Saturday, 26 April 2014

Missing Wives Part One

The past few months I've been continuing the enormous task of digital filing of my records... putting all those pesky Trove articles into FTM and linking them to the right people. Of course, if you're like me and suffer terribly from Genea-ADD, this takes a looooong time, because it's a case of file, file, email some cousins with updates, file, chase up a missing birth record, file, file, discover a whole new branch, file, file, blog, file. It's the level of self-discipline which has seen me have a FindMyPast subscription since August and still hardly touch it. That and their ridonkulously crap search engine. *sigh*

One of the tangential paths I've been taking has been trying new strategies for tracking down elusive people - ancestors who just up and disappeared, but who I keep on looking for. Amazingly, I've had a little success on that front lately. The first of these is Mildred Cranston.

Mildred Cranston was born to W and L Cranston, later of Wertago Station, in about 1920. In 1941, amid much local media fanfare, she married Harold Gregory Keith Taylor at St. Peter's Church in Broken Hill. However, in 07 Dec 1951, Harold married again: this time to Elva Cain nee Moysey, a divorcee who lived up the road from him.

The Barrier Miner, 29 Dec 1941

I'd known this for quite some time, but had no luck tracking down what happened to Mildred. I'd suspected divorce, but was having trouble finding the records. All I'd found was this:

The Barrier Miner, 02 Mar 1950

It seemed too close to my couple to ignore, but I didn't have any evidence it was them. However, recently Trove added "The Barrier Daily Truth", and whaddya know:

Barrier Daily Truth, 03 Mar 1950

So, I'd established Mildred and Harold had divorced after she left him for Samuel John Alfred Thomas. Naturally I started searching for him, and for items relating to Mildred Thomas, which was when I found this:

Barrier Miner, 25 Oct 1950

Buuuut.... it's the Barrier Daily Miner, so of course the names were wrong!

Barrier Daily Truth, 26 Oct 1950... no doubt use the extra day to get the names right!!

I still haven't found any marriage record between the two, given how recently this took place, but at least I was quite sure I should keep looking for Mildred Thomas. And... (another whaddya know), found her dying in Terowie on 24 Aug 1995. The reason that's a whaddya know, is because her son is buried in Terowie even though he died in Adelaide, and I'd never understood exactly how it was he came to be there! Two mysteries solved at once!

I'll blog about the more complex break-through, Maude Howsen, next time.

Saturday, 5 April 2014

Which ancestor are you going out for a drink/latte with?

Things have been a little hectic on the home front of late, but there's something genealogical which I have continued to ponder during this time: which ancestors you would just love to sit down and have a chat to. Not for information gathering purposes, but because you would really love to have them share the wisdom gathered over their lifetime.

I have a number of ancestors I think it would be particularly fun or interesting to have met, but there's one person above all others who I would most like to go out for a coffee or a champers with, to have a chat to her about her life and what she learned from it. That's my 2x great grandmother, Eliza Jane Duffield.



Eliza was born in 1838 in Kennett, Cambridge, to a family of labourers (not landed gentry as the family legend often tells!) At the age of about 17 she came to Australia. At this point she had either met and married or was about to meet and marry Edwin Francis Gough, believed to be a native of County Meath in Ireland.

The couple moved about a variety of places because of Edwin's work. Initially they were in Burra where he worked as the turnkey for Redruth Gaol, but he lost his job after an allegation was made that he had assaulted a prisoner. Edwin took his appeals against this all the way to State Parliament, but to no avail. For a while he was a clerk/overseer and then ran a store in Moonta, but then the couple came to Adelaide where Edwin later ran a boarding house. According to her death certificate and burial order, Elizabeth had 7 sons and 6 daughters, and only two of the boys and four of the girls were living when she died. We have so far only traced 9 of the children, so suspect a number of still births, particularly as 7 predeceased her.

There appears to have been some serious friction in the Gough household. At least two of the daughters married using assumed names, despite being of legal age etc. and with no obvious impediments (aside from their Catholic faith when marrying Protestants) to marriage. Most descendants are only aware of some parts of the family, and very few are recorded in the family Bible. At least one of Eliza's sons was regularly before the courts, in one instance for failing to pay his widowed mother her support payments. At least one of the daughters had a messy divorce and an affair with a man who was convicted of sexually assaulting women in the Parklands (plus ca change!) Another daughter got divorced after deserting her alcoholic husband, and then totally disappears from the record books. Something had obviously gone very wrong.

Eliza's final residence, No 6 Jerningham Street, North Adelaide

Eliza must have been a strong woman, She survived so much in her lifetime. If I could, she's the ancestor I would most like to sit down with on a lazy sunny Sunday afternoon, to talk to her about her life and hear what she made of it all. I bet she'd be a granny with some amazing advice.

In Memoriam Notices