- 1851 - Jim Fleming summarises the research that was required to flesh out the details of the later years in the life of Patrick Tobin

Finding Patrick Tobin
by Jim Fleming


This is a summary of my research efforts to flesh out the details of the later years in the life of Patrick Tobin (born circa 1816 in Kilkenny, Ireland). He arrived in NSW in early January 1837 as a convict aboard the St Vincent. Conducting research on Patrick's life in NSW is difficult beceause there were at least eight other people called Patrick Tobin in NSW during the mid-nineteenth century. In addition, the life of his wife (Bridget Gibbs) is obscure.

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Family historians can sometimes gain much information about a person's life from their death certificate. In the case of Patrick Tobin, however, it was very difficult to locate this basic document because some of the basic facts of his life were obscure; and he had numerous namesakes whose records further muddied the waters. Nevertheless, I constructed a likely narrative of his later years based on feeling my way through a maze of twists and turns and discerning which of these were blind alleys. Based on this likely narrative, I located a death certificate that largely confirms the narrative that I had constructed.




An outline of my research and conclusions

Known facts about our PT
Who was Bridget Gibbs?
Did Patrick Tobin have any children?
When did PT die?
When did Bridget die?

Detailed research

A collection of Patrick Tobins
Unattributed facts
A collection of children of Patrick Tobins
Did our PT also have a son in 1844?

Further research required


An outline of my research and conclusions

The main aim of this research project was to establish how Patrick Tobin spent the last years of his life and to establish the circumstances of his death. I was also keen to know more about his wife, Bridget Gibbs, and his children, if any.

Because both his Christian Name and Surname are relatively common names, I had to study the other eight Patrick Tobins who were in NSW during his lifetime so that I could distinguish what historical data applied to our Patrick Tobin. Information about these other Patrick Tobins is summarised below - see below: A collection of Patrick Tobins.

The research has led me to conclude that the maiden name of Patrick's wife was Bridget Ryan (not Bridget Gibbs as is suggested by their marriage record). This conclusion is important when attention turns to Patrick's children.

Known facts about our PT

There is no doubt that the facts listed below all relate to our Patrick Tobin:


Born in Kilkenny, Ireland to Mary (nee Lahy) and (?) Tobin


Patrick's sister, Mary Tobin, was born. Their father died around this time.


Patrick's mother remarried to (?) Bohan


Patrick's half-brother, Martin Bohen, was born


Patrick's half-brother (possibly named Patrick Bohen) was born


Patrick's half-brother (possibly named John Bohen) was born


Patrick's half-sister, Ellen Bohen, was born


Patrick's step-father died


Patrick, Martin & Ellen plus their mother all tried and convicted of feloniously killing a sheep. All were sentenced to transportation to NSW


Patrick (and Martin) arrived in Sydney aboard SS St Vincent. Patrick was assigned to Mr CD Street at Invermein (Scone)


Patrick in Newcastle Gaol having finished his sentence "in irons"


Patrick granted a TOL to live at Windsor. Both his mother and brother (Martin) were also granted TOLs to live at Windsor around this time.


Allowed to live in Sydney with Mr Thomas Turner at St Andrews Cathedral


Allowed to live at Botany Road in Sydney with Mr John Smith


Married Bridget Gibbs at St Mary's Cathedral. Witness: John Smith

1854, 6 Jul

Stabbed Reuben Kelly at Chippendale. Sentenced to 5 years hard labour on the roads; in irons

1854, 23 Aug

Sent to Cockatoo Island

1856, 18 Jul

Granted a TOL to reside in the Scone District of NSW

1867, 2 Jul

Patrick, a shepherd, charged with stabbing with intent to grievous bodily injury; committed to trial; granted bail the next day

1867, 7 Oct

Patrick placed in Armidale Gaol after conviction for Unlawfully Wounding by Mr Justice Cheek in the Armidale Circuit Court. Gaoled with hard labour for six months

1867, 31 Dec

Patrick was in Armidale Gaol, sentenced for unlawfully wounding

1868, 31 Mar

Patrick was in Armidale Gaol, sentenced for unlawfully wounding

1868, 8 Apr

Patrick released from Armidale Gaol, having served his sentence

Who was Bridget Gibbs?

