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Convict brothers transported VDL -more information needed on one

Discussion in 'Australia' started by Bob Spiers, Mar 6, 2017.

  1. Bob Spiers

    Bob Spiers LostCousins Superstar

    I had two ancestors who were transported to Van Dieman's land in the 1840's. Daniel Westbury (1817) -married two children -transported 1842, sentenced 14 years.. George Frederick Westbury (1821) transported 1844/6 - single-sentenced 10 years . They were brothers both convicted in Birmingham a few years apart and have no evidence their paths crossed whilst serving their sentences.

    Of the younger brother George I have more than enough detail. Both about serving his sentence, model prisoner, pardoned after 3/4 years, marrying and settling in Warrnambool, Victoria and raising a prolific family with two wives. So no help needed.

    But about Daniel information is sparse. I know convict wise he was not a model prisoner -far from it - and that he took a while before being pardoned ( 9 years I believe). Apparently he married another ex convict (likely bigamously as there was a wife in England) and may have settled in Launceston, Tasmania; possibly a shopkeeper.

    It seems a shame with so much discovered about his brother there is precious little to date on Daniel. I know Tasmania comes under Victoria administratively (at least these day and may have been different back then) Has anyone any suggestion where I may look to find out how he fared -presumably in Launceston - for the period 1850 onwards.
  2. jorghes

    jorghes LostCousins Superstar

    Using the Names Index (on the Tasmanian government LINC site) and searching for "Daniel Westbury" there is a census return for him for the 1851 census in Tasmania (complete with attached scan), and a convict record for him - the convict record shows that he was given "conditional pardon" in 1852 (though I didn't read some of the notes down the side of the record which might be interesting).

    Searching for him through that doesn't bring up a death register though, which suggests that he might not have stayed in Tasmania. It does suggest that he married a woman named Alice Mclean, in about 1850. Searching the Victorian BDMs (the index is now searchable and free online), inconveniently doesn't bring up a death for a Daniel Westbury (nor an Alice Westbury).
    I then had a search on the online ancestry index of Australian deaths and couldn't find a Daniel Westbury listed anywhere on that particular index. Is it possible Daniel either returned to the mother country or changed his name?

    Most of the states have online BDMs - most allow you to search the index for free. The other option is to see if he comes up on Trove or look in some of the shipping records.
    I did a search on Trove and came up with a list of occupants of Launceston which gives Daniel Westbury at Elizabeth Street in 1851, a record of his conditional pardon in 1853 (there are other similar notices in the paper about tickets of leave, recommended pardons etc); and a police report from 1851. There is also a mention of a Daniel Westbury on the Ovens River in Victoria in Supreme Court Sessions (looks to be a very interesting read of a possible robbery or something more, I just skimmed); also a mention of Daniel's wife Alice in NSW which reveals that Daniel is "now serving a custodial sentence at Cockatoo Island", which is an old Convict prison island in Sydney Harbour, the article is from 1853. Unfortunately the Cockatoo Island Penal Colony Records found here in NSW records, aren't digitized and only available on microfilm (Trove did not yield up anything else, other than another version of the story told in the Melbourne Argus of the Supreme Court Sessions). Searching the NSW BDMs , didn't provide any more leads, and no death records.

    I suppose you would need to be able to access the microfilm records of the Cockatoo Island Penal Colony records to get any further on Daniel. Perhaps a search for Alice in Trove might yield some more information.
    • Thanks! Thanks! x 1
  3. Bob Spiers

    Bob Spiers LostCousins Superstar

    Jorghes, what can I say but a VERY big thank you. What a wonderful response and I thank you for what you have revealed as a further research source, and what I am about to explore. I am glad I sought the help of someone more experienced in Australian research and it really is a brilliant example of how to use the Forum. Thank you again.
    • Agree Agree x 5
  4. jorghes

    jorghes LostCousins Superstar

    No problems at all, I enjoyed searching it all up for you. Australian death records are quite detailed, so it's a shame we can't find one for him and see what it says as well.

