Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Update on the death of Harriett CASTLE nee LEWIS (1836-?)

Harriett CASTLE nee LEWIS stands as my only ancestor in Australia whose death I have been unable to find - one of my nagging challenges. I have literally tried everything, and it is possible her death was not registered, or that the NSW BDM didn't index her death certificate. The only clues I had to the window in which she died was that her final children were twins who were born and died in 1872 (earliest date), and that Isaac CASTLEs obituary stated she had predeceased him 'by a lengthy period'.

Tonight I accidentally found a short article regarding a family member trying to trace Harriet:

The Leader (Orange, NSW)
6 April 1914
Recently in the Sydney "Evening News" (which paper publishes a list of missing friends) appears the following amongst the list:- "Castle, (Harriett) last heard of at Bathurst, Australia. Inquirer, aunt, Mrs. T. Stround, 16 Robert-street, North Woolwich." The lady inquired for turned out to be the mother of Mr. Jacob Castle, of Carcoar. She died about 25 years ago at Cowra, and Mr. Castle has now forwarded the information to England. "Jake" had no knowledge of his grand aunts existence.

This short note sets a date for death of about 1890, but even this information hasn't yielded any likely deaths in the NSW BDM. My first reading of this article led me to believe the aunt to be in Woolwich, Sydney, NSW, but the article clearly states that the enquirer was in England, where Harriett was born.

Identifying the connection to the aunt could be tricky. Her father John LEWIS (1799 East Hendred, Berks - 1866 Geelong, Vic) had eleven siblings all born in East or West Hendred, I assumed that Harriett may never have known that her own father emigrated to Victoria with his second wife and nine of his children, and died in poverty in Geelong, but the article suggests Harriett had maintained family ties in England. Berkshire. Her mother Dinah TABOR (1794 East Hendred, Berks - 1839 East Hendred, Berks) had five siblings, so there are plenty of candidates! The search is complicated by the fact that STROUND does not appear to be a surname, and the Leader may have mis-transcribed the original advert (they also had a typographical error in their heading).

The National Library of Australia also shows that the Sunday Times of 19 April 1914 also ran the advert as follows:
Castle, (Harriett) last heard of at Bathurst, Australia. Inquirer, aunt, Mrs. T. Stroud, 16 Robert-street, North Woolwich, Eng.
confirming STROUD as the name of the aunt, and England as her residence.

At any rate, the relationship is a little curious - Harriett was born in 1836, her aunts and uncles around 30 years earlier. The chance that she had a surviving aunt in 1914 seems extremely slim.

Another mystery to add to the pile!

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