ON THE ORIGINS OF THE BATMAN FAMILY


The Port Phillip Pioneers Group internet website bore fruit in August when a visitor to the site, Faith Rekowski, sent me an e-mail from Canada. Faith's maiden name was Batman and her family have long believed that they are related to Melbourne's John and Henry Batman. They believe that their ancestor Thomas Batman was probably the brother of William Batman the father of John and Henry.

In early 1979 I worked on a genealogy of the Batman family. There was a wall chart in the library of the Genealogical Society of Victoria which provided some basic information. I was able to add to this from various published sources and during a visit to Sydney was able to locate some Batman family papers at the Society of Australian Genealogists. I was working with Brian Leask at the time and was able to interest him in including an entry for the Batman family in the book he was preparing on the genealogies of various Australian families.

John and Henry Batman were the sons of William Batman and his wife Mary Mobbs. William came out to Australia in 1797 as a convict, having been sentenced to 14 years transportation for his part in the theft of saltpetre belonging to King George III. His brother-in-law, William Mobbs, was also convicted and sentenced to 7 years transportation. At the time of the trial William Batman was in business as a cutler and grinder with premises in Long Alley, Moorfields, London.

Various sources, including James Bonwick, state that William Batman came from Yorkshire but there is a lack of precise information about his parents and how he came to be in London. He is believed to have married Mary Mobbs in London about 1794 but the record for this has proved elusive. Their first child, a son named Robert, was born in London on 1 March 1795.

The origins of Mary Mobbs are also uncertain but she was likely to have been born on 3 November 1766 and baptised on 9 November 1766 at Charlbury, Oxfordshire, England, the daughter of Isaac Mobbs and Mary Ireland who had been married on 24 December 1763 at St. Mary-le-bone, London.

An article about the origins of the Batman family appeared in a newsletter of the Batman Association which was run by Norm and Edna Richards. It was written by Phil Batman in England. His research has shown four 'clusters' of Batmans living in Yorkshire in the late 1700's and he believes the one that William Batman most likely descended from lived in Hook and adjacent Goole. He states "The parish records of Hook list William baptised on 9th April 1765. He was the first son of Thomas Batman, who had married Mary Jarom in Hook Chapel (with their parents' consent noted!) on 27th April 1764. William was the first of five children of this marriage, with Thomas (born 1767), Jane (born 1769), John (born 1771), and Mary (born 1773) following. I suspect the deaths of Jane, John and Mary are recorded later in the parish, but there's no further mention of William and his brother Thomas."

Was this brother Thomas the person who went to Canada and established a family line there? Faith Rekowski is checking with various relatives in Canada for further information. I have also put her in contact with Wendy Batman Caughey, one of Norm and Edna Richards two daughters, who now lives in North Fitzroy.

Contributed by Alexander Romanov-Hughes (PPPG Member No. 52)


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