[This page is still under construction and subject to edit review – Ferrier data is on NEW RESEARCH Link]

We have wonderful new information to hand from one of our researchers who has been working intensively over many recent months researching the origins of William’s mother, Margaret Bowman, his spouse Margaret Williamson, and the second wife (Margaret Ferrier) and family of William’s father John. These are key areas of family history about which we have surmised and speculated for many years, and which deservedly now rank as THE DISCOVERIES of the 2023 year.

This great research work has for the first time taken our Bonnie Wilson Family story back into the 17th century. Into the era of Milton and Swift indeed reaching almost to Shakespeare, and into the middle of the English civil war with Oliver Cromwell in full flight.

Mike Wilson has produced a first summary adaption of the Bowman and Williamson research and it is pleasing to be able to present it here for all to read and copy – in due course with an accompanying story this work will feature on our Stories Mainpage.  It is presented below and also with the Ferrier family data included, via this downloadable link in which primary document BDM records are visible – NEW RESEARCH for review 12-10-23

[Maps identifying Family member BDM locations in County Angus (formerly Forfarshire), Scotland are appended below]



This latest version of Origins represents the compilation of our research into the history of our family to date (2023). Research however continues unabated as corrections are made or as new facts and details continue to emerge from the available records. This Addendum to Origins can be used to collate new information, but permission to circulate to the wider family rests with the individual researcher. As one piece of data generally provides new questions, leads and avenues for investigation, it would be advantageous to identify the source and date of the information to assist the efforts of future researchers.

As can be seen from our first Addendum story (due to the prodigious amount of investigative work carried out by Marjorie Winter), our family story now extends back to the mid-17th century and the origins of the names Bowman and Williamson as related to our Wilson line are much clearer.


Records source: ScotlandsPeople, https://www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk/

by Marjorie Winter (2023).

The names Bowman and Williamson are linked to the Wilson family due to marriages in Scotland in the 18th and 19th centuries. The first of these was the marriage of Margaret Bowman to John Wilson in 1772 and then Margaret Williamson married William Hartley Wilson in 1820 (just prior to their coming to Australia). As was common in those times, many of the children of these marriages were given a specific Christian name (often in honour of the parents or siblings of the couple) and also a middle name to commemorate the spouse’s family name. For example, William and Margaret’s third son was named John (after his grandfather) Williamson (his father’s wife’s family name) Bowman (his grandmother’s family name) Wilson. This tradition has been perpetuated several times in the Wilson line, but the present-day holder of the name might well be unaware of its origin; this new research was aimed at overcoming this gap in our knowledge.


Alexander Bowman was born in Scotland in about 1690. He was contracted to marry Barbara Lowson on 16th of May, 1717 at Panbride, Angus:

“May 16 – Alexander Bowman of the parish of Panbride & Barbara Lowson in this parish (Monikie) were orderly contracted and consigned their pledge vis six pounds and were Sabbath following orderly proclaimed.”

Alexander and Barbara were married on the 6th of June, 1717 in Monikie:

“June – Alexander Bowman & Barbara Lowson before named were married here having produced a testimonial of his being proclaimed at Panbride….last above named were married at….”

Alexander and Barbara had two sons:

David Bowman – was baptized 11 September, 1718 at Panbride, Angus. However, it is probable that David died before 1720 (although no death record has been found).

“September 11– Alexander Bowman & Barbara Lowson had their David baptized witnesses James Thomson & David Mill”….


David Bowman – was baptized 13th of October, 1720 in Dundee (it is assumed that this second son was also named David – a not uncommon practice in Scotland following the death of a sibling):



“October 13- Alexander Bowman & Barbara Lowson had their David baptized witnesses James Thomson & David Mill”.

David Bowman became a weaver. At age 26, he contracted to marry on the 25th July, 1746 & was married to 21-year-old Christian Spence on the 29th of August, 1746 in Dundee:

David’s wife Christian had been baptized on the 25th of July, 1725 in Dundee. Her parents were George Spence born on the 2nd of March, 1675 in Dundee and Christian Craig. Her siblings were: Agnes (born in 1709), George (1713), Barbara (1715), James (1716) and Elizabeth (1718). Her grandparents were: George Spence (born 1645) & Margaret Gourlay (Gowrlay). Their children were: Margaret (born 1671), Agnes (1672) and George (1675).

