Identifying Photos

Monday, January 27, 2014

A Mamouth Search

Back in January I contacted a lady about her family Tree. She had this on ancestry but not a great deal on it. Even though her family was not directly connected to me I had a number of family members who were.
In 1894 my Great Grandmother's brother Charles Woodhead m Bridget Stack in Fitzroy, Victoria. In 1912 Bridget's niece Gertrude Howson (nee Stack) died leaving her husband with 3 young boys to look after. My Great Grandparents Mary Ellen (nee Woodhead and sister of Charles) and her husband PWJ took in the eldest of these boys and he lived on the farm at Arthurs Creek with them. He grew up to be a Jockey and my grandmother stated that he learned to ride on the farm by tying up the calves on his way to school in the morning so he could try and ride them on the way home.
PWJ found one of these calves one day, it was fretting and dehydrating because it could not get to the mother. Needless to say Bill Howson was not popular over that one.
Then in 1925 Les Murphy, son of PWJ and Mary Ellen married Bill's cousin and another descendant of the Stack family.
So although I am not a descendant there are cousins of both my grandmother and my mother who are cousins of Stack descendants.
Last week the lady contacted me back, because of health reasons she had not been near the computer and had not seen my post. She was quite excited as she had not a lot on this side of her family.
In 1898 James Stack marries Catherine Mary Scully. Their Granddaughter is trying to find out where her grandmother had come from. Catherine's mother Margaret Scully had lived with them until her death. There was never a husband that Margy remembered and when a father mentioned it was all hush, hush. There did not appear to be a birth certificate for Catherine and she had a sister Eleanor.
She also knew that her ancestors Michael and Bridget Scully came out on the "Great Britain" in 1868. She had been to see the ship with her mother once.
A search of the Victorian Pioneer Index shows nothing given the year of birth or anything close.
I then tried my favourite "Trove".
I searched for Margaret Scully. Bingo. She was in court with Joshua Cowell who was applying for insolvency. She had been implicated as all of his assets had been transferred into her name as he claimed he owed Margaret £500. There was a full story of her journey to Australia from Liverpool, how she had gone to live with Joshua as his housekeeper then eventually as his mistress. It described where she had supposedly obtained the £500 and that she had sent for her parents.
The case had been heard in court over almost 2 years and Joshua was an ex MLA, and there is mention of the case in Parliament.
Joshua spoke of his son going somewhere with him and an advertisement appeared in the paper saying that Joshua had mentioned his wife being dead these last 15 years. However the advertisement is written by a John Scully who claims Joshua as his father and says his mother is still well and truly alive and that Joshua if married to Margaret should be arrested for bigamy.
A check of the records shows that Joshua Cowell had married Louisa Saunders and for a time was living at Steigliz and Browns Diggings. He mentions his niece living in Ballarat and it appeared Joshua was moving all over Victoria.
I sent these details on to Joan Hunt as she had studied the area around Browns Diggings and Smythesdale and wondered if she had come across Joshua at all. It was her that noticed that the ages of the sons did not match up with Joshua and Louisa. But there were too many co-incidences for it not to be him.
I then sat down and went through the newspaper articles in order of date. Sure enough things started to look a bit skewed. I also found that Joshua put a notice in the paper when his wife died and then there was a notice when he died saying he was a pioneer travelling salesman.
I sent for the death certificate and suddenly all fell into place. Margaret was living with his father, of the same name. I had a death for him in England but this was obviously the wrong man.
Further research has now found that Joshua snr had moved over to New Zealand, Margaret followed him and they married and had further children. After his death Margaret came back to Victoria leaving children (grown by now) and went back to her maiden name.
Since then I have been able to find others who were researching this family and put them all in touch. There was a lot more research and some of what others had was incorrect but we have been able to put that together.
I wonder if our ancestors ever realised that those papers that usually only lasted a day or two would come back to help put stories together 100 or so later. How often have we been stuck on a family for many years but now with TROVE and Paperspast (New Zealand) these stories are becoming easier to find these stories that unlock so much for genealogists.
Another Line Discovered.
As many already know I was handed down a photo Album originally belonging to my 3x great grandfather or at least he and his wife, my gggrandfather's step mother who reared him.