    I just had another thought, there are some old Australian censuses, although not many - but if Daniel stayed in New South Wales, he might appear on one of them. Information about what is available can be found on the Victorian State Library site. Ironically, NSW's own archives site was a bit of a mess to be honest. That should give you an idea and probably a way to find anything more. I live in Victoria, so I can probably access some of the State Library's records if you can't access them online.
    • Thanks! Thanks! x 1
  5. Bob Spiers

    Bob Spiers LostCousins Superstar

    At least I now know why I have previously been unable to find out more on Daniel. That Daniel was a rebel (perhaps with a cause) cannot any longer be in doubt. He had a record of misbehaviour that earned him solitary confinements and hard labour punishments, and worst of all postponed receiving his eventual conditional pardon. Rebellion in the prison environment was one thing, but Daniel, even when allowed to work outside doing farm work, absconded and so went back to a spell of hard labour.

    In 1850 (whilst still serving his sentence) he applied for permission to marry an Ann Green (herself a convict) and permission was given. Then in 1852/3 he finally got his conditional pardon. Meanwhile Ann whose actual sentence time was just about up is charged as a 'runaway' for failing to present herself for her 'ticket-of-leave' earning herself an extended sentence.

    Meanwhile Daniel gets himself mixed up with a gang of real criminals and is mentioned in a Melbourne paper as being associated with such and a report of some of the gang being tried for Murder. The men involved were found not guilty but all were further bound over to face trial on the robbery and I can only conclude Daniel was one such. We certainly know from Ann's statement when charged with being a runaway, that her husband was in serving time in Cockatoo Island, a prison in NSW.

    That is as far as I have got from the very helpful data sources provided by Jorghes. I knew a little about Daniel and his rebellion whilst serving his transportation sentence in VDL (Van Diemen's land, aka Tasmania) and of his permission to marry Ann Green, but what followed is all new. I shall of course continue to search for news on Daniel, particularly when he and Ann died, and where.

    I must also point out that Jorghes data sources also allowed further insight into brother George's marital (and non marital) relationships after he was pardoned and moved to Warrnambool, Victoria. In checking on the truth or otherwise that he had possibly sired up to 21 children, and knowing only of 8 legitimate children from a marriage to Mary Green and an indication of 9 others to a Catherine Williams, I did indeed turn up a possible third partner -Jane Walker - and yes 4 children.

    As his first wife Mary was apparently alive throughout the time when George had these relationships, I think I can safely assume they were extra-marital and the children likely illegitimate. Further research beckons.
  6. jorghes

    jorghes LostCousins Superstar

    Sounds brilliant! Congratulations on the new information! (I did notice on another look, that Daniel's Cockatoo Island stay is mentioned on his Tasmanian convict record).

    A good way to check whether or not George's children were illegitimate or not would be to check the marriage date given on the birth certificates of a few of George's children.

    My personal experience of this is from my g-g-g-grandfather, who is known, quite rightly, to have had two wives. The issue came as to when he married his second wife. The family records/stories stated that he married his second wife not long after his first wife died in 1886. However, I couldn't find a record for that, only for a marriage dated 1913. My 3rd great grandfather and his second wife had their first child in 1889... the marriage dates given on each of their children's birth register entries (they had 7) kept changing.
    Turned out that his second wife was actually his housekeeper and seemingly it may have been the possible scandal that led them to move from South Australia to Victoria.
    Last edited: Mar 8, 2017
  7. Bryman

    Bryman LostCousins Megastar

    Wow, was Daniel trying to populate Australia all by himself?

    It makes my ancestors appear very 'straight-laced' or prim and proper in comparison, or should I just say unadventurous? That includes my 2G GF, a ship's captain who came to NZ about 150 years ago and possibly never returned to UK. Perhaps being in a small colony so far from 'the known world' removed all inhibitions? Do other members have similar stories about their ancestors who came/were sent down under?
  8. Margery

    Margery LostCousins Member

    Bryman, how many do you want? My husband's family is a rich source of such tales and discovering them has been an interesting journey (though some of the current family members refuse to accept them). I can relate to Bob's investigations and have been amazed that we can discover so much historical information.
    And Jorghes, yes, my husband's great grandfather had a second "wife" who was always referred to as his housekeeper. The pair had four children who, it seems, were not acknowledged as being part of the family although their existance was known. The sad part was that they were not shown on his death certificate although the four legitimate ones were.
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 9, 2017
    • Thanks! Thanks! x 1
  9. Bob Spiers

    Bob Spiers LostCousins Superstar

    I could as easily say the same about aspects of my own Tree as not all ancestors deserved the 'black sheep' label; far from it indeed. Most are untoward, staid and seemingly respectable and some encounter misfortune through poverty or illness.

