Our Hodgetts Family Saga-Sarah Hodgetts,1797,Sydney

The ninth document for our Hodgetts family in Australia was the baptism entry of Sarah Hodgetts, the third daughter of Thomas and Harriet Hodgetts.

I found the first mention of this record in John Cobley’s Sydney Cove 1795-1800 Vol V, The Second Governor. The entry states:-



Dec 24 Sarah Hodgats  d of Thomas and Harriet Hodgats. B 1st September 1797.[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/

HODGETS  SARAH       495/1797 V1797495 4 d of  THOMAS and   HARRIOT

HODGETS SARAH M   662/1797 V1797662 1A  d of THOMAS and  HARRIET

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 Hodgetts research I found Volumes 1 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 baptism 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.

HODGETS,Sarah,1797,Sydney,Baptism Transcription 1

HODGETS,Sarah,1797,Sydney,Baptism Transcription 2

By 1797, Thomas Hodgetts had completed his sentence some two years before, and as a ‘free man’ was able to set up a business for himself in Sydney. We would like to think he set up as a blacksmith, as it has always been presumed to have been his trade in Australia. However, I have found no evidence of this in colonial records. I believe he would have found it difficult to get any employment, which paid any reasonable income.

Although still on meagre government rations, I believe the family lived in very poor conditions.

Eastern View of Sydney,1797,by Edward Dayes

Eastern View of Sydney, 1797

By Edward Dayes

Contributed By National Library of Australia [PIC Solander Box A28 #R286]

From <https://dictionaryofsydney.org/media/59789


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

HODGETS, Sarah,1797, Sydney, Baptism Transcription 1

HODGETS, Sarah,1797, Sydney, Baptism Transcription 2

[1] Sydney Cove 1795-1800 The Second Governor (Volume V), John Cobley, Angus & Robertson Publishers,1986,Sydney, p188



Our Hodgetts Family Saga – Thomas Hodgetts,1792,Parramatta.

The fifth document for our Hodgetts family in Australia was the marriage of John Martin to Ann Toy when Thomas Hodgetts was a witness.

I first came across this reference in Sydney Cove 1791-1792, Volume III by John Cobley.

“Sunday, 26 August (1792)

Fine and cloudy.

The Rev Richard Johnson conducted two wedding services at Parramatta… John Martin married Ann Toy, with Thomas Hodgetts and Luke Jones as witnesses“.[1]

From this entry, 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/

217/1792 V1792217 3A MARTIN  JOHN TO TOY ANN CB


79/1792 V179279 147A MARTIN JOHN TO TOY ANN CB

I immediately consulted the Baptism, Marriage, and Burial records 1788-1855 in Archives Authority of NSW (now State Records of NSW) Genealogical Kit, 1988.

However, only one record was available. That was on Reel 5002, Vol 3 entry number 217. This was from the chronological list of marriages that Rev Johnson sent to the Governor’s Office. There was little information on this entry.

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 transcription and add appropriate notes to my transcription.

MARTIN-TOY,1792,Parramatta,Marriage Transcription1

The second reference you will note fell into the Volumes not available in the Genealogical Kit. That is the 124-164 volume frame. The volume we want is 147.[See blog post “Our Hodgetts Saga – John Hodgetts,1791, Rose Hill “, for further information about these records.] So I was not able to view a microfilmed copy of the marriage register of the Rev Richard Johnson.

However, I was able to get a certified transcription (not a copy) of this record from the registrar of Births, Deaths, and Marriages office in Sydney. The fee of $35 for a transcription is not a small sum, but as it is an early colonial reference to our Thomas Hodgetts, who is a direct ancestor of my husband, I purchased this transcription.