David and Christian had three children:

George Bowman – was baptized on the 10th of January, 1748 in Dundee. “Father’s occupation: weaver. Names noted George Spence grandfather, George Spence uncle”.

William Bowman – was baptized on the 26th of December, 1749 in Dundee. “Father: a weaver. Names noted at baptism William Bowman uncle + another William (surname illegible)”.

Margaret Bowman – was baptized on the 5th of March, 1751 in Dundee. “Father: flax reed maker. Names noted at baptism were Margaret Smith & Margaret Bowman, aunt”. Margaret was married on the 10th of November, 1772 in Dunnichen to John Wilson and bore him five children. She died in 1784, at age just 33 – possibly giving birth to her daughter Matilda who died in that same year. In 1786, John Wilson was re-married (to Margaret Ferrier).


While no death record was found for David Bowman, his wife Christian (Spence) was buried on the 31st of December, 1783 in Monifieth: “Christian Bowman from Dundee was interred here”.

Note – The marriage of Margaret Bowman and John Wilson in 1772 started our Wilson family line and it is now clearer where the names Bowman and Margaret (that were often repeated in the names of their progeny and descendants), had arisen. It is interesting to note that John Wilson and Margaret Bowman named their third daughter (born/died in 1784) Matilda – possibly after Margaret’s brother George’s wife, or her own nine-year-old cousin.

George Bowman became a sailor and, at age 23, married 23-year-old Matilda Anderson on the 18th of May, 1771 in Dundee – “George Bowman & Matilda Anderson clandestinely married in Edinburgh”.

The words ‘clandestinely married’ suggests some lack of approval by her parents – possibly because of his lowly occupation?

Matilda Anderson had been baptized on the 17th of February, 1748 in Newtyle, Angus. Her parents were James Anderson & Isabel Dickson; they were both born in 1720.

George and Matilda had ten children:

Alexander – was baptized on the 6th of September, 1772 in Dundee. “His father was a sailor. Names noted at baptism – Grandfather Alexander Anderson & Alexander Bowman – Great Uncle”.

George – was born on the 24th of October, 1773 and baptized on the 4th of November, 1773. “Father, George Bowman, shipmaster”. It appears he was no longer a humble sailor?

Matilda – was born on the 19th of February, 1775 and baptized on the 28th of February, 1775 in Dundee. “Father, George – a shipmaster”. Matilda was married on the 7th of January 1793 to David Patrick (born on 24th of April, 1771, c. 28th of April 1771 in Dundee). His parents were James Patrick (born in 1732), shipmaster and Margaret Wardroper (born in 1734). No children of this union were found.

David – was born on the 18th of March, 1776 and baptized on the 24th of March, 1776 in Dundee. “Father a shipmaster”.

Thomas – was born on 17th of March, 1777 and baptized on the 26th of March, 1777 in Dundee. “Father a shipmaster”.

James – was born on the 16th of July, 1778 and baptized on the 30th of July, 1778 in Dundee. “Father a shipmaster. Names noted at baptism – J. Brown uncle, James Bowman uncle + J Nicoll”.

Christian – was born on the 21th of August, 1780 and baptized on the 23rd of August, 1780 in Dundee. “Father a shipmaster”.

Elizabeth – was born on the 4th of July, 1782 and baptized on the 11th of July, 1782 in Dundee. “Father a shipmaster”.

Agnes – was born on the 28th of September, 1783 and baptized on the 28th of September, 1783 in Dundee. “Father a shipmaster”.

Isabell – was born on the 16th of July, 1785 and baptized on the 27thof July, 1785. “Father a shipmaster”.

George Bowman the shipmaster died and was buried on the 23rd of May, 1821 in Dundee.

Bowmans in Dundee.

Reference Source – “The Dundee Lockit Book, the role of the Burgesses of Dundee, 1513 – Present” (held in the Dundee City Archives).

ID No. Year First name Trade Privilege
426 1553 George *Simple Burgess
2624 1609 Andrew
4487 1664 Servant to John Wedderburn
4621 1668 James Servant to David Carhillis (Invergowie)
5041 1678 Robert Cordiner (shoemaker) To his father
5058 1678 John Cordiner (shoemaker) To his father
5772 1733 Alexander Apprentice to John West, Walker
5954 1746 David Weaver and Reed-maker Married to Christian Spence
6499 1781 George Shipmaster Son of David Bowman, Weaver
6714 1795 Robert Merchant Son of David Bowman, Weaver
7317 1818 Thomas
8682 1902 Private Alexander

* A Scottish burgess was any inhabitant of a burgh who held land there. The title was later restricted to merchants and craftsmen.



