Our Hodgetts Family Saga – John Hodgetts,1791,Rose Hill.

The fourth document of our Hodgetts family in Australia was the baptism entry of John Hodgetts, the eldest son of Thomas and Harriet Hodgetts.

I found the first mention of this record in John Cobley’s Sydney Cove 1791-1792 Vol III. The entry states:- “John Hodges, the son of Thomas and Harriet Hodges was christened on Thursday 17 November 1791”. [I did check to see if there were any other Thomas Hodges with a wife Harriet but found none, and am confident that the ‘Hodges’ referred to our ‘Hodgetts’ family.]

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/

Although I tried many alternate spellings for the John Hodges/Hodgetts baptism there was only one reference in the index.

HODGES JOHN  son of THOMAS and HARIETT reference 29/1791 V179129 148

However, when I searched the microfilms for this entry in the Archives Authority of New South Wales (now State Records) Genealogical Kit (1988) for baptisms 1788-1855 This record was not among them.

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.

These records were microfilmed and were released to the public in the Archives Authority of New South Wales Genealogical Kit in 1988. Of the 164 volumes, 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.

Note that the only reference to John Hodges (Hodgetts) baptism entry fell in the records in the 124-164 volume frame, that being Volume 148.

However please note you are 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 it is the only reference for this baptism entry (which also included birth date). As John Hodgetts is a direct ancestor of my husband, and I believe it is important to collect all records available for direct ancestors, I purchased this transcription.

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

The information on this record turned all the early colonial Hodgetts family history on its head!

It stated:- John the son of Thomas and Harriet Hodges was born on 25 October 1791 and was baptised on 17 November 1791 at Rose Hill, Port Jackson, County of Cumberland.

HODGES,John,1791,Rose Hill,Batism Entry

[My share document can be found under the Examples and Resources tab on this website]

Most family researchers would not pick up the significant detail that the baptism was at ‘Rose Hill’. Rose Hill was not part of Sydney, but was part of Parramatta!

So, sometime between December 1790 and October 1791, Thomas and Harriet had moved to Parramatta, had become a couple, and started a family.

Remember, Thomas was still a convict and was under direct government control. He was housed with the First Fleet blacksmiths as indicated by he being a witness to a marriage in Sydney in November 1790. (See blog “Our Hodgetts Family Saga – Thomas Hodgetts,1790, Sydney” posted June 2020).

Harriet was still in Sydney when she was a witness to the marriage of James Bird to Mary Dismon. (See “Our Hodgetts Family Saga – Harriet Hodgetts,1790, Sydney” posted June 2020).

How, when, and why did the Hodgett’s move to Parramatta?

I will address these questions in a later Hodgett’s blog post.




A Great Second Fleet Mystery-the Hodgetts Family

Our grandchildren are eighth generation born in Australia and are descendants of Thomas and Harriett Hodgetts, who arrived at Port Jackson on 28 June 1790 on board the Second Fleet.

I have been researching their ancestry on and off for over forty years, long before computers and the Internet, but it is only recently I have had the necessary time to devote to it again.

Originally back in the 1980’s, there was a small band of dedicated descendants of Thomas and Harriet Hodgetts, who searched the records in several libraries and archives throughout New South Wales, Tasmania and Victoria. We corresponded and shared the information with each other. Several of us then contributed monies to have professional research done in Staffordshire, the native county of our Hodgetts ancestors.

Later other branches of the family became involved and this led to family reunions and the publication of the book, “The Brave Old Pioneers 1788-1988-A History of the Hodgetts,” by Richard J Hodgetts.

Much has been written about the Second Fleet and the Hodgetts in Australia in books such as the above mentioned, “ The Brave Old Pioneers” and “The Second Fleet- Britain’s Grim Convict Armada of 1790” by Michael Flynn. Several websites also tell much of the story on particular family lines.

On our Hodgetts ancestry I have collected many documents tracing the family back generation by generation in Australia, from Valerie Mary and James John Mackey (nee Hodgetts); Vernon Edward and Fedalis Hodgetts (nee Finlay); Edward and Jeanette Hodgetts (nee Wheeler); James and Mary Hodgetts (nee Fagan); John and Olivia Hodgetts (nee Lucas) to Thomas and Harriet Hodgetts. Over the last few months I checked and and reassessed all these documents.

Even though some research had been undertaken on the Hodgetts family in England many years ago, it was superficial and incomplete. I have turned my efforts to researching the family in Staffordshire, England. With the use of the Internet to search and identify documents in National and County Archives and Libraries throughout the world, and by using the facilities of the LDS to identify and order microfilms of many the parish records for Staffordshire and London, I have now been able to identify our Thomas Hodgetts. By purchasing documents and laying them out in time and context, I have been able to put together much of his life before he was transported.

Similiarly I have been able to identify his wife, Ann, and their reputed children. By tracing these forward in time, I found no evidence they emigrated to Australia at a later time. In fact they remained in their native place and some of them can be found in the census records, some sixty years later.

It has been suggested Thomas’s wife Ann, changed her name to ‘Harriet’ and came to Australia leaving the children behind. As I can now prove this was not the case, it raises the question, who was the woman who came on the Second Fleet, and later claimed to be ‘ Harriet Hodgetts’ the wife of Thomas Hodgetts?

As this woman is a direct ancestor of my husband’s family, I now need to concentrate on researching her story. A very challenging task indeed. However, I have found a woman I believe is a potential candidate and hope over the coming months with painstaking and in-depth research, I may find the documents to solve this enigma.

Meanwhile, I am writing the story of the Hodgett family in Staffordshire with references and notes to eventually share with the family, but I want to see what I can find on our ‘Harriet’ first.