I am wondering if the mystery of what happened to Jemima Henniker may have been solved by a small newspaper mention? Trying to find a date of death for Jemima has proved difficult. The understanding by various people researching the Heneker family was that she died in the Gawler area of South Australia where she and her husband Thomas settled sometime after arriving in South Australia in 1839. Jemima’s mother was “Mary”, and it seems that some of the children of Thomas and Jemima, born in Australia, are shown to have their mother’s name as Mary Henniker. (not Jemima). Once again trolling through trove.nla.gov.au and trying to find mention of Jemima, I typed in “Mary Henniker” (back then, the surname of Heneker was still being spelt as Henniker, which appears to be the way the name was usually spelt in the United Kingdom at that time, and the name written on the shipping manifest when the couple emigrated to Australia in 1839). As mentioned, on another Trove search I typed in Mary Henniker, and up popped one record. This record noted a Mary Henniker was being considered for “continuous rations” from the Destitute Board. This was mentioned at the District Council of Mudla Wirra South on January 11 1875. This could very well be our Jemima, as this event took place approx. 8 years after the death of Thomas Henniker in 1867 at Willaston. Willaston being only a couple of kilometres out of Gawler. It can only be presumed that Mary for whatever reason may have decided to use the name Mary, instead of Jemima. We know that Thomas and Jemima married and emigrated to South Australia, as the shipping manifest for the ship The Hooghly notes this fact. Jemima’s birth record acquired by myself from the UK, from the Kent Family History Society, after they did paid research, definitely shows Jemima as being born and given her name. However perhaps she did not like the name Jemima, or perhaps her middle name was Mary. On my research travels I have read where often middle names were not recorded on official documents, such as birth and marriage certificates or other records. I do not know the reason for this, however at times, at later dates a middle name will be seen on a record of some sort. As an example of the change of name use,
NAME: George Heneker
BIRTH DATE: 10 Dec 1843
FATHER’S NAME: Thomas Heneker
MOTHER’S NAME: Mary Willis
BIRTH PLACE: First Creek
REGISTRATION PLACE: Adelaide, South Australia
PAGE NUMBER: 48
VOLUME NUMBER: 1
this birth record from The Australia Birth Index, 1788-1922 clearly shows Mary Willis as being George Heneker’s mother and Thomas as his father. Note also the change of spelling. Jemima being born to Michael and Mary (nee Back) Willis appears to have become “Mary”. Yet when checking the birth details of the children born back in England, before emigration, for example, Thomas Henniker who was born in 1827 in Westwell Kent, is shown to have parents Thomas Henniker and Jemima Henniker (note the English records do not record Jemima’s maiden name, however it is surely the same family, as we also know that there was a Thomas Henniker born at this time. So it seems the mystery of what happened to Jemima may be solved. It appears that once Thomas died, Jemima (who must have preferred to be known as Mary) fell on hard times and needed to apply for assistance from the council. This seems a very sad state of affairs, considering they had such a large family, and that there were children living in South Australia, including I believe another son still living in the Gawler area. Why were they not able to assist their mother? There are probably numerous reasons, and one’s that can never be known this far away from that time in the past. After all the distance Jemima (Mary) covered and the trials and jubilations she must have endured and enjoyed, to end up destitute in a thriving country town would have been a difficult and sad way to end such an adventurous life.
Information and article mentioned above are as follows:
Bunyip (Gawler, S.A. : 1863-1954) Friday 15 January 1875, page 3 – From the National Library of Australia
http://nla.gov.au/nla-news-article97220508 search 16/12/2014
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