Family stories 3 — About the Whitfields: from convict days

NOTE 6 January 2014: This page has been cleaned up and lightly revised but not rewritten. It remains more or less “as is” — something that grew by accretion around a core going back to 2000-2001.

Do note the comments at the end. Many of them are important reflections on the material, or modifications. I also alert you whenever I make a relevant post on my current blogs.

Note that Robert Starling has collected two volumes of Thames immigration ship Cork Ireland to Port Jackson Sydney 1825 – 1826 : family stories related by descendants of families that emigrated on the Thames 2012 available at the Society of Australian Genealogists (SAG), and in 2011 he published Jacob Whitfield’s journey from Cootehill County Cavan Northern Ireland to the land down-under : embracing the Whitfield family history.

The “Thames” was the ship bringing William Whitfield aged 10/14 (see below) to Australia. Unfortunately the passenger list I referred to is no longer online but IS findable via Wayback! The “Thames” was the first immigration ship to carry families directly from Ireland.

Note too the recent contact I had with Lilian Lee, the granddaughter of Susan Caroline Whitfield — my grandfather Tom’s older sister.

  • I can’t guarantee all the links below work — some are quite old now. But I have been able to repair some via The Wayback Machine — and if you really want to follow a “dead” link, try running it through Wayback. Very often it will work!


A distant cousin, Bob Starling of Wangi Wangi, has researched the Whitfield family story very thoroughly. In the Christmas-New Year period 2005-6 I received a CD-ROM from Bob containing the results of this research, some of it in a 190-page Word document. Accordingly, I have revised some of the family history as it stands here. Thanks to Bob Starling there are some new historical pictures of William Whitfield (born 1812), William J J Whitfield (1836-1925) and his son, my grandfather T D S Whitfield. There is also one of one of the old Whitfield homes in the Picton area. For this revision I have also taken a couple of document extracts and a picture of my uncle Ken Whitfield. Thanks again, Bob Starling.

am 029

Family early 1970s

Left to Right Back: James Heard, Robert Heard, Jeff Whitfield, Jean Whitfield, Fay Christison, Neil Christison

Left to Right Front: Janine Christison, Beth Heard, Lloyd Christison


My original post.

convictsI commend Irish Convicts to New South Wales 1791-1831.

A fascinating site for anyone interested in Australian History, and closely connecting to the material I just gave you about my own family, is The Diary of Felton Mathew, a government surveyor in colonial New South Wales, with topics including:

– Voyage to NSW (1829)
– Sydney and surrounds (1830–1832)
– Treatment of the indigenous people.

My niece Christine and my brother Ian both expressed interest in my research into the Whitfield family, and also into the Christisons. In this entry I am posting an updated and edited version of what was on Angelfire as “Floating Life, family memories.”

Please note that while affectionate, as they should be, these memoirs are also “warts and all” where required. The aim is truthfulness, rather than whitewashing, as that serves the family best, don’t you think?

Augmented and edited October 2008.

See also: About the Whitfields 2; About the Whitfields 3: for my brother; About the Whitfields 4: Wandering Willie’s Tales.

Piecing it together

This is the first part of a puzzle, as I try to understand this man, my father, whom I did not know in so many ways. Where did he come from? Why was he, for good or ill, the way he was? They have left me some clues, and I have tracked down a few more. I know my father, in marrying the daughter of a schoolmaster, was in a sense marrying “above himself” — or so he seemed sometimes to think — yet his father was an Alderman at one time in Shellharbour Municipality, the little fishing village, as it was then, about 100 kilometres south of Sydney.

He seemed to spend much of his life, as it were, to prove something to his father (even after his father was dead) and his siblings, in fact perhaps to all Shellharbour.

am 024Grandfather Thomas Daniel Sweeney Whitfield (right) was born in Picton NSW in 1867 and died in 1948, so I was five years old when he died, and can just remember him as a benign but deaf old man with white hair, approximately as wide as he was tall. Mind you, in earlier days he seems by some accounts to have been a tyrant and a bit of a bastard, and I base that on incidents my father and mother told me about. To be fair, it was also a characteristic of the times.

He was a builder, and all the family up to him seem to have been carpenters, bush workers, small farmers or bullock drivers and timber getters, though many served in their communities in other ways. There was one brother, John, who was a policeman though, for a time in Shellharbour; my brother remembers him. I do remember some of Thomas’s siblings; one, Bill (William) continued to live at Picton and died in his nineties in 1957. We used to visit him and his unmarried daughter Ruth (died 1999) fairly regularly.

His youngest sister Annie was born 25/12/1875. She was alive and well at the celebrations for my cousin Beverly’s Olympic Games gold medal in Shellharbour in 1972, when five generations of the family came together. Annie’s husband, Tiberio Vacchini, “was born in NSW and therefore was NOT an Italian” as Stuart Daniels, a descendant, informed me in June 2004. There was talk of a connection with Garibaldi’s Red Shirts somewhere way back when though. Fact is Vacchini is a long-established name in NSW; I recall an Inspector of Schools by that name in the 1960s and 70s, Ian Vacchini. The name is certainly Italian. It turns out that Tiberio Vacchini, who worked for the New South Wales railways at Picton, was accidentally killed in 1916.

I had the opportunity to probe Aunt Annie’s memory not long before she died, but she was somewhat vague about exact details, though she did remember sitting on the knee of an old man with a long white beard when she was five years old; that man, her great-grandfather perhaps, she swore had been a redcoat in Ireland. It very likely was William Whitfield (1812-1897), the son of Jacob, a convict. You see, Annie was right about the Irish connection, but it seems to have gone as follows.

The following is a good story, but appears to be wrong. I leave it though as the “Three Bees” story is worth it! It appears I had the wrong Daniel Sweeney here; the one in question arrived on the Daphne in 1819.

Did you note my grandfather’s name? On May 6 1814 the ship Three Bees, a transport of 494 tons, arrived from Cork. One of the convicts on board was a Daniel Sweeney, sentenced to seven years. It was something of a hell ship, and within a week of arrival it blew up, bits of it landing in King Street.

By 1822, Daniel Sweeney seems to have prospered.

2014 addendum: I note that in 1825 he is listed as employed by Dr James Bowman, a pioneer in the Hunter region. His status is Free by Servitude. “When convicts had served the period of their sentence and therefore became free they  were recorded as being ‘free by servitude’.  Men and women sentenced to life could never be freed by servitude in time they would be granted a pardon.” Daniel Sweeney was back in Sydney by the 1828 census.

Four years after Jacob arrived on the Isabella 1, the Thames arrived (11 April 1826) with 37 free women and 107 children, one of whom was a ten-year-old (sic), but it appears he was really 13 or 14, named William Whitfield. Also on the ship was his older sister, Mary, who subsequently married Daniel Sweeney at St Matthew’s Church at Windsor in 1827. Here is a complete passenger list for the Thames.) In the 1828 census, William Whitfield is recorded as residing with Daniel Sweeney in Kent Street Sydney, and in 1833, Jacob Whitfield is recorded as assigned to Daniel Sweeney.


Extract from the marriage record of Daniel Sweeney and Mary Whitfield at St Matthew’s Windsor. 15 January 1827.

The relation of Jacob Whitfield (see below) to William and Mary (such Protestant names!) now seems established: he was their father. Certainly he witnessed the wedding on 20 June 1836 at St Andrews Presbyterian Church of William Whitfield and Caroline Philadelphia West, along with the other witnesses Maria Burgess and William Burgess. On 18 September 1836 (yes, I can count!) the baptism is recorded at St James Church, King Street, of William Joseph John Whitfield, son of William and Philadelphia. William gave his profession as carpenter, and his address as Elizabeth Street. The child had been born on August 14. (By the way, it snowed in Sydney on June 28 1836.)


Hyde Park Barracks

On 9 March 1822 the Isabella I arrived from Cork with 200 prisoners, among whom was a sixty-year-old (sic) man on a life sentence named Jacob Whitfield. After a time in the Hyde Park Convict Barracks, Jacob was assigned to Mr Cable of Windsor. He later worked on construction of the Great North Road.


Jacob Whitfield was allegedly aged 80 years old when he was granted permission to marry Elizabeth Smith aged 49 in 1840. He was obviously a much more hardy specimen than this descendant.

Elizabeth had arrived four years previously on the Henry Wellesley and Jacob had arrived in 1822 on the Isabella 1. He had received a Life sentence, which also meant he could never return to the Old Country.

It appears Jacob had a wife already in Ireland, and then, as was customary at the time, married again in Sydney in 1832.

Note “age 60 years”, referring to 1832, not 1822. I suspect it is a rounded figure anyway. The first wife, Mary Gowrie, died 12 Mar 1841 in Finnelly, Co. Tyrone, Ireland, so I guess “widower” in the document below, recording the second marriage to Jean in 1832, may be a technicality?

NOTE: read carefully through this page and you will see how clarifying Jacob’s marriage status and what happened to all his children have been rather knotty issues for family historians, not to mention the question of where and when he died and where he was buried.


The wife in the story above is then his third one. I also found he had been granted his Ticket of Leave in 1834. (An indulgence given at the Governor’s discretion, which entitled convicts to work for wages, though they were required to report for regular musters.  The minimum period before which a ticket could be granted  was generally related to the length of the convict’s sentence.) 

Thanks to the amazing Internet I have actually been able to trace my father’s family further back to the father of convict Jacob, to a John Whitfield who was born in County Kildare, Ireland, in 1735, but there is a bit of a mystery now about Jacob’s age. The puzzle about Jacob’s real age remains, but probably he was in his forties rather than his sixties when he arrived in Australia. That story I found on the Net about Jacob’s (third, it now appears) marriage would require him to have been born around 1760, and I had always understood he was about 60 when he arrived in the colony. Stuart Daniels writes (3 June 2004): “William was born in Cootehill, Co. Cavan and came out to NSW ? and died ? as he can’t be found in the NSW records. I found the Jacob in the shipping records and that he came out here at the age of 60 years, and if he was 60 at his arrival date means that he was born in about 1762?” I thought perhaps the 1774 Jacob was a different Jacob at first, but not according to the very thorough Genealogy of the Leslie Family of Innisfail, the source too for Mary Gowrie’s dates — except the Leslies keep on working on that genealogy, it seems, wrecking the links each time they do; they work now (December 2006) but I guess I will have to check from time to time. [2011: no longer fully available to the public.] The Jacob there is definitely the right one, father of Mary, William, and three other siblings. 1774 better fits the marriage record pictured above.

