Hello my name is David Rowe and I am a novis in family history.

I have been trying to find my grandfathers birth details, all I know is that he was born in 1886 possible in Victoria. I believe his name was Donald Harry ROWE. I have tried various areas but they are either blocked or not known.

I have gleaned the above information from my father, however he was very reluctant to reveal any further details.  My father has cancer and I would like to find some family history before it is too late.


Thank you.

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Hi David,

There is a man by that name who married and lived in WA, is that him?  His death notices here might be familiar: http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/47893895

He is the right age:


Enlisted WW2


His service record can be digitised for a fee, just search for his name in RecordSearch and click on the link in the 'control symbol' column http://www.naa.gov.au/collection/search/index.aspx

What was your grandmother's name?



Yes THANK YOU very much that is my grand father, I now have somewhere to start.


I really appreciate your help


Kind Regars


David Rowe (Grand - Son)

Sorry I should have read all, my grand mothers name was Mary Ellen ROWE.


David Rowe

Hi David,

Well I have found his birth, with considerable difficulty!

His death notices say that he has a brother Tom who was married to May so I then found these two notices in 1952:

THOMAS (Mary Ann). On March 21 1952 at St. John of God Hospital, Bunbury, dearly beloved wife of Ralph of 92 Beach-road, Bunbury, loving mother of Tom (Kalgoorlie) and Harry (deceased), aged 83 years. Rest in peace.


THOMAS - On July 26 at the Bunbury District Hospital, Ralph Thomas, beloved husband of the late Mary Ann Thomas, step-father of Harry (deceased) Tom (Kalgoorlie) and brother of John (Busselton); aged 82 years. Rest in peace.

THOMAS: On July 26, at Bunbury, Ralph, loving stepfather and granddad of Tom and May Rowe and family (Kalgoorlie).


Ralph John THOMAS and Mary Ann ROWE married in 1901at Bunbury and I think that her first husband Joseph also died in 1901.

Looking for Tom on the electoral roll I find that he is Thomas Arthur, and you can also see his death indexed here in 1969 with his parents named as Joseph and Mary Ann:


His birth in Victoria:

Name: Thos Arthur ROWE
Father: Joseph ROWE
Mother: Mary Ann TEMPLAR
Born: Stawell, Victoria, 1889
Registration Number: 26489

Joseph and Mary Ann's marriage:

Name: Mary Ann TEMPLAR
Spouse Name: Joseph ROWE
Married: Victoria, 1888
Registration Number: 7999

Donald's birth:

Donald Harvy TEMPLAR
Father: not named
Mother: Mary Ann TEMPLAR
Born: Glenorchy, Victoria, 1886
Registration Number: 18679

I think the actual entry would say 'Harry', not 'Harvy', and has been mistranscribed in the index.

The Victorian BDM indexes are online but are not free and it can be difficult to find anything.  If you are going to continue to research I suggest that you go to a library or family history society and use the indexes on CD as they are much easier to use.

You should document your research and images of historical certificates can be purchased online through the Victorian Registry and downloaded once you have paid.  For those in WA you have to fill out a form and snail mail it.


Info here on the information you will find on a certificate for each State:


So, was Joseph the father of Donald?  The only person who would know that would probably be his mother, but if you are keen you can always go with a DNA test between yourself and a direct male descendant of Thomas Arthur.

Here is a link to details of the TEMPLAR and ROWE families:




Hi Debra thank you very much for your efforts.  I have managed to speak to my father and he confirms that his father Donald Harry Rowe was born to Mary Ann.  Her husband (My great Grand father) (We think was Joseph) as my father was given his name as David Joseph), either passed away or was fatally injuried and she (Mary Ann)  remarried a Ralph THOMAS.

So Mary Ann (Thomas) (Rowe / Templer, is my great grand mother and Ralph Thomas is my great step grandfather. (Posible buried in the Bunbury Cementry)


Prior to making contact with yourself I had put a request into the Victorian registry of BDM for a seach for my grandfather.


Once again a big thankyou for your help.

Will speak soon, take care




David Rowe

Hi Debra, having read your information further I now realise what you were aluding to. Who was my grandfathers father.  It would appear that it is not known and may explain why my father is so reluctant to talk about his past.


Will keep searching thanks again for your help.


David Rowe

Hi Debra sorry to be a pest, my great grandmother Mary Ann Templar married  a man according to marriage records was a Joseph Rowe.  (It could be however David Joseph Rowe)

My grand father who it appears was born out of wed lock was born Donald Harry Templar (as per your info)

How would I find out where and when his name was changed from Templar to Rowe.

How would I find out where (David)  Joseph Rowe died in 1901.


Thank you again if you can help.


David Rowe

Hi David,

Identity was a very different thing in the past to what it is now and many people used names other than the one they were registered with at birth - it was quite okay and didn't involve any legal formalities.  In the case of your Donald he would have grown up knowing Joseph as his father and would naturally use that surname.  People very rarely had any need to obtain a copy of their birth certificate so were none the wiser.

I think this may be the death registration for Joseph in WA:

ROWE, JOSEPH, 40, Father: THOMAS Mother: UNKNOWN, Born: HAMILTON VIC Reg. No. 2576 Year: 1901

He probably was "David Joseph" born in 1860 to Thomas ROWE and Hannah KING, but you would need to get a copy of his marriage certificate to confirm his parents. 

There is a good chance he died in Bunbury.  The cemetery records are online but broken at the moment and hopefully will be up again on Monday: http://bunburycemetery.com.au/burialcremationrecords.aspx

I can't find a death notice for him, but his reg. number is consistant with others who did die in Bunbury in 1901 and appears to be early in the year, January or February.


Hi Debra, thank you very much for all of your help it is really appreceiated.

I will be travelling to Bunbury this weekend to spend tkime with my Old Dad and Mum so it will be interesting to see the response from Dad.

Should you ever be in Geralkdton I would love to catch up and have a coffee and say a personal thanks.


If I am able to help you in any way please let me know.




David Rowe

Deloro Deli.


I am helping a friend trace some family and we were looking for Edward Andrew Rowe but have discovered he passed away in 2012 in North Fremantle, his mother's name was Laura May Rowe at her passing.
Are you at all related to this Rowe family? My friend has lots of old photos and further information if you are able to offer us any help in locating the rest of the family.
Thanking you in advance.
Kindest regards,
Kathy Ellis

Dear Kathy Ellis,

I'd very much like to make contact with the children or other close relatives of Edward Andrew ROWE, WX16638.

I'm writing a history of the 2/2nd Pioneer Battalion, in which he served in World War II, and am trying to use the men's own words as much as possible, so I’m hoping to find out if he wrote letters home while in the army and, if so, if they have survived.

Or perhaps he kept a diary? or wrote reminiscences afterwards? or was interviewed?

Or perhaps the family kept a scrapbook?

And might you have a good photo of him from that time?

Any family memories and stories about him would also be welcome.

I’d appreciate any help you can give me.

Please feel free to forward this email and my contact details to other family members.

Kind regards                                                                       

Jim Mitchell

email: 2nd2ndpioneers@gmail.com

Website:  www.2nd2ndpioneerhistory.com.au

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