52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks

52 Ancestors 2019 #6 Thomas Docwra (1813-1882)

I had been struggling in deciding who to write about for this week’s 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks, as I didn’t feel like writing about any of the people who had been born this week, which is why the post is late this week.

While I was going through my search list for my Finding burial locations post, I found that I was missing burial details for Edward Docwra who died in 1866, so I decided to do a search for a death or funeral notice for him on Trove, and instead I found the following article.

Docwra Street Ballarat
SEBASTOPOL BOROUGH COUNCIL. (1866, June 12). The Ballarat Star (Vic. : 1865 – 1924), p. 3. Retrieved February 9, 2019, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article112862826

Back in 2000, Ann Nichols wrote a post on the Docwra mailing list (https://lists.rootsweb.com/hyperkitty/list/docwra.rootsweb.com/thread/30323333/) where she had found a reference to Docwra Street, Ballarat, and was wondering where it got the name.  I now had the answer to this question, as well as who to write about for this week’s 52 Ancestors post.

The Docwra who was the most celebrated artesian-well-borer was Thomas Docwra. I believe my relationship to him is:

Thomas Docwra relationship

Thomas Docwra relationship 2

Thomas Docwra was born 14 May 1813 and christened 17 June 1813 in Cheshunt, Hertfordshire, England[1]. He was the third child, and eldest son, of Thomas Docwra and Elizabeth Prosser.

Thomas married Elizabeth Gardner on 24 May 1836 at St Dunstan, Stepney, London, England[2].  They had 13 children:

  • Thomas Docwra (1837-1837)
  • Mary Ann Docwra (1838-1901)
  • John William C Docwra (1840-1916)
  • Thomas Docwra (1842-1842)
  • Elizabeth Docwra (1844-1936)
  • Henry Docwra (1846-1871)
  • Clara Docwra (1848-1894)
  • Tom Bellingham Docwra (1850-1915)
  • Launcelot Docwra (1852-1921)
  • Florence Docwra (1854-1937)
  • Colin Docwra (1855-1942)
  • Clifford Docwra (1859-1915)
  • Alice Docwra (1860-1940)

The 1861 England Census shows Thomas Docwra was at Docwra’s House, District 25, Islington, East Islington, Middlesex. He was the head of the household, married, age 47, occupation contractor, well sinker and borer, gas & water works etc, birthplace Herts Buntingfield. Also in the household was his wife Elizabeth age 42, daughter Mary A age 22, son John W age 20, son Henry age 15, daughter Clara age 13, daughter Florence age 7, daughter Colin age 5, son Clifford age 1, daughter Alice age 8 months and Emma Noakes wet nurse, Hannah Cox nurse, Ann Gray cook and Mary Deurman housemaid[3].

Thomas died 27 July 1882 at Swanage, Dorset, England[4].  He was buried 3 August 1883 at Abney Park Cemetery, Stoke Newington, London, England[5].

Sources of Information

FindMyPast, “Hertfordshire Baptisms,” database and images, FindMyPast (https://www.findmypast.com.au/ : accessed 9 Feb 2019); baptism entry for Thomas Dockra (Docwra), 17 June 1813; Baptisms solemnized in the Parish of Cheshunt in the County of Hertford in the Year 1813 Page 6 no. 48.

Ancestry.com, ” London, England, Church of England Marriages and Banns, 1754-1932,” database and images, Ancestry (https://www.ancestry.com.au/ : accessed 9 Feb 2019); marriage entry for Thomas Docwra and Elizabeth Gardner, 24 May 1836, St Dunstan and All Saints, Stepney, Tower Hamlets, England; London Metropolitan Archives; London, England; Reference Number: p93/dun/073.

1861 census of England, Islington, Middlesex, folio 75, page 29, Thomas Docwra (indexed as Dorwod), age 47; digital images, ancestry.com, ancestry.com.au (http://www.ancestry.com.au/ : accessed 9 Feb 2019); citing PRO RG 9/143.

Ancestry.com, “England & Wales, National Probate Calendar (Index of Wills and Administrations), 1858-1966, 1973-1995,” database and images, Ancestry (https://www.ancestry.com.au/ : accessed 9 Feb 2019); entry for Thomas Docwra, probate date 31 Jan 1883; Original data: Principal Probate Registry. Calendar of the Grants of Probate and Letters of Administration made in the Probate Registries of the High Court of Justice in England. London, England © Crown copyright.

Abney Park Trust, “Basic Grave Search,” database, Abney Park Trust (http://www.devsys.co.uk/ap/ : accessed 9 Feb 2019), entry for Thomas Docwra (1813-1882); Grave Location N06: Grave 048739.