Jim's genie jottings

A history of the Fleming, Jolliffe, Kessey and Murphy families of New South Wales - and their forebears

Convicts

My family has several convict ancestors. A century ago this was generally considered a source of shame, but attitudes have changed. Nowadays, convict ancestry is embraced as evidence of "true-blue" Australian nationality. The late Lesley Uebel even set up a website where one can "claim a convict" ancestor - click here.

Even more prized by family historians is a claim to descend from a "First Fleeter", an ancestor who arrived in Australia on the first fleet in 1788. Click here to find out more about the Fellowship of First Fleeters.

While I can't claim first fleet ancestry, I can actually go one better. My 4G-grandmother was an aboriginal woman who probably belonged to the Wiradjuri Nation. Her son William Isaac Kemp was born on Cooyal Station near Mudgee in 1826. Her name is unknown; as is her fate. Her son was raised by his father, Isaac Kemp. William Kemp and his wife Emma Elliott are my 3G-grandparents.

Isaac Kemp was just one of our fifteen convict ancestors. Note that James Grime the Younger was a son of James Grime the Older; and Martin Bohen was a son of Mary Lahy. Here is the list of fifteen ancestors.

  • Philip Hogan – per Friendship 1800; life sentence at Clonmel (Ireland) 1797; served 14 years
  • Patrick Hanrahan – per Atlas 2 1802; life sentence at Loughrea (Ireland) 1801; served 14 years
  • Mary McMahon aka Ryan – per Rolla 1803; 7 year sentence at Clare (Ireland) 1800; served 11 years
  • Isaac Kemp – per General Stewart 1818; death sentence at Horsham 1818, commuted to transportation; served 25 years
  • Thomas Cassey – per General Stewart 1818; death sentence at Old Bailey 1818, commuted to transportation; served 3 years
  • James Grime, The Older – Retribution Hulk; death sentence at Lancaster 1819, communted to transportation; served 6 years but never left England
  • James Grime, The Younger – per Malabar 1819; 14 year sentence at Lancaster 1819; served 14 years
  • Catherine Long – per Woodman 1823; 7 year sentence at Cork (Ireland) 1823; served 7 years
  • Patrick Grady – per Brampton 1823; life sentence at Waterford (Ireland) 1822; served 10 years
  • Denis Shea – per Blenheim 1834; life sentence at Tralee (Ireland) 1834; served 13 years
  • George Gardner – per Recovery 1836; 14 year sentence at Surrey 1835; served 11 years plus
  • Martin Bohen – per St Vincent 1836; 14 year sentence at Kilkenny 1836; served 17 years
  • Mary Lahy – per Margaret 1837; 14 year sentence at Kilkenny 1836; served 13 years plus

Convict relatives

In addition to those direct ancestors, we have a number of other convict relatives (i.e. uncles, cousins, brothers-in-law). Patrick and Mary Tobin were children of Mary Lahy and half-siblings of Martin Bohen. Solomon Mather was married to Mally Grime, a sister of James Grime the Younger. His father, James Grime the Older was married to Betty Entwistle, a sister of Henry Entwistle who was William Entwistle's father. William Entwistle was transported to Australia on the same ship as his first cousin, James Grime the Younger.

It is very likely that Henry and William Entwistle (who came from Edgeworth in Lancaster) were related in some yet unknown way to the bushranger Ralph Entwistle (from Bolton, near Edgeworth) who was hanged at Bathurst in 1830 for his leadership of the Ribbon Gang which staged the Bathurst rebellion of 1830.

Here is the list of our convict relatives.

  • Henry Entwistle – was hanged at Lancaster Castle in 1819
  • William Entwistle – per Malabar 1819 ; 14 years sentence at Lancaster 1819; served 14 years
  • Solomon Mather – Retribution Hulk; death sentence at Lancaster 1819, communted to transportation; served 6 years but never left England
  • Patrick Tobin – per St Vincent 1836; life sentence at Kilkenny 1836; served 15 years but later re-offended
  • Mary Tobin – per Sir Charles Forbes 1837; life sentence at Kilkenny 1836; served 10 years plus