Robert Higgins and Ellen Triggell

Thanks to fellow Higgins researcher, Greg Tevelen. for this baptism notice for Robert Martin Higgins.
Thanks to fellow Higgins researcher, Greg Tevelen. for this baptism notice for Robert Martin Higgins.

Robert Martin Higgins who was the son of convicts Robert Higgins and Ann Owens, was born at Bargo NSW in 1824 (V18246805 1B/1824).

On March 26, 1829, his parents asked for he (aged 5) and his sister Sarah (aged 7) to be placed in the Orphan Schools. at Cabramatta, which occured on April 16, 1829. I haven’t established yet, how long they were there for.

The Male Orphan School was authorised to admit destitute boys aged between seven and ten. The boys received a basic education (reading , writing ‘arithmetic) and industrial training . On Sunday they were to attend service at an Anglican Church. The boys became the legal responsibility of the School and remained in the care of the Master until they turned 15 when they were apprenticed out to tradesmen, or as farm labourers for 5, 6 or 7 years. The School was intended to house only 50 boys, (4) ( but at its most populous in 1834 there were 160 boys in residence.

Although aged only 16 himself, he gave consent to the marriage of his elder sister, Sarah to William White in Goulburn in 1840.

Robert Higgins married Ellen Triggell at Greenland near Cooma NSW on on June 11 1848 V1848364 33B/1848.
Robert Higgins married Ellen Triggell at Greenland near Cooma NSW on on June 11 1848 V1848364 33B/1848.

Robert married Ellen Triggell at Greenland near Cooma NSW on on June 11 1848 in (V1848364 33B/1848). Her parents were Thomas Triggell and Henrietta Spencer. Thomas Triggell was born on November 8, 1812 at Bramshaw Hampshire to John and Jane Ann Triggell. Ellen had come to Australia with her parents on board “The James” arriving as an infant. She spent her early years in the Cooma district, before settling with her husband at Towamba.

The birth records of their children illustrate their move from Cooma to Towamba, via Bombala betweem 1857 and 1859.

Not long after their arrival in Towamba, two of their children died in infancy.

Aged 42, Robert died 29 July 1866 (4110/1866) and is buried at the Towamba Cemetery, NSW.

As Robert died without a will, the family was forced to petition. Kerrie Beers has located the associated papers which includes the following…

The above named Robert Higgins my late husband deceased died on the 29th day of July last past at Towamba aforesaid intestate and without a Will having we his lawful widow and Robert, Sarah, Eliza, James, William, Charles, Ellen, and Joseph Higgins his lawful children him surviving.

In 1862, a number of local families were signatories to the establishment of a local school at Towamba.
In 1862, a number of local families were signatories to the establishment of a local school at Towamba.

Another page states…

that the above named Robert Higgins departed this life on the 29th July _____(something can’t read) leaving we his lawful widow and Robert Higgins aged 18 years, Sarah aged 15 years, Eliza aged 13, James aged 10, Charles aged 6, William aged 8, Ellen aged 5 and Joseph aged 5 his lawful children him surviving.

Aged about 44, Ellen died 3 February 1874 at Towamba NSW (7025/1874). The NSW BDM record lists her as Helen, as does the Towamba cemetery record. But Thomas is listed as the father, so it’s very likely it was her despite a perhaps misheard version of Ellen.

When Ellen died, their property passed on to their son Robert.


* Robert Higgins was born 19 March 1848 (V18482006 33A/1848) at Cooma NSW. He married Mary Ann Laing at Eden in 1874 (2300/1874). He died on May 25, 1907 (4671/1907) and is buried at Towamba. When Robert died, he left the farm to his daughter Isabella Ann who married Faulkner then Donald Laing son of Allan Laing. Researcher, Kerrie Beers found this referral – “He (Donald Laing) married the former Miss Annie Higgins of Towamba (who predeceased him) and on doing so took over and managed the well known Higgins farm for 58 years. This he did with his only son Charlie with marked success right up until the time of his death.”

* Thomas Higgins was born in 1850 (V18502573 37A/1850). He died on May 17, 1860 (3763/1860) and is buried in the original Towamba Cemetery.

* John Higgins was born in 1851 (V1851720 42A/1851) and died in 1861 (2871/1861) and is buried in the original Towamba Cemetery.

* Sarah Higgins was born about 1852. She married Donald Laing on October 8, 1872 (1872/2071) at Eden in a Church of England ceremony. Sarah died in 1920 (11406/1920). Her death certificate states she was 68 years old

* Eliza Higgins was born about 1854.

