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Sunday 3/6/2012

Yup, it’s coming very soon

just stay tuned.

I’ve always thought that those comment boxes were just a bit ‘needy’

– but I don’t think that now.

I’m going to pull out the feedback from all over and put it in here. It’ll take me a while to find them.


forumman53/ Apr 27 2012 1:31 pm

This is fascinating. Mary Higgins, William Scattergood and their daughter Mary were my ancestors. Mary and Thomas Triffitt were my great great great grandparents. Where did all this information come from? Where did the anecdote about Mary Scattergood and Thomas Triffitt come from? I’d love to hear more.

thedogster / Apr 27 2012 3:34 pm
  • Heya forum, glad you’re enjoying. Mostly, the info is on the net nowadays – but it’s taken me years to collect – the interpretations are mine. There is more if you go into the main site. Click on the cherry, then use the search function – but I’m not sure which anecdote you mean… tell me and I’ll source it.

    forumman53 / Apr 27 2012 1:32 pm
  • This is fascinating. Where did the anecote about Mary Scattergood and Thomas Triffitt come from? They were ancestors of mine. I’d love to hear more.

    forumman53 / Apr 28 2012 4:51 am
  • Hi, good to hear from you. The one that really struck me was when Mary Scattergood was told of her betrothal to Thomas Triffitt. They were my three times great grandparents, their four parents being four of my great-great-great-great grandparents. I know that Thomas and Mary were 18 and 16 when they married. Their daughter Mary had a child with John Alsop, named Susannah. Is this anecdote from the family oral history? Do you know if any photos or physical descriptions of these people survive? By the way, my compliments and appreciation of this research and your commitment in doing it all.

    thedogster / Apr 28 2012 7:18 am
    • Well, I’m delighted you’re ploughing thru the sites – and have discovered the main Triffitt site. It’s an epic saga and, like all epic sagas, seems to have no end – hence missing bits like this ‘about the site’ section. What you’re reading here is the product of about eight years research, mostly on the net – and a lot of books –  and then my interpretation of events. I’m trying to lay all the research I have on the net.

      There are no physical descriptions or photographs. When you come across anything like this in the text, that’s an invention, based on the kind of lives they led. The task here was to try and make this data readable – and entertaining. It’s as accurate as I can make it – but, of course, I really haven’t the faintest idea whether Mary Scattergood and Thomas married, as I suspect, on the rebound – or whether James Jr. was led astray by Lizzie Barnes.  Were they blond or dark, tall or short? I dunno. Oddly though, when one writes this stuff, images emerge. I had a choice whether to jump into that zone. As you see, I did.

      Actually, the clue to their betrothal lies in ‘The Great Raid’ when Thomas gets shot. Your family very nearly didn’t exist. You haven’t got to that yet. There’s a very long version in a separate site and the shorter one on the main site.

      You can find some more juicy Mary and Thomas stuff in the James & Sophia chapter, too. Mary gets speared by natives and nearly eaten by a cannibal. lol. Life was tough in Back River. The Triffitt/Higgins stuff in the Back River Gals site is really just an edited version of what’s in the main site. You’ll find your family in ‘Tribes’.

      It’s great when I get feedback – and compliments. Thank you.


  • forumman53 / May 6 2012 4:14 am

    Hallo again, NIgel. I just had to tell you I thoroughly enjoy the humorous rendition you make of Mary Whiston’s beginnings. Specifically when you said her sentence included being involved in populating Australia with Triffitts, and had she known she would have dived back into the font and refused to come out. It appeals to my own sense of humour. I’ve oftern wondered what Mary and other of our forebears would think of us if we or they could time travel and meet! There is room for much ironic or comical speculation! It’s a great site! Best wishes, Andrew Clarke


    • thedogster / May 13 2012 5:00 am

      Heya Andrew. Thanks, mate. The more jokes the better, I think.


  • Scott Cook / May 13 2012 4:00 am

    Hi Nigel, Tremendous job you have down here, it’s like sitting at the movies watching the whole family history go by. Last time I was in toouch with you it was when you were still in the process of starting the webpage, you sent me some clips of the story which I thought was great.

    Just a quick question, i,m bit confused with Elizabeth Barnes. You say she was born in May 1801 to Martha Edwards and the then John Holland, is that correct?  But then I see that Martha married John Barnes about a month later? So is the Elizabeth (Edwards) the same Elizabeth Barnes that marries James Triffitt (1794)?

    I ony wish that had a bit more imagination when naming their kids, might make understanding the records just a bit easier :-) .

