Can anyone link Rose Elizabeth Ferguson to Joseph Vos?

+4 votes

I'm trying to determine if Rosa/Rose Elizabeth Ferguson (born 1872 in Hobart, Tasmania) is the same individual that appears in the inquest into the suicide of Captain Joseph Vos, who seems to have been involved in pacific labour trading amongst other things.

Apart from the name in newspaper articles, I have nothing that brings her to Sydney by 1893 to be Joseph's mistress. Nor can I find where/when she dies.

On the contrary, an article mentions a brother "Tasman Albert Ferguson" that I can't place in her family. I can't find his details either (except for an Australian War Memorial mention).

Article mentioning her brother:

SENSATIONAL STATEMENTS (1908, February 9). Truth (Brisbane, Qld. : 1900 - 1954), p. 9. Retrieved November 9, 2020, from

One of many articles on inquest:

THE NORTH SIDNEY SUICIDE. (1908, January 18). Evening News (Sydney, NSW : 1869 - 1931), p. 5. Retrieved November 9, 2020, from

Monograph on Joseph Vos:

Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Kind regards,

WikiTree profile: Rosa Foulds
in Genealogy Help by Chris Willoughby G2G6 Mach 1 (13.9k points)
edited by Chris Willoughby
One thought I've had is that Tasman Albert Ferguson could be her brother Albert Ernest Ferguson, i.e. he is Albert from Tasmania.

1. He appears to have spent his childhood in detention, from which he regularly escaped. He may have changed his name to put this in the past.

2. The only Tasman Ferguson I can find is born later, and doesn't have a sister Rose.

3. He is called Albert by his niece

Any thoughts? Thanks.

2 Answers

+3 votes
Best answer
Hi Chris,  Yes Rosa Elizabeth Ferguson was Joseph's common law wife.  They had four children together - Minnie (yes another one!), Lily, Olga  and Thelma.  Minnie was born in Tasmania, the other girls in Sydney.  Rosa was born in Tasmania, her brother was Albert.  Rosa died in Sydney in 1937.  She had married and adopted another first name, she is buried as Alice Jean Foulds.  There are quite a lot of descendants of Joseph who get together regularly.    My family is descended from Minnie.  Where do you fit in?

P.S.  Although Joseph was prosecuted for slave trading, he was acquitted and it was very controversial at the time, so hardly fair to refer to him as 'Joseph Vos Slave Trader'
by Kerry McKenzie G2G1 (1.3k points)
selected by Chris Willoughby
Hi Kerry - awesome thanks!

Apologies for the "click bait" question, I didn't mean to offend. Joseph certainly seems to have been involved in the pacific labour trade according to the monograph I have linked. I have adjusted the question to remove "slave trader".

Where do I fit in? Rosa was born to George Ferguson. George has two families - one in Tasmania, one in South Australia. His wife in South Australia is the daughter of my Third Great Grandmother (to her second marriage). So it's a very tenuous connection. I'm happy to hand profiles over to, or receive trusted list requests from, others in their line.

If you could point me at some sources, I will add them to the profiles.
Is Minnie registered as Minnie Joseph 1895? Thanks.
Yes, that's her!
Hi Kerry,

Is "Lily" registered in Sydney as "Ivy I FERGUSON"? Is Lily her second name and it should have been "Ivy L FERGUSON"? Thanks.
+2 votes
by Marion Poole G2G Astronaut (1.2m points)

barmaid fits. It would mean she was mid-teens when she moved into Joseph's life - not unheard of.

According to:

A WIFE'S PETITION. (1903, December 1). The Australian Star (Sydney, NSW : 1887 - 1909), p. 5. Retrieved November 9, 2020, from

"The lady love was a barmaid in the city"
According to:

Hawthorn Police Court. (1912, February 9). The Reporter (Box Hill, Vic. : 1889 - 1925), p. 4. Retrieved November 10, 2020, from

She had known the complainant for about five to seven years - which means this Rose Ferguson must have swiftly moved from Sydney to Melbourne after the death of her lover or the timelines overlap.

I have also found no mention of children - it's looking less likely.

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