19 Feb 2018

The Family Bible proves a link between Family 5 and Family 2

In the first Blog about the discovery of the Family Bible, which was published on 7th January 2018, it was noted that the Bible includes an entry for the birth of a John Swinfield on 22nd March 1773. That fact follows a reference to the birth of Thomas Swinfield on 27th August 1769. They must surely have been brothers. Although their parentage is not recorded, it is known that Thomas was baptised at Ashby de la Zouch church in Leicestershire on 1st January 1770 as the son of John and Jane Swinfield. That parish is located on the border between Leicestershire and Derbyshire.

John married Jane Radford in that same church on 28th November 1768. They also named a daughter as Elizabeth on 25th September 1771, although details of her birth were not recorded by the person then entering entries in the Bible. Jane was buried in that churchyard on 1st February 1809. John survived until 1820, when he died aged 81, and his body was laid to rest on 25th April 1820. Neither has an existing monumental inscription or any form of probate document.









The baptismal record of John Swinfield junior, born in 1773, is not included in the parish register of Ashby and is not included in any of the major genealogical indexes to the records of Church of England and nonconformist churches and chapels. Those include FindMyPast, which purports to have digitised and indexed all registers for Leicestershire, and Ancestry which has done the same for the Church of England registers for Derbyshire parishes. What became of John after 1773? He did not marry and was not buried from Ashby church. Did he move elsewhere to settle and raise a family of his own?

Consulting the database of over 4,000 entries in the Swinfield database, an excellent candidate was found for the marriage of John Swinfield to Catherine Lawson. Their marriage was solemnised in the church at Thurlaston on 3rd November 1800. That church is about 15 miles south-east of where his parents had lived.

Significantly, one of the witnesses was Thomas Swinfield who must surely have been his older brother who was born in 1769. Indeed the signature of Thomas at that ceremony is identical to that which he wrote at his own marriage in Kirkby Mallory church in 1803.     

John and Catherine moved to Burbage where their 12 children were born from 1800 to 1825. Ten of those were registered on 30th June 1819 at the Hinckley Presbyterian Chapel. Its register is at the National Archives at Kew (RG4/3187).





John had written his will on 14th January 1851 and it was proved by his son Job in the Archdeaconry Court of Leicester on 13th September 1856. In the inventory of his goods,  there is reference to five of his children and to his widow Esther, who, it is stated, was their step-mother. John specifically requested that his grandson Alfred should be taught the trade of blacksmith. 

John was buried in Burbage churchyard three days after his death. Catherine had died 17 years earlier when she was also buried there having died at 54. Most significantly, John's age places his year of birth at 1773/4, matching with the date recorded for John's birth in the Bible. Surely they must be the same man.

After his wife Catherine had died in 1834, John married again on 19th September 1835 at St George's church, Birmingham, to a widow called Hester Brightmoore. Her first marriage had taken place at St Martin in the Fields, Westminster in 1819 where her maiden surname was found to be Turner. Hester Swinfield died aged 78 and is buried in Cheltenham Cemetery, Gloucestershire.

John was recorded in the 1841 census of Church Street, Burbage (HO107/600/2, fol. 11, p. 19) with his wife Hester, his son Job and 5 year-old Alfred. By 1851, when John was dead, Job had become the head of the household in Burbage (HO107/2082, fol. 82, pp. 18 & 19) which now included his wife Ann (whose maiden surname had been Turner like his step-mother), his sister Mary, his nephew Alfred and his widowed step-mother, who, for some reason, was then recorded as Hannah. 


The 1861 census records that Job, a blacksmith of 48, had moved to Cheltenham in Gloucestershire (RG9/1798, fol 150, p. 48) leaving behind his father's widow Esther Swinfield, aged 59, who was then a nurse at the Workhouse at St Margaret's Leicester (RG9/2292, fol. 89, p. 1). She did not remain there, as by 1871, she was living again with her step-son Job, who was then working as a blacksmith and living at 18 Albert Street, Cheltenham (RG10/2667, fol. 32, p. 14). Job, his wife and one of his daughters were also laid to rest in Cheltenham Cemetery.