    My wife's Tree offers two extremes. Her maternal line is unadventurous to the point of boring (not really in the genealogical sense) but revealing little out of the ordinary; just 'common or garden' people. Her paternal line however has so many mysteries -starting with her father's birth father - and then obfuscations (I like that word) way back to create a handful of brick walls. I found the same in my own Tree when researching my 3 x great 'Westbury' grandfather and his many children; the good the bad and the ugly (I have no proof of the latter).

    All of this was brought home to me watching the latest WDYTYA on TV last night. (The subject Sophie Raworth, Journalist & News presenter on TV). She set out with family knowledge that her ancestors way back were famous piano makers and her 3 or 4 times great (I forget how many) Grandfather Samuel was one of the original brothers or cousins involved. Sadly this turned out to be false and although he was indeed connected to the family he was cast out as their 'black sheep' (and the researchers found why this was so and not all his fault as the research revealed). It ended with Samuel committing suicide. But of course there is always another side to the coin as when details of another Grandfather showed he was connected to Kew Gardens which delighted Sophie for family 'green finger' reasons. The whole programme offered a glimpse at two sides of a coin and I said to my wife.." that's Family History for you"!
    Last edited: Mar 9, 2017
  10. Bob Spiers

    Bob Spiers LostCousins Superstar

    Margery: Unless he already has, I think Tim needs to make a small adjustment to separate the Bryman quote reference from your own input. I've done that many a time but luckily have always been in time able to edit and put it right.
  11. Bob Spiers

    Bob Spiers LostCousins Superstar

    I take it you do not mean sending for copies of birth certificates Jorghes (even for a few!) so is it possible to find a facsimile copy online? If so where? Thanks.
  12. jorghes

    jorghes LostCousins Superstar

    Mine did marry his housekeeper and as far as I know all the children were acknowledged from both sides, but his death certificate was a rife of mistakes (including a completely incorrect name for his mother and occupation for his father) but like with your ancestor, only his first marriage and first 8 children (with wife number 1) were recognised, even though some of them died in childhood. The second wife and second set of 7 children weren't mentioned, it might just depend where his "authorised agent" who registered the death, got his information from!

    The majority of Australian birth, death and marriage certificates are digitised. So purchasing and downloading is all that is involved (except when it comes to NSW & WA!); the states all vary in cost too, remember that it's in Australian dollars. Most states offer both a "historical image", usually the scan of the register page; or a "certificate" which is more of a "proper" copy and is usually much more expensive. For Victoria a "Historical Birth Image" is $24.60 (which is just a scan of the register page); the price is the same for deaths and marriages. NSW is $32 (and they usually have to scan it and it can take a week or so); South Australia does transcriptions only (unfortunately) for $22; Queensland gives you a scan download for $20.70, and Western Australia (the only state I have yet to order from!) you have to fill in a form and it costs you $35. Tasmania seems to allow you to access those documents through the LINC website. Most of the indexes you can find simply by google searching the state and "bdm", the only one which isn't attached to a state based governmental department is South Australia, which is accessible through the South Australian genealogical society, of which I am a member and can access their extended database (it is still free to search, like all Australian BDMs).

    The thing with Australia birth and death certificates is they hold a lot more information than their English counterparts. A Victoria birth certificate has the following information (with varying degrees of correctness): for the child - place and time of birth, name and sex; for the parents: name and occupation of father, date and place of marriage and any other issue (with ages of children listed), name and maiden name of mother; informant, witnesses and registrar. For a death they have: when and where died, name and occupation, sex and age, cause of death/duration of illness/medical practitioner/when last saw the deceased, name of both parents (+ maiden name of mother and occupation of father); signature and description of informant, signature of registrar, when and where buried (name of undertaker and minister, and minister's religion), Where born and number of years in the colonies (down to how many years in each colony if they have moved), When, where and for how many years they were married and who to, and then the names and current ages of all children. Marriage certificates hold much less information (something more like you'd find on an English marriage register), put do include place and date, individuals names, ages, whether or not they have children (living or dead), birth place, occupation, age, present and usual address, and names of both parents (often with the mother's maiden name) and the occupations of both fathers.