Further information in a comment below from Kathryn Whitfield arrived in December 2007:

Jacob Whitfield (per Isabella I, 1822) is often said to have had six children with Mary Gowrie in Ireland. I can find no record of what happened to two of the children and to Mary herself, yet Bob and Linda are mistaken to think that only Mary and William came to Australia. Jacob requested that four children be allowed to come to Australia and the four were on the Thames (1826). You will find that 16- and 17-year-old Judith and Catherine were already married and do not, therefore, appear on the list as Whitfields. The shipping list for the Thames shows the four siblings as Catherine Aaron, 16; Judith Doyle, 17; William Whitfield, 10 (true we think he could have been aged 14); and Mary Whitfield, 18.

Bob Starling has traced Jacob back to an earlier John Whitfield, born in 1695 in County Tyrone.


William Whitfield 1812-1897

# Perhaps this really is the final answer: William WHITFIELD (above) & Caroline Philadelphia WEST: William WHITFIELD Born: 16 Mar 1812 – , Parish of Drumgoon, Cootehill, Co. Cavan, Ireland. Died: 12 Oct 1897 Sydney, New South Wales, Australia. Buried: Rookwood, New South Wales, Australia. Father: Jacob WHITFIELD (1774- ? ) Mother: Mary GOWRIE (1781-1841) Married: 20 Jun 1836 – , St Andrews Church of Scotland, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia. Wife Caroline Philadelphia WEST: Born: 12 Jul 1817 – Seven Oaks, Kent, England. Died: 21 Oct 1881 – Picton, New South Wales, Australia. Buried: Redbank Cemetery, Upper Picton, New South Wales, Australia. See also Jacob WHITFIELD & Mary GOWRIE. Convict Jacob is given this birthdate: Born: May 1774 – Ballyhagen, Co. Kildare, Ireland, and Mary died in Co. Tyrone, Ireland in 1841. Mary, the wife of Daniel Sweeney, was the daughter of these two, and William (above) their son. Curious though that we don’t know when Jacob died.

Come to think about it (2014) Daniel Sweeney — the real one not the “Three Bees” one — was my grandfather Tom’s great-uncle, a pretty amazing thought put that way as I have grand-nephews and grandnieces of my own now!

The 1841 census records: Whitfield, William – Elizabeth Street, Parish Alexandria, County Cumberland, District Sydney. It turns out that William lived within 500 metres of where I now live and am writing this!   See Looking for Jacob 11 — Found! for where Jacob was; William was not far away, but both are nearer the Hyde Park end of Surry Hills than I had thought.

I have sighted the documents mentioned here in the State Library of NSW.


William Joseph John, seen above in his old age, married Elizabeth Ratcliffe at Picton in 1861. (His brother Jacob married Eliza Ratcliffe in 1864, and another brother, Richard, married Mary Ratcliffe in 1874.) (Information from records on microfiche in the State Library of NSW.) Stuart Daniels (3 June 2004) adds: “The first child was baptised as Joseph RADCLIFFE not as a Whitfield.”

tdsThe third (fourth, following Stuart Daniels) child of that marriage was Thomas Daniel Sweeney Whitfield (right), my grandfather who eventually moved to Shellharbour on the coast. He built up a good reputation as a carpenter, doing some fine work in red cedar in the Anglican Church which is there to this day.

And more! See 2013 posts What a treasury of family history and Continuing my trawl through Trove and family history.

There were twelve children in that family, most of whom survived. The Olympic swimmer Beverly Whitfield (Gold Medal at Munich 1972) was the great-grand-daughter of Thomas through my Uncle Ken, my father’s older brother. Ken was born in 1897 and died in 1967; he was a soldier in both World Wars.


My uncle Ken in World War I uniform. I was told he put his age up for WWI and down for WWII. The former seems not to be true.

My father, Jeffrey Noel, was born in 1911 or 1912 (yes there is some confusion) and died in 1989. It was obviously a late and unexpected present for Thomas and his wife Henrietta (1874-1931). They had married on the 9th of November 1892. Now Henrietta has been something of a family secret; one story, henriettatold me by my father and mother, says she was the illegitimate offspring of an Aboriginal (or part-Aboriginal) farm worker and a widow. You will note my father was nineteen or twenty when she died. My nephew Warren not long ago met a Tharawal Elder named Les Bursill at a gathering in Canberra; Henrietta was a Bursill (variant “Bursell” on some records). So it is possible they were all descendants of the First Australians… That’s Henrietta on the right. About Warren: my brother married his first wife Aileen, Warren’s mother, in 1955. It turns out she too was of Aboriginal descent. See Warren’s excellent account of that family in A Guringai Family’s Story.

Update 9 December 2011: see my post Family history and mystery–the Indigenous connection.

There is no doubt about my sister-in-law’s descent from the family of Sophy Bungaree, that is of the family of Bungaree of considerable fame in early colonial history. But what about the Whitfields and the Bursills? I see that Henrietta’s birth certificate names no father, and if then the story I heard is true – and I am quite sure it is – then of course she wasn’t a Bursill at all, which does rather complicate matters. For the moment then we are all assuming Dharawal, but that father could have come from further afield. It is also worth noting that Les Bursill does not trace his Aboriginal roots through his father, but rather through his mother.

Possibly we’ll never know exactly where Henrietta’s natural father came from. The story about her birth was raised with my maternal grandfather, Roy Hampton Christison, when my mother and father became engaged. As my mother told the story, old Charlie Bursill came and told grandfather Roy about the “touch of the tarbrush” via Henrietta. I do note that Grenville’s 1872 Post Office Directory lists a MRS Bursill as a farmer in Shellharbour. The story is that she had an Aboriginal assistant working for her, and that he, in 1874, was the actual father of Henrietta. He is said to have (wisely?) disappeared. Grandfather Christison told C Bursill to jump into Lake Illawarra, I believe, and of course the engagement and marriage went ahead in 1935.

What I do know is that as a kid I always sensed something as I wandered the bush around the Woronora valley, or on a hill in Sutherland West then known as The Devil’s Back but now just a mundane suburb. It was a presence that lived in the rock shelters and in high places with views of surrounding country. I can’t explain it. But I do know my nephews Jeffrey and Warren had the same feelings when they lived as kids at Bundeena, because Warren has told me that.


Old Whitfield home in Tahmoor near Picton


Stratford House, Tahmoor

In the latter part of the 19th century, we are told, Stratford House in Tahmoor was William J J Whitfield’s home. Many years ago on a drive to Picton, my father took us there. I’m afraid we were sceptical about it having been a family home: but for a while it was, according to Bob Starling’s sources. Yet Marlane Fairfax, local Tahmoor historian, tells quite a different story. According to her:

This very imposing residence was built circa 1889 for Napoleon Jean Lisson as a country retreat by Picton builder, William Pritchard. In 1898 Mrs Emma Lisson and her young sons together with her parents, became permanent residents following the conviction of her husband for the murder of her younger sister. Emma Lisson reverted to her maiden name of Gorrick. From 1914 to 1916 the residence was leased by Mr Percival Campbell Johnstone as a boarding and day school for boys under the name ‘Picton College’. The College closed on Mr Johnstone’s death. A public school was conducted out of part of the building from 1917 until the end of 1919…”

The perils of family history!

Well, that may be solved when you see this:

Jessie Winifred Ethel WHITFIELD
Born 21 March 1882 Picton
Died 29 August 1912 aged 30
Married 1910 Albert Ormonde W GORRICK Born 1884 Died 1950

So does this Gorrick connection explain the family story? William Joseph John Whitfield lived until 1925 after all. How long might he have lived at Stratford House? He certainly lived here:


That Picton House was built for him by Thomas Daniel Sweeney Whitfield, my grandfather.


ABOVE: Sydney in the 1820s

UPDATE October 2008.

I am so often asked about this that I have decided to upload Bob Starling’s excellent family tree as a PDF file: whitfield-pedigree-chart.pdf. You would need to get in touch with Bob for any updated version, and for the excellent history, photo album, and much more on his CD-ROM. I won’t publicise Bob’s address here, but will email it to genuine seekers. I gratefully acknowledge Bob’s CD-ROM as the source of some of the photos below. Please note again that this is an outdated version of the family tree. Contact Bob for the latest.

The material on this page was never intended to be a definitive history. It began as some notes for some of my own immediate family, written some years ago now and based on research I had done at the State Library of NSW and at the Hyde Park Convict Barracks. My nephew Warren had been independently researching his family on his father’s side (Whitfield) and his mother’s (Lees). He shared what he had found with me. The body of the original post above, then, I have decided to leave mostly as it was, speculation and all. The tone is right for its original purpose, but do take the following information as important correctives.

I received the following email on 15 July 2008:

The Whitfield pedigree tree seems to be wrong.

I had looked up 3 years ago that Jacob Whitfield “ploughman” transported on the Isabella is out of Thomas Whitfield and Elizabeth Marshall — not out of John Whitfield and Susanna Pearson.

The Jacob Whitfield of MAY 1774 Of Ballyhagen, Kildare, Ireland from both Bob Starling and the Leslie family tree appears wrong. The Jacob Whitfield of the Isabella should be from Grange MM*, Tyrone, Ireland born Feb 1759.

The listing of the convict in the 1822 Isabella ship’s log is below from online records:-

Surname Whitfield
First Name Jacob
Ship Isabella I (2) [1822]
Tried 1820
Trial Place Tyrone Co
Term Life
DOB 1760
Native Place Tyrone
Death Place
Remarks Ploughman

Had a phone call from Bob Starling to Colin Whitfield in Perth a couple of weeks ago…which prompted me to look it up again.

