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Ancestor research – Calling all Drings!

LYNNE MCDONALD is researching the history of the Dring family in Australia, eight generations of which were descended from William Dring from Hedon…

Botany Bay New South Wales 1789 watercolour by Charles Gore snip
Botany Bay. Famous watercolour by Charles Gore. The Alexander which would have transported William Dring is depicted to the left.

LYNNE MCDONALD from Australia is researching the history of the Dring family. Eight generations of the family in Australia were descended from their ancestor William Dring, who was convicted of a crime in 1784 and later transported to Botany Bay to serve seven years. William was from Hedon and was one of Australia’s ‘First Fleeters’ having arrived in Sydney Cove with the First Fleet on 26th January 1788.

Lynne tells the tale:

“There was a Dring family in Hedon in the 17th and 18th centuries and one William Dring was arrested and pleaded guilty to stealing clothes, books and brandy on the 7th October 1784 and was sentenced to 7 years transportation to Botany Bay. He now has 8 generations of descendants in Australia.

“I have found out a lot about his family there in Hedon. His Great Grandfather Francis Dring was a shoe maker; his Grandfather Thomas was weaver and later owned the New Sun Inn; His father was a Clerk of Customs and apparently ran the customs office from the Inn and he was a Tideswaiter.

“I would love to know more about the story of the theft in which he had an accomplice Joseph Robinson. If anyone knows any thing about this I would love to hear from them on the email below as I writing a book about William but rather than use my imagination as to why he stole what he did I would like some true facts if at all possible.

“I am very curious as to why when he had a job and family support he would steal anything. All I can come up with is that he wanted to become a Sailor as the clothes he stole were Sailors attire and the books were about being a Sailor and how to navigate and a guide to Oxford University. Of course there were 6 bottles of brandy and 3 empty bottles as well. We know why he stole these as there were obviously 9 full bottles to begin with!

“It would be so much fun and very helpful if anyone knows anything about him and his family. I would also love to know if there are still Drings’ living in Hedon.”

If anyone can help Lynne with her research – then she can be e-mailed at lynne.ross@ihug.com.au – but please also share your information on the Hedon Blog. It would be fascinating to hear more about Lynne’s book about William, and discover what help and information she receives from people in his ancestral town.

Note: A look in the current KC Hull & East Yorkshire telephone directory shows only two Drings listed – both living in Hull.

Photo: Wikipedia. The image of Botany Bay is from the collections of the State Library of New South Wales.

11 thoughts on “Ancestor research – Calling all Drings!

  1. Dear Lynne.

    I’ve read these various blog posts with interest and have had a look at the Hedon Town Council records and can advise you that the Dring family appear to have been around Hedon for the whole of the 18th century and well into the early part of the 19th.

    Indeed the archives show that three of them became Mayor!

    They were:-
    Nathaniel Dring – Mayor in 1706 and again in 1716
    Nicholas Dring – 1782, 1795 and 1809
    Thomas Dring – 1807.

    I hope this is of interest, and helps you in your research.

    John P. Dennis F.R.I.C.S.
    668th Mayor of Hedon

    1. Hello John, Yes this is very interesting and Nicholas and Thomas are in my tree. I am not sure where Nathaniel comes into my family but he may be a Great Great Uncle of my William. Nicolas Dring is a 1st cousin and Thomas is his Uncle. I am researching the William Dring Robinson to see if I an find his story.

    2. Thank you all for your comments. I have found them all helpful. Sorry I have not answered before now but I have been travelling around Australia in our caravan and have just returned. I have another trip planned for August and September and then into my book in earnest. I will keep you all informed as to its progress and when it is completed.

  2. Lynne, Just found a death notice in The Hull Packet and East Riding Times (on the Find My Past site) of a death of a William Dring Robinson. He was born in 1795 and died 1855 aged 60. He lived in Hull and was a mariner. Having Dring as a middle name may mean that the Robinsons were related to the Drings. and that Joseph Robinson was a relation or his family went on to be relations of the Drings. Hope this is useful to you.

    1. Oh Jane this is lovely. This William Dring Robinson was born only 7 years after both Joseph Robinson and William Dring arrived in NSW. From what I have been able to find out the Robinson’s and the Drings must have been friends and it appears to me that this William wa named for William. My guess is that he may have had a brother Joseph?? As I have a subscription for Find My Past I will look into this as it will be a nice aside for my book, thank you. Jane I do remember you and always appreciated your input.

      Yes the book is well under way now and I am planing to have it ready for publishing on Australia Day (26.1.2016). Well that is the plan anyway (?). Thank you for this information and best wishes
      Cheers
      Lynne

  3. Hello again Lynne. Don’t know if you’ll remember me but you contacted me some time ago re the Drings. I was working at Hedon library at the time and interested in family history, my own and in general. I often helped people in the course of my job, and beyond, with their family history searches. I think what I initially found you already knew and I don’t think I was able to help you very much. I’m glad you are still researching and hoping to write a book. Good luck with that and in getting more information.

      1. Ray that would be wonderful. I am in the process of writing a book about William and his family and any feedback will be most appreciated.

  4. Coincidence or what?! I am in the middle of researching the history of my house which I think was built by Nicholas Dring in the second half of the 1700s. There are lots of them – I think Thomas and Nicholas the elders were the fathers of William and Nicholas junior respectively. I’m going to Beverley soon with my list of parish records to investigate!

    1. Hi Lucy, thank you for your email and I do hope your received the information I sent to you. I am not very much further on with my book as I am wading through information I have found on the redevelopment of the wharfs and customs house in Hull. There was apparently some opposition to the changes and I am wondering if Williams family were involved in this operation. Is there anyone who may know about this.

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