Friday, September 9, 2011

Blog finds Descendant of Diary

    How I found a Descendant of Frederick Watkins through my Blog 
  • In October, 2010, I wrote about a copy of a Diary which I had found in a Secondhand Book shop. The hard bound photocopy of the original diary was written by Frederick Watkins, a young man who sailed from England to Australia in 1885 on board the ship 'Victor'.  One of the pages of Frederick's diary is pictured above. 
  • In the blog post, I stated that it was my desire to find a descendant of Frederick Watkins in order to pass the diary on. 
  • Frederick Watkins was the 10th son of Thomas Watkins and Elizabeth Ann Crabb, who were born in Devon, England. His journey to Australia began in October, 1885 and he arrived in Maryborough, Queensland in January, 1886.
  • I posted several of Frederick's diary entries in October and November of 2010. On August 4, 2011,  I discovered a comment from a family history researcher whose husband was a descendant of Frederick posted on one of the posts I had written about the diary.
  • The researcher who commented, informed me that her husband descended from one of Frederick Watkin's daughters, Ada Victoria.
  • This family historian had been researching the Watkins family for some time, when on a visit to the Box Hill Historical Society in Victoria, she learned that Frederick's diary existed and also that it was held by the State Library of Victoria. While waiting for the Victorian State Library to send her a photocopy of the diary, through a google search, she found my blog about the diary. 
  • In the comment left on my blog, this reader informed me that Frederick had 'made his way from Queensland to Box Hill in Victoria where he married Mary Jane Brunner Sutton' and had four children - Percival, Ada Victoria, Robert and Edna. She also told me that her husband's grandfather, Frederick Watkins was born to  parents Thomas Watkins  and Elizabeth Ann Crabb who were farmers in Shebbear, Devon. 
  • There was no doubt that this was the same Frederick Watkins whose diary copy I had discovered.
  • After a number of enthusiastic email conversations, and with no idea yet as to how the copy of the diary ended up in a Bowral, NSW bookstore, it has become evident that a local Historical Society where my reader lives in Queensland is very interested in the story of Frederick Watkins and his diary.
  • On my next trip to Queensland, I plan to meet the reader of my blog whose husband is the grandson of Frederick Watkins and to hand over the old copy of the diary which rightly belongs to the family of Frederick. 
  • I feel very happy that this copy of the diary which tells of Frederick Watkins' journey by sea, from England to Australia in 1885-6, is going home where it belongs. 


  1. Wonderful result Sharn, well done! I would be thrilled and so grateful to receive a diary such as this.

  2. What a great outcome - shows how blogging your family stories can help you find other relatives. Thanks for sharing Sharn

  3. Great outcome Sharn. Fantastic to think that the descendents will be able to read something their ancestor wrote and that it came about because you shared information. Geneabloggers rock!

  4. Awww... so wonderful. Someday I hope to be the finder or the recipient of such a find. Thank you for sharing this wonderful story.

  5. A fantastic result. You must all be excited.

  6. This is a fantastic story! I am always amazed at what is discovered through blogging.

  7. Excellent outcome! You must both be thrilled