Latest research

Latest research: Elvie Rebecca Ann Thomas

My Trove Tuesday post yesterday featured the article about the death of Brian Edgar Ardley.  This article had mentioned that his father, Edgar Ardley, had died six months earlier. I checked my family tree, and found I didn’t have any details about Edgar’s death, so I tried finding a death notice for Edgar on Trove, but was unable to find one.  I then went to the Victorian Birth Death Marriage website, and decided to do a search for any events for Edgar Ardley.

These were the only results for any events for the surname Ardley, given name Edgar, in Victoria.

Family name (surname)ARDLEY
Given namesBrian Edgar
Father’s name / Spouse’s family nameArdley Edgar
Mother’s maiden name / Spouse’s given nameElvie Rebecca Ann (Thomas)
Reg. year1938
Reg. no14601

Family name (surname)ARDLEY
Given namesEdgar
Father’s name / Spouse’s family nameJohn Charles
Mother’s maiden name / Spouse’s given nameGrace (Winsor)
Reg. year1897
Reg. no13297

Family name (surname)ARDLEY
Given namesEdgar
Father’s name / Spouse’s family nameSTOTT
Mother’s maiden name / Spouse’s given nameElma Carrie Elaine
Reg. year1922
Reg. no8724

Family name (surname)ARDLEY
Given namesEdgar
Father’s name / Spouse’s family nameALLAN
Mother’s maiden name / Spouse’s given nameElvie Rebecca Anne
Reg. year1936
Reg. no2352

Family name (surname)ARDLEY
Given namesEdgar
Father’s name / Spouse’s family nameArdley Jno
Mother’s maiden name / Spouse’s given nameGrace (Windsor)
Reg. year1937
Reg. no18170

The first entry, the death of Brian Edgar Ardley, I had already found. The article about Brian’s death showed his father had died 6 months earlier – in 1937, so the death in 1937 would be for our Edgar, which would mean the birth entry in 1897 was for the same person. This left two marriage entries: the one for Elvie and Edgar, and the other for Edgar to Elma Stott.

What surprised me was that her surname wasn’t her maiden name, Thomas, but Allan. This indicated that she had been married before, so I then did a search for a marriage for Elvie Thomas, and found that Elvie Rebecca Thomas had married John Henry Allan in 1930.

So, what happened to John Henry Allan?  Did he die before 1936, when Elvie married Edgar Ardley? I was unable to find a death entry that matched, so it was back to Trove, where I found an article about their divorce.

Elvie Rebecca Allan divorce
DIVORCE COURT. (1935, June 15). The Age (Melbourne, Vic. : 1854 – 1954), , p. 15. Retrieved August 16, 2016, from

Elvie Rebecca Allan, 25 years, Walnut-avenue, Mildura, sought divorce from John Henry Allan, 28 years, of Melbourne, fruit stall proprietor, on the ground of desertion. The parties were married 14th May, 1930, at Mildura, and there is one child. A decree nisi was granted.

My latest research showed that Elvie had married John Henry Allan in 1930, and they divorced in 1935. They had one child. Elvie then married Edgar Ardley in 1936, and they had a son Brian.  Edgar died in 1937, and Brian died 6 months later in 1938.

I had already found a death entry for Elvie, which showed she died in 1957, aged 47 years.  At the time, her surname was McKenzie.  I also found the following death and funeral notices for her:

The Sun Sat Oct 12 1957

MCKENZIE – On Oct 11 at private hospital Essendon Elvie dearly beloved wife of Frederick, late of Merbein, loving mother of Ray and Brian (dec) mother in law of Gloria and Gran of Patricia Aged 47 years

MCKENZIE – On Oct 11 Elvie, loving sister of Daisy (Mrs Dean), Ivy (Mrs Sherringham), Lillian (Mrs Ooff), Edith (Mrs Albert), Viola (Mrs Austin) Edward, George, Norman Ronald and Bill (dec)

