Author: devaccr3

A Matter of Coincidence – Captain William McDonald, and Agnes

One of our links, to the seafaring McDonalds is one with a colorful and eventful background. The story of William McDonald and his spouse Agnes Smith is told under the ‘Stories 2′ Mainpage Section, with some further information from official records on his exploits in the ‘Honours’ section. More recently our research colleague and cousin Jenny Gould progressed some excellent research on the Cavell family link, and on Captain William McDonald, also his supposed spouse Agnes Smith and alleged daughter Agnes Eliza McDonald Smith. Agnes Eliza was born on Captain McDonald’s ship ‘Good Intent’ in Antwerp Harbour on December 3rd 1831 and the birth was recorded in the city’s archives by the Antwerp City authorities. Jenny’s research has discovered she was baptised just over five weeks later in St Mary Major Anglican church in Exeter, Dorset, England on January 11th, 1832 – with the surname Smith rather than McDonald, precisely as Captain McDonald refers to her in his Will. There has been frequent speculation as to whether Captain McDonald and Agnes were ever married, and whether or not Agnes Eliza was his biological daughter. The evidence which has emerged strongly suggests the answer to both questions is in the negative. See for example Captain McDonald’s Will appended below – this leaves little doubt whilst the even more recent evidence by way of discovery by Jenny of what seems likely...

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Scottish Roots & Aussie Beginnings

It has been long known through the various arms of our families in Australia that our Wilson origins were to be found in Scotland, and that our Australian beginnings were to be found in Tasmania from 1820. By the late 1850s some arms had moved to Victoria, and later again some had moved up to Queensland whilst others had emigrated to New Zealand. Today there are descendants in many parts of the world – UK, Argentina, USA, France, et al Our Scottish Origins – John (the mason) Wilson and Margaret Bowman were wed in 1772 at Dunnichen Church a...

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John Wilson (the Mason) of Laws – Home Sweet Home

It is interesting to observe the identification of the Angus ‘cities’ and villages of our forebears in old maps of Angus. In a map of Britain dated about 1250 (partial image below – click to enlarge), in the region which is today Angus, Dundee can be identified, whilst Hadrian’s Wall is highlighted to the south. Also in the gallery below, Ainslie’s 1788 map is contemporary with the period when the young family of John Wilson of Laws was growing up and no doubt roaming the fields and hills about Laws Farm and district. The recent image in the header...

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William & Margaret’s Tasmanian Abodes

From stories passed down within our Tasmanian families and from official records we know of several of the places where William & Margaret and family lived after arrival in Hobart in 1820. Their first abode appears to have been in Campbell St, Hobart or close by and within earshot of the Campbell St gaol – it is said Margaret insisted on leaving that place because she could not stand the perpetual screams of the convicts incarcerated and being punished there. The next location seems most likely to be lodgings somewhere in the newly named hamlet of Sorell – their...

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Architects and Masons, and Bonnie William Wilson

It seems appropriate that our first recognition for achievement ought to go to our forebears who excelled in the noble arts of stonemasonry and architecture – and there are three such noteworthies. Firstly John Wilson (The Mason) of Laws Farm/Drumsturdy and Templehall in Scotland, there followed by his son who is the leading man in our story, Bonnie William of Newbigging (Angus), Scotland and of Hobarton, Van Diemens Land (his full name, William Hartley Wilson). Thereafter we see William followed by his grandson David Hartley (‘Hart’) Wilson (down the Frederick Langloh Wilson arm), a notable architect who was also...

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