Our Hodgetts Family Saga- Henrietta Hodgetts,1820, Tasmania-Part 1

There have always been questions concerning the paternity of ‘Henrietta’ Hodgetts, the daughter of Sarah Hodgetts. Sarah was the third daughter and fourth child of Thomas and Harriet Hodgetts.

Sarah was born in Sydney on 1 September 1797 and was baptized at St Phillip’s on 24 December 1797, by Rev Richard Johnson.

See Our Hodgetts Family Saga- Sarah Hodgetts,1797, Sydney-posted 10 August 2020.

Sarah Hodgetts went to Norfolk Island with her parents in 1800 and returned with them to Sydney in 1805. After some time in Sydney, where Thomas was employed in Government business the family went to the Hawkesbury River and settled at Pitt Town.

In early 1819 Thomas and Harriet Hodgetts decided to follow their eldest son, John, and his family to northern Tasmania. The family set sail on the ‘Sinbad’ in February 1819.

See Harriet Hodgetts Journey’s by Sea- part 4 posted 27 February 2019

On 30 May 1820, Sarah Hodgetts had a daughter. She was named Henrietta and baptized on 1 March 1821 by Rev John Youle of St John’s, Launceston.[1]

In this baptism entry, Sarah claimed Henrietta’s father to be a ‘John Piper of Port Jackson. Over the years several family historians have claimed this to be ‘Captain John Piper of Point Piper.’ Perhaps, convinced by the fact his home at Point Piper was called  “Henrietta Villa”.

However, for various reasons, I believe it is not possible for Captain John Piper of Point Piper to be Henrietta’s father. There is no doubt that Captain Piper would have known the Hodgetts family when he and they were on Norfolk Island. Nor is there any doubt that Captain Piper is known to have had children with women other than his wife. The fact remains Henrietta Hodgetts was conceived in northern Tasmania between late August and early October 1819, and Captain Piper’s movements in Sydney on Government and private business are well documented for that small window of time.

At the beginning of 1819 when the Hodgetts family sailed for Port Dalrymple in northern Tasmania, Captain John Piper was one of the busiest and the richest men in the colony.

As Naval Officer [2] for Governor Macquarie, he was responsible for the collection of customs duties, excise on spirits, harbour dues, control of lighthouses, and crime on water. At 5% commission, this was a very remunerative position and he became the highest-paid official in the colony.

In 1816 John Piper married Mary Ann Shears, a daughter of convicts, with whom he already had several children. He moved his family to “Burwood Villa”, Burwood, which was leased from Alexander Riley.

He also acquired a large parcel of land at Eliza Bay, which is on the western side of Rose Bay, where he proceeded to build his new home.[3]

This was known as Piper’s Naval Pavillion of Eliza Point. Although it was begun in 1816, it was several years before it was completed at a cost of £10,000. A staggering amount of money for the time.

It was later to be officially named “Elizabeth Henrietta Villa”, shortened to “Henrietta Villa”, in honour of Governor Macquarie’s second wife, Elizabeth Henrietta Campbell, whom he married in 1807. The house was demolished in the 1850s and Woollahra House was later built on the site.[4]

Elizabeth Heneretta [i.e. Henrietta] Villa c 1820. Mitchell Library, Macquarie Street, Sydney

 Now we move to the middle of 1819, shortly before Henrietta’s conception. Let us look at the life of Captain John Piper of Piper’s Point at this time.

The New South Wales Government Gazette of 10 July, recorded that ” His Excellency the Governor has been pleased to nominate and appoint John Piper…to be a Justice of the Peace and Magistrate in the Town of Sydney…“. He was required to sit with other Justices of the Peace as a judge in the Courts of Petty Sessions.[5]

On 7 August, along with other officials, he was listed as a benefactor to the Benevolent Society with a gift of two cows.[6]

The Government Gazette of the 18 September, announced his appointment as a member of the Committees of the Female Orphan, Male Orphan, and Public School Institutions. [7]Then a few days later as a member of the board of Native Institutions.[8]

On 26 September Commissioner John Thomas Bigge arrived in the colony on the John Barry. He had been appointed by Lord Bathurst, head of the Colonial Office in England to examine the effectiveness of transportation as a deterrent to crime and to hold an investigation into Governor Macquarie’s civil administration of the colony.[9]

As Naval Officer, John Piper had major responsibilities in the ceremonial welcome and other harbour duties.

The arrival of Commissioner Bigge began a round of balls, parties, and other official functions for the elite of Sydney’s society, including Captain John Piper and his wife.

A few weeks later Uranie the French survey and discovery ship, sailed into Port Jackson under Captain de Freycinet. His wife accompanied him. A ball on the ship continued the festivities.[10]

On 2 December, John Piper himself hosted a huge garden party at his mansion on Eliza Point. At this lavish event, he formally changed the name of the locality from ‘Eliza Point’ to ‘Elizabeth Henrietta Point’ in honour of the wife of Governor Macquarie, his benefactor. [11]

Now we know the house was named “Henrietta Villa” several months after the Hodgetts family left for Tasmania.

A careful search of all the Musters of Masters, Crew, and Passengers leaving and entering Port Jackson between January 1817 to January 1820 proved that Captain John Piper did not arrive on board or leave Sydney on any ship in that time period. [12]

 It should be noted that Captain John Piper acknowledged all the children he fathered. However, he did not acknowledge Henrietta Hodgetts as one of them.

If Captain Piper could not be Henrietta’s father, who could the ‘John Piper of Port Jackson’ be?

 It has been the lore of the sea for mariners, whether in a navy or in other forms of maritime service, to be identified by a particular ship they are known to be serving on at the time, or by their home port. In this case, ‘Port Jackson’ is John Piper’s home port.

Is there any way we can identify who this John Piper may be?

I will continue the story in the next blog.

A list of my references is available to family members and interested researchers on application. Please leave a request in the comments box below indicating your interest.

Mackey Archives Launch

Thursday morning, 26th May 2022, we, as well as family and friends, were guests of Clarence Valley Council and the library staff of the Clarence Regional and Grafton Branch Libraries, for the ‘Launch of the Mackey Archives’. Although Covid restrictions still apply for all Council functions, it really was a wonderful morning.

I was asked to give a short address, a summary I which I have included here. For publication I have removed people’s names or have used only their initials in keeping with privacy laws.