Two other sons of Joseph and Catherine Swinfield, Joseph and Thomas, as well as his grandson Alfred, the illegitimate son of their daughter Martha, also worked as blacksmiths for most of their lifetime. There are many living descendants of this couple today through Alfred, Joseph and their youngest child who was called William. Two of those attended the Swinfield Gathering in 2013. The suggestion that Family 2 may be closely related to Family 5 was mooted then. Further evidence was later added through DNA testing.  

The reference to the birth of John Swinfield in 1773 in the Bible, despite the absence of a record of his baptism, has now enabled a link to be made between Swinfield Families 5 and 2, which could not be established previously by using genealogical sources. Pedigrees showing exactly how the two families are connected can be viewed using the links at the top right-hand corner of this page.

9 Jan 2018

Further revelations from the Swinfield Bible

The genealogical information recorded in the Swinfield Concordance had enabled the pedigree of Family 5 to be extended back to the middle of the 17th century. It records that Richard Swinfield was born in 1645. Although it is not yet known when and where he married Frances Colgin, he was baptised in nearby Ibstock church on 19th April 1646, as the son of John and Mary Swinfield. That couple named five children there just prior to and into the Commonwealth Interregnum when England was embroiled in its Civil War. There is now a line which extends back into the period when the Swinfields were "will-making folk". 
Will of John Swinfeild 1649


John Swinfield's will, which was dictated in 1649, was proved in the following year in the Archdeaconry Court of Leicester (ref: 1649/72). John made bequests to his oldest son James and to his five other children, all of whom were under the age of 21. It was recorded that he owed his brother Richard £7 and his unnamed father was due £4 for a brown filly. The will was proved by his widow Mary.

Will of William Swingfeild 1633






John's brother William had also made a will in May 1633, very shortly before he died and was buried from Heather church. He left a sheep each to his brothers Richard, George and Ralph and to his sister Anne. Richard was also to receive his best jerkin and breeches. John Swinfield was left the testator's best doublet, shirt, hose and shoes. Most substantially, the residue of William's estate was to be divided between his wife Alice and his brother John with a bequest of a colt called Throstle to his cousin James.

The more wealthy family members were John and William's brothers George and Ralph Swinfield. George of Donington made his will in 1658 and he left sheep and wool to his kinsman, James Swinfield of Ibstock, and to James's brothers, John and Richard, and their three sisters. Having no surviving children of his own, he made provisions for his two nephews, Ralph and George, the sons of his deceased brother Ralph.

Will of George Swinfeild 1680


Wills were proved for these two men and Ellen, the widow of Ralph Swinfield junior, from 1671 to 1681. All were buried from the parish church of Great Appleby. The last survivor, George Swinfield, then held all the land which had been accumulated by that part of the family. His two cousins, James of Ibstock and John of Huckles Coat [now called Hugglescote] were gifted his house and land at Ticknall, Derbyshire, and Appleby in Leicestershire respectively. 
Disappointingly from Family 5's viewpoint, Richard Swinfield (1645-1701) and his family received no land from their cousins.






1595/6 baptism of Jhon Swinfilde at Shackerstone
John Swinfield was baptised at Shackerstone on 2nd March 1595/6. No parents' names were recorded in the bishop's transcripts of that church. The registers only survive from 1630. He appears to have been the oldest of a series of six children named in that church, ending with Mary in 1611. 



1609 baptism of Raph, son of Rychard Swinfilde, at Shackerstone
George was also christened there in early 1607 and Ralph in 1609. Significantly, only for the last two ceremonies was a father's name recorded. They were children of yet another Richard Swinfilde. From the will of 1649, he may still have been alive as he was then owed money for a filly. He now stands at the head of this lineage.

It could be speculated that there is now a genealogical link between Family 5 and the very extensive Family 12 which also used Markfield parish church from the beginning of the 18th century, With more work, can they be joined together into one tree?

Even more speculatively, does the frequent occurrence of the forename of Richard by both Families 5 and 12, reflect their knowledge that were related, some three centuries earlier, to Bishop Richard Swinfield of Hereford who died in 1317?

