Wednesday, April 15, 2020

GeniAus - #AtoZChallenge - M is for the Magick Mystery

During April 2020 the month of this #AtoZChallenge I will be sharing short posts on some of the  2,000+ descendants I have identified of my 3x Great-Grandmother, Elizabeth Phipps

Elizabeth Phipps 1785-1869 was a convict who was transported from England to New South Wales in 1814 per Wanstead

You may be wondering why I am concentrating on Elizabeth's descendants rather than those of a married couple. Well the Magick Mystery is that, until we get some DNA matches that help us determine the paternity of Elizabeth's children, we cannot be 100% sure as to the identity of their fathers.

In my database I have details of ten children born to Elizabeth and christened with the surname Westbrook and that is why I record them as Westbrook There is conjecture that there was another child that was transported with Elizabeth but I only have one small piece of evidence from 1814 to support this ( General Muster of New South Wales 1814. Baxter, Carol, Ed. Sydney, ABGR, 1987: Number 1800. 1800 W Elizabeth Phipps Wanstead C (Stores) Off (Children) 1 Servant to Mr Cox). What happened to this child?

Children of Elizabeth Phipps
The two main paternal candidates are convicts James Westbrook, and William Magick. To confuse the issue further Elizabeth in 1818 applied to marry another convict, William Widgett (who had been transported to NSW on the General Hewitt with Magick). This marriage did not proceed.

Elizabeth and James who were partners in crime were cohabiting in London before they were transported to New South Wales. Although they claimed to be married it must have been a common law marriage,  there has been no formal record of this union found.

Elizabeth and James were assigned to William Cox on their arrival in NSW, Magick was first assigned to Mr Purcell but later to Cox. Westbrook and Magick worked together as Brickmakers for Cox on the building of the Road over the Blue Mountains. The trio in the 1820s all resided in the Richmond area.

Elizabeth's children are recorded in the 1825 Muster and 1828 Census with the surname Westbrook.

Elizabeth finally made her choice and married  William Magick in 1834. A cynic may suggest that this choice was influenced by the fact that William was gaining respectability as a man of property in Richmond.

Presumably Elizabeth's younger children went to live with her and Magick in March Street, Richmond. It is interesting to note that the younger children Adelina Benedicta and William John used the Magick surname on their marriage records. James was also known as James Magick on various documents.

The older girls Ann, Sophia, Louisa and Sarah were married using the Westbrook surname.

There are so many questions to be answered. When did Elizabeth begin to cohabit with William Magick? The 1822 Muster records her as living with Westbrook. She was living with Madgewick in the 1825 muster and cited as his housekeeper in the 1828 census. Therefore it is quite likely that her younger children were by William Magick.

And that is the Magick Mystery that has been confounding Elizabeth's descendants for year (over 30 for me).

UPDATE:  I wrote this post two weeks ago. Thanks to Cousin Regina, A Phipps descendant and committed genealogist, who has found a piece of evidence showing that Elizabeth Phipps was pregnant when she was in Newgate Prison. If that child was born alive then it must be the one I mentioned above. You can find new records relating to Elizabeth's time in Newgate by doing a search on Ancestry.

I love to connect with cousins and fellow researchers. Should you find any errors in my post or have additional information please contact me. 


Dianne Nolin said...

Life and love are complicated.

Cassmob (Pauleen) said...

Well that’s a tangle. It will be interesting to see if DNA helps solve the Magickal Mystery


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