“Good Morning everyone. Thank you for coming today.
‘Launching the Mackey Archives.’ What are the Mackey Archives, and what does ‘launching’ mean?

The Mackey Archives is a private collection of thousands of books, microfilms, microfiche, photographs, maps, newspaper clippings, documents and ephemera on Local and Family History, the majority of which showcases the Clarence River District, in Northern NSW.

Historically, this district stretched from the Macleay River northward, including the Clarence, Richmond, Brunswick and Tweed Rivers and up to Moreton Bay. (Brisbane). It also encompassed the area from the east coast of NSW westward to the New England Ranges.
Today’s ‘launch’ is a celebration of the transfer of this collection into the care of the Clarence Regional Library.

How did this all come about and why now?
As you all realize a story spanning more than fifty years, is long and complicated, but this morning I will confine myself to a few highlights.

I have always had a certain passion for history. This was fostered by my Maternal Grandmother, with whom I spent many hours as a child, listening to stories of goldmines, bushrangers and colourful family characters. She also encouraged me to trace our ancestry, which has been a life long journey, not yet completed.

My forefathers were not early pioneers of the Clarence River District, not having arrived on the Tweed River until the 20th Century.

In the 1960’s I was appointed to the teaching staff of Westlawn Public School, Grafton, and was soon introduced to ‘Schaeffer House’, the then newly opened home of the Clarence River Historical Society. I just loved all this history in one place, even though there was no connection with my families. I have been a member of the Clarence River Historical Society for 48 years and was recently awarded Life Membership. For eighteen years I served the Society on the Executive Committee, firstly as Honorary Secretary and later as Honorary Research Officer. During this time I soon discovered what an incredible and unique part of the world the Clarence River District is. Particularly the Clarence River area itself, including Grafton. How todays communities are made up of descendants not only of three Aboriginal nations who have been here, for perhaps, thousands of years, but also English, Scottish, Irish, German, Italian, Swiss, French, White Russian, Dutch, Greek, Chinese, and Pacific Islander immigrants, all of whom settled here in the 19th and 20th Centuries. You could say a melting- pot of humanity.

Have you heard of Sir Grafton Elliot-Smith, the eminent Egyptologist and anthropologist; William Kirchner, Australia’s First German Consul; Virginia Bassetti and the Drummond Sisters, great Opera singers; Sir Ivan Mackay, the great war hero; Sir Earle Page, Surgeon, Politician and Leader of the Australian Country Party ? I could add many more men and women to this impressive list.
Are these some of my illustrious ancestors?
No, but these famous and inspirational people were all connected to the Clarence.

Now back to today’s story. Throughout the 1970’s-80’s I continued my research into my ancestors and that of my husband. I also helped those interested in tracing the ancestry of Clarence River families.
During this time I undertook professional studies in Family, Local and Applied Histories as a distance education or external student through Sydney and Armidale educational faculties.

Due to the fact I lived so far away from the large cities, where the big libraries and archives were, and although, I had the help of the staff of the Clarence Regional Library with Interlibrary Loans, I found it difficult to get the necessary research material for my assignments and theses. I Invested heavily in books, microfilm, microfiche and copies of original records from libraries and archives throughout Australia, to complete my studies. Remember this was long before the internet!
This was the beginning of the Mackey Archives. When I say Mackey Archives, although it has always been my obsession and I have been the driving force, I could not have achieved such a collection without the support and help of my husband, and our children.

In the early 1990’s family circumstances required me to step down as research officer for the Clarence River Historical Society, and teaching in the public and private school systems, but I was able to move into my dream job as a Professional Historian, and I opened my own business. This allowed me not only to continue to invest in more books, microfilms and CD’s etc., but I was also able to acquire copies of original material, which allowed me to rise to the top of my profession.

I wrote and published more than 70 publications in book and microfiche formats. Over 40 of these were on the Clarence River District. Not forgetting three of those were co-authored.
I have not only had the support of my family, but a large network of friends from all walks of life, far too numerous to name, but who helped me track down and acquire copies of original material from libraries, archives and private collections all around the world. These people are individually acknowledged in each of my publications.

I must say the aim of my collection was to supplement and complement, not duplicate, material held by other private facilities such as Historical and Family History Societies throughout the region. Over this time I also shared my expertise and interest to help others achieve their goals in recording family and local history too. My private library and archives was always open to students and friends for research.

However, I would like to specially mention a few people who have stood the test of time over many years. Of course my husband, who after retirement joined me in the business and took on the task of digitizing all my card indexes, newspaper cuttings and documents some 30,000 images- so far, and there are many more to come. He also tagged them so they are easily accessible.

JB and AB, who not only helped in many necessary excursions to Sydney libraries and archives, but also joined us on private archeological surveys in old gold mining towns on the Upper Clarence and assisted with photographic and computer work.

NE helped curate and catalogue the books into the library Dewey system. She has also been my chief proof reader.

JK helped with transcribing original records held in Sydney as well as locally and as an excellent typist, typed some of the early book manuscripts.

GB who co- authored the book on Clarence River German Immigrants and helped track down out- of -print, and obscure books for my library.

MH, formerly Historical Officer with the Crown Lands Office, who educated me in the use of land records and helped me acquire a large collection of maps of the Northern Rivers area when the Lands Department went digital and no longer required the hard copies.

I am very appreciative to have some of these people here this morning. For various reasons the others could not be here, but sent their best wishes.

In 2012, after twenty years in my dream job, due to ill health and other issues I closed the business. Although I still planned to carry on researching our families, the problem arose what to do with this huge collection of thousands of books, microfiche, microfilms, photographs, maps, newspaper clippings, documents and ephemera of the Clarence River District?.

Ideally, I wanted it to stay locally as a collection, available both to the hobbyist and students starting out on their own tertiary journey.
I always had a great relationship with the Clarence Regional and Grafton Branch Libraries, but in 2012 they were busy trying to find new homes themselves, and were not interested in adding to their problems, by taking my collection, so it stayed on my shelves.

