Family Names

Tuesday, 6 February 2018

Myrtle May Crump Bassett

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks: Week 6: Favorite Name

My grandmother Myrtle had multiple surnames to choose from, much to her embarrassment. Growing up, we understood her birth surname to be Bassett. William Bassett who she identified as her father, was listed as such when she was enrolled in Eaglehawk Primary School in 1913 at the age of six.[i]

When she married the love of her life, Lincoln, she gave her name as “Myrtle May Crump Bassett, a Spinster”; Crump was her mother’s maiden name.[ii]  This was the first clue that maybe her birth name was not Bassett as we had all been led to believe,

On Myrtle’s birth certificate the mother’s name was listed as “Lilian Manderson formerly Crump” but no father was given.[iii] A search of the Victorian Birth Deaths & marriages (BDM) reveals that Lilian Crump had a baby named Myrtle May, who is registered under both the Crump & Manderson surnames (note the year and registration number are identical for both names indicating that this is the same person).

Result of birth search using the criteria child’s first name “Myrtle May” & mother “Lilian Crump” or children born Myrtle with the Marriages, Family history search - Births, Deaths & Marriages Victoria. [online] Available at: [Accessed 4 Feb. 2018]
When Myrtle became a widow and remarried she listed her father as William Bassett as she had for her first marriage, and her third marriage to Ivan Rupert Lance Sharp. [iv]

It wasn’t until 1967 that things came to a head when she needed to apply for a passport to travel overseas. The process required that she apply for her full birth certificate. She traveled to the Registrar of Birth, Death & Marriages Building in Melbourne with her youngest daughter.  On arrival she asked that her daughter wait outside, after telling her in whispered tones about her dark secret that Bassett had not been her maiden name; she would need to go in alone to apply.[v]

Sandra Williamson, Myrtle May Sharp passport pages 2 & 3, Australian British Passport, digital image, Personal Collection Sandra Williamson [B464]

All went well and Myrtle was issued with her passport and with her two sisters she traveled overseas for a holiday, all three left their husbands at home.

 Photographer unknown, The three “Bassett” sisters traveling overseas on their Australian passports, circa November 1967 China. Sandra Williamson's private photo collection [B177]

Later Myrtle would say that she had no doubt that William Bassett was her father as the family resemblance was strong.[vi]

Although there was some ambiguity around Myrtle’s surname, her middle name was clear it was “May” the same as her mothers.  This middle name has now been passed down from Myrtle’s mother Lilian May Crump to Myrtle, to Judith May Todman, to myself, my daughter and then onto my granddaughters, six generations in all, so obviously a family favourite.


I have written previously about Lilian’s first husband Thomas Manderson and why this gentleman is probably not Myrtle’s father. 

William Bassett & Lillian Crump became a couple, possibly around 1905 however they never married.  When Myrtle their second eldest was two years of age (in 1907) the family left Eaglehawk and relocated to Tasmania. William found employment in the mines and their only son, William, was born.[vii] They returned to Eaglehawk by 1912 for the birth of their fourth child Gladys Irene.[viii] When they moved back to Eaglehawk it was thought the couple had married in Tasmania.[ix]

DNA evidence – a DNA sample has been taken from the eldest living descendant of Myrtle and it is hoped that this will help corroborate beyond doubt that William Bassett was her father rather than Thomas Manderson.

WikiTree Links on WikiTree (@WikiTreeOfficial)
WikiTree Link for Myrtle May Bassett 
WikiTree Link for Stuart Rochford Taylor 
WikiTree Link for Ivan Rupert Lance Sharp

[i] Eaglehawk No. 210  150 Years of education 1854-2004 (Eaglehawk Primary School 2004.  Compiled by :Ruth Claridge.). 
[ii] Marriage Certificate of Lincoln Todman & Myrtle May Crump Bassett, married 21 September 1929, Registry of Birth, Death and Marriages, Victoria, Australia. 9531/1929
[iii] Birth certificate of Myrtle May Crump born 2 June 1907 Registry of Birth, Death and Marriages, Victoria, Australia. 10223/1907.
[iv] Original Certificate of Marriage for Stuart Rochford Taylor & Myrtle May Todman married 26 June 1943, Terang, Victoria, Australia; Original Certificate of Marriage for Ivan Rupert Lance Sharp & Myrtle May Taylor married 2 April 1960, Balaclava, Victoria, Australia
[v] Diana Culley, in personal discussion with author, November 2017
[vi] Myrtle Sharp, in personal discussion with author, c.2000
[vii] NAA: B883, VX21203 Service Record for William BASSETT
[viii] Birth Certificate of Gladys Irene Basset born 15 September 1912, Registry of Birth, Death and Marriages, Victoria, Australia. 19781/1912
[ix] Myrtle Sharp, in personal discussion with author, c.2000

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