52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks

52 Ancestors (2014) #32 Catherine Mills

Over the last few weeks, I have been researching the Russell-Doyle branch of my family, and there was one ancestor that I had one piece of information I was missing – the record of her death.  Today, when trying to decide which ancestor to use, I decided to see if I could finally find her death record, so that I could use her as my ancestor of the week.

I had been trying to find her death record for quite some time, but because I was looking for a Catherine Doyle with the father’s surname of Mills, I had discarded what turned out to be her death record because her father’s surname had been indexed incorrectly.

The information I had for her was that she had been born around 1818 in Birmingham, she married Thomas Doyle in 1844 in Egbaston, Warwickshire, and the family had arrived in Australia in 1862.  I had found the family on the 1851 and 1861 England Censuses.  I had also recently come across the Birmingham, Warwickshire Parish Registers, and had found a baptism record that I thought was probably hers, as she had a son Nathaniel and a daughter Maria:

Catherine Mills, born 21 Feb 1818, christened 11 Sep 1918 at St Peter, Birmingham.  Parents Nathaniel and Maria Mills.

Today, in my renewed search for her death, I decided to try the other states where two of her sons had moved to – Western Australia (her son William Samuel lived here), and New South Wales (where her youngest son Frank lived).  I still wasn’t able to find her.  I then decided to try the Trove site, to see if I could have any luck finding a death notice for her.

One of the frustrating thing about Trove at times is the number of results that come up that are not relevant, particularly for the more common surnames.  This was the case in this instance as well, when trying to search for Mrs Thomas Doyle, Catherine Doyle, or any mention which included the surname Russell (her daughter’s married name).  In order to try and narrow down the results, I decided to use Advanced Search.  In this I selected the Exact Phrase Catherine Doyle, and then went and narrowed the search criteria to Victoria, Family Notices.  Although there were still a number of results, about halfway down the page I found what I was looking for:

Family Notices
The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 – 1957)Saturday 18 November 1899  p 9 Family Notices
Catherine Doyle, widow of Thomas Doyle, of Buninyong, aged 81 years.

The full clipping read:

The Argus Saturday 18 November 1899
DOYLE.—On the 16th November, at 158 Park-
street, West Brunswick, Catherine Doyle, widow
of Thomas Doyle, of Buninyong, aged 81 years. At rest

Thomas and Catherine’s daughter had been married at Buninyong, and Thomas appears on the Post Office Directories as a teacher at Buninyong.  This looked promising.

I then went back to the death indexes, and found the death entry that corresponded to the death notice:

Cath Doyle birth year abt 1818, age 81, death place Brunswick, Victoria, father’s name Goldsheth, Natl, registration year 1899, registration place Victoria, registration number 12698.

I had overlooked this record previously because of the surname, but after I saw her father’s first name, I wondered if perhaps the surname was incorrect.  I decided to apply for the certificate, to see if this was indeed my Catherine.

Sure enough, it was – the certificate had listed her father as

Nathaniel Mills

Since Goldsmith is on the 2nd line, this would indicate that this was his occupation, not his surname, and this therefore indicates that the baptism record I found was indeed for my Catherine.  The rest of the details on the death certificate matched my family:

Father Nathaniel Mills, Goldsmith, mothers name not known Birthplace Birmingham England, 37 years in Victoria, married Birmingham England at age 26 to Thomas Doyle. Children: John Howard dec., Maria Louisa 52, Thomas Allen decd., Nathaniel decd., Sarah Ann 48, John George 47, William Samuel 46, Frank 43.

Catherine had died 16 November 1899 at 158 Park Street West, Brunswick, from serous apoplexy. She was buried 18 November 1899 at Melbourne Cemetery.