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Donald Meiklejohn 1803-1863

In response to an email requesting more information, I have done some more research on Donald Meiklejohn, born 1803 in Caithness, Scotland, died 1863 in Morpeth, New South Wales, Australia, and his family. The email was asking if I had information about Donald’s immigration to Australia.

The first thing to do was to look at what information I had for Donald.

  • Christened 10 February 1803 in Halkirk, Caithness, Scotland, parents Donald Meiklejohn and Barbara McBeath
  • Died 5 August 1863 at Morpeth, New South Wales, Australia
  • Buried 6 August 1863 at Morpeth, New South Wales, Australia
  • Married 27 April 1832 at Maitland, New South Wales, Australia.

In looking at the sources I have for him, I found I had his death certificate.  This certificate states he had lived in Tasmania for 2 years, and in New South Wales for 33 years.  This indicates that he immigrated to Tasmania in 1828. Apart from that, I didn’t have any further information about his immigration.  It was time to do a search, to see if I could find more information.

The first place I looked was ancestry.com.au . In the search fields, I entered his name, and his year of birth. There were a number of records for him, but since I was looking for the immigration record, I then selected Immigration & Travel to filter the records to this category. Although there was no immigration record, I did find an entry in the New South Wales, Australia, Registers of Convicts’ Applications to Marry, 1826–1851.  This entry shows that the request to marry was granted for the marriage of Donald Meiklejohn and Honor Harrington on 10 April 1832.  Donald was aged 26, and came free.  The entry gives details of the ship that Honor came on.  From these details, we now know that Donald came as a free immigrant.

The next thing to check was – are there any passenger lists for Tasmania for 1828? On entering “Tasmanian Passenger Lists 1828” in Google, these were the first two results:

  1. New South Wales, Australia, Assisted Immigrant Passenger … search.ancestry.com.au/search/db.aspx?dbid=1204
  2. Shipping – Passenger Lists – Australia – CoraWeb www.coraweb.com.au/shipindex.htm

I tried the first entry for ancestry, but there was no result for Donald Meiklejohn born 1803 in the New South Wales indexes.
I then decided to try CoraWeb. CoraWeb had the following information for Tasmania

Indexes and passenger records > Tasmania

I tried the Arrivals at LINC for 1828, and although there are entries from 1828, the list only goes up to surnames beginning with L. Since I had already searched at ancestry, and the Tasmanian Records only start in 1829, I didn’t bother searching these databases again.

I then tried the Digital Island Indenture Servants of the Van Diemen’s Land Company site, but it appears that this information is no longer available.

As it seems that I had exhausted all of the available records online for the passenger indexes, I decided to try newspaper articles. Many newspapers are available on the Trove website – trove.nla.gov.au. Unfortunately, the earliest newspaper available on Trove is for the decade 1830-1839.

At this stage, I had exhausted all of the online resources I could think of. I have therefore left this search until I am able to identify, and access, other resources that may be available for this time period.

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