Fast forward to 2018. We had a new Regional and Branch library complex in Grafton city. A new Regional Librarian, an experienced Local Studies Librarian and a highly qualified Archivist and Restorer now on the library staff.
We also had a new educational-hub for tertiary students next door.
I approached the library staff about my collection and after a visit, they were very keen, especially when they learned we wished to gift it to the city.
You would think it would be easy to just hand over this collection to the library. However, there were many hurdles, not only legal ownership, copyright and documentation of such a collection, but the cataloguing to make it available to the public.
For the last four years I have been documenting and cataloguing this collection, not only to make it available to the public, but also in a way for it not to become a burden on the library staff.
I believe it is not the size of this gift to the community that is important, but why we have chosen to make it.
With the rapid advance of the digital age and instant gratification, I believe as a Society we are now becoming emotionally undernourished, in terms of understanding and feeling a kinship with our heritage.
Only history can provide the basis for an understanding of time, through the perception of change-that is a past, present and future.
History provides us with insights into past societies, cultures and values and of course mistakes, which we do not want to repeat, but it is also the frame of reference with which we understand ourselves. In other words ‘Knowledge is Power’, and aided by experience, leads to wisdom.

My hope that this collection is the core of a community based collection that is unique, and from time to time is strategically added to, by others, in the future. A source of information and inspiration for the next and future generations so they have the knowledge, confidence and courage to go out into the world and do great things, just as their ancestors did. “

Below are photographs and report on the Clarence Valley Council website.

Mackey Archive launched at Grafton Library

A unique collection of books, photos, maps, newspaper clippings and documents depicting local history has found a new home at Clarence Regional Library.

The Mackey Archive is the lifelong collection of historian and genealogist Nola Mackey including more than 1000 books, 1000 maps and 30,000 digital scans of The Daily Examiner.

All of these items have been meticulously recorded and catalogued by Nola and her husband Vernon and are now available for members of the community interested in exploring local history and heritage.

“It’s not the size of the gift that is important; but why we did it,” Mrs Mackey told guests at yesterday’s launch at Grafton Library.

“History provides insights into past cultures, values and mistakes. It is also the frame of reference from which we understand ourselves. In other words, knowledge is power.”

The Mackey Archive Reading Room is located in Grafton Library and open Monday to Thursday 10am to 3pm (by appointment only). Visits are by appointment only. To book please call (02) 6641 0111 at least one working day in advance.

From https://us10.campaign-archive.com/?u=32babd04f807b60b61497541e&id=1329820376

A report in the local newspaper, “The Independent”,1 June 2022

Our Bell Family in Australia – Henry Bell, 1854, Picton.

My  2x Great Grandfather, George Bell was born in East Farleigh, Kent, England in 1817.

In 1837 he and his brother, James, emigrated to Australia as sailors on a convict ship.

George Bell married Sarah Sargent at Sutton Forest, New South Wales in 1844.

This couple settled in Picton, New South Wales and had a family.

Their children were all born at Picton.

George Bell Jr, was born in 1845 and baptised in 1846. See ‘Our Bell Family in Australia- George Bell, 1846, Picton.’

James Bell, was born in 1847. See ‘Our Bell Family in Australia-James Bell, 1847,Picton.’

Thomas Bell, was born in 1849. See ‘Our Bell Family in Australia-Thomas Bell, 1849,Picton.’

According to the Bell Family Bible after three sons, George and Sarah Bell had a daughter. She was called Harriet, after George Bell’s, sister who had died in East Farleigh, Kent, when George was six years of age.

Harriet Bell, was born in 1852. See “Our Bell Family in Australia- Harriet Bell, 1852, Picton’.

Two years later George and Sarah Bell had another son. He was named Henry.

The Bell family bible gave a birth date of 27 March 1854. As this was before Civil Registration in New South Wales I needed the baptism of Henry.

I checked for references in the online index of the Registrar of Births Deaths and Marriages in for New South Wales in Sydney at https://bdm.nsw.gov.au/  for the baptism, but found there was no reference at all for ‘Henry Bell the son of George and Sarah Bell.’

Although Henry Bell did not marry I have found many documents for him throughout his life, including his death and burial in Picton in 1936.

Throughout the years of researching my family history, I have found sometimes the odd baptism will have been missed in the indexing. I was quite confident that George and Sarah Bell would have had their son baptised, and at Picton. As the older siblings had been baptised in the Church of England, Presbyterian, and Wesleyan churches I decided to search the available baptism registers for the three churches. I carefully moved through the records page by page for 1854 and 1855 but I was not able to locate a baptism record for Henry Bell. Perhaps he was not baptised?  However, this did not sit well with me.

I decided to go and look at the Indexes for Baptisms in New South Wales released by the Registrar of Births, Deaths, and Marriages in microform. These were released in 1988 on 26 microfiches plus 4 Supplementary. They were arranged alphabetically. In looking at the Bell entries I found baptism reference entries for George, Harriett, James, and John Bell all children of George and Sarah Bell but no Henry. With a sinking heart, I searched the supplementary fiche.  There it was! ‘Henry Bell son of George and Sarah Bell in 1854’! The reference was No 48 in Volume 153.

In 1988 the  Archives Authority of New South Wales (now State Records) released a Genealogical Kit to assist family historians to research their ancestry. This was long before the Internet. Part of this kit were copies of baptism registers before civil registration began in 1856. The time frame was 1788-1855. The early colonial baptisms, marriages, and burials records were contained in 164 large volumes. This included Victoria and Queensland which was part of New South Wales at that time. These are held as Government records by the Registrar of Births Deaths and Marriages for New South Wales in Sydney.

Many of these records were microfilmed. Of the 164 volumes copied, only 123 volumes were released in the above Genealogical Kit covering the time frame 1788-1855. Volumes 124-164 were not included in the kit.

This was because some of the records contained in the volumes were after 1855 so fell outside the parameters of the historical project and were subject to state privacy laws. Other volumes were not included because they were so fragile and the handling of those volumes would have destroyed them.

Returning to our Bell research I found Volume 153 in the above-mentioned records was one of the registers held by the Registrar of Births, Deaths and Marriages of New South Wales.

I was able to purchase a transcription, from that office, but not a photocopy.

According to the transcription Henry Bell the son of George and Sarah Bell (nee Sargent) was baptised at Picton on 1 May 1854 by Rev William McKee of St Peters, Presbyterian Church, County Cumberland, New South Wales. The birth date was given as 27 March 1854, which agrees with the family bible. The father, George Bell’s occupation was given as Farmer.

This transcription appeared to have been made from the clergy returns for 1854 and not the original parish register. I searched library catalogues for the original parish register but have not been successful. It would appear that the original register for that year may not have survived, or if so, it has not been deposited in a library or archive for safekeeping.