– John Van Luyn

*Does “reb” mean rebel? If so, it the first clue about the nature of his crime that I have ever seen. It would certainly fit into the troubled times in Ireland. A life sentence was serious, even in those days. This new information still makes his age seem quite extraordinary, especially if he is, as we have assumed, the father and not the grandfather of William and Mary, and there is still the 1832 marriage certificate below, giving his age as “60 years” which would fit better with the 1770s scenario. It is still a bit of a mystery; we are on firmer ground from William onwards…

Update 2014: I now realise the “Reb” is merely a heading and the space beside it is blank. We are now reasonably sure Jacob was sent out for horse thieving. Also it does seem his DOB was 1774.

Anyone know any more?

*You can find a Google map of Grange and surrounds here. It is in Northern Ireland.

Jacob was certainly not a Quaker, but Grange features in Irish Quaker history. See Grange Meeting: a Historical Sketch. It’s very interesting.

Since then I have had several more emails, and some leads via the comments below; interested people may want to follow them up.

Recent emails to October 2008

Stuart Daniels wrote to me in September 2008, and more recently John Van Luyn has been in touch several times, and through him, indirectly, Bob Starling. The family story is certainly being advanced through the work these people are doing.

Stuart wrote, and I have edited at his request: “Neil, we (Bob & I ) have traced the deaths of Jacob’s wives in Australia and have documents to show the details. Jacob was born May 1774 in Ballyhagen Co Kildare and his father was John and mother Sarah. This information was supplied by Marguerite Fenn & James Sullivan. Also the Leslie family of Innisfail have the same list. [See my entry below — N. W.] Jacob’s children are listed as Mary b. 1808 d. 1872  in NSW; Catherine b. 1810 d. ?;  Judith b. 1811 d. 1858 ; William b.16/03/1812 d 12/10/1897 Sydney NSW , Jacob b 1820 d ?. Jacob was convicted of horse stealing 1820 and there is a report in The Belfast News Letter of Friday the 4th Aug 1820, no. 8084; page 4, column 3. He was found guilty and was sentenced to hang but was sent to Australia. Jacob married Elizabeth Smith  in 1840 and her death was recorded at Darlinghurst Goal 12 Aug 1851. The records are only found in state archives and not on BDM records. He also married Jean Connell in 1832 but she died the same year from TB. This information has just come to light. Jacob at one stage had a market garden in Market Lane where he grew strawberries. That site is now known as Wentworth Avenue. He was also consigned to his daughter Mary SWEENEY and finally to his son William. His date and place of death remains a mystery. There is also a record of 1848 letter no. 48/3329 , dated 30/12/1847: Application by Jacob to have his sons, John aged 40 and Joseph aged 38, of Coote Hill, with their families, brought to Australia by the Government. Did they come? Jacob was a protestant and Rita, my cousin, has his Orangeman’s sash. He would have belonged to the Church of Ireland which was the same as C of E.”

John Van Luyn has pointed to quite a few other new items of information. It may be that Jacob was buried in the old Devonshire Street cemetery, which was resumed when the current Central Station was built. The bodies and headstones were moved to various other cemeteries, but we do not know at this time what became of Jacob. Writing to Bob Starling in September 2008, John said: “Yes, obviously women’s rights in Ireland had a much lower status than a convict in Sydney. The only thing I can think of in splitting the children up between Mary and Jacob would be that there was no social security in those days and your children were your life insurance policy in old age. Jacob’s details & death are a mystery indeed.  From reading this article…. there would be a very low likelihood of travel back to Ireland or anywhere else I think without the official paper work. Jacob was pardoned in 1841 and….’A Conditional Pardon, when approved by His Majesty through the Secretary of State, but not before, restores the Rights of Freedom, from the date of instrument, within the colony. But it bestows no power of leaving the colony, and no rights whatever beyond its limits’. I have a possible sighting that is dated 1842. It is a reference to a ‘Whitfield who lives in a hut in a Garden near Jonathan Leake – had a ticket of leave for Windsor and is now free’. The only details I could find were for a Jonathan Leak who was a convict potter. There is a tonne of information on him and his pottery on the net if you search “Jonathan Leak” and “convict” which roughly indicates where his pottery was.”

That pottery is at “Brickfield Hill”, but apparently that isn’t exactly where the World Square complex now is, but rather may have been back towards Chinatown (Hay Street) and Surry Hills. It may indeed turn out that Jacob’s hut was in or near the Downing Centre, a Sydney Law Court complex these days, which is a touch ironic. Rather than Elizabeth Street, Surry Hills, then, as I speculate below, he would have lived closer in to the city, and not far from Chinatown. The links above are a combination of ones John suggested and others I have found for myself.

See An Important Convict Pottery Discovery – John Moreton and his Colonial Wine Cooler for much information about the Pottery and about Jonathan Leak.


An 1842 map.

Some suggest the pottery was not far from the Carters’ Barracks. You may also see the Devonshire Street Cemetery there. The Government Paddocks in the top left approximate to Prince Alfred Park, Surry Hills.


1854 map

See also the Looking for Jacob posts 2008


Footnotes, feedback and afterthoughts

NSW Police Gazette 1869

William J WHITFIELD & George WHITFIELD were tried at Braidwood Quarter Sessions , 5th July, 1869 with the offence of stealing a bullock, from George GRENVILLE.
William J WHITFIELD was sentenced with 5 years roads.
George WHITFIELD was sentenced to 3 years roads.

Wal Storer writes:

Got your address from your website… George was my ancestor – is this William J yours?

They were so uninventive with names! I am not sure about who this William belongs to, but am fairly certain he is one of the “Braidwood Whitfields”; but I do recall being told tales of bullock-driving around Braidwood and Araluen. This incident connects clearly with the Braidwood Gaol Register 1856-1899 where George (the same one?) is said to have been born in Shellharbour. Since my Grandfather Thomas Daniel Sweeney Whitfield was born in Picton NSW in 1867 (and thus was two years old in 1869) and his father William JJ was born in 1836 and therefore 33 and living in Picton, I doubt he is the William involved. George, you will note, was a teenager at the time the crime was committed; so probably was William.

Late additions

William Joseph John’s father William (who lived in the 1830s in Elizabeth Street Strawberry Hills) ended sadly, it seems.

On 11 October 1897 in the waters of Port Jackson, Rushcutter’s Bay William Whitfield carpenter, took his own life and drowned aged 86 years. The informant for the death notice was E Whitfield his daughter of 42 Norton Street Leichhardt. William was buried on 13 October 1897 in the Church of England section, Rookwood cemetery – section CCC grave No. 2149 (no headstone) after being 71 years in the Colony.

Given his age, his wandering into Rushcutters Bay could have all sorts of reasons… Good heavens, he was 86 after all! The wording of that item also supports his being about 14 years old when he arrived in Sydney.

I wonder too how the family was affected by the bank crashes of 1893?

Was Jacob a bit naughty?


See also my 2012 post Respectability achieved and rapscallions left behind? for some ideas.

Compare Bob Starling’s 2008 thread:

Many thanks to dj72green for the information on Jacob Whitfield. Jacob did reside at Market Place. The Assessment Books for 1845 and 1852 cetertainly seem to relate to the same Jacob as do the Sydney Gazette articles with his involvement with theft. The outcome of a court case subsequent to 8 October 1839 may give some clue as to what may have happend to him if found guilty but as he appeared in the 1841 Census living in Market Lane now Wentworth Avenue. As Jacob had been given permission to marry Elizabeth Smith on 11/4/1840, it was unlikely that he would have had a conviction hanging over him. The James Whitfield that died n 25/12/1856 at Eastern Creek Windsor, is not the Jacob Whitfield that I am trying to trace. Many thanks again for this additional data. There are many long living Whitfields with many going into the 90s and at least two past 100 so Jacob if his birth year of 1774 is correct, I would not have expected him to go much past the 1860s considering the average length of a life in those days. More research required!! William Whitfield was Jacob’s son.

 Go to Part 2.


