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Expert Q&A :: Tasmanian Archives and Heritage Office [TAHO] experts answer your questions

Q. From Chez: Here is my question: What are the best sources to read regarding the Colonisation of Van Diemans land 1803-1847 in relation to whether it is regarded as a peaceful colonisation or a bloody battle. Currently reading The fabrication of Aboriginal history… but would like other journals etc. 
A. Ian: @Chez – perhaps Sharon Morgan, Land settlement in early Tasmania: creating an antipodean England (Cambridge UP, 1992) – Windschuttle will point you to the people he disagrees with … Have you read Patsy Cameron, Grease and Ochre? Ian McFarlane, Beyond awakening – both published post-Windschuttle
A. Chez: No just started so will look

Q. From Judy: How can I find out please about my convict ancestors after they were married and got a ticket of leave. William Dean and Jane Crawford. Thanks
A. Robyn: @ Judy Births of children – give occupation and place of residence. Did they have property, leave a will, do you know where and when they died? Try our digitised card indexes and online indexes.

Q. From Alison: Convict Thomas Tissington arrived 10/July/1844 on the “London”. Served his 7 years and then vanishes, can’t find any death in Australia. Any ideas please?
A. Alison: I think I’m correct in saying that convict Thomas Tissington was given his certificate of Freedom on 6 April/ 1852 . He would have been aged 26 then and I would love to know what happened to him then as I have found nothing.
A. Caitlin: @Alison There is no departure record but that doesn’t mean he didn’t leave the state as that index is not comprehensive. Have you searched the Tasmanian Pioneer’s Index for the death? A quick search on Trove brought up this reference: but you have probably seen that. I would check his Appropriation record to see who he was assigned to, as sometimes there is correspondence in the Colonial Secretary’s Office records.
A. Alison: Appropriation to Henry Porcher, but I didn’t know what that meant, Caitlin.
A. IHM: Link to Name indexes including Tasmanian convicts, free arrivals, census records, inquests and digitised wills
A. Sue: Alison have you checked out the gold mining in Victoria during the 1850’s?
Q (b): Alison: Good idea, thanks Sue. Any ideas for helpful sites?

Q. From Karen: Hello Tasmania… can you help… I was looking into the Rum rebellion, a political Sydney kind of thing… and came across this gravestone whilst I was looking for another… The grave was a Antony Fenn Kemp died 1823… Now after the rum rebellion an Anthony Fenn Kemp got a land grant from Gov Macquarie down in Tasmania and founded the town of Kempton down in Tassie and had many children and lived into his late 90’s. So who is the AFK in the Sydney graveyard… So intrigued was I that I went down to Kempton in Tassie, hassled the local librarian to see if I could find the Tassie AFK grave and compare notes… But I went to the graveyard and found that the gravestone for AFK had fallen face down into the grass and was unliftable/unreadable … Oh well.
A. Ian: @Karen – top of the head response (and a quick look at ADB) – the AFK of Tas fame lived until 1868, arrived in VDL 1815, so definitely not buried in Sydney 1823! Possibly a memorial, not a grave (doesn’t explain 1823) or pure coincidence. Either way, maybe better answered by someone in NSW.
A. Ross: Hi Karen
A. Karen: 1815 is good… the Sydney grave is unusual and caught my eye because the AFK (Sydney) stone is on a recycled gravestone, as in it had been used for another guy died in 1815, the guy on the other side would have known the Tassie AFK who was when he was in Sydney (prior 1815)… AFK was a magistrate in Sydney and the gravestone is of the first free Judge, Ellis Bent… intrigue after intrigue…
A. Karen: Hi Ross.

Q. From Judy: John Dean the son of my Convict William Dean spent time as a youth at “Connorville” he had a keen interested in horses and became a vet. Spent time in Deniliquin NSW and then returned to Hobart and was associated with the Hobart Turf club and was a veterinary surgeon and a horse judge. He died 4th June 1938. I would welcome any information… thanks.
A. Robyn: @Judy – I suggest you do a search on Trove – I would expect an obituary and many references to the Turf Club – we seem not to have their records. Happy to try and answer specific questions
A. Judy: Thanks, found an obituary on Trove. Where could I find more of the history of “Connorville” please…
A. IHM: Good news Judy,  here’s an interesting ABC TV vid on Connorville :: and biography for the original owner Roderic O’Connor :: |

Q. From Jo: Hi Tasmania! I am descended from John Mezger a prominent Tasmanian in Newtown. I would love to locate any immigration details for him: I know he was from Prussia/Germany and it is known he was in Tas by 1823- that was when he married Agnes Scott. Any information would be fantastic. 
A. Robyn: @ Jo Can we get back to you in the next couple of days – I am sure we have some readily available information on him in our correspondence files. We can also try and confirm his date of arrival for you.
A. IHM: Very kind offer, thanks Robyn
A. Jo: Thank you very much Robyn that would be great. I appreciate any help/advice.

