NSW death certificates and how they can help in your research.

Posted: July 7, 2010 in Resources

NSW Birth, Death & Marriage certificates contain a wealth of information that can help you in your research.

Today I am going to look at some NSW death certificates that I have obtained that has helped in my research.  Death certificates are great as they can have a lot of information but in some cases, they don’t have the correct information (as you figure out once you start to check the information) or they don’t have any information.  Note though that the informant of the death certificate is not always the one with the correct information on the deceased.  Some death certificates can have a world of information (though maybe not correct) and some can have very little information with no chance to work out anything else.

Case 1: Death Certificate for Joseph Dilworth (died: 1877 – Ref:9391)

Joseph Dilworth died in August 1877 and according to his death certificate his place of death was ‘Cooks Creek, Rampsbeck, New England’.  He was a farmer, aged 67. His father is listed as John Dilworth. His son Joseph was the informant.  He is listed as being born at ‘Belfast’ Ireland and had been in the colony for 35 years.  His place of marriage was ‘Newtown’ to Mary Quirk.  Children of marriage are listed as John 30 and Joseph 21.

From that, I was able to work out the following:

  1. That Joseph had arrived around 1842 and after checking the bounty shipping records, I found that he arrived on the ship Wilson, with his wife ‘Eliza’ and son ‘Josias’ in January 1842. He is listed as being a native of Killyman, Tyrone and aged 24, making his birth year to be around 1818.  His parents are listed as John and Ruth. If you take his ‘age’ at death, his birth year would be 1810. Family Search shows a christening date for Joseph, with parents of John & Ruth in 1815 at Killyman Tyrone.
  2. His place of Marriage to Mary Quirk, is correct. Checking the NSW BDM indexes, shows they were married in 1857.
  3. Checking the 1870-1871 Electoral Rolls (available on Internet History Resources), shows Joseph living at Ramsbeck, New England.

What is missing from the death certificate?

  1. Details of his first marriage to Eliza.  Elizabeth died in December 1856.  It’s possible Joseph was not aware of her, though I’m not sure why when he had 5 half brothers & sisters.
  2. Details of all of Joseph’s children from both marriages are not listed.  Joseph & Eliza had 5 children and Joseph & Mary had 6 children.
  3. By the time Joseph had died, Mary, his second wife was living in a defacto relationship with Michael Melverton and had 3 children to him during the early 1870’s.

Case 2: Death Certificate for Mary Melvyton, formerly Dilworth (maiden name Quirk)

The death certificate for Mary Melverton or Melvyton was registered in the NSW BDM indexes under both Melvyton and Dilworth.

Mary died in Boggabri in November 1911. Her cause of death is listed as ‘rodent cancer of the face’. She was 78 years of age. Father’s name is listed as ‘John Quirk’.  Mother listed as ‘unknown’.  The informant was J J Dilworth, her son (John James Dilworth).  She was born in County Kilkenny, Ireland and had been in the colony of NSW for 59 years. The details of both marriages are listed, firstly to Joseph Dilworth, when she was 19 years and secondly to Michael Joseph Melvyton when she was 38 years.  Five of her children to Joseph are listed, along with their ages, with one being deceased.  Only 2 of her children to Michael are listed.

From that, I was able to work out the following:

  1. Doing a search of the NSW shipping indexes, I found a few Mary Quirk that were about the same age, but the only one that fitted was the Mary Quirke who had arrived on board the ship “Athenian” in 1853. (Reel 2137, [4/4791]; Reel 2464, [4/4928].  Her parents were listed as John & Catherine and she her native place was Kilkenny. She had an uncle Peter already living in the colony. A further check of the indexes and microfilm, I find not only find her Uncle Peter had arrived in 1852 (Ship Neptune) with his family but Peter’s two eldest children James and Margaret had arrived in 1849 on board the ship ‘Victoria’.  Further checks on the indexes also find’s Mary’s brother, Patrick arrived in 1854 on ‘David McIver’ and her mother Catherine and her two sisters also came out in 1857 (Matoka).
  2. Mary had 3 children to Michael Melverton whilst still being married to Joseph.  She did not marry Michael until 1887.

What is missing from the death certificate?

  1. Mary’s mother is listed as not known and her father’s name is listed as John.  Mary’s mother Catherine came out to NSW in 1857 and died in 1891. Mary’s father, John though died late 1840’s in Kilkenny Ireland.  From this, I would take it that maybe Mary’s children did not know their grandmother but Mary had talked about her father?
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