    • cedric williams Says:
      December 20, 2006 at 4:29 pmI have updated my website Williams family Stories, first fleeters confirmation. There are some bush style paintings with aboriginal influence and some stories, unpolished and down to earth. Please give your opininion, positive or negative.
    • ninglun Says:
      December 20, 2006 at 4:39 pmThanks, Cedric. I just corrected your link and now it works. ) I will check the site out in detail in the next few weeks.
    • ninglun Says:
      January 1, 2007 at 12:20 pmGood stuff, Cedric. I have added your site to the blog roll under Aussie Interest. Happy New Year!
    • Linda Whitfield Says:
      June 14, 2007 at 10:39 pmis there any chance of getting a copy of the cd-rom that was made by Bob Starling of Wangi Wangi? As I am a Whitfield descendant I find the stories interesting to say the least.
    • ninglun Says:
      June 14, 2007 at 10:52 pmEmailed you, Linda. Bob’s CD has most of the answers. We are descended from the same line, it appears, judging from your comment on another of these pages.
    • Linda Whitfield Says:
      July 1, 2007 at 10:03 pmHello again, could you please resend your last email as I don’t seem to have received it. I have been doing some more digging in the tree roots so to speak and have uncovered more info. It seems I am from the Jacob line of the Whitfield tree. Jacob married Mary Gowrie and had 5 children.Mary b1808 d1872 who married Daniel Sweeney in 1827.
      Catherine b1810 d? who married William Aaron in Ireland and stayed there.
      Judith b1811 d1858 who married Edward Doyle in Ireland and stayed there too.
      William b1812 d1897 who married Caroline Philadelphia West in St Andrews Church Sydney Aus.
      Jacob b1820 d? married…not sure…this is where I think my family line comes in. Unless it’s the father Jacob who then marries Jean Connell in 1832.If you can send me any info i would most appreciate it. Regards
      Linda Whitfield
    • kerry Roach Says:
      August 28, 2007 at 11:20 pmLinda I am also a descendant of the Whitfields. I have a fair bit of info, I’ve been researching for many years. My connection puts a bit of a twist on the family. If you want to contact me my email is kezzroa[at] that to protect you from spam, Kerry. — NW
    • kerry Roach Says:
      August 28, 2007 at 11:33 pmLinda
      It is the father Jacob who marries Jean Connell in 1932*. Jacob the father was my GGGGgrandfather. It would be great to compare notes. Please contact me.* 1832? — N
    • Brit Says:
      September 9, 2007 at 2:00 amhi, my name is brittany burns now but my great grandmother was the great or great great granddaughter of George Whitfield. She had pictures of him and other family members hanging on her walls. i am just trying to find out where she came into the family at. If yall know anything please email me. thanks. She had a brother name Luther….if that helps
    • ninglun Says:
      September 9, 2007 at 10:08 amThanks, Brit, but I gather you are in the USA. I have no knowledge of family members there. Keep in mind our branch has been here in Australia for over 180 years.
    • Kathryn Whitfield Says:
      December 21, 2007 at 5:01 am Hello, unfortunately, we ‘history detectives’ often jump to conclusions about facts and figures we find on the internet in our rush to fill slots on the family tree. While Bob Starling and Linda Whitfield should be commended for their enthusiasm, I would suggest that we, as amateur genaeologists, do not post information as fact, unless we are certain that it is so. For example: Jacob Whitfield (per Isabella I, 1822) is often said to have had six children with Mary Gowrie in Ireland. I can find no record of what happened to two of the children and to Mary herself, yet Bob and Linda are mistaken to think that only Mary and William came to Australia. Jacob requested that four children be allowed to come to Australia and the four were on the Thames (1826). You will find that 16- and 17-year-old Judith and Catherine were already married and do not, therefore, appear on the list as Whitfields. The shipping list for the Thames shows the four siblings as Catherine Aaron, 16; Judith Doyle, 17; William Whitfield, 10 (true we think he could have been aged 14); and Mary Whitfield, 18. It’s great that we all have a common goal, but please share information that you find on the basis of what it is. If you are guessing, then the people who next google our family tree will pick up your mistake and run with it. Happy hunting, Kathryn Whitfield (Braidwood Whitfields, Jacob’s ggggrandaughter
    • ninglun Says:
      December 21, 2007 at 8:19 amThanks, Kathryn, though I would commend Bob Starling too for his professionalism and thoroughness. He clearly did far more than just Google for information. My own initial research began when I found Jacob in the database at Hyde Park Barracks, followed by quite a bit of time at the State Library of NSW. It has been a hard story to recover as at least my branch of the family had — as many others in Australia have done — put a decent veil over their convict past making any information I was told by my own father very selective. That our family was so fertile but also rather uninventive at times in naming their children made the search a touch harder too.
    • Linda Whitfield Says:
      December 22, 2007 at 9:56 pmKathryn,
      Sorry if I have mislead anyone in the family search. As I am a newby at this ancestry thing, I am only going on what my family has told me and from pictures found in family albums.
      I’m still not sure where my line comes in at, as I have been told stories from my Dad Maurice Whitfield 1918-1991 mother being Violet Whitfield 1899-197?. Unmarried daughter at time of birth. Parents were Rose Daemon/Dayman & Wesley Whitfield. If anyone can be of more help I would appreciate it.
    • ninglun Says:
      December 22, 2007 at 10:20 pmHi Linda. The most thorough job anyone has done is still Bob Starling’s. I just kept to my own immediate family line, and at least I knew that solidly back to William Joseph John, but even there — they all had so many kids! — I had my work cut out. It didn’t help either that the old ones were (most of them) rather uninterested in family trees! What my father told me was very patchy.I should add, perhaps, that the story about my grandmother came both from my father and mother, and was confirmed by a medical search at a time my father was thought to have 
      Huntington’s Disease — he didn’t — which is hereditary. The doctor concerned actually traced the doctors who signed my grandmother’s death certificate (this was in the early 1970s and granny had died some 40 years before) and one of them — he was old but lucid — confirmed the story — which helped as it reduced the chances of the Huntington’s Disease issue. What granny diddie of was rather surprising, but that I am keeping to myself. Hers was a very sad story, and my father’s childhood was in some respects quite horrendous.I stand by most of what I have found, but am always happy to change it when fresh evidence comes up; I am in awe at the work Bob Starling has done. Good luck with your own search. I think Bob is your best bet.


Jacob the convict did get a life sentence, but the papers detailing the crime are lost. Auntie Annie of course maintained that he (or someone) was a redcoat. That may have been the kind of posthumous rewriting of family history that was common enough when the “convict stain” predominated in our attitudes, or she may have been on to something. Who knows? The politics of late 18th century and early 19th century Ireland were murky indeed. One thing for sure is that the Whitfields were Orange, a tradition that lasted well into the later 19th century.

  • Vicki Allen Says:
    January 6, 2008 at 11:48 amhi there,
    Great site! Could you let me know how to get a copy of Bob Starling’s CD on the Whitfields, please? I’m descended from Martha Whitfield-Crawford, their daughter, Annie Crawford was my g/grandmother. Annie married Frank Allen in Picton in 1890, who was later Sergeant of Police at Berrima Gaol. Annie Allen (born 1872) died in 1976 at the ripe age of 104. She and Frank had eight children (4M, 4F).Kind regards
  • ninglun Says:
    January 6, 2008 at 12:03 pm That’s an interesting extra bit of the story, Vicki. I didn’t know that when I and my father and mother used to sometimes drop into the Berrima pub back in the late 60s and early 70s!
  • More comments below…

139 thoughts on “Family stories 3 — About the Whitfields: from convict days

  1. Hi,
    William Whitfield born March 16th 1812
    Died by suicide at rushcutters bay oct 11th 1897 is my direct ancestor. 6 generations. He was married to Caroline Philadelphia Whitfield ( born west). Died October 21st 1881 in redbank Picton
    Had one son Richard John Whitfield born November 17 1840.

    I have only just started my research on my ancestors and loved reading your information.

  2. Hello, I’m a Whitfield descendant. My gg grandfather was Richard Leonard Whitfield, his daughter olive beryl was my great grandmother. I would love to obtain a copy of the CDROM if it is still available please. I’m so very grateful for all the hard work done by others keeping history alive.
    Thanks Alison Smith

  3. Hi Rowena
    That’s my Whitfield family. Still trying to connect the Braidwood branch of the tree. Problem being my great grandad Wesley John Whitfield was born at Braidwood along with a number of babies that died young and are in the Braidwood cemetery. My ggf then moved with his family to Ryde.
    Kind regards
    Linda Whitfield

    • Hi Linda & Rowena
      Is this the same Wesley Whitfield who married Rose Dayman then Rose went on to marry Wesleys brother Russell and moved to Gunnedah.
      I recently found Roses grave in Gunnedah Cemetary.
      I am starting again on the family tree after a lapse of a few years. Rose Dayman was my Grandfathers sister.
      I can be contacted on
      Thanks Rhonda Courtney (nee dayman)

  4. Hi Rowena

    My name is Bob Starling and I am the family historian for the Whitfield family. I have documented 235 pages of history and a substantial pedigree chart. If you would like a copy of my research on CD please give me a call on 02 49755391. Regards Bob.

    • Hi Bob, Are you referring to the George Whitfield (gunsmith) family?. He was my great great grandfather through the Gardner line. Regards Nita Simpson (nee Moses)

      • Hello Nita, I to am a descendant from George Whitfield (gunmaker in King Street) through the Gardner line. My Mother was through the Gardner line, her father was a Young living in Balmain. I would like to provide you with more information I have collected and have provided my e-mail address hoping you will contact me through this connection.
        Yours faithfully. Tom Brown

        • Hello Tom
          George ‘the gunmaker’ was my ggggranpa’s uncle. His nephew was William Whitfield whom I’m descending from. Any information regarding this line would truely be appreciated thank you.
          Regards Linda Whitfield

        • Hi Tom,
          I am a Gardner descendant but not sure if I’m related to George Gardner who was married to Prudence Whitfield. I have a John Gardener/Gardner/Gardiner who was married to a Mary Sullivan but might have had previous children or other family but he vanishes into the ether. They had a William Henry
          Gardner who was born in Albion Street, hence the possible connection. I have researched the tragic murder of your grandmother and really took it to heart. I’m a writer and it was awful to think what the children witnessed.
          So, I’d be very interested to get in touch. My email is rowenanewton at
          Best wishes,

        • Hello Tom,
          I am interested in the knowledge you have about the Gardners. My grandmother was Beatrice Prudence( your great aunt) sister of Florence Young. She married Herbert Lamert Moses and adopted baby Sadie.

  5. Stratford House is now owned by my cousin and her husband. Bill and Gail Douglas. The home has been extensively renovated in traditional style. Grounds now pristine, lawns and trees. A credit to them.

    • Hi there My mother was the granddaughter of Napoleon Jean Lisson who killed his sister in law. Stratford House was built for Napoleon and his family. My grandfather Victor was Napoleon’s oldest son and my mother Zadee was his daughter. Any info about Stratford House would be appreciated. Thank you

      • Hi Louise, I have recently started up again on my Tahmoor research and Stratford House. Have been looking at the newspaper reports on the George Street Tragedy, as it was described in the papers, of the Lisson murder. The Lisson/Gorrick family history is certainly complicated. As you know, Stratford was owned by the Gorricks until 1960 when Ron Traynor and his wife bought it followed by Bill and Gail Douglas in 1971 and I have been told the Douglas’ have recently sold it. I found an article in the Australia Women’s Weekly on Trove of 9 Sept 1960 on the purchase by the Traynors – includes a photo of the house. There is also an article in the Picton Post of July 1960 but I only hold a typed copy of it.
        Albert Gorrick (born 1884 and brother of Emma) did marry WJJ Whitfield’s daughter Jessie and they may well have lived at Stratford House at some point but I don’t think WJJ himself did.

