Sunday, June 27, 2010

The RODGERS family

On my maternal side, the RODGERS family have been difficult to investigate, partly because of the commonality of the name ROGERS which was used interchangably. RODGERS, the less common spelling, is the true one.

The family departed from the port of Plymouth, Devon, England on the 'Equestrian', arriving in Sydney, New South Wales in July, 1848. The RODGERS family had come from Ireland, though there were both English and Irish emigrants on the ship, and it is not known how the family made their way to England and whether they spent long there.

A contemporary report  (provided by Wendy) gives some idea of the arduous journey to Australia that the family endured:

The Shipping Gazette and Sydney General Trade List
Saturday, July 22 1848
THE EQUESTRIAN - This vessel, although one of the fastest sailing ships that ever entered the harbour, had a tedious passage of one hundred and twenty-two dats from Plymouth. Shortly after leaving that port, she met with very adverse winds, which detained her eight days in the Bay of Biscay, and in crossing the equator she was becalmed for a similar space of time. She entered Bass's Straits on the 1st instant, and for six days experienced nothing but heavy gales there from north to north-west. In rounding the Howe the same bad weather continued, but the wind then blew from S.S.E. About midnight of the 8th instant, during the heavy gale, in which the schooner Wandered was unfortunately lost, she passed the Heads, and was driven to the northward as far as Port Stephens. Captain Spence states that during the number of years he has been at sea, he never before experienced such a terrific gale as he did that night ; and that it blew with such violence that he was compelled to run the vessel under bare poles ; also that it was exceedingly fortunate that he had a good offing from the land, otherwise nothing could have saved the ship from going on shore, the gales being from the S.S.E.

According to the 'Equestrian' arrival records the family were all from Ballintoy, County Antrim, Ireland (now Northern Ireland). Ballintoy is, and was, a small coastal village. All members of the family were 'Church of England' (Protestant).
RODGERS, William, 38, farmer, can read and write
RODGERS, Sarah, 37, wife, can read
RODGERS, James, 18, labourer, son, can read and write
RODGERS, Catherine, 16, servant, daughter, can read and write
RODGERS, Elizabeth, 14, farm servant, daughter, can read and write
RODGERS, Margaret, 12, daughter, can read and write
RODGERS, Eleanor, 8, daughter, can read
RODGERS, Robert, 5, son, can neither read nor write

Some clue to the fate of the family can be gleaned from a contemporary report that may conclude with a reference to the Rodgers family:

The Maitland Mercury & Hunter River General Advertiser
Saturday 22 July 1848
The Equestrian immigrants who arrived on Tuesday last numbered seventy-nine persons, and on Wednesday fourteen more from the same vessel arrived, making a total of ninety-three. They consisted of eighteen married couples (eleven with families), five single young women, and six single young men ; amongst the eleven families of children, also, there were four boys and two girls above fourteen years old, and three girls of thirteen years. They are nearly all engaged already, indeed there is only one family of the first batch positively disengaged. The whole of the engagements are noy yet registered at the Police Office, but of those that are so, ten married couples (four with families) engaged, five as general or farm servants, with wages from 15 pounds to 25 pounds per year, with rations or board and lodging..... One family of man, wife and six children has also been engaged to work about a farm and garden, all to work that are able, the wages to be 20 pounds per year, and four rations among them.

Not much is known of William and Sarah's life in Australia at this point, and as Parish CofE records appear not of exist back in Ireland their family connections there cannot be determined. We do know from the marriage certificates of two children that Sarah's maiden name was MCGEE. There is the possibility that they had one more child in Australia (V18491150 34A/1849, ROGERS HENRY T, WILLIAM, SARAH) - their death certificates wil reveal more.

When Robert Rodgers married in 1865 he described his father William as a 'storekeeper' living at Brickfield Hill (in Sydney near what is now known as Haymarket). William died on 3 Dec 1863 aged 56 years.

The Sydney Morning Herald
Friday 4 December 1863
On the 3rd instant, at his residence, No. 2, Swan-street, Brickfield-hill, Mr. William Rodgers, aged 56 years.

The Sydney Morning Herald
Saturday 5 December 1863
FUNERAL - The Friends of the deceased Mr. WILLIAM RODGERS are invited to attend his funeral ; to move from his late residence, No. 2, Swan-street, off George-street, THIS (Saturday) AFTERNOON, at 3 o'clock precisely. James Curtis, undertaker, 59 Hunter-street.

While the death announcement does not state where William was buried, it is likely the neary Devonshire Street cemetery, removed in the early 1900's to make way for Central railway station.

His wife Sarah died in Glebe, where she lived with her daughter and son-in-law (see below).

