Whitfield family history update

Picture 006

“Love that beard you look a real Whitfield!”

So writes a distant cousin, Stuart Daniels, who has taken on the role of family historian as Bob Starling concentrates on his own paternal line. Stuart has added some pieces to the puzzle.

I have not really been a systematic family historian, though around 2000 I began working on it at the NSW State Library in Sydney. What I found then I shared in a post around 2001 which has grown since and been supplemented by many contributions from others in the comment thread: Family stories 3 — About the Whitfields: from convict days. Since then I have posted quite a bit on this blog and its predecessors: Neil’s Final Decade and Neil’s Commonplace Book take you to most of them.

Stuart’s email really does clarify some matters.

Neil. I was reading your blogs & they were very interesting.

Found the other day the death certificate for Catherine Philadephia West* but could not find it again later as I was going to download it .

Jacob** did start of life as a Quaker as his parents were Quakers. I have a list of the members of that period sent to me from their Dublin office. He was dropped off the list later so I suspect when he married Mary in maybe the Church of Ireland the Quakers would have disowned him.

Jacob and Mary Gowrie were married in 1800 but the first child recorded  was born in 1807. I think that there must have been other children born but not surviving to any age. Four children sailed with their mother on the “Thames” but Ann & James died on the voyage. Mary died in Sydney Harbour but after the surgeon had finished his duty, thus she was not recorded in Sydney records.

The two boys Joseph & John never came to Australia even though Jacob requested their passage. I have not yet checked out but think Joseph went to America. That needs further research.

There were some Whitfields who migrated to America and then some went onto Canada.

I have been in touch with Cliff Whitfield who now lives in Canada; he & his brother have been back to Ireland for a visit about 6 years ago. He does his family history in their winter so that should be from November on, for five months. He wrote to me saying that he will forward more details then. He has the family tree from his side and more details

I did speak to a lady in the Quaker office in Sydney and they did have Jacob listed but lost details of his death.

I think you are correct and he would have been buried in Devonshire Street cemetery but over 30% of the records were lost. So will never know actually when he died, but I suspect about 1853/54. There are no shire records of him after 1852.

I want to hire a researcher in Ireland to do some searching for me, but I’m waiting to hear from Cliff who he would recommend to use.

That should bring you up to date with what we know and surmise.

Great stuff!

* Should that be Caroline Philadelphia West? ** Jacob is our convict ancestor: see posts linked above, and my 2008 series Looking for Jacob.

Where Jacob Whitfield had his hut in the 1830s and 40s