Over the last month or so I have been doing a lot of thinking about Jesse and Harriet Pullen. They were both from Kent and married in 1818 before emigrating to Van Diemen's land (now Tasmania) in 1821. There's lot of interesting stuff that I could talk about from their time in Van Diemen's land but I'll come back to that later!
For now, I'm trying to work out a bit about Harriet's family background. I've made a bit of progress, but I still have a lot of questions!
I've found out that Harriet was the daughter of John Kingsnorth and Sarah Marlow. This was an exciting breakthrough because Harriet's birth records had been hard to track down until recently. I discovered them in the Non-conformist registers for Headcorn Baptist Church. Interestingly, Harriet (or Hariot as she is on her birth record) was registered at the same time as all her brothers and sisters.
It seems that her family had moved parishes from Staplehurst to Headcorn at some point in the late eighteenth century. At the beginning of the list of names it says that the children are the offspring of "John Kingsnorth and Sarah his wife from this parish and were married at Staplehurst". I think they must have moved by 1792 because I also found a record of burial of her brother Thomas at Headcorn Baptist, who died at the age of 1 that year. His record of burial says:
"Thomas Kingsnorth, son of John Kingsnorth and Sarah his wife of this parish was buried in the protestant dissenters burying ground in the same parish july 1792."
Harriet also had a sister Rachel who died as an infant. I almost didn't find her as she was overlooked by the person who transcribed it for the online search, but when I looked at the original, she was listed along with her other siblings. It is interesting she is listed there as (unlike Thomas) I couldn't find her death and burial listed in the Headcorn Baptist records. I did find a burial for an "infant Kingsnorth", whose father was John Kingsnorth in the Anglican parish records in 1801. The burial date was 28 January 1801. Given that her birth date was also in 1801 and that she is listed as an "infant", it seems likely that she was either a stillborn baby or died shortly after her birth.
I do find it curious that Thomas Kingsnorth was buried in the dissenting burial ground and Rachel wasn't. Perhaps it had a bit to do with the practice of the parish church at the time? Maybe it had a bit to do with her age when she died? Whatever the reason, I find that little sentence which includes her name amongst her brothers and sisters quite touching. John and Sarah obviously had not forgotten her and valued her life enought to record it with her name. I'm glad they did!