The Copeland Family

Anna Bertha Theodora Copeland 1847 - 1938

Theodora Copeland was Ralph Copeland's second wife. She was born on 9th November 1847 - the daughter of Anna and Theodor Benfey, an acclaimed Orientalist professor based at Gottingen University. Theodor Benfey is best known for authoring a Sanskrit encylopaedia. He converted from Judhaism to Christianity in 1848 and the Jewish Encyclopaedia is quite scathing - suggesting that his slow advancement through the ranks was partly due to this.

Theodor Benfey's desendants fled from Nazi Germany to the USA - amongst them Otto Theodor Benfey who became a well known organic chemist - known also for his novel spiral arrangement of the periodic table. Theodor Benfey was born in 1925 and emigrated to the US in 1946, becoming naturalised in 1952.

Ralph and Theodora were married in 1871 after he had become established as Lord Rosse's assistant at Birr Castle, Parsonstown.

Theodora Copeland lived until the age of 90. She died on May 3rd 1938 (the day after what would have been Paula's 62nd birthday). She was living in Henderson St, Bridge of Allan in Stirlingshire at the time. Cause of death was senile decay and myocardial degeneration. Given the reports of her poor health in the early 1900's she seems to have survived a remarkably long time, outliving both her younger daughters! Agnes had moved with her from Edinburgh to Bridge of Allan, but she died some 10 years previously, perhaps as an after effect of the flu she caught in 1918. Theodora's death certificate was signed by her son Theodore who had travelled north to be with her just before she died. She is buried with her husband and two younger daughters in Morningside Cemetery, Edinburgh, but the date and year of death on the gravestone are wrong!

Fanny's memoirs describe her last visit to her mother in Bridge of Allan in 1937 - when her mother didn't recognise her due to senility. She had apparently proposed staying to look after her, but her mother's physician persuaded her otherwise.