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 Picton 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

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