Sunday, October 15, 2006

B. Christie-Murray

Updated: 27 March 2010: Thanks to Alison Christian, I can confirm that B. Christie-Murray is Elizabeth. More information below the original text.

More from the pages of Swift Annual...

One credit in Swift Annual 7 (1960) reads simply B. Christie-Murray and I'm going to take a stab in the dark here... I think the B is short for Betty and the author is one Elizabeth Christie Murray who is credited with a book of poems, When Soft Voices Die, published in Harrow-on-the-Hill in 1967.

The combination of names makes me wonder if she is related to David Christie-Murray. Or, rather, the two David Christie-Murrays as there seems to be more than one. I found a profile of one David Christie Murray (13 April 1847-1 August 1907) here which discusses a journalist and novelist of that name, best known for his war correspondence on the Russo-Turkish war in 1877-78 and as the author of Joseph's Coat (1881), Val Strange (1882) and Aunt Rachel (1886). Allan Hubin's Crime Fiction Bibliography lists over 50 titles some of which can be found as free e-books online (e.g. Aunt Rachel, In Direst Peril and Joseph's Coat). He doesn't seem to be directly related to...

The Rev. David Hugh Arthur Christie-Murray (12 July 1913- ), author of books about theological and paranormal subjects whose first book, Heraldry in the Churches of Beckenham appeared in 1954 but who became rather more prolific in the 1960s, some of his heraldry books being illustrated by Dan Escott of Look and Learn fame.

Wild stabs in the dark, of course, but that's where most research of this type starts...

Updated: 27 March 2010

As well as the helpful comments to the original post, I've also heard from Alison Christian with the sad news that her father, David Christie-Murray, died on 20 March 2010. As well as being a writer himself, he was the grandson of the Victorian David Christie-Murray, which is why I stumbled when it came to finding a direct link between the two. David Christie-Murray (1847-1907) had four children, two sons and two daughters. The eldest son was Dudley Murray (1893-1924) who married Miriam Violet Hume in 1912. He died of wounds received in the Battle of the Somme; it was some years before he succumbed to them, eventually dying abroad in 1924 at the age of 31.

David Hugh Arthur Christie-Murray (1913-2010) was their son, born in London and was married in 1942 to Ena Louise Elizabeth Mumford, known to her family as Betty, hence the B. Christie-Murray byline. She was born in circa 1915, the daughter of Dr Edward Rainsford Mumford. She died on 13 January 1967, aged 52.

David Christie-Murray has a few interesting sidelights which are worth mentioning. He was the author of A History of Heresy (New English Library, 1976) and a contributor to The Unexplained, the part-work published by Orbis in 1980-83, as well as writing books and articles on heraldry, the Bible, reincarnation and astrology under his own name and the pen names Hugh Arthur and Hugh Christie.

Allison would be interested in getting in touch with the ladies who left comments as they must be distant cousins, so if Penelope, victoriamarie or Judith are reading, perhaps you could drop me a note to my e-mail address (top left, below the photo).


  1. David Christie Murray is one of my relations. He was the son of Mary Withers born 1815 in West Bromwich, Staffordshire and William Murray born 1806 in Scotland. William was a printer and stationer. They had the following children all born in West Bromwich, Staffordshire, England
    Mary born 1838
    John Harris born 1840
    Son born 1841
    William born 1846
    David born 1847 - THE David
    James born 1848
    Thomas born 1850
    Janet born 1854
    Sarah born 1853
    Henry G born 1860 who was a Journalist in 1881.
    I have looked to see if there are any B or Elizabeth Christie Murray's in the tree, but sorry there aren't!! By the way I enjoyed reading your piece on David. I will try and find out through my own research who this B is as it intrigues me too!!

  2. Thanks for the information, Penelope. If 'B' is a relation and was active in the 1960s, it might be assumed that she was perhaps born in the 1930s (as I said in the original piece, you can only make educated guesses until solid information comes along). With a new generation being born, say, every twenty-five years, she may be the great-granddaughter or great-great granddaughter of someone you list -- by which time a family tree can have branched many, many times. Or she may have married into the family (even more tricky to establish).

    But it's little clues and little bits of solid info (like you've provided) that can eventually lead to the truth.

    Good luck with your research. And I hope you'll let me know if a Betty or Elizabeth turns up amongst the branches of your family!

  3. Penelope, we seem to share some relatives that I am looking for information on. Janet Murray would have been my great-great-grandmother. My mother and I have been trying to research are family tree but are having a hard time finding anything on the Murrays. Do you have any other information on the Murrays that you could give me?

  4. Janet Holmden (nee Murray) is my great grandmother. I have been tracing the family for about 1 year. Mary Withers would be my great great grandmother. Do you have her parents and her husbands parents?

    any info would be appreciated.



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