Sunday, May 29, 2016

The mystery of Stephen LEWIS (1826-1907) and his family, continued

It is impossible not to be swept up in trying to solve a genealogy mystery outside direct lineage. In most cases, I learn of the 'mystery' through contact from someone via this blog.

Stephen LEWIS and his family is a case in point ( Briefly, Stephen is the brother of my ancestor Harriet LEWIS (1836 - abt 1890). Based on blog entries I was contact by a descendant of Stephen.

Stephen himself has a mystery - he was born about 1826 in East Hendred, Berkshire, England, and died 14 Dec 1907 in Koorboora North Queensland. He arrived in Victoria (Aus) about 1853 (about the time of the gold rush in Victoria), and was apparently known as 'the Yank with the boy on his back'. Why 'the Yank'? Because his marriage and subsequent birth certificates of his children variously state that he was born in Niagara USA; New York USA; and Alabama. There is a small town in Genesee County, New York called Alabama, which is close to Niagara - it is possible there is a connection there.

His arrival has not been verified in records, but in Maryborough (Vic) Hospital Admission records, Stephen Lewis who indicates that he was 40 years old and single on 9th March, 1867. He was Church of England a miner. He had been in the colony for 13 years (arrived about 1854) after arriving on the ship “Charlotte”. His port of embarkation was Liverpool. According to the “Argus” newspaper, the “Charlotte” arrived in Melbourne from Liverpool on 30th November, 1853. It was a cargo vessel carrying 10,000 bricks, 5 tons of hay,12 bales of cotton etc. No passengers were mentioned.

In Australia, Stephen married, and the family appears to have lived in poverty on goldfields. Ultimately his wife and a child died, and he made his way towards Queensland with a son, mining in various places and possibly following the rushes (the post on Stephen linked above outlines his movements).

There is a second mystery though that had not been as well addressed:

Stephen married Jane MCCARTNEY on 15 May 1856 in Buninyong Victoria Australia. She was the daughter of David MCCARTNEY and Mary nee MCDORNAN, and born abt 1834 in Belfast, County Antrim, Ireland. She died in Victoria, but it is not known when.

So what is the mystery? Well, like Stephen, the arrival of Jane in Victoria could not be identified. Furthermore, the family stories were that Jane and a daughter died prior to Stephen LEWIS and son heading towards Queensland. No death records for mother (Jane LEWIS) or daughter have been found.

I was contacted recently by Kath, letting me know that Jane had a sister also in the Buninyong area:

"I believe {Jane} to be the sister of my great grandmother Annie Elizabeth McCartney who married Nathaniel McGrath in Buninyong. Annie’s death certificate says her father was David McCartney and her mother was Jane Dorman. Annie died at age 43 years.... I came across the records of the Ballarat Benevolent Asylum ( Mary Lewis appears twice, once in 1863 and once in 1865. She is described as destitute. Her parents names are there, David and Jane McCartney."

David and Jane McCartney were Jane's stated parents when she married Stephen LEWIS. Kath also sent me the death certificate of Annie, which confirms the details:

Knowing that Jane and Annie were sisters, both born in Belfast and with parents David McCartney and Jane McDornan (or variation) makes re-searching for possible immigration more straightforward. While I had not seen anything categorical, it is stated in several genealogy fora that the parents David and Jane McCartney also came to Australia. So I searched for immigration records in Victoria, and full newspapers searching, without any luck.

So I cast my search more broadly, and checked NSW Immigration Records. 

Finally I found that the McCartney family arrived in 1850 on the 'Oriental'. The arrival records indicate that David and Jane had FOUR children on arrival, and the spelling of the surname is part of the reason they were so difficult to find:

Oriental, 1850, NSW Assisted immigration
1. Macartney David, 38, labourer, born Cumber Londonderry, parents Henry and Elizabeth both dead, Roman Catholic, reads/writes
2. Macartney Jane, 36, farm servant, born Belfast Antrim, parents David and Bridget McDormin mother living at Belfast, C of E, reads/writes
3. Macartney Mary, 16, house servant, born Belfast Antrim, Roman Catholic, reads/writes
4. Macartney Ann, 13, born Cumber Londonderry, Roman Catholic, reads
5. Macartney Jane, 6, born Belfast Antrim, Roman Catholic, reads
6. Macartney David, 3, born Belfast Antrim, Roman Catholic, neither

Interesting points here are that their children were born in both Cumber and Belfast, so clearly there was some movement of the family. The father David was Catholic, while the mother Jane was Church of England - the children were raised Catholic.

So baed on this, it appears that the family arrived in Sydney, and made their way to Victorian goldfields in a fairly timely manner (at least their daughters Mary and Ann did). In 1856 Mary married there, and Ann (Annie) in 1859.

I have not been able to identify any events yet for parents David and Jane (despite now knowing their parents names which in theory would help with death indexes), nor for their children Jane and David.

