This is the story of four remarkable sisters from the tiny South Atlantic Island of St. Helena: Elizabeth, Margaret, Bridget, and Charlotte. Although they lived in such an isolated environment, each made what would have been considered at the time extremely successful marriages to Englishmen in the clergy, the East India Company and the British Navy.

Margaret was my four times great grandmother.  The portrait of the young woman at the top of this page is of Margaret, after her marriage to John Skottowe. I have only recently discovered the existence of her sisters.

All four sisters were born on St. Helena to James Greentree and Margaret Bates between 1746 and 1757. There were possibly two other daughters (Mary and Anne) who died young and five sons (John, James, Watkin, Thomas, and Digby).

This web site and blog is an attempt to share their stories and to perhaps make contact with other descendants of the Greentree family of St. Helena.

31 comments to Welcome

  • Gillian (Holme) Loffell

    Good afternoon, I have loved reading your Welcome page plus the information on Margaret Greentree, Brigit Greentree and Thomas Skottowe.
    My relationship is through James Greentree (1718 – ) and Margaret Bates (- 1787) whe were my maternal fifth Great Grandparents.
    I am compiling a Holme Family Story for my family. Thank you for sharing your information so generously.

  • John Alexander

    Very interesting. I have a family tree dating back to 1680. My direct line grandfather William Watkin Alexander married Elisa Greentree on St Helena. They had 5 sons , one being my great great grandfather. He moved to South Africa. I will try get names and dates of the Greetree descendants.
    John Alexander

  • Dr Jesse C Hillman

    Hello – we lived on the island for three years recently and are now engaged in transcribing all of the BMD records for the island. So far we have done over 25,000. There are many Greentrees, and of course there are still Greentrees living on the island. Your four sisters are all traceable with dates of birth and baptisms if you would like these? Happy to provide all the Greentree information which we can filter out if you are interested?
    Best wishes – Jesse

    • Kenn


      I was trying to find information about the brothers of the Greentree sisters whose parents where James Greentree and Margaret Bates. Is there any record of what happened to these brothers.


    • Douglas Neville-Jones

      I am interested in the descendants of Thomas Greentree and Eliza Doveton who married in 1801. He was a member of the Council of St Helena appointed Storekeeper of St Helena on 10 May 1819. I believe they had four daughters and a son Thomas.
      Can anyone help with this?


      • marian

        I have seven children for this couple. I will count you privately with more information.


      • Laura

        I descend from the Swan family of which Eleanor Greentree married into with her marriage to James Swan. I have enjoyed reading about the Greentrees, Dovetons and of course, Napoleon in exile on St Helena with them. Contact me if you want to share some notes.

        • marian

          Laura: I have replied to you privately. I would love for you to contact me by reply to my email and hear more about your descent from Eleanor Greentree.

    • Beverley Rock

      Hello Marian!
      I thoroughly enjoyed your website on the Greentree sisters and did more research – let me know if you’re interested. Our family touches on Watkin, their brother.
      However, I notice that you had a reply from Dr.Jesse Hillman who is transcribing all the St Helena BMD records. I wonder if you have an email contact. Regards Bev Rock, Australia. My email: mailtobev@gmail.com

  • Hi I`m trying to trace my family tree of Henry Greentree who married Jane Pope Heny was a convict sentence to Australia and Jane his wife followed at a later date with their 5 children I have already filled in most of the blank spaces but now I wish to go backwards in time to find out where they came from and also include the 1700`s 1600`s and beyond , if anyone could be of help I would greatly appreciate it

  • Amanda Robbins

    Hello there, lovely website thank you!
    Elizabeth Greentree and Admiral Sir Digby Dent are my 6th great grandparents. I would love any information on them, so far I don’t have her date /place of birth of birth.
    Do you have any details for her parents, especially dates etc.

    Many thanks

  • I’ve found a music print in the National Library Catalogue of New Zealand “most humbly dedicated to Miss Greentree of the Island St. Helena”:
    Did one of the sisters play harp or piano?

    • marian

      What a wonderful find. By the look of the dates, this Miss Greentree could be one of “my” Misses Greentree’s nieces. Thomas Greentree was on the island while Napoleon was there and I seem to have read that one of his daughters met Napoleon. So they would have been interested in this music. The composer seems to have given it to her, so must look further at him.

