Looking for James & Michael Moffitt Melbourne Australia :: FamilyTreeCircles.com Genealogy
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Looking for James & Michael Moffitt Melbourne Australia

Query by NB4U

James MOFFITT son of Michael Moffitt & Margaret BLACKHALL was born in Fowberry Mains England 1829 married twice, 1 to Eleanor (Ellen)2 MILLS & Helen TURNBULL. I am not sure where they married. He appears to have 8 children but again I am unsure from which marriages. Michael Moffitt B c 1861/62 in Melbourne m Annie KENNEDY 28.2.1887, parents of Micheal Joseph (my G'Fthr).

Does anyone have this line and know when James came to Australia and his history in Australia?

How soon after the marriage of Michael and Annie did they move to NZ? where they had James Edward (AllBlack) and Michael Joseph b Dunedin 07.02.1889-( Int Referee & my G'Fthr) Edward, Annie and Jane?

My Grandfather married Mary Johanna THWAITES, an Australian by birth in NZ in 1915.

I would love to visit Victoria where my family lived and collect history, any photos of homes and cemetaries would be wonderfull.I now live in QLD Aust permanently

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by NB4U Profile | Research | Contact | Subscribe | Block this user
on 2011-09-19 00:20:52

NB4U has been a Family Tree Circles member since May 2011. is researching the following names: MOFFITT, THWAITES.

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by Aussie1947 on 2011-09-19 02:35:21


A James Moffitt maried Helen Turnbull in New Zealand in 1873

Registration 1873/9121.


by Aussie1947 on 2011-09-19 03:21:54

Some possibilities

There is a death registration in New Zealand for an Eleanor Moffitt in 1869.
Registration 1969/1493

A James Moffat, born about 1830 arrived in Melbourne on 21st March 1861 on the vessel Ascention from Southhampton.

Also on the same vessel and Helen Moffatt born about 1837.


by NB4U on 2011-09-19 06:23:45

Thank you Gerry, this is great info, I shall look up some handwritten notes from a cousin in NZ I'm pretty sure you are talking about the same line where you mention Helen Turnbull. I am interested in James Moffat from Southhampton this sounds promising as some of the Southland NZ family had a mix of spelling the surname.I have Michael and Annie Moffitt cemetary records in Wellington NZ (my GtGrandparents)they may mention Michaels father?

Thanks for your time, this is my first attempt on line - very encouraging


by Aussie1947 on 2011-09-19 09:28:40


There is the birth and baptism record for James MOFFATT in 1829 at Northumberland if you need it.


This could be the 1841 Census record.

Township of Glanton North Side, Northumberland.

Michael Moffit, 45,
Margaret Moffit, 35
James Moffit, 11
Isabella Moffit, 10
Margaret Moffit, 9
John Moffit, 8
Grace Moffit, 7
Elizabeth Moffit, 4
George Moffit, 3
Michael Moffit, 1

Marriage of James Moffitt & Eleanor Mills.
Oct-Nov-Dec 1860.
Registration District: Glendale, Northumberland.
Volume No: 10B
Page No: 487.

Note the different spelling for the Surname, MOFFATT, MOFFIT & MOFFITT.


by Aussie1947 on 2011-09-19 09:45:50


?? Moffatt
F: James Moffatt
M: Ellen Mills
Birth Place: Benalla Vic.
Registration: 1862 No 6697

Margaret Jane Moffatt
F: James Moffatt
M: Ellen Milis Mills
Birth Place: Benalla Vic.
Registration: 1862 No 6706

Death for Margaret Jane Moffatt
Age, 1 month, father James, mother Ellen.
Victoria, 1862 Reg No: 3768


by Aussie1947 on 2011-09-19 10:03:42

From Familysearch

Marriage for Michael Moffitt and Margaret Blackhall.
12 November 1828, Chatton, Northumberland, England.


by janilye on 2011-09-19 11:19:12

by Aussie1947 on 2011-09-19 18:46:39

1851 Census.
Fowberry Mains, Northumberland.

Michael Moffitt, 55.
Mary Moffitt, 49.
James Moffitt, 21.
Isabella Moffitt, 20.
Mary Moffitt, 19.
Grace Moffitt, 16.
Elizabeth Moffitt, 14.
George Moffitt, 12.
Michael Moffitt, 11.
Donaldson Moffitt, 9.
??? Moffitt, 7.
Thomas Moffitt 5.

