The elusive John Green

Last night I was fortunate enough to be a participant in the first GeniAus Hangout on Air, it was a lot of fun and will be a great collaboration and learning resource. One of the questions I got to throw out into the ether was what do you do when you come across an absolute bog standard name, in my case John Green.

So what do I know about John Green.

John Green is the father of Louisa Green (b. 21 Jul 1821 – d. 27 Jun 1897)
Before he passed away, I was fortunate enough to be in contact with Ken Muffett who had devoted a lifetime to researching the descendants of Louisa and her husband Charles Robert Muffett in Australia. He had passed along some images of a Family Bible.

Muffet Family Bible, from the collection of the late Ken Muffet

Someone, and it appears to be a similar hand to that of the Family Register, has kindly written on the death information page.

Starting then with the information given about Louisa, there is a Louisa Green christened in Oakley, Bedfordshire to a John and Mary Green on 11 Aug 1822.1 There is a William and a Jane christened on the same day to the same parents.2  Now, I am not entirely convinced that this is a perfect fit, but with the information from the Bible it is at least plausible.

Now Louisa’s husband was a convict. Being a convict there is Applications to marry for the couple, who were refused twice before obtaining permission. 

“Registers of Convicts’ Applications to Marry, 1826-1851” State Archives NSW; Series: 12212; Item: 4/4513; p. 88

Looking now at the shipping record of the “Enchantress” “New South Wales, Australia, Unassisted Immigrant Passenger Lists, 1826-1922” [Database Online] /imaus1787_081196-0340 retrieved 31 Oct 2013

Mary Green. Ann Green 15 years of age. Louisa Green 11. Thomas Green 8. There is no John Green. There appears to be no male adult travelling with them at all. So why am I at least sure that John Green is Louisa’s father?

Using the information from the Family Bible I ordered a transcription of John Green’s death certificate via NSW Family History Transcriptions Pty Ltd (excellent service by the way, would highly recommend.)

John Green died 26 Aug 1868 at Rose Vale, Yarralaw District of Goulburn. He is a Farmer aged 81, therefore born approx 1787. Hi place of birth and marriage are listed as England but his conjugal status, age at marriage, name of spouse and children were left blank as was his time in the colonies. Information about his parents is listed as Unknown. The informant for his death is Charles R Muffet, Grandson, Rosevale, the undertaker Robert Muffet and the witnesses Charles R Muffet and Thomas M. Middleton, the place of burial Yarralaw. That Charles R Muffet is listed as his grandson supports the idea that he is Louisa’s father as does the other witness who is one of Louisa’s son-in-laws. Robert Muffet is one of the names by which Louisa’s husband was known.

What we know is that John Green is the father of Louisa Green and he died in 1868.

This isn’t the first time I’m tried to trace the Greens. The first aborted attempts were as a 15 and an 18 year old. I didn’t get very far, but written on a scrap of notepaper in a big pile of group sheets I had at some stage jotted down the following information. Louisa Green had been in NSW 67 years at death. John Green was 43 years old on arrival. Green, John and wife Mary arrive 1/1/1835 from London listed as passengers Mary 21 years, John listed as soldier /50th Reg. Mary’s maiden name was Clifford or Clifton.

Yeah, first thing I’d like to do is go back and slap my 15 year old self for not keeping better notes. Or any source notes. Although this was long before my history degree and the compulsive citation habits it imposed. The second this is a vague memory of some of this information coming from a phone call with Ken but him not being very sure himself. Too late now I’m afraid to ask him again. The last comment about Clifford/Clifton is also referenced in Ken’s published family tree. I wish I knew where I got the 1/1/1835 from as a recent search identified this as the Henry Porcher and I could not find a John and Mary Green at all, although listed was stragglers and families of the 50th Regiment of Foot. Is this where that idea came from?

Where now?
I have started the slow process of going through every Green in the colony starting with the Argyle district, and the names John, Mary, Thomas, Ann, William or Jane.