We know that our Patrick Tobin married Bridget Gibbs at St Mary's Catholic Church in Sydney on 3 February 1851[1]. The ceremony was performed by Catholic Minister John Eugene Gourbeillon and the witnesses were John Smith and Frances Lalley.

Five years had passed since Patrick had been granted his Ticket of Leave to live at Windsor. He had moved to Sydney three years before the marriage and had been living with John Smith for a year.

After the marriage, Patrick and Bridget lived at Chippendale for a while before he was arrested for wounding Reuben Kelly on 6 July 1854. After his imprisonment, he was lucky to have Bridget at his side to advocate for the remission of his sentence. Thanks to her industriousness and determination he was eventually released after serving only 2 years of the 5 year sentence.

So, who was Bridget Gibbs? Despite some extensive research efforts, I have not been able to find another record of Bridget Gibbs in NSW before her marriage to Patrick in 1851. (My searches were all extended to the name Catherine Gibbs, noting that Bridget was a common alternative name for people whose formal name was Catherine.)

It is very unlikely that a person lived in NSW in the mid-eighteenth century without leaving any surviving official record. The colony was served by a large bureaucracy that made detailed records of arrivals, births, marriages and deaths; and even more records if the person was a convict. Most of those records have survived. And yet, I could not find any record of a Bridget (or Catherine) Gibbs being born in or arriving in NSW before 1851.

  • The NSW Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages has only one record of the birth of a Gibbs daughter in NSW prior to 1851: Eleanor in 1811.
  • A search on Ancestry.com for pre-1851 birth, death and marriage records that relate to a Bridget or Catherine Gibbs in Australia finds no matches.
  • The convict records on Ancestry.com reveal lots of convicts called Gibbs, including three Elizabeths and an Ann; but no Bridget or Catherine.
  • Ancestry.com does not record a Bridget or Catherine Gibbs before 1851 in Australian lists of arriving passengers, Immigration Deposit Journals or Convict Musters.

So, there is no record of a Bridget Gibbs being born in NSW or arriving as a convict or a free settler before 1851. 

The only Ancestry.com records that could possibly be Bridget Gibbs' arrival are:

  • The wife of Rev. Warren Gibbs arrived Hobart per Helen Mars, 14 Jan 1833 (with 1 child, Robert)
  • The wife of Mr Gibbs arrived Hobart per Sisters, 13 Oct 1843
  • Mrs Gibbs arrived Hobart per Calcutta, 9 Nov 1843 (with 2 children but no Mr Gibbs)

However, for one of these to be our Bridget Gibbs, their husband would have to have died; and they would have to have moved to NSW. While this scenario is possible, it is unlikely.

Another possibility is that Bridget arrived in Australia as a young child and was recorded simply as an unnamed Gibbs child. While this scenario is possible, it is unlikely that such a child could have evaded all mention in official records.

A particular example of this possibility is that she may have been a daughter of Elizabeth Gibbs who arrived on the Northampton in 1815 with at least 2 daughters. Her daughters Louisa (16) and Charlotte (14) were recorded with their mother on the 1825 Convict Muster. This means that they had been born in 1809 and 1811 respectively and would have been 6 and 4 when their mother was transported as a convict. It is conceivable that they had an older sister, Bridget, who was not recorded on the 1825 convict muster because she was (by then) considered an independent adult (aged over 16). This would mean, however, that she was born circa 1808 and she would therefore be 43 when Patrick Tobin married in 1851; eight years older than Patrick himself. Again, while this scenario is possible, it seems highly unlikely.

Could she have arrived under another name?

Of course, we should consider the possibility that Bridget's birth or arrival in NSW was recorded under another surname. The marriage certificate names her as Bridget Gibbs, but doesn't say whether she was a spinster or a widow. If she was a widow, Gibbs may not have been her maiden name.

A check of the Convict Permissions to Marry records that are now available on Ancestry.com does not find a Bridget Gibbs. Nor does it find a woman called Bridget being given permission to marry a man called Gibbs that could have resulted in a wife called Bridget Gibbs.

