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Over the seas and far away: my relatives to Australia 1838-9

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Below is a list of the relatives I’ve discovered who emigrated to Australia in the space of just 2 years from a small area on the Kent / Sussex border. I’ve also included details of some of their extended families to try and build up a more rounded picture of the pattern of emigration.

I’ve compiled the list as an aide memoire for myself and it’s very much a work in progress: I’m sure I will discover more people and connections as I start to investigate their stories in more detail.

With the exception of the Resource (Daniel Tree) all the ships sailed to New South Wales.


The Westminster (25 March-30 June 1838)

(1) Richard Dennis 1C5R (DNA) of Appledore Kent, his wife Sarah (Gillet) and three children. Brother of William Dennis. 
(2) William Dennis 1C5R (possible DNA) of Kenardington, Kent and his wife Winifred (Beaney). Brother of Richard Dennis. 
(3) John Watson 1C5R, his wife Harriet (Weeks) and infant daughter Delphinium of Rolvenden, Kent. He and Harriet married just two weeks before they sailed.
Three months later his 22 year old brother-in-law James Weeks and 19 year old sister-in-law Mary Weeks of Rolvenden sailed on the Maitland along with John’s sister Hannah Watson. Another of John’s sisters, Harriot Watson emigrated on the Cornwall.
His parents-in-law Thomas Weeks and Harriet (Beach) also of Rolvenden emigrated to Australia the following year on the Cornwall with their two remaining children Sarah 18 and Walter 6.

Amelia Thompson (28 March - 1 July 1838)

(4) George Beaney of Icklesham Sussex, not known to be my relative, was the brother-in-law of William Dennis above. His wife died at sea and in 1841 he married the widowed Mary Buss, nee Couchman Prince Regent. DNA matches with their descendants suggests a relationship with me.

The Maitland (24 June - 5 November 1838)

(5) Blanch family of Rolvenden. Numerous DNA matches but as yet unable to fit into my tree. May possibly be through the Ashdown line.
(6) Mary Boots 1C5R of Ewhurst, Sussex, husband George Waters / Wattus and five daughters aged 10-3 years. When Mary emigrated her parents and 13 of her 15 siblings were already living in America. (Blog: A family on the move ). One brother, James followed her to Australia on the Neptune, and her remaining brother emigrated to America in 1849.  
(7) Elizabeth Bourne 1C5R (DNA) from Appledore, Kent, husband Thomas Weaver from Bodiam, Sussex and their four children: Thomas 7, William 4, Rachel 2 and Elizabeth 1. Both daughters died at sea.
(8) Thomas Drury 1C5R (DNA) of Rolvenden, Kent, (father named as Thomas Bowman), wife  Mary Ann (Sprate) and baby daughter Emily who died at sea aged 15 months. Thomas was the half brother of Stephen Richardson Lady Nugent
(9) Hannah Watson 1C5R (DNA), husband Jesse Judge both of Rolvenden, Kent and their six children aged 11-1 years. The youngest child Eli, died at sea. Hannah was the sister of John Watson Westminster and Harriot Watson Cornwall
(10) James Weeks & Mary Weeks of Rolvenden, Kent brother and sister of Harriet Weeks, Westminster 

Lady Nugent (10 July - 27 November 1838)

(11) Stephen Richardson 1C5R (DNA) of Rolvenden, Kent, unmarried emigrant aged 17. Half brother of Thomas Drury Maitland
(12) Richard Baker of Salehurst, Sussex the brother-in-law of Sarah Drury Prince Regent, his wife Pleasant Law and four children plus one born at sea.
Addition: Brothers Thomas, George and William Kennard from Tenterden. William eventually settled in New Zealand. My mother and I have DNA matches with 3 of William’s descendants but I haven’t been able to make the link. 

The Juliana / Morayshire (20 October 1838 - 30

(13)  Sarah King 5 x great aunt (DNA) of Ebony, Kent, husband James Weeks of Peasmarsh, Sussex and four children. Blog: Poor Law, Peasmarsh and Parramatta.

The Resource (7 October 1838 - 23 January 1839)

(14) Daniel Tree 5 x great uncle of Northiam, Sussex and wife Mary Hodges of Bethersden, Kent and three children. Mary died at sea. 

Prince Regent (29 October 1838 - 17 March 1839)

(15) Richard Buss & wife Mary Couchman of Salehurst & Bodiam, Sussex. DNA matches but not sure where they fit in although Couchman is a direct ancestor name.
(16)  Sarah Drury 5 x great aunt (DNA) of Rolvenden, Kent, husband William Baker of Salehurst, Sussex and their eight youngest children aged 18-3 years. Blog: From Salehurst to Sydney. Half-sister of Mary Iden Cornwall.
(17) Thomas Baker 1C5R (DNA), of Salehurst Sussex, wife Charlotte Sweetman and two children one aged 2 years and one aged 4 months. Also Charlotte’s brother William Sweetman, 24 from Mountfield, Sussex.

Strathfieldsay (8 April - 25 July 1839

(18) Alfred Frederick Bourne 1C5R of Appledore, Kent, wife Mary Sutton from Brookland, Kent and Mary’s three year old daughter. Cousin of the Dennis brothers from Appledore Westminster.


The Cornwall (12 May-1 September 1839)

(19) Mary Iden / Drury 5 x great aunt (DNA) of Benenden, Kent, husband James Austen of Rolvenden and four children aged 20-8 years. Mary was the half sister of Sarah Drury Prince Regent and aunt of Thomas Drury Maitland and Stephen Richardson Lady Nugent.
(20) Thomas Austen 1C5R of Rolvenden and wife Maria (Fearby) of Cranbrook. Son of Mary (Iden) and James Austen number 19 above.
(21) Harriot Watson 1C5R (DNA), husband Thomas Moon both of Rolvenden, Kent and five children aged 15-6 plus daughter born at sea. Harriot was the sister of John Watson Westminster and Hannah Watson Maitland. 
(22) Edward Moon aged 20 of Rolvenden brother-in-law of Harriot Watson above.
(23) John Webb 1C5R of Woodchurch, Kent and wife Sarah Brakefield from Pluckley. John was cousin to all the Watsons above.
(24) Thomas & Harriet Weeks of Rolvenden parents-in-law of John Watson see Westminster above plus two children.

The Neptune (1 June - 27 September 1839)

(25) James Boots 1C5R from Ewhurst, Sussex, wife Sarah Ann (Clapson) and 4 year old son. Brother of Mary Boots (Wattus) on the Maitland.
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I have 2 4xgreat uncles who were transported to Australia.
@peepso_user_2769(Heather Bradshaw)
@peepso_user_2848(Ancestryaddict) you’ve reminded me I also had two distant relatives who were transported. One, a1C6R who I researched for a blog, was transported in 1824 and doesn’t seem to have had a family. The other a 2C5R died at sea on the way to Australia in 1845.