The census is very difficult to read, looks like Michael may have been a farmer employing 11 labourers.


by NB4U on 2011-09-20 06:33:27

This is wonderfull information. I have some details of the parish of Chatton and a photo was sent to me about 20 years ago of the headstone. But what you have both added to this is setting me on the correct path thank you so much,Geoff and Jan, most particularly for the Victoria Aust info.. I am now making a start on the Tree. Will keep you posted on progress.

by tonkin on 2011-09-23 01:57:10

You ask how soon after the marriage did Michael and Annie move to New Zealand. I'm a bit confused here because Michael and Annie were married in New Zealand in 1887.

Re: Michael MOFFITT born circa 1861/2 in Melbourne. The only birth recorded for a Michael MOFFITT was 1861 in Reid's Creek, Victoria, and his parents were recorded as William MOFFITT and Mary MILLS. Reid's Creek is near Wangaratta, and a long way from Melbourne.

Aussie 1947 mentions the birth of an unnamed male born in 1862 to James MOFFATT and Ellen MILLS of Benalla, Victoria. This could have been a possible birth for your Michael, but this unnamed male died aged 1 day and I have crossed him off as a possible.

This takes us back to the Michael MOFFITT born at Reid's Creek in 1861.
The only problem here is the parents have the wrong given names, but the correct surnames.

May I ask where you obtained Michael's birth details and parents names from. It is possible someone has given you the wrong information and it needs to be sorted out.

by tonkin on 2011-09-23 03:16:59

Looks like your James MAFFATT (aged 31 years) and Eleanor MOFFATT (aged 23 years) arrived in Victoria on the "Ascendant" in 1861. There were no children recorded being with them.

After the birth and death of their two children in Benalla in 1862 their names do not come up in the records again, and I expect they moved to New Zealand soon after.

by NB4U on 2011-09-26 20:16:15

Thanks, do you have a recording of the two deaths in Benalla in 1862? I am going to Melb this Thursday and will be driving through Benalla on Saturday 01 Oct

by NB4U on 2011-09-26 20:19:53

by lola126 on 2011-09-27 15:28:16

by dotcomdotau on 2012-08-25 10:30:54

Just looking at your posts and also clan moffat genealogy and noticed that the child of
Michael Moffitt and Margaret Blackhall born in 1833 is sometimes noted as Mary and other times as John. I am assuming that John is correct as I am his great grand-daughter, grand-daughter of Frederick Charles Moffitt, daughter of Carl Tulloch Moffitt.
Dorothy Ruth Moffitt

by patsym on 2012-10-08 19:29:46

Hi everyone I am also researching the above Moffitt/Moffat/ etc family helping my neighbour who is James Moffitt's 3 x gr grandson. He is descended from James' daughter Margaret who married Joseph Davidson. cheers Patsy

by patsym on 2012-10-08 19:31:06

And of course I have spent the last couple of weeks tracking down the UK family and came up with NEARLY all the answers and here they are here on this site!! never mind it at least fills int he gap when they went to AUstralia which is something I had yet to find out. cheers

by patsym on 2012-10-08 20:38:43

I have just spent an hour looking for the arrival of the Ascention in 1861 NO SUCH ship the name is ASCENDANT and she arrived on 31 Mar 1861 (NOT the 21 Mar)Hope that helps others looking for the arrival of James and Eleanor. And they are both listed under their proper names also. cheers

by DaisyM on 2013-03-03 02:38:24

Hi, I have just found this site, with amazement. My great grandmother was Isabella Jane Moffitt b. 25 Dec 1867 at Switzers, Southland, NZ. She had my grandmother Maude Peters Moffitt b.1888 and then married Donald Whyte and had two more children. I have only just found her birthdate and place and then the confusion of Moffitts!! in Waikaia, so thank you so much for your information. cheers

by Jillyrose on 2014-04-01 00:36:58

by NB4U on 2014-04-04 22:23:26

Thank you very much the information and effort you have put in to responding . I am now on track again and indeed in October 2012 has a trip to Melbourne and found the Emporium building. J.T. MOFFITT & Co House Corner. A splendid building with wooden floors and the ceiling was apparently the sewing room floor upstairs. It is now occupied by an antique and second hand goods dealer and we had a lovely chat. he was rather delighted to find a real decendant in his building again.You have inspired me again to start my search, it's been a while. Thank you again
Noeline Mary 1955

