updated June 2017

Shedden Family from Trivandrum

Members of the Shedden family that I have been researching, lived in Trivandrum, on the south west tip of India between at least the mid 1800's and early 1900's.
The family of Christina Shedden believed that Christina was Scottish, it appears that it was in fact her grandfather, William Graham, who was Scottish.

Alexander Hall Shedden's Great Granddaughter has had her DNA analysed by ancestry.co.uk and this has been matched to a descendant of Agnes Shedden, born c. 1819 in Ayrshire, Scotland. I have been unable to find any documentation to prove that Alexander Hall Shedden and Agnes Shedden are related but the DNA match certainly supports the family theory that Alexanders Hall Shedden had Scottish roots.

William Shedden

Alexander's marriage record gives his father's name as William.

According to the LDS records, Alexander's parents are William Shedden and Elizabeth Simpson, I can find nothing in the Scottish Registry Office records to confirm this.

I have found the marriage of a William and Elizabeth Shedden (scotlandspeople.gov.uk OPR indexes) and a statutory death certificate for a William Shedden in Lochwinnoch who's parents were John Shedden and Mary Law. I have also found birth records for four children of William Shedden and Elizabeth Simpson.

None of these encourages me to think that Alexander was from that family.

Alexander Hall Shedden

Alexander's age on his marriage record is 24, and from that I have calculated his year of birth as 1823.
So far, I have not found been able to discover the birth place of Alexander, his occupation of Revenue Surveyor was typically that of an "Anglo Indian" so my current thoughts are that Alexander was probably the son of an expatriate Scot and his Indian or Anglo Indian wife. Alexander was probably born in southern India.

Alexander Hall Shedden married Margaret Graham in Calicut on 7 June 1847.

I have found birth records for 11 children of Alexander Hall and Margaret Shedden and burial records of both Alexander and Margaret. All of the births took place in either the Tellicherry / Calicut or Trivandrum areas.

In the Bombay Times, there are notices of the birth and death of Jessie Shedden, daughter of A.H. Shedden. There is then a baptism record for another daughter called Jessie born 18 months after the death of the first one.

According to another researcher that I have had contact with, Alexander and Margaret also had a daughter called Marguerite born in 1860 in Paris, France. I consider this unlikely.

Alexander and Margaret both died in Trivandrum in 1878, Margaret in August and Alexander on Boxing day.

Alexander was a Revenue Surveyor, initially with the PWD and then with the Rajah of Travencore. In 1845 when Alexander was aged around 22, there is a report in the Madras Despatches of his promotion while he was employed with the PWD.
This occupation that appears on his Marriage certificate and on the first Jessie's birth notice dated 10 Aug 1850.
In the second Jessie's Baptism record, dated 25 Jan 1853, Alexander's employer is given as "H.H. the Rajah of Travencore". It would appear that Alexander changed employers between 1850 and 1853.

Margaret Graham

Margaret was the first daughter of William Graham, a soldier from Scotland, and his wife Jane Farrell who he married in 1827. Margaret was baptised in September 1828 and I have taken this also to be her year of birth.

Margaret married Alexander Hall Shedden in Calicut in 1847 when she was 19 years old.

Key documents which prove that the Margaret Graham who married Alexander Hall Shedden was the daughter of William and Jane Graham, are the record of Margaret's marriage to Alexander Hall Shedden and the baptism records of Margaret's half brother, John Thomas, and half sister Jessy Elizabeth. These events all occurred in Calicut on the 6th and 7th June 1847 and were witnessed by the same people.

Margaret died in Trivandrum in 1878.

Graveyard inscription from Christchurch, Trivandrum

(Taken from BACSA records)

SHEDDEN Margaret died 30 Aug 1878 Dropsy age 50 yrs. Wife of Pensioned sub assistant Engineer DPW Alexander Hall Shedden. Buried by R.Scott, Chaplain.

SHEDDEN Alexander Hall died 26 Dec 1878 age 57 years Drowned. Occupation as above.

Madras Dispatches

I have seen two mentions of Shedden in the Madras Dispatches at the British Library, these are transcribed below:

Madras Dispatches E/4/964 - 69 dated June - Dec 1845
12 Sub-Assistant Revenue Surveyor Shedden promoted to the rank of Assistant Surveyor of the "GHIRD CLAFS" ?? (could this be third class)

Madras Dispatches E/4/986 - 558-559 dated Oct 1856 - Jan 1857
17 15 Oct 1856
Owing to an unaccountable mistake of Mr. Shedden, the assistant surveyor who made the first estimate and who is no longer in your service, a supplementary estimate amounting to Rs 7,386 had to be added to the original calculation of Rs 8,998.

18 Mr. Shedden's mistake did not however, occasion any outlay beyond what would in any case have been necessary for the execution of the work, which will not be deemed expensive if really have the anticipated effect of completing an internal water communication of 220 miles in length from Badagherry on the north to Quilon on the south besides the secondary advantage of draining extensive tracts of cultivable marsh land.

19 & 20 Sanction obtained from the supreme government for the formation of a canal between the Ponany and Velliangode and Chowghah rivers in Malabar at an estimated expense of Rs 16,381.

Christ Church, Trivandrum

According to the history of Christ Church http://www.celebrating150.org/news_releases.asp Alexander supervised the construction of Christ Church between 1858 and 1859.
(This link does not work any more, but I previously saved the Pages to a PDf file)

The BACSA burial register for Christ Church, includes both Alexander and Margaret Shedden, their son Duncan Maxwell Shedden, Prince Family members and David Staig.

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