Friday, 25 July 2014

A little bit of trivia

Yesterday I had occasion to put a dollar coin in a parking meter in our central business district.

The coin dropped through.  I tried again but again it dropped through.
I picked up the coin to check it and it turned out to be a New Zealand coin so I found another that it would accept.

As we walked down the street I idly commented to my husband that the coin must have been the wrong weight so the meter wouldn't accept it.

That prompted him to remember back to the days he worked for the PMG (Post Master General) in Numurkah, Victoria in the late 1960s.

He said he had to go around all the phone booths in town and call the operator and test their ability to know what coins were dropped into the slots by sound!

He had to carry around all coin denominations and once he had the operator on the line he would insert coins randomly and the operator would have to tell him whether the coin was a five, ten, twenty or fifty cents by the sound the coin made as it dropped.

He said he also had to carry metal washers with him and insert one at random to see if the operator could tell.

Some would say "that wasn't a coin" whereas others would name a coin they thought it was.

I was amazed.  I didn't know that was done.


Add this into your diary - commences ABC1 on 19 August 2014

Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Helen Margaret SKALBERG nee McFadyen

My grandmother's first cousin was Helen Margaret McFadyen.

Helen, known as Margaret,  was born in 1909 at Brunswick, Victoria the youngest daughter of John Thomas McFadyen and his wife Katie (Catherine nee Adams).

Catherine/Katie nee Adams died in 1946 - she was a daughter of George Adams and Catherine Barry.

Again cousin Christine came up trumps in a search for Catherine/Katie's daughter, Mrs Margaret Skalberg.  She found the following document in the National Archives.  I requested permission from the NAA to use the image here.

photo courtesy of National Archives of Victoria
All of the above information fits with what we have found in electoral rolls etc.
I didn't know that an Australian who married an "alien" resident had to also register as an alien.
Helen/Margaret's husband, John Skalberg, has been listed on the Russian Anzacs website and he served for Australia in both World Wars.

Born 1895 (WWI), 3.01.1898 (WWII)     Place St Petersburg, North-Western Russia (WWI) or Wolmar (Valmiera), Latvia (WWII)     Ethnic origin Russian/Latvian?     Religion Roman Catholic
Father Skalberg, Joseph
Arrived at Australia -
Residence before enlistment Port Melbourne
Occupation 1916 labourer, 1941 salesman
service number 518A     enlisted 5.12.1916     POE Melbourne
unit 10th MG Company, 13th MG Company, 4th MG Battalion       rank Private
place Western Front, 1917-1918      casualties WIA 1918
final fate RTA 5.04.1919       discharged 7.11.1919
Naturalisation served as Russian subject
Residence after the war Melbourne
Wife Helen Skalberg, married 1929 (?); son Ivan John Skalberg
WWII served 1941-1945 Army pay corps
Died 15.08.1974

In searching the electoral rolls things get a bit confusing.  Helen/Margaret named her address as 169 Brunswick Road but in the electoral roll in 1949 there is listed a Helen Alfreda Skalberg.  We can't find Helen/Margaret and John Skalberg together anywhere.

In 1954 an Ivan John Skalberg (son?) was living at 169 Brunswick road.  He was a commercial artist, but neither Helen nor John were listed there.  He was later living in Heidelberg.

Helen Skalberg died in 1976 at Parkville, Victoria.  Her husband, John Skalberg, died in 1974.  They are both buried at Fawkner Cemetery.

Wednesday, 16 July 2014

Mysterious Mr. Mansfield

In researching our Adams family it seems each time we find an answer to something it poses another question.

George Adams and his first wife, Catherine nee Barry, were my great great grandparents.  This post is about their second youngest daughter Margaret Adams.

Margaret's mother, Catherine, died at Park Street, Melbourne in 1884 and father, George died at 5 Brixton Street Flemington in 1921.

In George's will he left his surviving daughters from his first marriage 20 pounds each and all the daughters except Margaret are mentioned by their married names, yet Margaret's death certificate states she married a James Mansfield in South Melbourne at the age of 25 which would have been in 1893.

Margaret was born at Vasse in Western Australia in 1868.  Her death certificate states she was 55 years of age and had spent one year in W.A and 54 years in Victoria.  She died in 1926 at what I initially thought was perhaps 72a Watters or Walters Street, Albert Park but I couldn't find a street by either name.

No registration or certificate has been found for a marriage of James Mansfield and Margaret Adams.

But ......

My third cousin and fellow Adams researcher Christine found a couple of articles in the Argus Newspaper from January 1893 about a James Alexander Mansfield being arrested for Bigamy.  This James Alexander Mansfield was a former Secretary of the Amalgamated Seamen's Union.