A search of the marriage indexes published by the NSW Registrar of Births, Deaths and Marriages for Bridgets who married a Mr Gibbs before 1851 reveals only one instance: James Gibbs married Bridget Ryan in 1842. A search of the death indexes reveals that a James Gibbs died in 1846, aged 34. If it is the same James Gibbs, he would have left behind a widow named Bridget Gibbs.

In addition, a search of these marriage indexes for Catherines who married a Mr Gibbs before 1851 reveals only one instance: John Gibbs married Catherine Ryan in 1850. A search of the death indexes, however, does not reveals a John Gibbs death between 1850 and 1852, so Catherine Gibbs (nee Ryan) was still married to John Gibbs when Bridget Gibbs married Patrick Tobin in 1851.

So, there is a possibility that the Bridget Gibbs who married Patrick Tobin may have been the widow of James Gibbs. The had been married for 4 years prior to James' death and had produced at least one child: James Gibbs born in 1845 (NSW 2068/1845 in Volume 134). There is a second birth registry record for this child (2675/1847 in Volume 64), but this could be a baptismal record. This could be same James Gibbs whose infant death was recorded in 1847 (1082 in Volume 116). There is also a John Gibbs who was born in 1843; the index gives his father as James Gibbs but his mother's name is not stated.

So, if Patrick Tobin married the widow of James Gibbs, he may have become the step-father of her surviving son John Gibbs (aged 8) and possibly of her other son James Gibbs (aged 6).


So, the possible explanations for the absence of Bridget Gibbs from the records prior to her marriage to Patrick Tobin in 1851 are:

  • Her arrival in NSW was not recorded, other than as a non-named "child" in a Gibbs family;
  • She arrived on the Northampton in 1815 as a child of 7 or 8 years old; a daughter of convict Elizabeth Gibbs
  • She arrived in Hobart in 1833 or 1843, the non-named wife of a Reverend Gibbs or a Mr Gibbs;
  • She was Bridget Ryan who married James Gibbs in 1842 and was widowed in 1846 as Bridget Gibbs.

Without anything further, none of these possible explanations appeals as the obvious answer. An analysis of NSW birth records of children born to fathers named Patrick Tobin does, however, provide support for the theory that Patrick's wife was James Gibb's widow, Bridget Gibbs nee Ryan.

Did Patrick Tobin have any children?

It is difficult to research whether Patrick Tobin fathered any children because there were eight other Patrick Tobins in NSW muddying the waters. So, in order to analyse all of the possibilities, I have listed the 48 children born in NSW with a father called Patrick Tobin in a table. They are shown grouped by mother's name below: see - A collection of children of Patrick Tobins.

The name Bridget Ryan is immediately obvious - the mother of William and Patrick between 1851 and 1854[2]. Details on these birth certificates are as follows:

  • William born 20/12/1851, baptized 20/12/1852 and 11/01/1852, father Patrick Tobin, mother Bridget Ryan, living at Redfern; and
  • Patrick born 23/12/1854, baptized 5/01/1855, father Patrick, mother Bridget Ryan, living at Redfern.

The name recorded for the mother must be her maiden name. And yet there is no record of a NSW marriage between a Patrick Tobin and a Bridget Ryan. How could this be? This begs the question: could Bridget Ryan and Bridget Gibbs be the same person? In my opinion, yes - see my earlier analysis above: Who was Bridget Gibbs?.

It is noteworthy that my search for Patrick's wife Bridget Gibbs identified the widow of James Gibbs (Bridget Gibbs nee Ryan) as one of the possible candidates. Now we have two children born to a Bridget Tobin nee Ryan despite no record of her having married a Patrick Tobin. But we do know that a Bridget Ryan married James Gibbs in 1842; that she was widowed (as Bridget Gibbs) in 1846; and that a Bridget Gibbs married our Patrick Tobin. The weight of evidence is pointing to Bridget Gibbs and Bridget Ryan being the same person.