There were many photos in this Album mostly of people unknown. Some had hints written on them, such as initials, dates or even a first name. These along with the name of the photographer and his address is helping very much to identify the photos.

Ben and John Woodhead both came to Australia with their wive's and children. Ben arrived first with his second wife Sarah (nee Clark) and her son John (who took on the Woodhead name). Ben's son Alfred (my ancestor who names Sarah as his mother) and their daughter Fanny. They arrived in Adelaide in 1851 but Ben did not like the climate (it was an extremely hot summer by newspaper accounts) so the family moved on to Melbourne a few months later.
John arrived with his wife Martha and their 3 children in 1858, they arrived in Melbourne where they settled.

Martha Woodhead (nee Wardall)  died in 1860 and John entered into a relationship with Margaret Savage and they had four childen, 2 died with days of their births, Fanny died aged 12 years but Walter did marry and have a daughter. John and Margaret parted ways and he married Jeanie Kirkland and they had five children.

From the photo album I was able to identify photos of the five children of John and Margaret. Names were written on the back and the photographer's name and address gave me approximate years the photos were taken so they all fitted into place.

There were also other photos that I eventually identified as John Clark and his family, these were Sarah's brother and his children and that of his mother Elizabeth Clark (Bell) who was born in 1806, the photo taken in Kendall in 1878. I though that was pretty impressive!.

The photos that really held my attention however were six that were taken in Huddersfield, Yorkshire. The Woodhead family came from Almondbury, which I liken to be a suburb of Huddersfield.
These photos consisted of two older ladies then four younger adults, again 2 ladies and 2 gentlemen.
I was sure these were the sisters of Benjamin and John and their children. My problem was I could not find marriages for these sisters. The younger people had the names, Frank, Tom, Louisa and Emily written on the back.

Months looking at possible marriages the following up with the census and the names of the children came to nothing but I was not willing to give up.

I was looking at these photos a few weeks back when I realised that one of the ladies was quite elderly. I then believed the photo of that of Fanny Woodhead and was more than excited by this.
A few weeks later I realised I had looked for John (Ben's Father) in the census but had not looked for Fanny. So I went looking, I put in Frances as this had been written on another document I had found. I found a Francis Woodhead living in Almondbury in 1871.
I checked this entry and found she was living with Tom Boothroyd. Tom was the name on one of the photographs. Next door was living Joshua Boothroyd, Ann Boothroyd and their children including, Frank, Louisa and Emily! these were the names on the photos.
From there I was able to check the 1861 census and again that Tom was living with Fanny Woodhead and was listed this time as her grandson, 1871 had him as a border.

I figured then that the older lady was Fanny, the other her daughter Ann (Hannah) and then four of Hannah's children. However I have now found that the photographer was not there in early 1870s but in the later part of 1870s after Fanny had passed away. So now not sure who this lady is. She looks far to old to be Ben's sister.

This is who I believe is Ann Boothroyd (nee Woodhead) she was born Hannah as her older sister was born Ann but she had died as a toddler. The name Ann and Hannah were often interchanged. Ann married Joshua Boothroyd and they had

Australian Birth Death and Marriage records

This is an article written for the Ballarat and District Genealogical Society

How many times do we get told or tell people to always check original sources. Birth, Death and Marriages indexes are a wonderful source, however it is still very easy to be steered in the wrong direction with indexes. An example of this I found recently where a fellow who settled in the Western District had his parents listed on his death certificate. This was fine and both had rather unusual names so had to be them. This was also reflected on a number of trees on Ancestry and each had followed on from those parents, as they were also in Western District, in fact the same town. However, I was not convinced of this, something was not right, his age did not fit comfortably with these parents. He had married in Victoria so I downloaded his marriage certificate.
The name of his mother was not quite the same, very similar and could have been a spelling mistake, as they happen often, but a search of the English records found his birth in England along with his parents and census records.  The couple who were in the same town as he was in Victoria were different people.
Without the original source people were on the wrong track.

So where do you get these certificates. Australia has these state by state and the information differs as well.