Q. From Leane: My grandmother was put on a ship with a nurse from Hobart to Sydney in the early 1900’s how would someone find a nurse to do the trip and can i search it, I’ve tried Ancestry, but without a name of the nurse, I’m not sure how I would track it?
A. Robyn: @ Leane. You will have to work with the name you know but Tasmania did not keep records of departing passengers except for a very short time in the 1850’s so you will have to hope you can pick them up arriving in NSW but as I think you are probably aware details of people travelling between States are not really kept in any detail
A. Leane: Yes thank you that’s what I thought, being a child most children were only listed as child, thank you and often with Mr or Mrs eg H Smith, making it difficult. Thank you anyway.

Q. From Margo: My family have been there since late 1830’s, free settlers. I have not been able to find anything about public opinions about the aboriginal “cleansing” activity that happened in Tasmania. Where should I look? I am interested in what my ancestors positions may have been on this issue. 
A. Ian: Opinions of course varied enormously. Browsing early Tasmanian newspapers on Trove will get you directly into primary sources. But the sheer volume is overwhelming. I’d suggest starting with some secondary reading. To see some of the different approaches that recent historians have taken, try these:
Patsy Cameron, Grease and ochre: the blending of two cultures at the colonial sea frontier (Fullers, 2011); Ian McFarlane, Beyond awakening : the Aboriginal tribes of north west Tasmania (Fullers, 2008); Cassandra Pybus, Community of thieves (Heinemann, 1991); Henry Reynolds, This whispering in our hearts (Allen & Unwin, 1998); Keith Windschuttle, The fabrication of Aboriginal history. Van Diemen’s Land 1803-1847 (Macleay, 2002)
A. Ian: Reading Robinson : companion essays to Friendly Mission / edited by Anna Johnston and Mitchell Rolls

Q. From Fiona: I have a Joseph James LEE marrying a Frances HARDY 02 Aug 1854 York Street Chapel, Baptist Church, Launceston, Tasmania. They had children, James, Rosetta, William and Charles in Braidwood, NSW… Really having trouble finding why they were in Launceston. Anyone have any suggestions?
A. Fiona: Joseph James LEE was a musician at the time of marriage…then became a miner??? Not yet confirmed that as a fact, the miner bit…
A. Jo: Hi Fiona 🙂
A. Fiona: Hi Jo!
A. Ian: @Fiona – do you know where they were born?
A. Ian: @Fiona – Have you seen the actual marriage certificate? might be some clues – names of witnesses …
A. Fiona: I believe Joseph James Lee was born in Shoreditch St Leonard, ENGLAND 1826
A. Fiona: No info on Frances
A. Ian: @Fiona – ok, so I guess you’re looking for immigration records – assume you’ve tried convicts?
A. Fiona: Yeap… I’m usually helping people… but I decided I could do with a new set of eyes… Been right through all the convict records and his granddaughter I felt (my hubby’s grand mother) was holding something back… but I’m not sure that is was this side of the family, I truly believe she didn’t know…
A. Fiona: Ian – I have a copy of the Marriage Certificate… had my hands on it last night and now cannot find it… in the middle of organising everything… No witness names help. And there is no information on parents…
A. Fiona: Well just reviewing the information I had… I was able to rubbish most of it… Really must concentrate when I’m doing research of my own… Thanks Ian… got me checking facts.

Q. From Deborah: My convict ancestor Robert Scarborough, arrived in 1821 on the Malabar, would you have a photo of him?

Q. From IHM: Hi Ross, what do you have in the pipeline that we should be excited about?
A. Ross:  Digitisation over 2013/14 of:
· Our holdings of Tasmanian births, deaths and marriages, 1838 – 1899
· The Huon Valley newspapers
· The Launceston Daily Telegraph
· The North Eastern Advertiser
· More records relating to the convicts
· Plus more from our extensive photographic collection
Also, we are working with the University of Melbourne and the University of Tasmania to ensure the long term availability of the “Founders & Survivors” research website and database and to support further research into our convict past including further digitisation of related records from our collection and of other organisations locally, in NSW and the UK.
Promoting and using our collections and knowledge to add further value to the wonderful “Founders and Survivors Storylines” products developed local by roar film and available at: Completing the transfer to TAHO transfer of original plans and charts ranging from the earliest days of white settlement and including the first surveys of land in Tasmania, see for an online exhibition of some fine examples. Acknowledging the 50th anniversaries of the Allport and Crowther bequests by enhancing access to both collections. Continuing to present exhibitions both at the Allport Gallery in Hobart and online:
A. IHM: Wow, there’s lot’s going on Ross, 2013-14 looks like quite a year!
A. Sue: Wow, we will have much more to look at then especially as can be tough to use the TPI on Windows 7.
A. Leane: Can’t wait for the birth death and marriage records, it’s hard to find time to get to a library to search films, this will be great, will there be a cost??

