52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks

52 Ancestors #41 Alfred Smallbrook Brown

Amy Johnson Crow introduced the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks challenge on her No Story Too Small blog in 2014. This year she continued the challenge, but also added a weekly theme.  This week the theme is: Colorful. Everyone has at least one “colorful” ancestor. Share the story of one of yours.

I couldn’t think of a “colourful” ancestor, so I decided to use a surname that is also a colour.  The person I therefore chose is Alfred Smallbrook Brown.

To begin with, the only information I had for Alfred was from the birth, death and marriage indexes for Victoria.  These showed that he married Louisa Mulder in 1870.  Louisa was the daughter of Thomas Mulder and Louisa House (her brother Patrick John Theodore Mulder was my ex-husband’s 2x great grandfather).

These indexes also showed that Alfred and Louisa had 12 children:

  • Alfred Smallbrook Brown born in 1870 in Ballarat
  • Frederick Dupree Brown born in 1872 in Ballarat
  • Stephen Vincent Brown born in 1874 in Ballarat East
  • Charles Lambert Brown born in 1876 in Ballarat
  • Ella Louise Brown born in 1877 in Ballarat
  • John Fielding Brown born in 1880 in Warrnambool
  • Florence Augusta Brown born in 1881 in Warrnambool
  • Harry Brown born in 1883 in Warrnambool
  • Stanley Best Brown born in 1884 in Warrnambool
  • George Fynney Brown born in 1886 in Warrnambool
  • Sidney Brown born in 1888 in Warrnambool
  • Jessie Matilda Brown born in 1890 in Warrnambool

The death indexes showed Alfred died in 1936 in Warrnambool, and his mother was Augusta Matilda Fynney.  His father was unknown.  Louisa died in 1925 in Warrnambool.

Then in December 2010, I was contacted by a relative on the Fynney side of the family.  Since this contact wanted information about Alfred’s father, I decided to get Alfred and Louisa’s marriage certificate, to see if this certificate had any information about who his father was.

The marriage certificate showed Alfred and Louisa were married 18 May 1870 at St Paul’s Anglican Church, Ballarat, Victoria, Australia.  Alfred was listed as having been born in Manchester, England, and he was 23 years old.  He was working as a draper, and living in Ballarat East.   The certificate listed his parents as William Brown, cotton manufacturer, and Augusta Fynney1.

The Fynney contact and I then spent some time trying to find Alfred’s birth record in England, with not much success.  Then in March 2011, a descendant of Alfred and Louisa sent us copies of Alfred’s birth and death certificates. And here is where the fun begins – his birth certificate lists his father as John Brown, a commercial traveller. We then went looking for a marriage of Augusta Finney to a man named Brown, but were unable to find one.  And then we went looking at records for Alfred’s sister Ella, and her marriage certificate listed her father as Thomas Brown.  Because of the discrepancy in the name of Alfred’s father, we haven’t yet been able to verify who Alfred’s father was.

Alfred Brown was born 20 March 1846 at Liveslays(?) Buildings, Mason(?) Street, Hulme2.  The informant was his mother, Augusta Matilda Brown, formerly Finney.   The reason we had so much trouble finding the birth certificate was that only his first name, Alfred, was given.  Also, we had been looking in the Manchester registration district (since that is where his death and marriage certificates show he was born), while his birth was registered in the Chorlton registration district.

Alfred’s death certificate showed he died 11 August 1936 in Warrnambool (I can’t read the name of the street).  He was 90 years old, and died of senile decay. (I also can’t read his occupation).  He was buried 15 August 1936 at Warrnambool Cemetery.  The certificate also shows he had spent 70 years in Victoria, indicating he arrived in Australia around 18663.

It’s been a while since I did any more research on this branch of the family, so I decided to see if I could find any newspaper articles about Alfred on the Trove website.  The first article I found was for their marriage:

From The Age, Melbourne Friday 20 May 1870 page 2, column 3


Brown-Mulder – On the 18th May, at St Paul’s, Ballarat, Alfred Smallbrook Brown, to Louisa, eldest daughter of Thomas Mulder, both of Ballarat, no cards4.

This notice was also placed in the Leader, Melbourne, Saturday 21 May 1870.

These were the only articles I could find for Alfred Smallbrook Brown, apart from a mention of him as one of the executors of an estate.  The difficulty in trying to find articles specific to this family is the fact that brown is a colour, as well as a fairly common surname, so even narrowing my search to the Warrnambool paper, I wasn’t able to find any other articles for him at this time.

Although I know the Alfred arrived in Victoria between 1861 (he appears on the 1861 England census with his mother and sister) and May 1870, I have not yet been able to find an immigration record for him.

Sources of information

  1. Victoria, Australia Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages, marriage certificate 1216 (1870), Brown-Mulder; digital image, State Government of Victoria Department of Justice & Regulation, Births Deaths Marriages Victoria(http://www.bdm.vic.gov.au/ : accessed 14 Dec 2010).
  2. England and Wales, birth certificate for Alfred Brown, born 20 March 1846; citing 20/330/2, Jan-Feb-Mar quarter 1846, Chorlton registration district, Hulme sub-district; General Register Office, Southport.
  3. Victoria, Australia Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages, death certificate 18443 (1936), Alfred Smallbroke Brown; Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages, Victoria, Melbourne.
  4. Family Notices. (1870, May 20).The Age (Melbourne, Vic. : 1854 – 1954), p. 2. Retrieved October 13, 2015, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article189326246
  5. 1861 census of England, Beverley St Nicholas, Yorkshire, folio 45, page 5, Alfred S Brown; digital images, ancestry.com, com(http://home.ancestry.com.au/ : accessed 13 Oct 2015); citing PRO RG 9/3570.