Our Bell Family in Australia – Alice Bell, 1863, 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.

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

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

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

George Bell Jr was born in 1845 and baptized in 1846.

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

He was named for his father.

James Bell was born and baptized in 1847.

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

He was named after his uncle, his father’s younger brother who immigrated with him.

Thomas Bell was born in 1849.

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

He was named for his Paternal and Maternal grandfathers.

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.

Harriet Bell was born in 1852

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

Henry Bell was born in 1854

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

He is believed to have been named for his mother’s younger brother, Henry Packham Sargent.

John Bell was born in 1856.

See Our Bell Family in Australia – John Bell,1856, Picton

Emma Bell was born in 1859.

See Our Bell Family in Australia – Emma Bell, 1859. Picton

The Bell family bible listed the next child as a daughter, named Alice with a birth date given as the 21st January 1863.

I checked for her baptism.

I found an entry on Ancestry.com website which was for St Marks Anglican Church, Picton. Sourced from the Anglican Parish Registers for the Sydney Diocese. This I was able to download to add to my records.

I have made a transcription of this record. See below.

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

I found this entry and was able to apply for a birth certificate.

BELL ALICE, 12460/1863  dau of GEORGE and SARAH registered PICTON

My transcription to share is below.

There was no Birth Notice in a newspaper.

As all the above sources give the same date of birth I feel confident that was her birth date.

It is believed that Alice was named for her Maternal Grandmother, Ellis or Alice Sargent(nee Packham). She had separated from her husband and four eldest children and journeyed to South Australia with a new partner and younger children in about 1846. She died a few months after Alice Bell’s birth, but it is not known if she knew she had a granddaughter named for her.

It would appear that with the opening of St Mark’s Anglican Church in Picton that this church became the family church.

 Alice Bell was only two years of age when her mother died. She was raised by her sister Harriet and sister-in-law Ellen Bell. Her father did not remarry.

History of St Mark’s Picton.

 The foundation stone of – St Mark’s Church, Picton – was laid by the Rev Edward Rogers – Minister of the Parish – on the 16th day of July AD 1850 – J M Antill, J Templeton, T Larkin, J Crispe ~ Building Committee.   A heritage plaque displayed in the grounds records that the original church was opened in 1856. The first Anglican services were held in 1825 at the home of Major Antill, one of the first European settlers in the Picton area. When a small court house was built on the Major’s property (he was the Police Magistrate, and the family served the local court for three generations), services were held there. – The local rector was the Reverend Thomas Hassell of Denbigh, Cobbity, and his parish stretched to Goulburn, across to Wollongong, and south to Mulgoa. In 1839 the Reverend Frederick Wilkinson had a smaller area to cover, from his house at the Hermitage, The Oaks. Next came the Reverend Edward Rogers from 1848, and by now money was being raised to build a church on land donated by the Antill family, in Menangle Street West. The foundation stone was laid in July 1850, the church being designed by Edmund Blacket, with Thomas Smith, G Wandess, and Barnsdale as masons. T Cashman and John Iceton as carpenters. Whitfield doing the ironwork, painting by W Brown, and fencing by Abel Sant and Rosette. Unfortunately, the work went very slowly, as the gold rushes affected the supply of labour, and it was not completed until 1856. – The original church was tiny, and as the town grew in the 1860s with the arrival of the railway line, so the nave was extended 12 feet, and a vestry was added. Then in 1886 Blacket’s sons, Cyril and Arthur designed the transepts which provided even more room. The original wooden shingles were replaced with slate in 1904, and then by tiles in 1930. Oil lamps were used for lighting until 1922 when electricity was connected. – The earliest burials in the graveyard date from 1858, though severe flooding in the 1860s and later has affected those graves closest to Stonequarry Creek, as well as the church. Although levy banks provide some protection now, severe flooding can still occur. The building, its furnishings, and the organ were badly impacted by the 2016 floods, together with the pioneer cemetery. It has now been restored. [1]     [1] Sourced From <https://www.churchesaustralia.org/list-of-churches/locations/new-south-wales/n-s-towns/directory/8327-picton-anglican-church>    
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Our Hodgetts Family Saga-Thomas Hodgetts,1796,Sydney

I have previously blogged about other convict weddings Thomas and Harriet Hodgetts were witness to.

