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24 Nov 2013

The best things in life are free

It was great to resolve a long standing puzzle concerning my Scotts.  The whole family unit had disappeared and the fairly distinctive names of Edith Maria and Martha Gertrude were yielding absolutely nothing.  I knew that various in the family had gone out to Australia, and decided to test the Australian Death Index 1787-1985 to see who would appear.  Although it's initially off-putting that you get a 'deny' screen and lots of blank details, it's amazing what you can get.
I reconsidered my information and realised Edith Maria born in Kensington was actually Edith Mary Ann born in Kennington.  I looked for Edith Mary Ann's death in Australia with parents' details as given (yellow-underlined).  The maiden name of Scott isn't shown on-screen but is hidden information in the database.
Fresh from this success, I then thought - well, why not take it to the next level?  What about Edith's own children?
I then was able to get a tiny bit more information from the Trove newspapers, from the companion Australian Births Index 1788-1922 but this was certainly a Great Leap Forward.  For some data (such as the marriage of Edith Mary Ann's youngest daughter, 1924) I had to use the Electoral Roll to make an educated guess, and then check the details for sure on the very tight-lipped Victorian BMD index.

I then solved a year-long mystery about the identify of 'Casie B'.  She had been driving me crazy- was she Charlotte, Catherine, Caroline, Cassie, Cassandra.  Step up, the extremely useful Victoria Passenger Lists 1852-1923.

As you may be able to see from this, the two records broadly match.  The shipping records has Jessie B (alleluia), while the 1881 census entry written 18 months earlier has 'Casie B', where I think the C is intended to be pronounced 'Ch' (though I can't think of a single English word that uses this form but the Italian cinto).

It's then an easy matter to find the girl as Jessie Beatrice in freebmd, and then to go in whichever direction (Trove, the deaths index), to find her death at 43 as Mrs Dunlop widowed mother of two deceased children.

The father of all these children is possibly in Kings Cross England age '35' in 1891, though this smacks of coincidence.  He and Mary Ann had another child together after arriving in Australia (who died).  He lived to see all three daughters marry before dying at 53 in Melbourne.

Conversely, his father, Thomas Scott senior was still very much alive back in England and about to move house.  Senior's will makes no mention of these Australian shenanigans; instead earmarking all the £600 estate for his relative in England, S T Bennell - child of a deceased daughter.  In fact all of senior's 3 children predeceased him.

So, if anyone is researching Walter Addison Block or Herbert Graves Harrison, Alexander Leonard Turner, Stanley Watson Wray, Hugh Fred Williams Coulter, their wives and families, thank you to those large websites for the free data, and do get in touch.

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