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Blog Party – Ernest Welfare Waters

June 27, 2016

Fellow Genie Blogger Elizabeth O’Neal, from  Little Bytes of Life blog, asked the question on  twitter. “Which of our ancestors should sit on the golden throne?” June has arrived, and that means it’s time for the June 2016 Genealogy Blog Party, where genealogy bloggers have been asked to blog about their strongest ancestor.

As is the case with most of us, I have several strong ancestors. But there is a stand out, and my thoughts went to him immediately.

I’ve always thought that my great grandfather, on the maternal side of my family,  ERNEST WELFARE WATERS must have been made of steel, with all that was thrown at him.

Ernest Waters was born in 1878, at Rochester, Victoria, Australia. He was the second youngest of twelve children. Just one of his siblings died soon after birth. Being one of many, in tough times, was possibly the reason he developed his steely toughness and determination.

I knew my great grandfather, as a child, as he lived until I was 17 years old. We called him Grandpa.  I remember as a child, thinking of him as hard and just a bit scary, but I’m not really sure why. I did think he was very, very old. He passed away when he was 93, so I suppose any child would have thought he was ancient. I remember being a little fearful of him, but not because of anything he ever did. Again I think it was a small child’s fear of someone of such a great age.

It wasn’t until I began family history/genealogy research, that I realised just what a man of steel my great grandfather was. Most of the information below, was unknown to me, when I was a beginner researcher, including his first marriage.

He married BESSIE MACROW at Rochester, in 1899 when he was 21. Unfortunately Bessie became ill and died a little less that two years later in January 1901. Her cause of death was tuberculosis, and on reading her obituary, it would seem that she had a very long period of illness prior to her death.

In 1902, Ernest married Hilda Mary Beatrice Gilmour at Fitzroy. They were members of the Salvation Army when they met, and this continued for their entire lives. I can well remember my grandparents wearing their Salvation Army uniforms at all times.

They went on to have eight children. It definiteley  was not easy raising a large family in the early 20th century, particularly during WW1 and WW2 and the depression.

Ernest Waters & Hilda Gilmour on their Wedding Day

My great grandparents on the occasion of their engagement – Ernest Welfare Waters and Hilda Mary Beatrice Gilmour.

Ernest had a number of occupations. It appears that when work may have become scarce, he could always turn his hand to something else that was needed in the community. He worked in carpentry for many years and then went on to be a butcher, owning his own butchery, for most of his working life. Some of his other jobs were – Coffin making, working in a co-op and in a pottery.

WW1 brought sorrow that couldn’t possibly be endured without mental toughness, as the sad news from the front, continued to arrived. Three nephews of Ernest passed away during World War 1 – David Waters of Rochester in 1917, age 18, and his cousins, brothers, Albert William Mancer in 1917,age 25 and Ernest Charles Mancer in 1917, age 19.

My great grandmother, Ernest’s wife, passed away four years prior to his death. For many years before her death, she had needed constant care, due to health issues caused by a severe stroke.

We all have our trials in life, and in my opinion Ernest Welfare Waters had more than his fair share. Through it all, he was a committed family man, who it seemed, just powered on with his life without focusing too much on his problems. He certainly didn’t burden his family with the problems that he had faced in life.

Ernest Welfare Waters definitely deserves his seat on the ‘Golden Throne of Steel’.

Ernest Welfare Waters with his son Bernard in their Salvation Army uniforms

Ernest Welfare Waters with his son Bernard in their Salvation Army uniforms



Ernest Welfare Waters as an older man. This is how I remember him

Ernest Welfare Waters as an older man. This is how I remember him




**Please note: Birth certificate shows spelling as ‘Earnest’. I’m sure this was an error of the person making the registration or the registrar, as during his life time he spelt his name as ‘Ernest’.



  1. He sounds like a very strong man Jennifer. I too have a different perspective on many ancestors/family members as I have found more about their lives.

  2. What a wonderful tribute to your great grandfather! And how lucky that you were able to know him when you were in your teens! He certainly sounds like a man who just knew how to get things done and did them without complaint! Thank you for sharing his story!

  3. He sounds like a very strong man indeed! No wonder you have nominated him. I love the pics – thanks for sharing 🙂

  4. The pictures are wonderful! What treasures to have. Very strong man indeed.

  5. I love your photos. He was a worthy candidate, for sure. I would love to know about their lives with the Salvation Army, too.

    • Thankyou for your interest Linda. I suspect there is much more to learn about my great grandparents and Salvation Army. More to come I’m sure

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