See Our Hodgetts Family Saga Thomas Hodgetts,1790, Sydney posted 31 May 2020

Also

Our Hodgetts Family Saga Harriet Hodgetts,1790, Sydney posted 8 June 2020

And

Our Hodgetts Family Saga – Thomas Hodgetts,1792, Parramatta. posted 13 July 2020

As I previously mentioned, the above-mentioned marriages were in John Cobley’s series of books about the early settlement in New South Wales and ‘The Brave Old Pioneers 1788-1988: the story of Thomas and Harriet Hodgetts and their family, by Richard Hodgetts.

However, this marriage is another of several documents I have recently located about Thomas and Harriet Hodgetts and their life in Australia. This marriage has not been mentioned in the material published on the Hodgetts family.

There has been an error in the transcribing for the index. On the marriage entry, the year is 1796, but it has been transcribed as 1798.[1]

View of Sydney Cove / painted by Thomas Watling1794-1796?
From <https://www.sl.nsw.gov.au/collection-items/view-sydney-cove-painted-thomas-watling>

These entries can be found on Reel 5002  in the Archives Authority of NSW (State Records), in their Genealogical Kit.

332/1798 V1798332 3A

JONES

BENJAMIN

FLEMMING

MARY

CA

212/1798 V1798212 4

JONES

BENJAMIN

FLEMMING

MARY

CA

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

As I have indicated before this was only the beginning, not the end of my research when I transcribed these records.

How did I use these records to further my research into the lives of our Hodgetts ancestors?

Remember our ancestors lived complex lives and their family and friends played an important part. As Sydney was a convict settlement the Government officials also played a part and greatly influenced where and how our ancestors lived.

Benjamin Jones was born about 1772 in Birmingham, England. On 23 March 1790 at the Warwick Assizes Jones was tried for theft and was sentenced to seven years transportation. He arrived in Sydney on the Third Fleet on board the Britania on 14 October 1791.

He married the widow Mary Flemming on 20 April 1796 in St Phillip’s, Sydney. Soon after marriage, he settled the family on a land grant on the Hawkesbury, which had been granted by Governor Hunter to his eldest step-son Henry Fleming, although he was only a child at the time. Further children were born to Benjamin and Mary Jones including Elizabeth, born  1797; John, born 1799, James born 1803, Benjamin born 1804 and Robert born 1809.

Benjamin and Mary Jones with their five children left the colony on the Sydney Packet on 1 July 1815 bound for England. They returned the following year and settled in Hobart, Tasmania.

Benjamin Jones died there on 13 April 1837 and Mary Jones died the following year.[2]

Mary Flemming (nee Lay), is believed to have been born in the British Colonies in America. She met Joseph Flemming, a British soldier during the American War of Independence, and had a daughter with him, whom they named Eleanor. They returned to England and settled in Essex. They married there on 8 July 1788 before Joseph Flemming transferred to the New South Wales Corps in late 1789. He was promoted to Sargent the following year. The family arrived in Sydney on board the William and Ann of the Third Fleet on 28 August 1791. Soon after arrival, a son was born and they named him Henry. He was baptized at St Phillip’s on 11 September 1791.

Another daughter was born in 1793 and was named Margaret. She was baptized on 25 December 1793 at St Phillip’s, Sydney.

After serving his three years in the NSW Corps, Joseph Flemming resigned from the army and was granted land at Concord in 1794.

The family had just settled on this grant when Joseph Flemming died leaving his widow, Mary, with three young children to support. It is believed that Benjamin Jones was an assigned convict helping Flemming clear his land ready for sowing crops. After Joseph Flemming’s death, his Grant was sold and the family moved to the Hawkesbury River where the eldest son Henry (although only eight years of age), was granted land. The Flemming children all survived to adulthood and married. Mary Jones had five further children with Benjamin Jones. She died in 1838 in Hobart, Tasmania.[3]

Thomas Hodgetts

Thomas Hodgetts was implicated in a robbery in 1787 in Staffordshire and was sentenced to 7 years transportation. He embarked on the Scarborough in the Second Fleet in 1790. After a few months in Sydney, he moved to Parramatta with Harriet, a free woman who arrived on the Neptune claiming to be his wife. [See earlier blogs]

By the time of the Benjamin Jones- Mary Flemming marriage in 1796, Thomas Hodgetts had completed his seven-year sentence.

