Day 16: William Hassett and Isabella De Silva

This post is part of the Anglo-Indian Project Holiday Season series 2017

William and Isabella De Silva married on 8 November 1854, in Poona, Bombay. One of the more intriguing points from their marriage record was finding Isabella’s surname, De states the meaning of the name De Silva is a ‘[r]espelling of Portuguese Da Silva. This name is common in western India, where it was taken by Portuguese colonists.’ 

Another interesting finding was in itself the discovery of ‘generation 6’ (William and Isabella themselves). William’s profession on his marriage record is stated as ‘Mess Man’, but a year later on the baptism record of his son, William Hassett, this had changed to ‘Overseer of the Jail Treadmill’. These treadmills were usually used as punishment of prisoners and rotated around a horizontal axis, requiring the user to step upwards, like walking up an endless staircase, as in the picture (below).


William and Isabella Hassett had three children together (more records may be found in the future). William, the eldest, born in 1855. Second born, John, in 1859. The youngest, James, born in 1863. There is a further record of William and Isabella which appears on the second baptism of James Hassett (which records them as ‘dead’). Otherwise, for now, William and Isabella remain a bit of a mystery.

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Cover photo by Pixabay on


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