The “Dash” of Harriet Hodgetts, Second Fleeter

Harriet Hodgetts, born 1765 in Staffordshire, arrived in Sydney in 1790 on board the Second Fleet. She died in Tasmania in 1850. She is my husband’s ancestor and I have spent many years researching her life. My challenge now is to get this story down on paper. When I was collecting all my notes on ‘her husband’, Thomas, I also brought together all her records in one place. I plan to write her story as I write Thomas’s.

Yes, it is the ‘dash’ again- the one in “Harriet Hodgetts, 1765 – 1850”. This time it covers 85 years, both in England and Australia. Some 25 years in England and 60 years in Australia.

Her research also began with her death in Tasmania in 1850 and proceeded backwards through the records in Tasmania, Norfolk Island and New South Wales to Staffordshire in England.

The fact that she is a woman has made the research all the more difficult and much of the evidence is circumstantial, as she is not mentioned by name in the many records we research for information on our ancestors.

After her arrival as a free woman on the Second Fleet we presume she is with Thomas Hodgetts as she is listed on some government records as ‘wife of Thomas Hodgetts’. She is listed on the children’s baptism entries as their mother in both New South Wales and Norfolk Island, so we believe she remained with Thomas. As she died in Tasmania in 1850 we again believe she was with Thomas not only the six years before his death in 1823, but also remained in Tasmania for the 27 years after his death.

Just how do we write her story if there is little mention of her in the records? That is the big challenge.

“Harriet Hodgetts” also had a secret, which she took to the grave with her. She wasn’t who she claimed to be.

I believe the fact that her name was incorrect on her death entry suggests she told her family little of her origins and her life before she emigrated as a free woman on the Second Fleet in 1790.

Death Entry of “Henrietta Hodgetts” in Longford Tasmania. Believed to be that of the woman also known also as “Harriet Hodgetts”. [Ref: “Australia, Tasmania, Civil Registration, 1803-1933”, database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:Q27M-BB74 : retrieved 15 May 2017 from Family Search ,Utah,USA] From <https://familysearch.org/search/record/results?count=20&query=%2Bgivenname%3AHenrietta~%20%2Bsurname%3AHodgetts~%20%2Bbirth_year%3A1765-1770~%20%2Brecord_country%3AAustralia>

 

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