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Looking for James & Michael Moffitt Melbourne Australia

Journal 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

Surnames: NONE
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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

I have a photograph of Michael MOFFITT b: 26 November 1793 at Fowberry Mains, Northumberland, England and died on the 15 January 1853 at Chatton, Northumberland, England Have photo of headstone.
He married Margaret BLACKALL 1803-1883 in Chatton, Northumberland, England on the 12 November 1828. Their children were including your James;

1.*James Moffitt b: 22 Sept.1829 Fowberry Mains, Northumberland, d: 3 May 1909 Waikaia, Southland, New Zealand m. (1)Eleanor MILLS on 12 December 1860 at Chatton, Northumberland, England. their children were:-

John Moffitt 1862, Michael Moffitt 1862, Margaret Moffitt 1862, George Moffitt 1865, Isabella Jane Moffitt 1868, Donald Moffitt 1869, Cyril Moffitt 1869 and Virginia Moffitt 1869
he next married Helen Tait TURNBULL 1843-1887 at Waikaia, Southland, New Zealand on the 3 July 1873. Their children were:-
James Moffitt 1874-1874, Joanna Moffitt 1874, James Moffitt 1876 1957, Thomas Moffitt 1879 1887, Mary Elizabeth Moffitt 1881 1949, Robert Moffitt 1883, Joseph Turnbull Moffitt 1885 1976 and Janet McVicar Moffitt 1887

2.Isabella Moffitt b:1831 Chatton, Northumberland, Englandd: 16 October 1912 Chatton, Northumberland, England

3.Margaret Moffitt b: 1832 Chatton, Northumberland, England

4.John Moffitt b: 19 February 1833 Chatton, Northumberland, d: 21 November 1895 East Malvern, Melbourne. John arrived in Melbourne in Feb. 1858 m. Sarah Ann O'DONNELL 1843-1926 at Ballarat, Victoria on the 18 February 1863. These are their children:-
Donald Henry Moffitt 1864 1867, John Arthur Moffitt 1866, Albert Edgar Moffitt 1868, Margaret Moffitt 1870 1870, Robert Percy Moffitt 1872, Frederick Charles Moffitt 1873 1963, Frank Blackhall Moffitt 1875 1964, Edith Eliza Moffitt 1879 1879, Una Grace Moffitt 1879 1906 and Arnold Hastie Moffitt 1884 1963.

5.Grace Moffitt b:1834 Glanton, Northumberland d: 1860 Glanton, Northumberland

6.Elizabeth Moffitt b: 1836 Glanton, Northumberland d: 1862 Glanton, Northumberland

7.George Moffitt b: 31 March 1838 Glanton, Northumberland d: 16 January 1879 Waikaia, Southland, New Zealand

8.Michael Moffitt b: 22 September 1839 Glanton, Northumberland d: 14 March 1909 Waikaia, Southland, New Zealand m. Alice Ida WILLIAMS 1854-1925 at Waikaia, Southland, New Zealand on the 7 October 1872. These are their children :-
Margaret Isabella Moffitt 1874 1926, Michael Moffitt 1876 1959, William Moffitt 1878 1947, George Sutton Moffitt 1881 1966, James Moffitt 1883 1883, John Philip Moffitt 1884 1951, Alexander Moffitt 1887 1957, Alice Mary Moffitt 1888 1946, Clarence Armstrong Moffitt 1891 1917, Percy Moffitt 1894 1972 and Gilbert Moffitt 1898 1978

9.Donaldson Moffitt b: 14 October 1841 Glanton, Northumberland, England d: 24 March 1863 Glanton, Northumberland, England

10.Robert William Moffitt b: 8 January 1844 Glanton, Northumberland, England married and had children (not known )

11.Thomas Moffitt b: 31 March 1845 Chatton, Northumberland, England d: 15 August 1863 Chatton, Northumberland, England

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

In reply to tonkin on 2011-09-23 01:57:10: and In response to Aussie1947 on 2011-09-19 03:21:54:

Birth details for Michael appear on his Marriage registration Gore NZ ,28 Feb 1887 - that Michael MOFFITT 26 year old labourer recorded Birthplace was Melbourne Victoria Australia. His bride is Anne Kennedy (24) His mother was Eleanor (Ellen) Mills MOFFITT & father James MOFFITT whos Occupation was farmer. This puts Michael born 1861/2. However I have No actual Birth Certificate for him.

