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52 Ancestors in 2018


This year I am going to take part in a fun genealogy meme called 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks, promoted by Amy Johnson Crow. The idea is to get everyone getting the stories about our ancestors out there, and involves writing a blog, Facebook post, tweet, email – whatever gets the information out to our relatives.

I’m going to be putting my weekly ancestor on Twitter, as I figured that I should be able to manage 140 characters. Amy has weekly themes which my posts might or might not match. Generally, over the next year I’ll be posting about 16 of my 2x great grandparents, 16 of my husband’s 2x great grandparents, and the same for each of our 8 great granparents. The remaining 4 posts will be made up of our grandparent couples (grandfather and grandmother together).


James Watters (1852-1922)


James Watters Left his home in County Tyrone, Ireland when he was a young man.

He tried gold mining in New South Wales before going to Queensland to the gold mines at Gympie and then to the Palmer River in tropical North Queensland near Cooktown. The Palmer River goldfields were one of the most notorious in Australia. It was in an isolated area, cut off from civilisation (Cooktown with a population of 4,000) by flooded rivers in the wet season, and parched in the dry.

James Watters - Cairns Queensland

James Watters – Cairns, Queensland

After the Watters family left Maytown to live in Cairns, James set himself up in business as a publican, at times with his mother-in-law.

He became known as the ‘beer king’ of Cairns.

Jim Watters - The Beer King Cairns 1901

Jim Watters – The Beer King Cairns 1901

Advertisement for Federal Hotel and the Beer King 1901

Advertisement for Federal Hotel and the Beer King 1901

Ellen Lelliott (1860 -1937)


Ellen Lelliott came from Sussex in England like her husband, George Fairs.

When the 1881 census was conducted, Ellen was working at Upper Beeding as a cook in the household of the local curate. Upper Beeding is a village about five miles from Ellen’s home of Henfield.

It was the following year that she married George Fairs. They lived at North Mundham for a number of years before moving to Maresfield and later to 85 Framfield Road, Uckfield.

Ellen Fairs

Ellen Fairs, Millie on lap and Nellie standing.
Taken in backyard of Framfield Road, Uckfield

Ellen died in Perth, Western Australia.

Ellen Fairs nee Lelliott

Ellen Fairs nee Lelliott


Elizabeth Brennan (abt 1859-1907)


Elizabeth Brennan left her home in the border areas of Counties Kilkenny and Laois in Ireland sometime before she married Martin Barrett in 1881 in Queensland, Australia.

Elizabeth and Martin had six children, four boys and two girls, although one of the girls died as an infant

I wonder what Elizabeth did that led Martin to place the following in the local paper.

Rachel Ann English (1853-1940)


Rachel Ann English was born in Adelaide, South Australia in 1853 to Thomas English and Sarah Brown.

Marriage Notice for Rachel English and Philip Burden

Marriage Notice for Rachel English and Philip Burden 1875

Rachel married Philip Burden in Adelaide in 1875, and they had six children. The photo below was sent in 1923 to her son Tom who had moved to Cairns in Queensland.

Rachel Ann Burden née English 1923

Rachel Ann Burden née English 1923

Philip Henry Burden (1851-1902)


Philip Henry Burden was born in London before his parents, Philip and Mary, emigrated to South Australia.

Burden - cadet on Goyder Northern Territory Survey Expedition ca 1868

PH Burden, cadet draftsman on Goyder’s expedition to the Northern Territory. Photo approx 1868 – State Library of South Australia

When Philip was about 17 years old and a cadet draftsman, he accompanied the state’s Surveyor-General, George Goyder, on an expedition to the Northern Territory (at that time, part of South Australia). The team were to do a land survey and select a site for the capital. Goyder is most well known for mapping a line of demarcation in South Australia of arable land. North of the line, the land was considered suitable only for light grazing.

Burden Place in Darwin is named after Philip Burden.

PH Burden obituary 1902

PH Burden obituary 1902

George Fairs (1858-1942)


Fred Fairs - Here We Are

What courage George Fairs had to pack up the life of his family in England. It was 1911. George, a coachman, perhaps had the foresight to see that employment in his occupation was becoming less likely.

He left with his wife Ellen and eight of their nine children to emigrate to Australia.

Their eldest son, George Frederick (Fred) was already married with two young children, so stayed in England. It was another 50 years before Fred saw some of his siblings again.

Fred Fairs reunion 1961
Fred Fairs reunion 1961

Martin Barrett (1858-1940)


When Martin Barrett was baptised in 1858, his father, John, had enough resources to pay £1 2s 6d to the Catholic Church in Balla, Mayo for the service. This was an extra pound to that paid by all other parishioners on that page of the baptism records. The next highest payment for that whole year was 12 shillings and sixpence. The listed sponsors are possibly John’s siblings, the Reverend Father Matthew Barrett and Maria Barrett. I’m not convinced that the Maria is John’s sister Maria because she would have been married by this date, and I’m unsure if maiden names of sponsors are recorded like they are for the mother.

Baptism for Martin Barrett 1858

Baptism for Martin Barrett, 1858

These Barretts belonged to a wealthy Roscommon family. I’ve previously written about two of Martin’s brothers – Michael F Barrett and John Barrett, and also their father, John Barrett,