How the Molteno and other families are related — A Guide


Molteno is a rare surname, even in Italy. The original ancestor of whose existence we can be sure and  whose descendants the Molteno Family website focuses on, is George Anthony Molteno (1751-1816). His family originated from Milan and he started up in business in London in 1783, if not earlier. He had married Mary Lewis (1758-1810) the year before.  While their children all stayed in England, several of their grandchildren did emigrate to other parts of the world, including Sir John Charles Molteno who was knighted towards the end of his life and from whom so many of us alive today are descended.




Percy Alport of Beaufort West, John Charles Molteno’s brother in law

A close business associate, brother-in-law and friend of John Charles Molteno (1814-86) was Percy John Alport who had married Sophia St Ives Mary Jarvis (known as Aunt Sophie). She was the eldest daughter of Hercules Crosse Jarvis (1803-89), businessman and first Mayor of Cape Town, and his wife Elizabeth Magdalena Christina de Vos (1809-64). Much beloved by their Molteno and Bisset nieces and nephews, Percy and Sophie sadly never had children of their own.




Thomas J. Anderson

Two of John Charles Molteno (1814-86)’s daughters married, including his third daughter, Maria Molteno (1856-1903). She married Thomas Johnson Anderson (1844-1930), a Cape Town businessman involved in shipping, in 1879. They had three children – Ernest Dean Anderson (1882-1966) who never married; Harold Molteno Anderson (1883-1965); and Evangeline Anderson (1886-1952), known as Effie. Harold married Doris Anderson, known as Dot. They had a son, Thomas Anderson (1908-63) (known as Tommy) and a daughter, Margaret Molteno Anderson (1910-94) (known as Peggy). Both Tommy and Peggy married and it is from them that the Anderson and Birch family members are descended. As for Effie, she married Walter Elliot Stanford (1884-1989); they had six children, Sheila, Cynthia, Margaret, Eleanor, John and Phillip, all of whom married and had children.




James Bisset, engineer

The Bisset and Molteno families are linked to each other twice over. Hercules Crosse Jarvis (1803-89) and his Dutch South African wife, Elizabeth Magdalena Christina de Vos (1809-64) had five daughters – Maria, Sophia, Annie, Elizabeth and Emmie. One of them, Elizabeth (known as Betty) Jarvis, married James Bisset, a Scottish engineer, in 1862. Their five sons and a daughter were first cousins of John C. Molteno (1814-86)’s children by Elizabeth ‘Maria’ Jarvis (1830-74), Betty’s sister.

Two generations later, John C. Molteno’s son, Percy Molteno (1861-1937), and Elizabeth Martin Currie (1858-1933) (known as Bessie) had a son, Donald Jervis Molteno (1892-1970) (known as Jervis). He married Islay Kathleen Bisset (1896-1996) in 1916, thereby making another link between the two families.



Another of Hercules Crosse Jarvis (1803-89)’s daughters, Annie Jarvis, married Major William Bazett Gordon Blenkins, a widower and army officer in India. He already had three young daughters by his previous marriage, including Sobella Maria Blenkins (1846-1926) (known as Minnie). When Major Blenkins died in 1853 quite soon after remarrying, Annie returned from India to the Cape with her three stepdaughters and two very young sons, Bazett Blenkins (1851-74) and Willie Blenkins. The two boys grew up with their numerous Molteno cousins. Bazett died in his early twenties as a result of a rockfall when prospecting for gold at Pilgrim’s Rest. Willie became a Magistrate at the Cape and married.

A further link with the Molteno family took place when Sobella Maria ‘Minnie’ Blenkins became John C. Molteno (1814-86)’s third wife in 1875.




Caroline Bower, c. 1850s — wife of John Molteno and mother of John Charles

John Molteno (1788-1827), who was George Anthony Molteno (1751-1816) and Mary Lewis (1758-1810)’s second son, married Caroline Bower (1790-1866) in 1813. She was the daughter of George Clifford Bower (1760-1838) of the Bank of England and lived her whole life in London, moving from Central London to Peckham after the death of her husband in 1827. John and Caroline’s eldest son, John Charles Molteno (1814-86), emigrated to the Cape Colony in 1831 and founded his very large family there.



George Anthony Molteno (1751-1816) and Mary Lewis (1758-1810) had a daughter, Mary Molteno  (1791-1845). She married Charles Busby Bristow (b. 1790) in 1811. They had five children, including three sons. The youngest of these, Robert Anthony Bristow (b. 1820) married Margaret Swan in 1849. They had seven children who in turn had quite a large number of descendants.



Sir Arthur Isaac Durrant (d. 1939) married Laura Ada Molteno (1865-1927) in 1889. Ada was a daughter of Frederick James Molteno (1823-95), a brother of John Charles Molteno (1814-86). They had one son, Albert Arthur Molteno Durrant (1898-1984), known as Bill.




Henry Jackson, a first cousin of John Charles Molteno

Caroline Bower (1790-1866)’s sister, Alicia Bower, married Robert Jackson in 1813 in London. They lived at times in France and at other times in England. Their children were first cousins of John Charles  Molteno (1814-86). The latter invited two of them, Arthur Jackson (b. 1819) and Henry Jackson (b. 1830), to join him farming in the Karoo in 1846. Henry married Hermina Hendrina Catherina de Jager on 16 September 1856 in South Africa. Their descendants comprise a large clan, a couple of whom still farm sheep near Beaufort West today.