While the Registry began recording births, marriages and deaths occurring in Victoria from 1853, it also holds records of church baptisms, marriages and burials dating back to 1836. These records are available for public access via VicHeritage™, the Registry's historical research unit. - See more at: . While the Registry began recording births, marriages and deaths occurring in Victoria from 1853, it also holds records of church baptisms, marriages and burials dating back to 1836. These records are available for public access via VicHeritage™, the Registry's historical research unit. - See more at:
While the records from 1836 - 1853 are from NSW, these certificates can be obtained from The Ballarat and District Genealogical Society Inc computers at Ballarat Library. The indexes are also available from the Library  or can be searched for online at .99c per page, and once you have your registration details from the index, certificates can be purchased at $20 each. These can be downloaded from BDM website, just go to historical certificates uncertified. Otherwise you are able to write to BDM for a copy of these certificates.

New South Wales  indexes are on line at
Family history certificates are unrestricted, so no identification is required for:
    Registry records from 1856 to ...
                     births over 100 years
                     deaths over 30 years
                     marriages over 50 years.
    Early church records (1788 - 1855 baptism, marriage, burial)
Search over 18 million records for free...
    ‪‪After viewing search results, your option is to purchase a certificate and obtain all the information available. By supplying a registration number, you get a discounted fee of $31.00 (normally $44.00).
    ‪‪We use the latest high security technology to protect your personal and financial details. On-line certificates are posted by standard mail and do not incur postage fees.
‪‪If you don't want to order online, you have the option to complete a Family history application form and mail it in. Again, if you supply the registration number, you receive the discounted fee.
Ask a family history transcription agent
Family history transcription agents provide full and partial transcriptions, or verification of details. A good idea if you only need the facts, and not full certified copies of certificates. For more details and fees, see below.
    Marilyn Rowan | Tel 61 (2) 4658 1206 | Fax 61 (2) 4658 1296
Email | Web
    Joy Murrin | Tel 61 (2) 9585 1187 | Fax 61 (2) 9585 1486
Email | Web
Laurie Turtle | Tel 61 (2) 4573 1559 | Fax 61 (2) 4573 0536
Email | Web

Here you can search the indexes free, and can also download a certificate on line for $20.
Available birth records
    1825 to 1890 images and certificates
    1891 to 1913 certificates
Available death records
    1825 to 1890 images and certificates
    1891 to 1898 certificates only
    1899 to 1915 images or certificates
    1916 to 1964 certificates only
    1965 to 1979 images and certificates
    1980 to 1983 certificates only
Available marriage records
    1825 to 1889 images and certificates
    1890 to 1938 certificates only
Western Australia
The registry offers free online historic index searching of births, deaths and marriages from 1841. At
If you successfully find an entry and would like to order a copy, click on the 'order' link alongside the search result. This will pop up a new window with an order form (PDF) pre-populated with the relevant details.
Birth, death or marriage certificate at least 75 years old, when the registration number and registration district are provided - $31
From here, either:
    enter the applicant's details online, save the application form to your local drive and print
    print the application form and complete the applicant's details offline.
    sign and post the form with a cheque or money order* to the postal address listed on the form; or
    sign, complete credit card details and post the form to the postal address listed on the form.
* Cheques or money orders should be made payable to the Registrar of Births, Deaths and Marriages. Overseas applicants must pay in Australian dollars using an international money order or bank draft.
Note: Orders cannot be submitted by fax, email, telephone or online.
South Australia
What you Can Search
You are about to search the following Genealogy SA databases:
    Newspaper Birth Notices Index from 1960 onwards
    Newspaper Death Notices Index from 1972 onwards
    South Australia Cemeteries Index
    Birth Registration Certificates Index 1842 - 1928
    Death Registration Certificates Index 1842 - 1972
    Marriage Registration Certificates Index 1842 - 1937
 The default name setting is for an exact search. An exact search will give a null result if there are leading or embedded blanks in the name, and also apostrophes or other punctuation symbols.
Potential clients need to be aware that a range of certificate styles have been used over the years, with each different version holding different amounts of information. The cost is $22 per transcription request, Member discounts apply.
Full certificate prices are $44.75 with no discounts for Family History.
To apply for South Australian certificates you can go to

These indexes are available at the Library in the Australiana Room Ballarat. These may also be available at your local Library. The certificates are also attached to these. Search in Tasmania is expensive so asking at your local library is best

