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Topics - GeoffTurner

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Australia / DEED POLL change of name Victoria to ADOLPH (ADOLF) JOHNSTON before 1890
« on: Friday 23 September 22 03:21 BST (UK)  »
Hi all,
Is it possible to get digital copies of deed poll records from the Public Records Office of Victoria for the period before 1890? Adolph was born Adolph Carl Johannesson in Sweden in 1868. At his marriage in 1890 in Melbourne he gave his name as Adolph Johnston. I don't know for sure that he changed his name officially, he may have just decided to Anglicise his name unofficially. But if there is a deed poll record I would love to find it. The only PROV files on him that I could find was his divorce in 1927. But it seems from the PROV index that it might only have change of name records after 1904. Any help gratefully appreciated. Thanks, Geoff Turner

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Hi all,
I have chased a lot of red herrings with this research because of similar Welsh names etc so thought I should consult the experts. My name is Geoff Turner and I live in Brisbane, Australia. My great grandfather William Alexander (Billy) Jones was baptised at Berriew on 16 Oct 1859. There was no father listed so he took the surname of his mother, Anne Jones, who I know from Census returns was born at Berriew about 1838. Anne married Thomas Morris, possibly in Welshpool in 1860, and the 7 Apr 1861 Census describes the family as living at Abbey, Shrewsbury Rd, Gungrog Fawr, Montgomery: Thomas Morris, 33, b Llanerfyl, Montgomery. Ag labourer. Anne Morris, 23, b Berriew, Montgomery - wife. William A Jones, 1, b  Berriew, Montgomery - Anne's son. Jane Morris, 6 months, b Welshpool, Montgomery - daughter. Note that William retains his Jones surname and is described as Jane's son. (Also note that Anne Jones married Thomas Morris, not Evan Morris -- it seems a few people have been confused by that.)
I have been able to follow Anne's daughter Jane Morris through her marriage and family and so on, so that's not a worry. We know through other evidence (photo albums, newspaper obits, family stories) that William went to live in Heath Town, Wolverhampton, before emigrating to Australia when he was about 19, in 1879. The Wolverhampton family was headed by John Jones (b Berriew 1837), and I believe he was probably Anne's brother. William's wife's photo album has passed down through the family and it contains pictures of John Jones' daughter Zillah Annie (described in the album as his "sister Gillian", whereas she was actually his "cousin Zillah Annie") and Zillah's husband James Gleve and the Gleve children. I suppose if he lived with his cousin it would be like having her as a sister. 
So after a lot of red herrings I have that pretty well sorted. William does not appear on the Wolverhampton family's Census in return in 1871, so presumably he was still in Wales. The obits say he worked as a miner in Wales before working in the steel mills in Wolverhampton, then emigrating, so it is possible he was living away from his mother but not yet with his uncle.
But I have not been able to find documents relating to Anne Morris (nee Jones) after the 1861 Census. Nor have I been able to find a burial for her. I guess what I'm hoping to find out is whether William left Wales because his mother had died, or whether he left because he didn't fit in with the Morris family. And in any case I'd like to find what happened to my 2 x great grandmother.
I know the family in Australia kept up contact with Zillah and her family, but not William's mother -- possibly because she had died.
As always, any help gratefully appreciated.
Geoff Turner.


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Wales / Baptism record for WILLIAM ALEXANDER JONES, Berriew, Montgomery, 1859.
« on: Sunday 11 September 22 09:04 BST (UK)  »
Hi all,
On the attached record, baptism No. 583 is my great grandfather. He emigrated to Australia and was a very successful farmer, dying at the age of 85 after having 11 children. My question is about the word after his name in the second column. He was illegitimate (as were three other children on the two pages) and I am used to seeing "base born" or similar on baptism registers. But the word after "William Alexander" does not appear on the other illegitimate children. In Australia he never used the second given name, although some of the Welsh documents we have list him as "William A", but I doubt he had a third given name. I wondered if any Rootschatters had a suggestion as to what the word might be. Anne Jones was a spinster, and the way that was written had us scratching our heads for a while. The abode we take to be something like "Keel" but that is not really important. It is just that word after "William Alexander" that has us beat.
As always, any help gratefully appreciated.
Geoff Turner

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Australia / Origin of HUGH ROBERTON pen-name PETER SNODGRASS
« on: Thursday 25 August 22 22:18 BST (UK)  »
Australian writer and politician Hugh Stevenson Roberton (1900-1987), who was a Minister in the Menzies government from 1956 to 1965 and ambassador to Ireland from 1965 to 1967, wrote under the pen-name "Peter Snodgrass" and we have been trying to find the origin of this name. We found a reference (https://oztypewriter.blogspot.com/2021/07/the-politician-who-took-his-hermes-baby.html) that says Peter Snodgrass was a character in a play written by Roberton's father, Sir Hugh Stevenson Roberton (1874-1952). I am not aware that Sir Hugh ever wrote plays as such, although he certainly wrote songs and was an accomplished Glasgow choralist. We think it more likely that he took the name of Peter Snodgrass the colonial pastoralist and politician (https://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/snodgrass-peter-2676). I was hoping someone might be able to settle this question for us one way or the other. Thanks, Geoff Turner. 