Comment: IHM: Thanks again to Robyn, Caitlan, Ian and Ross for joining us tonight! We’ll publish the questions, answers and links from tonight’s session in a blog post this coming week.
A. Fiona: Thanks to Ian…helped motivate me to check some FACTS… Thank you.
A. Sue: Thanks Robyn and co for all your help when I was researching my 8 convicts.
A. Polly: Damn I have missed it!

Q. From Sue: What is the URL for the blog?
A. IHM: Here’s the link to our Ask Our Experts blog page Sue :: – the transcript will be up early next week.


Questions asked before the session: 

Comment: IHM: Discover the Tasmanian Archive and Heritage Office’s family history resources :: Ask your questions about the terrific Founders & Survivors Storylines project :: – a project that seeks to record and study the founding population of 73,000 men women and children who were transported to Tasmania.

Q. From Simone: A few came on the Anson all at the same time who were trialled there , I actually can’t read on one of Samuel Nelson description a regiment he belonged too all I could make out was royal Newfoundland kings? Was convicted for going AWOL along with a couple other men. When I get on PC next ill post the page see if anyone else can decipher it for me as he is my current brick wall. 
A. IHM: Hi Simone, was your ancestor transported to Tasmania or Van Diemen’s Land?
A. Simone: @Inside History. Tried 12th may 1843 St. John’s court Newfoundland. 25 Aug 1843 on prison hulk ship in UK. 4th Feb 1844 landed in Tas aboard the Anson. All online records too his verbal statements said no papers sent same with him on UK census aboard the prison hulk ship. I’ll place some pics on your wall, the one mentioning about Newfoundland reg will be on one of them.
A. Simone: My only question is convicts sent from Newfoundland island nr Canada lol info about them is held anywhere near this area I have one Irish born but convicted in St. John’s court in 1841? No papers sent to UK none to here but found a lot of the convicts sent from there not much is held record wise if any.
A. Robyn: The text means – served Royal Newfoundland Company’s Regiment for 6 months and 6 years in the 8th Kings regiment. He claims he had no living relatives. Several books have been published on this group of prisoners: Protest and punishment: the story of the social and political protesters transported to Australia 1788-1868 / by George Rude; American citizens, British slaves: Yankee political prisoners in an Australian penal colony 1839-1850 / Cassandra Pybus and Hamish Maxwell-Stewart

Q. From Leane: I would love to solve my puzzle on my convict Thomas Rush, who arrived in 1822, a census shows him living at Creek in 1843 Parish no 2, home made of brick, and the owner of Old Hobart Town Historical Model Village in Richmond was kind enough to draw a mud map for me of the only place he thought may have been Creek in that time frame which is now Creek St Newtown, behind the orphanage. I found one old brick house on this street which had a castle looking building in front of it during my recent travels to Tasmania. Three of his children ended up in the orphanage after his death and I’m wondering how I could find out if there is a map of Creek in 1843 (Parish no 2) to see if the little building that stands may be where they lived considering it is opposite the site of the old orphanage? Being so close to the orphanage I’m wondering if I’m on the right track. No burials places are shown on their death records and I’m wondering where he may have been buried, he and his wife died 1854 and 1855.
A. IHM: Thanks for question Leane, we like a challenge and I bet the TAHO team do too – they’ll have an answer for you on Thursday night.
A. Leane: Would love to solve this mystery, thankyou so much
A. Sue: Looks like he and his family may have moved to Sackville St by 1848 – 2 sons and another daughter by then – from the other census record and he is now a shopkeeper
A. Sue: Looks like he tried to runaway in 1826 – was on a list of apprehended runaways. 28 Oct 1826 Hobart Town Gazette
A. Sue: 23 Aug 1828 notice about expiry of his sentence and certificate granted to him
A. Leane: Yes would love to know if this was his house at Creek St?
A. Leane: Thomas was a waterman/fisherman, I believe he may have had one of the first corfs selling his fish, hence showing as shopkeeper. Many generations followed being fishermen of Hobart. His Relatives way back in England were also Watermen and he was apprenticed to his father being Thomas Rush also before he was sentenced. His daughter Susan was my great great grandmother, and she may have ended up in a different orphanage to St Johns Precinct, but I’m not sure if there was another one when her father and mother died, another mystery, perhaps she was working as a servant at a very young age, but I can’t find any records for this. Another question is does the archives hold school student records, this may be another lead to find out when not only her but other generations attended school and where? Haven’t been able to find a marriage record for Thomas and his wife Ann (Broderick or Burderipp?) although the census show she came free I can’t find her arrival either?
Q (b): Leane: If I may ask another question, my gggrandfather was a policeman mainly in Hobart from 1868 until his retirement and passed in 1911, is there any records available to show Police service and possibly a photo of him, not sure if records like this may have been kept, as I have exhausted any hope of finding any further living descendants with a photo of him, it would be great to put a face to his name as we have one of his wife. I’ve found many articles in Trove and through certificates etc, and even found some homes he has lived in, but still no face to his name. His name is Daniel Brannan.
A. Robyn: Looking through other returns for this Hobart parish we noticed that The Creek in some returns is noted as Creek Collins Street. Property owners on several nearby returns caused us to believe that Rush would have lived at the lower end of Collins street. The Hobart Rivulet runs near to Collins Street. This is confirmed by his 1848 return where a Street name is given – i.e Sackville Street which runs beside the Theatre Royal. Place of burial is hard to find for people who died in this period – however burial grounds were managed by Churches so if you can find a burial record you can assume that they would have been buried in that church burial ground. You may know the church they married in.
A. Robyn: We hold a register of employment of Police – it will not have photos but will have a summary of his service. Ref POL324/1/1 (microfilm Z2180).

