When I told my Mom I was coming to Australia, she said 'oh, you have to look up when and where your great-great-grandfather was born--it was Melbourne, but I don't know exactly where or on what date' She's a genealogy nut. So after five hours or so in the New South Wales state library, I found out he was born in Singleton in December 1848 to one Samuel Bassett and Mary Malloy, married three years earlier in west Maitland. Not anywhere near Melbourne, which wasn't really a viable settlement in the 1840's anyway!

Hm... so I wondered, what was this Samuel Bassett doing in New South Wales in the lower Hunter Valley... a region better known for wines and a bit of coal today? So I asked the librarian. She said 'oh, he was probably a convict, look on these microfiches.'

And indeed he was a convict--he got his ticket to leave in1844. But, dammit, I can't find out what ship he arrived on, as there are two Samuel Bassetts that were transported to Australia within 18 months of each other in 1834 and 1835. One was 'sent down' for pickpocketing (he got 14 years sentence), the other for house breaking (he got life). I photocopied both ship's manifests just in case.

I do know he's buried in Paterson, NSW in 1854. Guess I'll be poking around the St Paul's Anglican cemetery when I'm up that way, and hope there's some age listed in their records, or on the headstone, so I can match it with one of the two manifest entries.

This is kinda fun.


March 6 2002, 11:04:23

I vote for the pickpocketing one. JMP

March 6 2002, 14:57:16

House Breaking? Is that like when you take 2 different projects, one from Martha Stewart, and one from Christopher Lowell and combine them in some hideous shouldn't-exist-in-nature way? Just a thought :)