Monday, 18 July 2011

Genealogy notes 18 July 2011 Brick wall research

Thank goodness young ones like afternoon naps - so hard to do anything on a laptop when you are playing games, chasing rabbits round the yard or out shopping! Still it is an experience you wouldn't trade for anything.

In my down time I continued having a look at our friend's brick wall that I wrote about the other day. I wasn't sure what the New Zealand connection was but decided to try Papers Past as both the married name and the maiden name are relatively uncommon. Interestingly I picked up some references to her athletic achievements that were reprinted from Sydney papers. The surprise was one of the articles talking about her fiancĂ©e and how they were going to be married the following year. The article was from 1919 but she obviously didn't end up marrying him. I wonder why not? Instead she married a man 13 years older than her in 1923, the same year she had their only child.

I then tried TROVE for Australian newspapers but the only additional information came from a funeral notice for her brother who died in 1949 - she is listed as one of the mourners in the family notice. This is long after she is thought to have died - did her brothers and sisters just list her because they weren't sure where she was or did they know she was still alive but not with her husband and child?

I also had some success in both Ancestry and FindMyPast in that I found the young family leaving Australia in 1924 for London (her husband was born in Devon) and then I found them coming back in 1927 - without these indexes and digitised images online it wouldn't be possible to do searches like this. So now I know that they were still together in 1927 and in Australia.

I tried to find out a bit more about the husband and noted that he had enlisted for war service in 1939 although he was 53 and from the immigration records I knew he had been in the British Navy possibly during WWI but that needs more looking into. The National Archives of Australia has digitised the series Service Cards for Petty Officers and Men 1911-1970 and I was able to look at the record myself. He listed as his next of kin his wife and an address for her as well as another woman (a friend) and address for her. Did he know where his wife was or was that just a last known address for her? Was there no divorce? Lots of questions which I will have to talk over with our friends when we get back to Melbourne.

With brick walls it really is a matter of just trying to fill in the missing bits and pieces of information. I find that doing timelines for people can be useful as it readily shows all the available facts not only about the person you are looking for but also those around them. Sometimes if you investigate other family members you will find that elusive bit of information on the one you really seek.

Tomorrow is a kindy day so hoping for a bit more genealogy time but then it would also be good to get out and see some of Adelaide as well. It's hard being a tourist too, so many things I want to do and see!

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