Thomas and Harriet Hodgetts had three surviving children at this stage and were living in Sydney, where Thomas plied his blacksmithing trade.

He possibly made friends with  Benjamin Jones because he came from the same area in England and his speech would have naturally made these men plausible friends, although there was nearly ten years difference in age.

Katherine King is believed to have been the wife of Robert King. Robert King may have been a soldier and that is how Katherine became a close friend of the widow, Mary Flemming.

Robert and Katherine King had children including William Henry King born on 8 March 1791 and baptized in Sydney on 17 March 1792. He was drowned as an infant and was buried on 26 October 1792.

Another son named Robert was born on 27 October 1795 and baptized at St Phillip’s on 1 January 1796. I have not been able to find more information on the King family and they may have left the colony soon afterwards.[4]

 Rev Richard Johnson.

He was a Church of England clergyman ordained in England in 1784. In 1786 he received a Royal Warrant appointing him chaplain to the new colony in New South Wales. Shortly afterward he married Mary Burton at Islington, London on 4 December 1786. They embarked a few months later in the Golden Grove in the First Fleet.

Soon after arrival the Rev Johnson held his first service and continued to do whenever and wherever he could. These he carried out in tents, barns, or even under trees when a building was not available. He also carried out baptism, marriage, and burial services and entered them into his private register. Later he sent a list to the Governor’s Office of all baptisms, marriages, and burials.

Johnson was known for his care and interest in the convicts and often gave articles and food for their comfort from his own stores brought out from London in a private capacity.

Although Governor Phillip required the convicts to attend Sunday service, he was reticent to build a church as he felt all the Government building projects should be to house and feed the colony.

By 1793, Johnson was so frustrated by the lack of progress towards the building of a church that he undertook this project himself and paid for the materials and labour for the church to be built. It was a wattle and daub construction at what is now Richard Johnson Square at the intersection of Bligh and Hunter Streets. Unfortunately, this was burned down in 1798. The Governor had it replaced with a larger and more substantial building.

Johnson was also concerned about the lack of facilities for the education of colonial children and established schools in Sydney and later Parramatta. He also travelled to Norfolk Island when he could for the spiritual care of the convicts there.

Johnson and his family remained in the colony for nearly ten years before he asked to be returned home to England citing ill health. The family left by the Buffalo in September 1800.[5]

View of Sydney Cove / painted by Thomas Watling1794-1796?
From <https://www.sl.nsw.gov.au/collection-items/view-sydney-cove-painted-thomas-watling>

Although this marriage is not mentioned in ‘The Brave Old Pioneers 1788-1988 by Richard Hodgetts, this book is still available for purchase from the author. Those interested can contact me by leaving a request in the comments box below and I will happily pass on the message.

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.

Our Bell Family in Australia – Emma Bell, 1859, 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.

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

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

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

George Bell Jr was born in 1845 and baptized in 1846.

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

James Bell was born and baptized 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.

Harriet Bell was born in 1852.

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

Henry Bell was born in 1854.

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

John Bell was born in 1856.

See Our Bell Family in Australia – John Bell, 1856, Picton.

The next child listed in the Family Bible I inherited was another daughter, who was named Emma.

I checked for her baptism. I found an entry on the Ancestry.com website which was for St Marks Anglican Church, Picton. Sourced from the Anglican registers for the Sydney Diocese. This I was able to download to add to my records.

I have made a transcription of this record. See below

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

BELL EMMA

11569/1859 

GEORGE

SARAH

PICTON

History of St Mark’s Picton.