I hope that this post may help in finding a solution to what happened to the rest of the McCartney family. While we know that Annie died in 1882 (death certificate above), we do not know where and when exactly Mary died. The last certain reference to Mary in records is that in late 1865 Mary spent time in the Ballarat Benevolent Society, where she stated she was a housekeeper living in Warrenheip.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

The children of Sebastian HODGE (1833-1889) - version 2

This post is an update to the post I wrote on the children of Sebastian HODGE (1833-1889) (

Sebastian was born in 1833 'off the Isle of Zante in the Meditteranean' according to his death certificate, the son of William HODGE of the 11th (North Devonshire) Regiment of Foot, and Mary Ann GUTRIDGE. When the 11th arrived in Australia (mainly in 1845), so too did Sebastian, and as a young boy of 16 he joined the 11th himself, stationed in Sydney and a member of the regimental band. He married Harriet SMITH in 1855 at Scots Church in Sydney. Harriet's father was also a member of the regiment, and her mother was the daughter of a member of the regiment.

Sebastian and Harriet had nine children, first in Australia, then after sailing in 1857 in England and Ireland while still with the 11th. Sebastian then left the 11th in 1861 and the family returned to Australia on the 'Tiptree' (arriving 3 Jan 1863).

With this background accomplished, this article is not about Sebastian and Harriet or their accomplishments in Sydney. Instead in focuses on their nine children. I'd like to identify the burial place of each child with a view to identifying headstones. Part of the reason for undertaking this project is that, despite the many offspring produced, I'm not in contact with any descendants of Sebastian and Harriet, and would like to unearth some.

Please contact me to add info on any of the following:

1. William Sebastian 'Bass' HODGE (1855-1942). Born in NSW (Sydney). Sailed to England with his parents and appears in the 1861 England census with his family, in Portsmouth in the list of the 11th Regiment. Returned to Australia with his family in 1863 (one of 'three children'), and married Isabel Carrisa ROGERS, 'Isabel Carrisa, only child of the late Captain William Rogers, of H.M. 47th Regiment' (SMH 13 Mar 1882) at St James', Sydney, on 27 Feb 1882. They had only one child, Richard Hamilton HODGE (1883-1899) who died 'suddenly, at Colombo Plains, Urana, N.S.Wales' (SMH 5 Apr 1899, NSW BDM 6535/1942). Numerous articles in Sydney papers point to his career as a musician ('Professor of Music), including bankruptcy proceedings in 1887. In 1887, Isabella and William were in court for divorce. Several articles relating to the divorce proceedings indicate that the legal process bankrupted Bass - "The action was for judicial separation from the husband on the grounds of cruelty, the respondent being an hotelkeeper at Hurstville" (SMH 2 Mar 1887) - he sold the license to the Hurstville Hotel that same year.

Isabella died in 1934, buried at the Church of England Cemetery, Botany (location ADD - Anglican FM DD - Grave 102). Her death index and burial entry and given as HODGE - it is not clear whether the divorce was not proceeded with, or if Isabella chose to retain her married name after divorce. The SMH death notice (1 Aug 1934) confuses matters as it states "HODGE-The Friends of Mr W HODGE and FAMILY are kindly requested to attend the Funeral of his dearly beloved WIFE and their MOTHER Isabella..." - suggesting more children.

In 1914 an article indicated that William had opened a studio that overlooked Hyde Park (Sunday Times 21 Jun 1914). During World War 1 Bass wrote a patriotic song entitled 'She Who Gives Her Son' that was widely reported in Australian newspapers - the cover of the published sheet music (held by the National Library of Australia, shown below) indicates it was 'sung with immense success throughout Australia by Tilly Dunbar'. The Australian National Archives holds two references for Copyright for W Bass Hodge for musical works. The first, titled “Daughter of the Empire”, was registered 17/3/1922 and the second, “Musical Letter Card ” was registered 28/1/1924. The Sydney Morning Herald of 4 Feb 1926 notes that 'Mr. W. Bass Hodge, the well-known Sydney musician, has received a certificate and medal from the British Empire Exhibition authorities for his exhibit at the exhibition of his song, "Daughter of the Empire," and a music educational letter card.'

A 1916 article in 'The Newsletter' (15 Jan 1916) noted that William, who had recently turned 60, "was born in the Victoria Barracks when it was quite a young building. His father was Sebastian Hodge, who was in the band that, with the 11th Regiment, was the first to occupy the barracks. He was, as an infant, taken with the regiment to England in a sailing ship, but brought back in the early sixties by his parents. He was a William-street and Grammar School boy, and became a professor of music, being at one time organist at Penrith music master at Oaklands, Mittagong. As a capable musician and a good colonist he is known the State over, and is an interesting link between the present and the past."

Like his father, Bass was a Mason. Electoral rolls show he lived in various places in 'West Sydney' and Darlinghurst. William died in 1942 - there is probate. A funeral notice (but not death notice) appears in the Sydney Morning Herald (18 Apr 1942), placed by Masonic United Service Lodge No. 24, indicating a grave-side funeral at the Methodist Cemetery at Rookwood - separate from Isabella.  The independent cemeteries index at Rookwood indicates that he is buried there (Section 5B Grave 0000210), but my father Andrew HALL visited the cemetery in May 2014 and could find no headstone at the plot.

