For those Genealogists, reading this, you will know the excitement of having a brick wall finally fall and the other questions that this event brings.
Nearly 30 years ago I started researching my family tree. Things were very different then, microfiche, microfilm, waiting for weeks for certificates or replies letters and endless questions waiting for answers.
I knew my Mum's Dad, Grand pop, and with a bit of detective work was able to find his birth and then his parents marriage, both in Victoria and his brother's birth, here in New South Wales. Mum's birth and her parent's marriage date were known, good, things were falling into place. Now all I had to do was find the deaths of Arthur and Maryanne Galbraith. How hard could that be there aren't that many Galbraith's on the microfiche, I should have this 'done' in a couple of weeks! 1560 weeks latter and I finally have the answers for both Arthur and Maryanne!
Arthur Galbraith was born in Ayr, Scotland to Samuel Galbraith and Margaret Kidstone Nicol, married in Victoria to Maryanne Grant, had one son, Arthur in Victoria and then their second son, William in Sydney. All those dots fell neatly into place. I was able to find, over the years, marriages for both of their sons, deaths of both of the sons but what happened to Arthur and Maryanne after 1894 was a mystery!
Over the years I would take them out, dust them off and go over all the information and look for new details and then they would go back to their spots and rest up. Questioning my Mum and her sisters about their Ganddad gave me two answers and another mystery. As to their Gandmother, they knew nothing.
Family stories had Arthur Snr dying, while looking for cowrie shells, in the Red Sea OR dying at sea and being buried in Colombo, Sri Lanka (Ceylon). How was one supposed to find him? Maryann faired no better, with no one knowing anything about her, nor having meet her.
This year I picked them to be the ones I found and boy did I. Searching through TROVE I found a Return Thanks notice for a May Galbraith, in Stockton, loving mother of Arthur and William. Bingo, I had her. More searching and there was her Death notice, with her burial at Waverly Cemetery, now time to order the death certificate and Williams birth certificate. Why his birth you ask? Well what if Arthur was deceased at William's time of birth? They duly arrived and more questions arose. What was Maryanne doing in the Hospital for the Insane, Stockton and why had she been transferred from Calan Park? Now to see if there were any medical records to access. Yes and after jumping through hoops, waiting weeks I had the scant copies of them and found that she had been in hospital nearly three years before she died and that she was a widow. Good this matches her death certificate. William's birth certificate yielded no surprises, Arthur Snr was alive when William was born.
Now if William was born in 1893 and Maryanne was a widow, when she died in 1912, I had a time frame to look for Arthur's death. Searching the Victorian BDM's, NSW BDM's, Family Search, Ancestry and Find My Past yielded NOTHING. Darn! Okay, lets try Scotland's People and bingo! There were the deaths of Samuel and Margaret Galbraith. Searching more I found Samuel's will and probate, interesting, everything went to Margaret and then to Arthur. Well since Margaret died in 1893, lets look for Arthur's death after that. What's this? A death of an Arthur Galbraith in 1894, well if he had to go back to sort out the estate, that is the right time frame, but what was it doing in the Marine Deaths section?
After weeks of waiting, Allan Murrin rang to say that they had the certificate and would scan me a copy and post out the original. Wednesday and there was the proof that at least one of the family stories was correct, Arthur did die at sea and is buried in Colombo. Now having the ship's name I was able to locate shipping records but am still trying to work out if he was going to Scotland or coming home to Sydney. More searching needed there.
Weeks ago I found a probate packet listed on the NSW Archives website, yesterday I was able to find a copy on Find My Past and it is MY Arthur. I ordered the item from the Archives, yesterday and it will be January before it arrives.
The internet has opened up so much for us to search and with obtaining the documents I have been able to prove that they are my family and solved the mystery of their deaths and found more questions to answer. Well those ones can wait a few more weeks, after all it has only taken 30 years to answer the first two questions!
A Family Tree researcher for over 30 years and a blogger since 2010, I love to share what I find. This blog has opened up a new way to contact and keep in-touch with both family and friends. It mightn't always be genealogy related and you might not agree with my point of view but I want you to comment, ask questions and look upon this blog as 'friends having a chat'.