Another Australia Connection

I’ve previously made mention of the Casben branch of the family that emigrated to Australia in 1914 (“Australia-bound”). It turns out that another Casbon ancestor emigrated to Australia decades earlier.

Background: I was recently contacted by a reader in Australia. She explained that she is descended from Ruth Casbon (ca. 1794–1837), daughter of James (“James Casbon of Meldreth (~1772-1833)“).

Ruth C birth Meldreth 1794
Baptismal record of Ruth Casborn, March 9, 1794. Parish of Meldreth (Cambridgeshire), “Bishop’s transcripts for Meldreth, 1599-1862,” Ruth Casborn (1794); browsable images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 5 November 2015). (Click on image to enlarge)

I decided to investigate further, and this is what I have learned.

Ruth married a man named Thomas Green of Bassingbourn, a parish near Meldreth, Cambridgeshire, in 1812.[1]

Map showing villages of Bassingbourn and Meldreth, Cambridgeshire.

They had six children that I know of, two of whom died in early childhood. One of their sons was William Green, baptized April 9, 1820, in Bassingbourn.[2]

William Green bp Bassingbourn 1820 BT
Baptismal record for William Green, 1820, Bassingbourn. (Click on image to enlarge)

William married Sarah Christmas, also of Bassingbourn, in 1838.[3] William and Sarah had four children: William (b. ca. 1840), Hannah (b. 1842), Susan (b. 1843), and Rebecca (b. ca. 1848).[4],[5],[6],[7]

When I reviewed my records, I saw that my father had written a note, about 20 years ago, on a hand-drawn family tree of the descendants of Thomas Green. His note, over the entry for William Green, said “to Australia in 1848 w/4 children 1 died en route.” An adjacent note said “I learned this from a 28 yr old girl in Australia who I have been in contact with.– 8 generations down from Thomas Green/Ruth Casben.”[8]

Armed with this information, I looked for information about William Green in Australia, and found this passenger manifest.[9]

William Green passenger list 1849
List of immigrants on ship Steadfast, 1849, Sydney, Australia. (Click on image to enlarge)

What a windfall! The manifest shows the name of the ship (Steadfast), date of arrival in Sydney harbor, names, ages, occupations, birthplaces, religion, and whether individuals can read and/or write. We know this is the right William Green based on his birthplace of Bassingbourn, the names of his wife and children, and their ages. The ages don’t match up exactly with other records, but they are close enough.

Furthermore, the name of one child is missing: Hannah, the oldest daughter. This is consistent with my father’s note that one child died en route.

Just out of curiosity, I googled the words “Steadfast ship 1849.” I wasn’t expecting to find anything, but was pleasantly surprised when the search turned up a newspaper article that gave details of the voyage, and corroborated my father’s notes further.

Ship Steadfast quarantine 27 Mar 1839 trove article
“Shipping Intellingence … The Steadfast,” The Sydney (Australia) Morning Herald, 27 Mar 1849, p. 2, col. 1; image copy, Trove ( : accessed 8 January 2017. (Click on image to enlarge)

This article, published one day after the ship’s arrival at Sydney, describes the length of the voyage and the outbreak of various infectious diseases that resulted in twelve deaths, requiring the ship and passengers to be placed in quarantine. This also provided a possible explanation for Hannah’s death.

I wish I had a record of her death. I have not located one in England or Australia. I did find a record listing the names of those who died on the Steadfast during its 1849 voyage. [10] Hannah’s name is not on the list. However, the list only has seven names. This contradicts the Sydney Herald article’s claim of twelve deaths. Is the list incomplete? Was the Sydney Herald incorrect? Did Hannah die before she boarded the ship? I have no way of knowing at this time.

Some final words about William Green and his family’s emigration to Australia. They were listed as “assisted” immigrants, meaning their transportation was paid for or subsidized by the government or through some other means. [11] Like their Casbon “cousins” who traveled to America, they must have been seeking a better life, and they were taking a giant step into the unknown. Their voyage would have been a harrowing one. Even without the terrible outbreak of disease described in the Sydney Herald article, a four-month voyage in the confined spaces of a sailing vessel with over 200 other immigrants must have been arduous.