 The foundation stone of – St Mark’s Church, Picton – was laid by the Rev Edward Rogers – Minister of the Parish – on the 16th day of July AD 1850 – J M Antill, J Templeton, T Larkin, J Crispe ~ Building Committee.   A heritage plaque displayed on the grounds records that the original church was opened in 1856. The first Anglican services were held in 1825 at the home of Major Antill, one of the first European settlers in the Picton area. When a small court house was built on the Major’s property (he was the Police Magistrate, and the family served the local court for three generations), services were held there. – The local rector was the Reverend Thomas Hassell of Denbigh, Cobbity, and his parish stretched to Goulburn, across to Wollongong, and south to Mulgoa. In 1839 the Reverend Frederick Wilkinson had a smaller area to cover, from his house at the Hermitage, The Oaks. Next came the Reverend Edward Rogers from 1848, and by now money was being raised to build a church on land donated by the Antill family, in Menangle Street West. The foundation stone was laid in July 1850, the church being designed by Edmund Blacket, with Thomas Smith, G Wandess, and Barnsdale as masons. T Cashman and John Iceton as carpenters. Whitfield doing the ironwork, painting by W Brown, and fencing by Abel Sant and Rosette. Unfortunately, the work went very slowly, as the gold rushes affected the supply of labour, and it was not completed until 1856. – The original church was tiny, and as the town grew in the 1860s with the arrival of the railway line, so the nave was extended 12 feet, and a vestry was added. Then in 1886 Blacket’s sons, Cyril and Arthur designed the transepts which provided even more room. The original wooden shingles were replaced with slate in 1904, and then by tiles in 1930. Oil lamps were used for lighting until 1922 when electricity was connected. – The earliest burials in the graveyard date from 1858, though severe flooding in the 1860s and later has affected those graves closest to Stonequarry Creek, as well as the church. Although levy banks provide some protection now, severe flooding can still occur. The building, its furnishings, and the organ were badly impacted by the 2016 floods, together with the pioneer cemetery. It has now been restored. [1]  
  [1] Sourced From <https://www.churchesaustralia.org/list-of-churches/locations/new-south-wales/n-s-towns/directory/8327-picton-anglican-church> by Nola Mackey, 15 August 2022   

Our Hodgetts Family Saga-Thomas Hodgetts, 1795,Sydney

I have previously blogged about convict weddings Thomas and Harriet Hodgetts were witness to.

See Our Hodgetts Family Saga Thomas Hodgetts,1790, Sydney posted 31 May 2020

Also

Our Hodgetts Family Saga Harriet Hodgetts,1790, Sydney posted 8 June 2020

And

Our Hodgetts Family Saga – Thomas Hodgetts,1792, Parramatta. posted 13 July 2020

The above marriages were mentioned in John Cobley’s series of books about the early settlement in New South Wales and ‘The Brave Old Pioneers: the story of Thomas and Harriet Hodgetts and their family, by Richard Hodgetts.

However, this marriage is one of several documents I have recently located about Thomas and Harriet Hodgetts and their life in Australia. To my knowledge, this marriage is a new document for our Hodgetts family and has not been mentioned in any published works.

His Excellency, John Hunter Esq, the second Governor of the Colony of New South Wales sailed into Port Jackson on 7th September 1795 on board the HMS Reliance. [1] It had been nearly five years since he had left the infant colony under Governor Philip. He assumed his office on the 11th September taking over from Lieutenant-Colonel William Paterson.

One of his first official duties was to give permission for the marriage of the convicts James Richards and Margaret Williams. This took place at St Phillip’s, Sydney on Wednesday 16 September 1795. Rev Richard Johnson officiated and Thomas Hodgetts and Sarah Bond were the witnesses.[2]

Thomas Hodgetts was the only one to sign the register. All the others in the wedding party signed with their X mark.

Comparing this signature with that of his wedding entry to Ann Duce in the Wednesbury Marriage Parish Register helps our claim this is the same person.

The references for this marriage in the index on the Registrar of Births, Deaths, and Marriages for New South Wales website is:-

200/1795 V1795200 4; RICHARDS JAMES to WILLIAMS MARGARET at CA

and

311/1795 V1795311 3A; RICHARDS JAMES to WILLIAMS MARGARET at CA [3]

As I have indicated before,  this was only the beginning, not the end of my research when I transcribed these records.