2. Mary A LITTLE nee HODGE (1858-1906). Born/baptised in Hougham, Kent (England)  in March 1958 and appears in the 1861 England census with her family, in Portsmouth in the list of the 11th Regiment. Arrived in Australia with her family in 1863 (one of 'three children'), and married Henry Walter LITTLE (b. Tyrone, Ireland, died 1920 registered Redfern NSW) at St James' church on 6 Mar 1878 (SMH 16 Mar 1878). They had three children all born in Sydney, though the family appears to have lived in Redfern later:
a. Florence Maude (1879-1964), married Julius AGRATI in 1932.
b. Harriet May (1881-1929), married Albert G EDWARDS in 1907 at St. Barnabas' Church.
c. Henry S (1884-1927), married Mabel TOWNSEND in 1918.
Mary died at the Prince Alfred Hospital (now Royal) on 4 Jan 1906 (SMH 6 Jan 1906) and was buried at the C of E section of Rookwood cemetery (Area : AN, Section : 05, Number : 0000342). It is assumed she converted to Catholicism at some point, as her daughter Harriet also marred in the Catholic church the following year. Her death announcement indicated she would  be buried at the Necropolis (Catholic) but her burial was actually in the C of E section. Mary's husband Henry died in 1920, and he was buried in the same plot as his wife.
My father Andrew HALL visited the grave site in 2013 (grave 0000342), and found a grassed area with NO HEADSTONE. The actual plot was adjacent to a roadway and may have suffered damage as a result.

3. Sebastian HODGE (1861-1866). Born Curragh Camp, Ireland (according to regimental birth index), and did not appear on the 1861 census with his family as he was born later in the year when the 11th Regiment was stationed there. Returned to Australia with the family in 1863 (one of 'three children'). Died on 2 Jul 1866 (NSW BDM 805/1866). According to the death certificate, Sebastian died at a residence on Stanley St where his father worked for the Grammar School. The cause of death is not clear, but had been apparent for 18 months suggesting a chronic illness. According to the death certificate, Sebastian was buried at Camperdown Cemetery (now much reduced in size). Burial records are held by the Australian Society of Genealogists.

4. Philip Ernest HODGE (1863-1937). Born in Sydney after the family returned there (1847/1863), at their residence on Stanley Street. By 1891 he was in Queensland, where he married Mary Ellen MCKENNEY (abt 1867-1916), where he had moved as an employee of the Bank of New South Wales, becoming a bank manager. They had five children, all born in that State:
a. June Ellenor HODGE (1892-?), fate unknown
b. Lucy HODGE (1892-1969), married Louis Wilson John HOEY in 1921 in Qld.
c. Clarice HODGE (1897-?), fate unknown.
d. Phyllis Mary HODGE (1905-1924), buried Bowen Qld cemetery.
e. Mildred Ernestine HODGE (1907-?), fate unknown.
Mary died in 1916, and has a headstone at Bowen cemetery. Philip died in 1937 at Bowen Qld, and is probably buried at that cemetery also. An obituary published in the Townsville Daily Bulletin (21 Jul 1937) summarizes his career: "One of Bowen's oldest and most respected citizens, Mr. Philip E Hodge, passed away on Tuesday morning. Deceased had been confined to his bed for over two years and his end, though deeply regretted, was a happy release. The late Mr. Hodge was for 24 years manager of the local Bank to New South Wales, and until the time of his retirement, he was President of the Chamber of Commerce for 17 years, of the School of Arts till the time of his death, of the Kennedy Hospital for several years and the Bowen Turf Club for some years and many other Institutions. He took an active part in the opening of the Bowen coalfields, the formation of the Bowen Harbor Board, etc. Before going to Bowen he was tor many years in Charters' Towers and then in Cooktown and Georgetown as manager of the Bank of New South Wales and In each town he filled many honorable positions."

5. John Albert HODGE (1865-1892). Born in Sydney, and died in 1892. His tragic death at 27 was described in the Sydney Morning Herald (28 Jun 1892): "ACCIDENTALLY KILLED. The circumstances of the death of a carter named Hodge, who died in the Sydney Hospital on Saturday night, formed the subject of an inquest held yesterday afternoon by the City Coroner in his court at Chancerry Square. It appears that on Thursday evening last deceased, who was in the employ of a butcher named Thomas Josslyn, was driving a cart along Bourke-street, Surry Hills, when the horse, becoming frightened, bolted, and Hodge was thrown from his seat from the jerk caused by passing over a drain. The cart-wheel passed over one of his legs and he received severe injuries to his head. He was picked up unconscious, and remained so till his death.  The jury returned a verdict of accidental death." His funeral announcement stated that he was buried at Waverley cemetery, but no details of the burial have yet been uncovered.

6. Harriet Emma Mary HODGE (1869-1941). Born in Sydney in 1869, she married Robert William LENEHAN (of Cook's River) at St Ignatius' Chapel, Riverview (SMH 16 Mar 1889) the month before her father died. Lenehan was a solicitor and military man (probably much to Harriet's father's satisfaction and was commanding officer of the Bushveldt Carbineers at the time of the infamous court martial of four men including `Breaker' Morant in 1902. In fact, LENEHAN was one of those tried, and he was found guilty and reprimanded - two were shot. Upon return to Australia, this led to a period where Robert was not eligible for a military pension, and he has an entry in the Australian Dictionary of Biography ( that outlines these difficulties.

