Edgar Bisdee was born 13 May 1827 in Banwell, a small parish town in the district of Somerset in England. Edgar was the third child of six born to parents James and Harriet Bisdee. Both Edgar and James were listed as an agricultural labourer on the 1841 census, the last census they both appear on in England.
A screenshot of the baptism records for Banwell 1827.
Edgar and his father James then found themselves in some serious trouble when they appear in court and convicted on March 28th 1848, Edgar 20 years old and James 47 years old. At the time they were living in Yatton as listed on the records. They had also got William (Edgar's older brother) into a little bit of trouble with feloniously harbouring felons but was acquitted. James and Edgar were convicted to transportation of 10 years each.
The next information that has been found is an admission in to the Wilton Gaol in Taunton Somerset, 2nd April 1848. The father son duo stayed there until January the 3rd 1849, when they were transferred to the York Hulk in Gosport.
A hulk is a ship that is afloat, but incapable of going to sea, whereas convict ships are seaworthy vessels whose purpose was to transport convicted felons from their place of conviction to their place of transportation. The HMS York 1820-1852 York was a 74-gun Third-rate launched in 1807 at Rotherhithe. She was converted to a prison hulk in 1819 and served as a prison hulk at Gosport and London from 1820 until 1848 when a serious rebellion broke out. Typically she confined about 500 convicts. She was taken out of service and broken up in 1854. Hulks were re-banned in England. - Wikipedia
Newspaper article in the Bath Chronicle 6 April 1848 under the Somerset Spring Sessions heading states: James Bisdee and Edgar Bisdee, for stealing thirteen fowls, the property of Joseph Hewlett: also, four fowl’s of Eliza Lawrence: also a sheep of Thomas Castle.
James and Edgar were transported on the 16 Jul 1851 on board the convict ship the Minden, arriving on the 14th of October 1851
This 916 ton ship was built at Sunderland in 1848. It was employed as a convict transport and left Plymouth, England on July 21, 1851 bound for the Swan River Colony. She carried the fifth of 37 shipments of male convicts destined for Western Australia. The voyage took 85 days and the Minden arrived in Fremantle on October 14, 1851 with 115 passengers and 301 convicts [Erickson]. Robert Dawson Crawford and John Gibson were the captain and surgeon respectively. Of the 115 passengers mentioned above, all 115 were pensioner guards and their families, the number being made up of 40 pensioner guards, 26 wives, 26 sons and 23 daughters. http://members.iinet.net.au/~perthdps/convicts/con-wa4.html
Edgar received his conditional pardon in February of 1854; a conditional pardon means Edgar was free but is not allowed to return home to England. James received his pardon 2 months prior in November 1853. James might have stayed around for a little while, but the next record I have found for him has him marrying an Emily Jane Cruse in Victoria (where he states he is 20 years younger than he is on the marriage certificate) February 1855. Though I am not sure if he had his marriage to Harriet in England annulled, she remarried in 1857.
Was only a short time later when Edgar married my 2 x great grandmother Louisa Whittington on the 14th of June 1854. Looking at the birth date of their first child Ellen, it looks like they had no choice but to marry. Ellen was born in August 1854. Edgar and Louisa had 13 children in total, with my great grandfather George John being second last. Edgar stayed in the Swan/Guildford area throughout these years, I have looked through newspapers and the police gazettes and found some more information regarding to Edgar; March James Bisdee died in Victoria, November 1881 saw Edgar spend 14 days in Fremantle Gaol for beating and abusing his wife, Louisa.
More in the police gazette, in April 1885, Edgar was committed for trial at the Perth Supreme Court and admitted for bail. 1st of July 1885, Edgar was tried at the Supreme Court for Wounding, & c, with intent to do bodily harm or resist arrest, he plead guilty and was recommended to mercy, he was sentenced to two years.
I have collected many convict records, most are of similar information, I do not have any other information except for Edgar died at the age of 80 at the Claremont home for old men in 1907 and was buried at the Karrakatta cemetery just outside the historical area, unfortunately his grave has already been renewed and his headstone no longer stands. Edgar Bisdee was my 2 x great grandfather.
My name is Davina and I have been researching my family history since 2011. I started with almost nothing but ended up with a wealth of information and I needed an outlet to show and display all the information I have found.