Again when Michael registers the births of his first two sons in NZ ( my Uncle and Grandfather) in 1887 and 1889, their birth certs state Michael MOFFITT ages as 26 & 28 Birthplace: Melbourne Victoria.

We know James & Eleanor left Aust in 1864 for NZ & on 26.10.1865 George is born Waikaia. They continue to have children in Waikaia,25.12.1867 Isabella Jane, 24.12.1868 Donald, Twins 1869 Virginia/Cyril. In 1869 Eleanor(Ellen)MOFFITT died. Said to be from injuries kicked by a cow.

In 1873,11 July, James MOFFITT 43yrs remarries to Helen Tait Turnbull 30yrs (she was born1843 Roxburgshire,daughter of Thomas Turnbull & Helen Tait of Melrose Scotland) at Switzers district of Nokomai NZ. From 1874 the second line of MOFFITT decendants started with James/Johanna twins (Folio# 903). These are all recorded as Registrar General births and Folio #s. All up there are 19 known births including sets of twins from the two marriages.Helen Tait Turnbull MOFFITT died in 1887 aged 44yrs.

In response to Aussie1947 on 2011-09-19 03:21:54 :
To get back to James & Eleanor MOFFITT the eldest child was John b ? 1859/60 England, and he evidently remained in England when James & Eleanor left for Melbourne Australia on the Ascention from Southhampton arriving 21 March 1861. James & Eleanor married 12 Dec 1860 prior to sailing. Family recordings state that the child grew up in England & John later became a Colonel in India.

Aussie1947 you state there was a Helen Moffatt misspelt on board the Ascention 1861 I believe this was newly married Jamess wife Eleanor (Ellen)Moffitt. She was born in 1837 and 23yrs at the time of marriage to James.

James arrived in NZ in 1865 on the Dauntless. Jamess brother Michael (b1839) arrived in NZ in 1861 on the Zealandia. His other brother George (b1838) also went to NZ and are all buried in Waikaia NZ.

Any ideas where I could find a birth cert for Michael born 1861, is it possible he was born close to the Ascentions arrival and would it be recorded there? Odd I have no day/month for Michael as with all the other brothers and sisters.

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

I am the great grand-daughter of John Moffitt, son of Michael Moffitt and Mary Blackall of Northumberland, England. My Grand-father was Frank Blackhall Moffitt 1875 1964, and my Father was Robert Blackhall Moffitt 1919 - 2013. (Note the 'H' in their middle names which must have been added accidently.)

As I have always understood the family history, John Moffitt was 27 when he emigrated to Australia circa 1860. His older brother James also came to Australia, but left after a few years to join their younger brothers George & Michael who had emigrated to New Zealand around the same time.

I know very little about what happened to James, George and Michael once they settled in NZ, but if anyone is interested in John I can provide some information.

John Moffitt 1858 - 1895 m. Sarah Ann O'DONNELL 1843-1926, at Ballarat, Victoria on the 18 February 1863. I have been to the church, which had only just been built at the time of their marriage. Ballarat was part of the Victorian Gold Rush, so it's likely John went there to seek his fortune. He may have had some success because he later opened a large emporium in Melbourne, selling haberdashery. John continued to do well and left a good legacy until the stock market crash of the late 1890s.

John & Sarah had 10 children.
Donald Henry Moffitt 18641867,
John Arthur Moffitt 1866,
Albert Edgar Moffitt 1868,
Margaret Moffitt 18701870,
Robert Percy Moffitt 1872,
Frederick Charles Moffitt 18731963,
Frank Blackhall Moffitt 18751964,
Edith Eliza Moffitt 18791879,
Una Grace Moffitt 18791906
Arnold Hastie Moffitt 18841963.

My father told me that John's two youngest daughters, Edith and Una, were twins. They were involved in a tragic accident as babies, when their pram was hit by a tram and Edith was killed instantly. Una sustained brain damage and was kept at home for a long period until she was eventually institutionalised as a young woman when it was discovered she was pregnant. Her daughter, Mary Moffitt, was put up for adoption.

Jill Yolande Moffitt b. 1953.

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.

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