Family Names

Tuesday, 25 April 2017

A to Z Challenge - U is for Unions and Marriages

Snippets from the life of Martha Sarah Ellis.

Martha made two unions, the first time to Walter Todman and then after his death to James Simpson.

Not much is known about either the actual weddings other than that they occurred. With Walter Todman, Martha created a family

Martha then married James Simpson 6 years after the unexpected death of her first husband. They were married on the 29 Apr 1935 in the Methodist Parsonage, Bairnsdale, Victoria, Australia. [1]

Photographer unknown,  Single story house with veranda [possibly the Manse] and Methodist Church, Bairnsdale, circa 1910 and 1930, SLV accessed 25 April 2017 at
Bairnsdale was a long way from where she and Walter had spent most of their married life in South Yarra, and where she was living at the time of marriage, in Bowling Grove Street, Windsor.[1]

The year after their marriage Martha and James can be found living at 15 Gertrude St, Prahran, Victoria.[2] The following year, 1938, however only James is listed at that address, Martha has moved back to her pre-marriage address with her youngest daughter Mrs Alma Moore where she can be found on the electoral roles until 1939.[3] When Alma and her husband moved to 16 Westgate St in Oakleigh Martha goes with them and can be found there up until 1948.[4]

So where has James Simpson gone?  No further trace can be found of James in the records past 1938 where he is still living with at 15 Gertrude St.

Photographer unknown, Backyard scene of James and Martha Simpson with Fay & Hazel Bennett, circa the early 1940s [T053]
However, a photograph has been discovered that suggests although they might not have still been living together they might still have been in contact with each other.  The photograph above is thought to be dated around the early 1940s.  Jim Bennett a descendant of Martha Ellis identified the people in the photo as James Simpson, Martha Todman, Fay and Hazel Bennett. Fay (Gloria Fay?) was born in 1936. Based on the age of Fay the photo has been dated around the early 1940s.

What do you think?

I wonder what the real story is and what became of James?

To Read more about Martha's life for articles previously posted for the A to Z Challenges click the Letters below:-

A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z 


[1] Marriage Certificate James Simpson & Martha Sarah Todman, 29 April 1935, Reference# Unknown, Registry of Birth, Death and Marriages, Victoria, Australia
[2] Entry in the Electoral role for James and Martha Simpson of 15 Gertrude St, Prahran South Yarra Australia, Electoral Rolls, 1903-1980 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2010. Original data: Australian Electoral Commission.. 1836
[3] Entry for James Simpson of  15 Gertrude St, Prahran South Yarra & Martha Sarah Simpson of 3 Bowling Green St, Prahran  Australia, Electoral Rolls, 1903-1980 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2010. Original data: Australian Electoral Commission. [Electoral roll]. Year 1837 Subdistrict : Prahran  p.1837 & 1838
[4] Australian Electoral Rolls, 1901-1936 ([database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: The Generations Network, Inc., 2007. Original data: Australian Electoral Commission. [Electoral roll]. Microform mc N 451-mc N 457. National Library of Australia, Canberra, Australia.), Victorian electoral rolls, 1937- Prahran district in Fawkner district. Years 1941, 1944, 1945 & 1946


  1. You've done a great job telling Martha's story. The finish line is getting close - I wonder how you will finish the story.

  2. Considering how much information you have uncovered going so far back it seems odd that someone could just disappear from records in the 1930's.

  3. You've done an amazing job of getting all the information together so you could write Martha's story. I hope you're thinking of turning this into a book when you're done? U is for Understanding URLs as you Build a Better Blog. #AtoZchallenge.


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