Registration of births, deaths and marriages commenced in 1839 in Tasmania, the first Australian colony to take over the function previously conducted by the Churches.
The Registry holds and can produce certificates for:
    church records (burials, baptisms and marriages) from 1803 - 1839
    birth, death and marriage registrations from 1839 to date
Access to birth records is available to anyone after 100 years.  Access to marriage records is available to anyone after 75 years.  Access to death records is available to anyone after 25 years. .
Please Note:  The Tasmanian Registry does not have an online search facility to access birth, death and marriage records.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

A day of remembering


Today I picked up my Mother-in-law, Wilhelmina Reynen, to take her to my granddaughter's School for grandparents day. We had a lovely day and Shakira was thrilled to have us both there. After a church service and morning tea we went into her classroom where they made handprint trees.
We used Shakira's hand print and then great Nana's.

Mien Reynen (nee Toonen) with Great Granddaughter
Shakira Frost
After we left the school we met Shakira's mother for lunch before we then headed to the Gold Museum in Ballarat where there is currently an Ann Frank exhibition.

Mein was born in Holland and was there during WW2. I asked if she remembered much about the war.
Oh yes!
She went on to explain that where she was, Grave, Noord Brabant everyone was well off compared to those living in the North of the county. "We had food and were able to go to the near by farmers to get fresh milk etc." She also remembered that the soldiers came there at some stage and a woman had just collected a jug of milk from the farm when a German Soldier approached her and demanded the milk. She threw the jug, smashing it on the ground saying "if I cannot have it, you certainly can't!" The soldier was shocked and the woman walked away. Mein said she was brave to do this.

She went on to say "My mother used to get shoe boxes and fill them with potatoes, bread, sugar, etc. these would be taken to the red cross who would then deliver them to her brother who lived in Amsterdam. They never even peeled the potatoes as this would be a waste."

Mein had told me in the past about how they would see the soldiers come down via parachute. She would then go, with others, to collect the chutes as these were made of silk and made beautiful dresses.

We entered into the museum where there was a video just starting, telling the story of Ann Frank. I think this was made more real for me as the whole time Mein was saying how she remembered that, or she had been there. She had in fact been to the Ann Frank house and was able to add to what the video was telling us.
It adds a new dimension when looking at something and getting comments from someone who has lived through some of the experience. Our day ended with a visit back at Tara's new house with Pizza enjoyed for dinner with her girls Shakira and Zali.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

New Hints and Family

A few weeks ago I received an email from someone who thought I may have been related distantly to his wife. Yes I did have her grandfather listed in my tree so another family link. I phoned him as my computer was in the shop and I was anxious to make the connection.
Yesterday I got a small parcel of photos in the mail. They were mainly postcards but had John Woodhead's shop seen in a few of them. There was one of his house, his grave, his son's house in Beechworth and even one of John playing the piano and his daughter with a violin.
Even better was there were notes on these postcards and Peter has kindly transcribed these.
Now I have more research to do. Who are some of the people mentioned in the postcards and who lived in Bendigo, and "Thistlebank".
There was a mention of going to the Theatre Royal to see "Revenge" Thanks to Trove there is a mention of the opening of this play so able to put an approximate date to it. Unfortunately most of these do no appear to be signed so not sure who these are from when they mention Aunts, cousins etc.
I am sure this will be sorted in time and I am hoping that maybe they will be able to name some of my mystery photos.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Found Lena

Well after all of these years I have finally found Lena! The daughter of Emma, as per my previous story, and my grandfather's sister who just seem to vanish.

Turns out she lead a parallel life to her older sister Mabel, whom she probably never even knew existed. Because of these parallels I followed Mabel's life for some time wondering why Mabel was known as Lena.

Both married x2 and both had  husband's were known as Les! Only Mabel's first husband was Les and Lena's second was Les.
Both never had children
Both died in a nursing home
Uncle Jim had told me stories about Lena, saying her first husband was a "cad". Not sure about Lena's husband but Mabel's was a small time criminal who died in Jail, serving almost 25 years for housebreaking because as soon as he was released he reoffended. Uncle Jim did tell me Lena's husband divorced her because she could not have children, but I did find that Mabel did not remarry until her first husband died.
It turned out that Lena had married in Cecil Fowler then in 1938 she married Albert William Leslie Adams (Les Adams) in New South Wales.
Les Adams was a popular musician at the time, another thing Uncle Jim had stated. He was the first person to bring out an electric Hawaiian Guitar to Australia.