Henry Bell, 1854, Picton, Baptism Transcription

I was able to find some information on the Rev William McKee as follows:-

Reverend McKee

Reverend William McKee packed a lot into his short life. He was Campbelltown’s second Presbyterian minister, succeeding Reverend Hugh Gilchrist at St David’s in 1852. Like his Ulsterman predecessor, Rev. McKee worked tirelessly in undertaking his pastoral duties for the town and surrounding areas. It was unforeseen circumstances however that lead to his premature demise.

The Rev. William McKee was born in 1821 and educated at the Royal Belfast Academical Institute. In 1848, with his wife Frances, he sailed for Australia, arriving at Port Phillip on 6 October 1848. He arrived in Sydney the following year after an offer of a vacancy at St Andrew’s at Port Macquarie. Reverend McKee was then called to Campbelltown and inducted into St. David’s on 18 May 1853.

Rev. McKee’s pastoral duties were arduous. He travelled extensively throughout the district from Liverpool, Appin, Camden, Picton, Bargo and beyond. [1]

The service was probably held in the old Court House,  Picton which had been built by the Antill family many years before.

I do not know why the baptism was in the Presbyterian records because the Wesleyans had built a chapel not far from the Bell family home in Upper Picton,  and the son Thomas had been baptised there some two years before.

My share document for this baptism transcription can be found under the  Resources and Examples Tab on this website under-

BELL, Henry, 1854, Picton, Baptism Transcription.

[1] Retrieved by Nola Mackey,15 September 2020

From <http://campbelltown-library.blogspot.com/2016/11/reverend-mckee.html

Our Bell Family in Australia – Harriet Bell, 1852, Picton.

My  2x Great Grandfather, George Bell was born in East Farleigh, Kent, England in 1817.

In 1837 he and his brother, James emigrated to Australia as sailors on a convict ship.

George Bell married Sarah Sargent at Sutton Forest, New South Wales in 1844.

This couple settled in Picton, New South Wales and had a family.

Their children were all born at Picton, New South Wales.

George Bell Jr, was born  in 1845 and baptised in 1846. See Our Bell Family in Australia- George Bell, 1846,Picton.

James Bell, was born in 1847. See Our Bell Family in Australia-James Bell, 1847,Picton.

Thomas Bell, was born in 1849. See Our Bell Family in Australia-Thomas Bell, 1849,Picton.

According to the Bell Family Bible I have, after three sons, George and Sarah Bell had a daughter. She was called Harriet, after George Bell’s, sister who had died in East Farleigh, Kent, when George was six years of age.

I checked for references in the online index of the Registrar of Births Deaths and Marriages in for New South Wales in Sydney at https://bdm.nsw.gov.au/ and found the following.

BELL HARRIET     947/1852 V1852947 56  (  dau  of ) GEORGE and SARAH

 Using this reference I was able to search for an entry in the Archives Authority of New South Wales (now State Records) Genealogical Kit (1988) for baptisms 1788-1855. The early colonial baptism, marriage, and burial records of some 164 volumes cover the time before civil registration in New South Wales. This includes Victoria and Queensland which was part of New South Wales at that time. These are held as Government records by the Registrar of Births Deaths and Marriages for New South Wales in Sydney.

Many of these records were microfilmed and released to the public in the Archives Authority of New South Wales Genealogical Kit in 1988. Of the 164 volumes copied, only 123 volumes were released in the kit covering the time frame 1788-1855. Volumes 124-164 were not included in the kit.

This was because some of the records contained in the volumes were after 1855 so fell outside the parameters of the historical project and were subject to state privacy laws. Other volumes were not included because they were so fragile and the handling of those volumes would have destroyed them.

Returning to our Bell research I found Volume 56 in the above-mentioned records, and I was able to view a microfilm copy of the original record on AO Reel 5020. This was a copy of the Baptism Register for Wesleyan Camden Circuit under the Rev John Bowes. This copy was sent to the Colonial Secretary’s Office for the clergy returns in 1852.

Although you can view these records at your library you cannot make a printout as it is a condition of use of these records and is stated at the beginning of each film. The copyright belongs to the Registrar of Births Deaths and Marriages.  I was able to make a transcription and add appropriate notes.

Harriet Bell Baptism Transcription

I noted the baptism was in the Wesleyan church, so I investigated that further and found.

The Wesleyan Church, Picton

“On the 4th April, 1849 the Colonial Secretary advised that the Governor of N.S.W. had given approval to allotments of land which had been granted to the Wesleyans in Picton on 4th January, 1849. Shortly after, James Rogers began to build the chapel using convict labour. The original building was 26 feet by 16 feet, the stone being hewn from Stonequarry Creek. The roof was of shingles. The chapel was opened shortly after, in July 1849, but by 1865, because of the influx of population, especially railway men associated with terminal railway activities the little Wesleyan chapel was enlarged, again James Rogers carrying out the work: adding an extra 10 feet on to the back of the church. The early ministers who conducted services at the chapel were George Pickering (1849), J. Bowe (1852), J. Fillingham (1855), C.W. Rigg (1856), W. Clark (1859), S. Wilkinson (1861), J. Watkins (1864) and Richard Amos (1865). ” [1]

The Wesleyan Chapel was not very far from the Bell home at Upper Picton, also known as Redbank. I know this from looking on a map of Picton, but I have also visited the village on several occasions over the years.

The father, George Bell’s occupation was given as a carrier. Thomas Bell (b 1849) in his memoirs recalled helping his father with horse teams when he was about seven years old.

I decided to see if I could find a copy of this baptism through another source such as the church or other archives or libraries.

The Baptism Registers for the Wesleyan Church in New South Wales have not been scanned and put online either through their own, or a subscription website such as ancestry.com or findmypast.

However they have been microfilmed through the Australian Joint Copy Project and are available at the National Library of Australia, State Library of New South Wales and the Society of Australian Genealogists. I found the references through their online catalogues and have arranged to get a copy to add to my data sheet for the birth of Harriet Bell.

I also checked in the newspapers on Trove at the National Library of Australia to see if there was a birth notice or report for Harriet Bell, but found none.

Harriet Bell’s birth entry in the Bell family bible is also the same date as the above baptism transcription, so after adding these references from two separate primary sources to my Birth Data sheet for Harriet Bell I believe she was born at Picton on 15 February 1852. However, I will see if it is further confirmed through the actual church baptism register.

