Her father Alexander MacDonald was a doctor/medical missionary. Her mother was the daughter of a Congregational minister in Norfolk who had 8 children – 6 girls and 2 boys. Five of the girls ended up in NZ, having married missionaries who promptly went out to spread the Word. Alexander went to Samoa with 5 other missionaries (one of whom was Dr Thomas Heath (1797-1848)).
His three children- Robert, Eliza and Thomas – were all born in Samoa. There is a portrait painted of the three of them when they were sent back to England to be educated. Eliza is mentioned in the 1851 UK census as being in a school in Walthamstow, but the boys whereabouts are unknown. In 1850 Alexander left Samoa due to the ill health of his wife – the climate did not suit her. Via England and Australia they arrived in Auckland in 1852. The children came back to be with their parents, the education system in Auckland deemed to be good enough.
In 1857 Eliza married Frederick Nutter in Auckland. He came from a family in Cambridge, England. The marriage was celebrated by her father Alexander.
She had 4 children, Emma, Frederick, Eliza Susan (known as Susie) and Lucy Charlotte. They were living in Invercargill at least from 1865 to 1879, where Frederick was variously accountant, estate agent, commercial agent,house & land agent, secretary of Southland Bldg, Land & Investment Soc, Treasurer & Secretary of Invercargill Chamber of Commerce, land broker. By June 1880 he was in hospital in Auckland.
In 1878 her eldest daughter Emma married Arthur Hanan, and they went to live in Invercargill. Arthur was a doctor who had worked his passage out to Invercargill NZ as a ship’s doctor.
By 1880 the three younger children had gone to Invercargill to live with Emma and Arthur. Fred Nutter was in hospital with what sounds like depression from the letters Eliza was writing to Lucy, and she needed to be free to look after him.