Further to my reference in the previous post to the haunting power of old family photos, here are two strikingly different pictures of Esther Coster, courtesy of Richard Seager in Australia.

Born in 1836 in Charfield, Gloucestershire, Esther was the daughter of farmer Thomas Coster and Miriam Curtis. By the time of the 1851 census, the Costers were living in Fulham, where Thomas worked as a gardener. Meanwhile, 15 year old Esther was employed as a maid in the household of surveyor and house proprietor Frederick Barlow in St. Edward’s Square, Kensington.

The Coster family – including one son and all nine daughters – emigrated to New Zealand in the same year, and in June 1854, 17 year old Esther married Edward Seager, another recent emigrant, in Christchurch. As I’ve recounted in other posts, Edward (who would be remembered as a noted humanitarian and innovator, as well as the grandfather of novelist Ngaio Marsh) was the younger brother of my great great grandmother, Fanny Sarah Seager, who died in February 1851 shortly after giving birth to my great grandfather, Charles Edward Robb.

In the first picture, from the mid 1860s, Esther, who would have been about 30 at the time, appears as a young, attractive woman, posing with her fifth child Charles (she would have 12 children in all). The second photo is undated, but shows Esther in later years. She died in 1911, aged 74.

PICTURE REFERENCE: PIC84/70, Canterbury Museum http://www.dnzb.govt.nz/dnzb/Enlarged_Pic.asp?ImageID=2338-

Permission of the Canterbury Museum must be obtained before any re-use of this image.