Scotland (Counties as in 1851-1901) => Scotland => Shetland => Topic started by: Jack-a-Lyn on Tuesday 28 January 14 06:14 GMT (UK)

Title: Lerwick lookup - Theophilus BROWN
Post by: Jack-a-Lyn on Tuesday 28 January 14 06:14 GMT (UK)
I am looking for a birth record for Theophilus Brown also possibly known as John Theophilus Brown. 

He was in Australia by 1854 as I have his daughter's birth certificate which states he was 39 at the time of her birth, his name was John Theophilus Brown and he married in Port Adelaide in 1852 (I have not been able to find a marriage record).  It states he was born in Lerwick, Shetland Islands.

He died in 1875 (cannot find a death certificate), however his death was noted in a local newspaper and referred to him as Theophilus Brown.  I also have other correspondence which shows he signed his name as Theophilus Brown.  Notes from a local genealogical society (taken from hospital records and other sources) say he was 56 years and from Prussia.

Unfortunately this is the only information I have so I doubt I will be able to find his parents. 

So - conflicting dates of birth (1815 / 1819) and conflicting places of birth (Lerwick / Prussia).  Thought my Mr Brown may have originated in Prussia then went to Lerwick but haven't been able to find anything with that lead and variations on Brown/Braun surname.

Cannot find when he arrived in Australia.

Have learnt by experience that not everything on early certificates is correct but I am passing on what information I have.

Thanking anyone for any information on an impossible task.   ???

Title: Re: Lerwick lookup - Theophilus BROWN
Post by: loobylooayr on Tuesday 28 January 14 09:16 GMT (UK)
Hi Jack-a-Lyn,

Hmm...Theophilus doesn't sound very much like a name from the Shetlands ( but never say never :D).

Just to flesh out John Theophilus - what was his wife's name and origin? Can you tell us what he called his children including middle names? And lastly what was his occupation if you know it?
Hopefully there could be some clues among the answers to the above questions to point you in the right direction.
It seems odd to me to choose Lerwick in the Shetland Islands as your place of birth if you had no connection with it  :-\

Looby :)
Title: Re: Lerwick lookup - Theophilus BROWN
Post by: Jack-a-Lyn on Tuesday 28 January 14 21:55 GMT (UK)
Hi Looby,

Theophilus Brown had only one daughter Martha Bertha Brown.  On her birth registration her parents were John Theophilus Brown and Betsy Hill.  He was a Gold Digger. They lived in Tarrengower (gold fields in Victoria, Australia).  The family eventually moved to Stawell (Victoria, Australia) where he became the Town Crier and seemed to be highly regarded in the community (from a newspaper tribute).

His wife Betsy Hill (Elizabeth Maria Hill on her death certificate) has also proven to be elusive.  On her daughter's birth registration and on her (Betsy's) death certificate it states she came from Woodbridge, Suffolk.  Again, like Theophilus birth years vary. I have done extensive research using Woodbridge parish records and cannot find her anywhere.  There is a possibility though she may have changed her name when she came to Australia as I can find a link to one Woodbridge family using her father's name on her death certificate (mother unknown), one birth year and the first name of her daughter. Just one possibility that one has to consider tracing ancestors.  I cannot find her on any UK census that proves to be a definite link. Nor can I find a Brown/Hill marriage for the time frame in the UK.

I agree Lerwick seems to be a funny thing to put on a certificate but I have seen strange things researching family history.

Thanks for you help.   :)

Title: Re: Lerwick lookup - Theophilus BROWN
Post by: loobylooayr on Tuesday 28 January 14 22:18 GMT (UK)
Hi again Jack-a-Lyn,

This is perhaps an uncanny co-incidence and maybe you've seen this and ruled it out already but there are a couple of interesting births in Germany on FamilySearch.

Johann Theophilus Braun 12 March 1847
Maria Bertha Carolina Braun 14 Aug 1853

Both are children of Peter Braun and Theresia Schwer of Inzlingen, Baden, Germany.
I know this is not you John Theophilus Brown but it did make me wonder if there was a connection :-\.
People have always had a tendency to use family names for their children.
But where the Shetlands come into it I don't know ::)
What info do you have that points to Prussia?

Looby :)

Amended- Apologies the births above are in Basel, the christenings are in Inzlingen, Baden
Title: Re: Lerwick lookup - Theophilus BROWN
Post by: Jack-a-Lyn on Wednesday 29 January 14 01:25 GMT (UK)
Thanks Looby.

Family names certainly can run in families.  The Martha Bertha name I thought was from the Suffolk side but perhaps you have stumbled across a lead.

The reference from Prussia came from notes made by the Genealogical Society of Victoria -  Wimmera Group. They got their information from:

"Stawell (Pleasant Creek) cemetery: register and headstones 1858-1983 with additional information from obituaries, hospital records 1858-1890 and undertakers records [first document]"

I was thinking of contacting them as my next port of call but they are only relying on documents that may or may not be correct (ie) Martha's birth that says Lerwick but the undertakers notes may say Prussia - which is correct if either of them are correct? Will still need to follow both leads to cancel one or both out of the equation or put in the brick wall pile.

I'll have a look at the references you have given me and see if I can back track some names.

Thanks again   :)