Bell Ancestors,Coming to Australia-Robin and Mercy Bell,1838

Robin Bell (b 1785), the third son and fourth child of Thomas and Ann Bell of Mereworth, married Mercy Cheeseman in 1811, and had a family of ten children.

This family emigrated to New South Wales on the Woodbridge in 1838.

In the late 18th Century, England was again at war. The most terrible effect was the great depression it brought about in agriculture. It was essential the land produce an ever increasing amount of food and although land enclosure had been going on for a long time the pressures of war hastened the movement. Many more taxes were introduced and although they mainly applied to the rich landowners they had a roll-on effect to the labourer in that as his taxes rose the landowner used them as an excuse to pay his workers less. By 1795 in the south of England agricultural labourers were paid only a pittance compared to what they had been and attempts were made to supplement his income from the parish poor rate. Many people resisted this step and tried to do without this assistance because of the stigma associated with it. They were willing to work, but there was no work. Of course the Industrial Revolution played its part too.

We know that by the early 1830’s conditions had become so terrible that some agricultural labourers caused riots. In some effort to assist the poor, work houses were set up all over

England. It was probably about this time that Robin and Mercy Bell and family were forced to return to Mereworth from East Farleigh where they had lived and worked for a number of years.  (Mereworth was Robin Bell’s parish of birth, so became responsible for him and his family in times of unemployment and destitution).

At the same time the colonies were calling for more agricultural labourers for the expanding wool trade. Immigration was encouraged but only the richer farmer could afford to go.

By 1837 the first of the assisted immigration schemes to Australia were in place. The summer of 1837 in England and Europe was cold and wet which led to a very poor harvest for that year.

This was probably one of the catalyst that led James and George Bell of East Farleigh, the sons of Thomas Bell (b 1782) and his first wife Mary, to sign on as sailors on board the convict ship Asia to work their way to Sydney in late 1837. See former blogs My Bell Ancestors-George Bell (1817-1894) Sorting Red Herrings posted 3 July 2015 and My Bell Ancestors-George Bell Red Herrings Sorted posted 1 February 2016.

The bad summer of 1837 was followed by a very harsh winter with much snow.

Many families were literally destitute and starving. Several of our Bell families like many others decided to emigrate, hoping to make a better life. The ‘bait’ as it were, was the dream to be able and own land after a few years work in the new colony. This was a dream they couldn’t have realized if they had stayed in England. Having decided to emigrate the families had to full-fill very strict conditions for a free passage to Australia. Many applicants were turned down as they were not able to fit these conditions. Robin Bell (b1785)and his family of Mereworth, Kent, were able to satisfy the conditions to emigrate to Sydney, as most of their family were adults and employable. See former blog “Robin and Mercy Bell of Kent, England, and Scone in New South Wales”, posted 1 September 2012.

With the bounty System for New South Wales the male members of the family would have applied to the Workhouse Union Clerk at Malling for an assisted passage. He would have sent their application onto the Agent General for Emigration in London. Writing back to the clerk at Malling the Agent General would announce that the Surgeon Superintendent of a certain bounty ship, such as the Woodbridge, or his agent, would be available to interview applicants on a certain day in the workhouse boardroom. The necessary certificates had to be presented at the interview. The applicant had to produce certificates certifying to moral and industrious habits, good health and practical knowledge concerning his given occupation. These documents had to be signed by the parish clergyman and other respectable inhabitants in the parish where the applicant resided. The applicant also had to tender certificates to his age and that of his wife and children. These were usually extracted from the parish registers. It is probable that Robin Bell and his family made the original application sometime in February 1838.

Other specified conditions for passage to Australia included a certain amount and type of clothing. Luggage packages were not to exceed 18″ deep and every steerage passenger before embarking had to put sufficient linen and other changes of clothing for a month into a box not more than 15″ square as only these small boxes were allowed in the steerage compartment. All other luggage was stored(preferably in a tin-lined trunk), in the holds to be retrieved and brought onto deck in calm weather about four or five weeks into the voyage.