I have Trove’d and continue to Trove. The Muffet’s are constantly in the papers during this period. I might get lucky and find a Green reference.

I am considering the possibility of tracing the other immigrants from the “Enchantress” on the off chance they were travelling with another family.

Hope desperately that one of the other descendants has had better luck than me.

Find a Medium and ask.

Does anyone have any better suggestions?

1 “England Births and Christenings, 1538-1975,” index, FamilySearch ( : accessed 31 Oct 2013), Louisa Green, 04 Jun 1822
2 “England Births and Christenings, 1538-1975,” index, FamilySearch ( : accessed 31 Oct 2013), William Green, 17 Mar 1816, “England Births and Christenings, 1538-1975,” index, FamilySearch ( : accessed 31 Oct 2013), Jane Green, 16 Jul 1818.

  1. Hey Sharon,

    Some thoughts

    What denomination is St Saviours in Goulbourn?
    Have you contacted the church directly to see if they have the original registers?
    If they don't who has them? Deposited with state records? Often what is exacted into indexes and gov't files isn't everything recorded in the register (which often have little comments added by the clergy).
    If married in St Saviours cause it was the C of E but they were members of another denomination esp non-conformist or Catholic? If they were, were they active? Might be worth checking church newsletters, bulletins, minutes etc for a mention. They can contain a whole other world of information as they were often the most important social hubs in small towns and often were small groups of related individuals.
    Might be mentioned in birth/marriage/death notices of relations or family friends (especially weddings).

    Hope this helps.


  2. Hi Sharon do you have Louisa's mother's death certificate, that is the death certificate details for Mary Green? That might be more complete than John's and tell you something about John and Mary's marriage and their children which might help to pinpoint the family. Regards Anne

  3. I would start with Goulburn and there are three possible Mary Greens on NSW BDM registered in that district with deaths up to 1900

    Of these I think the 1899 death unlikely given the age of Mary's children. Given Mary apparently had a child Thomas you could try the 1879 certificate. I understand though that guessing on certificates is an expensive business.

    No apparent newspaper items on Trove to help.

    I had a look at Goulburn cemetery transcript in the hope they were buried together. No luck at not least because he is buried at yarralaw not Old Goulburn. However you could try HAGSOC ( which has more transcripts of the area. I think it would be worth finding a reference to John's burial plot and seeing if his wife buried with him and thus narrow down her death date.

  4. I have come across at least one instance in my own family tree where the wife and children followed a convict on a separate ship. This may be the case for John and Mary. In my case they were travelling in the same year but it could be that there was a greater distance apart. The Enchantress arrived 1833 and Thomas was 8, born about 1825. You could be looking for John being convicted any time between 1824 and 1833 if this is indeed the explanation.
    If we eliminate Van Diemans Land and assume he was transported to NSW since that is where his wife and children followed him (and Louisa seems to have met up with him). We have John Green convicted 1829 in London for 14 years and transported on the Adrian in 1830. Another john Green was convicted at Bucklinghamshire and transported on The Camden in 1832. There are a couple more men named John Green for 1832 on other ships. There are other possibilities too. None convicted Bedford that I could see with a quick search, but both Buckingham and London are relatively close.

  5. Hi Sharon, caught you on the hangout. Anne's suggestions are excellent. Isn't it great to get other ideas from people!
    BTW, I'm chasing Greens as well but they come from Wiltshire so can't help you.

  6. There is also a Mary Green who died in 1853 at age 70. When I fill up my genealogy change jar again 😉

    I am almost 100% sure that John is buried under a tree on "Rosevale" although I have misplaced the list of marked graves. Time to chase up the Windellama historical society again.

  7. I've been thinking about that too and trying to narrow down that way. I am 99% sure I just found a marriage for daughter Ann to Benjamin Taylor in the convict permissions to marry. Her certificates are going on m y list too.

  8. Yes they married 1835 at Sutton Forest, image at ancestry. Her ship is given as the Enchantress and she was 18. Sutton Forest not far from Goulburnn. Now a notable highway stop 😉

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