How did I use these records to further my research into the lives of our Hodgetts ancestors?

Remember our ancestors lived complex lives and their family and friends played an important part. As Sydney was a convict settlement the Government officials also played a part and greatly influenced where and how our ancestors lived.

James Richards.

There was only one man of this name in the colony at this time. He had arrived in the First Fleet in 1788. Originally he had been sentenced to death at Launceston, Cornwall, England for horse stealing but was later reprieved and transported for seven years on the Scarborough on the First Fleet.

He married Ann Everitt of Lady Juliana on 26 July 1790.

After the completion of his sentence, James Richards was one of those convicts granted 30 acres of land on the Hawkesbury River.

By 1800 Muster Richards owned 12 pigs and had ten acres of his grant under wheat and had the rest cleared and ready for maize. He and Ann were off government stores and had no children or servants.

James and Ann Richards can be traced through subsequent Musters and Census until his death in 1831. His wife Ann died in 1837.[3]

Returning to the marriage which was solemnized on 16 September 1795. I believe ‘James Richards’ should read as ‘James Roberts’. Given the circumstances, at the time of the change-over of Governors, I believe it would have been very easy to get these names confused.

James Roberts was sentenced at Middlesex in 1787 for larceny to seven years transportation. He embarked on the William and Ann in the Third Fleet. This ship carried 188 male convicts and arrived in Sydney on 28 August 1791. After completing his sentence he received a Land Grant at Mulgrave Place on the Hawkesbury river on 3 November 1794 and is believed to have taken it up the following year.[4]

Margaret Williams was sentenced to seven years transportation at Bristol Quarter Sessions in 1788 for theft. She embarked on the Lady Juliana in 1789 and arrived in Port Jackson on 3 June 1790. After marriage, this couple is believed to have settled on the Hawkesbury River.

In the 1800 Muster, they were on the Hawkesbury. They were recorded there in the 1806 Muster with one male child. At this time James Roberts had purchased 15 acres which he had under wheat. He also had one horse and six female hogs. This family can be found in subsequent Musters and they are recorded at Windsor in the 1822 Muster.[5]

Thomas Hodgetts was implicated in a robbery in 1787 in Staffordshire and was sentenced to 7 years transportation. He embarked on the Scarborough in the Second Fleet in 1790. After a few months in Sydney, he moved to Parramatta with Harriet, a free woman who arrived on the Neptune claiming to be his wife. After their first two children were born they moved back to Sydney.

1795 was a big year for Thomas and Harriet Hodgetts. Their eldest daughter Mary died in April aged two years. Another daughter was born in April and on Sunday 13th September 1795, Thomas and Harriet Hodgetts had this daughter baptized at St Philip’s, Sydney as  “Mary Maria”. She had been named after their eldest daughter who had died a few months before. The Richards/Roberts-Williams wedding took place a few days after the baptism of their daughter.[6]

Sarah Bond had been convicted of grand larceny in London and sentenced to seven years transportation on 23 May 1792. She was 38 years of age and was the wife of William Bond and they had at least three children when she was convicted. She arrived in Sydney on the store-ship Bellona on 16 January 1793 with seventeen other female convicts. She was assigned as a servant to William Brodie the Superintendent of Blacksmiths of the Colony. Although Thomas Hodgetts had completed his sentence he was still effectively under William Brodie’s control concerning his employment.[7] We believe Sarah Bond was a close friend of the Hodgetts family as she crossed paths with them in other colonial documents.

Rev Richard Johnson.

He was a Church of England clergyman ordained in England in 1784. In 1786 he received a Royal Warrant appointing him chaplain to the new colony in New South Wales. Shortly afterward he married Mary Burton at Islington, London on 4 December 1786. They embarked a few months later in the Golden Grove in the First Fleet.

Soon after arrival the Rev Johnson held his first service and continued to do whenever and wherever he could. These he carried out in tents, barns, or even under trees when a building was not available. He also carried out baptism, marriage, and burial services and entered them into his private register. Later he sent a list to the Governor’s Office of all baptisms, marriages, and burials.

