Our family has two connections with the Lewis family. The first connection occurred when the Yorkshire born John Lewis married Harriet Elizabeth Bryant at Waterloo NSW in 1869. The second connection occurred over 130 years later when fourth cousin descendants of John and Harriet married.

The Name "Lewis"

Our Lewis family arrived in Australia from England where it is the 22nd most common surname.

There are several possible origins for the surname Lewis, including:

  • A Norman personal name Lowis, Lodovicus.
  • A common Welsh patronym, Anglicised or diminutive form of native Welsh names such as Llywelyn.
  • A Gaelic derivation Mac Lughaidh, meaning "son of Lughaidh", Anglicised as Lewis.
  • An Anglicisation of several Jewish surnames, such as "Levy" or "Levi", or the Arab form of "Elias".

Our Lewis emigrated from Yorkshire, but research suggests that the family lived in Worcestershire until early in the 19th century. The proximity of Worcestershire to Walsh lends credence to the possibility of a Welsh Gaelic ancestry.

Lewis Descendancy
William R. Lewis
b. 15 Jan 1822, d. 8 Mar 1887
Elizabeth A. Jordan
b. circa 1821, d. 16 Jul 1900
John Lewis
b. circa 1845, d. 22 Apr 1931
Harriet E. Bryant
b. 8 May 1849, d. 6 May 1891
Frederick J. Lewis
b. 16 Nov 1874, d. 2 Jul 1967
Emma Gledhill
b. 19 Aug 1878, d. 11 Sep 1943
Stanley N. Lewis
b. 31 May 1906, d. 17 Nov 1978
Daisy C. Donkin
b. 6 Oct 1910, d. 11 Jun 2005
Warren W. Lewis
b. Jul 1947, d. 28 Jan 1997

William Robert Lewis (1793-1887)

Our first Lewis immigrant to Australia was William Robert Lewis. It is believed he was born in Kidderminster, Worcestershire the first child of William Lewis and Elizabeth nee Gillam (or Gilburn) and it appears that shortly thereafter the family moved to Wakefield in Yorkshire and young William was christened there.

By the time he married Elizabeth Ann Jordan in 1843 he was living in nearby Bradford where he was employed as a woolcomber.

On 21st September 1856, William, Elizabeth and their four young children embarked as Assisted Emigrants on board the clipper ship Conway carrying 454 passengers to Sydney.

The Conway was under the control of Captain Duguid and after a passage of 100 days docked at the "Circular Wharf" on 30th December. The ship was said to be in a "remarkably clean state" however there had been 14 deaths during the passage, mostly from measles.

The reasoning behind the decision to emigrate may never be known but it is likely that the results of the industrial revolution were factors. These included increasing mechnisation within the wool industry, such as the introduction of wool combing machines, plus increased competition from foreign countries.

In Sydney, the Age newspaper reported on Friday 4 January 1857, that on board the Conway:

..."the official diet for the voyage for each person per week is made out in ounces, as follows: beef, 6oz; pork 18oz; preserved meats 24oz; preserved potatoes 8oz; peas 3/4 pint; oatmeal 21 oz; rice 8oz; tea 1 oz; coffee 1 1/2oz; butter 4 oz; water 3 quarts daily".

In Australia William continued in the wool industry as a wool classer, living in the inner suburbs of Sydney where three more children were added to the family.

He died at home, 170 Botany Road, Alexandria in 1887 at the age pf 65 years and was buried at Rookwood Cemetery. Elizabeth continued living at Botany Road until her death in 1900.




The gravestone of
William Robert and Elizabeth Ann (Jordan) Lewis
at Rookwood Cemetery.

John Lewis (1845-1931)

John was born in Bradford, Yorkshire and was only 11 years old when along with his parents and three younger sisters he emigrated to Australia.

Extract from Immigration Records of the ship Conway, showing the Lewis Family arrival (30 December 1856)

John followed his father into the wool industry a a wool sorter and later became a wool classer.

From the 1860s the wool industry in Australia really started to boom thanks to the fine merino wool. Expertto England and Europe increased and many large wool stores were build in Sydney, aprticularly around the harbour. This assured William and John of a stable and continuing livelihood.

