Our Hodgetts Family Saga-Mary Hodgetts,1795, Sydney.

The seventh document for our Hodgetts family in Australia was the burial entry of Mary Hodgetts, the eldest daughter of Thomas and Harriet Hodgetts.

I found the first mention of this record in John Cobley’s Sydney Cove 1793-1795 Vol IV. The entry states:-


April 24 Hodges, Mary    Child       Sydney” [1]

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/

HODGES MARY    1160/1795 V17951160 2A     INFANT

HODGES MARY     708/1795 V1795708 4           INFANT

Using these references I was able to search for these entries in the Archives Authority of New South Wales (now State Records) Genealogical Kit (1988) for burials 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 Hodgetts research I found Volumes 2 and 4 were in the above-mentioned records and I was able to view microfilm copies of the original records on AO Reel 5001 and 5002. These were Rev Richard Johnson’s original burial register and the chronological list he sent to the Governor’s Office.

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 transcriptions and add appropriate notes.

HODGES,Mary,1795,Sydney,Burial Transcription 1

HODGES,Mary,1795,Sydney,Burial Transcription 2

We do not know the cause of death of little Mary. It could have been a fever from teething or perhaps diarrhoea. It would be another sixty years before civil registration and cause of death added to the certificate.

You will note this burial was recorded as taking place in Sydney so we know that Thomas and Harriet were still residing in Sydney.

From earlier research we know that Thomas Hodgetts was sentenced in March 1788 to seven years transportation and he came on the Second Fleet, arriving in June 1790. So doing the calculations, by March 1795 Thomas had served his sentence and was, at last, a free man, in theory at least.

It would have taken some time for the Governor’s Office to confirm his status, but how would his life have changed?

Sydney Cove c1794-96

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

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


In a later blog I will show you how you can take these documents and use them as a timeline to research the mass of colonial documents to build a possible daily life of our ancestors.

My share documents for this burial can be found under the  Resources and Examples Tab on this website under-

HODGETTS, Mary,1795, Sydney, Burial Transcription 1

HODGETTS, Mary,1795, Sydney, Burial Transcription 2

[1] Sydney Cove 1791-1792 (Volume IV), John Cobley, Angus & Robertson Publishers,1983, Sydney, p250