I am trying to locate information regarding my great-grandmother who died on 21/4/1939, aged about 61 years.  She was buried as Mary Potter (having been married to James George Henry Potter in 1916).  However she was buried at Karrakatta Cemetry with 3 of her children and Paul Albert Delakonny (father of the 3 deceased children) with whom she lived for about 12 years prior to her marriage to Potter. Before living with Delakonny, she was first married to Alfred John Rainforth. The marriage certificate dates her marriage to Rainforth as being on 10 June 1986 and records her name as Mary Annie Cellars, however she had several known aliases during her lifetime and it is unknown that if this was even her real name as records have indicated that it could have been Chellin or Cellin.  Family stories say that she migrated (?) from Mauritius to South Australia when she was about 9 years old but no record can be found in the name of Cellars, Chellin or Cellin.  

Other known aliases include:

Mary Delakonny

Mary De la coney

Mary Paul

May or Mary Potter

Family stories advise that she was also sometimes called Marie.

She had 2 children, a son and  a daughter, with Rainforth.  Family stories have it that Rainforth deserted her and died in SA about 1907, however I have not been able to verify this. She had 4 more children with Delakonny, 1 son and 3 daughters, however only 1 daughter survived past the age of 4. She then had 2 more children with Potter, both sons.

If anyone knows any more about my great grandmother, I would very much like to hear from them.

Thank you.

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Comment by Debra on September 12, 2017 at 12:20

Hi Dellas,

What does Mary say about herself when she married?  Parents' names, place of birth and age?  Do you have both marriage certificates and is the information she gives on them the same?

I see that she stated her husband had died in 1907 when her son was killed in WW1 but she probably just said that so that he didn't get the medals if he was alive.  The soldier's father was always the first person entitled regardless of the family situation.

Comment by Dellas Marie Port on September 12, 2017 at 12:50

Hi Debra

Thanks for your comments, especially regarding her first husband.

Unfortunately Mary is deceased, as are all the people who knew her and could have provided more information.  The only 'proof' I have is the record in the Australia Marriage Index of her marriage to Albert John Rainforth, wherein she is recorded as Mary Annie Cellars. It is the birth/death records of her children that have provided me with several alternative names.  I have requested a copy of the marriage certificate so am hoping that will provide me with more information, but, in the meantime, I was hoping that there might be someone out there who knew more than me.

Thanks again.

Comment by Sylvia on September 12, 2017 at 16:00

Hi Dellas,

Have you checked out the Alfred J Rainforth whose death registered in Granville NSW in 1935? His parents were listed as William and Fanny.


Comment by Dellas Marie Port on September 12, 2017 at 20:09

Hello again Debra

I now have both marriage certificates and the information given on both certificates is completely different, i.e. name, parents, age, etc.!!  Looks like I have some fun research ahead of me.



Comment by Dellas Marie Port on September 12, 2017 at 20:11

Hi Sylvia

I now have both marriage certificates and yes, Alfred John Rainforth's parents were William and  Fanny! Thank you so much.



Comment by Sylvia on September 12, 2017 at 21:29

Hi Dellas,

Are you telling me that the 1935 death is for the correct Alfred? Hmm ... if yes, did Marie/Mary ever divorce him or did she do something naughty ....???


Comment by Dellas Marie Port on September 12, 2017 at 21:52

Hi Sylvia

I think that the 1935 death is a very strong possibility but need to look into this further before I can be sure.

Rumour has it that my great grandmother had her first husband declared dead after he had been 'missing' for 7 years (supposedly reported 'missing' around 1900, hence the 1907 death date) and she didn't remarry until 1916 so I'm not sure if she was "naughty" or not - although she did live with a guy for 12 years between husbands and had 4 children to him before he died!!


Comment by Sylvia on September 12, 2017 at 22:16

It is intriguing that there seems to be nothing else that comes close to an "Alfred J Rainforth". Tried some directories (eg SA and NSW), newspapers etc, but nothing obvious has jumped out yet.I wonder where he might have been all those years.

If Mary had him declared dead abt 1907, it would explain why there is no 1907 death certificate for him in Australia. Maybe there's a 1907 court document somewhere in the WA archives?

BTW do you know anything re Mary's parents yet?

Comment by Elizabeth Allen on September 12, 2017 at 22:28

Seems her son who died in WW1 liked to change his name around as well?



Comment by Dellas Marie Port on September 13, 2017 at 1:17

Hey Sylvia.

I have been doing searches for the last few hours too (I have a membership with ancestry.com.au) and am not coming up with anything...even though I have both his parents full names...William Martin Rainforth (Hotel Manager) and Fanny Staples.  It is very possible that he was not born in Australia as most of my family come from the UK, although searches on UK records aren't coming up with anything either.

On Mary's first marriage certificate she lists her father as (Unknown) Cellars, laundryman, and her mother as Marie (Unknown) and her age is 21 years (in 1896).  On her second marriage certificate (in 1916) she lists her father as Albert Arthur Sallee, cook, and her mother as Elizabeth Mary Mellot and her age as 32 years! Wouldn't it be nice if we all only aged 11 years in 20!  A newspaper article about her death on 21/4/1939 puts her age as 61 years, so I am working on the assumption that she was probably born around 1877 which would have made her close to her actual age in 1896 but somewhat older than she claimed in 1916. I guess they didn't have to prove their age or that they actually were single back in those days.

Good idea about court documents...will try there tomorrow.

Appreciate your assistance!  :) 


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