    So even getting George's Victorian death certificate might give you all the names of his children, and all the names of his wives... or possibly only one of his wives and some of his children. One of my g-g aunts was listed with all 15 of her children, a large number of who had died as children on her death cert (the list of her children and their ages took up two rows of the register).

    I can always show you examples of what you can expect if you like.
  13. Bob Spiers

    Bob Spiers LostCousins Superstar

    Jorghes, have been out for most of the day, just read your latest posting for which I thank you again. Will check out to see if I can find a Death Certificate for George tomorrow and onwards. That looks as though it will be the best route.

    His full name was George Frederick Westbury, born 1821 Birmingham, England. Transported 1844, pardoned 1847. In Warnnambool by 1850 give or take. He died 1895 (in Warrnambool I would think though he may have died in hospital as I have a note provided by another researcher... '5 days apoplexy'), He is buried in Cobden Cemetery, not sure of its location but obviously Victoria. If you should spot him before I do let me know but I will of course look for myself.
  14. jorghes

    jorghes LostCousins Superstar

    There is a death certificate according to a quick search on the Victorian Historical BDM index for "George Fredk Westbury" in 1895. It unfortunately looks like whoever reported his death didn't have details of his parents (as they're listed as unknown), but it would be interesting to see what other information you get from the register entry. At minimum you would get his address when he died (and possibly a list of some his children).

    Cobden is a town 58km to the east of Warrnambool (so between Warrnambool and Melbourne); it's possible that George and his family lived in Cobden rather than Warrnambool, since it would be a little strange to be buried there if he didn't. Warrnambool would have been Cobden's nearest "market town" or something similar.

    I did a search (quickly) for births with the surname "Westbury" and the father's name "George", and came up with a number of different children with at least 4 women (although if they are the same man, then he was having children with two women pretty much simultaneously!)

    So the list includes (notable is that he is only listed as "George Frederick" - or some variation with Ann Green (one entry) and Catherine Eliza Williams (all):
    with Jane (Walker): Harry George (1856), John Joseph (1859), Edward Frederick (1863) and Mary Jane (1868)
    with Ann (Green): John Richard (1860), Robert Henry (1864), Clara Eliza (1868), Mary Ellen (1871)
    and with Catherine Eliza (Williams): Alice Eliza (1877), George Frederick (1878), Charles Ernest (1881), Benjamin (1883), Grace Ruth (1884), Christina (1887), Clara Beatrice (1888), Esther Agnes (1890).

    There is a marriage record listed for George Frederick and Catherine Eliza Williams in 1875; and one for George Westbury and Ann Green in 1850.
    Had another brief look in the death records (for child deaths) and found one for Mary Ellen in 1873 and one for a "William Henry" in 1854 (although I didn't find a birth registry entry for a "William Henry" - at least not in Victoria) - and I found him interesting because it listed his parents as George Westbury and Ann Walker.
  15. Margery

    Margery LostCousins Member

    Looks like an entry on a death certificate so perhaps the other researcher has a copy?
  16. Bob Spiers

    Bob Spiers LostCousins Superstar

    Good thinking Margery, I thought the same but that information is (at a guess) 5 years old and came from a lady Researcher in Canada would you believe who was researching her husband's Westbury line; her husband had died the year preceding. Her main interest was George Frederick and she had a mine of information about his prolific siring of children, which she believed totalled 21 with two or more women. She even told me of two marriages but I could not verify the second at that time, and others who she could not name.

    I made copious notes in my Tribal Pages and then set about research myself. I verified everything she passed on and accepted the death information. She also sent me photos of George and in fact his father Daniel (senior) which I treasured, and indeed of the Cobden Cemetery. Then has happens, I had to move on to other things and the Westbury line went on the back burner, until interest in brother Daniel brought it to the surface again.

    I had intended for some time to write a story concerning Daniel Westbury senior, my great x 3 Grandfather - and his fascinating family, including the two sons Daniel (Jnr) & George Frederick intended for publication in 'The Midland Ancestor ' - a Journal of the BMSGH Society of which I am a member.