Furthermore, the dates and places fit. The first son of Patrick Tobin and Bridget Ryan (William) was born at Redfern in December 1851, just ten months after the marriage of our Patrick Tobin to Bridget Gibbs. A second son (Patrick) was born at Redfern three years later in December 1854. When our Patrick Tobin was arrested in July 1854, he and Bridget were living at Chippendale, the next suburb along from Redfern. Bridget's husband was gaoled for two years in July 1854 and, in his absence, the couple had no further children. All of this tends to support my theory that Bridget Gibbs and Bridget Ryan are the same person.

Based on this analysis, I conclude that our Patrick Tobin and Bridget Gibbs (nee Ryan) had two children: William (1851) and Patrick (1854). As I will discuss below, it seems that their son Patrick died unmarried at age 64 years at Uralla (near Armidale) on 12 July 1916.

When did Patrick Tobin die?

All records about PT indicate that he remained in NSW after he arrived in Sydney in January 1837. The last non-death record that has been found so far is dated 1868 (his release from Armidale Gaol).

It was compulsory for all deaths to be registered with the State from the 1850s. The NSW Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages index of deaths lists the following PT deaths between 1868 and 1917 (when PT would have been 100 years old):

  • 1876 - f. James m. Ann (Braidwood) - Unlikely because mother's name is incorrect and he never lived in the Braidwood area.
  • 1879 - f. James m. Mary - Too young - only 5.5 years old
  • 1880 - (Windsor) aged 77 (= born in 1803) - Unlikely, because our PT was only 64 in 1880
  • 1887 - f. Thomas m Mary (Glen Innes) - The most likely: the mother's name is correct and he was last recorded at nearby Armidale. Also, his son Patrick died at nearby Uralla 29 years later.
  • 1909 - f. Michael m. Margaret (at Morpeth) - Unlikely because mother's name is incorrect
  • 1916 - f. William m. Ellen (West Maitland) - The deceased is Patrick M Tobin - Unlikely because mother's name is incorrect
  • 1916 - f. Patrick m. Bridget (Uralla); aged 64 - Very unlikely as our PT would have been 100 years old. It is likely that this records the death of Patrick and Bridget's son 1854 PT (PTG), born in 1854.

Therefore, I ordered the certificate relating to the death in 1887; and, bingo! This certificate contains details that affirm the key conclusions that I have outlined above, specifically:

  • His wife's maiden name was Bridget Ryan;
  • He had sons William and Patrick.

It is also consistent with other known facts, specifically:

  • His mother's maiden name was Mary Lahy (spelt "Lahay");
  • He was a shepherd;
  • The given age (68 years) is close to his actual age (71 years);
  • He was born in County Kilkenny, Ireland.

There is one piece of information on the certificate that is inconsistent with what we know about our Patrick Tobin. That is, it states that he had been in the Australasian Colonies for 56 years, whereas our Patrick had only spent 51 years in NSW. Nevertheless, this is a relatively minor discrepancy that could have resulted from a mistake by the informant (Charles C Hodgkiss, no relation). Also, it was common for ex-convicts to deliberately obscure their origins; Patrick may not have given Hodgkiss correct information.

Based on these consistencies and the affirmation of my conclusions about Bridget Ryan/Gibbs and their children, I am prepared to accept that this death certificate relates to our Patrick Tobin.

Having said that, there are a couple of surprising revelations on the death certificate.

Firstly, it gives his father's name as Thomas Tobin. This is surprising because none of Patrick's sons was named Thomas. Nevertheless, I accept that Patrick's father's name was Thomas.

Secondly, the age given for his son Patrick (27) is inconsistent with what we know - Patrick (junior) would have been 33 in 1887.

Thirdly, the certificate nominates two other sons: John (42) and James (39). There are no official birth records of Patrick having any natural sons older than William and Patrick - see below: A collection of children of Patrick Tobins. The obvious conclusion is that John and James were Patrick Tobin's step-sons: John Gibbs and James Gibbs. It seems that these two boys were given the Tobin surname after their mother Bridget Gibbs (nee Ryan) married Patrick Tobin in 1851.

