Friday, September 10, 2010

Jane's Birth Record, and more...

I posted I Found Rachel in the 1852 California Census yesterday, and noted that I now knew where in Australia that Jane Whittle (1847-1921), my wife's great-grandmother, was born. The 1852 California State Census included children Elizabeth (age 13), Joseph (age 9) and Jane (age 5) were in San Francisco with their mother Rachel Wadle (age 32).

From Jane's death certificate, I "knew" that her parents were Joseph and Rachel (Moore) Whittle, both born in England, and who came to San Francisco in about 1850 from Australia, so this is the right family in the 1852 Census.

Reader Rod Van Cooten kindly offered the website (the New South Wales Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages) to check for the Births in New South Wales.

I did check - here is the Births page, where I put in Last Name = Whittle and years 1838 to 1850:

And here are the results:

There is Jane Whittle's birth entry in 1847, Registration number V1847523 32A/1847. And her brother Joseph Whittle's entry as Registration Number V18432393 27A/1843. The mother's name is Rachael (or Rachal) and the father's name is Alexander.

Huh? Alexander? That is a new name for me. The only information we had about Jane Whittle's father's name was from Jane (Whittle) McKnew's death certificate - and that said "Joseph Whittle."

Not only that, but the New South Wales Birth Register reveals three other children of Alexander and Rachel Whittle - William in 1842, John in 1845, and Margaret in 1849. So now I know that there were at least six children born to Alexander and Rachel Whittle. What about Deaths? The NSW Death Index lists infant William A. Whittle in 1842, so that accounts for him. Since John and Margaret are not in the 1852 California Census with their mother, it seems that they likely died in Australia, on the trip to the USA, or in California before the 1852 Census.

This is actually good news for me - I haven't found much on the elder Joseph Whittle in California, but now I know that I've been looking for the wrong Whittle. I don't know for sure if Alexander Whittle came with his family to California, or if he died in Australia or on the voyage to California. He is not in the NSW Death Index. In the England Parish Register and Civil Registration databases, I haven't found a marriage of Joseph and Rachel, I'll have to look for alexander and Rachel.. Of course, the FreeReg Indexes and the LDS IGI don't have records from every parish.

Following the "Buy Now" link on the Birth Index page indicates that I could purchase a copy of Jane Whittle's birth certificate for $29 (Australian).

My thanks to Rod Van Cooten for guiding me to the NSW BMD page. Obtaining help like this from readers and other genea-bloggers is one of the very best examples of the real value of blogging about genealogy.


Rod Van Cooten said...

Hi Randy,

A fantastic resource for Australian family history research is the online newspaper repository at

Searching in this for Alexander Whittle, and restricting the decade on the results to the 1840s raises the possibility that Alexander was a publican.

Rod Van Cooten said...

Hi Randy,

You're in luck!

I thought I'd try to find Alexander and Rachel in the NSW online shipping records.

There's a good site at

I tried each of the online ones, and believe it or not, they're on FamilySearch.

At the bottom of the following search you'll find them both.


Rod Van Cooten said...

And if you search for the marriage of Alexander Whittle you'll find one in Sept Q 1840 in Bolton, with Rachel Morley appearing on the same register page, so this is probably them