A son of Thomas and Sarah Swinfield, who was born at Earl Shilton in 1834, was named as Richard. He was one of the six issue, supposedly born to that couple from 1829 to 1841. It is now clear however from DNA testing and newspaper reports that those children were genetically the issue of Thomas Brown, with whom Sarah had a long adulterous relationship from shortly after her marriage in 1829 until her death in 1862. Indeed, Richard later changed his surname to Brown by the time that he married in 1854. By then Thomas had left his family and had gone to live with Maria Cooper at Calverton where their illegitimate daughter Elizabeth was born in 1839. It was this family that left these shores forever in the 1850s and took the treasured "Family Bible" on their journey into the unknown. It has survived, despite being damaged in a fire at some point, and will be 400 years old in 2019!  

Two pedigrees for Family 5, one showing the 16th and 18th century (early) and the other the 18th to 20th century (late), can be viewed by using the appropriate link in the top right corner of this page. They record the results and illustrate the relationships which can be derived from the "Swinfield Bible".  

7 Jan 2018

The Swinfield "Family Bible" discovered!

In genealogy, you never know when a significant breakthrough will happen in your research. The end of 2017 presented a wonderful surprise which will be of great significance to all Swinfields, especially those who are part of Family 5. Whilst away on holiday in December, I was contacted from America by Chantelle Russell. She had found me through reading the Swinfield Blog. It just shows that advertising your research interests is a great way of finding new contacts and relatives who may have that important fact, memory or, in this case, a family artifact.

Naturalisation application of 1864
Having recently embarked on research into her family's history, she was able to extend the line back to her immigrant ancestor, her great-great-great-great-grandmother, Elizabeth Swinfield Cooper (1839-1925) who married John Warburton in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, in 1859. Elizabeth's father was Thomas (George) Swinfield (1808-1893) who had left his family behind in Earl Shilton, Leicestershire, to live with Maria Cooper at Calverton, Nottinghamshire, where he advocated Chartism. It is not known when Maria and her daughter travelled to America but Thomas sailed from Liverpool to New Orleans aboard The Germanicus, arriving on 13th June 1854. He became a naturalised American in March 1867 having settled at Portsmouth, NH. Thomas, his daughter and grandchildren are recorded on a memorial stone in Proprietor's Cemetery there.
Thomas Swinfield arrives at New Orleans in 1854 on The Gemanicus


Most significantly, Chantelle mentioned that her father Robert is the custodian of the Swinfield Family Bible which was carried to Portsmouth by their ancestor. She believed that it contained genealogical information from the 17th century. Amazingly that proved to be true! The entries are actually recorded in a Concordance which was printed in London in 1619.











One page records the dates of birth (and some deaths) for Thomas Swinfield and his seven siblings, who were born from 1804 to 1820 at Earl Shilton. These could not be ascertained from the parish register of baptism and burial. Thomas was born on 2nd April 1808, the same date which he recorded when he started the process of becoming an American citizen in 1864. Elsewhere, it records that he first went to school on 24th August 1817, when he was 9. 





This book had belonged to his father, also Thomas (1769-1833), from 1788. It had passed down through the family from his great-grandfather, John Swinfield, who died at Smisby in Derbyshire in that year and his grandfather, also John (1738-1820). We even learn that John Swinfield junior, who I recently discovered had served in the 4th Regiment of Foot in the mid 18th century, had a hitherto unknown son, also John, who was born on 22nd March 1773. What became of him and does he had descendants? Another avenue of research to pursue.


The most significant records relate to the earlier period. Neither Derrick Swinfield nor myself, in our many years of research into the history of what became known as Family 5, had been able to positively identify the baptism of John Swinfield senior who appeared to have married Mary Meachem in the church of Norton-juxta-Twycross in 1732. Their children were baptised at Smisby church from 1738 to 1747, the two youngest daughters being recorded in our "Family Concordance". Disappointingly, John's date of birth was not written down there and neither is anything about his wife or their dates of death. He would have been born at the turn of the 17th/18th century.

