Part 4: Completing the Story about Frank
The Real William Froggatt Story from all of the Archives
Searching for Frank
According to his birth certificate, Frank Froggatt was born 14 January 1906 at Whataupoko, Gisborne, New Zealand. The shipping records show three children accompanied William and Martha to Australia in December 1906. Frank was photographed at William's second marriage in 1910.
After the wedding, the trail of Frank goes cold. He was fostered out, overseen by Inspector Littlejohn. His sisters searched in vain for him all of their lives. Other family members continued the search. Littlejohn claimed Frank had gone to Queensland to start a new life and did not want to be contacted.
So inevitably the search fell to me. In about 1994 I searched every Australian telephone directory and compiled a list of all Froggatt names and addresses. I then wrote a letter to all 200 or so addresses. I received about 25 replies, all negative but all sympathetic to my quest. But I did not want sympathy, I wanted Frank !!
I combed every on-line list and newsgroup, asking after Frank. I visited Sydney and searched the BDM indexes and the Archives - no luck. By about 1998 I had to admit the search was proving harder than I thought. Frank could be anywhere. He could be in Queensland, he could have emigrated - England, Canada, America or any of 200 other countries.
I was forced to conclude that Frank had been fostered but had probably changed his name. We would not be able to find him. We would have to wait (impatiently) until he found us.
Then incredibly in November 2000 I received an email:
I was cautious, the Gisborne was correct, but the date was too late. There are other Froggatt families in Australia and New Zealand. I replied cautiously, and got this back
The location and date of birth were the proof - Frank, or at least his son, had found us. After 88 years, Frank has been located.
(As an aside, and as a reminder to keep looking, I have just -April 2006 - revisited the NSW State Archives web search page. I entered "froggatt" as the search term, and much to my amazement it returned a record for Frank Froggatt Hume. So we would have found Frank in 2006 if Les had not contacted me in 2000.)
Frank had been fostered to a Mr Hume, a butcher in Sydney and adopted this family name early in his life. He later lived with the Baird family in Sydney. He became a ward of the State and formally taken into foster care on 18 Dec 1914 about 18 months after his sister Sarah. Incredibly, his foster records are indexed under "HUME ( FROGGATT)". The index card was in the same box as Sarah Froggatt's and only about 30 cards apart - if only I had thought to pull out and check every card when I was at the Archives in 1994..........
Frank joined the Police, and was posted to Junee, a town south of Sydney and adjacent to Young and Cootamundra where his sisters had married and settled on farms. He may well have passed them in the street. He was posted back to Sydney as a motorcycle officer, where he had a bad crash with a tram. He was eventually retired early on health grounds.
Throughout his time in the Police and afterwards he was a keen supporter of Police youth clubs, to give youth the support and encouragement that he lacked in his life. He did know about his Froggatt parentage and did some searching but to no avail.
Throughout his life in the Police Frank and his family were supported and often visited by Police Inspector Littlejohn - his son Les well remembers the visits as Alf Littlejohn would often bring vegetables from his garden. At the same time (and probably on the same trips from Sydney), Littlejohn was visiting the families of Alice and Sarah. Their daughters remember the visits and the gifts of vegetables. Yet Littlejohn could never bring himself to tell either Alice or Sarah or Frank where the other siblings were. They died, never again seeing their brother or sisters. For that matter they never saw their father again either.
Last updated: 18/08/2010