* James Higgins was born at Cooma in 1857 (6111/1857). He married Emma Linger at Bega in 1878 (2437/1878).
According to Monaroo Pioners, Emma Linger was the daughter of William Linger and Sarah Garner. Emma was born in 1855 in Bedfordshire, England, was baptised on December 25, 1855 in Harlington, Bedford, England. She immigrated to Australia with family on the vessel “Regina” arriving June 23, 1857. James died at Bega in 1894 (2909/1894) and Emma and died in 1897 in Bega, NSW27 at age 42.

* William Higgins was born at Bombala in 1858 (5256/1858).

* Charles Higgins was born at Eden 1859 (7218/1859) – Although the record lists Eden, it’s more than likely Towamba. With thanks to researcher, Judith Ann Carton (see comments below), I can confirm he married Amelia Plumb in Bega 1879/2507/1879. According to Monaroo Pioners, Amelia was the daughter of William Henry Plumb and Mary Anne Winning. Amelia was born in 1859 in Picton, NSW40 and died in 1930 in Canterbury, NSW41 at age 71. Amongst their children was Henry Vervaine Higgins born 22 October 1885 (registered at Bega 19014/1885). Charles died at Newtown in 1929 (22273/1929).

* Ellen Higgins was born on February 9, 1861 at Towamba, NSW (7219/1861). Thanks to researcher and descendant, Alan Agnew here is some information about Ellen. Hi read your info. I’am a G.G.grandson of Robert Higgins & Ellen Triggell. Their daughter Ellen married Alfred James Newlyn. Martha Florence Newlyn married Charles Henry Lawless, Charles & Martha are mums parents.

* Joseph Higgins was born at Eden in 1862 (7511/1862)


Towamba Cemetery: The early cemetery has no official burial records connected to that site. However a list of early burials in Towamba between 1860 – 1918, recorded at the Bega Court House, has nine burials between 1860 and 1886, the year the present site was dedicated- Source Kate Clery’s Towamba History pages)

Cooma Monaro Pioneers for the information about the children of Robert and Ellen.

Information about the Male Orphan School comes from NSW State Records.

Sharing Around: Please feel free to copy any of the information on this page which may help you in your own research. My feeling is that family research is hard enough, without the need to constantly re-invent the wheel. It would be great, however, if you’d leave a comment below just to say “hi”.

21 thoughts on “Robert Higgins and Ellen Triggell

  • Hi, I have been trying to find information on the Linger family of Bega NSW
    (formerly England). Emma Linger married to James Higgins as mentioned
    on this page was the sister of Sarah Ann Linger who married James Sirl.
    I am a descendant of theirs.

    I don’t suppose you would know anything about the Lingers?
    There was only one brother Thomas and he only had the one daughter, and I think there were also sisters Elizabeth and Maryann.

    regards Gayle

    • Hi
      I am always on the lookout for information on the Lingers.
      I am a g g grand daughter of Thomas (b 1846 Harlington Beds).
      He and his wife Sarah Williams only had one child Elizabeth Hannah, she married Edgar Hugh Filmer (b 1876), the som of Bega’s first town clerk Frederick Filmer (b Kent England.
      So it seems we are distant cousins! We share ggg grandparents William and Sarah Linger (nee Garner)
      My email address is I would welcome correspondence/ Ros

  • hi,
    i know this has nothing to do with higgins. but being in the same area i was wondering if you have come across anything about a eliza h heaven born about 1864, her parents were eliza twyford covington heaven , llewelyn heaven. i only have a record of her giving birth 1891, 1894, 1904, ( my grandfather). all births were in sydney, no father mentioned.

  • Hi read your info. I’am a G.G.grandson of Robert Higgins & Ellen Triggell. Their daughter Ellen married Alfred James Newlyn. Martha Florence Newlyn married Charles Henry Lawless, Charles & Martha are mums parents.

  • Sarah Higgins married William White in 1840 at Goulburn. It was Robert’s other two sisters, Elizabeth & Ann who married William Scott.
    William White, William Scott & Robert Higgins Snr all arrived on the Admiral Gambier in 1811.


  • Thanks for the correction Kerrie. I’ve changed William Scott to William White and will make the correction on the other page too.

  • Robert Higgins & Ellen Triggell were my great-great-grandparents, my great-grandparents being Charles Higgins and Amelia Plumb, and my grandfather Henry Vervaine Higgins born 22 October 1885 (registered at Bega). I now live at Pambula not far from Towamba and am working on the family history. I was delighted to find your web-site.

  • Charles Higgins and Amelia Plumb are my 2nd great-grandparents and have found this website hugely interesting. Thank you for making the information you have so available. Is there anyway I can get into contact with Judith Ann Carton as we may have further info to share (although I’ve only just started researching this line). Once again thank you.

