In order to obtain answers to these questions we applied for the death certificates and probate information of both Mavis TELL and Edward TELL
Australia has some very strict Data Protection [ or Privacy ] Laws. Whether or not you can obtain a death certificate depends on the date on which the person has died, and both Mavis and Edward died too recently. Having been refused the certificates, we then applied to
The Hon. John Hatzistergos, The NSW Attorney General and Minister for Justice with the request that he
1. Offer us a specific exemption from the privacy act so that the death certificates can be issued thereby allowing us to identify the maiden or former family name of the above Mavis Florence Emma TELL; or,
2. Identify a surviving child of the above Mavis Florence Emma Tell and inform them of our efforts in order that they could then make contact with our organisation, if they so choose to do so.
Both requests have been refused. They wrote:
" I appreciate the reasons which promoted you to write however the criteria required to obtain a death certificate apply to applicants from both Australia and overseas and the Registry cannot release a death certificate unless the criteria are met.
The Registrar has a duty of care under the Births, Deaths and Marriages Registration Act 1995 to protect the privacy of any person whose details appears in the registers. Birth, death and marriage certificates can only be provided to the person named on the certificate or another person authorised by the Act.
Accordingly, if you are unable to provide the necessary authorisation documents, you may apply in writing to the Registrar for a full refund of any fees paid."
However - with the diligent work of a friend in Sydney, we were able to examine publically available information which led us directly to the family.
We quote it here as an illustration of superb detective work on behalf of this researcher, but have REMOVED the surname and addresses in order to protect the family.
How we found Mavis and her children
15 August 2007
From the death notice of the 2nd wife of Eduard TELL we knew the first names of this wife, and of her children – but we did NOT know any of the family names. Without those family names we could not find the individuals still living – and we needed to find them in order to see what is still known, and what may still survive, about Irene and Eduard
This is what we knew from the SMH 28 Sept 1992:
Died 25 September 1992
Late of West Ryde
Beloved wife of Edward
Dearly loved mother and mother-in-law of David and Ann
Grandmother of Paul and Jarrid
Loving sister of Nean (?) and Josie
Loving aunt of their families
At peace. Privately cremated
Here is how it was done:
I started my search for the former married name of Mavis Florence Emma TELL by searching the NSW marriage index, keying in her first names only. That initially led to a totally WRONG individual.
I then went to the Probate Division of the Supreme Court of NSW to check for Mavis TELL. She was not on the index, but Edward TELL was:
Edward TELL, File No. 108948/93, Probate granted 23 July 1993.
This turned out to be the vital clue. I went back to the State Library and checked the current roll for Ann, and found her living at [Address removed ] . I checked for a David at the same address, but did not find one. I then checked for a Jarrid and found him! You can imagine how delighted I was! There was no Paul at the same address.
I then checked electoral rolls for earlier years.
In 1997 I found at [Address removed ]:
Ann, David Alan, Jarrid Alan and Paul Harold [ 2nd names removed ]
With the second names I was able to search for David and Paul.
David Alan did not appear on the 1999 NSW roll and is not on the current roll, He is not on the probate index, nor on The Ryerson Index, a website index to newspaper death notices (which is where we had found Mavis TELL's death notice in the first place). If he is still alive he may be living outside NSW.
Paul Harold is living at [Address removed ].
With the second names of the two grandsons (and of David) I then thought that either Alan or Harold might have been the name of Mavis's first husband. I checked the NSW death index and found:
Harold (parents Fred/Mary) died Balmain 1967/9223.
I found him on the Probate Index:
Series 4, No. 633566, Harold, Balmain, d. 5. 2. 1967 (P).
(The NSW Probate Index up to 1985 is available on microfiche in libraries and at the Society of Australian Genealogists - from 1986 to the present it is only available at the Supreme Court, on a computer printout 1987-89 and from 1990 on computer. ) ,
I then went to the 1965 electoral roll for the electorate of Dalley, subdivision of Balmain East, and found:
[Name removed ], David Alan, [ address removed ], process worker
" , Harold, " " , carpenter
" , Mavis Florence Emma, " , laundress.
On the 1970 Electoral roll for electorate of Lowe, sub—division of Ryde, I found
Edward and Mavis Florence Emma TELL; at 15 Melville St., West Ryde, so they had married by then.
On the 1965 roll for the electorate of Bennelong, sub-division of Ryde I found a William Shelley [Name removed ], jeweller, living at 11 Melville St., Jest Hyde, (only two doors from Edward TELL, and yet having the same surname as that of Mavid!!). It may just be a coincidence, but I wonder if he might have been related to Harold or William, and that is how Edward and Mavis met?
With Harold's date of death from the probate index, I was able to check for a newspaper death notice:
The Sydney Morning, Herald, [Date removed ] - Deaths:
[Name removed ], Harold, beloved husband of Mavis, loving father and father-in-law of David and Ann.
(He was cremated at the Northern Suburbs Crematorium. )
As Ann was not on the 1965) roll. with David, they must have been married between then and the date of Harold's death.
On the 1975 electoral roll for electorate of Sidney, sub-division of Balmain East, David Alan, storeman, and Ann Lydia, machinist, were listed at [Address removed ].
I could not find the marriage of Harold RAMSAY and Mavis Florence Emma — on the NSW index, nor was Harold on the Australian World War 2 roll (ww2roll website), so they may have been immigrants, or have been married in another part of Australia.
And that is how we terminate the Search. It has taken nearly 10 years, started on 21-Apr-98, we have terminated it on 10-Sep-2007
Irene Married, had a good, loving marriage, but did so too late to bear children. The survivors of Eduard's 2nd marriage sadly cannot tell us any more, as the lives of Eduard and Irene TELL will continue to be an enigma. We hope that with the power of the Internet someone will come across this narrative, and may yet lead us to any photos or details of their lives. Who knows?
In March of 2011 a book by the Dresden author Heidrun Hannusch appeared under the title "Todesstrafe für die Selbstmörderin" ( Death Sentence for the Suicide Victim ) in which she presents a great deal of further research about the tragic life of Irene. The first critique appeared in the London Independent newspaper on 13 March 2011
The Description by the publisher - is here