Comment: Sue: I love using the online convict records, so much easier than when we had to get copies made to send to people overseas when doing their research. Also great to see so many of the newspapers now online on Trove.
A. IHM: They’ve been busy haven’t they Sue – – here’s the newspaper links for everyone else here :: Trove :: | TAHO ::
A. Sandra: Wow wow wow these are amazing could sit here now for hours reading these maybe I will find something 😉
A. IHM: Enjoy Sandra, we get lost in the old newspapers most days 🙂

Q. From Dave: Hi, we would love to find some information on Wellington Woodhall, his mother was Amelia Hedsman, who married John Woodhall in 1843, they were both convicts. We think Wellington was born about 1854 may be in the female factory in Hobart, Wellington married Mary Ann Linton in 1875 DOB also unknown Mary’s mother was a Convict Mary Ann Sheehan ( Police No 925) and father Convict Samuel Henry Linton. Many thanks. 
A. IHM: Thanks for your question Dave, we’ll have an answer for you here at 8:30pm tomorrow.
A. Sue: Hi Dave I just went to trove and lots of family notices about Wellington Woodhall, also an article on 26 Oct 1868 about stealing palings
A. Dave: Thanks Sue, isn’t Trove great I’ve seen them but would like to know more on his birth and early family life. Also Mary Ann Linton.
A. Robyn: Mother of  W. Woodhall was free by 1845 so unlikely she would have been having children in the Female Factory. He is probably the un-named male Woodhall child registered in Hobart in 1854. You should be able to get a copy of his birth registration. Mary Jane Linton is probably the child registered as Jane and born to Samuel Henry Linton and Mary Sheen (sic) in 1859 – again you should be able to get a birth registration for her.

Comment: Bindi: Hello, I have a book “Fostered / Boarded out children in TAS”. Am happy to look up names.
A. Leane: Would you mind checking for any children surname Rush around 1855? Would appreciate it thank you Bindi.

Q. From Lesley: Hoping you can help solve the arrival of my husband’s gggrandfather in Tasmania – his name in the family Bible is Edward James McGuire. So far I have been able to confirm his marriage to Harriet Buckland on 12 Oct 1857 – records reads: Name: Edward Maguire Spouse Name: Harriet Buckland Marriage Date: 12 Oct 1857 Marriage Place: Tasmania Registration Place: Westbury, Tasmania Registration Year: 1857 Registration number: 866. And his death record is recorded under the Name: James McGuire Death Age: 78 Birth Date: about 1829 Death Date: 13 May 1907 Cemetery: Latrobe Cemetery Section: Anglican section Cemetery Location: Latrobe, Tasmania. But nothing on his arrival here. Hoping you can help. Thanks. 
A. Robyn: Assuming you have used the online immigration records on Ancestry – ruled him out being a convict, noted who witnessed the marriage and still found nothing there are a couple of issues you need to note: 

  • Not all passengers are listed by name – you will see for example entries like 60 in steerage
  • Others arrived as part of a family and are not named – for example Mr & Mrs Smith, 6 children and servant
  • We hold Marine Board passenger lists for Hobart but similar records do not exist for other ports notably Launceston


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