My father would always tell me about how his father came to South Australia from the UK in the early 20th century. He had married into an old line of settlers in SA so he was mockingly proud of his recent UK ancestry but also felt like the new kid on the block.
All my life I knew of this recent immigration, and knew just how many families in Australia carried the Dawson surname and would be related to me, and it was not many – it could be counted on one hand. So if anyone came up with the name and suggested, ‘maybe you are related,’ I would know straight away if they were or not, and usually they were not.
But all that was to change just a couple of years ago, via internet connections. I found that there had been an earlier branch of the Dawson clan that had arrived in Western Australia way back in deep colonial days, in 1830. That is at the very beginning of that colony. I was stunned, and very excited. So, my Dawson family is not alone in Australia.
The Dawson who came to WA in 1830 was ELIJAH Dawson (great name, eh? He was a son of Richard Dawson (IV) and Anne Hughes , younger brother to Richard (V). That makes him John Hughes (II) Dawson’s uncle. That is, he is uncle to MY John Hughes, of course Elijah had a brother called John Hughes too. Whew, this constant repetition of names can be confusing – however, it can also be useful in research, as the repeated name means a family link. Which makes me wonder why they came up with the name ‘Elijah’? Maybe they were running out of names, as Elijah was, I believe, the eighth son of Richard and Anne.
Elijah had been in the Napoleonic wars. (Maybe he fought along side the Prussian Kaiser Alexander Grenadier regiment, with my other ancestor, Carl Schaeche.)
There are a number of researchers into this much larger branch of the Dawson clan in Australia. I have added some of their information to my website, you can go to this page to find that info and links to the researchers involved.
So, this just shows the benefit of family history research in re-connecting disparate family branches. I am very happy to get to know my many distant cousins in WA.