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Ann Sophia O'Donnel/Nancy O'Donnel's Birth Certificate

The Birth Certificate of Ann Sophia O'Donnel. However, on 6th June 1819 she was christened Nancy O'Donnel in St John's Church at Parramatta, New South Wales, Australia.


Ann Sophia O'Donnel/Nancy O'Donnel's Wedding Certificate

Ann/Nancy's Wedding Certificate from 17th November 1838. She was still Nancy O'Donnel when she married John Northe at St Andrew's Church at Parramatta.





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Northe/Northey Family History


John Northe
John Northey (later changed to Northe) was born on 11th January 1799 at Chacewater in the rolling Cornish hills not far from Truro in England.

Nancy O'Donnel

John's wife, Nancy O'Donnel, was born at Parramatta, New South Wales, Australia on 21st March 1819, the eighth child of Hugh and Mary O'Donnel.


Offical records show Hugh and Mary's eighth baby being registered at birth as Ann Sophia O'Donnel. However, on 6th June 1819 she was christened Nancy O'Donnel in St John's Church at Parramatta, New South Wales, Australia. Click on the birth certificate to the right to see an enlarged version.


On 17th November 1838 she was still Nancy O'Donnel when she married John Northe at St Andrew's Church at Parramatta. Click on the marriage certificate to the right to see an enlarged version.


However, she was Ann Northe in John Northe's Last Will and Testament and Ann Northey (note the Y) on her death certificate.


Army records show John Northey's father-in-law as Hugh O'Donnel, Hugh O'Donnell and Hugh O'Donald. Hugh O'Donald is shown on his tombstone.


Family members can be excused if they suffer an identity crisis.


Hugh was born at Sligo, a fishing village in the County of Sligo, Ireland in c1768. He married Mary Lakeman, born c1775 in England. With their three oldest children, John born c1799, Thomas born c1806 and Frederick born c1808, they left Cowes Road near Portsmouth at the end of August 1809 and arrived in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia on 27th February 1810 on the second voyage of the Ann. The Ann was a vessel of 647 tons and had been taken as a prize of war.


Another family that sailed on the second voyage of the Ann was the Marsdens. Accompanying the Reverend Samuel Marsden (1764-1838) on the journey was his wife Elizabeth, his four daughters and a son. They also had their servant Mrs Bishop and a present from King George III of five merino sheep from the King's flock at Windsor. On his return to England Samuel Marsden had an audience with the King George III and wore a suit of cloth woven in Yorkshire from his own Australian wool, which impressed the Sovereign.


Samuel Marsden was a Yorkshireman who originally arrived in New South Wales, Australia in 1794 as Second Chaplain, and became Principal Chaplain in 1800. He had gone back to England for eighteen months to recruit clergymen and school teachers to serve in New South Wales, Australia and to recruit missionaries to set up a mission station in New Zealand. The missionaries selected were William Hall and John King. At that time, the evangelical spirit was a powerful force in England, and the desire to "uplift the heathen", and save them from superstition and barbarism, was an irresistible ambition of many people.


Other "passengers" on the Ann were Ruatara, a Maori Chief and 200 male convicts. For most of the six-month journey the convicts were crowded in the hold but on suitable days they were exercised on deck, still in chains, and guarded by soldiers like Hugh O'Donnel, who were going to Australia to join Governor Macquarie's' 73rd Regiment. Hugh had been in the "Black Watch" and then the 102nd Regiment or the "Rum Corps," which was recalled, so he transferred to the 73rd Regiment.


The survivors of the journey included one hundred and ninety-seven convicts, four merino ewes and two of their lambs, plus two hives of honey bees and cuttings of gooseberry and currant bushes taken on board for Samuel Marsden at Rio de Janeiro. Do you get a tingling down your spine when you shut your eyes and visualise men being supervised on a ship's deck exercising to the humming of the bees, baaing of sheep, rattling of chains, squawking of sea birds and roaring of soldiers? Not that life in a penal colony would warrant waiting for, but it could not be any more atrocious than the living hell when Ann was "home" for half a year of the convicts' three score years and ten - if they made it?


