Latest research

Latest research – Walter Grieve Williamson

The article for yesterday’s Trove Tuesday post had mentioned Elizabeth Clyne’s daughter, Mrs. Margaret Williamson.  This reminded me that I still haven’t been able to find out what happened to Margaret’s husband, Walter Grieve Williamson.  Walter and Margaret’s youngest child was born in 1862 in the Ballarat area, so I narrowed my search to Ballarat newspapers in the 1860s.

In The Star (Ballarat) (1855-1864), there was 1 article in 1861, 2 in 1862, 2 in 1863, and 1 in 1864.  The 1 in 1864 was for a different Dr. Walter Williamson, who was the same age, but is not the Walter who married Margaret Clyne. The other articles may have been for this Walter.

In The Ballarat Star (1865-1924) there was only 1 article in 1865, for a Walter Williamson in New Zealand

Walter Williamson Thames New Zealand
CLUNES COUNTY COURT. (1865, November 15). The Ballarat Star (Vic. : 1865 – 1924), p. 4. Retrieved January 24, 2017, from

Could this be our Walter?

I then searched the New Zealand death indexes for a Walter Williamson between 1862 and 1900, and found three entries: a Walter Herbert Williamson died 1876 aged 10 weeks, a Walter Henry Sydney Williamson died 1892 at 2 years, and Walter Williamson, died 1875 age 49 years.

Based on the age at the time of death, the Walter Williamson who died in 1875 was born about 1826.  Walter Grieve Williamson was born in 1835.  Despite (because of) the age difference, I decided to keep looking for more information about this Walter, to see if it could possibly be our Walter.

The first place I tried was the PapersPast website.  I searched for Walter Williamson (exact phrase) from 01/01/1862 to 31/12/1875. There were quite a few articles about him, but nothing about where he came from or whether he had any family. The article with the most information about him was from the Thames Advertiser, Volume VIII, Issue 2129, 24 August 1875.

This article mentioned that he had spent time in Queensland, and that he was special correspondent for a Sydney newspaper.

I therefore returned to Trove, where I searched for any articles about Walter Williamson, and found this article

Walter Williamson, mining manager
Advertising (1873, February 15). Australian Town and Country Journal (Sydney, NSW : 1870 – 1907), p. 4. Retrieved January 24, 2017, from

What struck me was that he was late of Victoria and New Zealand. I finally had an article that traced him back to Victoria, before he started prospecting in New Zealand.

Since he had traveled between Australia and New Zealand, the next thing to do was to check the passenger lists.   I found a W. Williamson, age 29 (born about 1834), had left Victoria in February 1863 on the “City of Melbourne II”.  He was bound for Otago and Port Chalmbers in New Zealand.

This would correspond with his last child being born in 1862, and the first mention of him prospecting in New Zealand in 1865.

Although this does appear to be our Walter, more evidence is needed to be sure.