They had at least seven children, registered in the Ryde and Hunter's Hill areas of Sydney:
a. Robert Eric LENEHAN (1890-1916), died in Sydney after serving in Gallipoli with the AIF.
b. Marie Gladys LENEHAN (1892-1972), married John L MARONEY in 1917 in Sydney.
c. Maurice J LENEHAN (1895-?), fate not known.
d. Marcia Elizabeth LENEHAN (1897-1970), did not marry.
e. Pretoria Sarah LENEHAN (? - 1967). Probably named for being conceived in South Africa during the Boer War - suggests the family was based there.
f. Jospeh L LENEHAN (1902-?), fate not known.
g. Roger I LENEHAN (1905-?), fate not known.

He was named in a divorce case as respondent (implying he was having an affair) in 1917, for which he was forced to pay the costs and he lost his military command, which rendered him bankrupt in 1918, and at the time of that court case was living with his mother, and Harriet was living with an aunt (Newcastle Sun 30 May 1918). Robert died in 1922 of a cirrhotic liver. Harriet died in 1941, 'of Badham Avenue Mosman widow of the late Colonel R W Lenehan'. She is buried at Field of Mars Catholic Cemetery, Ryde (Section E, Grave 1) with her son Eric.  Her husband is adjacent (Grave 3).

7. Thomas Reid HODGE (1869-1930). Born in Sydney 1869,  named after his father's uncle Thomas Reed HODGE (1818 Barnstaple, Devon - 1882 London) a coach-trimmer who moved to London where he married Caroline MADDEN in 1846 and had multiple children. The subject of this post, Thomas Reid lived in the Edgecliff area of Sydney in the 1920s according to electoral rolls, with the profession of carpenter. Newspaper articles indicate he was also an Alderman on Paddington Council. In 1907 he married Margaret TEAPE. I cannot identify Margaret's origins, but she died in December 1928 and was buried in the Catholic Cemetery, Waverley (SMH 24 Dec 1928). I have not identified any issue from this marriage.

In 1930, Thomas is registered as marrying Ada Victoria WEINERT (7289/1930), however in December that year he died at the Coast Hospital (primarily dealing with infectious diseases). The NSW Coroner's Inquest entries (available on indicate that Thomas died of "heart failure, whilst under an anesthetic, open ether, for a surgical operation - ether was properly administered". He is buried at the Eastern Suburbs Cemetery (GA - General FM A - Grave 205), i.e., NOT with his first wife Margaret. Ada PEDLER had been previously married to Jno WEINERT in Victoria in 1906, however while living in in 1923 WA she abandoned her husband and twin sons, and divorce was granted in 1928. After Thomas' death she returned to WA, married George GLENDENNING in 1935 and died in Perth in 1958, interred at Karrakatta Cemetery.

8. Walter Herbert HODGE (1871-1956). My ancestor, and last of the siblings to survive. Born in Sydney in 1871. He was a valuer and auctioneer by trade, and married Grace SMITH (1870-1934) in 1897 at St John's Church, Darlinghurst. They had two children:
a. Eileen Helen HODGE (1900-1947), married Samuel Litson BORDER at St John's Church, Darlinghurst in 1922 (see picture).
b. Annie Victoria HODGE (1902-1904). Born at 383 Liverpool St Darlinghurst (SMH 20 Aug 1902), died at the same residence aged 2 years 4 months (17 Dec 1904). Buried at Waverley cemetery, no headstone identified yet.
Walter lived in the Paddington and Eastern Suburbs area till the 1940s, then moved to Cremorne, then Clovelly for the last few years of his life. Grace died in 1934 'at a private hospital, Vaucluse' (SMH 5 Mar 1934), buried at Waverley cemetery. After her death, Walter married Edith Bessie WEBBER the same year, and Edith died in 1944. She was cremated at the Eastern Suburbs Crematorium, listed as 'buried in accordance' - I am not sure what this means.
Walter died 7 Apr 1956, aged 84 (SMH 9 Apr 1956), with no surviving children, but with four grandchildren and a number of great grandchildren. This is the only photo I am aware of, on the wedding day of his daughter Eileen. It is assumed that he is buried at Waverley, but no burial/headstone has been identified.

9. Sydney Sebastian HODGE (1874-1928). Born in Sydney, 1874. I've found little about him - he is shown as a Groom in the 1903 Electoral Roll, living at 68 Hunter St Sydney. His death was registered in 1928 in Orange, NSW (21411/1928). An advert placed in the Sydney Morning Herald the following year states 'HODGE -In memory of my brother Sid who departed this life December 16 1928. After life's fitful fever he sleeps well -Macbeth. Inserted by his loving brother Thomas Reid Hodge' (SMH 16 Dec 1929).

It occurs to me that there were no male descendants of Sebastian and Harriet, though surely there are many descendants with the surnames listed above, such as EDWARDS, AGRATI, LENEHAN, BORDER (my line), MARONEY, etc.

The next step is to try and get insight into hedastones that may exist at the Eastern Suburbs Cemetery.

Friday, April 1, 2016

Catherine Conlon, found.

My ancestry Patrick Conlon came to Australia as a member of the 50th Regiment of Foot in 1833. He was from Kinvara, Galway and brought his family with him; there is no direct record of the family on arrival (unless muster records list it), but the NSW 1841 census states that two girls aged 7-14 born overseas lived in the home - two daughters of Patrick and Catherine CONLON.

Given the absence of Irish church records, I'd been unable to find any record of the names of the daughters who arrived in Australia with the Conlon family. I'd also had no luck finding their fate based on NSW BDM searches, but knew there were children unaccounted for.