Johnson was known for his care and interest in the convicts and often gave articles and food for their comfort from his own stores brought out from London in a private capacity.

Although Governor Phillip required the convicts to attend Sunday service, he was reticent to build a church as he felt all the Government building projects should be to house and feed the colony.

By 1793, Johnson was so frustrated by the lack of progress towards the building of a church that he undertook this project himself and paid for the materials and labour for the church to be built. It was a wattle and daub construction at what is now Richard Johnson Square at the intersection of Bligh and Hunter Streets. Unfortunately, this was burned down in 1798. The Governor had it replaced with a larger and more substantial building.

Johnson was also concerned about the lack of facilities for the education of colonial children and established schools in Sydney and later Parramatta. He also travelled to Norfolk Island when he could for the spiritual care of the convicts there.

Johnson and his family remained in the colony for nearly ten years before he asked to be returned home to England citing ill health. The family left by the Buffalo in September 1800.[8]]

View of Sydney Cove / painted by Thomas Watling1794-1796?

From <https://www.sl.nsw.gov.au/collection-items/view-sydney-cove-painted-thomas-watling>

Although this marriage is not mentioned in ‘The Brave Old Pioneers 1788-1988 by Richard Hodgetts, this book is still available for purchase from the author. Those interested can contact me by leaving a request in the comments box below and I will happily pass on the message.

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.

Our Bell Family in Australia – John Bell, 1856, 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.

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

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

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

George Bell Jr was born in 1845 and baptized 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.

Harriet Bell was born in 1852

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

Henry Bell was born in 1854

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

According to the Bell family bible I have inherited, the next child was a son named John, who was born on 6 September  1856.

See   Family Heirloom-Bell Family Bible

 As this was the year Civil Registration began in New South Wales I checked for references in the online index of the Registrar of Births Deaths and Marriages in New South Wales in Sydney at https://bdm.nsw.gov.au/.

It should be noted that the date of the start of the registration of Births was 1 March 1856.

The search of this online index found that there was a reference to the baptism of John Bell, son of George and Sarah Bell, but no reference to a registration of a birth.

Remember the Registrar of Births, Deaths, and Marriages had called in the early baptism records prior to 1856 as State Records. These baptism records often had the birth and baptism date on those records.

 Also note at this point in history it was up to the parents to make sure the child’s birth was registered with the registrar of Births, Deaths, and Marriages in New South Wales. In John Bell’s case, had his parents neglected to register this birth? The law only came in that year and not all families were conversant with this new law. Perhaps John was only baptized.

BELL JOHN, registration number 5955/1856 V18565955 121C, son of GEORGE and SARAH of IN

Using this 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 121 in the above-mentioned records, and I was able to view a microfilm copy of the original record on AO Reel  5046. [You will notice there is some crossover with baptism and birth registrations for 1856.]

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 parents were responsible for registering a birth from 1856, sometimes they just didn’t get around to it. In that case, you may not find the birth reference you were looking for. Another reason you may not find it is that you are not using the spelling which was used at the registration, or the child was registered without a Christian name, so it may be registered as an unnamed male or female.

This was the case in John’s birth registration.

BELL (MALE) Registration number 4010/1856 son of GEORGE and SARAH, registered at CAMDEN

I was then able to get his full birth certificate from the Registrar of Births, Deaths, and Marriages in Sydney using this reference.

This is my transcription of this document.

You will note the above mention baptism of John Bell was at the Wesleyan Church, Picton.

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.

[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 2021

Our Hodgetts Family Saga- Henrietta Hodgetts,1820,Tasmania-Part 3

Henrietta Hodgetts-Piper the illegitimate daughter of Sarah Hodgetts was born in northern Tasmania on 30 May 1820. There have always been questions about her paternity.

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

Our Hodgetts Family Saga- Henrietta Hodgetts,1820, Tasmania-Part 2

 I now continue with Henrietta’s story.

Many family historians following the Hodgett line have indicated that as nothing could be found in the records of Henrietta Hodgetts-Piper after infancy, she must have died young. This is not so.

