Who was William Elvis Allen?

After many years of searching, a close DNA match has finally given me information on my grandfather William Alan (Allen) Wyatt. From many records now shared between Dennis (and his half sister Carol), Kylie, Julie, Bob and Kevin, we are now all descendants of :

William Elvis Allen

Life in England

My grandfather was born to  parents William Elvis and Florence Emily Allen nee Evans and the birth registered in the third quarter of 1902. (Certificate has been ordered) Unfortunately, our William lost his father before he was born (death registered in first quarter 1902 and certificate ordered)  Florence had two other young children Frank Earnest aged 5 and Ethel Maud aged 1 to look after. I wonder if she had to go to a workhouse for a while as there is a record for a Florence Emily Allen age 24 being discharged to the infirmary at the Lewisham Workhouse on Friday 3 October 1903? Need to check if the children were there or if this is just a red herring.

When our William was baptised on 24 June 1903, the family were living at 120 Livingstone Road in the parish of Upper Norwood in Surrey. It is mentioned on the baptism record that his father had been a carpenter and was deceased. Looking at the 1901 census, living at the same address were William and Florence, children Frank and Ethel but also Florence’s parents George and Mary Evans and two of their sons, Albert and Charles.

In 1905, things were looking up for Florence and her children as she married Frederick Edward Bray in April. They quickly had three more children Albert, Kathleen and Charles.

By the 1911 census living at 124 Livingstone Road were Frederick and Florence Bray, their three children and two step children Frank and William. Something has happened to Ethel. Our William was now around 8 years old, his brother Frank about 14. Frederick was a general labourer working for the Croydon Council.

We next find William Elvis Allen joining the Royal Navy at age 16 and serving on the Ganges II as a boy. Research shows me this was a training ship for young boys and was at Shotley, near Ipswich, north east of London. As part of the war effort, the boys were helping with building and moving submarine nets.

National Archives, England, ADM/188/821 image 490

 

Image found at https://pbase.com/hms_ganges_museum/pre1920

It looks like after his first six month service test, he was invalided out due to chronic diarrhoea and deafness.  So what was William to do now? War had ended, maybe time to use his new knowledge of the sea and head to a new country – Australia – a land of sun, sea and sheilas.

England to Australia

We find him leaving London, early January 1919, on the ship SS Demosthenes heading to Albany, Adelaide, Melbourne and Sydney dropping off Australian troops in each port. As this is the time of the influenza epidemic, the ship goes into quarantine at each port until it is cleared.

StateLibQld 1 108808 Demosthenes (ship)

At this stage, he is 17 years old and is registered as a steward’s boy. On board is 175 crew including some especially serving the troops on board. Troop members are not mentioned by name on the passenger list. He finally arrives in Sydney on 15 March 1919. We don’t know if William left the ship at this time or went back to London via Colombo, Bombay and Port Said with the passengers, meat carcasses and fruits loaded on the Demosthenes for the return voyage.

There are more mentions of a W.E. Allen on board Demosthenes arriving Sydney

  • 19 September 1919 as assistant steward born London age 18
  • 4 October 1919 as an assistant steward aged 18 born Thornton Heath

But there is mention of a W.E Allen age 19 being an assistant steward on the ship SS Themistocles (sister ship to Demosthenes) travelling from Southampton to Sydney and arriving on 8 March 1921. There were 613 passengers on board being looked after by 222 crew.

These records are found at Ancestry.com under the New South Wales, Unassisted Immigrant Passenger Lists – 1826-1922.

Life and marriages in Australia

Sometime during the years 1921 and 1924, William met his first wife Emily Daisy Green. There is a Miss Emily D Green found on the passenger list for the Demosthenes departing Southhampton on 9 February 1921 bound for Sydney but there is no crew list for this voyage. According to her later divorce papers, Emily Daisy had met William 3 or 4 years before they married. He had been a steward on a boat but was put off the boat before they married. Maybe this news article shows the cause for his dismissal as a steward if this is our William Allen.

http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article140012687

 

William and Daisy married on 12 April 1924 at Registry Office, Newtown, Sydney. At this time, he was working as a steward near Kings Cross. As William did not stay long in one place, they never had their own home. Instead Daisy and the two children born to her and William lived with other people on the North Shore of Sydney. The first son William Elvis John Allen was born in 1924 and the second son Frederick Henry Allen in 1925. By 1939, when Daisy petitioned for a divorce, she had not heard from William since 1925 when he had joined Royal Australian Navy at the urging of the family where Daisy was living. Her final contact was with the chaplain of the ship Penguin. She had been getting a monthly allotment but none after William disappeared. There is also a record in the National Archives Australia for a William E Allen – Application for covering approval of an irregular payment. This will need to be checked out as it might relate to our William.