But I had been contacted by several CONLON descendants thanks to this blog. More than one of these told me that they had been told that "several sisters are reputed to have left NSW for 'America' together", some were possibly born in Ireland, others after arrival in NSW. Another comment I have is specifically that the sister Elizabeth CONLON "married USA Johnston, Alice told Dad that the girls married miners who ended up as timber merchants.". Well, there is no documentary evidence of Elizabeth in NSW, and she was likely born in Ireland!

But despite trawling US census records and various random BDM indexes (US registrations were not organized, and were/are regulated on a county and state basis in a fairly ad-hoc way), I found nothing. Nothing.

Till finally I found a death notice published in the Sydney Morning Herald while searching Trove ( giving a clue to the name and fate of a daughter:

Sydney Morning Herald
6th January 1862
On the 13th October, at San Francisco, Catherine, the beloved wife of James Phillips, aged 28, and fourth daughter of Patrick Conlon, of Parramatta-street, Sydney, after a long and painful illness, which she bore with Christian fortitude. Galway papers please copy.

So this is full of information. First, San Francisco as a destination makes sense given the discovery of gold the subsequent goldrush around 1849 - many people travelled from the Australian colonies to the US seeking their fortune. We learn that Catherine was the 4th daughter of Patrick, was born about 1834, and she had married James Phillips. If she was born in 1833 then she would have been born on a ship or in NSW, but no record of her baptism can be found - given that the family were Catholic where records were poor, this is not surprising.

Adding to my frustration in following up on this lead, it transpires that all San Francisco civil records were destroyed in the fire of 1906, so no luck there. Furthermore, there's an excellent site that has digitized CA newspapers (, but again I can find no marriage, birth or death announcements related to Caroline and James, or any other Conlon/Conlan that might have an Australian connection. I followed up on several leads with no luck, but a fellow Conlon descendant put out a request on rootschat ( that yielded some answers.

First, the Burial Registry for Calvary (Catholic) Cemetery shows the burial of Catherine Philip, born in Sydney, married, died 14 Oct 1861, at St. Mary's Hospital, aged 27 years, cause of death Pthisis (usually tuberculosis).

No headstone exists, as this cemetery was resumed in the 1930s/40s to make way for development. As part of this process graves were excavated and remains transferred to Holy Cross Cemetery in Colma (nearby in SF). As part of this, a card was recorded with details for each.

Of note is that 2 family members were buried in the plot (bottom right corner). Unfortunately the site index does not allow for cross-referencing to other graves ( and family names don't link to anything obvious.

And so there it is, Catherine's fate, but still so much to learn. When did the sisters sail to California? What was the sister Elizabeth's fate? Were there any other sisters in the US? What happened to the widower James Philip/Phillips? Lots to do! Hopefully this post is a good launch-off point.

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Finding Malachy (or Malachi) Conlon/Conlan/Connellan of Kinvara, Galway

At the limits of my family tree for the CONLON line is Malachi Conlon, and his wife Mary O'Brien. I know of them thanks to the death certificate of Patrick CONLON (1793-1870). Patrick came to Australia with his own family as a member of the 50th Regiment of Foot in the early 1830s, and stayed. Patrick's death notice in the SMH stated him to have lived at 52 Parramatta Street, and be a native of 'Kinvara, Galway, Ireland'.

So then, all I know about Malachi CONLON and Mary nee O'BRIEN is that they lived in Kinvara, Galway, Ireland, and I can infer based on family behaviour in NSW that Malachi and Mary were likely Catholic. There are Catholic registers for Irish parishes available at the National Library of Ireland (, and very little else available for digging into records back in Ireland.

Looking at the Kinvara parish entry coverage on the NLI site, they effectively begin just before Patrick and family reached Australia (1833). It notes that microfilm 02442/14 contains a 'list of inhabitants showing Christmas dues 1834, Easter dues 1835', and reading through the list I found, scratched out, Malachy Conlan listed as being of 'Cahernamadra', which in modern times is written as 'Carrownamaddra', and lies less than a mile west of the town of Kinvarra, and all within the parish.

While burial records do not appear to have survived for Kinvarra, it is possible that Malachy was crossed about because he either died, or moved to another part of the parish.

The son Patrick Conlon was born about 1793; this is inferred from his stated age of 77 at death in 1870, and may be incorrect (I suspect he was actually younger). It would be useful to see the 50th Regiment of Foot records as it may reveal Patrick's true age. At any rate, this would mean that Malachi was born in 1770 at the latest, meaning he was 54 or older when the list was made in the parish records.

One other occurrence of Malachy in the records is the Griffith's valuation records for Galway of 1856-ish ( There is listed a Malachy Connellan in Kinvarra, a house on land of nearly 4 acres, the house being of slightly below-average value for the area (and presumably quality).

It might appear that this Malachy would be too old, BUT in the 1867 civil registration indexes, the death of a Malachy Conlan is recorded, registered in Gort (the registration district that captures Kinvara). His age was recorded as 85, making him born about 1782 (Returns Quarter 2, Returns Volume No 9, Returns Page No 207). It would be quite remarkable, but it's possible this is the death of Malachy Conlon/Conlan/Connellan ; I hope to track down the certificate, but in the meantime I hope this post catches someone else's interest.