  6. The Quaker Data Base covering some 166 Whitfield names from Quaker Meetings in Grange, Lurgan, Dublin, Lisburn, Richhill, has Jacob Whitfield born 5/1774 residing at Ballyhagen to parents John and Susanna. These 166 records have been transcribed from official Quaker records.

  7. Ok thanks, will wait to hear from Stuart. I asked about the crippling disease as there was no mention of it on his death certificate. he did mean to kill himself as it was his second attempt and he tied his hands behind his back before going into the water according to police reports. Here is the email I received re the sash if you want to follow it up:
    “The regalia which you sent is certainly not Orange Order regalia and I unfortunately have been unable to find anyone who can identify it.
    Sorry for a disappointing reply,
    Dr. David Hume MBE
    Director of Services
    Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland

    regards Kathryn

  8. Hi would stuart be able to post sources for his information? (i.e. state record numbers etc) It would help to be able to verify information that we have and for other family researchers to get copies. Could you also ask him for more information about the Quaker link. Did the records show him as “per isabella”. There was another Jacob Whitfield in Sydney at the time. He did hail from a quaker area in Tyrone, but he is always recorded as Church of Ireland. If he is a quaker, he was definitely not in the orange order. I sent a photograph of the sash that you posted on the blog to the Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland and they confirmed that it was not orange order regalia. Also you also mention that William Whitfield, who drowned himself, was suffering from a crippling disease. Could you let me know where this information has come from? Do you have a doctor’s report? Thanks for your help, regards Kathryn

    • I am sure Stuart will see this so I leave it to him to reply. As to William, that he was suffering does make sense of what he did, but I have no evidence beyond the newspaper story I originally found which gives no motive. Could the Quaker issue be mistaken identity? I really don’t know but my father’s memories favour the Orange Lodge version.

  9. Today I received an email from Stuart Daniels, who is mentioned several times in these comments and in the main body of the page. He writes: “Jacob’s wife Mary died in Sydney harbour on arrival but she did not get ashore. Catherine was NOT a daughter of Jacob & Mary. Jacob’s death cannot be found but Bob found him up to 1852 but not after that date. William drowned himself as he suffered with a crippling disease and was in very great pain.”

  10. Hi just spent hours reading about old Jacob the convict, my great great grandfather, i can give you some info about John Joseph Whitfield, 12th child of William and my grandfather, John Stanley Whitfield.

  11. Carrie! This is wonderful, yes I am on ancestry and in touch with two descendants of Selena, another sister of your family. The Selena that you have seen in the records is likely her daughter (is she Selena Byrnes?). Selena Byrnes nee Whitfield died 1887. Yes, I am on ancestry and you can contact me there (jennigal678).

  12. Hi

    I am hoping to get in touch with Bob Starling or perhaps you can help … I am researching the family of Isaac and Rebecca Whitfield (nee Mackee). I have seen a post that indicates that they had 10 children, I believe that I have found 8. I have cousins who are descended from their son Thomas and his wife Rose Anne Cleland. Is it possible that Isaac is?:
    WHITFIELD, Isaac
    Birth : 12FEB1800 Cootehill, Cavan, IRL
    Gender: Male

    The Isaac I am researching appears to have lived in Cavan, there is a widow, Rebecca, that died 15 April 1869 (b 1801):,+cavan&hl=en&sa=X&ei=_VKZUuyEJcWviALI9oGgBg&ved=0CC0Q6AEwAA#v=onepage&q=22Isaac20Whitfield222C20cavan&f=false

    Isaac and Rebecca’s son Thomas had a son Jacob (died young), Thomas and Isaac. Daughters that I can connect to Isaac and Rebecca are: Rebecca Mackie(Mackay/Mackee), Sarah Anne, Sarah and Margaret. There is possibly a Susannah, but I am not too sure about her.

    I’ve tried his email but it is coming back undeliverable

    Can you help?

    • Sorry, but unless Bob notices this latest bit of the thread and gives us a new email address, I can’t help on that. But maybe the Society of Australian Genealogists could help.

      Nor do I know anything other than what you just told me. There obviously is a connection, but it does not seem a direct one with the Jacob from whom I am descended.

    • Hi Jennifer! I am a descendant of Susan that came to NY with her sister Rebecca. I have a note from my grandmother who lived with her mother in law Mary, Susan’s daughter, detailing Susan’s siblings as Thomas, Isaac, Isabella, Benjamin, Sarah, John, Rebecca, and Jane; in that order, Susan born after. I also found a Selena with them in the NY monthly meetings records that would either be a sibling or a niece of the woman. Her birth year is around 1853. I have quite a few pictures that i’m sure you would find interesting, as well as birth years and a bit more info. I do not know who Isaac’s parents were unfortunately but Rebecca’s were Benjamin Mackee and Isabelle Nicolson. Do you have an Ancestry account or any way for me to contact and share with you?

      • I am not at all sure what connection to my line is here, how or when. There could well be some way back when. Family history does seem to lead sometimes to everyone being related to everyone else, but that could well be a good thing when you think about it.

    • Yes Isaac Whitfield lived in Killatee, Maudabawn, Cootehill Co Cavan in Drumgoon Parish. Their farm is still call Whitfield’s to this day. They were Quakers. If you are on Facebook and follow Cavan Old Photos, you will see a 4 pictures of Isaac Whitfield & his wife Rebecca & some outside their home in Killatee.

      • Thanks, Catriona. I have looked at the photos you mention and it is possible that the Isaac Whitfield in that is the brother of my convicr ancestor Jacob.

      • Thank you so much, Catriona! I went to look at the pictures on FB today and I also have copies of two of the photos from my family collection. I am hoping to get some information on where the photos came from because the picture of the homestead has two people in it that are labeled in my collection as John (Isaac’s son) and his wife. It appears that the same couple is in picture number 3. I do believe its a different women in the first portrait, most likely John’s mother Rebecca. How exciting to see more copies from Ireland!

  13. I just did the family tree and discovered im related to William Whitfield and his father Jacob Whitfield. They are my great great great grandparents. Going by the family tree in see here there are ancestral cousins all over the place.

  14. Just need to add a note. William Clive Whitfield (b1907 d 1971) had 2 children to his 2nd partner. Mary Ivy Gray (b1922 d 2002). These 2 are my nan and pop. Their childrens names are Lionel Allen Gray (b1946), William Percival Gray (b1947 d 2011) William is my dad. On their birth certificate they have no father listed, but pop lived with my nan till his death in 1971 in Wollongong. William Clive Whitfield is listed on my dads death certificate. I need to document this as it will get lost in years to come. My nan used to be in contact with William James (b 1888 d 1984) they used to write letters to each other. I think she said his nickname was “Black Billy”

    • Hi Kerry
      Please contact me to share details about your Nan (Mary Ivy Gray) and her first husband, my Uncle Harry (Henry Thomas Gray).

  15. Hi Sandra Green nee Bailey here….
    I am the great grand daughter of Amy Whitfield who married George Herbert Bailey. Now I also heard the tale of aboriginal ancestors via my grandfather George Richard Bailey, and he swore it was true. He told me many tales over the time he lived with us, so long as I got him a cup of tea….get my a cuppa girly and I will tell you some stories, is what he would say to me. So yes I am not surprised to find that it is the case. At the time I did not know which line of descendants came from aboriginal ancestory on the whitfield side. I have heard the tales of the bushrangers and the transporting of gold from Braidwood from the mountains …..many tales that Iam not sure are the full truth. But I beleive them to be so. I was a teenager at the time and my grandfather was of age…but making him a cuppa was worth the tales he told.

    • My feeling is that just about any family that has been here long enough will have formed one way or another some kind of connection with those who were here before us.

    • hi sandra iam chris bailey one of amy elizabeths and george herberts grandsons if you want to reply i will give you my wifes email as i havent got one my self at the moment

  16. Hi Neil, do you know where the idea came from that Jacob was an orangeman? I sent the photograph of the sash that bob has to the Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland, as it didn’t look like any other Orange order sashes I had seen online. I wondered if they had something similar in their museum. I had a reply today from their director of services …”The regalia which you sent is certainly not Orange Order regalia and I unfortunately have been unable to find anyone who can identify it.” Another mystery to solve? all the best Kathy (Jacob’s ggggg grandaughter)

    • My father was adamant that at least up to his father’s time they were members of an Orange Order — King Billy, Battle of the Boyne, and the whole box and dice.

    • Could well be that the Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland didn’t recognise the regalia as it was from an Australian lodge then? Could have been that your grandfather joined the order in Australia. Was the sash handed down from him? Might be worth checking with the Orange Lodge in Kiama to see if they have an archive of regalia. If Bob’s latest discovery – that Jacob may have been a Quaker – is correct, then it is unlikely he was an orangeman (in the early days there were some battles!). I have suspected for a while he may have been a quaker as they were very active in the area where jacob grew up – though he was such a dodgy character he may have just made that up for some reason! cheers Kathy

      • That Kiama post is very informative and I may well follow it up. Particularly around the late 50s and early 60s my father told half-stories (to which I half-listened!) about all kinds of semi-cloak-and-dagger stuff down around Shellharbour/Kiama — the Lodge business being just some of it. I also think my grandfather Tom (born of course in Picton) turned away from much of that stuff, though it was close enough that my father clearly heard about it from the older generations. The Shellharbour Whitfields, and the Picton siblings to judge from funerals I attended, were all Anglicans by the 20th century.

  17. Hello, the Gorricks of Stratford House Tahmoor were my great grandparents/grand parents and the story about Napoleon Jean Lisson is true. The Gorricks regained the house in the 1920s and stayed there until the 1960s or there about. Anymore you might have since found out about the Gorricks of Tahmoor, I would certainly love to hear about. I am just starting to learn about my family history.

    • Thanks for this information, Louise. I know nothing more other than what is here, and I do remember the day my father showed me the house.

      Here’s a footnote too on the ship that brought Jacob Whitfield to Sydney:

      ‘ISABELLA I’ Built 1818 at London. Wood ship of 579 Tons. She carried 200 male convicts to Sydney and had no deaths en-route. She departed Cork, Ireland on the 4th of November 1821 and arrived in Sydney on the 9th of March 1822. Master: Captain John Wallis. Surgeon: W. Price.

