Tuesday, 5 March 2013

Trove Tuesday - Obituary for Rev. John Auld

Are you researching your own family history and ever wondered how newspapers could assist you in your research. Newspaper obituaries for one are a fantastic resource which can help flesh out your ancestors history, getting you out of the standard birth, marriage and death details that we all collect.

With the wealth of resources that is now available on Trove and new material constantly being added, this Trove Tuesday I will be looking at an obituary that can be found in the Digitised Australian Newspapers section of Trove.

Born 12 April 1842 in Stevenston (AYR, SCT) to parents John Auld and Janet Thomson, John Auld was the second born of ten children. The 1861 Scottish Census lists John as working as an enginer locomotive, but this early predilection was not to be his future calling. By 1873 Reverend John Auld had graduated with an MA from the University of Edinburgh, married Georgina Muir (daughter of John Muir and Elizabeth Millar) on 18 August 1873 at Langlands Brae, Kilmarnock (AYR, SCT), before immigrating to Sydney (NSW, AUS) in December, onboard the Christina & Thompson as passengers in saloon.

After spending a career dedicated to the Presbyterian church, Rev. John Auld passed away 14 August 1912 in Mosman (NSW, AUS). His obituary appeared in the Sydney Morning Herald the following day and reads as follows:
The death took place at Mosman yesterday of the Rev. John Auld, M.A., who was widely known in the State owing to his prominent connection with the Presbyterian Church. He was a native of Ayrshire, Scotland, and had reached his 70th birthday. In 1873 he took his M.A. degree at the Edinburgh University, and also received his license as a preacher for the Free Presbytery of Edinburgh. In the same year he married Miss Georgina Muir, of Kilmarnock, and set sail for New South Wales. Mr. Auld was the first of three ministers who were sent for by the Church Extension Committee of the Presbyterian Church in this State on the foundation of a provision made by the late Joseph Paxton. Shortly after his arrival, through his success as a preacher, he received competing calls from Wollongong and Dobroyde. He chose the latter, and settled in the charge in 1874. The district having been divided in two he chose the Ashfield portion, and removed to the Liverpool-road church, where he remained for 32 years-till 1906. Two years later he settled at Auburn, but after three years' service he became ill, and he retired to a home at Mosman, there to end his days. For many years he was clerk of the Sydney Presbytery, and in 1888 he was appointed Moderator, the highest office in his Church. The family consists of Rev. J. H. S. Auld, M.A., of Muswellbrook; Mr. David T. Auld, of Scott, Henderson, and Co.; Mr. Robert Auld, of J. J. Weeks, Ltd.; Mr. J. Muir Auld, the well-known artist and Mrs. F. H,Greaves, wife of Mr. F. H. Greaves, a Sydney solicitor. Mrs. Auld also survives. 
Source: DEATH OF REV. JOHN AULD. (1912, August 15). The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 5. Retrieved March 3, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article15347990
Apart from the fabulous information relating to the church service of Rev. John Auld, what this particular obituary does do is give some invaluable insights into his family. Not only does it list all surviving members of his immediate family, it gives us clues for his daughters marriage as well as occupations of all sons and son-in-law. So, instead of thinking of a newspaper obituary as the last word on your ancestor, think of it as a potential starting point for additional research.

Time permitting I hope to give you regular entries for Trove Tuesday - enjoy.


  1. You've got me wondering - which of the gentlemen mentioned in the obituary is your ancestor?

  2. Unfortunately none Jill.

    All will be revealed shortly - lets just say at this particular point in time it is linked to my talk I gave at the Hawkesbury Family History Group on Identifying and preserving old photographs back in October 2012 and the items I presented at the December Show & Tell meeting of the same group.