I am currently researching my family history and ask for the following help.

Walter john Reginald Snow

William Arthur Snow (killed at Gallipoli)

Frank Snow

All served in WW1 and I have their service records. Any information on any of them or photos would be a great help.


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Comment by Debra on September 5, 2013 at 13:20

Hi Dianne,

Have you already seen these photos of William Arthur?  It is the same photo, and if you click on "Buy" on the top left of the better one (the second) you can purchase a high quality copy from the NLA.



This one would be Walter as he is the only person that I can see who enlisted with those initials:


Have you seen this article about the family?




Comment by Dianne m Heinemann on September 5, 2013 at 18:02

Hi Debra, thankyou so much for the information on the Snow family. I hadn't seen the photos or the write up  so was really excited to be able to view them. Several pieces of jigsaw have now been placed as a result of your information so I thank you so much. Dianne

Comment by Elizabeth Allen on September 12, 2013 at 18:19

Dianne,  There is a listing for a Walter John Reginald SNOW and his wife Elizabeth JENNINGS on this site which includes transcripts of BDM certificates


Do you need any BDM lookups for the people you have listed above?



Comment by Dianne m Heinemann on September 17, 2013 at 9:57

Thankyou Elizabeth for that information. According to my mother's birth certificate Walter married Ethel Williams in 1899 in Newcastle N.S.W.  Exhausted searches so far have  not found any record. They had 2 children born in N.S.W., one in Sydney in 1900 and another Newcastle, Wallsend in 1902. I have found these children's birth records. Any help would be appreciated. I have no information of Ethel other that what is recorded on birth and death certificates. Thanks. Di

Comment by Elizabeth Allen on September 17, 2013 at 17:40

Dianne,  It seems that the Walter who was married to Elizabeth JENNINGS may be the same person do you think?

They were in South Australia - maybe he didn't actually marry Ethel as still married to Elizabeth?

There does not seem to be a death listed for him in NSW - do you know when & where he died?



Comment by Elizabeth Allen on September 17, 2013 at 18:36

Dianne,  It appears that Walter married Elizabeth JENNINGS in 1925 - he was born in England according to his war record

He may have died in South Australia - I can check for you if you need it


so maybe Ethel died or they divorced?   She was listed as Ethel Rachel on his war record

I cannot find their marriage in England, NSW ; Victoria or South Australia



Comment by Dianne m Heinemann on September 17, 2013 at 19:31

Hi, yes  Walter married Elizabeth Jennings in 1925.

Ethel by whom he had 5 children died in 1923.

On the children's birth certificates she has used Ethel Sarah, Ethel Rachel, Ethel and was Ethel May on her death certificate .

Walter died in South Australia in 1935.

Unfortunately unless I can find some record of Ethel showing her parents name it may not be possible to follow her tree line. I was hoping a marriage certificate would have helped. Thankyou so much for your efforts.



Comment by Elizabeth Allen on September 17, 2013 at 21:55

Di,  It makes it very difficult to track down someone who uses all these different middle names unless she was Sarah Rachel May ??

I notice she died in South Australia (Adelaide)  Not sure if SA death certificates have much info but her next of kim is listed John Walter who may be a son?

Comment by Dianne m Heinemann on September 18, 2013 at 8:47

Thankyou again Elizabeth.

She had a son John Walter Snow so it could have been him on her death records.

It is very frustrating when names were added and left off as in this case. Her maiden name was Williams but unless there is proof of parents to confirm her birth,  for the time being I cannot follow her any further.

Comment by Debra on September 22, 2013 at 1:29

Hi Dianne,

Ethel's death record is notated with "John Walter SNOW [H]" as her relative.  The [H] stands for husband - I notice he liked to change his names around as well.

I have done a bit of sleuthing and have a theory which would need to be confirmed with the purchase of a few certificates.

I believe that Ethel was born Ethel Sarah WILLIAMS in Sydney in 1877 to John James WILLIAMS and Rachel Jane FLOOD.  A small obit for Rachel in the Catholic Press in 1937 says that she moved to Newcastle in around 1892, so that places the family in the right area.  http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/104392357

Ethel Sarah married in 1894 to Joseph Anderson WARDLE at West Wallsend (Ethel is incorrectly indexed as ‘Eince’) and they only had one child that I can see, Thomas in 1896.  It is indexed as Thomas G., but that may be an error or he later changed it because he went by the name Thomas Flood WARDLE.  Thomas served in both World Wars and if you search the RecordSearch catalogue you will see that his two service records have been amalgamated into one.  As far as I know the NAA will digitise this file for free if you contact them as it includes the WW1 service record.  I think it would be important to see if the first service record includes any letters or statements – I wouldn’t be surprised if his next of kin was his grandmother Rachel and it would be interesting to see if there is anything in there about his parents.  If he told the truth about his age he would have needed permission to enlist.  A bit about him here: http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~pobjoyoneill/ward...

Joseph Anderson WARDLE was an unfortunate choice for a husband.  In 1898 he was imprisoned for ‘causing his wife to apprehend violence’ (threatening violence but not actually doing anything).  I think she probably left him at that time and shortly after took up with Walter/John SNOW.  They couldn’t marry because she was already married, and being Catholic a divorce was out of the question.  A bit of a dilemma.  Joseph was also gaoled four times between 1911 and 1913 for not paying maintenance to his wife.  He was gaoled again in 1928 for assaulting a girl under the age of 16 and received 2 years 6 months hard labour.  His full record including photos has been digitised on Ancestry.com or you can pay a small amount to have it done on the NSW State Records website.  http://srwww.records.nsw.gov.au/indexesold/searchform.aspx?id=22

Walter and Ethel had their first two daughters in NSW and then moved to Adelaide where their son was born (the one in 1903?) as well as a daughter, then to Victoria where another daughter was born.  Walter enlisted in Victoria in late 1915, but prior to that he married Ethel (he said he was married when he enlisted but you would need to get the cert to see the exact date):


Jno Walter SNOW

Ethel May WARDLE

Registered: 1915, Victoria

Reg. number:    8358

Technically it was bigamy if the marriage was not anulled or they didn't divorce.  Ethel could have submitted an affidavit to the Registrar to say that she had not been in contact with her husband for seven years and assumed he was dead (which wouldn’t be true if she was still trying to get maintenance in 1913), but usually in these circumstances they just said that they were widowed and hoped for the best.  Perhaps her name changes were an attempt to stay under the radar.

Obviously the first step would be to purchase and download the marriage cert to check the details, and hope that they both told the truth about their origins so that they can be positively identified.  I hope I am right and it doesn’t turn out to be a waste of money for you!


Purchase an uncertified image and you can immediately download.

Rachel Jane FLOOD/WILLIAMS is another kettle of fish - another family of 'name shifters'!




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