  • I have received the following email/comment from Garry Buchanan who is hoping for some help with these questions…

    Hi James,

    Just a quick note with a question or two regarding Robert Higgins.

    Do you know much about his life in the years between leaving the orphanage and arriving in the Monaro?

    I am still trying to work out the year he came to work at Greenland and who employed him?

    He gave consent for his sister Sarah to marry William White at Bargo in September 1840.

    Her marriage certificate stated she was a resident of the Maneroo (Monaro) district obviously prior to her wedding?

    I don’t know when she arrived in that area? Did she come with Robert? Or did she come with William White (and maybe with her brother as well) sometime before she married White?

    Sometimes it is impossible to find answers but I’m still turning over every stone just in case.

    I had a story published in this months Australian Family Tree Connections magazine about William White born at Greenland.

    I was hoping for a response from anyone researching the White family but alas only had three replies and they

    where about the Scott family.

    I need another life time to achieve the results I’m looking for.

    Many thanks,



  • I have just come across your sight and OMG as the kids say. I gave up genealogy 10 yrs ago thru cancer and fire i thought id punch in Obrien just for something to do. My name is Jane Katherine O’Brien. WOW i dont know where to start so this may be a blur. Donald Laing (mailman) married Sarah Higgins d1920. Their eldest son Donald b1873 married 02 may 1894Johanna Whittaker b1869 well their 4th child was William James Rupert b1901 Rocky Hall he married1925 in Qld. This is the line that i come from. Now i was told when i started that there was an O’Brien in Qld and one in NSW and they were not related, well there was a Cornelius OBrien in qld. William Laing married Elsie Wogandt (German) and their daughter Valmay married Gordon O’Brien his parents were Michael Joseph O’Brien and Jessie C Harrington. I also have relatives at the field of mars and… i have a lot of research certs, govt papers and various other records. Im glad you got records about Scotland as I hadn’t got too far with that. Did u c our castle? The Laings are my paternal mums side. This is strange are my grandpa O’Briens part of your lines as well? I can also help u with the “White” line as well it has been done very well, I know the woman, this could be strange as well- The White married my maternal side of family around the Ryde area. Could you have linked my family through 3 different lines of my grandparents? I’ve just got all my papers the ones that never got burnt and my filing of them is deplorable. If you see more than one posting for this it’s because I wanted to make sure to get you to contact me as technology doesn’t like me and they are all in freehand or typed. Have you included “Kerry O’Brien from the ABC to your genealogy because you can. I have a lot more details and so much to add to your genealogy. I live in N.S.W near Appin and have that 4ish in my years as well…lol. I feel like I’ve just won lotto, you’ve brightened up my year. WOW
    With kind regards
    Jane O’Brien

    • Dear Jane
      How great to hear from you. It sounds like we have a lot to discuss!!! I also live in Sydney, at Surry Hills. I was actually in Appin a few weeks ago for the 200th anniversary. I’m currently overseas, but will be back in two weeks time. I’ll contact you when I return.

  • Dear James,
    Do you happen to know of another Higgins who lived in Queensland during the same time period and died 30 Oct. 1862?

    This Higgins was named: Martin Higgins and married (briefly to a spouse named Mary Ann Land)

    Death Registration Year in QLD was 1862
    Rego # 000123 Page.6626

    Name again was MARTIN HIGGINS
    Parents listed as: Archibald Higgins
    Mother’s Name: Mary Ann

    Tyring to trace the history on this particular Higgins. Some connection it seems to the town of Drayton in QLD around the 1860’s time period.

    Kind regards to you (great site by the way!)


  • I’m trying to find info on Eliza Harriett Heaven daughter of Eliza Heaven and Llewellyn Heaven. If you could help me it would be greatly appreciated.

  • Hi, I am a g g granddaughter of Charles Higgins born 1859 and Amelia Plumb born 1859 my g grandparents being Charles Edwin Higgins born 1882 and Lavinia Newlyn, their daughter Sylvia Amelia (born Newlyn) Higgins born 1903 married Alexander Cecil Caple born 1902 are my grandparents. Info is scarce so I find it interesting reading all your info and other researchers Regards Tracey

  • I believe Eliza Higgins born 1854 (daughter of Robert Higgins and Ellen Ann Triggell) married Danish immigrant Peter Miller – they had a daughter Hebe Eliza Miller (1883 – 1915). Hebe married Charles Walker born at Longford Tasmania. Hebe and Charles had four children including Veronica Walker who married William Angus Turner of Junee. Veronica and William’s daughter Thelma Jane Turner married Heinz “Henry” Eugen Grabsch in Junee in 1958. Both Thelma and Heinz have now passed away.

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