My share document for this baptism transcription can be found under the  Resources and Examples Tab on this website under-

BELL, Harriet, 1852, Picton, Baptism Transcription

[1]  Picton and District Historical and Family History Society Facebook page -Wesleyan Church

From <https://www.facebook.com/878976525498739/posts/redbank-uniting-church-picton-formerly-wesleyan-chapelon-the-4th-april-1849-the-/918616788201379/ downloaded by Nola Mackey, 3 September,2020

Our Bell Family in Australia – Thomas Bell, 1849, Picton.

My  2x Great Grandfather, George Bell was born in East Farleigh, Kent, England in 1817.

In 1837 he and his brother, James emigrated to Australia as sailors on a convict ship.

George Bell married Sarah Sargent at Sutton Forest, New South Wales in 1844.

This couple settled in Picton, New South Wales and had a family.

Their eldest son, George was born at Picton in 1845.

James Bell, the second son was born in Picton in 1847.

Thomas Bell, the third son, the subject of this blog, was born in Picton in 1849.

I checked for references in the online index for the Registrar of Births, Deaths and Marriages in  Sydney at https://bdm.nsw.gov.au/ and found the following.

BELL THOMAS    5887/1849 V18495887 121C   GEORGE  and   SARAH

BELL THOMAS    1843/1849 V18491843 55        GEORGE  and   SARAH

From <https://familyhistory.bdm.nsw.gov.au/lifelink/familyhistory/search/result?3>

Using these references I was able to search for entries in the Archives Authority of New South Wales (now State Records) Genealogical Kit (1988) for baptisms 1788-1855.

The early colonial baptism, marriage, and burial records of some 164 volumes cover the time before civil registration in New South Wales. This includes Victoria and Queensland which was part of New South Wales at that time. These are held as Government records by the Registrar of Births Deaths and Marriages for New South Wales in Sydney.

Many of these records were microfilmed and released to the public in the Archives Authority of New South Wales Genealogical Kit in 1988. Of the 164 volumes copied, only 123 volumes were released in the kit covering the time frame 1788-1855. Volumes 124-164 were not included in the kit.

This was because some of the records contained in the volumes were after 1855 so fell outside the parameters of the historical project and were subject to state privacy laws. Other volumes were not included because they were so fragile and the handling of those volumes would have destroyed them.

Returning to our Bell research, I found Volume 55  and 121 in the above-mentioned records, and I was able to view a microfilm copy of the original record on AO Reel 5020 and 5046, respectively

Although you can view these records at your library you cannot make a printout as it is a condition of use of these records and is stated at the beginning of each film. The copyright belongs to the Registrar of Births Deaths and Marriages.  I was able to make a transcription and add appropriate notes.

Baptism Transcription for Thomas Bell, 1849
Baptism Transcription 2 for Thomas Bell,1849

The Wesleyan Church, Picton

“On the 4th April, 1849 the Colonial Secretary advised that the Governor of N.S.W. had given approval to allotments of land which had been granted to the Wesleyans in Picton on 4th January, 1849. Shortly after, James Rogers began to build the chapel using convict labour. The original building was 26 feet by 16 feet, the stone being hewn from Stonequarry Creek. The roof was of shingles. The chapel was opened shortly after, in July 1849, but by 1865, because of the influx of population, especially railway men associated with terminal railway activities the little Wesleyan chapel was enlarged, again James Rogers carrying out the work: adding an extra 10 feet on to the back of the church. The early ministers who conducted services at the chapel were George Pickering (1849), J. Bowe (1852), J. Fillingham (1855), C.W. Rigg (1856), W. Clark (1859), S. Wilkinson (1861), J. Watkins (1864) and Richard Amos (1865). ” [1]

This church was not very far from the Bell home at Upper Picton, also known as Redbank.

I also checked in the newspapers to see if there was a birth notice or report, but found none.

Thomas Bell’s birth entry in the Bell family bible is also the same date, so after adding all these references to my Birth Data sheet for Thomas Bell I am confident he was born at Picton on 20 October 1849.

My share documents for this baptism can be found under the  Resources and Examples Tab on this website under-

BELL, Thomas, 1849, Picton, Baptism Transcription 1 and

BELL, Thomas, 1849, Picton, Baptism Transcription 2

[1] Picton and District Historical and Family History Society Facebook page -Wesleyan Church

From <https://www.facebook.com/878976525498739/posts/redbank-uniting-church-picton-formerly-wesleyan-chapelon-the-4th-april-1849-the-/918616788201379/ downloaded by Nola Mackey, 3 September,2020

Our Bell Family in Australia – James Bell,1847, Picton.

My  2x Great Grandfather, George Bell was born in East Farleigh, Kent, England in 1817.

In 1837 he and his brother, James emigrated to Australia as sailors on a convict ship.

George Bell married Sarah Sargent at Sutton Forest, New South Wales in 1844.

This couple settled in Picton, New South Wales and had a family.

Their eldest son, George was born at Picton in 1845.

James Bell, the second son was born in Picton in 1847.

I checked for references in the online index for the Registrar of Births, Deaths and Marriages in Sydney at https://bdm.nsw.gov.au/ and found the following.

BELL JAMES  517/1847 V1847517 49 son of GEORGE and   SARAH

Using these reference I was able to search for entries in the Archives Authority of New South Wales (now State Records) Genealogical Kit (1988) for baptisms 1788-1855. The early colonial baptism, marriage, and burial records of some 164 volumes cover the time before civil registration in New South Wales. This includes Victoria and Queensland which was part of New South Wales at that time. These are held as Government records by the Registrar of Births Deaths and Marriages for New South Wales in Sydney.

Many of these records were microfilmed and released to the public in the Archives Authority of New South Wales Genealogical Kit in 1988. Of the 164 volumes copied, only 123 volumes were released in the kit covering the time frame 1788-1855. Volumes 124-164 were not included in the kit.

This was because some of the records contained in the volumes were after 1855 so fell outside the parameters of the historical project and were subject to state privacy laws. Other volumes were not included because they were so fragile and the handling of those volumes would have destroyed them.

Returning to our Bell research I found Volume 49 in the above-mentioned records, and I was able to view a microfilm copy of the original record on AO Reel 5018.

Although you can view these records at your library you cannot make a printout as it is a condition of use of these records and is stated at the beginning of each film. The copyright belongs to the Registrar of Births Deaths and Marriages.  I was able to make a transcription and add appropriate notes.

