The Quilietti Family

The story of a Scots Italian family

CRAWFORD Helen Denholm 1901-1981

Ma’s family history

‘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].

Ma’s birth. Helen Denholm Crawford born at 1 St. John’s Street, Canongate on November 11th 1901.
Great Granny Crawford – she was Ma’s mother. Her name was Janet or Jessie Walker 1875-1944. Her branch of the Walkers were from the East Coast towns of Inveresk, Musselburgh and we can trace this line way back to the time of the Jacobite Rebellion in 1745.

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. It would be to this address in No. 4 Chessell’s Court that the family would reside for many years

Great Granny Walker or Crawford

Ma, Helen Denholm Crawford,  was the eldest of 8 children of Edward Murphy Crawford and Jessie Walker.  

Ma’s siblings

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
The Back of the Street. See the kids on the roof playing
  • EDWARD CRAWFORD1904-1984 became a monumental Sculptor. He married Margaret Geoghan and they had six daughters.
  • ROSIE CRAWFORD 1906-1984 married Charles Edward Kane who was a shoemaker by Trade. They had a large family and she remained close with Ma throughout their lives
  • JOHN WALKER CRAWFORD 1908-1980 married Peggy Smith. He became a bricklayer – a trade taken on by all Ma’s sons. He lived only two stairs along from Ma and her family. They had four children.
  • SAMUEL GEORGE CRAWFORD 1911-1983. He married Catherine Brady Crummie. He was described as a General Labourer on the birth line of his son Sam.
  • WILLIAM CRAWFORD 1914-1999. He married Helen Robertson Forrester and they lived in Abbeyhill Colonies with their only daughter Heather 1944-2021. Heather married Andrew Finlay and they had two daughters Heather and Hazel – have no further information
  • JAMES CRAWFORD 1917- unknown. No further information.
Death of my great grandfather. Hard times during the War. Widow’s Address at this time given as 2 Chessel’s Court, Canongate, Edinburgh. Jessie now a widow with 8 children, although some now teenagers.


Ma’s great grandparents

The Morrison connection

Jessie Crawford was Ma’s eldest child, 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

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


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    It was here that our forefather worked as crofters and 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 – The Crawfords all lived here from way back and all the Morrison children were born here. This photo was taken early 1950s by which time the whole area was deemed a slum.

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