katie died of tuberculosis.


Mary Heddle Cockburn died in hospital on Dec 18th 1935 of Gangrene of the Leg.  She is buried at Hamilton Cemetery with her husband, John, who died less than a year later.


 "When our hearts turn to our ancestors, something changes inside us. We feel part of something greater than ourselves. Our inborn yearnings for family connections are fulfilled when we are linked to our ancestors..." -Russell M. Nelson



Kirkwall, Orkney
Home of the Heddles in the late 1880s in Kirkwall Orkney

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Susan Halen | Reply 01.01.2015 15.23

Karen, I love your stories!! Do you mind if I add some to Randy's ancestry pages? Great job with the challenge! xxSusan

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09.10 | 13:33

Hello Peter - please email me at

23.08 | 15:28

Hi Karen, If you are still maintaining this page, please drop me a line. William and Mary were my great, great, grandparents. Best Regards,

29.08 | 18:46

John. Can you email me at - then we can connect directly. ..

16.08 | 11:58

Hi Karen, if you are interested, please visit my facebook page
regards john crome.

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