Sarah Hodgetts, (Henrietta’s mother) married Richard Lawson on 22 August 1825 at St John’s Church of England, Launceston. [1]

Henrietta Hodgetts-Piper remained with her mother and came to be known as Henrietta or Harriet Lawson. She grew up with her Lawson half-siblings in the Norfolk Plains area, including Elizabeth, born 1826 [2]; Thomas, born 1827[3]; Richard, born 1829 [4]; Daniel, born 1830 [5]; William, born 1832 [6]; Henry, born 1835 [7]and George Hatton, born 1837.[8]

The foundations of St. John’s Launceston, as a parish, date from the arrival of the Revd. John
Youl in 1819, in Port Dalrymple. Divine Service (as Sunday services were called) was held under the trees or in a blacksmith’s shop (John Hodgett’s); when wet. Youl called his congregation together by striking an iron barrel with a mallet, walking through the settlement in his “canonical dress”. When it first opened its doors in 1825, the parish church existed under the Diocese of Madras, Calcutta in India. [9]

On 19 December 1843 at St John’s Launceston, Harriet Lawson (AKA Henrietta Hodgetts-Piper), married Robert Symmons of Moat Farm, near Westbury.[10]

They had a number of children including- Henrietta Symmons, born 1846[11]; Elizabeth Symmons, born 1848 [12]; John Symmons, born 1849 [13]: Robert Henry Symmons, born 1851[14]; Jessie Symmons, born 1853 [15]; Thomas Richard Symmons, born 1854 [16]; Eleanor Symmons, born 1856 [17]; Blanche Symmons, born 1858 [18]; Alfred William Symmons, born 1859 [19] and Osborne Frank Symmons, born 1863.[20]

The family farmed at Moat Farm for some time and several of the children were born there.

They later bought property near Deloraine, which was known as West Park.

The family farmed at West Park for over thirty years until Robert Symmon’s death on 1 December 1890. [21]Henrietta Symmons died on 3 February 1892.[22]

I have been encouraging all our family historians, and my students, to gather as much information as they can for three events in our ancestors’ lives- that is their birth, marriage, and death records. Consequently, Robert Symmons and Henrietta (Harriet) Piper-Hodgetts-Symmons marriage and death records can be found in the State Library of Tasmanian archives.[23][24]

However, an online search in Trove through the National Library of Australia gives us so much information about the lives of our ancestors as the following newspaper items illustrate. A careful study of these gives us clues to research other branches of this family.

Fire Report for House of  Robert Symmons [25]

House Sale Advertisement [26]

Property Sale Advertisement [27]

Death and Funeral Notice for Robert Symmons [28]

Death Report of Robert Symmons [29]

Death Report of Robert Symmonds[30]

Death Report of Robert Symmons [31]

Probate Notice for Robert Symmons [32]

Property sale for Robert Symmons [33]

Death Notice of Henrietta Symmonds [34]

Funeral Notice of Henrietta Symmons[35]

Probate Notice of Henrietta Symmons [36]

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.

Our Hodgetts Family Saga- Henrietta Hodgetts,1820,Tasmania-Part 2

Here we continue the story of Henrietta Hodgetts-Piper, who was born on 20 May 1820 in northern Tasmania.

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

At her baptism on 1 March 1821, recorded at St John’s Church of England, Launceston, her father was claimed to be ‘John Piper of Port Jackson’. Although it has been claimed by many, I believe Captain John Piper of Point Piper could not have been her father, for reasons discussed in my last blog. I now introduce another possibility.

There were other Piper families in the colony at that time, including those of Edward and Francis Piper, convict brothers, who arrived on the ‘Minorca’ on 14 December  1801.  The wives and children of these two men were able to travel on this ship with them.

Soon after arrival, the families were on the Hawkesbury River, but after Edwards’s death in about 1806 the families returned to Sydney. Edward’s wife, Dulcibella, later remarried. The families acquired land in Market, Erskine, and Kent Street’s Sydney.

