Tuesday, 18 June 2013

Trove Tuesday: Finding Peter Auld

This post relates to my great great uncle Peter Auld, who was also known by the name of Peter William Auld and William Peter Auld.

Peter William Auld in Victoria

John Wallace Auld and Jane Fair’s third son Peter was born 10 September 1861 at their home in Cardigan Street, Carlton, Victoria. Peter Auld has proved one of the hardest in my family tree to track down and this may be in part due to his early childhood. One wonders if the loss of his mother at the early age of eleven and subsequent remarriage of his father four days before his twelfth birthday might have affected his early life.

At the age of twenty three, Peter, now known as Peter William Auld, was living at 1 Newry Street in North Carlton and working as an iron-moulder. An iron-moulder was employed at an Iron foundry pouring the hot molten iron into prepared moulds. Often working in close proximity to furnaces it was a hot, and at times, dangerous occupation.

On 11 July 1885 at the Erskine Manse in Carlton, Peter William Auld was married to widow Rose Mitchell nee Halstead by the Minister of Erskine Presbyterian Church, Alexander Yule. Witnesses for the event were Jane S. Yule, a possible relative of Minister Alexander Yule, and Thomas Fair, who also witnessed Peter's brother, John Wallace Auld’s first marriage in 1884 and a possible relative to their mother Jane. Unfortunately the date of this marriage is the last time the name Peter William Auld appears on official documents...and Peter effectively disappears off the genealogy radar.

South Australia, a change of name and a new family

The search for Peter Auld continued with the next clue to his whereabouts surfacing in the neighbouring colony of South Australia. Five years passed before a marriage between a William Peter Auld and Nellie Wallace is recorded as having taken place on 30 January 1892 at the All Saints Church in Hindmarsh. Although less information is recorded on South Australian marriage certificates than in Victoria, there is enough information to confirm that William Peter Auld is in fact our Peter Auld. William Peter Auld was now thirty years old living in Kent Town, a surrounding suburb of Adelaide; his father was recorded as John Auld; he was still working as an iron-moulder; plus the comparison of the signatures on both marriage certificates prove with an extremely high degree of certainty that it is the same person.

Nellie Wallace was the youngest of nine children to parents Robert Wallace and Martha Rodd and born in Port Elliot, South Australia, on 19 June 1871. At the time of her marriage to William Peter Auld, she was a twenty year old spinster living in Adelaide, whilst William was recorded as a bachelor, despite having married Rose Ann Mitchell nee Halstead previously. William and Nellie soon settled down in Adelaide and by mid 1895 they had two children, Janet Millicent Victoria Auld born 5 April 1893 and Dorothy Adelaide Auld born 3 August 1895.

William, Nellie and the family move to Western Australia

Two additional children were born in Perth, Western Australia, a daughter named Nellie Muriel Auld born about 1898, and a son named William Peter Auld born about 1900. Unfortunately William and Nellie’s son, William Peter Auld, died in Perth in 1901. William Peter Auld, aged one year, died on 30 September 1901 from pneumonia.

At seventy two years of age and just over four years after his wife passed away, William Peter Auld died on 1 September 1934 at the St John of God Hospital in Subiaco, Western Australia, having suffered from Cirrhosis of the liver for six weeks and Cardiac failure. Two days after his death, on 3 September 1934, William was buried in the same plot as his wife and son at the Karrakatta Cemetery.

How did Trove help?

The archived newspapers on Trove proved invaluable in the research of Peter Auld. By finding mention of a William Peter Auld in the Western Australian newspapers, somewhere I was not looking for him, I was able to work backwards from there and eventually found a South Australian marriage and children. The death and funeral notice that unlocked the mystery follow:

Family Notices. (1934, September 3). The West Australian (Perth, WA : 1879 - 1954), p. 1. Retrieved June 18, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article32935117

Family Notices. (1934, September 3). The West Australian (Perth, WA : 1879 - 1954), p. 1. Retrieved June 18, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article32935117

Confirmation was achieved through the purchase of Western Australian death and South Australian marriages certificates.