2nd Edition of "The Hamiltons 1762-1862" NOW AVAILABLE

The content of these web pages is based on the 1st edition of my book "The Hamiltons 1762-1862" originally published in 1997

The 2nd Edition was published in 2009 . A 2012 Revised 2nd Edition is now available to coincide with the 175th anniversary of the arrival of the Hamiltons in South Australia in 1837.

Preview and order the book by opening the viewer at the right.

3rd Edition

A 3rd completely revised edition is in preparation and contains corrections and additions to the section on William Holmes Hamilton and the Duke of York, as well as further discussion about the speculated origins of the Hamilton family. Details on the Historia Incognita web page.

Preface to the First Edition

When I first decided to write something of the story of the Hamilton family I had gathered little more than two or three pages of the basic facts and figures relating to my own line of descent from Richard Hamilton of Dover, Kent. Those few pages were originally part of a much broader family history covering many other lines of my ancestry. But gradually those few pages grew into what is presented here.

Collecting some family history information can be relatively easy - perhaps like picking out all the straight edge pieces of a jigsaw puzzle before starting the really hard work of filling in the centre of the puzzle. But I wanted to know what was in the centre. Who was Richard Hamilton? Where did he live? Why did he come to South Australia? I wanted more than just a list of dates and places.

Finding the pieces to the family history puzzle and putting them in their right place is something like trying to complete a jigsaw puzzle that has been scattered over the floor and under the furniture. Some pieces will be easily found and will easily fall into place. Some will be discovered, after much searching, in the most obscure and unlikely places. But the task is complicated by having the pieces of other, unrelated puzzles, scattered on the floor as well. A piece which at first appears to belong to our own puzzle often turns out to belong to a completely different one.

And so, gradually, we piece the picture together. Some parts become clear. Other parts have gaping holes in them, perhaps never to be filled because time and circumstance have destroyed those pieces and we can only guess at what fills the gap.

As usual, a task like this is often made much easier by having several people working on the puzzle at the same time, and I thank everybody who helped even to find just one piece. But time gets away, the puzzle remains incomplete, and people want to see what I have done. So what I present here is the progress so far.

There are certainly gaping holes. There are times when pieces of the wrong puzzle may have been inserted. But where there are holes in the Hamilton story I have tried to fill them with stories from other people who may have experienced something similar - such as in the accounts of the voyage to South Australia, or the journey overland to the gold fields. Where I believe some pieces may really belong to somebody else’s puzzle - as with the stories about James Hamilton - I have indicated that I am not yet certain that the piece really fits.

The piecing together of the puzzle will continue. Of course, in some ways it will never be complete. This story may be written and rewritten many times. At one end of the time scale we may gradually find out more about the distant ancestors of Richard Hamilton and Ann Holmes. At the other end there will certainly be many more additions to their descendants.

Perhaps, in a somewhat Biblical manner, we might say that the Hamiltons came down from Scotland and God said “Go forth and multiply”, and so they went forth to South Australia. And truly they did multiply. But this book makes no attempt to follow those multitudes and the many branches of the family. I have concentrated upon the early generations until the nine children of Richard and Ann Hamilton were settled either in south Australia or Victoria - and that was around the late 1850s. Beyond that time? That is up to others to follow.

Douglas Wilkie

October 1997


Trish Anderson said...

My children are connected through their father to the goldfields branch of the Hamiltons Via John Cosstick and Mary Ann Hamilton right down the line to Margaret Mancer through Maraget and William Hibbons when they lived in Adelaide Lead.The family has always talked of an aboriginal ancestor in Margaret Mancers past. Have you found any hint of this in your research.

By the way, I love Ben's soundscape work.

Trish Anderson

Douglas W said...

Thanks Trish. If you can email me with more details I will investigate.