Bellamy / Willmot Family of Durban, South Africa
December 27, 2020 - 1:18:31 p.m.

Looking for living relatives of this family that lived at Bluff, Durban for a lady researching this area for a book. 

Willmot Family
November 17, 2020 - 3:14:41 p.m.

Thanks to Bridgette for sending me details on some of the South African Willmot Family

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My Tolliss and Berger Family History Journey

In February 2000 after my adopted parents had both died, I decided to try and found out about my natural parents. With the help of the internet and by putting my birth surname of Tolliss into google. Another Tolliss was selling his car at the time so I contacted him with a carefully worded email. This distant cousin told me I had a 1st cousin who lived in Australia and he contacted him on my behalf. Hence I saw the first pictures of my mother. There was no fathers name on the birth certificate and as no-one in the family knew about me, there is little chance of finding out about him. However the information from these 2 people, who welcomed this stranger into their family, fed my desire to find out more about my new family.

The Tolliss name can be spelt with one S or two according to whomever was recording the event at the time. The family in the UK has included occupations ranging from Farm Labourers to Doctors. Where I have the most information is in the 19th century. The Tolliss family inhabited the East London area. Two generations worked in the Silk Industry and Brushmaking . It is in the mid 19th century, when part of the Tolliss family moved from London to Birmingham and diversified into different occupations. I believe I have found more members of the family in Norfolk, spelt with one S. The appearance of Rodwell as a first name occurs in 1749 in New Buckenham.

My Grandfather Frederick was a Grocer. He moved to Brighton from London where he met his wife Florence. They had three children and emigrated to Durban, South Africa, but returned a few years later to London and eventually separated. My Grandfather returned to Durban with his two sons Eric and Guy known as Jack and also his sister in law Emma Guy. My Grandmother and her daughter stayed in London. The daughter Lilian (my mother) was an actress, stage name Zetta Morenta and her greatest claim to fame was acting as a double for Gracie Fields in 3 of her films. Sing as you Go 1934, Look Up and Laugh 1935 and Queen of Hearts 1936. She also appeared on the stage in London and the provinces. Some photos of her appear in the gallery. I have also found online Zettas name mentioned as part of variety acts at the Alhambra, Leicester Sq and the Coliseum Theatres through the years 1925-1930

One of the reasons for them emigrating to South Africa was Ellen Louise (Fredericks sister) marriage to Harry D'Urban Holmes Crozier who was born in Durban. Ellen and Harry divorced in 1900. Harry went on to remarry twice more. Harrys father was a solicitor and grandfather a ship owner/master mariner.

My Great Grandfather James was a traveller, trading in the silk industry. His wife Louisa Sophia Clark was a fourth generation descendant of Lewis Berger the paint manufacturer. Lewis was a subject of a colourful 'biography' written by Jeffrey Farnol in the 1920s called a “Portrait of a Gentleman in Colours”. It tells of Lewis's move to London in 1760 from Frankfurt and his endeavour in making the colour Prussian Blue a marketable commodity. Originally named Louis Steigenberger he simplified his name to Lewis Berger in about 1766. Also marrying Elizabeth Alger shortly afterwards. A more detailed biography was called “A Century and a Half of Berger”, written by Lewis Berger's Gt Gt Grandson Thomas Brereton Berger. A photo of Richmond house that Thomas lived in is in the gallery.

Circa 1780 Lewis & Elizabeth moved from the Shadwell/Ratcliff area of London to nearby Homerton. There they found a house and he built his factory. He made 12 dry colour pigments by 1790, increasing them by 7 more, also selling black lead, sulphur, sealing wax and mustard. In 1785 they opened offices at Well Court in Cheapside. It is believed the Doulton factory in Lambeth also purchased some of his paints for decorating their pottery.

Link to Berger Paint employees reunion page
Thanks to John Cain for sending me the above information.

Link to Bergerpaints website

Lewis Berger appeared at the Old Bailey as a victim of theft on 3 occasions, below are the links to the relevant pages.1. RICHARD SHARPLIN, THOMAS RICE, theft: simple grand larceny, 03/06/1778. 2. FIDELY MILLARD, ELEANOR SANDERSON, theft: burglary, receiving stolen goods, 13/09/1780. 3. SAMUEL JACKSON, theft: burglary, 11 May 1796.

The family tree contains all the names that I know of with the Berger connection. Also some pictures of the Berger family and the houses etc are in the gallery. Also in the gallery there are pictures of the extended Berger family.

I have tried to find out more on the Guy side of the family that being my Grandmothers maiden name.

I met a 2nd cousin on that side who has furnished me with new photos of my mother, plus some of my grandmother, her siblings and her parents and their extended family. He also met my mother in the 1930s (she had 2 whippets) and backstage in London in 1948, when she was appearing in the West End in The Perfect Woman at the Haymarket theatre.

I have also met a very distant cousin with the Guy surname, our connection goes back 10 generations.

In 2005, I have extended the Clark family as Henry Clark (Gt Gt Gt Grandfather) who married firstly Louisa Berger, who died soon after the birth of her second son, married secondly Mary Stewart and had 11 more children.

I went to Newnham, Kent and found Henry Clarks grave, (picture in the gallery).

I am also working on the Stokes side of the family that married into the Pamphilon and Guenigault family, making new contacts with both Pamphilon and Guenigault members. There is a photo of Adolphus Stokes grave in the gallery. I have also had a great amount of information supplied by the Sharp side of the Berger family.

In 2009 I flew to Australia to meet my first cousin and his wife there. I went back in 2015 and saw them again. They have been pleased that I have contacted them and added information about our family. I also met and stayed with more distant cousins on the Tolliss side.

It has been a rewarding and pleasurable experience that all the new family members I have met are friendly and helpful. A big thank you to all the family, near and extended that have helped the tree to grow.

Grateful thanks to the following members of the Berger, Tolliss, Clark, Guy and related families in helping me with my research

Robert Tolliss, Anthony Tolliss, Dawn Pinfield, Tessa King (SA),Perry Miles, Olive P Sharp, Ian Herbert, Pat Barnes, Margaret Kyle, Deryck Skinner, Chrissie Gee, Philippa Wilks, Penny Morgan, Laraine Hake, Ruth Taylor, Sue Donlea, Derek Lemarchand, John Ablitt and Margaret Scott.

John K Clark, David K Ballance, Peter Guy, Richard Lloyd, Alan Edwards, Jane Hughes, Garry Williams, James Couzens, Richard Pailthorpe, Kimberly McDonnell, Fiona Shaw, Mike Spence, Shirley Rowe, Christopher Thomson, Alastair Honeybun, Charlie Mackie, Adrian Wright, Margaret Castell, Mark Stevens, Margaret Parkes, Jan Ward, David Eustace, Robert Tompsett, Tony Kirkman, Ann Peters, Amanda Kilmister, Robin Griffiths, Valerie Ward, Martin Mitchell, Rob Trulock and Garth Houltham.

Tolliss and Berger
This family tree was last updated on March 3, 2021.
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