Records show William enlisted on 19 May 1925 for a period of 12 years. He joined with the name William Alvis Allen maybe his English accent caused the misspelling.  He was born in Thornton Heath, London on 27 June 1901. William passed three Naval exams in 1925/1926. His record shows he served on the following ships:

National Archives of Australia; Canberra, Australia; Service Cards for Petty Officers and Men, 1911-1970; Series: A6770

I can’t find any reference to the ship Cerberus in 1925; nor the Penguin in either 1925 or 1927; Brisbane was refitted as a training vessel and in Victoria at HMAS Cerberus base in 1925/1926; Sydney took on its normal peacetime activities 1926/1927 including a trip to Melbourne for the Melbourne Cup period; Marguerite was a naval reserve training vessel visiting NSW, Tasmania, Victoria, South Australia, Western Australia and Queensland.  A remark on his record says “Run at Sydney 11 – 10 – 27.  SC filed”

A warrant for William Elvis Allen is found in the New South Wales Police Gazette on the 4th January 1928.

From DNA results, we have William moving to Tasmania and now going by the name William Allen (Alan) Wyatt. According to the Denison Electoral Roll (in Hobart) for 1929, William was living at 160 Goulburn St and was a labourer. Also living at this address were Ellen Sarah Avery, Keith Henry Avery and Oscar Clyde Goldsmith Avery.

According to his marriage certificate to Jean Violet Ward on 5 December 1929, Alan was age 25, a bachelor, occupation was a steward. He was born in Sydney NSW and his parents were Alan George Wyatt and Florence Emily Wyatt nee Evans. Jean and Alan were married at the Registrar Generals Office. Two children were born in the next two years, Alan and June, before their mother passed away in September 1931.

 

During the two years of this marriage, William was in the Royal Australian Naval Reserve (RANR) and according to his certificate of service with them, he was born 27 June 1905 in London, England. When he joined up on 3 February 1930, he was living at 3 Allison Street, Hobart with his wife, Jean Violet Wyatt nee Ward. He was a steward, could swim and was Church of England in religion. His description was 5’8″ with dark hair, grey eyes and a fresh complexion. Keith Avery was also in the RANR at this time training with William.

He spent only 27 hours in drill training at the naval depot in Hobart, he was of very good character but his ability was inferior. After 30 June 1931 he was not assessed and his 3 year engagement expired in February 1933. By the time of the electoral roll in 1931, Alan William Wyatt (reversal of name) was living at Allison Street also and he was now a steward.

It is at this time that Emily Daisy Allen nee Green starts divorce proceedings against William Elvis Allen.

After the death of Jean, William marries my grandmother Irene Ellen Gertrude Smith in Hobart at Holy Trinity Church on April 11, 1932 states his age at last birthday being 30 and his occupation as a steward. He was a widower, his wife dying in 1931 and he had two living children. He was born in Sydney, New South Wales. His parents were Alan George Wyatt (a licensed victualler) and Florence Emily Wyatt (nee Evans).  My father was born in November 1932 and two years later William deserted my grandmother and my father.

According to my grandmother’s petition for divorce in 1945, William was working at Hadley’s Hotel as a steward and they had been living in a flat in Hampden Road. She was deserted by William shortly before Christmas in 1934.

According to DNA match, William now heads back to New South Wales but using the name Alan William Wyatt. Alan is next found marrying in November 1936 to Stella Wilby Parrish at Wollongong St Michaels church. He is now a lorry driver living at Port Kembla and age 36, yet still a bachelor. He was born in Scotsdale – which could be either Tasmania or Western Australia. His father, George Wyatt, a hotel keeper is deceased but his mother Florence Emily Wyatt is still alive.

On 8 June 1940, Emily Daisy Allen finally got a decree absolute from William Elvis Allen and on 2 October 1945, Irene Ellen Gertrude Wyatt got her decree absolute from William Allan Wyatt.

It seems Alan has decided to settle down and no longer has anything to do with the navy. Instead he is found in the New South Wales Electoral Rolls:

  • 1937 billiard Saloon proprietor living at 23 Kembla Street, Port Kembla
  • 1943 and 1949 a labourer living at Shellharbour Road in Port Kembla
  • 1954 and 1958 a clerk living on Wentworth Estate in Wollongong
  • 1958 a railway employee living in Kully Street, Warrawong
  • 1972 a railway employee living in Bent Street, Warrawong

Even though the family moved around a bit, Alan and Stella remain married until his death in 1974.