      Warren Register of Colonial Tall Ships

  18. I have lodged my research with the Society of Genealogy (SAG) Sydney who in turn have made reference to the research on the National Library of Australia web site -
    For some years I have been searching for Jacob Whitfield’s death. It was noticed that Jacob gave his religion as a Quaker on one of his applications to marry. With this fact the Quaker society in Sydney has carried out some research and came up with the following piece of information:

    “In searching the incomplete records we have of burials in the Friends Burial Ground within the old Devonshire Street (Sandhills) Cemetery, I came across a reference to:
    “Burial Notes missing of … Jacob Whitfield”
    Unfortunately, there is no indication of his date of death or burial.
    Burials took place in the Friends Burial Ground from about 1837 through to about 1880.”

    Whilst we can now accept that Jacob died in Sydney, probably between 1851 and 1856 we cannot quite put him to rest until we find an exact date.

  19. When Jacob applied to marry Ann Lindsay in 1832, which was subsequently declined, the application recorded his religion as Quaker.
    The question as to whether Jacob was a Quaker has been raised on previous occasions.
    Bob Starling

    • Not much evidence the family followed him down that track, Bob. Interesting though. I rather admire the Quakers.

      Happy Christmas to you and yours, Bob.

  20. Can anyone clarify for me the truth behind the birth certificates and the marriage certificates? How true are these? Do we take these as facts? Please advise me as i am having great difficulty acepting some of the information they have. Thanks

  21. Re Linda’s comments of 11 March 2011 and recent discussions I had with Lyn Roberts, I have tried to link the names of Andrew Russel, William John and George John Charles Whitfield to Jacob Whitfield’s (the convict) family line but have found no connection. I have also looked to see if there is connection to Jacob’s Irish ancestors but again found no link. I personally consider that Linda’s family are an entirely different Whitfield family to that of Jacob Whitfield and his wife Mary who (died on arrival in April 1826) and four children, Mary, William, James (died 17/2/1826) and Ann died (22/3/1826)who immigrated on the “Thames”.

  22. An update on the Whitfield Family.
    Jacob Whitfield the Convict – his death still has not been identified.
    Mary Whitfield – Jacob’s wife – died on the passage to Australia or soon after arrival” NSW State Archive Reel 3838. The wording is a little loose for a governemnt document of 1826. I am assuming that the “Thames” ship had arrived in Port Jacson and the ship’s surgeon had handed over his responsibilities to the local health/quarantine authorities and Mary died on board before disembarking or soon after possibly in quaarantine. Two of her children James and Ann died during the voyage and this may be where the identities of Catherine and Judith Whitfield get confused with other families that travelled on the “Thames” and making up the four children that embarked in Cork Ireland.
    A document created in Ireland prior to the departure of the “Thames” states:
    “To: William Gregory Esq (do not know who this person is)

    List – “Free women & Children at Cork in list with columns, ‘womens names, childrens names, childrens ages, county, when arrived [at cork] include: Mary Whitfield; Mary Whitfield 13, James 12, Anne 8, William 7, Cavan, 23 June 1825. ” There is no indication that there was a Catherine and a Judith as part of the Whitfield family.
    A copy of the Whitfield family history on CD can be obtained from Bob Starling – contact 02 49755391

  23. Hi there,Whitfield Family, I’m searching for a Mary Whitfield who had 6 children from 1813to1826 to a George Wright aka George Faulty. Is she related to you?
    Regards,Susan Henderson.

  24. Hi Neil and others,
    Just an update on a few names i came across this week whilst digging in the roots. Was wondering if anyone can confirm or not? Going backwards in time line.
    Andrew Russell Whitfield B1858 parents are William John Whitfield b1823 & Amelia Farley B1826. William travelled to Aust with his uncle George John Charles WHITFIELD The gunmaker and taxidermist of king st sydney. So is William John b1823 parents…William John b1804c & Annie RUSSELL b1800c ..or…are the parents..Henry b1806c & Maria RUSSELL b1803c?
    Also did they have a sister Anne Jane b1806c who married Andrew STRUGEON/STURGEON in Belfast 11.12.1826? AND…is Maria RUSSELL and Annie RUSSELL sisters?
    interesting turn of events. hope someone can shed some light for me, as the more i search the more the tree twists and bends…thanks..Linda

  25. Colin, please contact me linda underscore xx2002 athotmaildotcom would love to get in touch and compare notes. oh and does anyone know if Bob has an updated CD yet? Thanks

  26. Just thought i’d let you know that i’m related to the Whitfields from Braidwood NSW my Grandmother was Olive Beryl Whitfield who married John Alfred Darke Love they ran a farm on the old Bombay Road near Braidwood.
    My grandmother’s father was Richard Whitfield who married Mary Satori.

    • I came across a George Whitfield with daughter Maria Prudence who married George Gardner. I am researching the Gardner side and still haven’t established a connection with this family, although it looks likely. This family experienced considerable hardship, which included the murder of George Whitfield Gunsmith in his King Street shop. I am in the process of writing up my notes. Please reply to this message and I’ll fill you in and can email you some details.
      Best wishes,

        • Thanks for getting back to me, Neil and your positive feedback. I’m not surprised that someone who was murdered could get into a public spat. I’ll head over to your post now.
          Best wishes,

      • Hi Rowena, My maiden name was Moses. George Whitfield (Gunsmith) was my great great grandfather. His daughter Maria Prudence Married George Gardner. My grandmother Beatrice Prudence (nee gardner) and her sister Florence were two of their daughters. Florence married a man who had been a friend of my Grandfather Herbert Lamert Moses and they had both returned from serving in the Boer War, when family history says, that my grandfather’s friend suffered from shell shock. Whatever the reason, he murdered his wife Flo. They had a baby daughter Sarah and at least one other son. My grandfather Herbert Moses then married Flo’s sister Beatrice Prudence (nicknamed Sissy) and they adopted the baby Sarah and changed her name to Sadie. They moved from Sydney to The Tweed District in Northern NSW. My Grandfather Herbert Moses had grown up in the Cooma district and was the son of David Moses and Rebecca Solomon ( the daughter of Solomon Solomon and wife Rachael ( nee Abrahams) of Eden ). Hope this helps, Nita Simpson

        • Hi Nita. Thanks so much for getting back to me. I reached a brick wall in my Gardiner/Gardner family research and started looking at other local Gardiner families in search of clues. That’s had I stumbled upon the tragic murder of Florence by her husband. This case was covered extensively in the newspapers of the day and even included quotes from their eldest daughter. I have downloaded these and could email them through to you and my information on the family. I don’t know if you are aware but George Gardner committed suicide. I have those details as well. My email address is rowenanewton at
          I would also be interested to know if you know anymore about your Gardners. I look forward to hearing from you. Best wishes, Rowena

          • Hi Rowena. My dads Aunty pat was married to Gerald Gardner who was a POW in ww2. Does he ring a bell at all?

            • Hi Linda,
              I don’t know of that Gerald Gardner personally although I’ve seen the name on my travels. He doesn’t have a close connection to me.

        • Hi Nita.
          I just read through my notes. Florence and Edward Young had 3 children 2 girls and the boy who’d died before the murder:
          Children of Edward Young and Florence Gardner

          Florence was 2 when her mother was murdered and Sadie was only 6 months old.

          Name Born Died
          George Young 1898 1900
          Florence Beatrice Young 1901
          Sarah “Sadie” E Young 1903
          It would appear from the newspaper stories that Sarah had been known as Sadie prior to the murder.
          Best wishes,

    • I am related also to Braidwood Whitfields, my mother’s father and mother were Richard Whitfield who married Mary Satori.

  27. Hi Lyn, my great grandfather is also wesley whitfield who married rose dayman/deaman. Their daughter Violet is my nanna, her son is maurice whitfield/elliott. I am maurices daughter. If you have any info about the whitfield line i would really appreciate it.
    linda underscore xx2002 athotmaildotcom

  28. Hi, Lyn Just read your post. My great aunt Rose married a Wesley Whitfleld, the when he died she married his brother Russell. They lived in Gunnedah NSW. Is this the same Wesley. Rose was Rose Dayman/Deamon her brother Burt was my grandfather.My email is glenronatcoolahdotinfo

  29. My grandfather was Wesley Whitfield. In found a page about a Mary Whitfield in a book, “Notorious Strumpets & Dangerous Girls”. This Mary came to Australia on the ship “Lady of the Lake”.

