25 April 2018

William Luxmoore

Each of our successful returns is remarkable in one way or another, however, finalising this one on Anzac Day is extra special.
The search began with a referral via the South Australian Genealogy Facebook page. Janine's father found a WWI British War Medal in an incinerator over 50 years ago and she now wanted it back with the family. The medal was awarded to 3479 William Clarence Luxmoore, 9th Light Horse Regiment. There was some initial confusion in the search as the records alternate between the surname spelling of Luxmore and Luxmoore. William was from a well known South Australian family. He didn't marry and died in 1924 aged just 31.  

The search then shifted to William's siblings as well as shifting states. It also took a very unexpected turn.
William's parents, a brother and sister moved to the Northern Beaches of Sydney. I found the death notice of William's brother Frederick, however, no children were mentioned. What was interesting was that their sister Winfreda is referred to as Lady Freda Ashton.

Freda's first husband was married to Ernest Hoggard in 1927. She was widowed in 1955 not having had any children. 
In 1961 Freda married artist, Sir William Ashton. Will died in 1963.
That is not where the story of Lady Freda ends and it is probably as infamous as Will Ashton was famous. In the late 1980s, Sydney was gripped in terror due to the murder of six elderly women. The serial killer was John Glover and his second victim was Lady Freda. Glover was dubbed the Granny Killer.
The Sydney leads ran out so I went back to William's other bother James who lived on Kangaroo Island. South Australian public records are the most difficult to access but I worked out the names of James' daughter and grand daughter. What I couldn't establish was William's great niece's current contact detail. Luckily, through Janine's initial post the great niece made contact and arrangements are being made to return the medal. A fantastic result on Anzac Day.
The returned medal tally is now 2217.

24 April 2018

Jack Ghilks

This search took me back and forth to Great Britain on several occasions.
It started with an email from Chris S who had a WWII group awarded to NX65631 John Henry Ghilks. With such an usual surname I thought finding a relative would be straight forward. That is where I went wrong.
I came upon the odd reference to Ghilks but other than the basic information he was a bit elusive. This article from 1942 is one example.

His headstone caused a bit more confusion until I established that Alice was his second wife and finally the Australian end of the search was finished. Ghilks went by the name Jack. He was an auctioneer and antique collector. He emigrated to Australia in the early 1930s then moved from Leeton to Bathurst and finally the Gold Coast where he died in 1983.
Along the way he purchased and restored the 19th century Bathurst mansion 'Woolstone'. Unfortunately, Jack didn't have any children for me to trace down so I went looking for his siblings. The search was then redirect to England where I found a person by the name Ghilks living in the same small village that Jack was from. While a link existed I was redirected down another path and eventually contacted Jim B whose wife is related to the Ghilks family. Jim kindly put me in in touch with Andrew who is Jack's great nephew. Andrew emigrated to Australia in 1974 so the search has come full circle.
The returned medal tally is now 2216.

16 April 2018

Walter Hogg

It is becoming more common that medals that have been found are being posted on social medal with a request to find the family. Many of these request are either shared with me or the poster is referred to me. That is exactly how I became involved in the search for the family of 591 Walter James Hogg.
Bernice M posted the picture of Walter Hogg's WWI medals on a lost items page which was shared with me and Bernice also sent me a message.
Walter was born in 1987 in Broken Hill. The service record gives his occupation as salesman. After WWI Walter married Pheobe but they didn't have any children. Walter died in 1941 so the search moved to his siblings.
Walter had four brothers, one who died as an infant, and a sister. Following the family lines of the brothers all resulted in dead ends, however, his sister Muriel was included on an Ancestry family tree. The tree owner turned out to be Muriel's great grand daughter.
I've now put Bernice and Walter's great grand niece, Charlotte in so the medals can be returned.
The returned medal tally is now 2211.

04 April 2018

Oscar Gill

This search took an unexpected turn when I made an educated guess based on a name I found on Ancestry.
It all started two days ago when I received an email from Andrew M who, for the last 20 years, had in his possession the 1914/15 Star awarded to 2368 Oscar Edward Gill. Andrew had been given the medal after it was found by a friend while metal detecting at a beach.
Finding Oscar was an easy task as well as discovering that his brother 944 Norman Thomas Gill was killed in action. Norman was KIA on 20 September 1917 at Polygon Wood. Norman has no know grave and is commemorated at Menin Gate.
Following WWI, Oscar married Evelyn Thompson and had a son, Norman Herbert Gill. Norman was married to Mary but I couldn't find evidence that they had any children. I then moved to Oscar's siblings but there appeared to be no continuous family line that I could follow. In an effort to find a new clue I went backwards to Oscar's parents. It was then that I found a private family tree on Ancestry which included Oscar's parents and to my surprise the tree owner's name is Neil Gill. This was to much of a coincidence for me so based on that educated guess, I fired of a message to Neil.
As it transpires, Neil runs his own genealogy research business. He has done extensive research on his own family and is related to Oscar. He also found that Norman and Mary did have children but the circumstances meant that the family dispersed over the years.
The timing couldn't be better as the Gill family has a reunion planned for later in 2018. I've connected Andrew and Neil and will leave them to decide the best method of return of this medal to the Gill family and how this might be incorporated in to the reunion.
The returned medal tally is now 2209.