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.

Views: 474

Comment by Dellas Marie Port on September 13, 2017 at 1:26

Hi Elizabeth

Her son, Alfred, did not know his real name - his sister is my grandmother and my aunt told me that her mother explained that their mother, Mary Cellars, lived with Paul Albert Delakonny after her husband, Alfred Rainforth, disappeared and they grew up thinking that Paul Delakonny was their father.  It was only when Alfred was killed in WWI that the truth came out as my great grandmother had to have Alfred's military records corrected.  Even though my grandmother now knew that her surname was Rainforth not Delakonny, she still thought her other names were Grace Josephine as her name was recorded as Grace Josephine Rainforth on her marriage certificate, which was incorrect.  Her birth certificate has her name as Hilda Grace Marie Rainforth but I guess she never saw her birth certificate beause her whole life she thought her name was Grace.  It appears that my great grandmother was the one who had a lot of trouble with keeping names straight!!

Comment by Elizabeth Allen on September 13, 2017 at 14:43

Dellas,   Well your family history will certainly be interesting

I think Alfred John RAINFORTH may have been born in England - I will see if I can find anything


Comment by Elizabeth Allen on September 13, 2017 at 14:47

Dellas,  There is a listing in Ancestry UK for a birth of a Alfred J RAINFORTH in 1865 in London,

It is part of a Public Member Tree called  'Mason Hill Line"

Have you checked the free UK BDM site for his birth and/or parents marriage?


Comment by Elizabeth Allen on September 13, 2017 at 16:22

Dellas,  This ' might ' be his birth with his names reversed - no luck with finding his parents as yet

John Alfred Rainforth

England and Wales Birth Registration Index

Other information in the record of John Alfred Rainforth
from England and Wales Birth Registration Index

Name John Alfred Rainforth
Event Type Birth Registration
Registration Quarter Jan-Feb-Mar
Registration Year 1865
Registration District Greenwich
County London
Event Place Greenwich, London, England
Volume 1D
Page 735
Line Number 129

Citing this Record

"England and Wales Birth Registration Index, 1837-2008," database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:2XMY-TDW : 1 October 2014), John Alfred Rainforth, 1865; from "England & Wales Births, 1837-2006," database, findmypast (http://www.findmypast.com : 2012); citing Birth Registration, Greenwich, London, England, citing General Register Office, Southport, England.

Comment by Elizabeth Allen on September 13, 2017 at 16:23

Sorry I don't know what happened to the previous message with all that white space - cannot edit it unfortunately


Comment by Sylvia on September 13, 2017 at 17:57

John Rainforth b 1865:

Father = Martin Rainforth

Mother maiden name = Grigg

Comment by Sylvia on September 13, 2017 at 17:58

Mother first name: Mariann

Comment by Dellas Marie Port on September 13, 2017 at 18:27

Hi Elizabeth

You've been busy - whilst I have been out with two of my grandchildren at the zoo as it is a beautiful day here!

I agree that Albert John Rainforth was probably born in the UK although I can find no record of him on any passenger lists coming to Australia.

And I really like all the information that you found, although not sure about the connection to the "Mason Hill Line" as parents names are different.  But I have messaged the owner of that tree to see if he thinks they could be one and the same just in case.  The other possibility of the reversed names looks pretty good too - I will try to organise a copy of the full birth certificate so that I can compare parents names.

Thanks for the advice re other databases to search too!  



Comment by Dellas Marie Port on September 13, 2017 at 18:33

Hi Sylvia

Looks like you've come up with the same information as Elizabeth as this is the same Alfred John Rainforth referred to in the "Mason Hill Line" family tree, but the parents' names are different.  Parents on marriage certificate are listed as William Martin Rainforth (Hotel Manager) and Fanny Staples...so still a possibility as father's name is similar.  I have messaged the owner of this family tree to see what he thinks and will let you and Elizabeth know how I get on.



Comment by Elizabeth Allen on September 13, 2017 at 18:43

Dellas,  It is also possible that Fanny STAPLES might be a stepmothers name if his real Mother was deceased?  Something rings a bell with this family but I have no idea what it is !!!!

Let's hope it can be sorted out & that you hear from the Ancestry tree owner



You need to be a member of RecordSearch Forum to add comments!

Join RecordSearch Forum

© 2021   Created by National Archives of Australia.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an issue  |  Terms of Service