However, the "Bible" tells us that an even earlier John Swinfield was born on 15th February 1679 (presumed to be 1680 in the modern calendar) as the son of Richard Swinfield and Frances Colgin, who were born in 1645 and 1643 respectively. From our database of Swinfield and variant entries, that John, who must surely be the father of John of Smisby, was baptised at Markfield church in Leicestershire on 29th February 1679/80 as the son of Richard and Frances Somerfield. His older sister, Mary, whose birth is also in the newly-found book, was christened there in 1675, according to the parish register. 

"Parish register" of Markfield for 1679/80
The writing in that register does not appear to be from the late 17th century and contemporary with the events recorded. Indeed there is a statement that the original register may have been lost and the version which exists today is a copy made in the 18th century. Some bishop's transcripts of the 1670s, annual copies of the parish registers sent to the bishop of  the diocese, have survive. These are in a late 17th century hand. 

Bishop's transcript for Markfield for 1679/80  
As can be seen, the baptismal entry for John, son of Richard and Frances Swinfeild (not Somerfield), records the date as 20th February (and not the 29th February). It also informs us that Richard was a weaver. The transcriber of the lost register clearly made several errors in copying just the seven entries of baptism recorded in 1679/80. The name of the next child, baptised on 7th March, is recorded as Sampson Rede in the bishop's transcript and William Read in the "parish register"! 

Richard and Frances were laid to rest from Markfield church in 1701 and 1717. Their marriage is yet to be found. 

25 Oct 2017

Convict Links


Convict Links  
The Swinfield, Hough and Henderson Linkages
to the Chesterman and Clark Families 
by Bob Chesterman & Ann Chesterman Jeffries

Recent discovery of convict associations and the details of historic events in the early and mid 1800s have cast a new light on part of our family history. The stigma associated with a convict past is probably the main reason for omission. The presence of a convict background, although a definite plus in terms of today’s family research, was for some eighty years a history to be denied. There is no written or anecdotal family reference to the fact that Amelia Swinfield had a convict background. It is likely that Amelia kept her background very much to herself through the 1870s until her death. Other family members were probably unaware of this as well.
The earliest internment in the Chesterman family vault at Cornelian Bay Cemetery in Hobart
Grave of Amelia (Millecent) Henderson
(nee Swinfield) (1818-1896)
Cornelian Bay Cemetery, Hobart, Tasmania
is that of Amelia Henderson (nee Swinfield). The date of her death is listed as Sept 4 1896, she was aged 77. Amelia was the paternal aunt of Henry Chesterman’s wife Mary, and her sister Mary Ann Clark - the wife of Moses John Clark. Both of these women are the great grandmothers of one of the authors Bob (R B Chesterman) – obviously on different sides of the family. Amelia, (Aunt Henderson) was very highly regarded by the family for her character and the fact that she arranged to bring her nieces to Hobart from Sydney. At this time in her life she was Mrs Amelia Hough. This transfer occurred following the death of the girl’s mother Mary Ann and a younger sibling William aged 3, at the Sydney quarantine station after a harrowing voyage out from England in 1852/3, and is likely to have been precipitated by the subsequent remarriage of their father John Swinfield sen. Amelia assumed the role of kindly guardian aunt to the three girls and cared for them along with her son Belmont Francis Hough.

