Thursday, 18 July 2013

For the loss of a letter

When our 2xgreat grandmother Jane Davies arrived in Queensland, she traveled with her three sisters: Ellen, Susannah and Sarah.

Until recently, I knew little more about them than their names and ages upon embarkation. In particular, I knew nothing of their married names.

There was, however, a brute force approach to finding that information. Since they were young women in 1885, it was probable that they had married before 1905 and died before 1975. It should be possible to generate a list of all marriages in Queensland by women with their names (in the relevant period) and then to investigate the registration of deaths for each one identified. Anyone listed as having the correct parents (John and Jane) was very likely to be our great-aunt.

Although the technique was a little tedious, it bore fruit. I was able to identify the married names of both Ellen and Susannah in a relatively short time; but Sarah remained elusive.

Then another source gave me a name for Sarah's husband and the opportunity to check why I had not been able to locate them earlier. At the marriage, Sarah Davies had been listed as Sarah Davis. It was not a deliberate name change because at the birth of each child, Sarah's maiden name was spelled as expected. I had been thwarted by a simple slip of the pen.

Image courtesy of Idea go /

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