Week 1 of 52 (2020) – Fresh Start

It is quite apt that the first prompt for this years 52 Ancestors in 52 weeks is Fresh Start.  I attempted to do the 52 weeks in 2018 and only got to week 10. I still got all the emails for 2019 but just never seemed to find the time to start.

So as I begin my ‘Fresh Start’ I have chosen my 3rd great grandmother who endured a few ‘Fresh Start’s’ in her life

Margaret Ann Young McGregor

On 16 September 1859 in Borrowstounness, Scotland, dressmaker Margaret Ann Young McGregor aged 21 married miner Robert Snaddon aged 23.

Six days later they boarded the White Line Ship ‘Hilton’ with Margaret’s mother, Agnes, and three of her siblings.  Although they are not listed on the ships’ passenger list, it is assumed they travelled under the name of Margaret’s brother Alexander and his wife as they never left Scotland.

On 9 January 1860 the ‘Hilton’ arrived in Melbourne and Agnes was finally reunited with her husband William and son William who had immigrated to Australia in 1854.

Robert and Margaret quickly settled into their new life on land taken up by Margaret’s father William in the Oxley Shire in Victoria. Seven months after arriving they welcomed Thomas in Jul 1860, followed by Agnes in 1861, William in 1862 and Euphemia in Jul 1864.

Sadly, Robert contracted hepatitis and died on 10 April 1865 in Beechworth Hospital. He was the first person to be interred in the Oxley (Milawa) Cemetery.


Margaret and the children moved in with her parents and she took up her former occupation of dressmaking.  Sewing machines had just become available in the colony and Margaret was determined to own one. She travelled to Melbourne by bullock wagon to buy a machine.  It was reputed to be the first owned by a woman in the Wangaratta district.

Margaret remained a widow for seven years. In 1872 she married widower Thomas Newton who had three sons.  The now family of seven soon became a family of eleven when Margaret and Thomas had Alexander in 1874, Susan in 1875, Helen in 1877 and finally Samuel in 1879.

Newton Family Portrait c1897

Margaret and Thomas enjoyed a marriage of 32 years before Thomas passed away on 13 March 1904 aged 73. Tragically it was as a result of injuries he sustained by being struck by lightning while taking refuge from a storm in a hollow tree.

Margaret passed away some 11 years later on 9 October 1915 due to a heart condition aged 77.  She was buried with Thomas in Whitfield Cemetery.

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I have been researching my family history since 2009. I am interested it the family names Shingles, McEwan, Snowdon & Witt around Gippsland and Wodonga areas of Victoria, Australia

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