    By the way, for those interested, my great great grandfather on my grandmother’s side married Susannah Triffit (Daughter of James Triffit (1794)) and their son, Isaac John Daly married both Maria Agnes Triffitt and previously her older sister, both who are daughters of John Frederick Triffitt, first son of Thomas Triffitt (1797)

    Wow, that even confused me. Happy to hear from any other Triffitts in these family lines as well.


    • thedogster / May 13 2012 4:41 am

      Heya Scott, I was in long conversation with Jill Millar on this topic about three months ago and did much rewriting. Yup, she’s the daughter of John Holland. I have her christening record. Mum and the kids were sent to Norfolk Island not long after, leaving John Holland in Sydney Cove. He didn’t have a lot of choice. Nor did Martha, when she landed on Norfolk Island with three kids and no protector/husband/squeeze. Hence the rather rapid marriage to Mr. Barnes. Errr… no, love didn’t have much to do with it. That’s a 20th Century mindset. Practicality is all. It turned out to be a good choice.


    • forumman53 / May 13 2012 7:07 am

      Hallo Scott Cook. You and I must be related. My great great grandfather married Susannah Triffitt, who was the daughter of Mary and Thomas Triffitt. Susanna’s father was John Alsop, they were not married, and I thing what happened was that John was working for Thomas and Mary when their daughter had a fling with him. William John Isent Clark was my great great grandfather’s name. His children included Frederick George Edward Clark(e), whose son was  Edward Langley Clarke, whose son was Robert Edward Clarke, and he was my father. I WISH I could get some photographs of those people, and hear more anecdotes or records about them. This is fascinating!


      • Scott Cook / May 13 2012 12:49 pm

        My email is  Pls write soon, we can compare notes :-)  I have a picture of one of Susannah’s sons, he is down on my line.



      • Robyn Brydon / May 28 2012 9:00 pm

        Hi Scott,

        William Isent Clark is my great grandfather as well. My grandmother is Elizabeth Ada Althena Clark, a daughter to Susannah. This Triffit thing is huge! The funny thing is I moved to Tasmania several years ago having no idea of the connections and remarked on the strangeness of the Triffit name to a friend. Maybe the rellies were trying to tell me something. To Nigel, totally entertaining and so informative, I love it.


      • thedogster / May 29 2012 3:48 am

        Hello Robyn – thanks for your kind words. I love it when someone sends me a note. This is a long and epic quest. Feedback puts the wind back under my wings. When I get some time I’ll see what else I can find out about this rogue strain of Triffitts. Clearly, it’s all Susannah’s fault.

        Remember too, as you may discover in Tassie, there are good Triffitts and bad Triffitts. A trawl thru will reveal a decided criminal streak in one half of the family. Let’s hope we’re on the right side…

        BTW, I just discovered Thomas Triffitt’s will a few days ago. It’s long and kinda strange – he was quite the control freak. The link is in the ‘Tribes’ page.


  • Scott Cook / Jun 1 2012 10:33 am

    Hi Robyn,

    Feel free to email me on

    would love to swap info and pics with you.



  • Scott Cook / Jun 1 2012 11:39 pm

    Nigel, I found your web to be ulimtately fascinating. It sure beats reading just a lot of names, places and dates. The way you write really makes these people come alive. And they ARE real people, ntot just charachters from a book, but people who, without them, none of us would be here now. It makes you sit and just think, if only just one of these persons had not married, had gone to live elsewhere, had died in youth (like many of their siblings) then none of us would be here to read or write this amazing adventure. Keep it up !!!  I look forward to reading more when it comes available. Also, it makes a great place to meet other Triffitt family members :-)  Maybe you could add a type of message board where Triffitt researchers could leave requests, questions, newly found fotos etc, just an idea :-)


    • thedogster / Jun 2 2012 6:54 am

      And it’s a great idea, Scott – and I will.

      Your words are, of course, very flattering. I’m glad you too have conjured with the sheer brutal accident of our combined fate. Sometimes it comes down to a split-second. It’s hard to find ‘Fate’ in any of this – just random chaos. Oddly, it doesn’t seem like this at all.


Hi Nigel,

I am a direct descendant from John and Phoebe (Triffitt) Jillett. I found the Sad Phoebe story of great interest in that it provides a depth of understanding to the pure statistics of the death of the children and the challenge that the family had to live thru in those very difficult times.

I am curious to how the detail was developed around that story, who is the author and to what degree it is fiction.

You have developed a truly wonderful website. Congratulations on that and your career.

Kind regards,

Tony Beach


  • thedogster / Mar 12 2012 5:09 am

    Hi Tony, thanks for those kind words:

    Well, I’m the author. lol. It’s all my fault.