  30. An update on the information dated 30/11/2010 -DOCTOR LINTON THAMES SHIP’S SURGEON/DOCTOR RN – meticulous records were maintained by Dr. Linton with his report now held by the Mitchell Library – Special Collections on Microfilm AJCP PRO Reel 3214 Page 522 onwards (79/8555 Identifying number on film). The film is most difficult to read but with patience I was able to decipher records that are of interest. During the voyage there were 223 passengers put on the sick list with 207 being discharged from the Doctor’s treatment with 16 deaths being recorded 3 wives and 13 children. Fevers and fluxes (whatever this symptom represents) were the main illnesses treated. The 16 deaths were spread across a broad number of categories that cannot be deciphered although fluxes and debility accounted for 8 deaths. Dysentery was prevalent amongst those treated. If Dr Linton treated 223 passengers there is no way that the Microfilm has captured all of the Doctors medical journals. Perhaps he treated several patients on multiple occasions for minor ailments and did not record their medical history as all told here were only 161 passengers on board and although there is no mention of the number of crew there was possibly no more that 20 crew. I have only identified 9 of the 13 children’s deaths. Dr. Linton’s Report comprises 111 pages and has been captured to a CD but only addresses 31 medical cases plus a pre sailing report and a report at the conclusion of the voyage. Perhaps there are other medical journals maintained by Dr Linton that have not been microfilmed by the Mitchell Library. I have asked the Mitchell Library to see if they can locate the original Surgeon’s Report so that I can examine it with the view to locating the possible death of Mary Whitfield.
    The “Thames” was the 1st ship to carry wives and children of convicts that had sought permission to bring their family to Sydney. There is document at the Mitchell Library, although I have not viewed the document, that indicates that there lengthy delays to the “Thames” departure from Cork Ireland. This may account for the date that Dr Linton starts his records 20 September 2025 and sailing date 14 November 1826. Dr Linton was treating patients between these two dates. Perhaps Mary died before the Thames departed Cork.
    Index of Surgeon’s Report
    Generally speaking if a passenger died on the voyage their names would not appear on either the Lyndon Genealogy or Michael Sheedy data bases
    Family & Age Comments by Bob Starling
    Page 1 Pre Sailing
    Page 2 – 3 Ann Moore (32) No passenger with name of Ann although there is a Moore Family
    Page 3 – 4 Catherine Smith (14) Discharged
    Page 5 – 9 Rose Murray (16) Died 15/2/1826 – there is no family with this name
    Page 9 – 14 Ann Carr (3) Discharged
    Page 14 – 18 Margaret Farraher (11)Died 20/2/1826
    Page 18 – 20 Bridget Farraher (49) Discharged
    Page 21 – 22 Mary Smith (12) Discharged
    Page 22 – 24 Mary Bradley (49) Died 25/3/1826 – there is no family with name (Paradby)
    Page 25 – 30 Patrick Doyle (12) Died 14/2/1826
    Page 31 – 33 Patrick Costello (12) Discharged
    Page 33 – 36 Jerimah Doyle (10) Died 3/2/1826
    Page 36 – 38 Patrick Real (7) Discharged
    Page 39 – 40 Richard Casey (4) Discharged
    Page 40 – 42 Patrick White (12) Discharged
    Page 43 – 45 Judith Fogerty (11) Discharged
    Page 46 – 49 Eliza Donovan (5) Died 26/3/1826
    Page 50 – 51 Mary Killduff (38) Discharged
    Page 52 – 52 John Owens (7) Discharged
    Page 53 – 54 Ellen McCarthy (35) Discharged
    Page 55 – 62 Ann Whitfield (9) Came under care of Surgeon 22 January – died 21/3/1826 – Examination of the cadaver revealed a collapsed lung and possibly other contributing factors
    Page 63 – 64 Jane Hinks (32) Discharged
    Page 65 – 69 James Whitfield (12) Came under the care of Surgeon 2/2/1826
    died 17/2/1825
    After gradually sinking died
    Page 70 – 74 John Harvey (5) Discharged
    Page 75 – 79 Mary McCovey (10) No passenger by this name – died 31/3/1826
    Page 79 – 81 Mary White (56) Discharged
    Page 82 – 84 Mary Owens (38) Died 6/3/1826
    Page 85 – 86 Ellen Chawner (32) Discharged – difficult to read name
    Page 87 – 89 Mary Curton (15) Discharged
    Page 90 – 91 Mary Real (38) Discharged
    Page 92 – 93 Ann Smith (12) Discharged
    Page 94 – 95 Alica McCovey (9) Discharged
    Page 96 – 110 Post arrival Report by Dr Linton
    The Post Arrival Report would make great reading if only it could be deciphered and understood relative to legal terms. Page 102 does mention the words “highly probable, specifically from inappropriate food and drink”. James Whitfield is also mentioned on Page 108 with the word “hemorrhage” identified. Page 110 mentions the word “lemon Juice” which in those days may have been associated with scurvy, a deficiency in vitamin C.

    Mary Bradley
    Eliza Donovan
    Jerimah Doyle
    Patrick Doyle
    Mary Farraher
    Mary McCovey
    Rose Murray
    Mary Owens
    Ann Whitfield
    James Whitfield
    Mary Whitfield’s name does not appear on the Surgeon’s Report and there is every possibility that she died during the voyage as there are six deaths that cannot be identified from the Surgeon’s Report. Eight children and 2 wives have been identified leaving a discrepancy of eight children and one wife that are not accounted for in the Surgeon’s Report.

  31. Neil, Bob & I are still trying to find some answers to the Jacob Whitfield, but have come to some lost information. Devonshire cemetery records are about only 30% available as lots were lost. We think that Jacob would have been buried there so that is a mystery that might never be solved.
    I hired a researcher in Dublin to search for Jacobs family, the entries are difficult, some impossible to read on film. So you see that even back there is real problems so to prove details is very difficult.
    the Three Bees had a Mc Sweney as a convict so as you have stated Daniel Sweeney who married Mary did not come on the Three Bees. Stuart
    If you would like a copy of the full report, let me know.

  32. I have sighted the “Thames” Ship Surgeon’s Report which reveals that there were two deaths of Whitfield children during the voyage – James Whitfield took ill 12/2/1826 and died on 17/2/1826 aged 12 – Ann Whitfield took ill on 22/1/1826 and died on 21/3/1826 aged 9. The Report is extremely difficult to read but there is no doubt that the two Whitfield children died and were buried at sea as were 13 other unfortunate passengers. There was also a death of a person whos name looks like Mary McGowry. There has been previous research of a person named Mary Gowry, wife of Jacob Whitfield. I will have a closer look at the Report on my next visit to the Mitchell Library. As Jacob applied to being his wife Mary and 6 children to NSW, It could well be that the six have been identified as Mary, Judith, Catherine, William, James and Ann although I am still not convinced that Judith and Catherine were Jacob and Mary’s children as I have not been able to locate a marriage or a death of these two persons. Bearing in mind that Jacob made a further application to bring 2 more children to NSW in 1848, a John aged 40 and family and a Joseph aged 38 and family, but they did not come, it tends to lean support to my theory that Judith and Catherine have been mistakenly identified as children of Jacob and Mary. Still more work to be done on either including or excluding Judith and Catherine from the Whitfield family.

  33. Hi Bob

    Great to see you tackling that issue. Unfortunately, beyond recalling it was an Irish genealogy site I can’t help. Should have linked the information at the time.

  34. Hi Neil – I am spending a little time trying to get to the bottom of Jacob’s birth and death dates as well as to what children came to Australia. In your comments of October 2008 you indicated that you had a look up three years ago and came up with the information listed below. Can you let me know the source of the information?

    “I had looked up 3 years ago that Jacob Whitfield “ploughman” transported on the Isabella is out of Thomas Whitfield and Elizabeth Marshall — not out of John Whitfield and Susanna Pearson. “

    • Message for Bob Staring,
      Hi – Debbie Carrier here. So sorry for the tardy reply – I just saw your message. I tried to email you but it did not go through. Could you please email me at I am interested in any information you have regarding a Jacob Whitfield who immigrated to the States in 1830. My mother is a Whitfield and we have hit a wall trying to locate additional information about our elusive ancestor.
      Best Regards,
      Debbie Carrier

  35. John Whitfield Vacchini passed away on 24 July 2010 age 98. John was the youngest son of Tiberio Vacchini and Ann Elizabeth Whitfield. All were born at Picton NSW.

    Submitted by Bob Starling

  36. I’m researching my Whitfield lineage and came across your site. Please note that I live in the States, and I am just beginning my research. My ancestor Jacob Whitfield, according to family records, is the son of Jacob Whitfield and Mary Gowrie. He immigrated to the States sometime around 1830 with an unknown uncle. He married Margarget Miller in Alabama on July 18, 1841. Jacob died in the Mexican War between 1846-1848 according to his son’s military pension records. I’m looking for any information which could prove/disprove this theory. Sincerely,
    Debbie Carrier

  37. Looking for a Mary Whitfield who married a George Faultly Wright abt.1814-1819. I am descended from their son, James.
    Regards, Susan Henderson nee Wright.

  38. The William J Whitfield and George Whitfield who served time in the Braidwood Gaol from 1869 were not from the Jacob Whitfield (convict per Isabella) family line. NSW State Archives claearly indicate that William J and George were different identies to the Jacob Whitfield Family Line.
    Surname FirstName Born BirthPlace Gaol DateOfPhoto PhotoNo Page Series Item Reel Remarks Order
    WHITFIELD George 1855 Maitland Darlinghurst 20/11/1902 8816 24 NRS2138 [3/6068] 5110 –

    WHITFIELD William John 1824 Belfast, Ireland Darlinghurst 18/10/1872 528 243 NRS2138 [3/14030] 5097 –

  39. Kathryn Whitfield Says:
    December 21, 2007

    Never a truer word than that expressed by Kathryn ‘history detectives often jump to conclusions about facts and figures we find on the internet in our rush to fill slots on the family tree’.

    CATHERINE WHITFIELD – Catherine was born April 1810 (source unknown) and with William Aaron supposedly transported on the “Prince Regent” arriving in Sydney on 9 January 1821. No person with the name William Aaron is listed in the NSW State Archives on the “Prince Regent” or any other transportation ship. Catherine would have 10 years of age when William went to trial in Tipperary Ireland in 1820. Similarly Judith was born 1811 (source unknown) and with her spouse Edward Doyle supposedly transported on the “Daphne” arriving in Sydney 21 September 1819, Judith would have been 8 years of age when Edward went to trial in Roscommon Ireland in 1819. I believe these facts would prove that Kathryn’s statement “You will find that 16- and 17-year-old Judith and Catherine were already married and do not, therefore, appear on the list as Whitfields” hardly likely.

    JUDITH WHITFIELD – Not unlike her sister Catherine, the background to Judith is also clouded and unproven and there is no way that she could have married Edward Doyle when she was eight years of age prior to Edward being transported.

    So how could this linking of Judith Whitfield/Edward Doyle and Catherine Whitfield/William Aaron occur? Maybe the names Judith and Catherine were simply plucked from the list of names that appeared on the manifest of the “Thames” i.e. Judith Doyle and Catherine Aaron.