Hercules Crosse Jarvis, former Mayor of Cape town — late 1880s

Hercules Crosse Jarvis (1803-89) and his Dutch South African wife, Elizabeth Magdalena Christina de Vos (1809-64), are the lynchpins of the relationships between the Alport, Bisset, Blenkins and Molteno families.  They married in 1825. While they had no sons (and so there are no descendants bearing the name Jarvis who related to us through Hercules), they did have five daughters, four of whom married. Sophia St Ives Mary Jarvis married Percy John Alport; Annie Jarvis married Major William Bazett Gordon Blenkins; Betty Jarvis married James Bisset; and Elizabeth Maria Jarvis (1830-74) married John Charles Molteno (1814-86).



George Anthony Molteno (1751-1816)’s eldest son was James Anthony Molteno (1784-1845). Confusingly, it seems both father and son were called Anthony.  James Anthony Molteno and his wife, Mary Mylius (1782-1850), had a son, William Frederick Molteno (1816-48), known as Frederick. He and his wife, Letitia Jones (b. 1820), had one son, Frederick John Molteno (1840-1909), known as Fred. Fred married Georgina Pope White (1852-1926) from the Channel Islands in 1879. They had five children. The eldest was Frederick William Molteno (b. 1880). Next was Herbert George Molteno (1883-1968), called Bertie, who emigrated to Australia and founded the Molteno family there. His younger sister, Elsie Rose Molteno (1886-1967), married Arthur Lee (1877-1962) of Hereford in 1909. The Lee relatives are descended from their three sons, Dennis Lee (b. 1910), Kenneth Lee (b. 1912), and Richard Lee (b. 1920). Fred and Georgina’s fourth child, Percy Charles Molteno (1888-1890) dies as a little boy. And their last child, Leonard Clark Molteno (1893-1916), was killed in the First World War.




Dr Charles Murray, former Royal Navy surgeon

The Molteno and Murray families are inextricably related to one another. Caroline Molteno (1853-1937), John Charles Molteno (1814-86) and Elizabeth Maria Jarvis (1830-74)’s second eldest daughter, married Dr Charles Frederick  Kennan Murray (1848-1930) in 1876. They had ten children. Three of them in turn married and had children – Charles Molteno Murray (1877-1950), known as Kenah; Gordon Pettie Murray (1883-1972); and Lenox Biggar Murray (1884-1963).

The close relationship between the two families was further strengthened as a result of Dr Kenah Murray marrying Hilda Florence Robertson (1875-1952) in 1905, whose sister, Ethel Manwaring Robertson (1874-1957) ten years later married Kenah’s uncle Vincent Barkly Molteno (1872-1952), known as Barkly.

Then in 1921, Lenox Murray married his cousin, Elizabeth Margaret Molteno (1894-1967) (known as Margaret), the only daughter of Percy Alport Molteno (1861-1937) and Elizabeth Martin Currie (1858-1933) (known as Bessie).



George Anthony Molteno (1751-1816)’s eldest son was James Anthony Molteno (1784-1845). He and his wife, Mary Mylius (1782-1850), had a daughter, Elizabeth Mary Molteno (1809-1872), who was called Mary. Mary married Charles Parker (d. 1881) in 1832. They had four children, including one son, Charles. Their descendants have not been traced by me.



One part of this large South African family is descended from Walter Elliot Stanford (1884-1989) who married Evangeline Anderson (1886-1952), known as Effie, the only daughter of Maria Molteno (1856-1903) and Thomas Johnson Anderson (1844-1930). All six of their children – Sheila, Cynthia, Margaret, Eleanor, John and Phillip – married and had children.  This is how numerous Stanford,  Kilpin, Payne, Hemsted and Griffiths family members are related.



Frank Molteno (1815-69), a younger brother of Sir John Charles Molteno (1814-86), emigrated to Hawaii in the late 1830s where he became a whaler, and eventually owner of a coastal trading schooner. While details have still to be confirmed, it seems Frank married an indigenous Hawaiian, Kahipa, and at a later date, 1867, a second wife, Makanui (c. 1847-1883), who was also Hawaiian.  The eldest of Frank and Makanui’s  daughters, Nancy Molteno (1863-1925), married Oliver Kawailahaole Stillman (b. 1861) in 1886. He was of mixed American and Hawaiian descent.  The extensive Stillman family tree is available on the Internet. Nancy’s sister, Caroline Molteno (1864-1922), also married an islander of mixed Hawaiian and American descent, George Rufus Naoi Titcomb. They lived their entire lives  on the island of Kauai where they had children and grandchildren. Their youngest sister, Rose Molteno (1868-1894) had one child, William Molteno Holt,  before she died in her mid twenties.  The three sisters’ much elder half-brother, Charles Frank Molteno (b. 1851), married several times. He and his first wife, Dora Duncan, had at least five children. Their only son, Charles, died in infancy in 1874. One of their daughters, Olivia Molteno, married Mr Macklin in 1897; they had two children before her death.