The Sydney Morning Herald
Thursday 2 April 1885
RODGERS - April 1st, at her son-in-law's (Mr Henry Priestly) residence, 82 Glebe Point-road, Mrs Sarah Rodgers, in her 80th year.
MR HENRY PRIESTLY'S FRIENDS are respectfully informed that the Funeral of his MOTHER-IN-LAW, Mrs Sarah Rodgers, will move from his residence, 82, Glebe-Point Road, on FRIDAY MORNING, at 9 o'clock, for the Newtown Cemetery. KIRBY, Undertaker, Hunter Street. 

Newtown (or Camperdown) cemetery, which surrounds St Stephen's church has largely been removed and converted to park, and only a small section of headstones remains.

What of their children? I've been working slowly on the family. It is confused partly by the interchangable spelling (at least by others) of the homphonic names ROGERS and RODGERS.

Here is what I have... any information on these people would be greatly welcomed.

1. James RODGERS, born abt 1830. Nothing could be ascertained except for two adverts that appear in the Sydney Morning Herald in the early 1870's, the second confirming the relationship:

The Sydney Morning Herald
Saturday 4 March 1871
I, Emma Rodgers, hereby give notice that it is my intention to get married at the expiration of 3 (three) months from date, unless notice is given me of the existence of my husband, JAMES RODGERS, whom I have not heard from for the last eight years.
Happy Valley, Nundle, 1st February 1871

The Sydney Morning Herald
Friday 17 May 1872
JAMES RODGERS, Mudgee or Tambaroora, please write R. ROGERS or H. PRIESTLY, 53 Sussex-st.

These together suggest that James Rodgers followed the gold rushes when they occured in the 1850's and ended in the Mudgee/Tambaroora area like so many men. Though not confirmed, a marriage has been found for a James Rogers in Mudgee that corresponds with the above information (2207/1858, ROGERS, JAMES to BIBB, EMMA at MUDGEE) and one child, Elizabeth, registered to them at Mudgee in 1860 (9205/1860). While the outcome of the call for James is not known, a death certificate for James RODGERS is recorded in Orange in 1913 ( 3416/1913, RODGERS, JAMES, parents WILLIAM and SARAH, ORANGE).

2. Catherine RODGERS, born abt 1832. Nothing known.

3. Elizabeth RODGERS, born abt 1834. Married William H VAUGHAN in Sydney in 1873 (198/1873) and had at least three children in the Redfern area: Elizabeth J S E (1873), Prudence E Lavina Maude (1875) and Emily Catherine (1878). Elizabeth died in July 1903 at Redfern and she was buried at Rookwood Cemetery.

4. Margaret RODGERS, born abt 1839. My ancestor. Married Henry PRIESTLY at Christ Church, St Laurence, Sydney on 14 Sep 1858. Had eight children in the Glebe/Redfern area of Sydney. Margaret died in 1878, aged 39.
The Sydney Morning Herald
Wednesday 15 May 1878

PRIESTLY - May 13, at her residence, Wortley Villa, Ross-street, Forest Lodge, Margaret, the beloved wife of Henry Priestly, in the 39th year of her age.
THE FRIENDS of Mr HENRY PRIESTLY are respectfully invited to attend the Funeral of his deceased WIFE, Margaret ; to move from his residence, Wortley Villa, Ross-street, Forest Lodge, TO-MORROW (Thursday) AFTERNOON, at 3 o'clock, to the Cemetery, Camperdown. JAMES CURTIS, Undertaker.

5. Eleanor RODGERS, born abt 1840. Married William AITKENHEAD on 24 Jan 1861 at St Andrew's Scots Church, Sydney. They had at least three children in Sydney: Isabella (1861), William (1864), and Ellen (1867). Eleanor died in 1902 at Redfern.

6. Robert RODGERS, born abt 1843. He married Harriet FISHER (born Harriet FISH) in Sydney in 1865. At that time his occupation was wheelwright. They had two children Robert W (1865) and Lucy C E (1866). Apparently he marriage was not all plain sailing:

The Sydney Morning Herald
Thursday 11 March 1869

NOTICE - The public are hereby cautioned not to give ?? ?? my wife HARRIET RODGERS, maiden name Fisher, as I will not be answerable for any DEBTS she may contract. R. RODGERS, March 10th 1865.

Robert died in 1882 in Sydney.

The Sydney Morning Herald
Friday 8 December 1882
THE FRIENDS of the late MR ROBERT RODGERS are respectfully invited to attend his funeral ; to move from his late residence, 24, Bank Street, Chippendale, THIS (Friday) AFTERNOON, at half-past 2 o'clock, for Balmain Cemetery. S B GOUGH, Undertaker, 124 and 215 Clarence Street.

Balmain cemetery has been resumed and converted to park.

1 comment:

JR Rodgers said...

Hi, I'm a Rodgers and have been led to believe that our Family were the first RoDgers to come to Australia. I've been told that old mate had nine kids around the Bendigo district where they came to find gold . They were reportedly from Nothern Ireland. They were free settlers and were led to believe that gold was there by the tonnes, just pick it up.
Whether this is true or not, who knows?
If you'd like to have a yack about please feel free to email me
See ya!