More convict ancestors

Tyson Isabella 1786-1874I’ve known for many years I was a descendant of a convict, Isabella Tyson. She was my 3rd great grandmother. What I didn’t know until recently was there were two other convicts in my ancestry: William Henry Diogenes Herring, my 2nd great grandfather, and James Hill, another 2nd great grandfather.

Isabella Tyson (nee Coulson) was transported to Sydney in 1809.

James HIll was convicted in 1822. He was transported to Van Diemen’s Land (Tasmania), arriving in November of the same year.

William Henry Diogenes Herring was convicted in 1824 and arrived in Sydney in 1829.

All were sentenced to seven years.

So how did all this become known?

It began back in 1980 when there was a gathering of the descendants of James Doneley, William Tyson and Dennis Sheil in Campbelltown, NSW. It was a huge affair, and the organising committee published at that time a family tree.

The family tree is in the form of a spiral-bound A3 document containing some 90 pages. It was prepared on an old-fashioned typewriter, with dotted hand-drawn lines connecting people all over the place. There are also four pages of errata just to complicate navigation further. It’s not easy to use.

So, to make it easier to understand, I transcribed the Tyson-Hill part of the tree into a computer application called Ancestral Quest. This was maybe six or eight years ago. I also added as much as I could find about my wife’s family. I was then able to import some of the work my brother and his wife did in researching my maternal grandparent’s family, the Baglees and the Pitmans.

Then about one year ago I found out the wife of one of my mates in the church choir was related to me. We both have William Tyson as a common ancestor, although she is on the Sheil side of the family. Checking the paper edition of the tree I found her, but it was difficult to work out how she was related. I think she’s a distant cousin.

This prompted me to start transcribing the entire Donely, Tyson and Sheil tree. Now, with almost 3,700 people entered, I’m about 60 or 70% through.

The transcription is an ongoing background project, and might take another year (or two or three). Even though it’s only part complete, I’ve begun putting the latest version of the tree up on our web site.

Please have a look if you’re interested. For privacy reasons you can’t view living people without registering as a member and logging in. Here’s the web site:

To become a member go to this page and request a new user account:

All requests for membership come to me, and I’ll only approve requests from people I know to be family members.

If you have any questions please use the contact form on the web site.

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