In August 1869, 24 year old John married 20 year old Harriet Elizabeth Bryant, daughter of William and Ann (Gilbert) Bryant at St. Silas's Church Waterloo. Harriet was the great aunt of Norma Beryl (Bray) Morrison and 130 years later Norma's granddaughter married john and Harriet's 2nd great grandson.

The couple made their home in George Street Waterloo. Harriet gave birth to nine children of which two sons died in infancy. The last baby, James, dies during or soon after birth and Harriet also passed away as a result of placent praevia. Harriet was buried at Rookwood Cemetey with her infant sons, Ernest William and John Percy. The inscription on her grave reads:

Sacred to the Memory of Harriet ElizabethBeloved wife of John Lewis,
Died 6th May 1891, Aged 42 years.
'I know that my Redeemer is God and in his flesh I shall see God.

John continued living at Waterloo, presumably with his young children, until he married again in 1908 at the age of 63 to Mary Alice King and lived in retirement at 65 Dora Street, Hurstville.

He died in 1931, aged 86 years and was buried at Woronora Cemetery.

Frederick James Lewis (1874-1967)

Emma (Gledhill) Lewis

from Mid North Coast Pioneers website

Frederick James Lewis

from Mid North Coast Pioneers website

Frederick James was the third son of John and Harriet, born at Waterloo in 1874.

In August 1894 he married Emma Gledhill daughter of Joseph William and Ann (Skinner) Gledhill.

The Gledhill family including seven children had immigrated from Northamptonshire in 1886 when Emma was seven years old. When Emma married the Gledhill family was living at Junee, NSW having moved there within a few years of arrival, and Joseph worked at a fitter and engineer at the Junee railway workshops. For more details on the Gledhill family see https://www.gledhillgenealogy.info/ 

Emma was was only 16 years old when married and father gave written permission for the wedding which was carried out at the Mariners Church Sydney according to the rites of the Berthel Union". (The Bethel Union, or the British and Foreign Seamen's Friend Society and Bethel Union, was a religious organisation for seafarers founded in 1819.)

Emma was obviously pregnant at the time as a son, Frederick John Lewis was born a couple of months later in October at her parents home in Junee.

The Australian Star, Thu 15 Jul 1897, Page 6
Evening News Wed 14 Jul 1897, page 2

The new family soon moved to the North Sydney area where Frederick was employed as a cable car gripman and where a daughter, Harriet was born in 1896.

The following year a fatal accident occurred on the cable tramway on which Frederick was working. A 2 1/2 year child (Frank Cahill) was attempting to cross the road and although Frederick shouted for him to stop, immediately applied his brakes and rang the bel, he could not stop the tram in time, and the child was run over and killed.

Whether it was a consequence of this event or not, the family move to a new home at 76 Crinan Street, Hurstone Park and Frederick worked as a fitter. Two more sons where born there in Stanley Norman in 1906 and Arthur in 1912. Emma died in 1943 and Frederick remarried four years later at the age of 73 years.

Stanley Norman Lewis (1906-1974)

Daisy Catherine (Donkin) Lewis

from Mid North Coast Pioneers website

Stanley Norman Lewis

from Mid North Coast Pioneers website

Staney Norman was born in Annandale, NSW in 1906 and lived with his parents in Hurlstone Park until he married Daisy Catherine Donkin in 1934. At the time he was working as a sales manager.

Daisy was born in St Peters, NSW in 1910, the third of five children to William James and Catherine (Murdoch) Donkin. The Donkin, Murdoch and connected families were to be found from the 1830s on the mid-north coast of NSW. See the Mid North Coast Pioneer website.

The couple initially lived with Stanley's parents at 76 Crinan Street Hurlstone Park and started a family. At some time they were able to acquire the neighbouring house at 74 Crinan Street where they lived until Stanley died in 1978. He was cremated.

Daisy continued to live at Crinan Street but then spent her final years in a retirement home at Penshurst. She died in 2005 aged 92 years.

Warren William Lewis (1947-1997)

Warren William Lewis

Warren grew up at 74 Crinan Street Hurlstone Park and trained as a draftsman but later started his own air condition business.

When he married he moved to Picnic Point and raised two children and was very active in the local community.

He died of cancer just months before his 50th birthday.



Care has been taken to include only accurate information on this site however it cannot be guaranteed. Data from many sources and contributions from fellow researchers make up this site and errors may be present. Any corrections and additional information would be most welcome.