MARTIN-TOY,1792,Parramatta,Marriage Transcription2

If I had been able to see or purchase a copy I could have compared Thomas Hodgett’s signature to former examples. In this case, I was not able to do so.  However, I was able to confirm Thomas was still at Parramatta. His eldest son, John had been baptized at Rose Hill (Parramatta) the year before. To whether Thomas was still in convict accommodation or he and Harriet had been allotted their own quarters we do not know. Governor Phillip was keen to house and feed the colony and all projects were still directed to the public good. He had started to allow land allocations to convicts who had completed their sentence and non-commissioned officers and privates who had completed their term of service and wished to remain in the colony. Others still under sentence and service were housed in government accommodation and barracks.

Harriet and the infant John may have been in the women convict quarters. Hopeful they may have been allowed a small suitable hut with another family or just maybe after a time one on their own, with Thomas having permission to join them.

Government House,Parramatta

Government House, Parramatta,1791

From the collections of the

State Library of New South Wales

[a928407 / DG SSV1B/3]

(Dixson Galleries)

From <https://dictionaryofsydney.org/media/3163>

This was only the beginning not the end of my research when I transcribed these records. From former blog research, we know that the Rev Richard Johnson was a Church of England chaplain appointed to the colony and had arrived with his wife as free persons on the First Fleet.[See Our Hodgetts Family Saga – Thomas Hodgetts,1790, Sydney].

Now let us look at the wedding party and how Thomas Hodgetts might have known these people.

John Martin

John Martin was charged at the Old Bailey 3 July 1782 with stealing clothes. He was found guilty and sentenced to seven years transportation. It was stated he was a negro and he was put on a convict ship for Africa. However, he became ill before he sailed and was returned to Newgate Prison. He was later transferred to the prison hulk Ceres in the Thames. He finally embarked on the Alexander on 6 January 1787 and was sent out to Sydney on the First Fleet. He later removed to Parramatta and it is there we believe became a friend of Thomas Hodgett’s. He married Ann Toy on 26 August 1792 when Thomas Hodgetts was one of the witnesses. He was granted fifty acres of land on the northern boundary of Parramatta at the end of that year and remained there for many years. When his wife Ann died in 1806 he remarried.[2]

Ann Toy

Ann Toy was sentenced to seven years transportation in October 1789 at the Maidstone Quarter Sessions for petty larceny. She was arrested and charged after pawning a violin which had been stolen from Giles Russell, a pensioner at the Royal Hospital in Greenwich. She was immediately embarked on the Neptune in the Second Fleet. She was possibly a friend of Harriet Hodgetts. She married John Martin on 26 August 1792 at Parramatta. Ann remained childless and died in 1806.[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 Our Hodgetts Saga – Harriet Hodgetts,1790, Sydney.]

Although it is possible John Martin was known to Thomas Hodgett’s in Sydney it is more probable that they became friends after their move to Parramatta, hence he being a witness to his marriage.[4]

Luke Jones

Luke Jones was born about 1768. On 2 April 1788, he was sentenced to seven years transportation at the Old Bailey for the theft of clothing. He was put in the crowded Newgate prison. In late 1789 he was sent to the prison hulk Dunkirk in Plymouth Harbour. He embarked on the Neptune to sail in the Second Fleet to Sydney.[5]

Records in the colony for this convict are scarce, although he can be found on the Transportation Register for the Second Fleet. He is believed to have moved to Parramatta with other Second Fleet convicts in early 1791.

There is no mention of this convict in the records until 1792 when he appears as a witness to a marriage on the 24th June. For the next six months, he was a witness at all marriages at Parramatta, some 22 in all. Rather than being a close friend of all these couples, I believe it more likely that he was acting as a clerk or churchwarden at Parramatta for the Rev Richard Johnson during this time. [6]The indications are that he could read and write as he signed the register in each case. He could have carried on into 1793, however, the records are not available to check if this was the case.

