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 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 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 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 – 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 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.

The Case of the Missing Bride- Arthur Baxter and Harriet May Bell

In former blogs, I told the story of my maternal grandparents, Arthur Baxter and Harriet May Bell’s romance, long engagement, and finally their marriage.

Harriet May was known by her friends and family by her second name, May. May’s father, John Bell had instructed  Arthur that his new bride had been raised as a lady, and she should not be expected to live in a bush camp as Arthur and his mates had done for the four previous years.

When the couple reached Murwillumbah, Arthur decided to ride out to Chillingham to visit friends from Camden, the Doust family. Several members of the Doust family had moved to the Richmond River just after the turn of the 20th century. Young Bert and Edwin Doust, who were about Arthur’s age, had taken up land at Chillingham, on the Tweed. They had cleared a few acres and built a slab hut. Two of their sisters, Emily and Olive, also lived with them. Arthur thought  May might be able to stay with the Doust girls until he could find a suitable house to rent.  Consequently, Arthur left May at the Murwillumbah hotel while he went on his mission.

However, in the hotel dining room that night, May met Mr. Harry Grant, who had just brought his wife, who was very ill,  to Murwillumbah, to have their sixth child. He had called at the hotel, because of a terrible storm, but he informed May that he had to leave early in the morning for his farm at Mt Burrell, about twenty miles away in the bush. He had left the five young children at home with a friend, who not only was keeping an eye on the children, but had nearly 100 cows to milk by hand. He was worried about their safety, as although neighbours had promised to keep an eye on them too, a couple of young aboriginal men in the district had proved troublesome.

May was very concerned, particularly for the young children, the youngest not yet two years of age, should be left so. She insisted that she should go with him to care for the children until their mother’s return.

Family History Photos

The falls on the South Arm near Grants Farm- Original owned by Nola Mackey

 

The Grant selection was on the Rous or South Arm of the Tweed River. The selectors in the area were clearing the scrub to plant pastures for dairy farming.

The Grant home at that stage was little more than a bush slab hut with added rooms as the family grew. (It was further around the hill and closer to the creek than the Grant homes today. Years ago you could see the house stumps under a big old Moreton Bay fig. The old road wound around the hills rather than following the creek as it does today).

May had to learn to cook in a camp oven over an open fire, which she had never done before. She never had the cooking duty at home. Her sister Ollie did that.

She had to make her own yeast for the bread for the family and ‘workers’. These were young men clearing the scrub on Grant’s Selection.

Years later she would entertain her granddaughters with stories about her many cooking disasters during that time.

Water was heated for bathing the children and washing the clothes, in buckets made from 4-gallon kerosene tins precariously slung over the coals. The water was hauled from the creek in those same buckets. Wash days were an all-day affair with that sized family.

It was at the Grant home, Arthur found his bride a week later. Although Arthur had made the arrangements for May to live at the Doust’s at Chillingham, as planned, she refused to leave the Grant children in such circumstances. So the couple stayed with the Grants for several weeks, and May undertook the duties of caring for the children, cooking, and other household chores until Mrs. Grant’s return home.

Arthur, who had been brought up on a dairy farm was able to milk and could assist Harry Grant with other farming duties.

Family History Photos

Rous or South Arm of the Tweed River near Grant’s Farm-
Original owned by Nola Mackey

 

There were times when the men were late returning to milk the cows in the evening, and May was required to help milk, although she had no experience. Much to the amusement of the menfolk, not only at Grant’s but other farms in the district, she arrived at the milking bails in full dress, including a clean and freshly starched kitchen apron, stockings, court shoes, and make-up.

Years later some of these men admitted to May that they had bets amongst themselves that she wouldn’t last a month farming and would return to Picton.

In fact, she adjusted over time and outlasted them all. She went on to farm with Arthur in that area for nearly fifty years despite floods, droughts, fire, and wartime restrictions.

They were still living on the farm when Arthur died in 1959.

Family History Class Notes, Marriages in NSW – Transcription Agents

In our class about the Marriage Index for New South Wales Registrar of Births, Deaths, and Marriages, I solved a little problem of the place and date for the marriage for my Great-Uncle, Henry William Bell, by finding an article about this marriage in a newspaper.

Should I leave further research and be content with these two references for this marriage? Remember newspapers may not be correct for an event either.

I need more references to enter onto my datasheet of the marriage event for this individual.

In this case, I decided to seek a more solid reference for information by using a transcription agent for the Registrar of Births, Deaths, and Marriages for New South Wales. If you consult the web page for this office you will see there are three such licensed agents.

 

I have used each of these agents from time to time and have been happy with all of their services. I used a transcription agent because  a transcription is about half the cost of obtaining a certified copy of this certificate from the Registrar of Births, Deaths, and Marriages Office. All family historians know just how quickly these costs can add up when you are seeking documentation of your family tree.

This transcription is not a certified copy and cannot be used in any legal transactions. This is stated in the transcribed document supplied by the agent.

 

The transcription agent actually looks at the official copy of the marriage certificate held by the Registrar of Births, Deaths, and Marriages and carefully extracts all the information into a transcription form. Although there is a possibility of errors in transcribing I have found none to date.

We family historians can be a generous lot when it comes to sharing information and we might be tempted to photocopy or scan one of these transcriptions and share it with family and friends.

Legally we should not do this. That document is copyright to the agent who produced it. You actually purchased the information on this transcription not the copying rights of the document.

When I want to share this information I transcribe the information onto my own marriage transcription form clearly giving full credit for where I got the information and adding any notes I wish to add. Here are my sharing documents for this marriage.

Marriage Certificate Transcription

 

 A pdf download of this marriage transcription document can be found on this website under the Resources and Examples Tab.

 

My transcription copy of the marriage report in the newspaper.

Marriage Report Transcription

 

A pdf download of this marriage newspaper report transcription document can be found on this website under the Resources and Examples Tab.

By doing my copying in this format there is no confusion about the source of the information and when I obtained it.

Over time when collecting information it becomes difficult to remember who gave you the actual information and when. If you get into good habits early on in your research you have fewer problems on this front.