Eligibility for free passage was determined by the Superintendent or his Agent at the interview. The successful applicants would then be advised the ships departure date and the necessity of reaching the place of embarkation a couple of days before the date of departure so their luggage could be examined for correctness under the rules of passage.

Preparations would take several weeks to complete, as the clothing alone which was all made by hand would take time. Parish Overseers Accounts in the Parish Chest Records for Mereworth, Kent, give a great insight into the lives of our Bell families, as these show us that the Mereworth Parish Overseers paid for the shoes and clothing to be made to allow our Bell families to emigrate. Also the tin lining for the trunk and tools for their trade. Emigrants were expected to travel to the place of embarkation at their own expense. Again the Mereworth Parish Overseers assisted. Note the ‘landing money’ which was given to the emigrants on landing in the colony.

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Original Parish Chest, St Lawrence Mereworth, that once held the parish account books including the Overseer of the Poor. Copyright Nola Mackey-2004

“1838 – An Account of Moneys Spent by me for parish of Mereworth to assist in clothing and other expenses attending so many poor families who were emigrating from this parish to New South Wales”

April Gave Robt Bell by check To purchase tools etc £4
Paid Mr Farrant a bill for Robt Bell and family £6
Pd the Revd Mr Jebb for Robt Bells Family

To receive at Landing in Sidney (sic)

£10

 

Robin and Mercy Bell were also known as Robert and Mary Bell in the Mereworth records.

The family were given ten pounds on landing in Sydney to help them live until they could arrange employment.

The Woodbridge left  England on 7 May  and arrived in Sydney on 15 September 1838.

In the next blog I will give more information on the voyage of the ‘Woodbridge‘ itself.

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Bell Ancestors Coming Down-Under- South Australia

 

In former blogs I have blogged about the emigration of various branches of our Bell Family to United States ,Canada and Australia. This emigration story spanned nearly a century and was virtually global in range.

The 1830’s were a terrible time period for our Bell ancestors in Kent, England. Many families who faced with starvation or the newly erected Workhouses, saw emigration as their only opportunity and salvation. However they didn’t have means to emigrate.

Fortunately through various avenues several immigration schemes were being put forward by colonial governments particularly in Australia. Several of our Bell family took advantage of these schemes to emigrate.

George Bell (b1806) the second son and child of John and Mary Bell (nee Kemp) of Mereworth, Kent married Jane Hunt on 25 December 1827. They had a number of children all born at Mereworth; Jane (b1828), John (b 1830), Mary (b1832), George (b 1834) and Ann (b1837).

By 1837 this family had to relied on parish assistance to survive. The alternative was to go into the Malling Workhouse.

They wished to emigrate to New South Wales with other family members, but unfortunately they could not satisfy some of the conditions for a free passage. Their children were too young for employment when they arrived. However no such restrictions were proposed by the South Australia (Land) Company who were paying free passages for emigrants to come out to the newly formed free colony of South Australia.

George Bell was the right age and calling for a free passage, but the company was not prepared to pay the passage of his wife and children. The Mereworth Parish Overseers came to the family’s assistance and paid their passage. They also paid all the other costs of emigrating.

“1838 – An Account of Moneys Spent by me for parish of Mereworth to assist in clothing and other expenses attending so many poor families who were emigrating from this parish to New South Wales”

Pd the Emigration Committee for passage for five children belonging

To George Bell                                                                                                              £15.00

Pd Mr Carr a bill for list shoes etc for G Bell                                                              13. 4

Pd Mrs Browning a bill ditto                                                                                          14. 6

Pd Mr Viner a bill for G Bell                                                                                           £2. 12. 6¾

Pd Mr G Morphew a bill for tools for George Bell                                                            18. 7

Pd Mr Farrant for ditto                                                                                                     £2. 16. 2

Pd J & T Dutt a bill ditto                                                                                                            9. 6

Pd Mr Hy Shirley a bill for tin for G Bill                                                                               4. 10