In addition to the "black and white" information provided by this death certificate, other information is inferred. For example, the fact that the unrelated informant (Charles Hodgkiss) thought that Patrick's step-sons were actually his natural sons implies that the family had stayed in fairly close contact throughout Patrick's life; enough for strangers to assume that John and James were his natural sons.

If so, it would also follow that Patrick and Bridget had not separated. This conclusion may assist in a search for Bridget's death certificate.

When did Bridget die?

This is a very difficult question for a number of reasons.

  • Firstly, we don't know whether her surname at death was recorded as Tobin. If she and Patrick had separated at some stage, she may have reverted to her maiden surname. Alternatively, If she had become involved in a relationship with another man (either after separating from Patrick or after his death), then she may have adopted his surname for reasons of decorum.
  • Secondly, we don't definitively know what Christian name would have been used for her death certificate. One would expect that it would be Bridget, as this is the name she commonly used. This name was, however, a commonly-used abbreviation for Catherine. So, if her formal name was Catherine, this may have been what was recorded on any death certificate.
  • Thirdly, we have a very wide span of years to search. She was probably only about 40 when our last record of her was made in about 1856.
  • And finally, even if we had her death certificate in our hands, it may not be possible to prove that it relates to our Bridget. To achieve proof, we would need to definitively tie a bit of information on the death certificate to our Bridget. Normally we would use Parents' Names, Children's names or Marriage details for this purpose. In this case, however, we don't know her parents' names. We could hope to use the Marriage details or Children's Names, but these are sometimes omitted from early certificates (or may not have been known by the informant after her death).

So, bearing these difficulties in mind, the NSW Registry of births, deaths and marriages indexes reveal the following records between 1856 and 1917:

  • Bridget Tobin - four records
  • Catherine Tobin - ten records
  • Catherine Gibbs - six records
  • Bridget Gibbs - only one record that is not our Bridget

With the benefit of the information provided by Patrick Tobin's death certificate it is likely that Bridget's death would have been recorded as Bridget Tobin. So, the four records that relate to this name are the most likely.

Detailed research

The research outlined below was undertaken in order to inform the analysis of the life of Patrick and Bridget Tobin outlined above.

A collection of Patrick Tobins

The following basic records reveal that there were at least eight other PTs in NSW in the mid-nineteenth century:

  • Convict arrivals
    •  1823 - Patrick Tobin per Brampton
    •  1830 - Patrick Tobin per Forth
    •  1832 - Patrick Tobin per Norfolk ex County Clare
  • Births
    •  1844 - f. Patrick m. Bridget - see reference D below - possibly a son of our PT
    •  1844 - f. Patrick m. Rebecca -see reference E below
    •  1849 - f. Michael m. Bridget
    •  1854 - f. Patrick m. Bridget - see reference G below
    •  1861 - f. John m. Mary - born at Sofala

This collection of PTs means that every bit of information unearthed by a researcher must be assessed to determine which Patrick Tobin it relates to. So, in order to assist in distinguishing one PT from another, I have listed known facts that can be attributed to each of the other eight PTs.

A - Brampton PT

  • 1798 - Born
  • 1823 - Arrived per Brampton; sent to Airds for distribution
  • 1825 - Discharged from the Establishment at Emu Plains - to Penrith Bench; assigned to Jacob Russel (Senior)
  • 1824 - Stole maize from Jacob Russell - sentenced to 3 years at Port Macquarie. Transported there per Sally.
  • 1832 - Listed as aboard the Phoenix Hulk. (NB This could be PTB or PTC.)
  • 1833 - 14 Jan - PT feigned sickness to avoid the treadmill. Dr Mitchell described him as a troublesome character. Sentenced to be confined to cell for 7 days on bread and water.
  • 1833 - 21 Mar - 25 lashes for stealing rum from the convict store
  • 1833 - Admitted to Sydney Gaol on 12 June from Hyde Park Barracks for 2 months on the Iron Gang. Discharged to the Hulk.
  • 1836 - 14 Mar - Tried for being AWOL. Sentenced to 50 lashes.
  • 1836 - 14 Mar - Tried for repeated and deliberate miscounting of sheep. Sentenced to 25 lashes.
  • 1845 - Jan TOL in January to live in Bathurst
  • 1845 - Aug TOL rescinded as he was unable to support himself due to ill health

