52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks

52 Ancestors #8 Maria Louisa Doyle

Maria Louisa Doyle was born 17 January 1847, and christened 8 February 1847 at Birmingham St Phillip, Birmingham, Warwickshire, England

She came to Australia with her parents on the “Great Britain”, arriving in Victoria in August 1862.  On the 17 April 1865, she married Thomas Henry Russell in Buninyong.  They had 10 children.

I found a death entry for Maria Louisa Russell in 1925 at Ballarat, so I ordered the certificate, to see if it was for my Maria.  Unfortunately, the certificate doesn’t provide the names of her parents, spouse or children.  The only information it provided was her age, 78, and that she had been born in England.  When reviewing the certificate, I noticed that an inquest had been held into her death, so I went to the Public Record Office Victoria Public website, to view the file.

The following is the evidence given by Ellen Rowler, the nurse at the Hospital for Insane Ballarat

Deceased patient Maria Louisa Russell came under my care on the 7-6-21 when she was transferred to the hospital. Her health was fair, but being a epileptic was at times very irritable and troublesome.

She became very feeble about a year ago and has been confined to bed since December 1924, and gradually failed and died at 4.50 PM on the 28th inst.

She was visited by Relatives occasionally, and Church of England Clergyman regularly

E Rowler

The inquest file didn’t mention any relatives’ names.

I then decided to try Trove, to see if I could find a death notice for her.  I didn’t find a death notice, but I did find the following notice for her son.

William Owen Edward Russell Letters of Administration
Advertising (1896, July 24). The Age (Melbourne, Vic. : 1854 – 1954), p. 3. Retrieved August 21, 2017, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article190608256

This places her in Fitzroy in 1896.  Since the Fitzroy Rate Books are included in the Victoria, Australia, Rate Books, 1855-1963 collection at Ancestry, I decided to see if I could find Maria.  Although I couldn’t find a Maria Russell in Fitzroy in 1896, there were entries for Mary Russell.  Unfortunately, the rate books don’t provide the address, so I don’t know if any of these are for Maria.  I did find a Maria L Russell on the 1900 Rate Books for Port Melbourne: Maria L Russell of Brunswick was the owner of 133 Cruickshank St. The occupant was Thomas Bomfort.

Maria’s mother, Catherine Mills, had died in 1899 at Brunswick, and her son William had been living at Port Melbourne, so this made it possible that this was my Maria, but I still needed to find later records to confirm that the Maria who died in 1925 was my Maria.

I then turned to the Australia, Electoral Rolls, 1903-1980 collection on Ancestry, and there were only two entries for Maria Louisa Russell, one in 1914 in Prahran, and the other in 1919 in Box Hill.

Since I had only found the two entries on the Electoral rolls, I decided to do a more thorough search, and I found Maria louisa Russell in 1905.  The entry showed Maria Louisa Russell was living at 27 Oberon Avenue Auburn.  This time I could tell I had the right person, as her daughter Victoria May Russell was also living at this address.

The index for 1906 lists her as just Maria Russell, but the image shows Maria Louisa Russell was still living at 27 Oberon Avenue Auburn, and her daughter Victoria was also still living there.

I was then able to find her in the Rate books for Hawthorn from 1903 to 1910, listed as Louisa M Russell.  She was the owner occupier of the house in Oberon Avenue from 1903 to 1905.  She was still the owner of the house at Oberon Avenue from 1907 to 1910, but she was no longer the occupant.

Although I haven’t been able to track down where she was living after 1906, since I have only found a few records for the name Maria Louisa Russell, they appear to all be for my Maria.

Background of featured image is a photo from Unsplash – https://unsplash.com/?photo=lBL7rSRaNGs Photo by WestBoundary Photography chris gill