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Australia / Death of Colonel HENRY WHITE 1844 on voyage Australia to England
« on: Tuesday 23 August 22 04:48 BST (UK)  »
Hi all,
I have hit a brick wall trying to check the death of Colonel Henry White (1777-1844?), who came to Australia with his son Edward Riggs White (1819-1853) on the ship "City of Edinburgh", arriving in Port Jackson in 1837 (we have the passenger list). From Sydney, Henry and Edward went to Victoria (where they were founding members of the Melbourne Club), and Edward also ventured into South Australia, where he met a Boandik (Buandig) tribal woman named Mingboaram who was working at a station where he was a house guest.  Edward was taken on to help survey the border between Victoria and South Australia, for which he is best known. He fathered a child, Maria White, with Mingboaram. Luckily a missionary's wife, Mrs James (Christina) Smith, detailed the story of Mingboaram and Maria in a book she wrote. Maria then had a daughter, Bertha, with my great granduncle James Turner. My cousins and I (including descendants of Mingboaram) are trying to work back along the White line. Henry White was in the British Army before coming to Australia and we have obtained his service record, so that has been a big help. We also have Edward's probate file, which names his brother Benjamin in Melbourne and sister Mary Anne in Ireland. We couldn't find the death of Benjamin in Victoria, but we now know he was born in Calcutta, so he might have died away from Australia as well. Never mind. We couldn't find Henry's death either, but an article in a historical society journal we located says he "sailed for England in 1844 and died at sea". Henry's death certificate or probate file are not listed in Victoria, which supports this historian's version of events (he has been pretty right about most -- not all -- things in the article, as far as we know). But we are stumped as to how we can check the veracity of the claim he sailed for England in 1844 and died at sea. The historian must have got that information from somewhere. We thought if we could find out which ship he was on that might help, but the Victorian outward passenger lists don't seem to start until 1852, which is too late for us. The usually helpful Trove database of newspapers and other publications hasn't helped. So I'm stumped, which made me think I should turn to my knowledgeable friends on Rootschat. Any ideas? All help gratefully appreciated. Geoff Turner. 

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Australia / JOHN PETERS emigration from SCOTLAND to AUSTRALIA
« on: Friday 12 August 22 12:11 BST (UK)  »
Hi all,
I am having trouble identifying when JOHN PETERS came to Australia (probably Queensland) early last century. He was born on 14 Apr 1830 at St Martin (Duning) in Perthshire. He was still in Scotland at the time of the 1891 census. His wife, Margaret Flynn (or Flinn) died in the Parochial Hospital at Dundee on 15 Sep 1902 and we think John then came to Australia where he had a daughter in Brisbane who could look after him (they are buried together at Toowong Cemetery). John died in Brisbane on 15 Sep 1910. I have been trying without success to find his arrival in Australia. The national archives have a John Peters arriving in Fremantle (from Bremen) but that is not him.  I started with the Queensland immigration records but had no success there. It is possible that he came to Australia before his wife died, I suppose, but otherwise he must have emigrated in the period 1902-1910. Any help much appreciated. Geoff Turner.

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Australia / South Australian death certificates - is doctor's certification needed?
« on: Tuesday 09 August 22 01:19 BST (UK)  »
Hi all, I wondered if anyone can help me with a South Australian death certificate from 1980 that I have been given. I am used to seeing a doctor's certification (in NSW). This SA certificate gives cause of death (myocardial infarction, arteriosclerosis, hypertension) but is certified by the undertaker, not a doctor. The background is that the man (a cousin) had a heart attack at home and was dead by the time the ambulance got him to the Flinders Medical Centre. Presumably the cause of death was diagnosed post mortem by the doctors at the hospital, but there is nothing to prove this. Some family members think the death might be suspicious since there was no autopsy and he died on 2 Oct 1980 and was cremated on 4 Oct 1980. He had been twice divorced and the woman listed on the certificate as his widow uses his surname, but I am not sure they ever married. It is possible the third "wife" wanted the cremation done quickly to prevent his earlier families getting to Adelaide from Melbourne for the service. But if there was anything untoward happening, it seems the third "wife" might have coloured the assumptions about the cause of death. To me, with my very limited knowledge of South Australian death certificates, it just seems odd that there is no medically qualified person to support the cause of death. The man was 51 years old, not overweight, not a heavy drinker, although I think he was on blood pressure medication. Thanks, Geoff Turner

8
Australia / Victorian probate for Ellis Johnston, died 1976
« on: Friday 24 June 22 01:00 BST (UK)  »
Hi all,
I am looking for more information about Ellis Julius Arthur Johnston, who died at Box Hill in Melbourne in May 1976 (I believe it was 3 May 1976). He had three children with his two wives as well as a daughter from an extramarital affair. I was hoping the probate file might help shed more light on his life. But the Victorian Supreme Court Probate Office Application Index does not list him. Would that suggest he died without leaving a will, and therefore there was no need for probate? Is there anywhere else I could look for more information? Thanks, Geoff Turner.

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Any assistance appreciated. This group shot, and the attempt to crop people from it, are the only pictures we have of the two older women in the back row of the cropped version. But the group shot is included in case someone wants to go back to the original.
Thanks, Geoff Turner, Brisbane, Australia.

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