As the Presbyterian Church in Picton was not built until after this date [1887], the baptism most likely took place at a service in the old courthouse  with the Rev Hugh Robert Gilchrist on Saturday 28 November 1847

Presbyterian Church

The history of the [Picton ]district might be said to have begun with the settlement of the Antills at “Jarvisfield” in 1820, and the land must have been taken up rapidly, for very soon there was a strong Presbyterian group in the area, including such families as the Harpers, Inglises, McDonalds, McAlisters, McLeans, Dunns, Mclntyres, and Grahams. To minister to their spiritual needs, in 1838, the Rev. H. R. Gilchrist began to ride over from Campbelltown to preach in the barn at “Abbotsford.”  Later services were held in the old Court House, which stood at the corner at the top of the hill where the Hume Highway from Sydney enters Picton. [1]

I also have a certified copy purchased from the Registrar of Births, Deaths and Marriages in 1983. The reference is identical and the information is the same including the birth and baptism dates so I believe the this is the same document at the Registrar’s office.

I also checked in the newspapers to see if there was a birth notice or report, but found none.

James Bell’s birth entry in the Bell family bible is also the same date, so after adding all these references to my Birth Data sheet for James Bell I am confident he was born at Picton on 18 September 1847.

My share document for this baptism can be found under the  Resources and Examples Tab on this website under-

BELL, James, 1847, Picton, Baptism Transcription

[1] The Picton Post (NSW), 31 March 1937.

Good hunting.

Our Bell Family in Australia – George Bell, 1846, Picton.

In recent blogs I wrote about my ancestors George Bell and Sarah Sargent’s marriage in Sutton Forest, New South Wales in 1844. This was the first document I had for George Bell, although it was some seven years after his arrival in Australia in 1837.

Soon after marriage George and Sarah moved to the Picton area. This was where their first child was born.

I then checked for references in the online index of the Registrar of Births Deaths and Marriages in Sydney at https://bdm.nsw.gov.au/ and found the following.

BELL GEORGE   1604/1846 V18461604 31A   GEORGE and SARAH

BELL GEORGE   1804/1845 V18451804 31A   GEORGE  and SARAH

Using these references I was able to search for entries in the Archives Authority of New South Wales (now State Records) Genealogical Kit (1988) for baptisms 1788-1855. The early colonial baptism, marriage, and burial records of some 164 volumes cover the time before civil registration in New South Wales. This includes Victoria and Queensland which was part of New South Wales at that time. These are held as Government records by the Registrar of Births Deaths and Marriages for New South Wales in Sydney.

Many of these records were microfilmed and released to the public in the Archives Authority of New South Wales Genealogical Kit in 1988. Of the 164 volumes copied, only 123 volumes were released in the kit covering the time frame 1788-1855. Volumes 124-164 were not included in the kit.

This was because some of the records contained in the volumes were after 1855 so fell outside the parameters of the historical project and were subject to state privacy laws. Other volumes were not included because they were so fragile and the handling of those volumes would have destroyed them.

Returning to our Bell research I found Volume 31 in the above-mentioned records, and I was able to view a microfilm copy of the original record on AO Reel 5009. You will note the above references are the same except for the entry number. The second is a transcription error in the indexing of the records. There is only one entry 1604, for the baptism of George Bell in 1846. His birth date was stated as 27th November 1845 at Picton.

This was a copy of the Baptism Register for St Thomas’, Narellan, under the Rev Thomas Hassall. This copy was sent to the Colonial Secretary’s Office for the clergy returns in 1846.

BELL,George,1846,Picton,Baptism Transcription

Although you can view these records at your library you cannot make a printout as it is a condition of use of these records and is stated at the beginning of each film. The copyright belongs to the Registrar of Births Deaths and Marriages.  At the time I was able to make a transcription and add appropriate notes. As the church in Picton was not built until after this date, the baptism most likely took place after the Sunday service in the old courthouse with the Rev Thomas Hassall.

“In 1827 Hassall was appointed to the new parish of Cowpastures which he described as “Australia beyond Liverpool”. This was to be his centre of operations for the remainder of his life. At this time Hassall purchased Denbigh estate at Cobbitty which became his headquarters. Here be built Heber Chapel in 1828 which served for many years until St Paul’s Cobbitty was established in 1842.

Hassall’s extensive parish extended as far as Goulburn and Illawarra involving an exhaustive preaching ministry including Cobbitty, Berrima, Bong Bong and Goulburn. He was often referred to as the “galloping parson” and has been described as the first of Australia’s ‘bush parsons’.

Gradually from 1838 onwards, the large parish was reduced to a more manageable circuit, with Hassall being relieved of Goulburn and Mulgoa. Subdivided into dioceses and parishes, clergy were appointed and churches built.

Thomas Hassall died at Denbigh estate on 29 March 1868. He was survived by his wife, Anne Hassall, née Marsden (1794 – 18 June 1885.”

From <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomas_Hassall_(priest)>

 

I also have a Bell Family Bible and noted that the birth date of George Bell given there is the 6th November 1845.[ See Family Heirloom-Bell Family Bible, posted 11 February 2017].

These two sources do not agree. Which one is correct?

Are there any other sources I can check to see if they confirm either of these dates? I made a search of the newspapers of the time but did not find a birth notice, for George Bell.

Considering my experience concerning the marriage of George Bell’s parents in 1844, I decided to make a search for the original baptism register of St Thomas’s, Church of England, Narellan. I searched both Ancestry.com and Findmypast for these records, but to my surprise, they are not available there, although many early parish registers of the Anglican Diocese of Sydney are.

One of those that is available is the baptism register of All Saints, Sutton Forest, where George Bell and Sarah Sargent married in 1844. I checked this register online at Ancestry.com to confirmed George Bell, was not also baptized there. I did not find an entry.

Searching online library catalogues I found that the National Library of Australia, State Library of New South Wales, and the Society of Australian Genealogists have this register on microfilm as part of the  Australian Joint Copy Project. Now I need to arrange to get a copy of this record.

My share document for this baptism can be found under the  Resources and Examples Tab on this website under-

BELL, George, 1846, Picton, Baptism Transcription

Family History is always interesting and never boring.

Our Bell Family in Australia-George and Sarah Bell in the 1840s.

When we are researching our family history, most of our energy goes into finding the documents that show the events of birth, marriage, and death of our ancestors. However, to build a picture of the lives of our ancestors we need to research the time, place, and the people involved in these events.