Thanks to the following people

Without the help of Bob – my father, Kevin – dad’s half brother, Kylie and Julie – daughters of Kevin, Dennis – dad and Kevin’s half nephew and Carol – Dennis’s half sister, I would not have been able to piece together the story of my grandfather. There are still things to check and certificates to wait for but I think we have sorted out the story of William Elvis Allen. Below are photos of William, his sons, Bob, Kevin and Frederick and his grandson Dennis. I think the resemblances prove the DNA matches.

Readers: Hope you have enjoyed my biography of my newly found grandfather who has been my brickwall for many years. Who is your best brickwall in your research?

We have movement on the Wyatt front!

As my regular readers know, my father is my problem child when it comes to DNA and paper trails and oral trails.

Until about three years ago, he was an only child with a half brother and half sister he knew about, living in Hobart but had not met formally. Then after me writing about his father in a post on my old website, two sisters (Kylie and Julie) living in New South Wales got in contact with me, saying there were many similarities to their grandfather (Alan Wyatt) in my grandfather William Allen Wyatt. Both in the navy, both stewards, both same birth day and month, both same mother and father mentioned on marriage records. We compared photos of their grandfather and a photo my dad had who we thought might be his father. More similarities.

Just to cinch it, their father (Kevin) tested his DNA. Results confirmed my dad and their dad were half brothers. So dad now has a half brother and half sister living in Hobart area, and a half brother and two half sisters living in New South Wales. With DNA matches the closest was a 4th-6th cousin so without us being able to go back 4-5 generations we were stuck.

Now this is where the movement happens!

Suddenly a week or so ago, a new DNA match appeared as either 1st or 2nd cousin to Dad and Kevin. Flurry of messages through Ancestry and emails back and forth between the match, his sister (who is the keeper of the family history) and it looks like dad might have two more half brothers. This is the basic timeline we have worked out for William Allen aka William Allen Wyatt aka Alan Wyatt. Some of it still needs to be verified but…..

William Elvis ALLEN (note surname)

  • 1902 born in Croydon, Surrey England on 27 June (Same date on our certificates) Mother Florence Emily Evans (same as our certificates)
  • 1918-1920 he joined the Navy in Britain looks like for a 12 year period
  • 1924 marries Emily Daisy Green at registrars office, Sydney stating he is 28 years old to Emily age 27
  • 1924 son born to couple
  • 1925 son born to couple but William leaves before child is born – son of this child is the new DNA match
  • 1925-1927 William Alvis Allen joins the Royal Australian Navy for 12 years – mother Florence, same birth date and birth place as William Elvis Allen
  • 1929 William Alan Wyatt living at 160 Goulburn Street with the Avery family – Denison Electoral Roll
  • 1929 marries Jean Violet Ward at registrars office, Hobart stating he is 25 and so is Jean; mother Florence Emily Wyatt nee Evans
  • 1929-1931 two children born to couple
  • 1930 William joins Royal Australian Naval Reserve for period of 3 years
  • 1931 Alan William Wyatt living at 3 Allison Street with wife Jean – Denison Electoral Roll
  • 1931 After June, no longer assessed at the Naval Depot
  • 1932 William Alan Wyatt marries Irene Smith at Holy Trinity Church – living at 160 Goulburn Street – age 30 widower, 2 chn living, wife died 1931; mother Florence Emily Wyatt nee Evans
  • 1932 son born to couple
  • 1935 William Alan deserts Irene and her child (my dad)
  • 1936 Alan Wyatt marries Stella Wilby Parrish at Wollongong St Michaels parish church – age 36; mother Florence Emily Wyatt nee Evans
  • 1937-1943 three children born to this couple including Kevin
  • 1940 marriage to Emily Daisy Green dissolved by NSW Supreme Court on grounds of desertion
  • 1945 decree absolute granted for Irene Wyatt on grounds of desertion
  • 1974 Alan Wyatt dies in Wollongong, New South Wales

Readers: Do you think William ALLEN could also be William Alan WYATT? What is some other research I will need to do to prove it according to genealogical evidence needed?

 

 

 

 

 

No new posts for a while

Alexas_Fotos / Pixabay

Sorry I haven’t written any new posts, including #52ancestors, on this blog for the last couple of months. But that doesn’t mean I haven’t been doing family history research.

One of the students who had recently completed the Diploma of Family History offered to run some sessions on using WordPress for creating a family history website. I decided to have a go even though Edublogs also uses WordPress but I am using blocks rather than the visual editor I am used to in Edublogs.

I started a new blog that is dedicated just to biographies of my direct grandparents. So far I have written about:

Maternal:

Working on great grandmother Julia Charlotte Chandler at the moment

Paternal:

Will be finding it difficult to write on further paternal grandparents as little is known about them. Trying to connect with relatives through DNA who might be able to give me more information.

I might eventually extend this new blog to biographies of other relatives but I still have quite a few of my maternal ancestors to write about yet.

