They lived in Campbelltown...
Over the years we have had many inquiries about families that have lived in Campbelltown, New South Wales: some have stayed and made their homes and lived their lives here, while others have moved on to other locations within the state or across Australia.
Our family history society has many local families recorded within our two Pioneer Registers (Campbelltown Pioneer Register 1800-1900 and Campbelltown Federation 1900-1920) however there are many more early residents not listed.
These 'movable families' sometimes miss their connection with Campbelltown and the surrounding areas, so we would like to include them on this site ... They lived in Campbelltown ... thus recording their links with Campbelltown and its history.
We plan to use this Blog to showcase them and use it as a ‘medium’ for further information collection, as a two-fold process: to assist our research enquirer and to supplement the Society’s records of these early residents.
Should you know more of these families or share an interest in the inquiry, please contact the Research Team and we will contact the inquirer for permission to pass on their contact details. Only with the permission of the research inquirer would this occur: family history research is all about helping each other and this would be an example.
NB: as a society we do charge a modest research fee (currently $30) this in no way covers the resources or time devoted to each research inquiry: as ‘volunteers’ we give our time freely using our genealogy and local knowledge, our access to free and paid research sites all with the desire to help fellow family history researchers.
Following information was provided by inquirers:
Research from England ... arrived during our COVID lockdown, so our response was very much from resources held by our research team and access to various internet resources.
The family concerned is Francis HENESS who arrived as a convict aboard the Shipley in 1820. Married (1) Mary Ann ROCK (born colony) and had 4 children with Mary before she died in 1840. (2) Martha POLLOCK (arrived free) there were a further 10 children born with Francis. This information is recorded in our Campbelltown Pioneer Register 1800-1900 and also in the Camden Pioneer Register 1800-1920. 'Pioneer Registers' are a great starting point when researching, while not verified information, it is the result of the contributor's many years of research. Registers offer possible descendants and the point of contact with a fellow researcher of the same family lines. Much of the information covering this request was listed in both registers which only came from the relevant Society’s archives, however there can often be a second, third or fourth contributor, with their contact details recorded usually in the back pages of the registers.
The movement of Francis and his family throughout the early ‘county areas’ of NSW was their main enquiry. Cumberland, Camden and Argyle are just three of these early counties and often cause some confusion due to their name and location. The 'County of Camden' reaches north of Liverpool, south to the Shoalhaven area and west towards Picton. This is where local knowledge can be invaluable (do consider contacting local societies for areas of your own research).
Our England researcher (an Aussie now living in London) already had a significant amount of information and we were able add some more and give other possible venues of research.
Resources we used: Local cemeteries, Colonial Secretary’s papers, NSW State Archive & Records, Pioneer Registers, Ryerson index, BDM's for NSW and Biographical Database of Australia (BDA).
The BDA was able to provide extra layers of information and this was greatly appreciated by our inquirer.
I mention the Biographical Database of Australia (BDA) because I have found it invaluable for early colonial records that can be found in ‘one location’ and searchable by name. This organistaion is a spin off from the early GRD (Genealogical Research Directory) our bible in the early days before the internet. The original authors of the GRD were Johnson and Sainty; their involvement would later morph into the BDA (a not-for-profit organisation). There are a team of volunteers, under their direction and others like SAG, helping to transcribe and check our early information. The cost to become a member is $30 annually.
Research from Canada ... arrived also during COVID and where we followed a similar line of online researching. The surname GEOGHEGAN (known name) / GEOGAN (shipping records) we went on to find many other possible spellings: Geoghagan / Gehegan / Gergan / Gegan / Geoghan / Groghan. This can be a challenge as you need to think laterally about all possible spellings, not just the one you know (this is due to the various and strong accents of the day heard by the recorder and given by the speaker, where most were illiterate and could not verify their details).
Our Canadian researcher (an Aussie now living in Canada) was looking for details of the eleven or twelve possible children born to William Geogan and Biddy (Bridget) nee LENEHAN/LENNON and to see photographs of their ‘tombstones’. They were believed to have spent twenty years in the Campbelltown area. NSW BDM records show 7 born in Campbelltown and 1 born in Camden. The family would eventually settle out west in the Yass general area. William died at Gladesville Asylum (1882) and Bridget in Yass (1878).
This family is NOT mentioned in any of our local Pioneer Registers, there is a brief mention in the 4th edition of ‘They worked at Camden Park’ and in the BDA their basic details on arrival in 1841 as Bounty Immigrants, sent to NSW by Nicholas James & Co.
Our research team were unable to answer the inquirer’s questions. We suggested this information could be found with the purchase of certificates (also mentioned using transcription agents) however as most were pre1856 the checking of microfilm reels was a possibility; these would sadly provide little further information (as little was recorded at the time). With the various spelling, many hours would be required in searching the BDMs or the pre1856 microfilm reels, if indeed all births were registered.
Research from a society member ... we are happy to assist our members (no-charge) as sometimes a fresh pair of eyes or research methods, can reveal a bonus or two.
Our inquirer is trying to discover the exact birth details and death information of an ancestor: William Henry DAVIS they believe he was born in Campbelltown circ1849-50, as he states Campbelltown as his birth place and his parents as Thomas John Davis and Jane (nee DEMPSEY) this is recorded on his Tumut marriage certificate. William had married Mary QUINN in 1874 in Tumut, NSW. Not everyone tells the truth on these occasions (for whatever reason) and disappearing or reappearing was very easy to do in those days, without the checks and balances in place today.
William had died sometime after the birth of his fifth child (1883) and Mary remarried in 1891.
Looking in the usual places and starting with the Pioneer Registers we found this particular Davis family was not listed. NSW BDM’s revealed little joy even with extensive searching. Our inquirer had purchased several certificates already and had completed many hours of research – this is their preverbal ‘brick-wall’.
Sometimes it is necessary to obtain every certificate of every child (birth or death) to obtain an overall picture to find the facts and glean something from each certificate. Trove is also a wonderful resource tool, as good news or bad news was newsworthy and would be recorded (hopefully)!
Our inquirer has contacted the local societies in their quest.
So, it’s over to you our readers or late-night Googler’s to see if you know something of this family or the others mentioned.
Contact the Society Research Team at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Contact the Society Research Team at: email@example.com