Also, there is another CONLON connection in the records (including the same list of inhabitants shown above); though not one I've been able to prove that the family maintained. In the parish records and assisted immigration records to NSW is the family of a John Conlan of Kinvara, many of whom came to Australia in the late 1850s (after the potato famine).

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Obit for Thomas Uriah Banfield (1942)

I recently found this obituary of my great-great-grandfather Thomas Uriah Banfield (1864-1942). To this day I have not identified his arrival ship from England to Australia, but this obituary makes it clear when he arrived  - he was not an 'assisted immigrant' so likely paid his way to Australia after marrying Ellen HARRINGTON in Kent, and perhaps sailed separately from her ( The obituary gives details of his rural working life and employer, connection to his brother and nephew (I met the latter as a little boy, still farming at Lake Cargelligo), and to my great-grandfather Norman HALL and family in Burwood NSW. It does not mention his wife Ellen (who died in 1907), or daughter Mary Ellen BANFIELD who died two years before him.

I am intrigued by the latter comment on family remaining in Kent. I know some of his numerous siblings outlived him in England, but know nothing of what contact he retained with them during the >50 years he spent in Australia.

Frustratingly I do not have a photo of his headstone in Lake Cargelligo.

West Wyalong Advocate
13 Apr 1942
The sad death of Thomas Uriah Banfield, who has been a resident of Bootoowa for the past nine years, occurred recently, at the Lake Cargelligo District Hospital.
Deceased, who was 75 years of age, was born in Kent, England, coming to Australia in 1888 at the age of 21 years. For forty years he was in the employment of Mr. W.J. Campbell (now deceased), formerly of Hay and later Baulkham Hills. After his retirement in 1933, he came to live with his brother, Mr. J. Banfield, of Bootoowa. Besides his brother, sister-in-law and nephew, of Bootoowa, Lake Cargelligo, he leaves a son-in-law and six grandchildren, Mr. N. Hall and family, of Burwood, other relatives reside in England.
His funeral took place in the Methodist portion of the Lake Cargelligo cemetery. The burial ceremony was read by the Rev. W.M. Bramford.

Sunday, January 3, 2016

The family of Samuel COATES

I know I don't post much now - I'm super busy unfortunately but think of my ancestors always. I've not stopped genealogy, but the mysteries I'm left with are of course the most complicated and take the most time and immersion to solve, and I don't have that time at the moment. As someone else once wrote on a blog, 'my ancestors aren't going anywhere', so I can return to them later.

I have not written about my COATES ancestors - they are complicated by spelling, and also complicated because I could never quite track them - they lived in villages very close to the STANILAND family they married into, that sit right on the border of Lincolnshire and Leicestershire (and also Rutland!). But I'm hoping this post will help me unearth fellow descendants.

But most importantly I had some time over the holidays to work at the COATES family and I solved a few mysteries that helped bring things together. Of course, I also created a few more mysteries.

My ancestor Frances COATES (1828 Croxton Keyrial, Leics - 1903 Foston, Lincs) married James STANILAND (1826 Stroxton, Lincs - 1906 Newark, Lincs). I have written of their marriage here:

So accepting that she was my ancestor, I wanted to learn more about her.

In 1851 (immediately prior to her marriage), Frances was visiting a TINKLER family. There is a LOT of inter-marrying among a small number of families, but as we will see below, this is her maternal family.

Looking back, in 1841 she was in Croxton Keyrial in Leicestershire. In the home were:
Samuel Coates, 65, Farmer, NOT born in county (BIC)
Mary Coates, 55, NOT BIC
Frances Coates, 12, BIC
John Coates, 30, Farmer, NOT BIC
Ann Coates, 35, BIC
Wm Coates, 5, BIC
Edward Coates, 2, BIC

This appears to me as two family units in the house, with Frances and John possible siblings. Looking at parish records I ultimately found the following children of Samuel and Mary.

Samuel COATES and Mary TINKLER at Woolsthorpe, Lincs in 1812:

1812 - Ann Coates, bapt Woolsthorpe Lincs, 22 Nov 1812, Samuel and Mary
1815 - Edward Coates, bapt Woolsthorpe Lincs, 21 May 1815, Samuel a farmer and Mary
1826 - George Coates, bapt Croxton Keyrial Leics, 19 Fe 1826, Samuel and Mary
1828 - Frances Coates, bapt Croxton Keyrial Leics, 21 Dec 1828, Samuel and Mary

I do not have a solution to the big gap, but I believe (am not certain) the Coates family have multiple farm interests (see below), and a Catherine Ann Coates  was bapt in Godmanchester, Huntingdonshire (quite close by) in 1818 to Samuel and Mary Coates, suggesting a possible move there farming for a time. I'll update this when I have the answer.

BUT there is no John COATES (from the 1841 census). So I read through 100 years of Woolsthorpe parish registers (see comment below there were a few reasons) and in reading found the following in the Woolsthorpe parish registers:

Baptisms 1810
John Natural Child of Mary Tinkler April 20

SO John was born to Mary TINKLER out of wedlock 2 years prior to her marriage to Samuel Coates. John took up his step-father's surname, and when he married Ann SHELBORN in 1836 at Stamford, Lincs he used the COATES name. I have not been able to fund baptisms for Edward and William (their children) in Leics/Lincs, nor have I been able to find the fate of the family after 1841. Loose thread.

