Week 1 of 52 (2022) Ancestors – Foundations

Well here I go again. Attempting to do more than 10 weeks of the 52 Week challenge in 2022! I started in 2018 with 10 weeks, 2019 with 0 weeks, 2020 with 4 weeks and 2021 with 8 weeks. Surely I can break that measly record (Famous last words!!)

Week 1 (Jan 1-10 2021) prompt is Foundations.

As the reason I got into researching my family history was my great grandmother Ada Ellen Shingles nee McEwan I thought I would go back to the first McEwans in Australia.

McEwan siblings James, Peter and Mary boarded the ship ‘Marion Moore’ in Liverpool, England on 27 Sep 1854 and arrived in Port Phillip Bay, Melbourne, Victoria on 30 Dec 1854. Children of Richard McEwan and Rose Havelin they were aged 27, 23 and 19 respectively and listed under the surname of ‘McEvan’.

Unfortunately, it has been very hard to find anything about Richard and Rose.  It is believed that Richard may have been Scottish while Rose was Irish.  James and Peter both list their birth place as County Antrim, Ireland and Mary lists hers as Glasgow, Scotland.

James McEwan (1827-1872)

Not much is known about James who was born in County Antrim in 1827 and died of an aneurism (rupture of blood vessel) in Cowwarr, Victoria on 22 September 1872 aged 45 years.  He had remained a bachelor and was buried in Rosedale Cemetery on 24 September 1872 with the exact location unknown. His occupation was listed as a labourer. 

Peter McEwan (1831-1896)

Peter (my 3xgreat grandfather) was born in County Antrim, Ireland in 1831. Six years after arriving in Victoria, he married Catherine Cummins (born 1845 County Kilkenny, Ireland) on 5 October 1860 at St Francis Church in Lonsdale Street, Melbourne. Peter and Catherine had thirteen children with most of them being born in the Cowwarr area – Richard (1861-1942), Peter [my 2xggfather] (1864-1924), Robert (1965-1932), Edward (1867-1915), Catherine (1869-1869), John Francis (1870-1945), Catherine Cummins (1873-1932), Mary (1874-1915), Bridget (1875-1926), Margaret (1880-1927), James Joseph (1882-1915), Rosanna (1882-1953) and Michael Patrick (1884-1915). Peter, a farmer, died from pneumonia on 15 September 1896 aged 64 at the Gippsland Hospital in Sale and was buried 2 days later in an unmarked grave in Sale Cemetery.  Catherine survived Peter by 18 years and died in the Gipps Ward of Melbourne Hospital from debility and pneumonia on 23 April 1914 aged 69. She was buried in an unmarked grave in Melbourne General Cemetery on 25 April 1914 with her sister and brother-in-law, Mary & Thomas Charles Pratt.  She had been residing with her son John Francis in North Melbourne prior to her death.

Mary McEwan (1835-1904)

Mary, born in Glasgow Scotland in 1835 was only 19 years old when she joined her brothers on the voyage to Australia.  Three years later she married William John Yeates at St Marks Church, Collingwood on 16 January 1857. William was born in 1833 in Brighton, England and had arrived in Geelong in 1853.  They were only blessed with the one child, a daughter Mary born in 1865 (8 years after their marriage). Mary Snr died aged 69 at the residence of her then married daughter in Newport on 23 Jul 1904 and was buried two days later in Williamstown General Cemetery. William had died 9 years previously from cancer of the neck in Rosedale on 24 November 1895 aged 62 years.  He was buried in an unmarked grave in Rosedale Cemetery.  Their daughter, Mary, married Perry William Cook in Rosedale on 3 March 1886 and they had 5 children – Rosina Violet Auburn (1886-1975), Oliva Louisa Rosedale (1888-1962), Norman Perry William (1895-1980), Eric Horace George (1899-1962) and Doris Phyllis Mary (1909-2004). Perry died aged 66 on 1 Oct 1925 in Cromer, New South Wales while Mary died in Beechworth on 19 October 1954 aged 89 years.  They are both buried in Holbrook Cemetery in New South Wales.

Published by


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

5 thoughts on “Week 1 of 52 (2022) Ancestors – Foundations”

  1. it never ceases to amaze me how many people from the British Isles made that long, long journey to Australia, by ship, no less…I still won’t do it from Canada as the 24 hours by plane is too daunting… These siblings were very brave – one wonders if life would have been much different had they remained back “home”…


    1. Hi Teresa. I would definitely sail if I had the money to. LOL I am in the Royal Australian Navy so I love sailing and it would be great to do it without having to work. They were definitely very brave. I would love to have found more about their parents and other siblings but the records for Ireland and Scotland are really easy to find that far back. Thank you for commenting on my post. Its greatly appreciated. Good luck with your family research.
      Cheers Bel
      Nowra, NSW, Australia.


  2. Do you know what Richard McEwan’s occupation was? Maybe there are clues within that to help with your research! It is amazing the journey’s our families made all around the world. I’m sure there was a shock with the warm weather when they arrived in Australia!!! Best of luck with the #52Ancestor challenge 🙂


    1. Hi Missjeanaologie.
      Never thought to check that. I did get Peter’s marriage and death certificates and it usually has their occupation on it.
      I have looked for James, Peter and Mary’s birth or baptism records but have never had any luck so far. Will give it another go. They were all born before official registration came in which doesn’t help but I have never thought to see if I can find any more children.
      Good luck with the challenge too.
      Cheers Belinda
      Nowra, NSW, Australia


      1. The occupation might give you more clues. I have a few soldiers in my family tree so I’ve found baptisms of children in unusual places who are definitely family based on the father and mother’s names on the records. Maybe there’ll be some clue in his occupation (fingers and toes crossed).


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s