Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Trove Tuesday: In which Louis and Elizabeth's marriage creates history

Having a surname like Smith to research is a touch tricky but luckily 'my' Smiths liked to use other family names (like Darker, Dacre) as second names and also liked biblical names (like Kezia and Sampson). So I randomly put "Darker Smith" into the Trove search engine tonight and was most surprised when this newspaper item popped up.

Elizabeth Sarah Darker Smith was a daughter of my grandfather's cousin, William John Darker Smith, and his wife Sarah. I knew the family had a connection with the Mormons (Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints) but had no idea that Elizabeth's was the first Mormon marriage in Australia.

Evening News (Sydney), 17 Oct 1923
MORMONS TO WEDMELBOURNE, Wednesday.The first Mormon marriage in Australia will be celebrated at 7 p.m. on Saturday at the Church of Jesus Christ Latter Day Saints, Albert-street, East Melbourne. Elizabeth Sarah Darker Smith will become the wife of Louis Paul Kneale.Both live in Melbourne. Rev. Joseph Baxter Gunnell,, an elder of the church, will perform the ceremony. Previous to the recent Act of the State Government sanctioning marriages by the Church of Latter Day Saints, all marriages among members had to be held either in another church or at the office of a registrar. This religion began in Australia about 60 years ago. Then its missionary activities were stopped, not to be renewed until 30 years ago. The present church building was completed 18 months ago. Two weeks from Saturday Mr. Kneale's brother, Frederick Raymond Kneale, also an elder of the church, will be married to Elsie Parker. These two weddings will probably be the first and last held in the church this year.
August 1922
I found the photo above on a Utah webpage and feel sure that Louis and Elizabeth would be in there somewhere - it was the year before their wedding. Louis and Elizabeth remained members of the East Melbourne Mormon Church (Church of the Latter Day Saints) congregation. Her funeral was held in the church.
The Argus, (Melbourne) 18 Nov 1950


  1. This is a nice symmetry -- I went hunting to find the date and newspaper for an unidentified clipping in my files, and the search brought me to your page where I found an image of the very clipping. Just below it, I see the photo of the East Melbourne chapel that you found on my blog, Keepapitchinin! It's great that we have unexpectedly helped each other this way. Best wishes for your continued success in family history and blogging.

  2. I think William John Darker Smith was my first cousin twice removed, so a 1st cousin of my grandfather William George Growdon.


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