    I am not sure whether my other Researcher is still about ( I had no response to a email a month or two back) and have heard nothing since. I must now stand on my own feet but perhaps with a little help from the Forum such as the brilliant help already given by Jorghes, and others, including yourself. Then I will be able to fill in the gaps in my Tree and enable me to get on with my story.
  17. Bob Spiers

    Bob Spiers LostCousins Superstar

    Wow Jorghes such a lot of information and much appreciated. I recognise a good deal of what you have to say and will plough through it today and over the weekend. See also my response to Margery which will explain why I need all the information I can get on my two 'convict' ancestors Daniel Junior & George Frederick.

    Thanks in particular for the mention of Cobden and I feel sure you are likely right about George living there even if only later in his life. I learned of Warrnambool from the other Researcher and that George had been a fishmonger, and some of his sons fishermen; so Warrnambool being a port made sense. Given the size of his growing family I think they could well have spread to Cobden anyway!

    Your help has been invaluable and I only wish I could make contact with the original Researcher from Canada who started the whole thing off.
  18. Bob Spiers

    Bob Spiers LostCousins Superstar

    Finally bit the bullet, paid for and downloaded a copy of the register entry for George Frederick. As it happened little that is new save for confirmation he died in Cobden (as you predicted) on 24th September 1895 and although no actual address, what was shown was practically illegible but something like Higlesburyshire , County of Higlesbury (although anyone's guess) but I may be able to clear that up later.

    The death details were those given all those years go by the lady I refer to as my other Researcher (her name was Clare) who would also have had the same details as Margery suggested. These were "Apoplexy -5 days -Dr G.M. Reid and 24th September 1895. And yes it showed George's occupation as Fishmonger. No father or mother details as also predicted, but not so big a loss especially as there is no doubt I have the right person, and I know these details anyway. There was absolutely no provision to show children.

    That is as far as I have got for now. I would have liked to find the death record for his first wife Mary Ann Westbury (sometimes known as just Ann) nee Green, but although I came up with both Mary Ann & Ann in 1898 the Ann version shows no parent details and the Mary Ann related to a father William Hill (?) and mother, nee Phillips(?)...so I passed on both.

    Research to continue.
  19. jorghes

    jorghes LostCousins Superstar

    I would only ask that if you're sure that Ann Green died in 1898 - he married Catherine Williams in 1875, which would suggest that Ann may have died prior to that? (unless he's a bigamist, of course). Ann also didn't seem to have any more children after 1871, which may also suggest (not knowing her age) that she may have departed the mortal coil.
    Or perhaps they got divorced? (I noticed that FindMyPast now has divorce records for Victoria).
  20. Bob Spiers

    Bob Spiers LostCousins Superstar

    Yes I am on the trail Jorghes, and although I was advised Ann had died in 1898 long ago -part of the information passed on to me - and supported by others on Ancestry - and indeed supported to a degree via Victoria BMD - I personally am yet to be convinced. Part of the same information advised of George's second marriage to Catherine Williams in 1875, and yes that too is supported and you mention it also, and that I do accept.

    Using the Sherlock Holmes technique (which I often quote ) that when you have examined all avenues and they do not add up, then what is left, however improbable, is likely the truth. On that basis it is reasonable and certainly logical to accept Ann had died sometime after her last recorded child of 1871 and before the marriage date of 1875, and that is what I intend to pursue.

    My information on (Mary) Ann Green's birth year was always an estimate of 1828 and the place of birth and parentage name unknown and a death date of 1898. (This was a temporary thing whilst I pursued the main character George). Now my attention has turned to Ann Green I discover in other Ancestry Trees an almost universal take up of this information - born 1828 England and dying 1898 (Richmond, Australia). There are exceptions on birth however with one a birth year of 1813 in Wales (and others picking up the date without a place name). Another shows 1835 Sommerton, Somerset

    The Tree that records Ann's birth year of 1813 Wales also shows her death date as 1872 in Cobden , so I will try to make contact with the Tree owner. He/she may merely have estimated this based on logic but will see where that leads, and meanwhile will investigate further in my own way.

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