The Convict Background
Amelia Swinfield was baptised on the 28 June 1818 as Millecent, the daughter of Thomas Swinfield (b 1781) and Elizabeth Hackett (b 1779), at Wolvey, Warwickshire, England. She was well educated by the standards of the time, being able to read and write, and trained as housemaid and needlewoman. This was probably related to the educational standards of her mother Elizabeth, who in the 1851 England census was listed as a school headmistress. After marrying 23 year old William Hough on 19th August 1839, Amelia gave birth to a son Thomas. This child was born to Amelia and William in January 1840, but died 29 May 1840,(at 6 months) of consumption at Atherstone.
Amelia Hough
(1818-1896)
William Hough was a brickmaker, but in 1840 was convicted of a felony (killing sheep with intent to steal), sentenced to Life then spent 9 months aboard the prison hulk Warrior. He was then transported to Van Dieman’s Land in the vessel Leyton arriving on the 1st of September 1841. This followed a previous conviction for larceny in 1835 with a six month imprisonment sentence, and an assault on a peace officer in 1838 when a twelve month sentence was imposed. William’s brick-making skills were employed upon his arrival as a convict in Hobart, where he worked for O & R Meikle with the “around river party”. – most likely involved with wharf and shoreline construction as far afield as New Norfolk.
In 1843 Amelia was convicted, along with Thomas Simpson of theft, for stealing cloth from a boat. As this was a second offence of theft, she had served a six month sentence previously, she was sentenced to 14 years (Life) incarceration. From her convict records Amelia apparently had a six month de facto relationship with a William Simpson following William Hough’s conviction. Amelia, along with some 200 other female convicts, was transported on the vessel Woodbridge, arriving in Van Dieman’s Land on the 25 Dec 1843. The fact that she was literate and could handle needle and thread helped no doubt with her assignment to the household of Sir John Eardly-Wilmot, Lt Governor of Van Dieman’s land (he served in Hobart Town from August 1843 until October 1846). During this time she kept in touch by letter with her parents back in England and, at her request, they wrote to the authorities requesting a pardon, so that she could accompany the Wilmot household to Sydney. The pardon application was unsuccessful as it was only a couple of years into her sentence. (Refer to Attachment 1).
Amelia was apparently very much liked and appreciated for her character. The front page of a book held by Vicki Cowles has the following inscription on the front page “Amelia Hough - A token of esteem from Mrs Hopkins April 2 1847”. At this stage Amelia was still a convict. Maybe Amelia worked as a servant in the Hopkins household prior to gaining her pardon. After serving eight years and one month, and exhibiting good behaviour, Amelia gained a Ticket of Leave pardon (in 1849), and was able join her now free husband William. Her complete pardon is dated on the 9 August 1852. Her convict records indicate that Amelia was 5’ 1” tall, fair complexion, light blue eyes with a mole on her left arm.
On the 29 June 1851 the birth of Belmont Francis Hough was recorded in Hobart, Tasmania - - (Belmont) Francis Hough to Amelia and William Hough.
Henry Chesterman at the age of 23 arrived in Victoria from Chippenham, England in the John Chalmers in November 1852 and spent three years at the goldfields prior to settling in the township of Franklin on the Huon River, Van Dieman’s Land, where he acquired a partnership in the Kent Hotel. At 19 years of age Mary Swinfield married Henry Chesterman on the 13th of October 1857 with William Hough as a witness; and in November 1859 Amelia’s younger sister Jane Swinfield married John Stanton with Amelia as witness.
John Swinfield senior
(1806-1874)
Amelia’s brother John Swinfield sen., along with his wife Mary Ann, and a family of three girls and two of their sons, John and William, (the eldest son Edward remained at home), sailed from England in the vessel Beejapore arriving in Sydney on 11th February 1853. The vessel was a clipper ship of 1600 tons with 960 passengers, 53 died on the voyage out, and a further 60 or more died at the Sydney Quarantine Station including Mary Ann and William. The daughters Mary (15) Caroline (13) and Mary Ann (7) along with John (17) and their father survived and settled in Redfern, Sydney. John sen. set up shop as a jeweller, and in 1856 married widow Eliza Hartley who already had three children from her previous marriage. 