Readers: How do you share information about your ancestors with your relatives?

Letter W challenge

As many of you know, my father’s side of the tree is holding me back. I am trying to find proof using DNA matches but it is hard to do unless they are a first or second cousin. As I don’t know surnames going back more generations, it is very tricky to prove.

What’s in a name?

My paternal grandfather is either William Alan WYATT or Alan William WYATT. Born between 1900 and 1905 in either England or Sydney or Georges Bay, Tasmania. I have no sources to prove the actual birth. It is believed he married 3 times; twice in Tasmania and again in NSW where we think he died.

My paternal great grandmother on my grandmother’s side is registered at birth as Nellie SOMERS in 1889. I have also found other siblings being born with the surname SOMERS but no father mentioned on the registrations. Using FamilySearch I have found baptisms where the surname is now CLARK(E).

1889 – Nellie Somers – daughter of Thomas Somers and Alice O’Keefe – Georges Bay

1893 – Kate Clarke – daughter of West Clarke and Alice Somers formerly O’Keefe – Gould’s Country

1895 – William Henry – son of Alice Somers – Lottah – no father mentioned on birth reg.

1897 – Jessie May – daughter of Alice Somers – no father mentioned on birth reg. – baptised Clark in St Helens

1898 – Joseph Edward – son of Alice Somers – Lottah – no father mentioned on birth reg. – baptised Clark in St Helens

1899 – Charles Archibald – son of Alice Somers – Campbell Town – no father mentioned on birth reg.

Someone on FamilySearch says Alice O’Keefe married Thomas Somers in 1882 and had 4 children before she then married Wes. Clark and had six more children. I still don’t have proof of marriages as they are not mentioned on the Tasmanian Names Index. Looks like I need to visit the Tasmanian Archives and Heritage Office to check out the baptisms in St Helens which is Georges Bay area.

ReadersPlease leave a comment about my post or something beginning with W that relates to your family history or your research.

letter W

Letter F challenge

In the early days of the colonies of Australia, there were three groups of people arriving – convicts, military and

Typical free settler hut

Free Settlers

The first free settlers came in 1793 and were Thomas Rose and his family on the ship Bellona. The government in Britain was trying to promote Australia as a place to go for keen and experienced farmers.

The first free settlers in Tasmania arrived with Lieutenant Governor Collins in 1804. The Maritime Museum had a display about early migration into Tasmania and one of my troublesome free settlers was mentioned on it.

Unlike the convicts, the government did not collect or keep good records of these early free settlers. Maybe they were mentioned by name on shipping lists or in personal papers of the people they worked for or if they got into trouble then there were in the government gazettes.

Often the shipping records would only mention the county they were from in England so it makes it difficult to try and find them back in the old country especially if they have a common surname.

My free settlers are:

John DAVEY – John was born in Devon, England. He was brought out to Tasmania as a servant to George Meredith on the East Coast of Tasmania.  He arrived in Hobart Town on 13 February 1855 on board ‘Wanderer‘.  John was occasionally mentioned in the ‘Meredith papers’ which are housed in the State Library Archives in Hobart.  He was recorded last at ‘Cambria‘ in January 1857.  His wages at this time were 7 pounds and 10 shillings per quarter.  Source: Meredith papers NS 123/1/69 TAHO – Tasmanian Archives and Heritage Office  In the 1851 English Census there were over 50 possible John Davey born around 1834. I have narrowed it to a possible 7.

William SMITH – Lots of posts I have written about this ancestor who arrived in Tasmania sometime in the 1850’s from the Navigator Islands (Samoa) and was given the name William Smith. What is his Samoan name?

David DIXON – David and his wife Mary (nee PICKERING) arrived on 30 August 1841 on the ship ‘Andromeda’ with their young daughter Elizabeth. He was age 24 and a farm servant. The family arrived as bounty immigrants applied for by Mr Stevenson at Curramore property near Cressy.  Source CB7/9/1/1/ page 15 – TAHO

William CHANDLER – worked at a nursery at Enfield near London before coming to Australia with another family in the sailing ship Fortitude on 15 February 1855. They settled at Monavale in the midlands where he was the estates gardener. He was then employed as gardener at Government House but left to establish a garden south of Granton. After his marriage he returned to Government House as Head Gardener then before retirement worked at the Grange Taroona. (Mercury 23 July 1985)

Caroline BRYANT – arrived on the La Hogue which was a steamer, then on the Tasmania finally arriving in Hobart  19 Jan 1856 with her mother Charlotte Bryant (nee BULL).

William WYATT – my grandfather who I know nothing about except he married my grandmother and had my father. He then deserted the family and we think headed to New S0uth Wales.

Readers: Please leave a comment about my post or something beginning with F that relates to your family history or your research.

letter F