    Throughout my research, I have never found a qualified connection between Judith/Edward and Catherine/William. There are no children to these linked names or deaths. Maybe Judith linked up with Edward and Catherine linked up with William after they arrived but the “Thames” list that I have does not list either Judith or Catherine that I would be satisfied to claim as a Whitfield. William Arron has been documented throughtout the Whitfield history as arriving on the “Prince Regent” and living in the Bathurst region. outlines the history of a William Ahern (similar sounding to Aaron) who was transported on the “Prince Regent” and married a Catherine Smith in 1827 in Sydney who incidentally was a passenger on the “Thames” together with her mother Mary and siblings Mary and Ann (Nancy). Catherin’s father was William Smith who was transported on the “Isabella” with Jacob Whitfield, so there is a link between the name Catherine Smith (not Whitfield) and William Ahern (not Aaron).
    I have not at this point of time developed any theory on Judith’s relationsip with Edward Doyle.
    The documentation that I have not sighted todate that may sway me towards accepting that Judith and Catherine actually came to Australia would be Jacob Whitfields application to bring his four children to Australia plus the “Thames” ships manifest.
    I have not seen evidence of the arrival of Jacob’s other two children John and Joseph plus their families as a result of his application in 1847.
    Any views would be appreciated.
    Bob Starling

  40. Hi all, have just found this site. I am related to Rose Whitfield (nee Dayman, Deamon)who married Wesley Whitfield. I have basic info on this side of the family.But I need to know did Rose marry either Andrew or Russell Whitfield ( I think were brothers of Wesley) after his death. I can find only one son Jack and several daughters. I live in Coolah NSW not far from Gunnedah, but cannot make a connection between whitfields in Coolah & Coonabarabran with those in Gunnedah. Rose is buried in Gunnedah cemetry. A Rose Whitfield is buried in Coolah but not our Rose. I have a full history of the Deamon/Dayman going back to approx 1600 if anyone wants any info. Thanks you can contact me on glenron(at)coolah(dot)info this is my own domain name so there is no .com or .au.
    Rhonda Courtney
    Rose and my grandfather Bert were brother & sister.

  41. Hi
    I am looking for info on the family of William James Whitfield born 1888 and Irene Ivy O’Neill. They had William Clive 1907, Reginald Alwyn 1910(Our line) and Harold Victor 1916 all born Braidwood.

  42. To add to the family tree. Hayden Williams is spelt “Hadyn Martyn” born 1961
    Jason Whitfield passed away November 2008, Children of Debbie and Hadyn Williams are Amanda born 29 june 1987 and Christopher born 8th October 1988.
    Amanda Williams has a child, Maddison Kingsley born 8th June 2008
    hope this helps a little
    Hadyn and Debbie

  43. To get Bob Starling’s CD-ROM email bobkwangi[at]optusnet[dot]com[dot]au. Contact him too if you have any information that might help him update his project.

  44. Hi
    My name is Angela and one of my relatives was Ann Ratcliffe and I am trying to find information about Everett Randall and Ann if you had any. Thankyou

  45. hi Neil , yeah that would be good, my email is ******* … would appreciate any info that might give us some leads…..tks…
    Hi Kaye. About to do what I said. I have also scrubbed your email; never put it out like that as it’s an invitation to get spam coming your way. I have it anyway from when you posted the comment.

  46. hi, we are trying to trace three sisters who were orphanges and were raised by a Mrs Randall of Stratford House around the early 1915 we think…..there surname was Wallace or Wallis…..their mother died on the ship they came out on…(not sure of that ship)…and we think their father was a railway worker…..any help would be greatly appreciated…tks

  47. Hi, I was just looking into the History of Stratford House, Tahmoor. My grandmother grew up there. Her maiden name was Gorrick. If I can be of any help, or if you have information on the Gorricks at Stratford House, it could be most interesting to find out more.

  48. Isn’t this a coincidence, my grandfather was the other blacksmith Dick Whitfield Uncle Bills Brother,and I too would like the E-Mail address of Bob Starling so I can aquire a copy of that much sought after CD. You would not believe how I found this site! I was working on Jacob Whitfield and Decided to put Ballyhagen, Kildare Co. Ireland onto Google and your site came up without puting his name in or any other clue. Must be my Christmas Present! Look forward to hearing from you.

  49. i would love to know how to get a copy of that CD. My grandfather was William Clive Whitfield. He was from Braidwood. I have alot of the same information about the early day so I am pretty certain I am on the right track. My grandfathers name was William as well I think he died 1988 Braidwood about 96yrs old, he was a blacksmith there with his brother

  50. Thank you for a wonderful site – full of information. My great-grandmother, Ethel Holmes, is the daughter of Edward Holmes & Susanna Whitfield. At this point in time, I don’t have any information on Ethel’s brothers and sisters – but will keep you updated as my search continues. If anyone else has this information it would be very much appreciated.

    I would really love to get a copy of Bob Starling’s up-to-date family tree.


  51. I am looking for someone by the name of Kathy Whitfield. We were friends in Fresno, CA.
    This was in late 1940’s.
    We both attended West Park Grade School. Kathy may have married, I really have no ideal. She and her parents lived close to us. We lived on Valentine and they lived on the next street over.
    I would just like to get in touch with her if ever I could. We both were in a May day dance at Washington Union High School in Easton, CA. and I have many picture although that is all from those days. We played at each others home a lot.
    Thank you if any of you might know of this Kathy Whitfield.
    Mary Cook (McFarland)

  52. Thank you for a wonderful site. Am very interested in finding more on the Whitfield family. Also any information on the Randall/Ratcliffe family connection.
    My husband’s great grandfather Everett Randall married firstly Ann Ratcliffe on the 26th February 1881 at the Private Residence of William J.L. Whitfield.
    Then on the 23rd March 1903 Everett then married Caroline Philadelphia Tickle nee Whitfield.
    Caroline was the daughter of William and Caroline Philadelphia Whitfield nee West.

    Marie Simpson

    • Hi Marie .. I can send you a photo of Caroline Philadelphia Whitfield Tickle Randall if you are interested ..She is my “other halfs” great great grandmother .. you can get me on Cheers Jen

  53. That is an excellent lead, Lyn. Thanks.

    I have also had some further emails with more information. I can see a big revision may be necessary.

  54. Neil, I have followed your Whitfield history with much interest. I am a descendent of Jacob Whitfield.My grandmother was Mary Ada Whitfield,(born at Picton on 12th August 1874) the daughter of Jacob Wwhitfield and Eliza Ratcliffe. Jacob was the second son of William Whitfield and Carolina Philadelphia West. William was the son of Jacob Whitfield. My great grandfather, Jacob was the brother of your great grandfather William Joseph John and my great grandmother, Eliza was the sister of your great grandmother, Elizabeth. I am aware of the Vacchini connection with the Whitfields of Picton. I am a teacher and for many years taught with Ian Vacchini’s daughter.She told me about her dad meeting Annie Whitfield at a reunion in Picton. There is a lot of research published on the Whitfield family in Australian Biographical and Genealogical Record Series 1 1788-1841.This reseach was submitted by a relative of my grandmother’s eldest sister, Jane.Regards, Lyn.

  55. I am unable to edit at the moment for reasons that link to my name makes clear. Some excellent information just arrived from Stuart but I cannot revise the information above yet.

  56. Thanks, Stuart. I have sent you an email. I hope my use of some of Bob’s work helps put him in touch with more family members, and I have referred all the enquirers above to him. I hope that in some cases that actually helps Bob fill in any missing pieces.

    And yes, I did once meet Ian Vacchini many years ago. He was highly respected by all English and History teachers.

  57. Neil, what is your email addres as I only have a 2004 address. Also Iam Vacchini now lives at Hornsby and was an Inspector of schools and was an English inspector. You could have met him as I believe you were an English teacher.
    stuart daniels

  58. Neil, Jacob was born May 1774 and was sent to Australia for life after being convicted for horse stealing 1820. The details was published in “The Belfast News Letter” of Friday 4 Aug 1820, no 8084, page 4 column 3.

    Bob Starling has never stated that only two children of Jacob’s came to Australia as we know that Four came out. The only remaining mystery is when & where Jacob died.

    I think you should have asked Bob for permission for the use of his photos as a courtesy.

  59. There have been some developments in the story of Convict Jacob, coming via email from John Van Luyn.

    …We then went to the familysearch website and did a search on Jacob Whitfield with a DOB of 1760 +/- 15 years which yielded two possibilities:-

    Jacob Whitfield b Feb 1759 Grange Co Tyrone.

    Jacob Whitfield b May 1774 Ballyhagen Kildare Co Armagh.

    I have since found a third possibility:-

    Jacob Whitfield b April or August 1787 Grange Co Tyrone.

    I thought I had the 1759 Jacob nailed in 2003!! But I recently looked on the website http// and have found that the 1759 and 1787 versions died in Ireland in 1832 & 1834. The Jacob born 1774 has no death recorded on either website. The myheritage website has additional information supplied by someone that the 1774 Jacob was transported on the Isabella. The familysearch site now has some additional information that the 1774 Jacob was also transported on the Isabella and was married to Mary Gowrie (which I knew) born 1781 Co Armagh which tallies with the 1774 jacob from Armagh, submitted by:-

    Vicky P BAILEY Queensland

    The mystery behind Jacob Whitfield of the Isabella deepens. Why would his children come to Australia when his wife Mary was left in Ireland (& died in 1841 according to is rather confounding.

    The only way to check his background is the prison records in Ireland….these are available in the National Archives. The transportation records were destroyed by fire in 1922.

    I would have to concede that the info from the Isabella’s ship muster/log at now doesn’t appear to match up.

    He promises more to come.

  60. My grandmother was Annie Allen nee Crawford, the daughter of Alexander Crawford and Martha Whitfield. My father, Laurie, is now aged 87 but has no knowledge of the family history. This is a fantastic site and I too would like to purchase a copy of the CD. Also, hi to Vicki above – she is my second cousin.

  61. Hi, Ive just happened upon your startling website and I’m hoping to get Bob Starlings details. I too am descended from Jacob the convict via WJJ’s daughter, Susan Caroline Whitfield and Jonathon McInnes. Susan C being my great grandmother. Thanks for getting me past Jacob as the convict records did not have his parent’s names. I was a bit stuck and have just joined SAG in the hope of obtaining further info. Appreciate the help. Many thanks, Kaye

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