The Quilietti Family

The story of a Scots Italian family

CRAWFORD Helen Denholm 1901-1981

‘Ma’, Nell, or Helen Morrison as she was known,  was born on 1st November 1901 at 1 St. John’s Street, just off the Canongate, in Edinburgh’s High Street [Royal Mile].  These houses were at that period in time  run-down old tenements but nevertheless many families survived  in the squallor and poverty of the time, making the most of what they had.

Ma’s birth, her ‘faither’ was a fishmonger when she was born.


This photo was taken 1902 and shows how gritty the old Edinburgh tenements were.  St. John’s Street was one of the closes to the left hand side of this photo and today all that remains really is the Archway through to newer buildings

Marriage between Edward Crawford and Jessie Walker, Helen’s parents.    Both were residents of the old town, the Crawford family living in St. John’s Street and the Walker family in Chessel’s Court.

The Back of the Street

Ma, Helen Denholm Crawford,  was the eldest of  of 6 children between the marriage of Edward Murphy Crawford and Jessie Walker.  As you can see from their marriage Certificate above they married on 6th September 1901 in Edinburgh.  Times were hard at that time and the Great War was looming.  By the time their youngest son was born in November 1917 Edward had already passed on.  It was the War Years and the family had fallen into hard times

Death of my great grandfather.  Hard times during the War


Ma’s siblings

Helen Denholm Crawford was born and brought up in the Canongate and was fiercly proud of this. She remained close with sister Rosie and her brothers all her life.  

Jessie Crawford was her eldest daughter, born on 2nd February 1920.  It was not until the following year that she married Alexander Morrison, who was a soldier serving in the Gordon Highlanders.

Marriage, grandad Morrison was a Bandsman in the Gordon Highlanders at the time.  Helen was living in the Canongate.

The Gordon Highlanders Band in 1918. Grandad Morrison is amongst them


ALEXANDER MORRISON and HELEN DENHOLM CRAWFORD were married on 28th January 1921 at Lady Glenorchy Church, Greenside Place, Edinburgh

Lady Glenorchy Church, Greenside, Edinburgh

Great Granny Crawford

Great Granny Crawford

 I remember only Rosie and Willie Crawford and have vague memories of ‘uncle Eddie’.   Rosie married Charlie Kane and the families remain close even today.   Uncle Willie married Helen Forrester.and had only one daughter, Heather who was born in 1944. They lived in Abbeyhill for most of their married lives, down in one of the Colonies, where I now live today.  Heather  in turn married Andrew Finlay and they had two daughters, Heather and Hazel Finlay.    If any of the CRAWFORD  Clan can help me out here with names or stories then please leave a message at the foot of this page.

Alex. Morrison was born in Blackfriar’s Street, just off the High Street in Edinburgh and was one of six children.  His father’s line is one of long military tradition and his mum was of Irish descent.  Ma Morrison would often talk about the Brady temper.

Grandad Morrison’s siblings and parents

Another photo of Grandad Morrison, this time at the bottom right


a young Grandad


Census information showing the origins of this branch of the Morrison Clan as Sutherlandshire and Portsoy

The Morrisons  were part of the history of the highlands and were directly involved in the Highland Clearances.   From being crofters they ended up on the north shores of Scotland in a place called Midtown in Tongue.   It was here that our forefather was forced to the sea and he became a herring fisherman.  The family dispersed and one of his son’s and our direct line George  joined the Army and ended up in India.  On his return to Scotland he was stationed in Edinburgh Castle where again our direct line Angus was born in the year 1871.  George had married Elizabeth Cowie in Aberdeen in the year 1863.  Because he was in the Army he travelled wherever they were stationed.   One of their daughters Marion was born at sea on their way to India.  Another son James was born in Fife.   Our direct line Angus was born in the most prestigious address in Edinburgh, in the Castle itself.   Angus joined up like his father, one census tells us that he was in the Navy, but for whatever reason he then joined the Army.

Chessells Court – all the Morrison  children were born here


We counted recently that there were 37 grandchildren and today I do not know how many great-grandchildren as I would have to round up everyone to try and count.  Perhaps the branches could do a count for me and leave a message on the bottom of this page.

many Morrisons here

More Morrisons, Crawfords and Quilietti’s


Eddie, Alex, Jimmy, Podge and John


Great photo here, Ma Morrison with beautiful Nancy, Peggy and Joe, Mags, Mary Kesson, Rosie Kane, Jaynie, Margaret Q, Trisha, and four of Mags and Alex’s kids


Leave a Reply