Belmont Francis Hough
with Caroline and Mary Ann Swinfield
About 1856 Amelia arranged for the transfer by Capt. Robert Henderson of her three nieces Mary, Caroline and Mary Ann from Sydney to Hobart to live with her and William. This undoubtedly removed a lot of pressure from John sen. and his newly acquired wife; and the girls would have been useful in assisting at the White Hart Inn, along with their cousin Belmont Francis Hough. It is not clear as to whether John Swinfield jun. accompanied his sisters on the journey south; however in 1860 he is recorded as assisting Henry and his wife Mary at the Kent Hotel Franklin.
In August 1854 William Hough applied for the license of the White Hart Inn situated on the corner of Elizabeth St and Bathurst St in Hobart Town. The application – along with many others - was refused. However, the following year his application was approved, and along with Amelia he operated the Inn up until William’s death at the age of 38 on the 25th November 1857. The license was then transferred to Amelia in her own right on the 2nd of December 1857 and she retained it until about 1860. 
Capt Robert & Amelia Henderson
Some two years after the death of William Hough Amelia married Swedish born Captain Robert Henderson on the 3rd of December 1860. The couple sold off the licence of the White Hart Inn and lived in a house in Cross St, Battery Point. Capt. Henderson continued with his sailing activities both as officer and as captain on various interstate and overseas vessels. He introduced his stepson Belmont Hough to the seafaring life. Robert Henderson died on the 8th July 1868 at the age of 45 from heart disease and oedema. Amelia at the age of 50 was a widow for the second time in twelve years.

Later that year twenty two year old Mary Ann Swinfield married Moses John Clark (1846 -1921) on the 12th September 1868 at St Georges Church Franklin, close to where both the Clark family and Mary and Henry Chesterman resided.
Amelia Henderson continued living in Cross St Battery Point, the home originally purchased by husband Robert. However, in 1891 with the collapse of the Van Dieman’s Land Bank, Amelia lost all of her assets and was effectively destitute. She lived the remainder of her life with Mary and Henry Chesterman at ‘Henriville’ in Hobart until her death September 4 1896. The front cover page shows a photo of the Chesterman family vault at the Cornelian Bay Cemetery where Amelia and many of the Chesterman family are interred. Mary Ann Clark is buried at the Nubeena cemetery on Tasman’s Peninsular. Frank Hough and family are buried in Sydney.
Name Married Date Place
Mary Swinfield (19) Henry Chesterman 13 October 1857 St Davids Cathedral Hobart
Caroline Swinfield (18) James Alfred Mitchelson 2 August 1859 St Johns Church Hobart
John Swinfield (31) Sophia Walton 3 August 1867
St Georges Church
Battery Point Hobart
Mary Ann Swinfield (22) Moses John Clark 12 September 1868 St Georges Church Franklin
Marriage Table of the Tasmanian Settled Children of John and Mary Ann Swinfield

Name
Ship
Date
Port
John Clark father of Moses and Aaron Not known Pre 1837 Not known
William Hough Leyton 1841 Hobart Town
Amelia Hough Woodridge 1843 Hobart Town
William Swinfield Walmer Castle 1848 Sydney
Henry Chesterman John Chalmers 1852 Hobson’s Bay Victoria
John Swinfield and family Beejapore 1853 Sydney
Amelia Matilda Chesterman Medway 1854 Melbourne
Robert Henderson Astoria 19 June 1854 Newfoundland to Sydney
Jane Swinfield Cadet 2, Emma 1855 6 Feb 1855 Cadet 2 to Sydney. Emma Sydney to Hobart
Summary of Clark, Hough, Swinfield, Chesterman and Henderson Family
Australian Arrival Data

Seafaring
It is probable Capt Robert Henderson introduced his stepson to the seafaring life. On the 25th April 1865 Belmont Francis (Frank) Hough is listed as a 14 year old seaman/boy on board the schooner Malcom with Capt Henderson as Master. A poignant poem written on the 31 December 1867 by Frank, referring to his caring mother Amelia, is glued on the inside of his camphor wood sea chest is reproduced below. The sea chest is now with the family in Hobart. (See Attachment 2.)


NEW YEAR’S DAY SCHOONER "MALCOLM"
31 December 1867

Thoughts of home are creeping o'er me
Of my friends so far away
And a vision comes before me
In thought I am at home today

Out upon the trackless ocean
Headwinds keeping me from rest
But my mind is now in motion
As I lie upon my chest

This time last year I was there
Happy as a boy could be
With my mother's gentle care
But I now am out at sea

God I thank thee for thy goodness
In keeping me another year
For all the mercies thou hast shown us
Help me thee to love and fear.

