Family history and red herrings …

J’s Australian ancestry is a mystery to me. Her lineal great^n grandfather is Henry Thomas Hill, who worked for Victorian Railways and who died in Castlemaine in May 1882.

He had a wife, Anne Humfries or Humphries and they first appear in the records in Castlemaine in 1848.

I can’t find any record of their marriage, migration to Australia, or their individual births. They may have been free settlers, convicts, people who moved from Tasmania, I simply don’t know.

I can estimate Henry to have been born around 1810 as his death notice gives his age as 72 when he died, but that’s it.

Anne Humfries, who was ten years younger than him, lived to 1904, dying in Carlton. A number of her children were living in and around Carlton and Fitzroy at the time. She was possibly living with one of her children, I havn’t checked that out yet.

When she died, the funeral notice states that her coffin would be taken by train from Carlton to Castlemaine to be buried alongside her husband. This was obviously quite an expensive funeral, with two companies of funeral directors involved. It also suggests a deep and enduring relationship between the two.

Recently however, I came across a Henry Thomas Hill who also died in Castlemaine in 1882, but who married a woman called Charlotte Elizabeth Salt in Warrnambool in 1857.

This immediately raised a red flag – Henry and Anne’s youngest child wasn’t born until 1858.

So while it wasn’t impossible for Henry to have bigamously married Charlotte, it seemed a tad unlikely.

Charlotte had previously been married to William Julian Thomas, who had died in early 1857, with Charlotte remarrying in October of that year.

Interestingly, Charlotte and William married in Port Fairy, and there is a record of a Henry Hill arriving in Port Fairy from Tasmania. It’s possible that they had had a long standing friendship.

Charlotte’s Henry is described as a hair dresser and wood carver which is an interesting combination.

I also don’t think Charlotte is anything to do with J’s family – I think someone has confused the death records of two Henry Hill’s who died around the same time.

What is interesting is that Charlotte’s Henry (who sometimes has his birth year given as 1810, and sometimes as 1819) turns up as either being born in Stone in Staffordshire, or in Middlesex. Obviously he can’t have been born twice, so given that someone has mixed up the deaths of two Henry Hill’s is possible, just possible that one of these births is also our man – but which one I don’t know as yet …

About dgm

Former IT professional, previously a digital archiving and repository person, ex research psychologist, blogger, twitterer, and amateur classical medieval and nineteenth century historian ...
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