Genealogy Tips

Searching beyond record hints

Although the record hints in Ancestry, and other websites such as My Heritage, can help you find additional records for your ancestors, in many cases you would need to conduct more research, which may possibly not yet be included in the record collections at Ancestry (or My Heritage), to determine whether the record suggested is actually for your relative.

For an example, I received a record hint from Ancestry for Alan Stanley Green, in the  Global, Find A Grave Index for Burials at Sea and other Select Burial Locations, 1300s-Current collection.  This record showed he was born in 1884 in Colac, Victoria, Australia, and died 1 July 1942 at sea   The burial location is listed as Rabaul, East New Britain, Papua New Guinea, at the SS Montevideo Maru Memorial

The information I had was that Alan was born in 1880 and died in 1942, and that Alan had married Amy Marion McCallum in 1918.  The first place I tried to confirm if this was the same Alan Stanley Green as the one in my tree was the World War 2 Nominal Roll, since this includes the next of kin. However, he didn’t appear on this roll, which wasn’t that surprising since he was 58 years old.  It would appear that he was a civilian casualty of World War 2.

I then decided to find more information about the Montevideo Maru to confirm this was the case.  I decided to type “Monetvideo Maru” into google, and found The Sinking of the Montevideo Maru – Fact sheet 266, which stated that 200 civilian internees were on the Montevideo Maru when it was torpedoed and sunk.

So, I needed to find another way to find out whether this was the same Alan Stanley Green.  The next place I tried were the historic newspapers on Trove

While looking for the death notice, I found Alan and Marion’s marriage notice (her full name was Amy Marion McCallum, but she was known as Marion). This listed Alan’s parents as the late Ernest R. Green, and Mrs. E. J. Read.

I then had a look on the Victorian BDM website for Alan’s birth entry, to see if the birth year matches. After searching for an Alan Stanley Green, born between 1880 and 1890 in Victoria, I found the birth entry that matched the details from the marriage notice:

Alan Stanley Green, born in 1883 at Cola, father Ernest Reginal, mother Elizth Jessie (Rae) (registration no 22542).  This also matched the details on the record hint, which confirmed that this record was for the person in my tree.

Since the record on Ancestry was taken from Find A Grave, I decided to see if the Find A Grave memorial contained more details.  This memorial showed that Alan was the manager of Raulawat Plantation in New Britain.  He had also served in World War 1 in the 2nd Field Artillery Brigade AIF.

I also found the following Media Release about the Montevideo Maru .  This included the statement “Most of the 208 civilians who died were Australians who considered the Territory of New Guinea, at this time administered by Australia, to be their home. Whilst the women and children were evacuated, the men had to remain at their places of employment in the New Guinea Islands leading up to the Japanese invasion”.  This also provided the following details about Alan Stanley Green.

GREEN, Allan Stanley; Planter; Born Colac, Victoria; Resided Raulawat Plantation, New Britain; Aged 58. (Served World War 1; Regt No 908; 2nd Field Artillery Brigade)

I decided to try entering “Alan Stanley Green” in google, and found a record for Alan at  This record not only provides details of Alan’s occupation, and the location where he was captured by the Japanese, but gives his father’s name and occupation, his mother’s maiden name, his wife’s name, and where they were married, and where his wife was living. This record provided further proof that this record was for the person in my tree.