Cecilia Veera Hassett Murray (1909-1913)

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During the recent trip to Bombay (Mumbai) whilst tracking down the burial sites of Martha Hassett and David Vincent Hassett, the grave of Frederick Augustus Murray was discovered at Sewri Cemetery. Also buried in the same plot was Cecilia Veera Hassett Murray. Her name suggests a link to the Hassett family, but without any records it was not clear what that link was. My initial thought was that Cecilia was the daughter of Frederick and one of the daughters of James and Martha Hassett.

Tracking down official records of Cecilia was a challenge. Working on the theory she was the daughter of one of the Hassett daughters, each female offspring of James and Martha was searched through a variety of sources – initially Find My Past and Family Search – without much luck. Digging deeper into the records of Frederick Augustus Murray proved more fruitful. First, the records of Frederick’s parents were discovered (more to come on these). Searching for these records revealed the baptism and burial records of Cecilia Veera Hassett Murray and some interesting information within.

Cecilia’s baptism record confirmed her birth date as 22nd November 1909:


The record further revealed:

  1. Baptism date: 6th January 1910
  2. Birth date: 22nd November 1909
  3. Parents names: Frederick Augustus and Bertha Geraldine Murray
  4. Abode: Byculla
  5. Profession (father): Taxidermist
  6. Priest: W. Kennelly, Chaplain

On the baptism record Cecilia’s middle name is written as ‘Vera’, but i’m using the memorial inscription version of ‘Veera’. I’m making the assumption that the family ensured the memorial was written correctly, whereas the baptism record would have been written by the Chaplain (hence, more likely to be misspelled). Most revealing here though are Cecilia’s parents names; confirmation that Frederick Augustus Murray was Cecilia’s father and the Hassett link confirmed – as hypothesised earlier – as James and Martha Hassett’s daughter Bertha Geraldine Hassett. The record further states the abode of Cecilia’s parents as Byculla – a popular residence of the Hassett family – and also confirmation here again of Frederick’s profession as a taxidermist. W. Kennelly appears again, a common appearane in the Byculla-based records.

This record provided a pivotal link between the Hassett’s and the Murray’s and a whole new line of exploration. It raised further intrigue with Frederick and in particular his profession as a taxidermist. The first time I saw this on Frederick’s burial record I was immediately reminded of a couple of pictures discovered in family albums:


Images that stand out; now even more so. There are no details attached to the photographs, but the lady on the far left in the bottom photograph is Edith Aileen Hassett. Given her date of birth was 31st October 1903, Edith looks – perhaps – in her twenties here, which would have been in the 1920s. If this is true, it is reasonable to assume that the lady on the right is Martha Hassett – ‘God’s Good Woman’ – who has become increasingly important in piecing together the story of the Hassett’s. In addition, the children in the picture may be children of the Hassett’s, the Wharton’s or the Murray’s. More investigation needed.

Cecilia’s burial record reveals another interesting note:


  1. Burial location: Sewri cemetery
  2. Death date: 28th August 1913
  3. Age: 3 years, 9 months, 6 days
  4. Nationality / Profession: Daughter of Mr. F. Murray Taxidermist of Messrs Murray and Martha
  5. Burial date: 28th August 1913
  6. Cause of death: Continued fever and Encephalitus 
  7. Person whom buried: W.H. Stephens M.E. Church, Byculla

Confirming the burial location as Sewri cemetery and date of death as 28th August 1913. Interestingly, buried the same day. The cause of death:

Continued fever: A fever is a high temperature. As a general rule, in children a temperature of over 37.5C (99.5F) is a fever.

Source: NHS

Encephalitis: is a rare [in 2016] but serious condition that causes inflammation of the brain.

Source: NHS

Fascinating here is ‘Daughter of Mr. F. Murray Taxidermist of Messrs Murray and Martha’. Not only confirming Frederick Murray as a taxidermist, but the taxidermist of Messrs [Bertha] Murray and Martha. Which adds further intrigue to the above images – and strength to the theory that Martha is the lady in the picture, or could the lady in the picture actually be Bertha?

The plot intriguingly thickens. But that’s not the only records that were discovered; there is more to come very soon.

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11 thoughts on “Cecilia Veera Hassett Murray (1909-1913)

  1. Fantastic and intriguing read Dan. It must be a wonderful feeling when you uncover something like this. Looking forward to reading about where this leads.

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