In the 1903, 1909 and 1914 electoral rolls a James Alexander was living at 68 Beaconsfield Parade, Albert Park with a Margaret Mansfield.  His occupation is given as coalweigher.

In 1924 electoral roll Margaret Mansfield was still living at 68 Beaconsfield Parade.  There is a Withers Street directly around the corner from that address, could that be where Margaret Mansfield nee Adams died in 1926?  Living at 66 Withers Street was a John Burgess Mansfield and a Nina Mansfield.  I haven't found a connection ..... yet.

I could find no other suitable James Alexander Mansfield in a search of the electoral rolls, nor could I find a death certificate or registration but on searching Trove again I found the following death notice for 1917.

Could our Margaret Adams "husband" be James Alexander Mansfield the bigamist?  Husband of M. Mansfield could be purposefully ambiguous?

Monday, 23 June 2014

GRANDAD (Mr Adams, Byaduk, Victoria)

I am hoping this post may one day catch the eye of someone who is connected to or knows about a Mrs. Fisher who may be a grand daughter of George Adams who lived at Byaduk in 1885.

Recently I received a message from Merron, author of the wonderful Blog  Western District Families telling me of a photo she had come across titled Grandad (Mr Adams, Byaduk, Victoria).

The photo was in a collection at the State Library of Victoria and all the details can be seen here  but in short, the picture is dated ca 1885, donated in 1987, with title and information given by donor, Mrs Fisher.

Merron has extensively researched people of the Byaduk area and the only Adams she knows of that may have a connection to the area was my great great grandfather, George Adams, whose second marriage was to Sarah Oakley nee Harman, a daughter of Merron's 4th great grandparents, Joseph Harman and Sarah Mulberry.

Could this be him?

As you can imagine my cousin Christine and I are wanting to claim him but we have never seen a photo of him.  We have been extensively researching our common ancestor George Adams who was born in Saffron Walden, UK in 1831.
In 1885 he would be 54.  Does this man look 54?

Merron says in those days they usually looked a bit older than they actually were.

The photos donor, Mrs Fisher, may well be a descendant but in all our research to date we haven't found a connection to the surname Fisher.  Although that would be her married name, we still can't connect it to any known grandchildren of our George Adams.

Our George came to Fremantle, Western Australia sometime around the early 1850s and married a young Irish lass by the name of Catherine Barry in 1853.

Their first child, Susan was born in Fremantle in 1854 and then they moved to Melbourne where their next child, George jnr was born in 1856.
Five more children were born to the couple in Melbourne, John in 1858 (my great grandfather), Mary in 1860, Edward (Christine's great great grandfather) in 1862, Katie/Catherine in 1864 and David in 1866.

Then we found George and Catherine had moved back to Albany in W.A. In 1868 George Adams and John Mattinson won the tender to build the Albany Post Office. Albany is where George and Catherine's last two daughters were born.  Margaret in 1868 and Annie in 1870.

The building of the Post Office and Customs and Court house was completed late in 1869.  Christine has written more in depth about George here.

They then moved back to Melbourne and sadly Catherine died at Parkville in 1884.

In 1885 in Byaduk George remarried Sarah Oakley nee Harman of Byaduk.  Sarah was the widow of Walter Oakley.  On their marriage certificate George was living at Byaduk but is "usual" residence was Parkville.  In the 1903 Vic electoral rolls George and Sarah are living at 5 Brixton Street, Flemington where they resided for the rest of their lives.

Merron found a George Adams, builder, listed at Byaduk in the 1885 Victorian Post Office Directory and this is why we think the photo is of our George Adams.

BUT ............

The State Library also has a photo titled "Mr and Mrs Adams's home at Byaduk, Vic" that is dated ca 1875 which is way too early for it to be George and Sarah's house.  This photo was also donated by Mrs Fisher in 1987.

Is the date just a guess?

I have asked the State Library if there is any further information on the photos but as yet have received no reply.  My request still seems to be in their pipeline.

Tuesday, 29 April 2014

Trove Tuesday - A maintenance suit at the Cross Keys Hotel

The Kelly family in this story had no connection to the original Morgan's and associated Kelly families of the Cross Keys Hotel. 

Margaret Morgan, widow of John Felix Morgan; daughter in law of Alice Morgan did still own the hotel in 1922.

A MAINTENANCE SUIT. (1915, August 21).Independent (Footscray, Vic. : 1883 - 1922), p. 3. Retrieved March 26, 2014, from

For the  Trove Tuesday theme by Amy from Branches, Leaves & Pollen