Sarah Davis

#1722, b. circa 1817

Individual's Timeline

Birthcirca 1817Sarah Davis
Christening1 March 1818Sarah Davis1
Marriage27 April 1837Sarah Davis2,3,4,5

Primary events

Secondary circumstances

  • Married Name: Her married name was Wilkins.
  • Name Variation: She was also known as Sarah Jane Boyd On her record when she was transported to Australia, it shows her 'real name' as Sarah BOYD. See other entries relating to her brother John BOYD who was also referred to on the same record.
  • Residence: In 1835 Sarah lived in Tasmania, Australia. She was assigned to a Mr A Beveridge.
  • Note: (an unknown value).6
Brushes with the LAW

Sarah was a convict who arrived in Australia aboard the New Grove in 1834 as a single woman of 17. She had been sentenced to 7 years, having been tried (as Sarah DAVIS) at the Clerkenwell August Sessions for larceny. She had a history of absconding whilst in Tasmania. Her sentence was extended by at least 1 year. Records in Tasmania show it was extended by 3 years altogether, but her conditional pardon was 8 years after her conviction.

Sessions of the Peace, which is where Sarah was tried, cover misdemeanours?? such as perjury, fraud, riot and assault. SP trials were held at the Guildhall. The assumption is that she was NOT tried for theft. It would be good to get details of her trial, but so far I have not found any.

Sarah was in Tasmania for 2 years before she married John WILKINS, a free man. She was not cited in any gaol records after her marriage.

Sarah's description from her convict records when she landed in Tasmania shows - 5ft 3¼ins, aged 17. She had a brown complexion, dark brown hair, an oval freckled face with blue eyes and a small nose, mouth and chin. She was said to be a needlewoman from Chelsea.

A note on Sarah's record gives us her 'real name, Sarah BOYD. It also said she had a brother who was transported on the Camden to NSW.

Locus Operandi

Research Notes

  • Research note 01: I am NOT certain that the parents and grandparents shown here are correct, as there is no PROVEN link between the convict Sarah and the child Chr in 1818.

    Sarah was a convict and her trial details may well confirm her age and possibly her place of birth. We know the Sarah Davis who married John WILKINS was from the New Grove from the permission to marry. I have researched the Old Bailey Records and her trial is not included. I believe the Sessions of the Peace were separate and have not been transcribed as yet. The records covering her in Tasmania are: Conduct record CON40/3, Description list CON18/25 and Appropriation list CSO1/790/16926. I have not found Sarah's nor John's deaths.
    However, things move on. A fellow researcher contacted me regarding information on Sarah's Conduct Report.
    * The entry reads - Transported for larceny. Gaol Report - In prison before. Single. Stated this offence for stealing 2 handkerchiefs, once for pails, 7 days. 1 brother John transported 4 year earlier ‘7 years next September’. Went in the Camden to NSW. Real name BOYD, single. Surgeon's report, very bad disobedient and disorderly. I doubt that they would have gone to the trouble of recording her 'real' name if they were unsure of the facts. Finding John BOYD as stated confirmed the statement. See her newly found brothers' information.
    In Oct 2012 D BOYD contacted me. He is not convinced that Sarah is the daughter of John and Jane, due to John's offence having been perpetrated in Edgeware Road, and not in the East End, where his family were from. Also the brother John was found in the 1841 census, with children. I agree with David, there is NO EASY answer, just 'probabilities.
    One thing of note is that, even though Clement married a Roman Catholic, the family were actually Presbyterian, later CofE. Sarah and her offspring were also members of one or other of the smaller Protestant Churches.
  • Research note 02: Application for admission to the Orphan School by John Wilkins and Sarah Maria Simpson for Katherine, Elizabeth and James Wilkins, February 1862, SWD26/1/5 p.96, 1862. This doc confirms that the Sarah WILKINS nee STIMPSON was a different woman to Sarah DAVIS, and therefore not our family..
  • Research note 03: Sarah is NOT mentioned in the obit of her grand daughter in November 1868, so she is either estranged from the family by then, or has already died..
  • Research note 04: Feb 2012 - I decided to look for Sarah Jane BOYD in records after her birth, in the hope of finding her AT THE SAME TIME as I have records for sarah DAVIS, thereby proving the negative. She does NOT appear in London on line records of death or marriage in the London area.
    * 1841 There is a Sarah BOYD in Pall Mall (St James' Sq, District 1) She si one of dozens of servants. I can't make out what sort of establishment she was in, but it was not a workhouse. Her age was rounded to 20.
    * 1851 There is a 30 year old, unmarried, Sarah BOYD, born in Bethnal Green, working as a servant to Isaac HAKEN, a pocketbook maker.
    * 1861 There is a 42 year old, unmarried, Sarah BOYD, born in Bethnal Green, working as a servant John DOYLE a cabinet maker. Not found in 1871, and no death in in free bmd,
    * I believe I have NOT YET eliminated her as being the one who was Chr in 1818 for the following reasons.
    (1) I found her in 1861 and NOT in 1871.
    (2) Just about Discounted the 1865 marriage between Sarah Amy BOYD (who was NOT found as a separate person in the 1861 census) and Frederick TOMKINS. The age in the marriage was simply 'full age', but I found Frederick H TOMKINS in the 1871 census. He was a married tutor, wife not with him, his DOB was 1838, so it is unlikely that the Sarah BOYD who married him was 20 or more years older than the groom. I have been unable to find Sarah, married woman of any age, husband not with her, in the 1871 census. I found Frederick Hall TOMKINS in the electoral roll in 1882 living in 28 Queens Sq, St George the Martyr, London.
  • Research note 05: Her daughter Selina knew her has Harriet nee BOYD, as the following item was published in the Hobart Town Daily Mercury - 18 and 20 June 1860 (about 9 months before Selina and James were married in Sydney). Sent to me by Jenny PLOWES (thanks).
    * musings - If Sarah/Harriet had an Uncle Edward HUNSWORTH, is should mean there is a marriage BOYD/HUNSWORTH or PLUMPTON/HUNSWORTH, but maybe DAVIS/SUNSWORTH.

Children of Sarah Davis and John Huddlleston Wilkins


  1. International Genealogical Index (IGI), name:     Sarah Jane Boyd
    gender:     Female
    baptism/christening date:     01 Mar 1818
    baptism/christening place:     SAINT MATTHEW,BETHNAL GREEN,LONDON,ENGLAND
    birth date:     02 Sep 1817
    father's name:     John Boyd
    mother's name:     Jane
    indexing project (batch) number:     C04698-3
    system origin:     England-ODM
    source film number:     855939, 855940.
  2. BDM in Australia, Aust Vital Records 1788-1905, 1837/3851.
  3. Digger - Tas BMD Digger databases on CD.
  4. International Genealogical Index (IGI), Certificate 3852 in the Tasmanian on line originals - Image 103.
  5. Tasmanian Archives database: WILKINS      John      free      DAVIS      Sarah      New Grove      15 MAR 1837      CON52/1 p221      RGD36/3 : 1837/3851.
  6. Tasmanian Archives database.
  7. BDM in Australia, Aust Vital Records 1788-1905, 1840/206.