Pd Mrs Capan for lowance for G Bell and family at T(own) Malling                              1. 10

Pd Mr Samuel Glover bill for Bell                                                                                     £2. 17. 6

Gave George Bell and family to receive at landing in South Australia                      £3. 10. 0

Gave the man to pay for breakfast for himself and George Bell, his wife and

family on rode (road) to Deptford                                                                                       £1. 1. 0

Pd Mr George Harryman a bill for meate (meat)for Mrs Bell                                              2. 6

Pd Mr Wolf a bill as part for Mereworth going to Deptford with emigrants                  14. 0

Pd Mr Durrell a bill at Meeting of South Australia Company                                             6. 0

Pd Mrs C Goodwin a bill for George Bell                                                                          £5. 16. 6

Pd Mr Hards a bill for Mrs Bell                                                                                                11. 3

Paid for George Bells bed and bedding                                                                              £4. 10. 0

This gives us a very detailed account of the costs involved in emigrating

Clothes and shoes as well as the necessary tin lined trunk for the clothes to keep them dry on the voyage. Tools for George Bell to bring out with him to use in his employment.

The bed and bedding for the voyage and the family’s settlement in Australia. For the family to stay overnight at Malling and their transport to Deptford. From there the emigrants were taken to Gravesend to embark on the emigrant ship.

Barque

Image from https://www.google.com.au believed to be Barque Falls of Clyde now preserved as a museum ship in Hawaii. Retrieved 15 July 2017

 A Barque has three or more masts with square sails on the fore mast and fore and aft sails on the after mast. Generally in the range of 250-700 ton capacity.

 

George and Jane Bell and family embarked on the Resource, a barque of 417 tons built in Calcutta in 1804. It was owned by Mr T Ward of London. The ship left London about 15 September (1838) under Captain Boyle and arrived in Port Adelaide on 23 January 1839. On board were more than 140 immigrants, many poor farming families from Kent and other places in England.

Shipping…

JAN. 23.—Barque Resource, Capt. Boyle, from

London, 7th October, with 140 emigrants and passengers.

Trove: Southern Australian (Adelaide, SA : 1838 – 1844) Wednesday 30 January 1839 p 2 Article From <http://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/result?l-state=South+Australia&l-decade=183&l-month=1&l-year=1839&q=%27Resource%22>

South Australian Shipping…

Resource, from London, Captain Boyle, arrived 23 January, with one hundred and forty-three emigrants, six adults and fourteen children died during the voyage.

Trove: The Sydney Herald (NSW : 1831 – 1842) Wednesday 6 February 1839 p 2 Article From <http://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/result?q=%22Resource%22&l-decade=183&l-year=1839&l-state=New+South+Wales&l-month=2&s=0>

More Bell Family Going to America

In a previous blog I wrote about George, Harry and Edward Charles Bell, sons of George and Harriet Bell (nee Collins) of Mereworth, Kent, England, who had immigrated to the United States of America between 1890 and 1909.

I also acknowledged the incredible work my Bell ‘cousin’, Glenda B. of Idaho, had undertaken to help to solve the immigration riddle of George, Harry and Edward Charles Bell and find their families.

We know that Harry and Edward Bell went to Owossa, Michigan because their elder brother George Bell and his family had settled there.

The question then arose to the reason George Bell had immigrated there in 1890. There seemed to be no obvious reason, however, when we studied the pattern of immigration of the Bell families to Australia, we found that family nearly always went to family, already established there.

If a similar pattern was present in the USA, what family did George Bell go out to in Owossa, Michigan in 1890?

Glenda was to team up with me again to try and solve this intriguing question.

While researching George, Harry and Edward Charles Bell, Glenda had collected information on all persons with the Bell surname, particularly in the Owossa area. One person who seemed to stand out and claimed our interest was a ‘John Bell’. From various USA Census Returns we knew he had come from England. His wife Elizabeth, a son John, and daughters Elizabeth and Mary Ann Bell were also listed as having been born in England. However, the youngest daughter, Harriet, was claimed to have been born in Michigan about 1859. This gave us an approximate time span for the family’s emigration to Michigan.