Hereford Journal emigration ad 1847
Newspaper advertisements like this were widespread in England in the 1840s. “Free Emigration,” Advertisement, Hereford Journal, 13 Oct 1847, p.2, col. 6; image copy, find my past ( : accessed 9 January 2017). (Click on image to enlarge)

I don’t know what happened to William and his family after they arrived in New South Wales. I’m glad to know there are living descendants. Perhaps if they read this they will be able to add to the story.

Steadfast image
The Barque Stedfast [i.e., Steadfast]. Photograph of a watercolour, painted Feb. 1851, “Drawn by Cissie Palliser at and off Gravesend, England, immediately before we left for Canterbury, NZ.” Obtained from the collection, and used with permission of, Christchurch City Libraries. CCL PhotoCD 17, IMG0027.
[1] Parish of Bassingbourne (Cambridgeshire, England), Parish registers and poor law records for Bassingbourne, 1558-1876, Thomas Green and Ruth Carsbon (6 Aug 1812); FHL microfilm 1,040,367.
[2] Parish of Bassingbourne (Cambridgeshire, England), “Baptisms, marriages, burials, 1813-1836,” William Green (9 Apr 1820), browsable images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 9 November 2016)
[3] Parish of Bassingbourne (Cambridgeshire, England), “Baptisms, marriages, burials, 1836-1838, 1858, 1856, 1854, 1853, 1834, 1838, 1839-1852, 1857, 1855, 1859,” William Green and Sarah Christmas (17 Nov 1838), browsable images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 6 November 2016)
[4] 1841 Census of England, Wales & Scotland, Cambridgeshire, Bassingbourn, p. 6, William Green; image, find my past ( : accessed 7 November 2016)
[5] “England Births and Christenings, 1538-1975,” FamilySearch ( : accessed 7 November 2016), Hannah Green, 2 Oct 1842.
[6] “England Births and Christenings, 1538-1975”, FamilySearch ( : accessed 7 November 2016), Susan Green, 5 Nov 1843.
[7] “List of Immigrants per Ship ‘Steadfast’,” arrival on 26 Mar 1849, p. 291, No. 13, Rebecca Green, 1; image, “New South Wales assisted passenger lists,”  find my past ( : accessed 8 January 2016).
[8] Casbon Family Traditions, Jon Casbon, compiler (MSS notes, ca. 1995); privately held by Casbon, Colorado Springs, Colorado; descendants of Thomas Green, reported by Lewis Casbon ca. 1995, as reported to him by unnamed person.
[9] “List of Immigrants per Ship ‘Steadfast’,” 26 Mar 1849, p. 291, No. 13, William Green, age 31;  find my past ( : accessed 8 January 2016).
[10] “Deaths at sea, 1781-1968,” entry for ship Steadfast (1848-9), find my past ( : accessed 9 January 2017).
[11] FamilySearch Wiki, ( : accessed 9 January 2017), “Australia Emigration and Immigration,” rev. 01:05, 3 Jun 2016 .

4 thoughts on “Another Australia Connection

  1. I was moved by the newspaper article about the passengers on the Steadfast and the conditions your ancestors had to endure in search of a better life. This is the type of information I would like to know about my ancestors. Your post gives me incentive to actually get serious about hitting the newspaper archives!


    1. Thank you Liz. For me the purpose (and joy!) of genealogy is to try to connect with the lives of our ancestors and understand how their achievements and experiences helped to put us where we are today. Stories and artifacts help fill in the many gaps left by birth, marriage, death and census records.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. i wonder whether your families may be mentioned in a log kept during the voyage by Maurice Bowen. The excerpts that I have read are quite colourful. I believe that the original is now in the Queensland state archives in Brisbane.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s very interesting – thanks for your comment. I’ll look into it further. Please let me know through “Contact” if you happen to find out more.


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