In Australia, Samuel Marsden received high praise for his farming skills. In 1796 he was appointed a Magistrate by Governor Hunter but his harsh measures as a Magistrate, earned him the title of "the Flogging Parson". In 1817 Samuel Marsden was named by Governor Macquarie as one of the chief malcontents in the colony and was rebuked by Governor Macquarie who dispensed with his services in 1818. Samuel Marsden was amongst those disciplined by Governor Darling for harsh treatment of their assigned convict servants. Samuel Marsden believed that Australian Aboriginals were beyond human help and said, "They have no wants, they live free and independent, and think little more of tomorrow than the fowls of the air or beasts of the field, and put no value upon the comforts of civil life."


Governor Macquarie also arrived in Australia in 1810, but as Colonel-in-Chief. In 1822 in face of criticism from both the colony and the Colonial Office, he returned to England and presented a report justifying the aims and objectives of his administration and sought a title as a mark of the Sovereign's approval. This was not granted and he died a disappointed man in 1824. The following are extracts from a letter he wrote to Lord Bathurst, the Colonial Secretary, explaining what the colony was like when he became Governor in 1810 and what he believed he had achieved during his twelve years in office.


"I found the colony barely emerging from infantile imbecility, and suffering from various privations and disabilities; the country impenetrable beyond forty miles from Sydney; agriculture in a yet languishing state; commerce in its early dawn; revenue unknown; threatened with famine; distracted by faction; the public buildings in a state of dilapidation and mouldering to decay; the few roads and bridges formerly constructed rendered almost impassable; the population in general depressed by poverty; no public credit nor private confidence; the morals of the great mass of the population in the lowest state of debasement, and religious worship almost totally neglected. . . .


"... That the colony has, under my orders and regulations, greatly improved in agriculture, trade, increase of flocks and herds, and wealth of every kind; that the people build better dwelling-houses, and live more comfortably; that they are in a very considerable degree reformed in their moral and religious habits; that they are now less prone to drunkenness, and more industrious; and that crimes have decreased, making due allowance for the late great increase of convict population; every candid, liberal-minded man, at all acquainted with the history of the colony for the last twelve years, will readily attest."


The Macquaries had had other problems as well.


Between nine and ten on the morning of Saturday 6th November 1820, there was a violent storm in Parramatta. Following a loud blast of thunder, a fireball crashed through the roof of Government House. It rolled along a passage on the second floor, blasting the doors from their hinges before rolling downstairs into the Governor's office and striking His Excellency's chair. Finally it passed through a double brick wall to the outside. The fireball left a trail of damage, including smashed furniture, hundreds of panes of broken glass, and rooms filled with thick sulphurous smoke. Amazingly, the Governor was on tour and Mrs Macquarie that morning had chosen to breakfast with her son in the only room of the house that escaped the fireball's fury.


Even though the Governor and Mrs Macquarie trusted their intuition, life in the colony was not easy for them, the O'Donnels, the Marsdens or anyone else. Sentences of one thousand lashes were used for punishing convicts. Spectators, including children were encouraged to watch executions to frighten them from crime. Prostitution was a crime but because of the imbalance in the number of women and men in the colony, prostitution was rife.


But all was not bad. The children received an education. The O'Donnel children, unlike their father Hugh, learnt to read and write. School was every day except Sunday, and the day began with a prayer at 8.45am. The Government provided textbooks, paper, quill pens, ink powder, slates and soft lead pencils. Corporal punishment ensured strict discipline.


After his discharge from the army, Hugh and his son Thomas farmed 100 acres at Liberty Plains, Parramatta. Hugh and Thomas were the original colonial landholders of the farm.


A cardboard box was found in the Records Office in England and it contained the documents of soldiers discharged to Pension. One document reads:.


"Hugh O'Donnell, private for 32 years

First in 18th garrison, 102nd Regiment and later

New South Wales Veterans Company G

Discharged in consequence of disbandment

Conduct - very good

Signed by mark

About 57 years

Height 5'9"

Dark brown hair

Grey eyes

Fair complexion



Hugh was born a Roman Catholic but at the time he enlisted Catholics were not permitted to join the armed forces, so he claimed affiliation to another faith. Hugh is buried at St. Patricks Catholic Cemetery, Parramatta in Section F, plot number 84. His headstone reads: "Here lies the remains of Mr HUGH O'DONALD who departed this life 28th May 1834 aged 66 years."


The Headstone for Hugh O'Donnel (spelt O'Donald) is sandstone.




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