Glenda was able to use indexes and files in the Michigan State, City and University Libraries as well as employ the services of local historians to gather a large collection of cemetery, funeral home, census and newspapers records for this family. From those records she put together a detailed biography and timeline for John Bell and his family.

Glenda shared this material with me and I was able to use it along with other documents I held, to gain further clues for research back in England. I then purchased marriage, birth and death certificates from the Maidstone Registrar of Births, Deaths and Marriages, which confirmed my hypothesis for this family.

We were finally able to establish that John Bell (b.1822), the youngest son of John and Mary Bell (nee Kemp), of Mereworth, Kent, a carpenter by trade was living at Staplehurst, Kent, when he married Harriet Hatcher on 8 September 1851. Their children were John (b.1851); Elizabeth (b.1853) and Mary Ann (b.1855). At that time, life in Kent was difficult, with little employment and no opportunities.

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Staplehurst Parish Church – Copyright, Nola Mackey,2004

John and Harriet Bell decided to immigrate to the United States of America. John Bell travelled to London where he bought a steerage passage on the Palestine which sailed for New York. He arrived there on 12 May 1857. He is believed to have immediately gained employment and sent the money home for Harriet to purchased a passage for herself and the children on the Palestine the following year. This ship left London and sailed to the German port of Bremen where several German immigrants came on board before sailing for New York. The Palestine arrived in New York on 29 May 1858.

Soon afterwards John and Harriet Bell joined many other families on a wagon train west to Michigan and settled in the frontier town of Saginsaw. Harriet Bell died soon after arrival, at the birth of their youngest daughter. She was named Harriet in memory of her mother. John Bell needed someone to care for his young family and married Elizabeth Parkinson at Oakland on 21 March 1860.

The family moved on to Owosso, where John Bell later bought a block of land. After much hard work and perseverance John and Elizabeth Bell built up a large market garden of more than ten acres. John sold the produce in town from a cart and was well known and respected in the community.

Their children married and lived in Michigan.

John Bell (b.1851) married Mary Conklin in 1888, but had no family. He died in a rail accident in 1895.

Elizabeth Bell (b.1853) married Andrew Case in 1871 and had a number of children: Edward George,b.1872; Selina Lillian, b.1873; Bert Lee, b.1876; John Henry, b. 1878; Chester, b.1882; Theodore Leonard, b.1884; Lawrence Andrew, b.1888; William Nelson, b.1895 and Harlan I, b.1899.

Mary Ann Bell (b.1855) married William Clark Munro and had two sons: Francis Eugene, b. 1877 and Chester William, b.1887.

Harriet Bell (b.1859) married Byron Le Clear and had a son John, b. 1887.

Glenda was again able to trace and contact descendants of these families. They had been interested in family history and had done a lot of research in USA, but had not been able to find where the family originated in England.

Imagine their surprise when we contacted them and were not only able to show them where the family came from, but also where they fitted into this huge ‘family tree’, which reached back to the 16th Century.

Although these families were not on our Bell Family line, Glenda and I believed it right we should share our knowledge and research with other family members.

In recent years these families have put considerable material on-line about their families.

John Bell (b.1822) was the younger brother of George Bell’s Grandfather, Thomas Bell (b.1803), and therefore a Great-uncle to George Bell. We believe this is the family George Bell went out to Ossowo, Michigan in 1890. John Bell died in 1895 a few years after George’s arrival.

However,were John and Harriet Bell the first in our Bell family to emigrate from Kent to the United States of America, or had they also gone out to family?

 

Family and Local History Research Tool- Index of Passengers and Crew In and Out of Sydney from Sydney Newspapers 1830-1841

When your ancestors arrived in Australia they could have come as :

a) Seaman/wife of a seaman or family of a seaman

b) Soldier/wife of a soldier or family of a soldier

c) Convict/ wife of a convict or family of a convict

d) Assisted Immigrant

e) Unassisted immigrant

f) Government Official/ wife of official or family or a servant of an official.