In a former blog, I wrote about the marriage of my ancestors, George Bell and Sarah Sargent at Sutton Forest in 1844. [See blog Our Bell Family in Australia-George Bell’s Marriage 1844‘ posted 9 August 2020].

Now I needed to research the place, Sutton Forest; the church, All Saints Church of England; the Minister, Rev William Stone and the witnesses, Robert Wallace and Mary Thomas as well as George and Sarah themselves.

Sutton Forest

The graveyard and All Saints Anglican Church (1861).

Sutton Forest

Sutton Forest was named by Commissioner Bigge when he traveled through the area in 1820 with Governor Macquarie. It was on the edge of ‘settlement’  on the Great South Road. It was named after the Speaker of the House of Commons in England. Political motives were always in mind when naming places in New South Wales in our early history.

A private village grew up here in the late 1820s when the land was made available for a church and cemetery in 1828. By the following year, a weatherboard chapel had been erected and was in use. This was where George Bell and Sarah Sargent’s wedding took place in 1844. [See blog  Our Bell Family in Australia- George Bell’s Marriage 1844′ posted on 9 August 2020).

The neat stone building standing today was built in 1861 to the plans of the Colonial Architect, Edmund Becket.

More information can be found at https://www.aussietowns.com.au/town/sutton-forest-ns

Rev William Stone

The Rev William Stone was appointed to Sutton Forest in 1843 to replace, Rev George Vidal.  He served there many years until he retired in 1858. He remained living at Sutton Forest and died there in 1870. He was buried in the churchyard and has a headstone.

The first school at Sutton Forest was opened in late 1830 with 18 pupils, under the instruction of John Eyre, a convict who had arrived that year. It had been built adjacent to the church. It was a church school and the local families continued to support it and it stayed in use until 1880 when the public school was opened.

A small cottage near the school was where the teacher and his family resided.

Robert Wallace

In the early 1840s, Robert Wallace was appointed as a teacher. He is believed to have been a friend of the Sargent family and that is how he became a witness at the wedding of George Bell and Sarah Sargent.

Mary Thomas

The other witness to the wedding was Mary Thomas the wife of James Thomas. They too were farming in the area and believed to be friends of the Sargent family. They later moved to The Oaks area near Picton, and in 1849 two of their sons were baptized at St Marks Church of England, Picton.

Sargents

The Sargent family, Thomas, his wife Alice (also spelled as Ellis in many records), and their four children emigrated on the Woodbridge in 1838. [See blog  ‘Immigration -“Woodbridge” Voyage-1838 posted 28 July 2017.]

They settled in the area soon after arrival. Four more children were born there and were baptized in All Saints. Sarah was the second daughter and had been born in Beckley, Sussex in 1827.

Bells

James and George Bell emigrated as sailors on the convict ship Asia in 1837. [See blogs

See “A Window in Time-My Bell Family in East Farleigh, Kent, England“, posted 30 April 2014 and,” My Bell Family Ancestors-George Bell (1817-1894)-Sorting Red Herrings“, posted 3 July 2014.

SONY DSC

A Jack and Jill Sussex Mill

Found at http://www.windmillworld.com/millid/2614.htm

After marriage George and Sarah Bell moved to Picton. In those days nearly fifty miles away over a rough and dangerous track. It is believed that Thomas Sargent was employed to help build a windmill on what was known for many years as Windmill Hill, which overlooked Picton. This was for the Larkin family, who were also of Sutton Forest. George and his brother James assisted him. It was built in wood and was in the ‘Sussex Style’. It was not successful as it was too far from the village and the wind was unreliable. George and James Bell made bricks and later assisted in building a steam-powered mill down on Stonequarry creek.

George and Sarah Bell’s children were all born at Picton. They were baptized there too. However, although George and Sarah were married in the Church of England at Sutton Forrest when it came to baptize their children, they took advantage of whichever minister was visiting the village at the time.  Their children’s baptisms can be found in the Church of England, Presbyterian, and Wesleyan records.

More information on the Picton Windmills can be found at

https://www.environment.nsw.gov.au/heritageap/ViewHeritageItemDetails.aspx?ID=2690285

Information on the time period can be found at

https://myplace.edu.au/decades_timeline/1840/decade_landing_16_1.html

Most of all have fun with your research.

Our Hodgetts Family Saga-Sarah Hodgetts,1797,Sydney

The ninth document for our Hodgetts family in Australia was the baptism entry of Sarah Hodgetts, the third daughter of Thomas and Harriet Hodgetts.

I found the first mention of this record in John Cobley’s Sydney Cove 1795-1800 Vol V, The Second Governor. The entry states:-

 Baptisms

 SYDNEY

Dec 24 Sarah Hodgats  d of Thomas and Harriet Hodgats. B 1st September 1797.[1]

I then checked for references in the online index of the Registrar of Births Deaths and Marriages in Sydney at https://bdm.nsw.gov.au/

HODGETS  SARAH       495/1797 V1797495 4 d of  THOMAS and   HARRIOT

HODGETS SARAH M   662/1797 V1797662 1A  d of THOMAS and  HARRIET

Using these references I was able to search for entries in the Archives Authority of New South Wales (now State Records) Genealogical Kit (1988) for baptisms 1788-1855. The early colonial baptism, marriage, and burial records of some 164 volumes cover the time before civil registration in New South Wales. This includes Victoria and Queensland which was part of New South Wales at that time. These are held as Government records by the Registrar of Births Deaths and Marriages for New South Wales in Sydney.

Many of these records were microfilmed and released to the public in the Archives Authority of New South Wales Genealogical Kit in 1988. Of the 164 volumes copied, only 123 volumes were released in the kit covering the time frame 1788-1855. Volumes 124-164 were not included in the kit.

This was because some of the records contained in the volumes were after 1855 so fell outside the parameters of the historical project and were subject to state privacy laws. Other volumes were not included because they were so fragile and the handling of those volumes would have destroyed them.

Returning to our Hodgetts research I found Volumes 1 and 4 were in the above-mentioned records, and I was able to view microfilm copies of the original records on AO Reel 5001 and 5002. These were Rev Richard Johnson’s original baptism register and the chronological list he sent to the Governor’s Office.

Although you can view these records at your library you cannot make a printout as it is a condition of use of these records and is stated at the beginning of each film. The copyright belongs to the Registrar of Births Deaths and Marriages.  At the time I was able to make transcriptions and add appropriate notes.