    As for the degree of ‘creativity’ in the story – well, I guess there’s a bit. I really have no idea whether dear Phoebe was ‘sensational in the sack’ or anything about her appearance or nature. So, yup, there’s creative licence there, for sure. But I wanted to flesh her out and give some meaning to the dreadful ordeal they both went through. So often we just read a list of births but forget the real drama behind every one of them. My eye was taken immediately by the sudden rush of deaths in the family, hence the research and subsequent article.

    I guess I just wanted to remember those faceless women who did all the hard work.

    Phoebe is somewhere in my family line, too. That’s why I wrote about her.

    Names, dates, places, family and details of the disease that brought so many babies down are, of course, factual. There is probably more on the net by now. Why don’t you run a search on and see what you come up with. Send it to me if you find anything juicy.

    I wrote it about six years ago. I had to go read it again – I’ll fix the layout errors and a bit of bad prose here and there later today – the website keeps growing like topsy – I’m really only up to about 1824 in real detail – but I do thank you for your interest and praise.


  • Julie Gough / Apr 5 2012 1:53 pm

    hi Nigel

    Just found your site – wow very inspirationally interesting, including your arrival into Triffittness I too am addicted to colonial VDL history [have blogs incl. Manuscript 3251 on wordpress] and have noticed that the Triffitts/Triffetts do figure large I have many ancestors from all over and proudly original Tasmanians too, also one  – Joseph Cox was born on Norfolk Island, they were the 1813 Cox family on Lady Nelson immigration  to Norfolk Plains. All the best Julie


    • thedogster / Apr 5 2012 2:28 pm

      Aww, how nice. Thanks Julie. Another addict in the house. The trouble with colonial history is that it never stops! Have fun in the site – I’ve been rewriting and adding lots more stuff lately in an effort to finish it off – but, of course, there never IS an end to it… – thanks again for your kind words – explore away.


  • Gayle Burns / Apr 14 2012 4:17 am

    Hi Nigel, Fascinating reading. I am a direct descendant of Ada Elizabeth Triffitt & James Burn. Your information has really filled in some gaps! I am still trying to find out about James Burn(s) family though. It seems his father was a James Burn(s) too. My father had the picture of Johanna (Richardson) and he called her ‘little granny’. Quite a character by all accounts.



    • thedogster / Apr 14 2012 4:33 am

      Heya Gayle, yup, that’s a great pic, isn’t it? I only stumbled on it recently. I’ll use your ‘little granny’ line, if I may. It’s perfect. The stories that gal could tell. I’m glad you’re enjoying. Burns will be slightly difficult to track because it’s a fairly common name and Tasmania is swirling with stories around this time. All you really need to know is: free settler or convict? If the latter, date of crime and place. After that it’s easy. It’s fun trawling in here, too:  – and thanks for your kind comments.


  • Irene Dillon / May 6 2012 11:59 am

    Hi Nigel,

    I’ve been struggling with two small Triffitt puzzles, I wonder if you can help?

    The first: my forebear Elizabeth Rawlinson with three illegitimate children in tow married Edward Albert Triffitt (28th May 1863 – 1942).  I suspect her third child may actually have been Edward’s.  He gave his name to all three and they had 7 more.

    There was a newspaper announcement for the wedding as follows in the Mercury:

    TRIFFETT-RAWLINSON.-On April 22,1887,

    by the Rev. Joseph Black, Hobart, Albert Edward, third eldest son of John Triffett,  to Elizabeth, youngest daughter of Peter Rawlinson, both of the Ouse,

    I am wondering who is said John Triffitt the father?  I can’t find a mention anywhere connecting the obvious John and my Albert (also known as Edward).

    The second:   In a newspaper report (Mercury again) into the inquest of death of Caleb Bartlett (20th Feb 1878) Owen Daley gives evidence as the event occurs near his house.  Also giving evidence is Johanna Triffitt, apparently the daughter of Owen Daley.  I am wondering just who she is?  A daughter to Susan before they married or a daughter of his who married a Triffitt?   Any clues?



    • thedogster / May 6 2012 12:38 pm

      Hi Irene: I’m sleuthing this right now. One thing to remember: just ‘cos its written in the papers, doesn’t make it true. lol.

      Go to TRIBES:

      Scroll down a way or use the search function. There you’ll find your Edward Albert Augustus Triffitt b. 28 May 1863 in Bothwell.

      He was the third son born to EDWARD TRIFFITT & MARY TAYLOR. Edward the father was the third son born to THOMAS TRIFFITT & MARY SCATTERGOOD.

      As you know, Thomas was the second son of JAMES TRIFFITT & MARY HIGGINS.

      So, your Mercury clipping is incorrect. Trust me, that’s not unusual where family listing is concerned. Information was delivered verbally, often from confused sources, via the magic telegraph.. I wouldn’t fuss too much about it unless you come up with some extra corroborating evidence – in which case, we’re ALL wrong. lol.