by bmoff on 2014-05-09 11:34:31


I'm afraid that the building J.T.Moffitt & Co may not have belonged to the John Moffitt described above. Believe it or not, there were 2 John Moffitt's operating as drapers in that area during the late 1800's. J.T.Moffitt comes up regularly in the BDM registry as part of a different family tree. I am told that our John Moffitt operated a grain store in South Melbourne - something further to research.

John came out to Australia in 1858 on the ANGLO SAXON. He married Sarah in 1863 (she had come out some time earlier on the PLANTAGENET in 1853 with her parents and 2 younger brothers).

I believe James and Eleanor arrived in Melbourne in March 1861 aboard the ASCENDANT (although their names are spelt as Moffatt on the passenger list). It must have been soon after they married in December 1860. Some honeymoon!

I am not sure exactly when the couple moved to NZ (sometime between 1861 and 1868).

I believe George and Michael arrived in Auckland in 1861 aboard the ZEALANDIA.

by Meury73 on 2014-07-29 05:33:45

I am descended from the George Moffitt line in NZ. He married Martha Griffin, nee Lammas in 1868, and died in1879. He was one of the four brothers who came to Australia or New Zealand. He, Michael and James all worked on the goldfields and then became farmers. I have details about James' son, Michael, who was born in Melbourne. This detail appears in several official records.
1. He married Annie Kennedy in Gore Registry Office on 28 February 1887, and his declared place of birth was Melbourne, Victoria. His parents were declared as James Moffitt and Ellen (Eleanor) Mills. From his death certificate, Michael died 13 October 1896, aged 35 years. It stated that he had been born in Victoria and had been in NZ for 34 years. That indicates his birth in Melbourne in 1861. Twins were born to James and Ellen 17 April 1862 in New Zealand When Michael was said to be one year old, and Margaret was born 14 October 1863, in Nokomai, Southland.

Our family legend has it that James left his eldest son, John, in England. A daughter of James and his last wife, Hellen Tait Turnbull, told me that she had a photograph of this John, and that he was the one who became a Colonel in India. Perhaps James had an earlier marriage than the one to Ellen Mills, or their marriage followed the birth of a child. James, farmer, of Fowberry Mains was certainly the father of Joseph Hope born to Elizabeth Hope on 24 June 1855, registration district of Glenvale. I have not followed up on three other Hope children and another child surnamed Mills. I have records for 18 children to James, He was survived by 11 living children, some children having died previously. Perhaps the English children were not counted, and the above daughter of James told me that Helen Turnbull already had twins from a previous relationship when they were married.

We have a photograph showing two Moffitt brothers wearing Lodge regalia. One of them could be the John shown in a photograph on these message boards, and the other, a much shorter, stocky man could be James, but we have always been led to believe that they are Michael and George, Michael being tall and thin and George being short and stocky. We know that James was a mason, and we assumed that George and Michael were also?

There is so much more that I could add, but I want to go back and absorb what all of the rest of the writers here have added first. Thank you for sharing it all.

by Meury73 on 2014-07-29 06:21:10

Oops. I should not work from memory. The informant I described as a daughter to James, was a granddaughter, and the twins born to James and Ellen (Eleanor on some legal documents) were born in Benalla, Australia. Both died immediately.

Eleanor (Ellen) Moffitt, nee Mills died in October of 1869, from a haemorrhage from the womb, and this could well have resulted from the damage caused by being killed by a cow when she went to do the milking according to our oral history. Helen Tait Turnbull died in childbirth on 1 November 1887 at Waikaia, Southland, New Zealand.

