My great great grandmother Jane McColm had 2 death certificates

My great, great grandmother Jane Smith McColm has 2 death certificates. When she died on 22nd January 1888 just 3 weeks after giving birth to her 7th child, Ethel Peel McColm, her husband Malcolm obviously didn't know where to register her death.

Sound strange to you? Jane died at the Railway Yard at Wallangarra on the Queensland-N.S.W. border. (I've just realised that the postcard I purchased a couple of weeks ago, has further meaning.) What did her husband do? He registered her death in both Stanthorpe (Qld) and Tenterfield (N.S.W.)

It is very interesting to compare the two death certificates.

The first one I discovered was the N.S.W. one. This stated that she was 40 years old and came from Wigtownshire in Scotland. Her father, James Fleming, was a druggist and her mother was Jane Milroy. Jane was married to Malcolm McColm and had no children. She died of puerperal fever. I wasn't happy with this certificate. I knew she had children - my great grandmother was one of them. Wigtownshire in Scotland also didn't give me the information I required.

A couple of years later I was browsing the Queensland indexes when I found her death registered again. I ordered the certificate and was delighted. The registrar in Stanthorpe was much more thorough than the one in Tenterfield.

Jane, 33, was born in Stranraer, Wigtownshire, Scotland and she had 7 children, Elizabeth 9, Samuel 8, James 6, Jane 4, Mary 3, and Ethel Peel 5 weeks and 2 days. Ethel's age doesn't tally with the duration of Jane's illness, but the certificate is typed and not a copy.

I am so pleased that Malcolm registered Jane's death twice. The experience left me wondering about the quality of information registered in Tenterfield at that time. A less than diligent Clerk of the Court!


  1. Good to hear from you, Sharon, in another interesting post about your ancestors.

  2. Hi Sharon, I can assist you with the occupation of Malcolm and dating the postcard. My ancestors were also original settlers at the 'Garra. My mum and dad still live there and I love going home. I’d be interested to know more of your connection with the place. Please contact me by email:



  3. hi Sharon

    A good outcome showing the virtues of persistence. I could be cheeky and say Queenslanders do it better, but I know full well there are plenty of occasions where this wouldn't be the case. Puerperal fever was a most unpleasant illness associated with childbirth as you know -my great grandmother also died of it but there's no child's birth contemporaneous with her death.


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