      There is no John in your line.. Relax.

      I’ll get back to your second question later.

      Later: O.K., I’m reading your juicy inquest. Why do you think that Johanna Triffitt was the daughter of Owen Daley? Ahh, I see the words ‘my daughter Johanna…’ Hmmm. Mystery.

      Here’s the inquest for anybody else reading:|||sortby=dateAsc|||l-category=Article|||l-decade=187|||l-year=1878

      The ONLY Johanna I have available is this one: Johannah Elizabeth Triffitt b. 26 Jun 1851, daughter of FERTILE WILLIAM TRIFFITT & ANN TRIFFITT. I’m afraid you’re in the far edges of my research. I had to give up after the 150-ish grandchildren – it just became too complicated after that. The clues, if any, will lie in the Daley family records. If Johanna was his daughter, she’d be called Johanna Daly. She’s not married – you can see in the evidence she’s courting ‘a young man she’s keeping company with…’ so where the name Triffitt comes from eludes me. Right now, I’d be leaning on the above Johannah Elizabeth Triffitt b. 26 Jun 1851 – rather than some elusive Daley child – but why ‘my daughter’? Well, I dunno.


  • historybylarzus / May 16 2012 5:27 am

    Hi Nigel,

    Thank you for looking that up.  You may be completely correct, but I think there are a few possible other options.

    If Susan was born in 1822 she was 37 when she married.  That’s a long time for a lady to wait, especially in the environs in which Susan was raised.  I think it’s possible – just possible – that she cohabited with someone before the marriage. In that case a daughter would have her surname … as with Susannah Triffitt the daughter of James Hay.  We’d need baptism records to find out, if they exist.  If this happened Owen might have taken the girl on as his own, hence ‘my daughter Johannah’ or she really was his child.   This is all speculation, of course.  But there seems to be something lacking in Susan’s early life.  I also note, her marriage record gives her age in 1859 as 30, same as Owen.

    The other uncertainty I’m finding is with her children.  Did she really have her youngest child at age 54?  Even for a Triffitt that’s hard to believe.  If she was born in 1829 it makes her 47, not impossible but not common.  I shall continue digging.

    On another note, have you seen the Mercury of 21 Jul 1873 where Johanna Triffett is on trial for perjury?  It goes from the end of page 2 across to page 3 and gives a nice glimpse of daily life in their neck of the woods.  A bit tough on country people to suddenly be thrust into that very formal environment. The young ones seems to have been a bit shy in court.




Leave a Comment
  1. Chris Triffitt / Jun 23 2012 5:36 pm


    Haven’t been on the site for a while and was delighted to see your Feedback section and the great comments contained in it. Any Triffitt/Triffett researchers from Oz coming over to the UK should get in touch with me. I can’t guarantee to be able to help but sure will try.

    As I’ve said before – your research successes have pushed back the history of our family by almost 200 years.

    On behalf of the few remaining Triffitts in the UK, thanks for this.

    Chris Triffitt.

    • thedogster / Jul 2 2012 12:21 am

      Awwww Chris. If I can bear to visit the UK again I’ll be first to contact you, too.
      [to anybody else reading, this is the very Christopher Triffitt Superstar researcher who has provided many a clue… ]

  2. Susan Johnson / Aug 14 2014 9:12 am

    I just want to give you a huge thank you. What a wonderful collection of stories. My grandchildren love hearing your stories – appropriately edited for little ears.(Please forgive me for removing the “spice” – only for now though…) What an incredible work…I have that Donald McDonald (1837 Ulva – 1929); son of Alexander McDonald (1801-1884) & Flora McDonald (1810-1876); immigrated on the “Panama” and married Martha Louise Triffitt on 1 May 1873. I am not sure though, for the records at NSW & Tasmania are a bit confusing and there seems to be two Martha Louise Triffitts, and one is confused with a Triffitt with same birth date but slightly different name. But I believe she may be the daughter of William Triffitt (1816-1895) and Ann Triffitt (1816-1889), cousins. Oh how we all dearly hope so… for to loose such a colourful family tree would be sad indeed. * Martha Louise Triffitt married Donald McDonald (1837-1929) and had Eveline* Amelia McDonald (1890-1968) who seems to have had a child perhaps not married as he was named Lyell Noel McDonald (1911-2009) who is my very young grandchildren’s (4, 8, 10) late and much older grandfather. Lyell Noel turned out to be a successful business man and left a lasting legacy. I thought you’d get a chuckle that the Triffitt tradition was alive and well! Very Kindest Regards, S. Johnson

    • Susan Johnson / Aug 14 2014 10:10 am

      I am so sorry after leaving the message to hear of Nigel’s death in 2012. A huge loss. S. J.

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