Dunk family from the 18th Century

On the present evidence this is possibly one of "my" families. However, this data is highly speculative (based on IGI records) and more concrete data is needed. See discussion for Sarah Dunk.

Some South Australian Families

Henry DUNK

Birth: unknown
Death: unknown

Marriage: 08 OCT 1784 Ninfield, Sussex, England

Family: Mary MERCER (Christening: 29 OCT 1762 Ninfield, Sussex, England - f William; m ELIZABETH DULEY - marriage: 10 DEC 1761 Ninfield, Sussex, England) IGI data


  1. William DUNK b 24 July 1785 (IGI J148191)
  2. Dorothy DUNK chr 24 June 1787 (IGI K148191)
  3. Henry DUNK b 9 November 1788 (IGI J148191)
  4. Stephen DUNK b 9 May 1790 (IGI J148191)
  5. Mary DUNK b 27 January 1793 (IGI K148191)
  6. James DUNK b 23 September 1794 (IGI J148191)
  7. Francis DUNK b 27 June 1796 (IGI K148191)
  8. Ann DUNK b 17 December 1797 (IGI K148191)
  9. Sarah DUNK b 25 June 1799 (IGI K148191)
  10. Naomi DUNK b 2 February 1804 (IGI K148191)
  11. Isaac DUNK b 2 March 1802 (IGI J148191)
  12. Martha DUNK b 27 March 1806 (IGI K148191)
NOTE: Most of the children were christened on 23 May 1809. The IGI shows the place as Ninfield Sussex but the Sussex OPC database suggests it was the Unitarian Chapel at Battle, Sussex.

Sarah DUNK

Birth: 25 Jun 1799
Christening: 23 MAY 1809, Ninfield, Sussex, England (IGI K148191; Sussex OPC shows Unitarian Chapel, Battle, Sussex, England as baptism location)
ARRIVAL (in South Australia): aboard The Buckinghamshire, arrived 1839-03-21 from London 1838-12-11 via Plymouth with her husband and three sons.
Death: 6 May 1862, 61y, Port Elliot SA (heart disease)

Father: Henry DUNK
Mother: Mary MERCER

Family: possibly William CHILD/S

Marriage: 31 March 1832, Saint Nicholas, Brighton, Sussex, England


  1. William CHILD Christening: 18 August 1833, Broadwater by Worthing, St Mary, Sussex, England (Broadwater p89, no.710)
  2. Henry Benjamin CHILD/S Christening: 7 June 1835, Broadwater by Worthing, St Mary, Sussex, England (Broadwater p123, no.982)
  3. Edwin CHILD/S ?Birth: 16 February 1837, Christening: 28 May 1837 Chapel Street-Independent, Worthing, Sussex, England?

Notes on the marriage of William Child/s and Sarah Dunk

The IGI shows 2 possible marriages for a William Child/s to a "Sarah" in the Brighton/Worthing/Broadwater area in the relevant time period. The other marriage is William CHILDS and Sarah Ann SMITH - 12 MAY 1833, Saint Nicholas, Brighton, Sussex, England. (IGI M147935). If This William and Sarah were parents of William CHILD (b Aug 1833) then Sarah would have been pregnant at marriage. This in itself was not uncommon.

Information about these marriages from Barrie Keech shows that this is not the same William Child/s perhaps marrying a second time:

"The Marriage of William CHILD to Sarah DUNK was by licence. Probably because William was a minor and is recorded as such. Clearly your William from Worthing would have still been a minor on 31 Mar 1832. Sarah Dunk is recorded as 21+ which is often a clear way of suggesting that she is undoubtedly over 21 (by some margin). For the marriage of William CHILDS to Sarah Ann SMITH, William is recorded as a bachelor. This suggests that he is not remarrying after the death of Sarah DUNK and is more likely a different person."

Taking into consideration other dates and the fact that the father of the William Child who married Sarah Dunk was given as George CHILD, it's likely, on present evidence, that this is the right family. Even so it's possible that there's a marriage of a William Child/s to a Sarah about this time that hasn't yet been found.