Back to Samuel and Ann. After Frances they had no more children (not surprising given their age) and there are some answers here for fate. 

In 1843 he appears to have assaulted his mother-in-law, Ann TINKLER:

Leicester Chronicle - Saturday 05 August 1843

Then in 1850 there are a number of notices related to settling his will, which show he had a sizable farm.

Stamford Mercury - Friday 29 March 1850 

Mary's death was registered in 1847, and his death was registered in 1850. In this context I have found a Will in the Lincolnshire County archives, which I will order:
Will - Coates, Samuel
Reference Name LCC WILLS/1850/86
Name: Coates, Samuel
Place: Croxton Kerrial, Leicestershire
Repository: Lincolnshire Archives [057]

There is also a death duty register for him:
First name(s) Samuel
Last name Coates
Death year 1850
Court PCC And Country Courts
Record set Index to Death Duty Registers 1796-1903
TNA ref IR27/292
Category Birth, Marriage & Death (Parish Registers)
Subcategory Wills & probate
Collections from United Kingdom

Finally, in searching around I surprisingly found a headstone for Samuel COATES (but apparently not his wife, at, buried at Croxton Kerrial (Saint Botolph and Saint John) Churchyard, with a stated death date of 6 March 1850.

His age at death is obscured, which makes this frustrating as my next post will show. Also, this is only a partial headstone, so any CROXTON KERRIAL readers feel free to visit the churchyard and send on a higher quality image!

Children. Apart from Frances, I have already stated I can't trace John TINKLER (COATES). Ann married John JACKSON at Croxton Kerrial in 1833, Edward died the year he was born (1815) and George died the year after he was born (1827), both being buried at Woolsthorpe. 

The next post will deal with where Samuel came from - identifying his birth and family connections. 

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Photos of my great-grandmother Mary Ellen Banfield (1889-1940)

I've only written briefly of my great-grandmother Mary Ellen BANFIELD (1889 Hay NSW - 1940 Lewisham NSW). Part of the reason I've written so little (despite her being my grandfather John HALL's mother) is that for all the bits and pieces written by HALL people (Norman, Frank, etc.), almost nothing is written of Mary Ellen. This is not to suggest she was an unimportant person. Quite the opposite. Mary Ellen died aged only 50 of (I believe) ovarian cancer. This also occurred at the start of World War 2, shortly before my grandfather was drafted into military service which meant he spent several years away from his family.

Mary Ellen's husband Norman HALL (my g grandfather) wrote three letters on his family and family history (all are on the blog) that mentioned Mary Ellen:

"At about 20 I met your mother, nee Mary Ellen Banfield. She was a school teacher who had taught (strangely enough) under my dad Fa-Fa. We were boarding at the same place - and - anyway we married in January 1918, at St. Francis Paddington at Nuptial Mass. You know most of the rest of course. Nellie (MOTHER) God rest her Soul was the greatest woman ever - going to her eternal reward on 17:9:1940. She lies in No.10 section, Rookwood Cemetery, with her infant daughter Joan. May Perpetual Light Shine Upon Them! (Joe has the grave number)."

"My wife (Nellie) lived but a year or so after our last child and cancer took her off very quickly."

"My wife NELLIE (God rest her soul) died shortly after Joan. They lie buried together in Section 10 of the Catholic Cemetery at Rookwood."

"As for myself, my wife Nellie (NEE MARY ELLEN BANFIELD) became ill and died of cancer in 1939. The best medical care could not save her – we had Doctor Sir Ben Edie – anyway she died at Lewisham and was buried with her daughter Joan at Rookwood."

Just to be clear, Norman's recollections (30 years later) are slightly inaccurate - Mary died in 1940 (not 1939) and she died seven years after daughter Joan (not shortly after). Again, son Frank Hall doesn't discuss it in his family notes. My grandfather (a son) never discussed it (that I heard). It was clearly a devastating experience for the family. Mary Ellen's father Thomas Uriah BANFIELD (1867 - 1942) buried both his wife Ellen nee HARRINGTON (1859-1907) and daughter Mary Ellen.

My cousin Juliette HALL recently sent me two scanned photos of Mary Ellen, provided to her by another cousin David SHERLEY. No information was provided, but the second of two photos is marked Jas. Chandler, corner Pitt St, Sydney. Mary Ellen grew up in Hay and surrounds, so the photo was presumably taken after she moved to Sydney (as a teacher). The photos are beautiful. I HAVE seen a photo of Mary Ellen, in a photocopied memoir that another son of Mary Ellen wrote (Joe), that shows her with her father Thomas. I hope to see a high-quality version of this photo some day.

Friday, September 25, 2015

Putting faces to names in unexpected ways

I am surprised how many extended members of my family I've not seen photos of. The photos are out there somewhere, just out of reach to me. So it was pleasant to find photos of my great-grandmother Bridget HALL nee MOLONEY (1875-1942) in a newspaper article (Truth, 14 Sep 1941), but the article was a little surprising. It described a court appearance as Bridget's daughter Winifred NISSEN nee HALL (1903-1961) and a dispute with her husband Arthur NISSEN (1903-1965). The article describes their marital troubles between Winifred and Arthur (which I know of - they later separated but did not divorce) and also alleges that Bridget had a drinking problem (also already in my family notes!).

