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Hawkesbury Family History Group Meeting News

~ 12th September 2007 ~  


12 September Excursion to State Records at Western Sydney Records Centre 143 O'Connell Street, Kingswood 2747
10 October


14 November JEREMY PALMER UK family history sources
12 December

Show & Tell plus Christmas Party

Meeting held 2nd Wednesday of the month at 10am in the Tebbutt Room, Windsor Library


Please note that as there is an excursion planned to the State Records at Western Sydney Records Centre (143 O'Connell Street, Kingswood) on Wednesday 12 September 2007 at 10am, there will be no meeting of the Hawkesbury Family History Group at the Library on that day.
If you wish to book please phone 4560-4460 as places are limited.


You may be interested in the information session & introduction to the proposed visitor services program for Hawkesbury Regional Museum which is being held on Thursday 13 September 2007 at 2.30pm. As you are probably aware, building works on the site are proceeding smoothly, and the official opening is anticipated early in 2008. If you would like to know more about the museum development and, in particular, if you would like to hear about volunteering opportunities and some of the museum’s proposed programs, please come along to this session to be held in the Regional Gallery on Thursday 13 September at 2.30 pm. The Gallery is located in the Deerubbin Centre at 300 George Street, Windsor 2756. The mayor, Clr Rex Stubbs, will be in attendance, and light refreshments will be served. 

HISTORYWEEK FREE SEMINAR Wednesday 19 September 2007 1 pm - 4 pm

"Your Writing is Going Where? : finding your place in history, memory & mystery in Family History" presenter Noeline Kyle
Celebrate Historyweek with free seminar at Hawkesbury Central Library. How to develop your writing skills, how to use practical strategies to begin writing & turn your research into a readable book. Notes provided. FREE - Bookings essential 4560-4460. Held Tebbutt Room, Hawkesbury Central Library, Deerubbin Centre, 300 George Street, Windsor 2756.


POLICE GAZETTES - 10 October 2007

Do you suspect there are some black sheep in your family? Are you game to see whether there are any criminals on your family tree? Or you may even have ancestors that were members of the police force. Come along to the next Hawkesbury Family History Group meeting on Wednesday 10th October 2007 and find out about Police Gazettes, an interesting, under utilised, research tool. Police Gazettes were introduced in Australia in the mid 19th century recording activities relating to police matters and information. Family and local history researchers are now using this unique source to locate information seldom found in any other resources. Police Gazettes have been recently digitised and made available through Archive CD Books Australia, with copies of the NSW Police Gazette 1866-1910 available to consult in the Hawkesbury City Library.

Police Gazettes can include information such as court lists, warrants, appointments, Justices of the Peace plus licences for liquor, tobacco sellers, auctioneers, billiard and poisons licences. One of the most interesting aspects of the Gazette is the information relating to various crimes, arrests and discharges. The Gazettes were introduced as a form of communication between the police force. Wanted criminals, crimes committed, and missing persons often provide information about actual crimes, any evidence and appearances to assist with arrests, with some photographs included. Michelle Nichols, Local Studies Librarian will be giving the presentation, providing information on layout and how to get the most out of them, with examples from the Hawkesbury area.

UK SOURCES - 14 November 2007

Jeremy Palmer from the UK, is a professional genealogist and will be discussing the topic of United Kingdom Family History Sources in his role as guest speaker at the meeting on the 14 November. Well versed on his subject, Jeremy graduated with a History degree from the University of Kent, and trained at the Institute of Heraldic & Genealogical Studies in Canterbury, England where he obtained the Diploma in Genealogy. He progressed to become Registrar of the Institute where he taught and lectured widely on genealogical and family history subjects. Having relocated to Australia, Jeremy has formed ANZESTRY to bring his research expertise to clients. As well as a lecturer and speaker, Jeremy also writes articles for various genealogy magazines including Practical Family History, Family Tree Magazine, Ancestors and Family History Monthly.


Ancestry is available to library members to access for free at Hawkesbury City Council Library. (Joining the library is also FREE) As an Australian version has recently been released, a lot more Australian content is appearing. New Australian material available in a searchable format, is as follows:

  • 1828 New South Wales, Australia Census (The National Archives)
  • Australia Convict Musters, 1806-1849 (NSW and Tasmania)
  • Convict Pardons and Tickets of Leave, 1834-1859 (NSW and Tasmania)
  • Settler and Convict Lists, 1787-1834 (NSW and Tasmania)
  • Bounty Immigrants List 1828-1842 NSW
  • Sands Directories 1861-1933 Sydney & NSW
  • Who’s Who in Australia, 1921-1950
  • William Shaw, Trip from Australia to California, 1849
  • An Australian Biographical Dictionary 
  • Australian Convict Index, 1788-1868
  • Convict Transportation Registers 1788-1868
  • The Australian Portrait Gallery and Memoirs of Representative Colonial Men 
  • Australia's Fighting Sons of The Empire. Portraits and Biographies of Australians in the Great War 
  • 19th C 'Old Lutherans' Emigration E/Germany to Australia, Canada & USA
  • Benedictine Pioneers in Australia, Vol. 1 & 2 
  • The Dictionary of Australasian Biography 

Also newly available is the British WW1 Pension Records. The records relate to non-commissioned soldiers who fought in WW1 and were discharged due to illness or injuries for which a pension was granted. Information contained in the records can include: Name, Date and place of birth, Former occupation, Next of kin, Physical description & Medical info.


