I first became interested in the first name Islet or Islit as it is sometimes mistranscribed while
researching the Batterson family in NSW. It's an unusual name and I was surprised to find
that almost all of the occurrences of this name in the NSW BDM index occur first in Macleay
River then spreading out to the surrounding areas such as Kempsey and Port Macquarie.
Further research showed that the name was extremely rare in all Australian BDM records
before the 1870s.
The first recorded use of Islet in NSW is by William Snowden Dangar and wife Susannah in
V1846864 55/1846 DANGAR ISLET F WILLIAM SUSANNA
Islet Dangar died in 1870 before she married.
4228/1870 DANGAR ISLET F WILLIAM S SUSANNAH MACLEAY RIVER
Her sister Pauline's death is the next registration in the death index:
4229/1870 DANGAR PAULINE B S WILLIAM S SUSANNAH MACLEAY RIVER
The Empire [Sydney] dated 4th June 1870 records the sad event:
On Friday morning, May 27th, at the residence of her father, Belgrave-street, Kempsey, after
eighteen days' illness, of diphtheria, Islet Frethey, youngest daughter of William Snowdon and
Susan Dangar, aged 23 years and 6 months, Deeply regretted. " It is the Lord ; let him do what
seemeth to him good."
On Friday, May 27th, at the residence of her father, Belgrave street, Kempsey, after eighteen
days' illness, of diphtheria, Pauline Blandina Snowdon, second daughter of William Snowdon
and Susan Dangar, aged 25 years and 6 months. Deeply regretted. " The Lord gave, and the
Lord hath taken away ; blessed be the name of the Lord."
Up until the time of Islet's death in 1870, I can find only two other uses of the name Islet in
NSW and none in the other Australian states:
V18634635 121B/1863 SCOTT ISLET FRANCIS MARIA [no place given on index but the
family was in the Macleay River area for other births]
11046/1867 TURNER ISLET A T THOMAS EMMELINE MACLEAY RIVER
However in 1870 there were four babies registered in NSW with that name:
11802/1870 COOK ISLET BENJAMIN ROSA MACLEAY RIVER
11833/1870 SUPPLE ISLET B BENJAMIN MARGARET MACLEAY RIVER
11884/1870 ROGERS ISLET HANNAH WILLIAM C ANN MACLEAY RIVER
11927/1870 TREES ISLET ELIZA ALFRED JAMES ELIZA MACLEAY RIVER
Note: Islet Supple also has the middle name Blandina so it would appear that she, at least, was
named after the Dangar sisters.
Another three Islets were registered in NSW in 1871:
12288/1871 BRADLEY ISLET JAMES MARY MACLEAY RIVER
12325/1871 WOOD ISLET HENRY MARY A MACLEAY RIVER
12360/1871 MACMORRINE ISLET JAMES ANNA MACLEAY RIVER
In all no less than 71 baby girls were registered with the first name Islet between 1870 and
1900, all but four of these were in the NSW north coast area around Macleay River, Kempsey
and Port Mcqquarie. The trend continued into the early 1900s with another 23 Islet's being
registered, all but three in the same area as before. There were also another three with the
By comparison I can find only three records of Islet/t in England up until 1900:
Islett Downing born in 1888 [civil registration] Married 1) Gray 2) Livingstone
Islet Crocker death in 1842 [civil registration]
Islet Clarke baptised 1839 [Bedfordshire baptisms -no civil regstration found]
There is, however an interesting entry in the 1841 and 1851 censuses which may show the
origins of the name. In 1841 there is an entry for Islett Stephens Fosse in Ilfracombe Devon.
The 1851 and subsequent censuses record her name is Ilett. Ilett Stephens [nee Walters was
baptised in 1811. Could this be the true spelling of the name?
For the moment the origin of the name is still a mystery as I can find no earlier records of it in
Cornwall, the home of the Dangar family, that would explain how it was brought to NSW.
