Looking for great grandparents.

Submitted by Isabel02 on Sun, 04/25/2021 - 11:16

According to family records my grandmother was born in Shanghai in 1902.  Her name at birth was either Isabel Enid Brown or Isabel Enid van Eps.  I have been told (by my uncle) that her father's name was William Edgar van Eps Bruin.  However, I doubt these two surnames go together. Family discussions have mentioned William as an undertaker and also as a stockbroker.  My grandmother had several siblings.  Those I know of include Margaret, Oliver and George.  I believe they were all born in China.  My grandmother told me she had lived in Morrison Hill Road opposite the Happy Valley racecourse. She moved to England before 1926 and married Charles Bond.

I am looking for any information regarding Isabel's parentage.  I have found Patricia Lim's reference to a William Edgar van Eps gravestone.  But I don't know if he was my great grandfather.  Any assistance or direction would be gratefully appreciated.

Janine Kenny


There is a "W.E. Van Eps" listed in the early 20th Century annual editions of the Director & Chronicle for China, Japan, Corea ,Indo-China etc. etc. .

For the years 1905 and 1908 he is listed as working in Hong Kong as a Commission Agent at 41 Morrison Hill Road.

Where are you based?  Do you live in Hong Kong or where?   

You will need obtain access to these directories and seach them year by year.to establish when he is first listed and when he "disappears" from the register of "Foreign Residents " in Asia.  

If you need assistance in finding these directories. Please contact me at  petera.crush@yahoo.com



Hi Janine,

Try working backwards to be sure. Do you have a copy of the marriage certificate of Isabel Enid Brown and Charles E. Bond? The certificate should name the father and his occupation. They were married in Southwark in the September quarter of 1926 Volume 1d Page 284 if you need to order it.  

There is infomation on William Edgar Van Eps but lets make sure if he is your greatgrandfather.

Probate was in 1934 and his grave is in the Hong Kong Colonial Cemetery

His obituary in the South China Morning Post:



Death of a Well-Known Resident




One of the oldest and best-known residents in the Colony, Mr. W.E. Van Eps, passed away at the Government Civil Hospital early yesterday morning. His death removes a familiar figure, and much sympathy will be felt for his family in their bereavement.

The late Mr. Van Eps had been resident in the Colony for 48 years. He first engaged in the business of a commission agent, but in 1891 he took over the firm of Brown, Jones & Co., undertakers, retaining his association up to the time of his death. He also continued for some years as a commission agent and was shrewd business man.

He was 76 years of age.

Left to mourn their loss are six sons and three daughters. Two of the sons are resident in the Colony, two in Shanghai, one in Hankow and the other in Canada. Two of the daughters live in London and the other in Shanghai.

The Funeral.

The funeral took place at the Protestant Cemetery in the afternoon, in the presence of a number of relatives and friends. The Rev. H.W. Baines, the newly-arrived Assistant Chaplain at the Cathedral, officiated.

Wreaths were sent by George and Conrad; Pat; Peter and Rosise (sic) in Hankow; Maggie and Bella in London; Nora, Bob and Oliver in Shanghai; Mr. and Mrs. J.F. Bishop, Mrs. M.G. D’Azevedo, Mr. Felix M. Ellis, Mr. and Mrs. H.L. Fox, F. Lee and M. Thomas, Miss Laura Lam, Dr. and Mrs. S.Q. Phoon, Pun Ng, Pun Lam and Pun Kwong, S.H. Ross, A.J. Rozario, Sir William Shenton, M.H. Turner, Mrs. C.W. Ward and family, Mrs. J.E. Ward and family, Mrs. Wong Ng-koo, Dr. and Mrs T.C. Wong, Daisy Woo, Miss Mooney Young; Messrs. Deacons, the Chartered Bank of India, Australia & China, Ltd., Messrs Cheung Wang Co., Messrs. Percy Smith, Seth & Fleming and others.

Source: South China Morning Post, page 11, 23rd February 1934

The names seem to match with your information - wreaths sent included a Bella in London who could be Isabel and also a Maggie, Oilver and George are mentioned. 

Intriguingly the firm he took over in 1891 had the name 'Brown'


In the 1939 Register of England and Wales, Isabel E. Bond (birthday 24th October 1902), was living with Charles E. Bond (birthday 8th October 1902) at 2, Chalsey Road, Lewisham, London, England. Her occupation was 'unpaid domestic duties'. Charles' occupation was Sales Representative ?Telecommunication. The marital status for both was 'Married'