I don’t really remember when I became interested in family history – it seems to have always been there. My mother had always been interested in history in general and would repeat stories she had hard from her parents and grandparents. I was also in possession of a lovely gold locket left to me by my great grandmother, on my mother’s father’s side, when I was just a small baby. It contains a photograph of Robert Simpson, immigrant from Northern Ireland in the 1880s, and a lock from the first haircut for his eldest child, James Hunt Simpson, my grandfather. This photograph of Robert Simpson is still the only one I have ever seen. The photograph and lock of fine reddish hair always fascinated me.

By the time I was 12 I was definitely aware of my convict heritage. My maternal great grandmother, Lucy Lillywhite Hobbs, was born in Pitt Town in 1885, the great granddaughter of Robert Hobbs, convict, Active 1791. Many of her generation chose not to publicly acknowledge their family background, but Lucy was different. Because she was the product of a second marriage, and her father was 62 when he began his family, there was a missing generation. Joseph could remember his grandfather, Robert Hobbs, who did not die until Joseph was 22 years old, and he would tell his children stories of Robert. Therefore the convict heritage was alive and almost within living memory for his young family. Indeed, one of my mother’s grandmothers, Rebecca Sophia Hobbs, nee Hurst, was the daughter of a convict, Samuel Hurst (Ocean 2 1818), which makes it seem very close in time for me. My interest in history in general has always been there and details of the early days of the Australian colony became of more and more interest as I grew older.

My maternal grandparents were farmers, and on visits to their property, I could see the history around me in the discarded machinery, the use of the Clydesdales to still pull the haywagons, etc. One other side of the family lived with no electricity or telephone in the 1960s when these amenities were mostly taken for granted. So when we went to stay, we had first hand experience of some aspects of the older lifestyle – slow combustion stove, hurricane lamps and candles for lighting, boiling the copper to do the washing, heating water in the chip heater for a bath, using a flat iron on the stovetop to do the ironing, We kids thought it great fun, but it added to our sense of the ways things were for many generations.

When I left school and started working in a public library I would keep my eye out for anything new on early Australian history, particularly the Hawkesbury, as that is where 9 out of 11 of my first Australian imports settled. I checked everything that came my way for the names I already knew, starting with Robert Hobbs. I found quite a lot of information, considering that I wasn’t formally researching and started to record what I had found in A5 loose leaf folders – one page per person – and then index card files.

After the birth of my first child I joined the Hawkesbury Family History Group and later the staff of Hawkesbury Library. As I answered questions for library users and catalogued some of the local studies material, my interest grew even more. I have continued my association with the Hawkesbury Family History group ever since, participating in the production of both volumes of the Hawkesbury Pioneer Register and have given a couple of talks for the group also. I am still researching and finding more information as I am an all or nothing kind of person who is not satisfied with just pursuing her direct line, but all the siblings as well. As I am a “double descendant” of Robert Hobbs and his wife Bridget Heslin, I thought I might as well do the lot!

Apart from the Hawkesbury families of Wright, Cross, Flood, Gott, Rogers, Hobbs, Heslin, Douglas/s, Celey, Barwick and Hurst, my families include Wilson and Simpson from Northern Ireland, Wilson from Dublin, Hunt from Kent (went to South Australia), and Litchfield from Essex. I have started on my husband’s family also, including Nichols (Scarborough 1788), Win(d)ley, Perkins, Wailes, and Overett. There are still plenty of blanks to be filled in there, so I will keep on looking.


Descendants of John William and Sarah Stubbs are invited to attend a family reunion on Saturday 27 October 2007 at Ebenezer Church, Coromandel Road Ebenezer from 9.30am. BYO picnic lunch, folding chairs etc. Enquiries to Coralie Hird cdhird@optusnet.com.au or phone 02 9401-0402

Surfing the internet……. Sites for family historians

Members with internet access should check out the following interesting sites. The Library has free access to the internet, contact 4560 4460 for bookings at Windsor & 4578 2002 for Richmond bookings.

Australian Union and Confederate Veterans of the American Civil War of 1861 – 1865 ~ http://www.acwv.info/

Decisions of the Superior Courts of New South Wales, 1788-1899. Published by the Division of Law Macquarie University ~ http://www.law.mq.edu.au/scnsw/index.htm

Immigration to Victoria 1839-1923 ~ http://proarchives.imagineering.com.au/

Graham Jaunay's website (SA and Shipping specialist) ~ http://www.jaunay.com/

~ Let us know of sites, that you have tried with (or without) success ~

Hawkesbury Family History Group meets every 2nd Wednesday of the month in the Tebbutt Room of Hawkesbury Central Library, 300 George Street Windsor NSW 2756. Anyone interested in family & local history, welcome to attend.
Enquiries contact the Local Studies Librarian at above address phone (02) 4560-4466 or email michelle.nichols@hawkesbury.nsw.gov.au


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