Thomas Arnott and the Mysterious "Anne Selby" .....

Thomas may have returned to seafaring, as he was absent from his land for some time so it seems, but Hannah and Priscilla were released from the orphanage, to their father's care. 1 & 2

Evidence strongly suggests Thomas had returned to Sydney and the sea, having left his two daughters with a family relative, possibly Richard Arnott. This occurring at some point between the death of his second wife Sarah in 1839, and mid 1840, when a marriage registration appears in NSW.

The Proclamation of Banns in the church register, shows the following detail. 3

Name Condition Abode Ships Name Sentence When Allowed When Published Remarks
Married Thomas Arnett Widower of this Parish Ocean 1808 X June 7th Free
Christiana McGeady Widow of this Parish Miller 4 1840 X June 14 Came free to the Colony

Thomas, a widower, marries a Christiana McGeady, also a widow, at St James Church, Sydney, on 22 June 1840, The Minister was Robert Allwood and witnesses were a Joseph Moss of Castlereagh Street and Elisha Hayes of Pitt Street. 5

This then raises the question of where and when had Christiana previously married someone by the surname McGeady. The issue is further complicated by a correction made on the actual church marriage registration, where the names of the parties have been entered as per the Proclamation of Banns details and both parties sign their names respectively, except Christiana signs her surname as "Margaretje" or similar. The Minister or church Clerk, probably subsequently then has to correct the name of the bride, previously written as "McGeady".

At Kangaroo Point, on 26 February 1844, an unnamed female child is born to Thomas Arnott and his "wife" or partner, "Ann Arnott - formerly Selby". 6

Where Thomas had been and where, when and if he married Ann is unknown. She has not been positively identified but there are no known convict records for a female of a similar name. The daughter is subsequently named as "Eliza", at a baptism at St Georges Church in Battery Point on 14 April 1844. The baptism entry shows her birth date as 26 February 1844. Both the civil birth registration and the church baptism show the mother of Eliza as "Anne Selby".

Are Christiana McGeady / Margaretje and Ann(e) Selby one and the same person ?. The naming of two of Thomas' granddaughters (daughters of Eliza), as "Christina" and "Clara", strongly suggest this possibility as being plausible.

Just three years after Eliza's birth Thomas died of inflammation of the stomach, and was buried at St Matthew's Church, Clarence Plains in an unmarked grave on the 5th January 1847. 7