Season 8 of the popular family history show Who Do You Think You Are? screened over several weeks during 2016. Here at State Records of South Australia we recapped each episode at the time and highlighted any records in our collection relevant to topics covered. Now on our blog for your reading pleasure are all of our recaps.
In episode 3 we joined singer/songwriter Delta Goodrem as she discovered more about the ancestors whom she previously knew little about. We began by looking at the life of Delta’s maternal great grandmother Florence Bray who grew up in a small town in country Victoria. Form the Birth, Death and Marriage registers we learned that Florence’s father died when she a young girl and that Florence had a child out of wedlock in 1910. Searching newspapers at the State Library of Victoria, Delta discovered that Florence was having an affair with a married man named Thomas Parker (Delta’s great grandfather) who fathered this ‘illegitimate’ child. Thomas was the son of a successful businessman and news of his affair made headlines in the newspapers of the day. Delta was quite surprised to learn of this news.
We then visited the Public Record Office of Victoria to learn more about Delta’s great grandfather and discovered that Thomas was married to a woman named Margaret and in fact both of them were having affairs. Delta also looked at court records that revealed they had a problematic marriage, including instances of domestic violence. Despite the fact Thomas applied for a divorce the court records actually stopped midway through the proceedings and the couple remained married.
Delta then received a letter from her second cousin who informed her that Florence was a talented musician and showgirl who worked in the theatre during the golden years in Melbourne in the early 20th century. Delta was shocked and delighted to know that her musical talents which she had since birth may have partly come from Florence. Delta then travelled to the Shrine of Remembrance in Melbourne and also learned that contrary to the family belief that her great grandfather Thomas Parker died during World Waw 1, he in fact did not and there was no trace of Thomas enlisting at all. Further court records showed that Thomas was quite the con-man during the 1920s, he was eventually imprisoned for larceny and was written out of his father’s will. Interestingly, Florence ended up marrying Thomas’s nephew Walter and they remained married for 30 years.
We then briefly looked at Delta’s father’s side of the family and she learned that her paternal great, great grandfather David ‘India’ Alexander Stewart arrived in Victoria in 1881 having come from Kolkata, India where he was a tea farmer. David bought land in Ballarat and married Jessie Ritchie in 1885 and they had several children. Sadly during the pregnancy of their sixth child, Jessie along with the child died. Only weeks later the youngest of the five children also died aged only 1 year old.
Whilst Delta’s story didn’t bring her to South Australia if you’re looking for South Australian records on topics covered by Delta’s story we can assist you with:
- Wills – GRS/1334 Probate files (wills) - Testamentary Causes Jurisdiction, Supreme Court of South Australia
Passenger lists and immigration - GRG35/48/1 Official assisted passage passenger lists - Crown Lands and Immigration Office (1845 – 1886)
GRG41/34 Official lists of passengers arriving in South Australia from overseas (1888 – 1940).
Prisoner/goal records – GRS/2414 Register of prisoners - Adelaide Gaol, GRG54/41 Register of prisoners - Yatala Labour Prison. Another useful resource for individuals who found themselves in trouble with the law is GRG5/50 South Australia Police Gazettes
Court/divorce records - GRG36 GA445 - Supreme Court of South Australia
If you’re just beginning your family history journey, it’s also worth checking out our webpage on Family History Research at State Records.
If you would like some more information on the above records or have a question about how our collection can help you with your family history research then you can send us an enquiry.
More of WDYTYA Season 8 recaps can be found on the State Records blog.