Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Elizabeth Davis

As I mentioned at the end of my last post about Rose Davis, I came across a birth registration for Elizabeth Davis in New South Wales while I was looking for Rose, and wondered if she was also a child of George Davis and Catherine (nee Mason). Now that I've done a little research, I've confirmed that she was.

Elizabeth's birth was registered in New South Wales in 1870. Her parents' names were recorded as George Davis and Catherine (no maiden name mentioned).

Strangely, the birth of George and Catherine's son John was also apparently registered in New South Wales in 1869, (reg no. 1084/1869 1084 VOL 159) although he had already been registered in South Australia the same year (69/574). It suggests this was the year that George and Catherine moved to NSW, soon after John was born. Or perhaps Catherine followed George after the birth.

On 21 March 1891, Elizabeth Davies (sic) married John Douglas at Port Adelaide in South Australia. Her father's name was listed as George Davies. I haven't been able to find out much about John Douglas, but it would seem from the Victorian electoral rolls (on ancestry.com) that he was a mariner. He is probably the John Douglas who died in South Melbourne in 1933. (Elizabeth Douglas appears alone on the electoral rolls after this date.) He was the son of John Douglas, but that is all the information available on the marriage and death records.

When 82 year old Elizabeth Douglas  died in Port Melbourne (Victoria) in 1952, her parents' names were listed as George Davis and Katherine Mason. Her place of birth was Sydney, New  South Wales.

She seems to have been quite a well known figure in her own sphere. This obituary appeared in the Record, Emerald Hill, on 8 August 1952:


Mrs. E. Douglas Dead At 82
Mrs. Elizabeth Douglas, of Raglan Street, South Melbourne, who died last week, aged 82 years, was mother of a family of nine — seven sons and two daughters— one of whom is Mrs. W. L. Smith, Mayoress of Port Melbourne during 1950-51.
Mrs. Douglas lived in South Melbourne, for over 60 years during which she won the love and esteem of a wide circle of friends. She was devoted to the Salvation Army in this district, which she joined in 1896, maintaining an active interest until failing health interfered in recent years.
One of her .sons, John, played football and was connected with the once-famous 'Leopolds' for many years. Max Glass, a grandson, was also well-known as a rover with the South League team.
The funeral left her daughter's home, 93 Pickles Street, Port Melbourne, on Friday last, for Coburg Cemetery, and was largely attended.
The mention of Elizabeth's association with the Salvation Army is intriguing, given that her cousin Eliza Whybrew (Susan Mason's daughter) was also a member of the Salvation Army in England all her adult life. I wonder if they ever communicated with each other, or even knew of each other's existence?

Monday, March 16, 2020

Rose Davis - another Rose in the Mason family

It's always exciting to receive a comment or a message from someone who has found a link to their own family history on my blog. This week I heard from a descendent of Susan Mason's sister Catherine, and discovered another Rose in the family that I hadn't come across before.

Port Adelaide c 1870.
Image from State Library of SA
Catherine (sometimes spelled Katherine in records) was John and Catherine Mason's third daughter. She was born in Sydney in March 1844, before the family moved to Adelaide. She would have been 12 years old when her father John died, in January 1857. When her mother applied to the Destitute Board for relief in July 1857, Catherine was already employed outside the home, probably as a servant girl.

On 5 June 1865, at the age of 21, she married George Davis (or Davies), who was almost ten years older than her. It wasn't always a happy marriage, but they appear to have stayed together until George's death in 1903.

Until recently I hadn't much information about George, except that he was born about 1831. But a few weeks ago I was contacted by another researcher on Ancestry, who told me about an entry in the South Australian State Records index of hospital admissions (GRG 78/49) which appears to mention George.

On 13 October 1902, George Davis, aged 68, was admitted to the Royal Adelaide hospital. The index shows that he was a wharf labourer, a protestant, born in Wales. He was said to have been in South Australia for 40 years, though this may be a rounded figure rather than exact. The ship he arrived on isn't listed.

George and Catherine were married in Port Adelaide, and their first three children were all registered there: Catherine (1866), George (1867) and John (1869). The next child on my list was Hannah, whose birth was registered at Nile in South Australia in 1874. There were at least another five children after Hannah, registered in various places around South Australia, so it seems George and Catherine moved around.*

What I learned from my correspondent was that between John and Hannah, Catherine gave birth to a child named Rose. The reason I hadn't come across her before is that her birth seems to have been registered, as Rosey Davis, in Newcastle in New South Wales, in 1872. I have no idea what Catherine and George were doing in Newcastle. If George was a wharf labourer, perhaps he moved around looking for work.

Rose Davis married Robert Carnie in Victoria in 1895. They lived in Coburg in Victoria. I might have questioned whether Rose was a child of the same Davis family, given that all the other children were born in South Australia. But when Rose Carnie died in 1946, her mother's name was listed as Catherine Mason, and her father as George Davis. This notice appeared in the West Australian newspaper on 18 July 1946:


Rose's sister Margaret Davis (born 1876) was married to Arthur Massey, so it seems to confirm  Rose's place in the Davis family. I'm intrigued by the line at the end of the death notice: "Some day we will understand".

Having discovered Rose, I'm now wondering whether the "Elizabeth Eliza Davis" born in Sydney, New South Wales in 1870, to parents named George and Catherine Davis, also belongs to the same family. John Davis was born in January 1869 and Rose in 1872, so it's possible, although Catherine's other children were all spaced two years apart. Time for more research on this family!


*The other children of Catherine and George were:
Margaret 1876, registered in Glanville,
James 1878, in Le Fevre Peninsula,
Mary Ann, 1880, in Farnham,
Thomas 1882, in Alberton and
Naomi (or Nahomie) 1884 in Glanville.