  • Merle Mosse

    I am a descendant of Eliza Greentree the daughter of Watkin Greentree and Elizabeth Bazett so your ancestor would have been the sister of my ancestor. Thanks so much for your post

    • marian

      Sorry to be so long responding, Merle. Great to hear from an Alexander descendant.

      • Paul Alexander

        I am of the same line, a descendant of Eliza Greentree the daughter of Watkin Greentree and Elizabeth Bazett. My ancestor was William Watkin Alexander

        • marian

          Thanks for getting in touch. I have researched Watkin’s line a little, but am more fascinated by the daughters. And Margaret, one daughter, is my direct line.


  • Linley Hooper

    Thank you for your great website. While not linking directly to the Greentree-Skottowe family, I am exploring the relationships between the Scottowe, D’esterre, Parker, Wyatt? & possibly Halahan families. They were almost all early settlers in Australia.

    • marian

      Thanks, Linley. I think we were in touch years ago re our mutual Skottowe/Parker links in Australia. I will reply further to you privately.


  • Athlie

    Hi There, this is by a long shot but I am trying to find my grand mother’s family. I beehive her grandfather was a judge on St helena and when his daughter fell pregnant he did not want to be embarrassed so the washer lady cared for her and when the washer lady passed away she went into foster care. Her name is Catherine Hamilton and not sure if this was a foster name or real name. Her date of birth is 10 Sept 1917.

  • Sarah Greentree

    I’m a Greentree still living on the island!!

    • marian

      Sarah: Apologies for the delay in replying, but I have been shut out off my blog for sometime and have finally just spent the time required to get back in. I am really interested to hear that you are a Greentree and would love to know from which of the family you are descended.


  • I found your work that I have read online fascinating. I have quoted it in my own work: Vol 2 of “They Stood Tall,” a 700 page work I published late 2021 in which I have detailed the history of the first three generations of the 8 different Greentree family lines that came to Australia between 1801 and 1879. My work even included the stories of the three Greentrees by name who left Australia for NZ between 1905 and 1910. At the same time, a cousin completed Vol 1 “They Stood Tall – The Genealogy” which lists the family tree of over 16,000 descendants in Australia and New Zealand.

    I have now commenced research into Vol 4 of my work titled “They Stood Tall: The Great Greentree Diaspora,” which will cover the origins of the Family Greentree in the 14th to 15th Centuries in the area adjacent to the Forest of Bere astride the border of West Sussex and Hampshire. The work will look at where the Greentrees either migrated to or were transported to during subsequent centuries. We know the origins of the Greentree who left for Canada, the one, possibly two Greentrees who went to the USA, and, of course, the families who went to Australia. What my research assistants and I have found is that Ancestry DNA has proven ALL Greentrees World-wide are related; except that is, for those on St Helena and in south Africa. The Greentrees in South Africa appear to have descended from two Greentrees who migrated from St Helena to South Africa mid-19th Century. The reason we know not of the DNA relationship with St Helena is for no other reason than not finding such details listed on the Ancestry dot com website.

    It was during the final years of my research that I discovered the St Helena Island link. I can only wonder at what John Greentree and his wife thought when they arrived on the island in 1677(?). The great difficulty I have is communication. Having written that, the Internet has revolutionised communication and I am now contacting relevant people connected with St Helena such as yourself. I believe it will be a wonderful achievement if my team and I are able to prove that all members of the Family Greentree world-wide are related and proven so by DNA matching. If other family members read this post, they are welcome to contact me by email at philip@greentree.com.au.

    I will be eternally grateful for any assistance you are prepared to offer me in researching the St Helena Island connection.

    • marian

      It is really interesting to read your comment. I know considerably more about the Greentrees than I have posted on the blog to date, so will contact you off line.


  • Hugh A. Greentree

    I am a Greentree, but no relation. My dad was born a Greenbaum and he anglicized the name when he travelled to Japan in 1935. I will bookmark this page and look for more Greentrees.

    • marian

      Thanks for commenting. I suspect there are quite a few Greentrees whose name has been anglicized from something similar in another language.


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