Aa – is for ALLAN, Frederick Alexander


Pauline’s “Merry Month of May Musical Meme” was so enjoyable that I’ve decided to take up Gould Genealogy’s “Family History Through the Alphabet Challenge”, and what a challenge it’s been simply choosing the first topic and getting started. Whenever I think of the letter Aa, and my Family History, it’s precious memories of my maternal Grandpa, Frederick Alexander Allan, which leap to my mind leaving no room for any other thoughts. This is his story.


As the “Crout-Habel” Family Tree” spreads its roots, is nourished, loved and tended there remains a huge gap right there at the base.  How embarrassing to confess that I know so little about my maternal Grandpa’s origins, despite him living with us throughout my childhood and me with a host of memories to continue writing.

The only documentary evidence located, so far, is Grandpa’s Death Certificate.  However, as with many Death Certificates, some information is incorrect.


NAME: Robert Alexander ALLEN, also known as Frederick Alexander Allen
AGE:  78 years
DIED:  12 Jan 1966 at Wodonga Hospital, Kent Town, South Australia
CAUSE OF DEATH:  Coronary Thrombosis – sudden, and mycarditis – 2 years
BURIED:  13 Jan 1966, Cheltenham Cemetery, South Australia
OCCUPATION:  Retired Waterside Worker
USUAL RESIDENCE:  34 New Street, Queenstown, South Australia
BIRTHPLACE:  London, England.  Resident in Commonwealth for 50 years
INFORMANT:  W.S.Taylor, Funeral Director, Port Road, Queenstown, South Australia
REGISTERED:  17 Jan 1966 by A.Evans
ENTERED INTO DISTRICT REGISTRY OFFICE:  20 Jan 1966 by A.Evans, District Register

Clearly the Funeral Director did not get this information from my mother for she never would have given her father’s name as “Robert Alexander Allen”. I remember how this new name came into my Grandpa’s life. For

Frederick Alexander Allan

years mum had been trying to persuade him to apply for the Aged Pension and finally he agreed. The Waterside Workers Union Secretary wrote to “Catherine House”, in the UK, for his birth certificate but they sent the certificate for his brother “Robert Arthur Allan”. Grandpa objected and said Robert was 4 years older and had emigrated to the USA. Wanting no further delays mum lodged the application, using this birth certificate, and every time the cheque arrived the arguments would start up again – Grandpa quietly refusing to sign “R.A.Allan”, saying “That is not my name, Kathleen!”

There is no Marriage Certificate to provide information as Nana and Grandpa never married. My Nana, “Mary Elizabeth Murray”, remained legally married to Alfred Evans and it seems that Mum’s Birth Certificate names her as “Kathleen Mary Evans” with Alfred Evans as her father. Apparently this was done to ensure that she was not labelled “a

Grandpa and his stepson Eric Evans

 bastard”. Mum told of the shock, when first sighting her Birth Certificate, whilst preparing for her marriage to “Harry Scarborough Crout”. She knew of her mother’s previous marriage and was very fond of her three older half siblings; “Eric, Norman and Connie Evans”, knew she was Frederick Allan’s daughter and had always been known as “Kathleen Mary Allan”.

Incidentally mum’s name for her father was “Olpell”. That always intrigued me and was told she thought it came about because her mother had always called her husband “the old fella” and mum’s baby language had interpreted it as “Olpell“. What a disappointment that was – I’d fancied a far more exotic explanation.

The other questionable information on Grandpa’s Death Certificate is his age. Was that based on the Birth Certificate of his brother, “Robert Arthur Allan” who was, according to Grandpa, 4 years older? Also, had he really been “a resident in Commonwealth for 50 years”? If this is correct, and not just an estimation, he would have arrived in Australian about 1917. Well, at least we know that he was here before 31 Mar 1925 because that is the day his daughter, my mother, was born 🙂

“SS Edwardes” at Port Pirie

Grandpa told us he was a sailor and first went to sea as a “cabin boy”. For some reason I have the age of 7, in my head, but I don’t know that he actually said that… possibly I dreamt it. Some of my siblings think this was just a “tall story” but, for a variety of reasons, I tend to believe it’s true. Firstly he constantly used expressions such as, “Aye, Aye”, “Shiver m’ Timbers” and “Batten Down the Hatches”… not that you have to be a seafarer to utter these words… Furthermore, a meal that Grandpa would cook and was his specialty was “Scouse”. It was delicious. I knew no-one else who ate “Scouse” and it was many years later that I discovered it was first taken to Liverpool, England, by Northern European sailors, was originally called Labskause” and later adopted by other seamen.

Another factor with suggests my Grandfather was indeed a sailor is that Nana was living in Port Pirie, the second largest seaport in South

Fred Allan middle back behind his “beloved” Lizzie (Murray) Allan

Australia,when they met, fell in love and ran away to Port Adelaide. I’ve often wondered if he was a “deserter” and “jumped ship” in Port Pirie. A good reason to not hang around the port, I reckon. Mum said that her dad had promised to take his beloved on a ship to explore wild and wonderful places and is why, when she left her husband and three children, they headed to Port Adelaide. However, he took sick , she nursed him back to health, mum was born, the “Great Depression” hit and nobody was going anywhere. True or not? … I don’t know. That’s for others to decide. My job is to pass the family story on to my children, and grandchildren, for them to pass onto their descendants.

