Missing Friends can help

Missing Friends advertisements in the newspapers can both sad and optimistic. They can also illuminate our immigrants in numbers of ways:

  • Revealing kinship relationships (siblings, cousins, parents)
  • Loss of contact over long periods of time (anywhere from months to decades)
  • Location of people in their early days here (Dan Shay in Dalby, thousands of kilometres away on a property in Queensland, yet advertising in Melbourne)
  • Prospective inheritance
  • Specific place of origin (Mary Shay from Macroom)
  • No knowledge of a person’s fate: alive or dead (O’Hara)
  • Co-dependence on others from the same area.

Missing Friends

1867 ‘Advertising’, The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 – 1957), 9 July, p. 1. , viewed 04 May 2016, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article5771819

Why not try searching for your family using “Missing Persons” AND “County X” or “Name”? As always be aware that the OCR can do weird things especially in those early days of newsprint.

Why not set up a list for your specific county or area so you can batch similar ads together?

I’m using this strategy to discover emigrants from County Clare as part of my East Clare research.

And yes, poor Jeremiah did die, apparently without seeing his brother since there are no parents listed on the death indexes. (Ancestry.com. Australia, Death Index, 1787-1985 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2010.)





19 thoughts on “Missing Friends can help

  1. An interesting post Pauleen. I’m headed straight to the computer!!! I have found an ancestor in the missing persons column but never actually searched specifically for ‘missing person’. A much appreciated suggestion .

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Further – the problem is that names can so often be mangled in OCR whereas it seems that the county seems more reliable and “Missing friends” is the header.


  2. The notices in newspapers are great, but there is even more information in various series of ‘missing friends’ records held in Archives. The people sought include emigrants, missing relatives, eloping daughters, wife/child deserters, fathers of illegitimate children, women who abandoned a child, missing beneficiaries of wills, suspected bigamists, etc. I have started indexing some of those records. Names from stage 1 of my project are online (spread over 3 pages, starting at http://www.judywebster.com.au/missing.html), and about 8,000 names are yet to be added.


    1. Thanks Judy…your list will be very helpful to many researchers. Fingers crossed James Sherry/McSharry turns up somewhere I’m not expecting him 🙂


    1. Thanks Chris. I knew about the American knew, and have a CD with names but ….no more options (joking) or I may go completely crackers!! Up to 1880 in the Mispers from Co Clare. Aiyaiyai!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Hi Pauleen, I am also going to try to track down James McSharry, My Great x2 Grandma Kathleen McSharry was his daughter. They certainly had a bad time here losing so many of their children that I wonder if he may have returned to Ireland. I notice that his wife Bridget is listed as a widow on cemetery records. Good luck and will let you know if I can track him down, not hopeful though.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Andrea, good to hear from you and will email directly. Yes they had a bad time and I have also considered if he went back to Ireland or moved interstate or to NZ. Have been chasing him for 30 years to no avail. I wonder if he did a runner after the various deaths but then he is not the informant on any of them. It remains a mystery.


  4. Missing Friends advertisements can be wonderfully titillating, but also frustrating I recently found under Missing Friends a found person “The following persons previously inquired for have been found:- Thomas Manderson, found at Goomalling, near Newcastle.”
    I have looked everywhere for the initial advertisement but with no luck so far but you have have inspired me to take another look.

    Source – “MISSING FRIENDS” The Daily News (Perth, WA : 1882 – 1950) 30 June 1906: 6 (SECOND EDITION). Web. 17 Mar 2016 .

    Liked by 1 person

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