MCKENZIE – The funeral of the late Mrs Elvie Rebecca Ann McKenzie will leave our Chapel Cnr Buckley Rd and Leslie-rd Essendon on MONDAY (Oct 14) at the conclusion of a service commencing at 10.45 am for the Fawkner Crematorium Joseph Allison Pty Ltd Essendon FU 1002

Elvie therefore married for the third time sometime between 1938 and 1957.  In order to narrow down the time period when she would have married Frederick, I checked the Australia, Electoral Rolls, 1903-1980 collection at Ancestry. I decided to try and find all the entries for her, so that I could follow the surname changes, so I only entered “Elvie Rebecca” in the given name fields, and left the surname blank.   Fortunately, she had a fairly unique name, so she was easy to find.

The first Electoral roll I found for her was the 1936 Electoral roll.  She was still listed under the surname Allan, and was living in Mildura district.

The 1937 Electoral roll had two entries for her:

Elvie Rebecca Ardley in Essendon – Edgar Ardley and Elvie Rebecca A. Ardley were both at 8 Gillies St.  Edgar’s occupation was upholsterer, and Elvie’s was home duties

Elvie Rebecca Ann Ardley in Geelong West   Edgar Ardley and Elvie Rebecca Ann Ardley were living at 59 Albert St – their occupations were the same as on the entry in Essendon.

The next available Electoral rolls was in 1942.  At that time, she had returned to Mildura, and was still using the surname Ardley.  This indicates she married Frederick McKenzie after 1942.

The next Electoral roll I was able to find her on was the one in 1954.  She was living at Box Street Merbein, and her surname was now McKenzie.

I had only been able to narrow down the date range for her marriage to between 1942 and 1954.  One option would be to go to the State Library, in order to access the Electoral rolls between 1942 and 1954, to determine when she changed surnames.

The 1954 Electoral roll did show that there was a Frederick Edmund McKenzie living in Box Street Merbein, so this seems likely to have been her husband.  There was also a Ray McKenzie at the same address, who was also a baker.  This seems likely to have been the son mentioned on Elvie’s death notice.  The question is: would he have been the child mentioned in the article about Elvie’s divorce?  Or was he Frederick’s son from a previous marriage?

Since it might be quite some time before I can get to Melbourne (I don’t have a car at the moment), the best way to answer the question as to when Elvie married Frederick, and whether Ray was her son, or Frederick’s, would be to get her death certificate, so I did.

Her death certificate showed, that her first marriage took place in Mildura, Victoria when she was 22 years old.  She was married to Jack Allen.  They had one child, Ray, who was age 24 years.  Her second marriage also took place in Mildura, Victoria, when she was 27 years old.  Her husband was listed as Brian Ardley, and they had one child, Brian, who was deceased.  Her third marriage was in Mildura, Victoria when she was 35 years old.  She was married to Frederick Edmund McKenzie.  They had no children.

From this certificate, she was married to Frederick around 1945.  The certificate shows that Ray was her son.  It also appears that he used the surname McKenzie,

I decided to try and find more information about Ray.  I found a Public Member Tree at ancestry that had a Ray McKenzie born 14 April 1932, died 4 November 2006 in Mildura.   There were no details listed for his parents, and his wife is listed as still living.  I then did a search on the Ryerson Index, and found a corresponding entry:

McKENZIE      Ray      Death notice     04NOV2006    Death               at Mildura        Herald Sun (Melbourne)            06NOV2006

I decided to check BillionGraves, and found that his gravestone is included there:

The gravestone shows:

Ray McKenzie
Loving Husband to Gloria
Father to Patricia & Rayleen
Poppy to Cobey and Reily
Memories are forever

Elvie’s death notice had said she was the mother in law of Gloria and gran of Patricia. The age, place of death, and the names of his wife and daughter indicate that this is the same Ray, and that he used the surname McKenzie after his mother married Frederick McKenzie