They could only have arrived by ship until after the mid 20th Century when air travel was possible.

Firstly, you need to consider from what port, or via what port, they may have come. Many immigrants did not come directly to Sydney. For example a large number of unassisted immigrants came via Tasmania, where they got off the ship, looked around for several weeks or months before deciding to board a coastal ship to Sydney. Others may have joined the big rush to America before re-emigrating and finally settling in Sydney. Just be aware of possibilities.

I have compiled indexes from the shipping and news columns of at least two and sometimes as many as four Sydney newspapers. The newspaper entries are compared for the most informative entry to be added to the index. If there is a variation of the spelling of the Surname in the various papers, all variations are added. The newspapers used are theSydney Gazette; Australian; Sydney Herald and Sydney Monitor.

Passengers

Incoming passengers- Although shipping passenger lists have survived for incoming passengers into Sydney, for this period can be found on the State Records of New South Wales, they are thought to be incomplete. Many names can be found on these indexes which do not appear on the archive lists.

Outgoing passengers- There are no outgoing passenger lists at the State Records of New South Wales for this period. This is the first known index to fill this important gap in the records.

Crew

In this time period very few crew lists were prepared, only four are known to survive in the State Records of NSW. Included in my index are mention of crew named in inquests, court reports, news items etc. Any additional information on the passengers is also included.

Incoming crew- Although there is at the State Records of New South Wales, an unpublished card index for ship’s captains arriving in Sydney in this period, there are no lists for crew. All mention of members of any ship’s crew through newspaper items such as wrecks, inquests, death reports and court cases are listed in this indexes.

Outgoing crew- The only known lists for ship’s Captains and crew leaving Sydney at this time. Again these lists have been compiled from all sections of the newspapers.

The information includes Surname, Christian name or initials ; Title;Ship; Date of arrival in Sydney; Date of departure from original port and other ports of call; Date of departure from Sydney and destination port; Ship’s status of person named; remarks and notes as well as full references.

Example: Volume 2

Entry

Name

Ship

Date of Arrival

From Ports

Date of

Departure

To Port

Status

Remarks

Reference

Other Notes

2271

FENNELL, Mr Richard

Ann

13/11/33

London/ Hobart Town

01.05.1833/ 28.10.1833

Sydney

Passenger

SMH 14.11.1833

There are in excess of twenty thousand persons in this series of indexes for the 1830-1840 period.

Volume 1 1830-32; Volume 2 1833-35; Volume 3 1835-37 were published in book, microfiche and e-book form. The index is arranged alphabetically by Surname and then Christian name of Passengers and Crew arranged in one table.

Volumes 4, 1838; Volume 5, 1839 and Volume 6 1840 are arranged in two parts. Part 1-arranged alphabetically by Surname and then Christian name of Passengers and Crew.

Part 2-Arranged alphabetically by ship for Crew

Entry

Ship

Name

Date of Arrival

From Ports

Date of Departure

To Port

Status

Remarks

Reference

Other Notes

101

Caledonia

BROWN, William

17/12/38

Madras/King George’s Sound/Port Phillip

20.08.1838/07/12.1838

Sydney

Crew

Seaman

S G 15.01.1839

Court Case

Here is also a special index for 1841. This year didn’t feature in my time original period of my 1830 to 1840 indexes. Pastkeys, a research business based in Sydney had compiled a set of indexes for immigration into New South Wales after 1842, which then left a gap in indexes to surviving records. After consultation with Pastkeys I agreed to fill the gap for 1841 from the Sydney newspapers, so Volume 7 was compiled also following the same guidelines as Volumes 4-6 in two parts.

