As I was driving to my training session with my Personal Trainer this morning, I started to think about my enigma, my biggest brick wall. George Thomas Matthews.
I don’t think I will ever be able to knock this one down, but every so often I do come back to him just to see if maybe there is something I might have missed the last time I researched him.
I do not know George’s exact birth date, or who his parents were nor have I ever found his death.
The following is what I know which I have gathered from various sources, such as birth and marriage certificates, Police Gazettes and other documents.
||Possible birth year based on age at time of event
|Birth of Son George Thomas
|Birth of Son James
|Birth of Daughter Ellen
|Birth of Son William
|Birth of Daughter Maria
So you can see from the above, he was born between 1842 & 1849. All of the children’s birth certificates say that George’s birth place was Prospect, Parramatta or just Prospect NSW.
George married Ellen Shoulders on the 12th May 1873 at Laura Station, Bundarra. The details of George’s parents or his age are not listed on the certificate:
They had the following children:
- George Thomas 1875-1960
- Louise 1877-1920
- James 1979-1914
- Ellen 1881-1966 (my Great Grandmother)
- Susan Jane 1883-1916
- Elizabeth 1885-1924
- William 1887 – ??
- Mary Ann 1890 – ??
- Emily 1892- ??
- Maria 1894-1895
Can the names of George’s parents be taken from the names of his children? I think maybe his father was named George, Thomas, or William. I have checked all of the births for George Matthews/Matthews located in NSW between 1840 and 1851. I have looked at them all and from what I can gather none of them match to my George. When I thought maybe one of them did, I found the corresponding death certificate or another marriage which proved otherwise.
The notable ones are:
George born 1840 to Hugh and Elizabeth at Patterson, Muswellbrook – married a Mary Jeffers and died in Tasmania.
George born 1843 to William and Jane at Campbelltown. This George died in 1863
George born 1851 to George and Jane at Maitland. This George married a Ellen Cavanagh and died in 1900.
- George can be found on the NSW Electoral Roll btw 1881 and 1882 (age 38-40) at Barraba, New South Wales, Australia, Police District Tamworth
- George can be found on the NSW Electoral Roll btw 1882 and 1883 (age 39-41) Gunnedah, New South Wales, Australia George Mathews – Residence – Gunnedah -Police district of Gunnedah
- George can be found on the 1891 NSW Census with his family living at Laidlow Street Boggabri New South Wales.
In February 1895, a warrant was issued by the Boggabri Bench for George’s arrest.
6 Feb 1895, New South Wales Police Gazette, Page 47
Boggabri -A warrant has been issued by the Boggabri Bench for the arrest of George Matthews, charged with unlawfully deserting his wife, Ellen Matthews, at Boggabri, since the 17th September last, leaving her without means of support. He is about 50 years of age, 5 feet 7 inches high, light hair, beard, and moustache, bow-legged, blue eyes, slovenly appearance, right leg has been broken and is shorter than the left leg ; a horse-driver and shearer. May probably be heard of at Woolshed Station, near Bundarra.
This is where George just goes missing. I have checked every possible death certificate for George between 1894 and 1920 without success. So not being able to find his death or any other document to show the name of his parents, it is hard to determine where and when he was born, though unfortunately to confuse the issue for some (though not me), there are websites, including public trees on Ancestry that indicate that George Thomas Mathews’ parents were Henry Mathews & Susan or Susannah Morris. One particular tree has these parents listed and George being born in 1849 but also arriving on a ship in 1841 at the age of 5 and when you look at the shipping index the names of the parents are different. This tree also has George living in Cambridgeshire in 1841 & 1851. This is clearly incorrect. I have attempted to contact the owners of the tree but no one has responded to provide the details or sources as to how they came about this.
His wife Ellen remarried in 1921 to a Horatio Henry Baker at Bingara and died at Bingara on the 22 September 1922.
So, another couple of hours trolling through ancestry, Trove and my notes from my previous searches and still no closer to finding George.