This is an early example of how an uncommon or unusual name becomes popular in a
community. NSW online birth indexes only go up to 1912 but I plan to continue researching
the Islet name as more records become available.
Below is some information on the Dangar family who started this trend.
Note: William Snowden Dangar is not William the brother of Henry Dangar (1796-1861),
surveyor and pastoralist, who was the first of six brothers to emigrate as free settlers to New
South Wales. However, in 'The Dangars from St.Neot, Cornwall', written by Elizabeth Mary
Dangar, the author claims that William Snowden Dangar appears to be a fourth cousin.
William Snowden Dangar born about 1804 in Bodmin, Cornwall.
Susan/na/h Frethey baptised 22nd July 1804 at Lostwithiel, daughter of Benjamin Frethey
William Snowden Dangar married Susan Freathey on 8th December 1833 at Bodmin,
Immigration: William and Susan came to Australia some time between May 1836 and 1842.
Elizabeth Perkin Dangar baptised 9th March 1834 at Lostwithiel, Cornwall. Father William, of
Tangier, a waiter. Mother Susannah [Cornwall OPC database]
William Thomas Danger [sic] born 17th September 1835, baptised 29th May 1836, at Bodmin
father William, of St Nicholas Street, a hairdresser. Mother Susan. [Cornwall OPC database]
Married Lillias Wight or Knight 1861 Port Macquarie [ref 2019/1861]
Otho Odre Dangar V18424542 121B/1842 DANMR [sic] OTHO O WILLIAM S SUSAN [NSW
BDM Index] Married Elizabeth Garvin in Port Macquaire 1868 [ref 3204/1868]
Pauline Blandina Dangar born about 1845 but no registration found.
Islet Frethey Dangar V1846864 55/1846 DANGAR ISLET F WILLIAM SUSANNA [NSW BDM
SMH 18th September 1876:
DANGAR. —September 12, at her residence, Belgrave-street, Kempsey, in great peace,
Susannah Treethey, the beloved wife of William Snowden Dangar, and mother of William,
Thomas, and Otho Orde Dangar. During the last 35 years a resident of Kempsey and Port
Macquarie, formerly of Bodmin, Cornwall,
7325/1876 DANGAR SUSANA F BENJAMIN F DIED MACLEAY RIVER MACLEAY RIVER
Maitland Mercury 1th February 1892
William S. Dangar, a colonist for sixty years, and father of Mr. O. O. Dangar, M.L.A., died
suddenly on Friday. [aged 88 as per his headstone]
6760/1892 DANGAR WILLIAM S UNKNOWN UNKNOWN KEMPSEY
DANGAR.—March 4, at the residence of her parents, Belgrave street, Kempsey, Elizabeth
Perkin, eldest and sole surviving daughter of William Snowden and Susan Dangar, aged 41.
"The ways of the Lord are right."
7171/1875 DANGAR ELIZABETH P WILLIAM SUSANNAH MACLEAY RIVER
MR. OTHO OTHAS[sic] DANGAR.
The death occurred on Thursday, 20th inst., at his residence, ' Villa Fortuna,' Henley,
Parramatta River, of Mr. Otho Othas Dangar, a native of Port Macauarie aged 81 years.
The deceased gentleman, who was a son of the late Sergeant Dangar, in early manhood went
to the Macleay, and engaged in the business of store keeping, and afterwards became an
auctioneer. He was a prominent figure in business and public life until he went to reside in
the metropolis in 1920. He represented this electorate in the State Parliament for several
years. Mr. W. T. Dangar, of Kempsey, is a brother, and his wife and a son - and two daughters
also survive him, viz., Mr. O. O. Dangar (solicitor, Narrandera), Mrs. A. McM. Singleton and
Miss Dangar (Sydney). We regret the passing of one who was an interesting link with the
earliest days of settlement on this river. The interment took place at Sydney on the 21st inst.
10780/1923 DANGAR OTHO O WILLIAM S SUSAN BALMAIN NORTH
2832/1928 DANGER WILLIAM T WILLIAM S SUSAN KEMPSEY