                                B F Hough

Passenger arrivals lists for the 23 November 1870 reveal Frank Hough at the age of 19 as arriving in Melbourne on board the Talisman of 460 tons from Batavia. This vessel was involved with the rescue of the crew of the Countess of Seafield that ran aground on Bramble Cay, a reef at the eastern end of Torres Strait, on the 23 June 1870. The fact that Frank Hough is listed as a passenger would indicate that he was a member of the rescued crew.
Shortly after returning on the 4 June 1881 to Sydney from San Francisco in the vessel Zealandia, Frank Hough married on the 24th of the same month. A daughter was born on the 29th March 1882, and a son on the 26th Jan 1885. Both children were baptised Anglican at St Davids, Surry Hills, Sydney. Following his marriage Frank Hough lived and worked in Sydney as a ’special agent Australian Widows Fund’. In January 1887 his wife died of typhoid fever, and on the 11th December of the same year Frank Hough died ‘very suddenly’ at 36 years of age. On 1st January 1888 their daughter aged 5 died and on the 7th October that year their son aged 3 years died.  
Acknowledgements
Special thanks is due to the members of the Hood family; Vicki Cowles, Toni Hood, also my cousin Ruth Cuff for the opportunity to copy some of their images, access letters and postcards and for their additional insight and assistance with recognition of individual photos family members. Also for the input and enthusiasm of Ann Jeffries in New Zealand, who has given time and insight over several years on a wide range of family tree matters. Her review of drafts has helped to minimise the errors within the text. Whilst every attempt has been made to authenticate the identity of the individuals within the photos, in many cases names were not recorded in the albums. This made rigorous identification very difficult.

Attachment 1 Letter from Amelia and Amelia’s Parents 1845/46
Information from Female Convicts Research Centre Inc.
Amelia Hough A letter written to her parents.
Letters written by convict women were rare and rarely survived, but a letter written by Amelia Hough to her parents, Thomas and Elizabeth Swinfield of Camp Hill Cottage, Near Nuneaton, Warwickshire, does, at least in part. The text of Amelia’s letter is recorded in a petition* written by her parents in 1846 requesting a pardon on behalf of their daughter and permission for her to leave Van Diemen’s Land with Governor Wilmot, for whom she worked as a domestic servant. It reads (the identity of Miss Loftus is unknown):
My dear Father and Mother, Miss Loftis having informed His Excellency that I had received a letter from you her very kindly asked me if my friends were all well, I thanked him for his enquiries at the same time asked His Excellency if he could please to read the letter which her did, and when her came to that part where you expressed a hope of my pardon, he sent for me into the drawing room, and told me that he would most willingly do it if it laid within his power but it did not altogether, he told me that when I wrote to you again that, if you would intercede for me to the Government at home. My Lord Stanley would then send out to him (Sir E Willmot) and he would then do all that possibly lay in his power for me as Sir Willmott does not expect to stay more than 18 months in Hobart Town expecting to go to Sydney as Governor. I shall [illegible ] to leave the family having experienced so much kindness from them but I cannot go unless I have my liberty. I have (by the time you receive this letter) been in His Excellency’s service two years and I hope I shall never forget their kindness.

