Jim's Genie Jottings

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

24/08/2021 - Carlisle/Scarborough origin theory debunked

William Carlisle emigrated from England to Australia in 1804 as a free settler. Many researchers have accepted the idea that his parents were William Carlisle senior and his wife Anne Scarborough. My recent research has debunked that hypothesis completely.

William was a successful farmer, missionary, school master and coach painter who married twice and produced two sons and two daughters. He and his family were part of the first permanent European settlement in New Zealand for four years from 1816 before returning to Australia. He died and was buried at Rylstone NSW in 1852 aged about 70 years. But the details of his origins have eluded numerous researchers for decades.

Prior to emigrating, William lived in London's Great Marlborough Street, just a short walk from the Church of St George in Hanover Square. So, some researchers formed an hypothesis that he must have been a son of William Carlisle senior who had married Ann Scarborough in that church on 3 June 1789. But there were other persons named William Carlisle in London at this time. I wondered how we could be certain that our William was a son of William Carlisle senior and Ann Scarborough and I knew that my doubts were shared by other long-time Carlisle genealogists with whom I had collaborated.

I decided to exhaustively gather as much evidence as I could and to draw my own conclusions. My research report outlines the work that allowed me to confidently conclude that our William Carlisle was NOT a son of William Carlisle and Ann Scarborough who married in Westminster in 1789.

But, in that case, what were his origins? The report identifies some intriguing clues and presents a new hypothesis.

  • Our Carlisle Origins – My search for the origins of William Carlisle of the SS Experiment in 1804