The “Dash” of Thomas Hodgetts, Second Fleeter

Thomas Hodgetts, born 1763, Staffordshire, England, arrived in Sydney in 1790 aboard the Second Fleet. He died in Tasmania in 1823.

He is my husband’s ancestor and I have spent many years researching his life.

My challenge is now to get his story down on paper. I have spent the last few days collecting my notes, folders and computer files together to begin this task. Like all projects the hardest part is getting started.

While the research began at his death and progressed backwards through the surviving Tasmanian, Norfolk Island and New South Wales records to Staffordshire in England, the writing of the story is better explained from his birth through his youthful years, marriage, criminal records, transportation and life in New South Wales, Norfolk Island and Tasmania. This is sometimes referred to as the ‘dash’ in a person’s life.

You know when you see “Thomas Hodgetts, 1763 – 1823”, which refers to born 1763 and died 1823. The ‘dash’ years are their life story in between those dates. In Thomas’s case it spans 60 years.

I have now broken these 60 years into his life in England and his life in Australia. He was 27 years of age when he was transported in 1790, so that gives me 27 years in England and 33 years in Australia. In England it is the Georgian and early Regency period and in Australia early Colonial times, and all that implies in law and custom.

 We can piece the story through many records, but putting it all down in the historical and social context of the times without making some ‘gaff’ is the real challenge.

MALH0023509Above: One of the Petitions for Thomas Hodgetts [ Ref: Thomas Hodgetts Petition;1789,Home Office,HO13,Correspondence and Warrents,7/23,England and Wales; Crime, Prisons & Punishment,1770-1935,Institutions & Organizations, Prison Registers retrieved from Findmypast,15 May 2017 at ]This is  also one of the documents I  photographed  when at the National Archives, London in 2014.

 Although I find it all most interesting, it is going to take some real discipline to sit at it day after day as ‘work’, especially with the busy life we lead.

The reason I am doing this project is for our children and grandchildren, but I know there are many thousands of descendants of Thomas Hodgetts in Australia, who are always keen to find out more on this ancestral line. Hopefully their interest will keep me on track with the project.


8 thoughts on “The “Dash” of Thomas Hodgetts, Second Fleeter

  1. Of course Thomas Hodgetts’story is of interest to the G.O. and me. I have had numerous responses to my own Hodgetts/Graham posts from descendants so your posts wll be very popular, and much appreciated. Thomas Hodgetts is on my family history research follow up, further investigation -short story To Do List but he did so much that it’s a bit daunting trying to corral the info into a short-ish story. Good idea to divide it up. And oh yes, I had no idea I would have so much less free time than I imagined… and so many things to do, after escaping the city and working life.

    • Lovely to hear from you and that you are enjoying life in the country. You never have ‘free’ time as there are so many things to take up your time now with the garden etc. I would like to find time to do some watercolours. Maybe soon.
      Yes, the Hodgett story is going to take some time to get it all together. So many areas to cover over that sixty odd years for Thomas, and eighty-six for Harriet. I have been looking at the earlier history of the family in Staffordshire too.

  2. My husband has the Graham/Hodgetts link, however I’m wondering if your Hodgetts may have been the brother of Maria.

    • Hi Michele,
      Nice to find another family member. Thomas and Harriet Hodgetts (Second Fleeters)were Maria’s parents, so if your husband is a descendant of Maria Graham, he certainly belongs to our Hodgetts Family Tree.
      My husband comes down through Maria’s eldest brother John Hodgetts.

      • Thanks for reply. All fairly new to this so trying to piece all the bits together!

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