We hear many stories of female convicts rebelling against being assigned as domestic servants, behaving badly, getting drunk and being absent without leave and so on; but this letter give a picture of a female convict who is happy and co-operative, appreciates the kindness she receives from her employers and sounds like a model servant. Amelia Swinfield and William Hough, a brickmaker, were married at Newton Regis in Warwickshire in August 1839. In 1840 a son, Thomas, was born to them – but also in that year in 1840, William, aged 24, was sentenced to transportation for housebreaking. He left his wife with his father. Whether Amelia committed a crime in the hope of joining him we shall never know, but in 1843 Amelia was living with William Simpson. She and Thomas Simpson were charged with stealing cloth from a boat, and Amelia was sentenced to fourteen years’ transportation. She arrived in Hobart in 1843.
Amelia’s pardon did not arrive. It was very soon to apply for it; Amelia was only a few years into her fourteen-year sentence, and pardons were not given so early. She was a well-behaved convict throughout, not only at government house; she committed no offences and gained her ticket of leave in 1850, and her conditional pardon in 1852.
Meanwhile, Amelia had met her husband William Hough. A son, Francis, was born to them in 1851 whilst they were living in Hobart. William Hough was at that stage a brickmaker, though his occupation would soon change to publican. What became of their older son Thomas is unknown.
In 1854, William Hough became the licensee of the White Hart in Elizabeth Street, Hobart. He died at the hotel in November 1857 and Amelia assumed the licence. In 1860, she married Swedish-born Robert Henderson, captain of the Hargraves, a brigantine that sailed between Hobart Town and Sydney. Henderson died at his home in Cross Street, Battery Point, aged 45, in 1868.
Amelia Millicent Henderson remained in Battery Point. She died at 78 Montpelier Street in September 1896.
Researched and written by Alison Alexander, Colette McAlpine and Keith Searson

 













1 Oct 2017

Poor law records at Leicester Record Office

Last week I visited Leicestershire and Rutland Record Office at Wigston Magna. This was the first time that I have been on a research visit there since the 1980s. In the company of my wife Di and my 3rd cousin once removed, Sandra Bates, who now lives at Barwell, we looked at the poor law registers for Earl Shilton from the late 18th and early 19th centuries.

This was then the home of the members of the Swinfield family (Family 5). We are descended "on paper" from Thomas Swinfield and his wife Sarah (Hewitt) who married at Trowell in Nottinghamshire, her home parish, in 1829. You can refresh your memory of why he is not our "genetic ancestor" by reading Part 6 and Part 24 of this Blog from 2011 and 2012. In fact, Sarah was having her, apparently legitimate, children by the lodger, Thomas Brown, a lifelong bachelor.

Genetically, we are descended from his parents, Basil Brown and Martha Colver who married in Kirby Mallory church in 1797. Basil's parents were Richard Brown and Elizabeth Pougher whose marriage took place at Earl Shilton in 1764.


The Overseers of the Poor accounts for 1804 to 1818 (DE727/59) include tantalising references to both Richard and Basil Brown, each receiving regular small payments of a few shillings to see them through periods of need. Indeed Richard Brown was paid 2 shillings every week from 1st March to 12th April 1806. Was he ill and unable to work? This seems to be confirmed by a burial for him on 4th June 1806. His widow survived until 1811. Basil Brown died at the age of only 43, being buried from the church on 22nd December 1816. An entry of 20th December records that 2s was paid to "The Woman for laying Basil Brown out". Two days later, Widow Brown received 4 shillings.


Thomas Swinfield, our genealogical ancestor, was baptised at Earl Shilton church in 1808 as the son Thomas Swinfield (1770-1833) and Sarah (Toon). He may be the child who was apprenticed on 12th October 1817, the parish paying a little over £3 to cover the binding fee and his clothing and Swinfield Senior receiving one shilling for "loss of time" (DE727/62: Charity Papers and Accounts 1814-1878).

A card index in the record office provides access to a range of poor law records such as settlement certificates, removals, bastardy papers and apprenticeships. There is just one Swinfield card. Imagine our delight when it proved to be for John Swinfield (1738-1820), who genealogically is my 4xgreat-grandfather. Produced by the Overseers of the Poor for the parish of Ashby de la Zouch on 29th November 1769, it records the first 30 years of his life in intriguing and hitherto unknown detail. Confirming that he was born at Smisby in neighbouring Derbyshire (where he was indeed baptised) it informs us that he first went to work at the age of 10 or 11 and laboured around Leicestershire until he joined the 4th Regiment of Foot about 1755. He may have served for about 11 years until we learn of his last hiring at Netherseal in 1766.




John married Jane Radford at Ashby de la Zouch in 1768 and was clearly taking sensible precautions before settling in that parish. After having Thomas in 1770, they lived there until they were buried in that churchyard in 1820 and 1809 respectively.


What a great morning's research!