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)“).
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 (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3Q9M-C9T9-NXFS?i=254&cat=1108704 : 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.
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.
William married Sarah Christmas, also of Bassingbourn, in 1838. William and Sarah had four children: William (b. ca. 1840), Hannah (b. 1842), Susan (b. 1843), and Rebecca (b. ca. 1848).,,,
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.”
Armed with this information, I looked for information about William Green in Australia, and found this passenger manifest.
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.
“Shipping Intellingence … The Steadfast,” The Sydney (Australia) Morning Herald, 27 Mar 1849, p. 2, col. 1; image copy, Trove (http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-page1512549 : 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.  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.  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.
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 (http://findmypast.com : 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.