The AllBlack, Jim Moffitt, apparently the oldest forward of that era, was the son of Michael, who was the son of James and Ellen Moffitt. Jim was born 30 June 1877 in Waikaia. I have a photograph of him in a provincial team. The rugby referee who was his brother was Michael Joseph (Joe) Moffitt who was born on 7 January 1889 in Dunedin.

by NB4U on 2014-07-29 07:10:48

Thanks Family Team, yes Joe Moffitt brother of James the All Black is my Grandpa so all sorted there I am interested in following up the query on the building in Melbourne though as Grandpa Joe always referred to this as his family and he was certainly a man who was well attired and had a great flair for fashion As did the All Black Jim who was the manager of the Occidental (now The Old Bailey) Hotel in Wellington I will follow up a bit more but I know these last few facts are a definite. Anybody interested in more info let me know. James sadly had no children as he married late in life to a lovely Maori lady about his same years.

by Meury73 on 2014-07-29 20:59:50

This is all great. Jim was, I am sure, also in the drapery line, or menswear, in Wellington before the hotel you mention, so it was a family thing, his uncle, John, being a draper. Some family members claim that he never married, but he married late, and I have the names of his family somewhere. I also have a couple of early rugby photographs, which probably show him, but there is some doubt because so many of the Moffitt cousins in Waikaia/Switzers had the same names. (I am influenced by his trademark centre parting in his hair. There is some footage of him playing as an AllBlack and one famous head portrait.)They got around this by using nicknames, like Big Jim etc. My grandfather, William James Moffitt, was called Bill, but there were other Bills, so he was called King Billy, which indicated his attitude to life, as he was a Mine Manager, and rode around on a white horse. There are some wonderful reports of him in a book called 'Waikaia' and stories about His father, George and uncle, Michael, in early newspapers. One tells of them going out in a big snow to rescue lost men on one of the mountain tracks in their area. Most moving.

Thank you for what you have shared. Have you heard of a Cyril Moffitt who has been linked to this family? have heard it said that he was a half-brother of Jim and Joe. It is not a Moffitt name, but I have found two men with that name, and can't sort them out.

by Kevin66 on 2019-02-21 02:39:36

This has been interesting to read. I have a copy of a Moffitt family tree which was compiled by Malcolm Ryde. Three Moffitt brothers came to New Zealand. James, George and Michael. I am descended from James who was my great great grandfather.
Annie Florence Morgan nee Moffitt was my grandmother.(I am her adopted grand son) An interesting thing about James Edward "Jim" Moffitt is I have discovered his grave at Waikumete cemetary does not have a plaque. I have since applied for one through internal affairs.
My mother Betty Ann Barker nee Morgan has a lot of interesting stories about her uncles Jim and Joe Moffitt. I must write some of them down whilst she is still alive. Mum is 86 now.
When researching Jim I discovered his All Black listed date of birth is not consistent with the 30.6.1887 date that is in Malcolm Ryde's family tree.
If his birth is 30/6/1887 then he would be the third oldest test debut All Black.
I am also a fan of the artist Trevor Moffitt and own one of his oils. If I am correct he is a second cousin twice removed. His grandfather was Michael Moffitt from Fowberry(one of the three brothers to settle in NZ).

by Meury73 on 2019-04-12 04:45:32

Hi Kevin

I have worked with Malcolm Ryde over the years, but have not done much Moffitt genealogy for some years. Yes Trevor was the son of Gilbert Moffitt, known as Bert. I knew Trevor when we were in Christchurch at university. He was very entertaining to talk to and to correspond with. He will be remembered as an artist in NZ for his different approach to art. He is survived by a son and a daughter.

Four Moffitt brothers came to New Zealand and some records show that a fifth just might have come here as well, or visited. It needs more research. The family used to visit England when the opportunity arrived, especially during leave from the battlefields.

It would seem that the brothers were in Sandhurst (now Bendigo) at some stage, or at least two of them.

Mining records in at least two parts of NZ show claims lodged by James, John, George and Michael. James and John went back to Australia, where John remained, James returning to New Zealand.

I will also check the date of birth you mention for Jim Moffitt. I remember my brother telling me that Jim was the oldest forward ever to play for NZ. It was something he would know. What are the names of the other two old chaps???

I would really love to read the stories that you have to relate about these early Moffitts. None of us know a great deal. I have one about how a man set out to kill people who had annoyed him in Waikaia, one of them being my grandfather. Another was rather gory too, about how they transported heavy items, like bodies, and another about how George Moffitt was one who searched for lost people in a huge snowstorm. Not remarkable probably, but they give humanity to our forbears.

Do hope to read more from you anyway.
Kindest regards, Mary

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