Friday, 26 May 2017

Oh My, Miss Mary Prince: Part 2

Last year, I told you a story about Mary Alice Helena Prince, my 1st Cousin, 3x Removed.

Here is a brief summary -

Mary was born in 1894, Macksville, New South Wales to parents Harriett Helena Gill (1869 – 1953) and John Charles Prince (1855 – 1930). After her youngest sibling was born in 1912, she relocated to Melbourne with her parents. However, by 1930, she was back in New South Wales and living at Little Billabong Station, near Holbrook in New South Wales. She remained there until at least 1949; the last Electoral Roll I found that has her living at Little Billabong. 

Location of Little Billabong Station
[Source: Google Maps]

I had also discovered, thanks to Trove, that in 1953 Mary was suing John James McLaurin for breach of promise. John was a grazier at Little Billabong and to whom Mary was engaged for 21 years. In the end Mary was granted $1000 in damages for McLaurin's breach of promise. 

One of the many articles about the court case.
[Source: WOMAN SUES GRAZIER (1953, May 14). National Advocate (Bathurst, NSW : 1889 - 1954),
p. 4. Retrieved April 18, 2016, from]
At the time of writing about Mary last year, I had learned that in 1963 Mary was living in Castle Hill, Sydney, except her surname was Lawson. In 1968, she was living in Swansea, Newcastle. In both electoral rolls there was no other Lawson at her address. I had not been able to find a marriage in Victoria or New South Wales. I wondered if she really married or changed her surname for some sort of protection. The court case was very publicized in newspapers all around Australia. Mary passed away in 1971 and I was not sure where she was buried either.  

Last month, I finally got around to ordering Mary's death certificate. 

Snippet of  a transcription of Mary's death certificate ordered from NSW Family History Transcriptions

What information am I most interested in? 

Name of Spouse: Christopher Bernard Lawson. A likely explanation as to how she changed her surname to Lawson.

Age at Marriage: 60. If Mary passed away at 76 years in 1971, her approximate marriage year is 1955. 

Place of Marriage: Box Hill, Victoria. Unfortunately, the Victorian Births, Deaths and Marriages historical index currently has marriages until 1942, which would explain why I could not find a marriage record for Mary.

Conjugal Status: Widow. This provides the assumption that Christopher passed away before 1971.

As Mary was living in New South Wales when she passed away, I searched the New South Wales BDM Index for a potential death record for a Christopher Lawson, including other spelling variants. Conclusion: Negatory.

I searched the Victoria BDM for a death record for a Christopher Lawson and was given the following result:

Name: Christian Bernard Lawson.
Death Year: 1966
Age: 77
Place: Mont Albert, Victoria. 
Father: Frederick Lawson
Mother: Mary Catherine Lyons

I immediately ordered his death certificate to find out more.
Cause of Death: Effects of injuries received when he was struck by a motor car. 
The verdict was declared at an inquest held by the coroner. 

Where Married: Mont Albert, Victoria.
Age: Unknown
To Whom: Mary Uren
Conjugal Condition at Death: Married
Children: No

Is this him? I am not sure yet. The informant was the coroner, so perhaps he did not know the correct information about this Mary Uren? I found Christian's birth record for the year 1889, but could not find a marriage before 1942 for a Surname Lawson to a First Name Mary. 

I found two Victorian Electoral Roll records for a Christian Bernard Lawson.
1 - 1949, Scott St, Vermont. 
2 - 1963, View St, Subdivision of Surrey Hills.

In 1963, Mary is listed in the electoral rolls as living in New South Wales. Both were living on their own. Keep in mind that sometimes people forgot to update their address when they moved. 

The Victorian BDM says that marriage certificates can be applied for without identification documents if the marriage occurred more than 60 years ago, and both parties are deceased. 60 years ago was 1957, and Mary and Christian are both deceased. I wonder if the Vic BDM will be able to help me? I would love to know if this Christian is indeed the Christopher Bernard Lawson on Mary's death certificate.