Under the title:

Sad Tale Of Drink In Family

The article explains that the couple have been separated for 8 years, that his wife had been regularly drunk, and that he heard his mother-in-law plotting his death! He too was alleged to be regularly drunk, and to have punched his mother-in-law in the face (assault). Quite the read. Application for divorce was declined. 

It is interesting to learn that married couple had lived in my great-grandparent's home in Scott St, Croydon. Bridget's husband, Alfred Ernest HALL had retired from being a school headmaster by 1941, and must have been appalled at the public attention that so many ex-students would read.

And the photos, clearly taken outside the court by a photographer of this noble publication, The Truth:


Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Nana's Apple Charlotte

I have previously posted my grandmother Jean HALL's Christmas pudding recipe. I really wanted her apple pie recipe and my aunt Liz sent the recipe book that was probably a guide. In the meantime, my aunt did forward me the one other recipe she had, and I'll give it a go:

Liz said:
I hadn't forgotten your request for any of Mum's recipes. I only have one, which she typed out and sent to me (along with the Xmas pudding recipe) as we had a huge cooking apple tree at the time and you can only make so much apple sauce. Needless to say, I never tried this recipe. I'm not sure Mum ever made it either, certainly not while I was around and I don't know where it came from. The pastry recipe is unusual by today's standards in that it contains custard powder, cornflour and icing sugar. Not being a great cook, I never asked for any further recipes, not even the apple pie or sponge pudding recipes. These days of course, I cook a bit more but they have disappeared into oblivion. 



1 and ½ cups plain flour
½ cup self raising flour
1/3 cup custard powder
1/3 cup cornflour
¼ cup icing sugar
185 grams butter, chopped into cubes
1/3 cup water, approx


6 large Granny Smith apples, peeled (or any cooking apple)
¼ cup castor sugar
¼ cup lemon juice
60 grams butter


1 and ½ cups icing sugar
2 passionfruit

Charlotte can be refrigerated for up to 2 days or frozen for 3 months. Not suitable to microwave.

Pastry : sift dry ingredients into large bowl, rub in cold butter. Add enough water to mix to a firm dough. Turn onto lightly floured surface, knead until smooth. Cover pastry, refrigerate 30 minutes. Roll out two-thirds of the pastry, large enough to cover base and side of a greased 20cm springform tin; trim edge. Spread cold apple filling into tin. Roll out remaining pastry, place over filling, overlapping side of tin slightly; press down against side of tin. Trim edge, brush with a little milk, cut 2 slits in top of pastry. Bake in hot oven 15 minutes, reduce heat to moderate, bake further 45 minutes or until golden brown. Cool in tin. Spread top with icing.

Filling: Slice apples thinly, place in saucepan with sugar, lemon juice and butter. Cover, bring to boil, reduce heat, simmer 5 minutes or until tender. Cool to room temp.

Icing: Sift icing sugar into small bowl, stir in passionfruit pulp. Add a little milk, if necessary to make a stiff paste. Stir over simmering water until icing becomes spreadable.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Upstairs and Downstairs - Henry PRIESTLY and Clara PORCHER.

If anyone out there reads my blog, they'll notice i post less often now. It's not that my interest has waned, it is the 4 and 3 year-old daughters I have, and work. But I do confess that from time to time, I wonder whether there's much left to discover.

Well here's proof that it's always worth looking. I recently was looking over the NSW Will Books digitized and indexed at - I checked for anyone in my ancestry with a will and have been looking through them.

Here we have Henry Priestly, who grew up in the Sydney area as his father was a merchant and ex-convict. Henry first maried Margaret RODGERS and after she died in 1878 he married again, to Clara PORCHER who was 18 years his junior! He had 14 biological children and also took on a 15th - Clara's daughter from her first marriage. Clara was born in Sussex, England around 1856, and emigrated to Australia in 1874 on the 'Jerusalem'. She married John E CRAIG in 1877 in Balmain, and they had a daughter, Clarice Ida CRAIG registered in 1879 in Glebe.

When I reviewed the will of Samuel PRIESTLY, Henry's father, I found a most interesting note:

' pay the sum of ten pounds to each of my faithful servants ??? and Clara Craig....'

The underlining is part of the original will (which is three pages long). I couldn't believe it as I recognized the name.

The implication here is remarkable - Samuel's son Henry married his faithful servant Clara CRAIG nee PORCHER!

I do not know when John CRAIG died (there are many deaths in the relevant window of time), but clearly he died prior to 1885 (I cannot make out the first name in the will but it doesn't appear to be John), and possibly after 1882 given that Samuel may have made out a gift to the couple.

In 1885 Henry married Clara and they had six children. He died in 1918:

The Cumberland Argus and Fruitgrowers Advocate
Wednesday 23 October 1918
The late Mr. Henry Priestly, of Canley road, Fairfield, was one of the oldest members of the Masonic Order in this State. He was a passenger in the first railway train that ran to Granvillc on the opening of the line in the early days, and was one of the military guard of honor to the Governor at the official opening of the line. His business premises in Sussex street he occupied for over 30 years. His familiar figure around Fairfield will be missed by the friends of a man of sterling worth,

Clara survived him, dying in 1937, and they are buried together at Rookwood Cemetery.

I knew the family connections, but only the will of Henry's father could reveal that Henry knew Clara as his father's 'faithful servant' - upstairs and downstairs.