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(brick)Walls Come Tumbling Down 2

February 17, 2011

Mary Ann Malthouse

Last week I solved a puzzle that has had me and others stuck for years.  This week, at the first opportunity, I did something I have wanted to do since 1986 – I purchased my g-g-g grandmother’s death certificate.  Not only did she die right here in Western Australia, a trip to the Births Deaths and Marriages registry involves getting in the lift in the building I work in!

I’m not sure who the informant really was – according to the certificate it was the undertaker – but whoever supplied the information to the undertaker wasn’t 100% up on the details.  Here’s what the certificate says:

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1911/1 Death in the Boulder District of Western Australia, Registered by  EE Fewings District Registrar.

When and Where Died: 1910 28th December Kallorooo

Name and Surname Rank and Profession: Mary Ann Murray

Sex and Age: F 75 years

Cause of Death, Duration of Illness, Medical Attendant by whom certified and When he last saw deceased: Gastro Enteritiis Exhaustion 14 days J. Vere Arkle (??) FRCA 27th December 1910

Name and Surname of Father, with Rank or Profession, Mother’s Maiden Name, if known: John Malthouse Bootmaker Isabella unknown [what the..??]

Signature Description and Residence of Informant: Certified in writing by James Kyle Undertaker Boulder

Signature of District Registrar, Date and Where Registered: EE Fewings 1911 3 January Boulder

When and Where buried Undertaker by whom certified: 1910 29th December Kalgoorlie Cemetery James Kyle

Name and Religion of Minister or Names of Witnesses of Burial: — — W (?) Beattie, Thos [Chas?] Pearce

Where born, and How long in the Australian States stating which: Leeds England 39 years in New South Wales 2 years in Western Australia

If Deceased was Married – Where At what Age To Whom: first Leeds England second Sydney New South Wales first 20 years second 41 years First John Peck second Alexander Murray

Issue in order of Birth their Names and Ages: Jennie 52 Keziah 50 John 48 Emily 42 Alice 41 Thomas 38 Deceased 1 Male 2 Females

Note at bottom of cert: In Column 7 “Boulder” read Kalgoorlie  EE Fewings District Registrar Boulder 3rd January 1911.

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Mary Ann's parents, Francis Malthouse and Mary Groves

After suffering a particularly severe gastroey virus for just over a week last year, in which I thought I was going to die and required intravenous fluids and a bolus dose of potassium, I totally empathised with the cause of death – and for two weeks!!!

As for the parents names!!  As I had elected to pick up the certificate, rather than have it posted out (I was already in the building) the registry officer called me – I had written ‘Francis Malthouse and Mary Groves’ in the parents name box on the certificate application and she wanted to check that she wasn’t about to deliver me the wrong certificate.  So she phoned and said ‘Hi Michelle, I have your certificate here – do you mind if I ask you a few questions?’ The first question she asked was ‘how sure are you about the parents names?’ Well I said I wasn’t 100% because I had pulled them out of my head as I was filling in the form – didn’t consult my data.  So she told me the names on the certificate she was holding.  It threw me off for a second, but then

Francis Malthouse and Mary Groves with granddaughters Kizzie, Jennie and Annie

I realised that Death Cert informants are notoriously inaccurate, and if the Mary Ann Murray on the certificate had a father whose surname was Malthouse it was good enough for me.  But not for her.  ‘Where was she born?’ was question two.  ‘Leeds, Yorkshire, England’ I replied.  That got me a pass.  So off I went to pick up the certificate.

When I had the certificate in front of me, I was able to confirm to her that the children’s names were correct, the previous marriage and second marriage were correct and reassure her that indeed I was getting the right certificate, just the informant had no idea.

But where did those names come from?  Her first husband’s name was John.  Their first son was John.  Keziah had a daughter called Isabelle – did they put one and one together and get 4.5?  If they didn’t know, surely they would have said ‘I don’t know’.  Why make something up?  Somewhere along the line the

Mary Ann Malthouse - the handwritten notation says: Gran 18.6.09

informant must have ‘thought’ they knew her parents names.  Possible informants would have been Emily Bertha Eliza Peck or Alice Maud Peck, or Alexander Murray, the second husband.  The three  older girls lived with their grandparents the first time their parents came out to Australia – surely they would have known – but probably the only way to ask them was by telegram or letter – perhaps that was not possible or convenient – or perhaps the informant didn’t think it was necessary, because they thought they knew – perhaps like me, they were put on the spot as they were filling in the form, and wrote down the first thing that popped into their head – except they were not as accurate as me 🙂

The durations of the marriages are not quite accurate either – which makes me think perhaps one of the daughters filled in the form/answered the questions. I tend to think that the 2 years in Western Australia is accurate though – and it gives a ballpark date for arrival in Western Australia for Mary Ann and Alexander Murray, but also for Eliza and George Jones and Alice and William Foulston – something I hadn’t previously been able to pin down.  My letters to Frank indicate that they all came across together – Eliza (Gran) talks about things getting lost or destroyed in the move over to Western Australia.  She didn’t mention Mary Ann coming with them, or it would have made my life a lot easier.

If I hadn’t found a death notice for Mary Ann’s daughter, Annie over the weekend before I ordered Mary Ann’s death certificate, the news that she had died would have been interesting too.  I commented at first that she was missing from the list, but then I notice the ‘Deceased 1 Male 2 Females’ notation.  One boy and one girl died in infancy/childhood.  Annie died on 11 November 1906 aged 49 years, at her residence 524 Cleveland Street, Surry Hills.

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