William George Watson :: FamilyTreeCircles.com Genealogy
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William George Watson

Query by jasonmartin

Looking for the father of Sarah, Elizabeth, William, Ann, John, Edwin, Albert and Charlotte Watson.
He married a Sarah Lancaster. Looking for birth or death information. He came to Australia and
married Sarah Lancaster in 1861 in Robe South Australia then disappeared.

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by jasonmartin Profile | Research | Contact | Subscribe | Block this user
on 2015-08-29 17:44:36

jasonmartin has been a Family Tree Circles member since Aug 2015.

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by asheppard on 2015-09-01 02:04:54

Is this their marriage

Name: William George Watson
Father's name: John Watson
Spouse Name: Sarah Lancaster
Spouse's Father's Name: William Lancaster
Marriage Date: 22 Feb 1861
Marriage Place: Robe
Registration Place: Robe, South Australia
Page Number: 283
Volume Number: 45

Do you have a copy of the marriage? it should give some details his age and occupation.

Sarah Ann 1861 Robe SA
Elizabeth 1862 Robe SA
William George Bowden 1864 Robe SA
Ann 1866 Nagambie Vic (father William George Bod Watson)
John (see below)
Edwin Henry 1869 Casterton Vic
Albert 1871 Harrietville Vic
Charlotte 1872 Castlemain Vic

This could possibly be John mothers surname incorrect but rest matches

Name: John Joseph Watson
Father's name: Williams Geo Bow Watson
Mother's name: Sarah Langton
Birth Place: Casterton, Victoria
Registration Year: 1867
Registration Place: Victoria
Registration Number: 7000

by jasonmartin on 2015-09-02 10:37:13

Thank you so so much. I do have the marriage certificate for William George Watson. It says he was a laborer in Robe SA when his son William George Watson was born and when he was married it says his trade was mariner and he was aged 23.

by jasonmartin on 2015-09-02 10:38:02

But I dont know where to search from here?

by asheppard on 2015-09-02 19:36:23

On ancestry there are a few trees with details on him with conflicting stories of what happened and how it happened.


William would work away on the ships while he was away Sarah would take in borders. One time when William came home he found Sarah pregnant to one of the borders "James Mclean". Apparently Sarah took off with the border and left William with the children.

In April 1873 William was charged with drunk and disorderly and a vagrant when he asked for the police to look after his children because his wife had deserted him.Some of the children were put into care until a solution was found.

Sarah eventually came and took some of the children back with her new partner James Mclean.

William apparently took his eldest William G.B back to Canada with him, William died in Canada. William G B ended up back in NSW, after 1873 No one really knows what happened to William SNR.

Sarah Watson and James Colin Mclean had 5 children being Isobella(Charlotte)1872, David 1874, Mary 1879, Jesse 1887, and James 1882. James Mclean and Sarah Watson married 09/09/1881. Sarah is listed as a widow????

James ans Sarah lived in Victoria, then moved to W.A and our branch of the Watson family lived in N.S.W> Don't think Annie knew she had relations in W.A.

2). (comment on post above)

According to newspaper reports, after Sarah walked out with the baby, William was left with six of the children and tried to get the police to take care of them. Five of the six children mentioned in the newspaper report were placed in the Industrial School in Melbourne and eventually boarded out and licensed to various people.

It is obvious that Sarah knew James McLean for a while but I doubt that she was running a boarding house as she and her children were was surviving on charity at the time. I suspect that the story of the boarding house was something told to the McLean children to put a gloss of respectability on what had happened.

Also I do not believe that Charlotte Isabel was a child of James McLean. At that time it was relatively easy to use another name (and common enough) and I think if James McLean had believed her to be his child she would have been known as a McLean. She gave her name as Watson on her marriage certificate and listed William Watson as her father. She was around six months old when the family broke up. I also think if the local community had suspected that Sarah was involved with another man they may have been less forthcoming with their charity.

The eldest of William and Sarah’s children, Sarah Ann O’Connor (my great-grandmother) was also taken to South Australia, perhaps as she was old enough to help with the care of the baby, Charlotte Isabel. Sarah Ann lived with Sarah and James McLean in Millicent until she married William O’Connor in 1880. She had no love of either her mother or her “step-father” according to family stories. It is interesting that Williams and Georges pop up in the offspring of the Watson children but Charlotte Isabel was the only one to call a daughter Sarah.

Most of the Watson children managed to make some sort of contact after their release from the Industrial School but I am not sure how much contact they had with their mother. Albert was discharged into the custody of his sister Sarah Ann O’Connor in November 1886 aged 15. Another of her brothers, Edwin “Ted” Watson was a regular visitor at the O’Connor property at Valencia Creek.

The story our side of the family has is that Sarah Lancaster told her Watson children that William George Watson had taken ship with his eldest son to Canada; apparently she even named the ship. This ship is supposed to have gone down at sea. (None of the Watson children ever knew what had become of their brother William George) Ted Watson, at some stage, went to the shipping office and checked the passenger and crew list of that particular ship but neither William George Watson was on it. The implication of Sarah's story was that William had deserted her but, the reverse was true with her not only leaving William but deserting her children as well who then spent years in the Industrial School system.

The last sighting we have of William George Watson, senior, is in February 1874 when he was released from the Ballarat Base Hospital. I have not been able to discover any record of him having left Victoria by ship or any death record that is identifiably him either in Australia or overseas.


If you can check out the ancestry trees they have some interesting information on them, none look like they have documented proof of what happened to William George Watson Snr but might be worth contacting them.

Good luck in you search

by jasonmartin on 2015-09-02 22:21:10

Thank you so much for this information. Yes conflicting stories. but so fascinating. I did contact several people two years ago on ancestry but nobody has any concrete information on William George Watson. I went on the Victoria government bdm website but his name comes up so much that it would be very costly to order random death certificates. Also on William George Boden Watson's death certificate he mentions his father as William George Watson and mother (assume stepmother or fathers new wife) Anne Baker. I am very grateful for your time helping with this. I am grateful for all your help, insights and expertise.

by jasonmartin on 2015-09-12 13:12:05

Would you know how I would go about getting a record of William George Watsin from the Ballarat Base Hospital and record when charged for disorderly conduct?

by asheppard on 2015-09-12 21:54:55

The only way I can think of is to try and find the disorderly conduct charge on Trove, and see if it has any details, possibly in Police Gazette, but I'm not sure, you may need to post a separate journal asking the Question, some one may know how to trace the details.

by jasonmartin on 2015-09-13 09:51:35

Thank you for your insights. I will follow up on these helpful suggestions

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