Edward and Dulcibella Piper’s eldest son, John, had been born in London in 1793. He arrived on the ‘Minorca’ as a young boy with his parents. It is believed he was apprenticed in Sydney as a shipwright when a young child.

He is listed in the 1811 and 1814 General Musters of New South Wales.

On the 14th November 1814 at the age of 21 years, John married Mary Hogan at St Phillip’s, Sydney. She was the daughter of Michael Hogan and Ann Regan. The Piper’s lived on the southwest corner of Kent and Erskine Streets in a house said to have been given to John by his stepfather, George Wood.[1]

Two sons were born to this couple. George was born on 19 January 1815 and baptised on 19 Feb 1815 at St Phillip’s. He died on 17 January 1816 and was buried the following day.[2] Another son, John Jr was born on 30 August 1816 and was also baptised at St Phillip’s, on 29 September 1816. [3]

John Piper Sr worked as a ship’s carpenter and sailed between Port Jackson and other colonial ports.[4]

It seems that his wife, Mary Piper, was not happy and left John. An advertisement in the Sydney Gazette read-” This is to caution all persons whatsoever against giving trust or credit unto Mary Piper, the wife of the undersigned, from whom she has withdrawn herself, as he will not hold himself responsible for any debt or debts, charge of board, or any other charge, claim demand or debt whatever, which she may contract hereafter, or have contracted from the period of her leaving home in October last. December 27th,1817, John Piper, Carpenter.“[5]

Four months later John Piper advertised his intention of leaving the colony again and requested all claims be presented. [6]

He sailed on the David Shaw on 21 May 1818 and was listed as the ship’s carpenter. [7] His mother and other members of his family reported that they received a letter from the Cape of Good Hope a few months later, but nothing further. Was the David Shaw lost at sea?

John Piper’s estranged wife, Mary, is said to have taken their surviving infant son, John Jr, to Hobart Town in Tasmania about the end of 1818.

Hobart in 1819 as illustrated by George William Evans [8]

The David Shaw had a difficult voyage from Australia to Cape of Good Hope, but finally arrived in England on 16 November 1818 and returned to Australia the following year.[8]

She sailed from England on 11 June 1819 and arrived in Hobart in early October 1819. [9] As most ship’s crew signed on for the round trip, it is possible that John Piper was back in Tasmanian waters in late September to early October of that year. He may have been made aware that his wife and infant son were in Hobart at the time. However, he was not on board the  David Shaw when she returned to Sydney.

He may be the John Piper, ship’s carpenter on the ‘Minerva’ which departed Hobart on 10 November 1822.[10]

Perhaps it would be of interest to return to the Piper family story. When John Piper sailed from Port Jackson in 1818, his mother, sister, and brother-in-law were in possession of his Kent-Erskine street properties. The family maintained that they did not hear of him after the letter from Cape Town. After the mother’s death, various members of the family vied for ownership of the family properties, including John’s. Court cases ensured. In one such case in 1837, John Beatie, the brother-in-law produced a document that had reportedly been signed by John Piper Jr, of Hobart. However, the Court dismissed the claims and instructed the family to locate John Piper’s wife and son if they were still living. Consequently, an advertisement appeared in the Hobart newspapers seeking information on the mother and son. [11]

John Piper Jr, now in his majority, saw the advertisement and travelled to Sydney to present his claims to the Courts for his inheritance from his father’s estate. He won the case as well as additional claims. He sold the allotments to a George Green and is believed to have returned to Hobart.[12] He was also recorded as a mariner.

At this stage, it is an outside chance that the above-mentioned mariner, John Piper, maybe Henrietta Hodgetts- Piper’s father. The time frame is rather tight, but not impossible, for the ‘David Shaw’, but we also need to consider that John Piper may have arrived back in Tasmania on board another ship, which had left England much earlier. In short, much more work needs to be done in Tasmanian Archives concerning ‘John Pipers’ of Tasmania to eliminate him as a possibility.

Here my research into this part of the Hodgetts story will rest until I can get another lead on this family puzzle. If someone comes along with a well-documented proof that leads to another John Piper, as a more plausible contender, then we will have to rethink the story yet again.

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.

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 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 Point Piper 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 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