John Williamson was born in about 1745 in Angus, Forfarshire (his future spouse Margaret Greig was born in about the same year). John and Margaret were contracted to marry on the 27th of July 1771 and married in Kinnell, Angus on the 10th of August, 1771:

“July 27th -John Williamson in this parish & Margaret Greig in Parish of Inverkeilor were contracted & married August 10th”.

Their son John Williamson was baptized on the 19th of May, 1775 in Arbroath:

On their passing, both John and Margaret were interred in the Inverkeilor churchyard. A headstone was erected by their son John & his spouse Isabel (Dear), but there are no dates provided:

Erected by John Williamson, manufacturer Arbroath and Isabel Dear his spouse in memory of his father and mother John Williamson and Marg Greig who are both interred here”.

Isabel Dear was born on the 20th of February, 1764 and baptized on the 22nd of February, 1764. Isabel’s parents were John Dear & Jannet Williamson; they were married on the 18th of June, 1756 in St. Vigeans church, Arbroath. They had 5 children: Robert (born 1759), Ann (born 1762), Isabel (born 1764), James (born 1766) and David (born 1769). All were baptized in Inverkeilor.

Isabel & John Williamson were married on the 11th of January, 1796 in Arbroath, Angus:

John was a merchant/manufacturer & hand loom weaver of “brown linen” that was woven from dressed flax. Brown linen was produced before the sun-bleaching stage whitened it. Forfarshire was a major producer of brown linen which in leaner times wove a loose fabric similar to burlap & hessian (which was in high demand).

John & Isabel Williamson had 8 children:

Margaret – was born on the 17th of November, 1796 and baptized 5 days later on the 22nd of November.

“Father – a merchant/manufacturer. Names noted at baptism Alexander Esplin & James Dear”.

It was Margaret Williamson who married William Hartley Wilson and sailed to Australia with him in 1820. Margaret died in 1775 in Tasmania.

Isabel – was born on the 8th of June, 1798:

She married James Sturrock (1791-?), a grocer & confectioner on the 6th of December, 1821. They had 7 children. James Williamson Sturrock, shipsmaster, (1822-1887). He married (1850) Euphemia Oliver. Ann Anderson Sturrock (unmarried) (1823-1864), Isabella Dear Sturrock (unmarried) (born 1824), Julia (unmarried) (born 1826), Margaret (unmarried) (1829-1881), Thomas (a solicitor) (1837-1916) married (1880) Mary Chesser (1852-1938) in Dalkeith, Midlothian, Catherine (Kate) (born 1841).

Isabel died on the 5th of April, 1866.

Mary – was born on the 10th of April, 1800 and baptized on the 17th of April in Arbroath, Angus. “Father-manufacturer. Names noted at baptism: Alexander Esplin & James Dear”. 

John – was born on the 2nd of June, 1801 and baptized on the 14th of June in the Chapel of Ease, Arbroath, Angus. (John must have died before 1803 as there is another baby named John – but no burial record was found).

John – was born on the 4th of September, 1803 and baptized on the 25th of September 1803 in Arbroath, Angus. “Sponsors named at baptism: Jean Nicoll & Jean Leslie”:

Alexander – was born on the 13th of April, 1805 and baptized on the 27th of April in Arbroath, Angus. “Names noted at baptism were Jean Leslie & Margaret (Smith?)”:

Alexander died in 1837 & was buried on the 8th of March in Arbroath.

James – was born on the 2nd of June, 1806 and baptized on the 15th of June 1806 in front of the congregation, Arbroath, Angus.

Walter – was born on the 3rd of June 1808 and baptized on the 26th of June in Arbroath, Angus. “Names noted at baptism: George Morison & William Grudie”.

Their father, John Williamson, died at Green Street, Arbroath on the 24th of May, 1846 from “decline of old age – occupation manufacturer”. He was buried on the 28th of May, 1846, Row 23 in Arbroath Churchyard. His burial record says he has his own “stone” but none was found. No record of the death or burial of children’s mother, Isabel Williamson has been found.

Ainslie Map 1788

Ainslie Map 1788