HODGETS,Sarah,1797,Sydney,Baptism Transcription 1

HODGETS,Sarah,1797,Sydney,Baptism Transcription 2

By 1797, Thomas Hodgetts had completed his sentence some two years before, and as a ‘free man’ was able to set up a business for himself in Sydney. We would like to think he set up as a blacksmith, as it has always been presumed to have been his trade in Australia. However, I have found no evidence of this in colonial records. I believe he would have found it difficult to get any employment, which paid any reasonable income.

Although still on meagre government rations, I believe the family lived in very poor conditions.

Eastern View of Sydney,1797,by Edward Dayes

Eastern View of Sydney, 1797

By Edward Dayes

Contributed By National Library of Australia [PIC Solander Box A28 #R286]

From <https://dictionaryofsydney.org/media/59789

 

My share documents for this baptism can be found under the  Resources and Examples Tab on this website under-

HODGETS, Sarah,1797, Sydney, Baptism Transcription 1

HODGETS, Sarah,1797, Sydney, Baptism Transcription 2

[1] Sydney Cove 1795-1800 The Second Governor (Volume V), John Cobley, Angus & Robertson Publishers,1986,Sydney, p188

 

Our Bell Family in Australia- George Bell’s Marriage 1844

I have been researching our Bell family for over fifty years. The first of our family to arrive in Australia were two brothers, James and George Bell from East Farleigh, Kent, England. They arrived as sailors on the convict ship Asia on 2 December 1837.

See “A Window in Time-My Bell Family in East Farleigh, Kent, England”, posted 30 April 2014 and,” My Bell Family Ancestors-George Bell (1817-1894)-Sorting Red Herrings”, posted 3 July 2014.

Although I have searched diligently for years, I have not been able to find any documents for these brothers until 25 December 1844 when George Bell married Sarah Sargent at Sutton Forest.

I first purchased a certified transcription of this marriage in 1973 from the Registrar of Births, Deaths, and Marriages, Sydney. This is a transcription of that document.

BELL-SARGENT, 1844,Sutton Forest,Marriage Transcription 1

I especially noted “Bachelor, free by servitude”, beside George Bell’s name. This meant he had been a convict.

However, I had found good evidence that he had come free as a sailor on the convict ship, Asia in 1837. Had he gotten into trouble after his arrival?

I searched many court and gaol records between 1837-1844 at the State Library and State Records of New South Wales, and even old newspaper reports on Trove, but never had been successful in finding any clue to why George was ‘free by servitude’.

It has been my greatest sticking point in writing up the history of George Bell. I have had other professional historians have a look at the problem but no-one had been able to solve this problem or help with answers.

I then checked for references in the online index of the Registrar of Births Deaths and Marriages in Sydney at https://bdm.nsw.gov.au/

I found the only reference:-

404/1844 V1844404 29      BELL      GEORGE   and   SARGENT  SARAH    MY

The early colonial baptism, marriage, and burial records of some 164 volumes cover the time before civil registration in New South Wales. This includes Victoria and Queensland which was part of New South Wales at that time. These are held as Government records by the Registrar of Births Deaths and Marriages for New South Wales in Sydney.

Many of these records were microfilmed and released to the public in the Archives Authority of New South Wales Genealogical Kit in 1988. Of the 164 volumes copied, only 123 volumes were released in the kit covering the time frame 1788-1855. Volumes 124-164 were not included in the kit.

This was because some of the records contained in the volumes were after 1855 so fell outside the parameters of the historical project and were subject to state privacy laws. Other volumes were not included because they were so fragile and the handling of those volumes would have destroyed them.

Returning to our Bell family research, I found Vol 29 was in the records released and I consulted the appropriate film.

This gave the same information as the certified transcription from the Registrar of Births, Deaths, and Marriages Office, and with the identical reference, it was clear to me that the Registrar of Births Deaths and Marriages had sighted the same register. I added this reference to my transcription, so I knew I had looked at this record.

It looked as if I would never solve the mystery.

However, were these transcriptions enough for my datasheet for my ancestor’s George Bell and Sarah Sargent’s marriage?

As I have been encouraging the historians in our families as well as my students to collect every document they can to build evidence for the events of birth, marriage, and death for all ancestors, I thought about what I could do to collect more evidence.

I consulted Trove for any notice or newspaper article about the marriage in 1844. There was none.

I had not found any other memorabilia concerning this marriage in family papers on any branch of the family either.

I then decided to see if the original parish register of All Saints, Sutton Forest had survived and track down the register itself.

I found it had survived in the Sydney Diocese Archives, but I was unable to visit to see the original. However, it had been microfilmed and copies were available at the National and State Libraries as well as the Society of Australian Genealogists. Again, in the present circumstances, I couldn’t travel to view these filmed records.

An online search revealed that many of the Anglican Parish Registers of the Sydney Diocese can be found at Ancestry.com, including Sutton Forest.

[As we are in lockdown with COVID 19- yes, we are those elderly relatives- family gave me a subscription as a birthday gift].

I was able to find and download an image of the marriage of George Bell and Sarah Sargent. I was excited as this was a ‘true image’ of the register the couple, witnesses, and clergy had signed on the day-the 25th December 1844.

On examining this document I was shocked by what I found. Right there, clearly written for George Bell was “Bachelor, free immigrant”. I admit I enlarged the image and then just stared at it for a few minutes.

BELL-SARGENT,1844,Sutton Forest,Marriege Register ClipExtract from an image – Bell-Sargent Marriage,1844 downloaded from Ancestry.com, by Nola Mackey,1st August 2020.

 

What a great find!

In all other respects, the entry was identical information to what was on the ‘official’ documents.

This is an example of a ‘transcription error’ at the first ‘copy’ made from the original parish register for the Colonial Secretary’s Office. After all these years I am very happy about this outcome.

My share transcriptions of these documents can be found under the Resources and Examples Tab on this website under:-

BELL-SARGENT, 1844, Sutton Forest, Marriage Transcription 1 and

BELL-SARGENT,1844, Sutton Forest, Marriage Transcription 2

The moral of this story is that family history is an ongoing journey and you should never assume you have all the information. Nor should you ever give up in trying to solve family stories and inconsistencies on documents.

In the next blog, I will show you how I took the information from this document to carry on with my research into the lives of George and Sarah Bell.