B - Forth PT

  • 1814 - Born at Waterford, Ireland
  • 1830 - Arrived per Forth
  • 1831 - Oct 13 to Parramatta Gaol from Windsor Gaol - for the Superintendent of Convict's disposal. Sent to Hyde Park Barracks
  • 1832 - Newcastle Gaol
  • 1833 - 2 Mar - Parramatta Gaol
  • 1835 - 16 Mar - Given 50 lashes when found guilty of absconding
  • 1835 - Admitted to Sydney Gaol - Swarthy
  • 1835 - Jun 22 - Admitted to Parramatta Gaol for the Iron Gang. Eventually discharged to the Parramatta Stockade 2 days later
  • 1839 - 24 Apr - Newcastle Gaol - sent to Hyde Park Barracks to be identified

C - Norfolk PT

  • 1832 - Arrived per Norfolk
  • 1840 - 29 Apr - Parramatta Gaol for the treadmill
  • 1841 - Jun - TOL to live in Windsor
  • 1846 - June - CP

D - Bridget's 1844 PT

  • 1844 - Born at West Gosford to Patrick Tobin and Bridget Tobin. This could be a son of our PT. See below: Did our PT also have a son in 1844?

E - Rebecca's 1844 PT

  • 1844 - Born to Patrick Tobin and Rebecca

F - Michael's 1849 PT

  • 1849 - Born to Michael Tobin and Bridget
  • 1861 - Imprisoned at aged 12 in Darlinghurst Gaol for 3 days for stealing a cricket ball. (Note that both the ball thief and the son of Michael and Bridget Tobin had a brother called Michael who was the right age.)

G - Bridget's 1854 PT

  • 1854 - Born to Patrick Tobin and Bridget Ryan. Could Bridget Ryan also be the Bridget Gibbs who married our PT?
  • 1916 - This is probably the PT who died at Uralla in 1916, aged 77. I have the DC.

H -John's 1861 PT

  • 1861 - Born to John Tobin and Mary at Sofala

I - Mary's 1874 PT

  • 1874 - Born to Patrick Tobin and Mary Hughes
  • 1879 - Died. The Death Certificate says f. Patrick m. Mary; only 5.5 yo. Mother's surname is Hughes (possibly Mary Jane Hughes listed as marrying a PT in 1873)

Unattributed facts

The following facts all relate to a PT but, at this stage, we don't know which PT.

  • 1860s - Patrick James Tobin was a well-established grazier at Armidale, Coonamble and Bourke.
  • 1861 - Nov 20 - PT in Darlinghurst Gaol for larceny. 3 days
  • 1879 - Tried at Young
  • 1882 - 21 Jan - PT in Darlinghurst Gaol for drunkenness. 4 days.
  • 1895 - In Maitland Gaol
  • 1896 - In Goulburn Gaol

A collection of children of Patrick Tobins

The birth indexes published by the NSW Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages list 48 children fathered by a Patrick Tobin between 1837 and 1917, the first in 1840. Here is a summary, grouped by mother.






1840 - 1844

Edward, Edward, Patrick


Bridget Tobin



East Gosford

Bridget Ryan

1851 - 1854

William, Patrick

Parish St James (Sydney)




Moreton Bay

Catherine - see a) below

1867 - 1888

Margaret, Hannah Agnes, Mary, Julia, Michael, Ellen Teresa, Kate, John, James


Mary Jane - see c) below

1873 - 1885

John, Mary, Catherine, Ellen Teresa, Patrick Bernard, Agnes May, Rose Amelia, Francis E, William Joseph, James Arthur

Redfern, Sydney

Mary J - see c) below

1887 - 1891

Alfred R, Magdillon L, Ellen M


Susan - see b) below

1873 - 1891

Mary Jane, William P, Maria, Sarah A, James, Edward


Susanna - see b) below


John T


Martha Agnes

1880 - 1883

Laurence James A, Sarah Ann M



1890 - 1909

James P, John, William J, Francis, Mary M, Edmond L

Marrickville, Woonona

Florence A

1903 - 1905

Agnes M, Edward J



1914 -



Note that there are no recorded NSW marriages of anyone called Patrick Tobin prior to the 1851 marriage of our Patrick to Bridget Gibbs. Following that we find:

