Sunday, January 13, 2013

David Jackson, where are you?

Finally. The little bundle of clues coalesced and my theory has turned into a fact.

Here's the story.

In March 1857 a baby, Thomas, was born in Fryers Creek, Victoria. His father was Robert Leed and his mother Helen Jackson. At the time of his birth his parents weren't married, although they stated that they were, and didn't marry until after their third child was born. So, working backwards, Thomas must have been conceived about June 1856 when Helen was 17 years old. Fryers creek in 1855/1856 was a rich goldmining area near the present day town of Castlemaine in central Victoria. It was an area in an extreme state of flux, with miners coming and going continually. What was a 17-year old girl doing there?

When I checked Robert and Helen's marriage certificate it stated that Helen's parents were David Jackson, storekeeper, and Helen Kinross. A witness to the marriage was a David Jackson. I found young Helen on the 1851 Scottish census for Leith, Scotland - she was living with several relatives including her grandmother and her younger brother John but no parents were present.

So I wondered if the David Jackson who witnessed the marriage was her brother or her father. Next I checked the immigration records and found Helen (16) and her brother John (13) arriving in Melbourne on the ship 'Oliver Lang' in April 1856. I assumed that as they were so young they would be travelling to join a family member, and speculated that it would be her father. So I checked all sorts of records without being able to prove any connection but there was a John Jackson who died at Castlemaine in 1916 (who I think is Helen's brother) and a David Jackson operating a store at Castlemaine. I got excited when I  found that that David Jackson remarried in 1857 at Castlemaine and quickly got a copy of the marriage certificate but it was inconclusive although several facts, including age and birthplace, were about right.
The Argus (Melbourne) 7 April 1856
But just before Christmas I found this newspaper notice. The shipping agents in Melbourne are advertising for David Jackson of Leith to tell him that his daughter and son have arrived. Remember, Leith is where Helen was living in 1851. That was the proof I needed that David was in Victoria prior to his children arriving. And now I think I'm on safe ground assuming that the David Jackson living in Castlemaine was her father.

Helen JACKSON, daughter of David JACKSON and Jane KINROSS was born on 11 Feb 1838 in Leith, Scotland. She died on 20 Jun 1886 in Eaglehawk, Victoria, Australia. She married Robert LEED, son of Thomas LEED and Grizzel (Grace) McLEISH on 19 Aug 1863 in Eaglehawk, Victoria, Australia. He was born on 22 Aug 1832 in Glasgow, Scotland. He died on 26 Jul 1889 in Eaglehawk, Victoria, Australia


  1. Great detective work. I wonder what happened to their mother.

    1. I think she died in Scotland in the 1840s, but that's something else I have yet to research.


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