Sarah CHILDS' death
Whatever her ancestry Sarah Childs died suddenly in 1862 necessitating an Inquest which was reported on in the papers of the day:

[From our own Correspondent.]
May 7.
Mr. B. F. Laurie, S. M., held an inquest at the Local Court-House yesterday, to enquire into the cause of the death of Mrs. Sarah Childs, who was found dead in her bed that morning. A respectable Jury having been empannelled, Mr. J. F. Bottomley was chosen foreman. The Coroner having stated the case, the Jury proceeded to view the body. Mr. Childs (husband of deceased), examined, stated that he and his wife went to bed about 8 o'clock the previous evening. Awoke about half-past 9, when his wife was reading; was awake again about 11, and she was still reading. Woke again about midnight, but she had not left her book, and did not again wake till daylight, when he went out to cut some wood. Felt surprise that his wife did not rise as usual. Went into the bedroom and called her, but she neither answered nor moved. He then touched her, and found that her arm was cold. Went across the road to Mr. Walton; told him he thought his wife was dead, and asked him what he had better do. Mr. Walton advised him to fetch the doctor, which he did. Dr. Hill, having examined the body, declared that his wife had been dead some hours. Dr. Hill stated that he had viewed the body, and that it was his opinion that the deceased, Mrs. Childs, died of disease of the heart and asthma. The Jury returned a verdict accordingly.

Source: The South Australian Advertiser (Adelaide, SA : 1858-1889) Friday 9 May 1862 p.3

Another account which provides more information appeared in the South Australian Register:


(From our own Correspondent. )
Port Elliot, May 7.
An inquest was held at the local Court-House yesterday, before Mr. B. F. Laurie, S.M., and a respectable Jury, to make enquiry touching the death of Sarah Child, a poor woman aged 61 years, who had been found dead in the morning of the same day. The Jury having viewed the body, Mr. J. F. Bottomley wan chosen Foreman. The first witness called was William Child, who gave the following evidence:- I am the husband of the deceased. Yesterday my wife was apparently in good health. She had a better dinner than usual. About 5 o'clock we had our tea, consisting of bread and butter and lettuces. About 7 we went to bed, as it was cold. We usually sit in bed, and read till we feel inclined for sleep. I left off reading about 9 o'clock, and went to sleep, leaving Mrs. Child still reading. I woke up between 10 and 11; after that went to sleep again, leaving her still reading. I was out of bed about 1 or 2 o'clock, and fancied then that Mrs. Child was asleep. Made no disturbance. Had no light. Slept till it was getting dawn. Did not find her stir, so did not disturb her. When I could see to dress I went and did a little work in the yard. Did not go in to wake her till the sun was just rising. Went in, put my hand on her arm, and said, 'Mother, the sun is up' (we wanted to get up early). Found her arm, was stiff. Ran across to Mr. Charles Walton's in the first place, who persuaded me to run for the doctor. Dr. Hill came himself.

At this stage of the proceedings Dr. Hill was requested to examine the body and report on the external marks, there being several bruises observed about the eyes and forehead, with discolouration under the throat. Dr. Hill having examined the body was sworn, and deposed as follows: This morning, at about half-past 6, was called up by the husband of the deceased, who told me, crying, that poor mother was dead. Went to see her. Found her lying on her right side, quite dead and nearly cold; her limbs were stiff. Mrs. Wallace came in, straightened her limbs, and laid her on her back. Made no further examination. I have now made an examination. Find a bruise about the right eye, and an abrasion over the forehead. It appears to have been done about a fortnight or three weeks. The bruise is turning quite yellow. The livid appearance about the neck, I consider to be quite a post mortem appearance. The same appearance is to be met with all over the body back of the neck and thighs in places; it arises from the blood separating and gravitating. There are no marks of violence. Two, or three Jurymen deposed to the fact that deceased had told them that she had had a fall about three weeks since. After consulting a minute or two the Jury were unanimously of opinion that the deceased died from natural causes.

South Australian Register (Adelaide, SA : 1839-1900) Monday 12 May 1862 Page 3


Created 21 December 2010

Some South Australian Families