Was Frederick Alexander Allan born in London, England, as stated on his Death Certificate? I think he most probably was. According to Grandpa he was a true Cockney born within the sound of the Bow Bells”. I now know what that expression means but, as a child, I had no idea what he was talking about. Also, meeting with some of my mum’s elderly cousins just last week (for the first time in about 50 years) they talked fondly of Grandpa and mentioned his “strong cockney accent”. Me, the child, heard no accent.

Grandpa had a strong dislike of the British Royal Family and spoke about being a child and seeing Queen Victoria riding along in her carriage with her fingers, “like big fat sausages”, covered in jewels whilst people were starving and dying in the streets. He said his mother was a “Midwife” and saved to pay for “reading and writing” lessons for her children. He did say how much she paid per lesson which I think was a farthing, but I’m not sure.

Well, those are some of the memories of my dearly loved Grandpa and serve as “clues” when seeking documented facts. So far I’ve had no luck discovering his origins but recently a newspaper article, in “Trove”, caught my eye and has given another avenue to explore. Mum had told me about Grandpa’s terrible accident, on the wharf, and why the Union was SO important in improving working conditions. 

Now I know the date and place he was treated, a trip to the South Australian State Records” to access the “Adelaide Hospital” patient records for Tuesday 25 Aug 1936 might just give me a little more valuable information and bring me closer to discovering my “Allan” ancestry.  

May you always Rest in Peace, Frederick Alexander Allan and know you are loved and remembered.


Copyright © 2012. Catherine Crout-Habel. Seeking Susan ~ Meeting Marie ~ Finding Family 

21 thoughts on “Aa – is for ALLAN, Frederick Alexander

  1. Thank you for sharing these fabulous memories of your grandpa. Memories are precious, and sharing them is the best thing you can do to ensure they live on for future generations. And thanks for joining in the Family History Through the Alphabet.

  2. Oh Mum, how wonderful to read so many of your memories, which I know you’ve told me about, but to see them down here in print for the official family records is just fantastic! We always say “we must write these things down while we can” and now you have, for your much loved Grandpa – which I must say our reference to whom is still when the dishes have been completed, and out someone comes with a dirty dish – “doing a Grandpa” 🙂


    • So glad you enjoyed it luvvie and thanks for your comment. I laughed so much cos “doing a Grandpa” had slipped my mind. For the benefit of others: when I was a child washing the saucepans was such a pain so I came up with a little scheme to ensure others had the yukky task. With the layout of our kitchen it was possible to tuck the saucepans, out of sight, on the top of the stove. I’d wash the dishes, glance around (ignoring the saucepans), say “That’s all” … or “That’s it”, pull the plug and walk away. Grandpa soon “got the wind” of this and timed it beautifully to bring out the revolting saucepans before I had time to “scarper”. ha ha ha … thanks for reminding me, Kirrily Ann. I love that this family story is carrying on to those who never knew my “canny” Grandad 🙂 xxx

      • Oh, see, I’d forgotten (or perhaps didn’t really know) the whole story. I’m so glad you filled in the gaps. I thought it was that he would bring things to the sink after you’d finished, and it was annoying, rather than him being on to you. Nice one 🙂


      • ha ha ha… maybe when I first told the story I was rather reluctant to let my young children know what a lazy, sneaky child I could be? 😀 xxx

  3. Pingback: Family History Through the Alphabet - A is for ... | Genealogy & History News

  4. Thanks Lyn. I’m trying to get as much info down, especially on loved ones whose origins I know little about, so that it’s a help to others who may later carry on with the research. Glad you like the title. Am rather fond of alliteration and listing things in multiples of three 😀 … Your blog title “Digging up the Ancestors” tickles my fancy (so to speak) … look forward to reading more of your postings. Cheers…

  5. What an interesting story about your grandfather. Your research for this post is really impressive. I’m looking forward to the rest of the alphabet.

  6. Pingback: Bb – is for Baby Crout | Seeking Susan ~ Meeting Marie ~ Finding Family

    • I’m glad you stopped by and especially that you liked the story. He & I were always “in competition” for my mum’s/his daughter’s attention 🙂 … Good luck with your searching Kristin. Looking forward to reading your blog. Cheers.

      • Catherine, I think I have the wrong blog linked when you click on my name up there. I don’t use that one any more. You can find me at findingeliza.com sorry about the confusion! I need to figure out how to change that.

  7. No worries Kristin. “Mysterious things” happen with my Blog quite often and sometimes takes quite a while to get sorted 🙂 … thanks for letting me know so quickly.

  8. Pingback: Dd – is for Delightful, Delicious & Delectable | Seeking Susan ~ Meeting Marie ~ Finding Family

  9. Pingback: Finding Family… dad’s 1st cousin 2x removed | Seeking Susan ~ Meeting Marie ~ Finding Family

Leave a Reply to genealyn Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s