In Michael Flynn’s book for The Second Fleet, Luke Jones is recorded as arriving on the Second Fleet but having died on 1 August 1790 soon after arrival. I believe this is incorrect and it was the convict Lewis Jones who was buried on this date.[7]

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

MARTIN-TOY, 1792, Parramatta, Marriage Transcription 1

MARTIN-TOY,1792,Parramatta,Marriage Transcription 2

[1] Sydney Cove 1791-1792 (Volume III), John Cobley, Angus & Robertson Publishers,1965, Sydney, p294
[2]The Founders of Australia-A Biographical Dictionary of the First Fleet, Mollie Gillen, Library of Australian History, Sydney,1989,p239.
[3] The Second Fleet-Britain’s Grim Convict Armada of 1790, Michael Flynn, Library of Australian History, Sydney,1993,p 576.
[4] ibid, p335.
[5] The Second Fleet-Britain’s Grim Convict Armada of 1790, Michael Flynn, Library of Australian History, Sydney,1993,p 371.
[6]Sydney Cove 1791-1792 (Volume III), John Cobley, Angus & Robertson Publishers,1965,Sydney, pp 274,280,285,290,294,317,323,339,347,354,355.
[7] The Second Fleet-Britain’s Grim Convict Armada of 1790, Michael Flynn, Library of Australian History, Sydney,1993,p 371.

PS-  Richard Hodgetts mentioned this marriage in his book, “The Brave Old Pioneers 1788-1988.” This book is still available from Richard. If you wish to have contact details please leave request in comment box below. This is to protect Richard’s private email address being harvested by scammers.

Harriet Hodgett’s Journeys By Sea- Part 4

“Harriet clutched the rail to steady herself, as the ship lurched when the wind caught her sails and lifted her forward.”

Harriet Hodgett’s fourth sea voyage had begun. Today it is the anniversary of the beginning of that journey 200 years ago.

Thomas and Harriet Hodgetts, with their two youngest sons, James aged 13 and Daniel 11, as well as daughters Sarah, 19; Elizabeth, 15; Hannah, 8; and Jane, 6 years, had taken passage on the schooner, Sinbad, for Port Dalrymple in northern Tasmania.

The family was joining their eldest son, John, and his family, who had made this journey over two years before.

They left their eldest daughter Mary, her husband, Thomas Graham, and their three infant daughters, at the Hawkesbury River.

The Sinbad was a wooden, 2 mast schooner, of 44 tons, built in Sydney in 1818, for George William Barnard, specifically for the coastal trade between the colonies.

In the State Records of New South Wales is a hand-written document that records this voyage of the Sinbad.

On page 142 of the Harbour Master’s Registers, it states- ” No 11/194 Muster of the Master, Crew, and Passengers of the schooner Sinbad of Sydney- Berthen Registered 44 tons- bound for Port Dalrymple”. It then lists the five crew and eleven passengers, with pertinent details.

I know this document has been shared amongst Hodgett descendants. Although it is great so many are willing to share research, we always need to be mindful of copyright and legal requirements.

This document is not available on the Internet through one of the large subscription websites such as Ancestry.com; Findmypast or the Latter Day Saints, FamilySearch. Although the State Records of New South Wales has a partnership with these websites for some records, this document is not part of records available. Nor is it available through the State Records website itself. Not yet anyway.

However, you can get a copy of this record for your family records by visiting the State Records facilities or by post, by paying the nominal administration fee. That all-important reference is-

” NRS 1289 Ships Musters, Dec 1816-1825 4/4771 pp 142-143, Reel 561″.

I need to remind you, that even though you can get a copy, it is still ‘copyright’ to the State Records, and you cannot legally make copies and distribute to others, as they do not assign ‘copyright’ to you when you get the copy. Nor can you put it up on websites without permission and attribution.

However, you can make a transcription and share with family members without legal problems. By making a transcription and sharing with family history researchers you do a greater service. Firstly they know that it exists, what it says and where it is from. Secondly, realize that in the future, your descendants, and researchers generally, will probably not be able to transcribe old documents, as they will not be able to read ‘running writing’ and the cryptic abbreviations.

I share with you a transcription of my copy of this document below.

MALH027314 002

By putting a header at the top of the page and transcribing word for word the whole document, my family knows in an instant, from whom this document came and when the work was done. They also know if they wish they can also get their own official copy from the State Records of NSW, using the reference. ( I also type these up to make a more tidy copy and add some notes).

