Skip to content

Thomas Waters 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks. #52ancestors

January 4, 2020

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks

Amy Johnson Crow has put out the challenge to genealogists and family historians, to write stories about 52 of their ancestors in 52 weeks. As I said in my previous post , I am happily taking up the challenge and looking forward to writing stories that will collate many years of research results. Each week will be different prompts given as the theme for the week. Following is my first post for #52ancestors in 2020.

Week 1: Fresh Start

I’ve written many times about my great great grandfather THOMAS WATERS. He was born on 05 October 1829, at the family farm, ‘Newtonbury’ Dunton, Bedfordshire, England.  He died on 28 June 1913 at Rochester, Victoria, Australia Recently I posted a series of transcriptions of the letters he wrote home to Bedfordshire, England in the 19th century. There are links to these posts at the end this post.

Thomas Waters arrived in Australia in  about 1851, it’s my opinion that he was looking for a fresh start after a few upheavals that had occurred in his life, shortly before he left England for Australia. I’ve spent many years on research into Thomas Waters, but there are still many gaps in his life story that I haven’t been able to fill. So there is much work to be done to create an accurate and full story of his life.

Thomas Waters was born in 1829, the son of generational farmers at Newtonbury Farm, Dunton, Bedfordshire. In his early years, he was a labourer on the farm. For unknown reasons he left the family farm and in January 1851, at age 21, became the licensee of The Castle, a hotel in Kent Street, Borough of St. George the Martyr, London.

Thomas gave up the hotel licence just eighteen months later in July 1852, as can be found in the Newington Court Minutes. There is no reason given for his license being either given up, or having been refused. Usually the minutes show reasons for this, such as the publican allowing drunks, prostitutes or thieves to frequent their hotel. There are many other reasons that a publican might have his license revoked, but unfortunately, I have been unable to find any further information about Thomas’ experience as a publican.

Thomas married Ruth Windust in March 1852, while he was a hotel licensee and just four months before giving up his license. Ruth’s father was also involved in hotels in the area.

Thomas left England without his wife, for Australia later, in1852. I have a couple of theories about why he may have left, just a few months after his marriage. Perhaps he left to escape from debts incurred in the hotel, or to escape an unhappy marriage. An elderly aunt, who’s father was Thomas’ son, told me that it was always whispered in the family, that he came to Australia to get away from something a little scandalous. But that is just family heresay. Once again there is no evidence at all of this. But whatever the reason for him leaving, I’m sure that he saw Australia as a ‘fresh start’.

He did make a fresh start in Australia but the early years were not without sadness, heartbreak and poverty. He married ELIZABETH ANNE COX, shortly after arriving in Australia.  After four years living in Strathalbyn, South Australia, they made their way to Central Victoria, where they both lived a long life. They faced many challenges as they raised their large family and tried to make a living that would support that large family.

Eventually after many heartaches and dealing with sickness and injury problems, Thomas passed away on 28 June 1913. At the time of his death he was a farmer with a property outside Rochester. It seems that things did look up for him later in life.

The above article doesn’t go into all the details of the life of Thomas Waters, as it is meant just to address him seeking a fresh start in Australia. I have written the story of Thomas Waters many times on the blog. The links are included below for anyone who would like his life story in further detail.

Thomas Waters’ Letters to Bedfordshire 23 February 1866
Thomas Waters’ Letter to Bedfordshire – May 1862
Thomas Waters’ Letter to Bedfordshire – August 1862
Thomas Waters’ Letter to Bedfordshire – 17 May 1863
Thomas Waters’ Letter to Bedfordshire – 23 May 1863
Thomas Waters’ Letter to Bedfordshire Kyneton 23 May 1864
Thomas Waters’ Letters to Bedfordshire 23 March 1865
Thomas Waters’ Letter to Bedfordshire 20 September 1866

Brief timeline for Thomas Waters

Various civil registration certificates
Letters written by Thomas Waters from Australia to his family in Bedfordshire, England
Newington Court Minutes PS.NEW/1/7
All sources used for this article are held by me.

© 2019 Copyright. all rights reserved:

From → Family stories

Leave a Comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Barroworn Succulents

Succulents, Geraniums, Iris and much more. All grown on our local property

Loretta Travels

Travel tidbits and vicarious adventures

Best Bookish Blog

Independant Book Reviews and More

Trisha Faye

Cherishing the Past while Celebrating the Present

Removing the labels one pair of pants at a time

Celebrating and Loving our bodies

Stepheny Forgue Houghtlin

"If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need." Cicero

Finding Family

One woman's obsession with family history.

Kerryn's Kin

A Tribute to my ancestors by Kerryn Taylor

Next Phase In Fitness & Life

Over 60 and living my best life

'Genealogists for Families' project

Family History and Genealogy


Family History and Genealogy

Western District Families

Stories of Pioneering Families From the Western District of Victoria