Welcome to our ‘Bonnie William from Dundee’ Website

This site tells the stories of William Hartley Wilson and his wife Margaret (Williamson) and their families in the villages of Drumsturdiemuir, Monikie and Newbigging , and within the Monikie, Monifieth & Barry parishes of Angus, Scotland; and thereafter from Nov 27, 1820 in Van Diemen’s Land (Tasmania), Australia.

The contents of the site have been derived in the main from research of official repository records of Australia, Britain, Belgium and France, and on information and photographs kindly made available to our researchers from a broad array of the descendants and family connections of Bonnie William and Margaret’s family over the past several decades. We are indebted to all family members who have so assisted us in telling our story. Comments and input are most welcome.

About our Research and Researchers

The stories of family which are presented here have derived from extensive research undertaken, firstly by the many amateur (somewhere around 15 to 20) but collectively experienced family member devotees of family history research which our broad Wilson family is fortunate to have had in its ranks over the years; and those years of research have extended from the 1930s right up to today and are ongoing; secondly this research has been supported by occasional amateur and professional genealogists working on our behalf in Scotland and Tasmania.

Additionally, our research group is actively supported by several dozen more family members from across the breadth of the family who whilst not engaged in research themselves have willingly made available large amounts of family photographs, documents, memorabilia and anecdotal records, information and stories from their memories from childhood and beyond.

Some of our researchers are shown in the images below taken at a group meeting at Hastings in 2003.

Inevitably there may be some errors and inconsistencies which come to light over time as new information is discovered, but our group is confident (with the degree of cross checking of stories it can undertake) that the vast amount of information as now presented on this website is valid.

We rely very much on family members from across the broadest range of the Bonnie William clan to bring to our attention stories and documents about family of which they may have become aware at various stages of their lives.

In this way might we capture and retain for future generations as much as possible of the lore of the clan from the close to 250 years which has elapsed since the birth of our ancestral patriach, Bonnie William at Drumsturdymuir, Forfarshire, (Angus) Scotland in 1772, and his beloved spouse Margaret nee Williamson sometime resident of Barrie and prior to that most probably Arbroath.

It really is surprising, and saddening, the number of occasions on which members of our family have reported on how an ‘uncle’/’aunt’ or ‘grandma/grandpa’ ‘had a big cleanout’ and bonfire of old obsolete family memorabilia way back in the past and in the process destroyed tens and hundreds of photographs and papers which might have been fascinating items of history of our families.

What is lost is lost, but with the work of our collective of family researchers we now have the prospect of retaining much that still exists in documents and memories, and beyond that of re-discovering by research of publicly available records some part of what has been lost in old family possessions.

Our research group welcomes new participants in research, new information and materials, and the pointing out of any errors and corrections which should be made.

Our Earliest Researchers

Many have contributed to our story over many years. The earliest recorded researcher was David Hartley Wilson great-grandson of Bonnie William via the son Frederick Langloh Wilson of the Tasmanian arm of the family. David and his wife Molly are shown here.

David Hartley was active during the 1930s searching the Tasmanian and Scottish records. He visited Britain on business (like his great-grandfather he was an architect – but a fully qualified one, and one of some note within Tasmanian circles) during the 1930s and took the time to travel up to Carnoustie, Scotland to search for any possible connections – as far as we know without success.

The next known researcher was John Francis Wilson from the John Bowman arm via JB’s son Albert Edward Wilson. John (or Jack as he was generally known) was actively collecting family history items and making notes as far back as the 1950/60s. Jack is shown below.

The fact is almost all of our family members who have taken photographs sometime in their lives have often unknowingly been collecting material for our Family History. The sad story so often told is that “old Uncle Charlie (more often it was Aunt Charlotte actually) had a big clean out back in 1937 and burnt all these old photographs” – in consequence so much has been lost forever.
Many of us are involved in research – whether we are spending hours in libraries or official repositories studying old records, or browsing the internet where so much can be accessed today around the world, or offering support simply by digging into all of the old papers, photos, personal records and memorabilia of our own family circles – all of these activities are valuable in advancing the story of Bonnie William & Margaret. And why – well, remember Mike Wilson’s great quote in the Preface of his Synopsis – “………… so that those who come after us can simply know”.

Text and Audio-Visual Materials available

Members of our research group have over the years produced several items recording our family story in text on CD and audio-visual (AV – DVD) formats. It has been our practice where members of the family wish to have copies of these items to ask for a donation to our graves restoration fund; we stress such donation is purely voluntary and we will make these resources available wherever requested by family members should the suggested donation be financially difficult..

The suggested donation is $35 for a Set (see below). However for any for whom $35 is difficult we are obliged to request a modest minimum contribution to cover base costs involved for CD and DVD discs, disc printing and packaging/postage; a 10 stamp booklet of 70c postage stamps being the most practical method. You may contact the administrator using the email address on the Home page.

Our practice is to assemble such requests in lots of 5 before we make a run as there is considerable time involved in preparing and producing the materials by members of the research group whose services are also entirely voluntary.

The Set comprises:

 

The First Hundred Years – CD

(written by Mike Wilson), and the Skelton Voyage Story – text on CD

Faces AV – DVD

A wonderful rolling montage of images of those from all arms of the family who have preceded us, set to music; running time approx. 20 minutes. This excellent production was created by Mike Wilson and his son Tristan.

Bonnie William from Dundee AV – DVD

A series of stories set to images narrated by several members of our research group encompassing our origins in Scotland, the Voyage to Van Diemens Land, and the locations, activities and achievements of Bonnie William & Margaret and their sons and their first Australian generation families in both Tasmania and Victoria, up to the time of Federation. Running time approx. 70 minutes.