Although it is wonderful to have this surviving document, it is important for our family history, to know how and why this document was created in the first place.

In 1819, the Colony of New South Wales was made up of several communities at Sydney, Parramatta, Hawkesbury River, Newcastle, Norfolk Island, Hobart, and Port Dalrymple. They were all part of the colonial convict system, although not all the people who resided there, were convicts. That is to say, there was a growing number of free persons in these communities. This included our Hodgetts family.

However, these free people could not move freely around between these communities or to any other place in the world without the permission of the Governor through his various officials.

The law required that all persons do two things before they could move to another place, particularly by sea. Firstly they had to publicly advertise their intention of moving, by placing a notice in the newspaper, the Sydney Gazette. Our Thomas Hodgett’s notice of intention appeared on 13th and 20th February 1819. This made sure you didn’t leave any debts and gave people, who owed you money notice to pay before you left the colony.

Secondly, you had to get a written ‘pass’ from the Judge Advocate’s Office,  which checked your status, and how you came to be in the said Colony you wished to leave. You would be given this pass stating your name, your status, and sometimes age, to give to the ship’s master, to allow you onboard the vessel, even though you had already paid for your passage. The information from this pass was then lodged with the Harbour Master’s Office and was entered into his daily register. Thomas Hodgett’s would have needed that pass when he and his family disembarked at Port Dalrymple to show the Government officials there he had permission to settle in that community.

Now we know what records were created, where can we get a copy of the corresponding documents for John Hodgetts and family, who had left Sydney some years before, to settle in Port Dalrymple?

Harriet Hodgett’s Journeys by Sea- Part 1

I have been researching and writing Harriet’s story for some time now. I knew it would not be easy, but the more I do, the more I need to do, to actually to do justice to the project. I have tried to ‘block- out’ the story, and arrange research to build the story in chunks.

In recent weeks I have been concentrating on researching and writing about Harriett’s sea voyages. Progress has been slow, but rewarding.

To my knowledge, in a time-span of thirty years, Harriet made four journeys by sea.

  • The first, London to Port Jackson in 1790 as a ‘free’ woman on the convict ship Neptune with a voyage of nearly 7 months.
  • The second, from Sydney to Norfolk Island in 1800, a voyage of several days.
  • The third, from Norfolk Island back to Sydney in 1805, also taking several days.
  • The fourth, from Sydney to Port Dalrymple in northern Tasmania in 1819, also taking about two weeks.

Each of these voyages would have been a very different experience for Harriet. I need to take many things into account, as I ponder and write her story.

For instance, let us take the first voyage. I believe it is not enough to just say she got on board in London in 1789 and arrived in Port Jackson, several months later on 28 June 1790. There are no documents with Harriet’s name on it. In fact, there are very few surviving documents about the voyage of the Second Fleet, even official ones.

How can I write up her ‘experience’ of the voyage itself? It may be fiction, but it needs to be credible fiction.

From the few scant reports of the voyage at the time, we know it was a horrendous journey, which led to much death and sickness.

When the news finally filtered back to authorities in England, the captains and ship’s officers were blamed for the carnage. However was this really the case, or was there much more to the story?

To answer some of these questions  I need to track down every one of those surviving documents. I need to study the providence and assess the motivation for the creating of such documents.

I also need to consider, if there may have been documents, that for some reason have not survived. What might these reasons be?

Firstly, I needed to research the ships and boats of the era. How they were made, the parts thereof, and how the ‘systems’ on board worked, involving the officers and crew.

Life on board ships was by necessity, very ordered. Everyone was under strict instructions and a rigid routine. It was not a holiday in any sense of the word, even for those ‘free’ passengers.

The Neptune was a large very crowded ship of nearly 800 tons. It has been difficult to clearly establish how many people were on-board when she left England, but it is believed it totaled about six hundred and twenty. There was also a large number of stores, both for the voyage, as well as for the colony.

