James Thomson maybe orphan sent to Tasmania 1817 aged 6

+8 votes

I believe my ancestor James Thomson or Thompson was born in Sydney in 1811 to James and Catharine Thompson.  His father was a soldier accidentally  killed in NSW in 1814. 

In James jnr's death certificate it says he went to Tasmania aged 6 then in 1837 aged 26 went to Victoria. He became a farmer in Moonee Ponds  (I think he maybe went to Victoria with John Pascoe Falkiner because he farmed in Moonee Ponds so he may have come from Launceston)

 I cannot trace his mother Catherine although a sister Catherine was born months after her father's death and Catherine was given a payment from the army after her husband's death

I'm trying to find why James jnr was taken to Tasmania. Any records of either his time in Tasmania or of his mother Catherine/Catharine Thompson. She may have remarried but they both seem to be invisible after the death of the father/husband.

A big question but someone may have some tips for me to follow as records for non convicts pre 1820 are limited.


WikiTree profile: James Thomson
in Genealogy Help by Dee Baker G2G6 (6.7k points)
retagged by Keith Hathaway

I see that the 73rd arrived in Sydney at the beginning of 1810, he didn't take long to find a bride! I found a statement that "Over the next few months the Regiment was sent for duty in various areas. These included Sydney , Newcastle, Parramatta, The Derwent in Hobart, Port Dalyrimple, and Norfolk Island". Maybe he was one of those who spent time in Hobart and married Catherine there, and she returned after he died.

Tas wasn't Van Diemen's Land until 1825 so records from there may be found in NSW Archives as well as Tas Archives. I''ve had a lot of good advice from Tas Archives if you haven't already asked their advice.
James Thomson jnr's death certificate says he went to Tasmania aged six. His father died in Sydney when he was three. I found a newspaper report on Trove and a death report in  Biographical database Australia. I believe his parents were married in the UK but I haven't been able to find a definitive marriage as I can't verify Catharine's maiden name. She may have remarried using her maiden name or died but I can't find any such report or certificate. James jnr's death certificate says unknown where his parents names could be to he obviously didn't tell his family about them or have contact later otherwise his family would have included them.

Thanks for your input, it has certainly made me concentrate my thoughts.

I think contacting Tas Archives may be a good option. At least I may find out if there was an orphanage set up in Tasmania in those years.
There was definitely an orphanage in Hobart Town by the early 1830's. My great grandfather was placed there on arrival with his mother. Both his parents were transported to VDL and gt grandfather came when he was 3.

Did Catharine remarry in Tas? My gt gt grandmother remarried 3 times and asked permission to marry a 4th time which was declined. Her husband by then had died in an accident.
I need to find out from Tas Archives when that orphanage opened. Thinking about it though ...It does seem strange that he could be sent from Sydney aged 6 to an orphanage in Hobart. One would think he would be kept in NSW.

I can't find any marriage for Catherine Thompson or Thomson around the time 1813-1817 or for that matter during the next 10 years. She may have changed her name. I believe a permit was required to go to Hobart in 1817. So she couldn't just jump on a ship. Her deceased husband was only a Private so she most likely didn't have much money. Maybe she found work with some family?

Rosemary, was your G G grandmother a convict? Did free settlers need a permit to marry? Many thanks for you help.
The Queen’s Orphan School in Hobart was built in 1831, but I don’t know if there was anything similar prior to that.

[ http://www.orphanschool.org.au/index.php ]
That was where gt grandfather was placed. Another gt grandfather was in Point Puer, a really revolting place. He was a convict, aged 13.

1 Answer

+3 votes
That set of gt gt grandparents were both convicts, as was his brother. They ran with a gang in Scotland and were charged with assault & robbery. Isaac Williamson and Mary Lindsay (gt gt grandparents) were sent to VDL and their 3 year-old John came with her on the Arab, if memory serves. He was then sent to the orphanage in Hobart Town.
by Rosemary Jones G2G6 Pilot (266k points)

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