Example: Volume 7

Entry

Name

Ship

Date of Arrival

From Port

Date of Departure

To Port

Status

Remarks

Reference

Other Notes

7488

YULE, Robert

HMS Erebus

14/07/41

Hobart Town

07/07/41

Sydney

Crew

Second Master

SMH 15.07.1841

On Scientific voyage of magnetic observation

In the last few years the National Library of Australia has scanned these microfilms of each of these newspapers and digitally released them on their website ( https://www.nla.gov.au ) under Trove, in their Historical Newspapers section. In theory this makes my indexes obsolete as the word search facilities of the National Library site makes all the records available at the press of a button.

However, any family historian who relies on the computers facilities to find all their family history entries will often be very disappointed. Often many thousands of possible entries have to be sieved through to see if your family is indeed there. Also, the text recognition program used, although very helpful cannot hope to be 100% accurate. The printing of these early newspapers range from very dark and easy to read print to very faint and impossible to read. It needs the human eye to interpret those dark and smudged, as well as those faint broken text words. I have spent some forty years working with early 18th and 19th Century newspapers from all over the world, and have had much experience in working out those troublesome words.

I would use the National Library of Australia newspaper website everyday, but always consult my indexes if working in the 1830- 1841 time frame, as it saves me many hours of time. I immediately know if there is an entry, and in which newspaper I should be looking in.

These indexes are copyright to me and cannot be found on Ancestry.com, findmypast.com or any other website. Check them out at my website heritagepath.com.au

Why not give these indexes a try, as you just never know, they just may solve your research problem.

It’s a Long Way from Tipperary- the Mackey Family

It has been many years since I started researching our Mackey family. I’m often told I will not be able to research far, because I’m spelling the surname incorrectly, as it should be “MacKay”. I laughingly tell people we are the Irish variety and I do indeed have the correct spelling.

Family research is conducted backwards from the present, generation by generation,with as much documentation as we find. Beginning with my husband, who is the only son of James John and Valerie Mackey (nee Hodgetts), we find ‘James John’ was the only son of James and Honorah Lena Mackey (nee Stapleton). Then ‘James’ was the son of James and Winifred Mackey (nee O’Neill). In the generation before, ‘James’, was the son of William and Sarah Mackey (nee Hadnett). He was born in Dundrum, in the parish of Ballintemple, in the County of Tipperary, Ireland in about 1861, and immigrated to Queensland in 1883. He arrived on board the ‘Woronga”, a steam ship under Captain Fife, which left Plymouth, England on 1 April 1883 and after a passage of several weeks arrived off Cooktown on 5th June and eventually arrived in Brisbane about the 16 June 1883.

James Mackey worked as a labourer, possibly on a farm on the out-skirts of Brisbane. When he married Winifred O’Neill, on 23 May 1885 at St Stephen’s Roman Catholic Cathedral in Brisbane, he stated he lived at Happy Valley, Lutwyche.

James and Winifred Mackey had two sons, James b 1886 and Michael b 1887 before Winifred died in 1889.

Little is known of James Mackey Sr for a number of years, but he died in Brisbane Hospital in 1943. His sons, as young children were reputed to have been raised by a Mr and Mrs Kirby.

However, soon after the turn of the 20Th Century, both James and Michael can be found living at Mullumbimby, in Northern New South Wales. For a number of years they worked at Hollingworth’s Timber Mill. Michael later returned to Brisbane. He married Mary Jane Byrne. They were killed in an accident in 1963.

James remained in Mullumbimby and married Honorah Lena Stapleton, the daughter of Michael and Rosanna Stapleton (nee Kane), in 1912. They in turn had two children, James John, b 1914 and Rose Winifred b 1920, both of whom are now deceased.

James John Mackey married Valerie Mary Hodgetts in 1941 and had one son and three daughters.

Rose Winifred Mackey married Norman Joseph Hodgetts in 1941 and they too, had one son and three daughters.

Although James and Winifred Mackey’s descendants are small in number with less than thirty descendants over the five generations in Australia, I am still interested in being in contact with any one interested in researching the MACKEY surname, particularly in Queensland and Tipperary, Ireland.