The last thing was Mabel's death, Les had already passed away and Mabel was in a nursing home. She was apparently crippled with arthritis and in a wheel chair. Uncle Jim said that he went to visit her there before she died after he found out she was there. When she died she has been registered that her mother was Mande Mary Conroy, maiden name Royal rather than Royle, however this was not in the index so I had overlooked it. If the index showed Royal I would have picked this up.

These findings have put together a number of family stories I had heard.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Where do they get the names?

I have had my searches blocked because someone has given a wrong name on an official document of some kind. This leads me to wonder why and broadening searches so far still have not answered the question.

First off Benjamin Woodhead and his brother John, both came and settled in Melbourne and did quite all for themselves. Both were well educated and knew how to make money. So why is it that on John's marriage and death certificates he has named his mother Fanny Hobson? I can understand the discrepancies on Death Certificates, depending on who gives the information also depends on what they know of the person they are giving the information for. But on a marriage certificate?

I have spent years trying to find Fanny Hobson but gave up. Then I realised that John Woodhead (Snr) had married a Fanny Mellor about that time. Then there are a number of children to John and Fanny (no maiden name). There was a christening of a John Woodhead about the same time as our John (Jr) in Pennistone, just up the road from Almondbury, the mother is listed as Fanny Mellor. Then I got John's marriage certificate and found that he was born in Pennistone. The 1851 census for my John and Fanny and children then confirms that Mary and John were born in Pennistone. There are too many co-incidences between John and Fanny Hobson and John and Fanny Mellor not to believe the two are one and the same person. Also there is only ever one John and Fanny that can be found in the census.
My guess is that maybe Fanny's Mother may have married a Hobson along the way somewhere, and the boys realising their grandmother was a Hobson assumed their mother was too? The search on this one goes on.

Then the next generation. Alfred Woodhead (Benjamin's son) was born 22 July 1848. On His marriage certificate he names his mother as Sarah Taylor. Years of looking for Sarah was found to be rather elusive. I did find a marriage for Sarah and Benjamin and sent for the certificate, certain this was them, in the hope of finding Sarah's Father and maybe getting a lead on the family. However when the certificate came I found that Benjamin's occupation was incorrect, his father's name was Joseph and not John, and his occupation was also different, to top it off I found that Ben was illiterate and signed with an X.
After Ben's first wife died he remarried Sarah Clarke. I sent for this certificate which had all the correct details as I knew them, Benjamin Woodhead, joiner, his father John, Dyer and he signed his name.

Recently Family Search has updated a number of details found in their records. Among these was the marriage of Benjamin Woodhead to Isabella Jenkinson. It lists his father as John. I had a look for Isabella's death and found she had died in Kendal, where Benjamin married Sarah Clarke a few months later, the only discrepancy was that she appeared to have died a few months before the date of birth we had for her son Alfred. We have never been able to find a birth registration for Alfred and the date we had came from his daughter's birthday book.

I took a punt and send for the marriage certificate. It was the right one, all the details matched those on Benjamin's second marriage certificate. Apparently Alfred was born a year before, and when I checked his certificates and the ages on them this all worked out to be correct.

This still poses the question why did Benjamin and John believe their mother to be Fanny Hobson when she was Fanny Mellor, and why did Alfred believe his mother was Sarah Taylor?  Guess these are ones we may never really know the answers to.

Further to the above, I have just found Alfred's birth and Christening. He was in fact Alfred Townley Woodhead. It is the first I have heard of the Townley name and no idea where it has come from. It sounds like he has been named after someone.
Also on his christening his grandparents are named as his parents. My thoughts on this? His father has taken him to be christened and has been asked what the parents names are and he has given his parents. I know it is the right person as the address is correct and father's occupation and I did have Alfred's birth date which is also listed on the christening certificate.
Why is it that when I knock down a brick wall 10 more jump up? No wonder genealogy keeps one interested.