  • a. 1863 - to Catherine Maher at Maitland - this is probably the mother of 10 children born at nearby Morpeth
  • b. 1872 - to Susan Whittle at Young - this is probably the mother of 7 children born at Young and nearby Murumburrah
  • c. 1873 - to Mary Jane Hughes at Sydney - this is probably the mother of 13 children born at Redfern and Sydney

I cannot identify for certain which Patrick Tobin is the father of Rebecca's children (Edward and Patrick born in 1840 and 1844) or of Bridget's son Patrick (born at East Gosford in 1844).

Did our PT also have a son in 1844?

Apart from William (1851) and Patrick (1854), none of the other 48 children listed in the table would appear to have been fathered by our Patrick Tobin. It is interesting, however, that a Patrick and Bridget Tobin had a son named Patrick at East Gosford in 1844.

The registry certificate (number 1305, Volume 62) gives his parents as Patrick Tobin (a labourer of West Gosford) and Bridget Tobin. This child is identified above as "D - Bridget's 1844 PT", or PTD.

The child was baptised a Catholic a few days later, on 2 June 1844, by Cornelius D Coghlan in the Roman Catholic Church.

Could this be a child born to our Patrick and our Bridget before they were married? I don't think so, because (at that time) Bridget Ryan was married to James Gibbs. They had a child born in 1845 and possible another one born in 1843.

Another possibility is that our Patrick Tobin fathered the child with another woman named Bridget. That would be extremely coincidental and is, therefore, very unlikely. Significantly, there is no subsequently record of an association between our Patrick and the child born in 1844. And, finally, it would be unlikely that our Patrick would have named his 1854 son Patrick if he already had a son by that name.

It is much more likely that this 1844 birth was fathered by one of the other eight Patrick Tobins. But, which of the collection of PTs listed above could have been PTD's father? The candidates are Brampton PT (PTA), Forth PT (PTB) and Norfolk PT (PTC).

  • PTA - unlikely, because he was 46 years old and was in Bathurst (nowhere near Gosford) in 1845.
  • PTB - possible - nothing known after 1839.
  • PTC - possible - but he was in Windsor in 1841.

Based on this analysis, I conclude that the Patrick Tobin born in 1844 was probably not fathered by our Patrick Tobin.

Further research required

There are still a few loose threads hanging from this web of research. Further research is required to tidy these up.

Firstly, when did Bridget Tobin die?

Secondly, while this research has shown that Bridget Ryan married her first husband (James Gibbs) in 1842, we also discovered that a Catherine Ryan had married a John Gibbs in 1850. Was this a case of two sisters marrying two brothers?

Thirdly, who was Charles C Hodgkiss, the informant for Patrick's death certificate? What was his relationship to Patrick?

Fourthly, was the Patrick James Tobin who was a well-established grazier at Armidale, Coonamble and Bourke in the 1860s any elation to our Patrick Tobin?

Fifthly, what became of Patrick's two sons and two step-sons. It seems that Patrick Tobin Junior (PTG above) is the person who died unmarried at Uralla in 1916. But what about the others?

Sixthly, can we unearth any more information about the life of our Patrick Tobin. A thorough analysis of newspaper holdings in Trove may turn up something more.

Seventhly, can we find any family trees on Ancestry.com or a similar site that may provide more information about the other Patrick Tobins?


[1] The marriage between Patrick Tobin and Bridget Gibbs was recorded in the Church Register, now held by the NSW Registrar of Births, Deaths and Marriages - reference number 35 in Volume 97. Patrick's wife is subsequently referred to as Bridget Tobin in newspaper articles and the minutes of the Convict Control Board.

[2] The mother's surname is not supplied by the birth indexes provided by the NSW Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages. I know that her name was Ryan because this additional information is supplied on the certificate copies that I obtained.