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Susanna Pittman is different to my other convict connections in that she was convicted in Sydney, New South Wales and transported to Hobart, Van Diemens Land.  All my other convict connections were transported from England to Van Diemens Land.


Susanna Pittman was the daughter of William Pittman and his wife Sarah Shaw.  Susanna married William Henry ROBERTS, born 1815, Sail maker, on the 31 October 1837, at St George The Martyr, Southwark, Surrey.  William aged 23, Sail Maker, and Susanna aged 21, Dressmaker, left England on the Ship 'Kinnear' arriving in Sydney, NSW, on the 23 April 1838.


Shipping records state that William 'worked his passage out to make up deficiency of Bounty'.  William and Susanna could both read and write, and were both Protestant.  William stated that he 'had very harsh treatment during the voyage, provisions very bad, and insufficient water and was put on half allowance before they crossed the line'.  Susanna 'make the same complaints as her husband'. (sic)


Travelling on the Kinnear with William and Susanna were William's sister Sarah Brazill and her family, husband William Brazill and children Eliza, Mary Ann and Sophia.


After arriving in Sydney, William and Susanna travelled to the 'New England' area of New South Wales, where their son Henry George ROBERTS was born on 31 March 1839, and was baptised on the 5 May 1839, in the Parish of St Thomas, in the county of Macquarie, NSW.


Sometime later, Susanna left her husband William, and 'took up' with a man named William Henry BARNARD.  William Barnard then took on the identity of Susanna's husband, William Roberts, and he and Susanna wandered around Sydney, NSW, committing fraud of various natures.


Ultimately, Barnard and Susanna were caught and charged with fraud.  Susanna, aged 23 years, was tried at the Sydney Supreme Court, on 5th May 1840, and  transported vide ship 'Abercrombie' to Hobart, Van Diemens Land for a period of seven years.  Her calling was listed as 'Millinery'.  In 1841 Susanna was listed as being in the House of Corrections, Hobart.  Interestingly, in her convict records, Susanna refers to Barnard as her brother, saying 'my brother was sent to Norfolk Island'.


William Barnard was sent to Norfolk Island for a period of 14 years.


17 August 1843:  Susannah Roberts sought permission to marry John Bennett (Free) - permission not granted.

January 1847:  Susannah Roberts sought permission to marry Henry Cook (Runnymeade) - permission was granted, but there is no trace that this marriage ever took place.


Colonial Times Hobart TAS - Friday 19th May 1848

Convict Department - Comptroller-General Office, 13 May 1848

The period for which the undermentioned persons were transported having expired, certificates to that effect have been granted to them accordingly: Susannah Roberts - Abercrombie


A female child was born to John PARSONS (cook) and Susanna PARSONS formally ROBERTS on 6th August 1845 in Hobart.  The birth was registered by Louisa Manly, inmate Argyle Street.  This child was baptised on the 5th October 1845 (the baptism states her date of birth as 6th August 1845) as Esther Emily LAING the daughter of Alexander Laing and Susanna, formally Roberts of Hobart Town.

There is no record of the marriage of Alexander Laing and Susanna Roberts but there is a death for an Esther Emily BASILL in Melbourne, Victoria in 1863, aged 17 years, the daughter of George BASILL and Editha Annie.  In the Coroners Inquest into Esther's death, Editha states that she is her mother, but there is no birth for an Esther Emily to an Editha Annie anywhere in Tasmania or Victoria.  It appears that Susanna left her daughter Esther Emily in the care of George and Editha.  I believe that Esther Emily Laing and Esther Emily Basell are one and the same person.


George BASELL and Editha Annie McPHERSON were never married, but they did have children:


Rebecca Mary born 1852 - died 1854 at Melbourne, Victoria.

William Kenneth born 1860 - died 1863 at Beaufort, Victoria.


George died in 1877 and Editha Annie died in 1887 at Ballarat, Victoria, and they are buried together in the Beaufort Cemetery, Victoria.


Editha Annie McPherson is listed as the mother of Henry George ROBERTS on his marriage and death certificates, when in fact his parents were William Henry ROBERTS and Susanna PITTMAN.  Editha Annie definitely knew Henry George Roberts, as she was the informant for the birth of Henry's first child Emelia (Amelia) in 1868, she lists herself as 'friend'.  If she was Henry's mother, she would have listed herself as 'grandmother'.  Therefore it makes sense that Editha and Susanna knew each other, due to the link they both had with William Henry Roberts, his son Henry George Roberts and Esther Emily Laing/Basell.


See more on the McPherson and Roberts family pages.




Other Convicts in my Family:






Henry ORME



Daniel EVANS





16 May 2017