Thomas Gilbert had been appointed the captain, as he had had experience, being captain of the Charlotte in the First Fleet. However, after the Macarthur fiasco, he was replaced by Donald Trail. Trail an experienced navy captain, and later in transporting slaves, had originally been appointed to the Surprize.

John Marshall was captain of the Scarborough. He had also been her master on the voyage of the First Fleet.

How was the voyage in the Second Fleet, so different to cause so much trouble, with horrendous consequences?

How did Harriet get that free passage in the first place? Where did she sleep on board and who were her friends?

It takes a lot of work to put together a possible story. Who, how, when, where, and why are always the questions I need to ask before setting down my thoughts.

I then need to visualize each section of the story as I put it down on paper. Here is a little taste of the first draft of the story, as Harriet sets out on her sea voyage in 1790.

Harriet lay awkwardly in the narrow bunk and watched the gimbal swing gently to and fro, making ghoulish shadows on the wall. She felt the slight warmth of the child huddled beside her, as it convulsed with heartbreaking sobs, even as it drifted off to a troubled sleep.

It had been a long and exhausting day and now stretched into a cold and numbing night, but sleep would not come to Harriet.

All around her there were unseen souls, coughing, snoring, groaning and crying, but it was difficult to place sounds in the shadowy darkness. Then there were the ship’s groans and creaks as it rocked on the rising tide. The occasional bell and muffled cry, somewhere out there in the moonless night.

Harriet still stared at the wall. Was it really little more than a day, since she had prepared for her daring adventure? As she contemplated what may lay ahead, her heart quickened and she began to feel fear rising in her stomach. Were fear and regret now stealing her heart as had been foretold?

She shut her eyes tight, covered her ears and willed herself to feel the warm sunshine, smell the scented meadows, and hear the twittering birds, with her beloved Tom beside her, in the Staffordshire countryside, far away. She was successful for just a brief moment, and then her fears engulfed her again. What if her ruse was discovered, her dreams dashed, and worst of all, actual imprisonment.

She clenched her jaw and pushed away those dark thoughts again. She finally began to relax and calm herself.

She gently stroked the brow of the sleeping child beside her and thought of the many times she had comforted the little ones, as terrifying nightmares had overtaken them while they slept in their tiny attic room. Someone else would have that duty now.

Her heart started to pound again as her thoughts drifted back to the daring plan Elizabeth and Ann had convinced her could be achieved.

On the docks this morning the damp sea air had smelt of salt and freedom, but tonight in the ship, it only smelt of fetid breath, coal tar, cheap wine, and other more complicated smells.

There was still time to turn back. Tomorrow she could leave the ship and return to John, Ann, and the little ones. They would be angry with her, but she could go back to her former life. A miserable life with no promise. A lonely existence, with her Tom, long gone to the other side of the world. With such difficult times, she now had no prospects of marriage. Only a slow creeping imprisonment, by family and society, in cold dark London.

She had had a home, true, but for how long? John and Ann, who were kin, had reluctantly taken her into their household some years ago, to help with their young children. It was just after her Tom had been sentenced to death. She could still recall in stark detail, that horrible day in the Staffordshire Court.

His sentence had later been changed to transportation and he had been sent to the hulks in Portsmouth Harbour. He had been working as a blacksmith on the harbour works. There had been some hope that he would complete his sentence on the hulks, and then return home. She could wait. However his petitions had been pushed aside, and he was to be transported to New South Wales. He was innocent, but that made no difference to those Judges! He was to be gone!

She looked across at the indistinct mound in the berth opposite, where Elizabeth lay with her youngest child. Was she having doubts too? No, thought Harriet, Elizabeth was resigned to her fate long ago. To go with her husband to faraway New South Wales. Harriet’s dream was only hours old, and still very fragile.

Harriet’s story is a different kind of writing to what I have done before in writing up our family history. Certainly, a challenge and a steep learning curve, if I’m to be anyway successful. I still have to have an outline of facts to base the story on but have to know so much more about the life of those far-off times, to put together the story.  I still have a long way to go, but day by day, I progress slowly.