52 Ancestors in 52 weeks

52 Ancestors in 52 weeks is a challenge to write a short blog post about one ancestor each week for a year.     Finding the time to do this will certainly be a challenge, but nonetheless, worth a try.  Over the course of 2022, I will try to highlight the stories of one ancestor each week.   Over the last couple of years I have collected many documents, photographs and newspaper articles involving an ancestor, and see this challenge as an excellent way to bring some of this material to life.   Since doing an Ancestry DNA test, I regularly get notified of new cousins as DNA matches.   In the course of investigating their connections to the more than 1000 relatives already included in the WatsonRoots tree, I discover some inspiring, powerful, sometimes tragic and occasionally rather odd adventures of my relatives.   This challenge was created by Amy Johnson Crow some years back, and is happening again in 2022. 

This year, while each week has a different weekly prompt, they are grouped around a monthly theme, starting with “Foundations” in January, followed by “Branching Out”, “Females”, “Check it Out”, “Social”, “Conflict”, “Identity”, “Help”, “Exploration”, “Preservation”, “Shadows” and “New Horizons” for subsequent months.   The challenge is to find an ancestor story matching one of these themes each week.

Booth London Map
Branching Out

Early London Maps – Samuel Crowder 1794-1867

In the Charles Booth Archive, there is a map of London drawn in 1898 which highlights the extent of poverty in London. Charles Booth accompanied police officers on a tour of each district, street by street where they described the inhabitants, levels of poverty & crime and colour coded a map of streets from upper class & wealthy, down to lowest class to vicious, semi criminal. As my Crowder relations lived in London around this time, this seems to be a good topic to explore in the “MAPS” theme from #52ancestors this week. Could the reason they decided to relocate to the colonies be linked to changes in the social character of their neighbourhood?

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Surname Connections
Branching Out

Branching Out Big Time

When I first started researching my family tree, it was just on my maternal Watson side, as I already had a copy of a tree inherited from my father of the paternal Kent side. This soon evolved to researching the lines of my 2 grandmothers families (Crowder & Hobson) and the lines of my half-siblings (Wall). This proved invaluable when I received the results of my first DNA test, as I was able to trace the relationships of some of my matches and also confirm the research from historical records. There were however many, many DNA matches, who completely unknown to me, which was the prompt to branch out even further.

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Dudley Charles Wall
Foundations

Is there more than one Dudley Charles Wall?

For this weeks 52 ancestors in 52 weeks challenge, I reviewed a curious record of 2 Dudley Charles Wall’s – One in Canada, and one in the USA …. could they be the same person? It seems feasible that they are both records of the same person, born in England in 1875, who may have migrated to Canada in 1903, and later moved to the USA in 1915, however newspaper articles and obituaries make no mention of his time in Canada, or the family he left behind….. Or maybe they are 2 separate people who happened to have the same name and left England at about the same time?

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George WRC KENT - MyHEritage enhanced photo
Foundations

Technicolour grandparents

The theme for this weeks 52 ancestors in 52 weeks challenge is ‘Favourite Photos’. I decided to use the opportunity to find photos of my grandparents, who I never met as they had passed away by the time I was born. I thought I would also try out MyHeritage’s new Photo enhancing and colourising technology …. and the results were amazing!

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Sportsmans Arms Inn West Maitlans 1924
Foundations

Joseph Watson in Wollombi

From Joseph’s death certificate, I obtained his exact date of death, as well as another clue as the cause of death was “Natural causes, accelerated by drink”; and his death

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