Monday, May 22, 2006

Any Lowly Servants in the Family Tree?

If you can prove that you descend from James Cullen Colquhoun—a "lowly servant from Victorian Britain"—you might want to give Simon Carey a jingle. He's offering "tens of thousands of pounds" to descendants of Colquhoun, who came to British Columbia with Carey's great-grandfather in the 1850s, and died penniless in San Francisco.

Mr Carey, 77, great-grandson of the Rev Robert Dundas, is expected to make up to $10 million (£5.3 million) when the Dundas Collection is auctioned at Sotheby’s in New York in October. Boasting more than 80 artefacts, it was acquired by Dundas during his time as a clergyman in Canada.

It has been heralded as the world’s finest private collection of American Indian artefacts, with several items described by Sotheby’s as masterpieces.

But in an extraordinary gesture, Mr Carey said yesterday that he wanted to “honour” Colquhoun’s memory as a loyal family servant by giving money to his descendants. He said that Colquhoun was held in great fondness when he worked in the Dundas household in Edinburgh in the mid-19th century.

He told The Times: “It would be wonderful if we were able to find relatives of James Cullen Colquhoun. They were devoted family servants. I have been trying to find what happened to him. If there were any direct descendants I would love to give money to them.” [Link]

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