Place of migration
Migrated to/Born in Australia

William Donaldson was born about 1819 in Londonderry, Templemore Parish, County Donegal. His parents were Samuel Donaldson and Nancy, nee Burns. William Donaldson married Rosanna Burns in 1841 in Derry.  They emigrated to New South Wales, Australia, together with William's sister Mary, embarking from Greenock, Scotland on "New York Packet" on 8th July, 1841, and arriving Sydney on 23rd October, 1841.

William obtained work in the Goulburn area of NSW, then in 1854, William and Rose and their family of six children travelled to Victoria by bullock team, a journey that would have taken two or three months.  They lived in Bendigo for 3 years, then purchased land at Moranding, in the Kilmore district of Victoria.  In  1880, selling the Moranding land, William then purchased the Katandra homestead block, part of the Katandra Station.

William died 12th February, 1883 at Katandra, Victoria.  Rosanna/Rose died 16th July, 1896 at Avenel, Victoria.  William and Rose had ten children, with only one dying in infancy.

Additional Information
Date of Birth 1st Jan 1819 (circa)
Date of Death 12th Feb 1883
Father (First Name/s and Surname) Samuel Donaldson
Townland born in Londonderry, Templemore Parish, County Donegal
Spouse (First Name/s and Maiden/Surname) Rosanna Burns
Place & Date of Marriage 1841 in Derry
Number of Children 10
Place of Death at Katandra, Victoria
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  • Greetings, my name is Mark Donaldson and I am from Ontario, Canada. I am writing you in regards to research on my Donaldson family from the Bready, Tyrone & Donemana area. I noticed some similarities with our family lines in terms of potential proximity and forenames. But what is more intriguing is that a few years ago I acquired Parish Records for Ulster Province and a Samuel & Nancy Donaldson appear mentioned with Bready. My Donaldson Bready line is an odd clan in that they were located in the middle of other larger more documented Donaldson families. But I can't link them to any other clans. But any Donaldson family associated with Bready with the names William, Robert, Samuel, Joseph, James, Alexader etc, is worth me researching closely.

    My 3rd G Grandfather was William Donaldson born 1784. He served in some form of military service that took him to India for 20 yrs apparently. Given his birth year of 1784, and the birth date of his 1st child in 1825, I would predict his service started around 1800. William Donaldson was the son of a John Donaldson & Mrs Baird (4th G Grandparents), most likely Catherine or Mary--dau of William Baird born 1715 & Margaret. John Donaldson had a brother or 1st cousin, Robert Donaldson, who also married a Baird girl. My 5th G Grandparents, John's parents, were John Donaldson and Miss Russell. My 5th G Grandfather was probably born around 1720. The William D & Catherine Scott family had all emigrated to Canada by 1849, except for their daughter Jane Donaldson who married local schoolmaster John Thompson. Members of the extended family remained behind in Ireland and Scotland.

    My 3rd G Grandmother Catherine Scott was born 1798. the wife of William Donaldson born 1784. William & Catherine resided near their church, the 1st Donagheady Presbyterian Church, which is close to the Village of Bready-Donagheady Village area, Tyrone. I have evidence that points to Catherine being born in the Dungannon, Lower Dungannon area. Specifically the townland of Tullyblety which is located a few miles east of Aughnacloy. Catherine's father was an Alexander Scott, her mother an Osborn//Osborne. Most likely the Osborn family of Bovevagh, Derry close to Dungiven. The Huttons of Bovevagh later on in Canada would intermarry in the Donaldson family.

    Does any of this seem familiar? Please message me, Looking forward to seeing if you see have any matching information.


    Thursday 13th January 2022 01:59AM
  • Greetings Mark, my name is Cheryl Elliott and I am from New South Wales, Australia.  I am in the process of compiling a book on my Donaldson family - but we are sadly lacking any definite origins in Scotland and Ireland.  We know my 3rd G Grandfather and 2nd G Grandfather came from Londonderry, Templemore Parish, Co. Donegal and my 3rd G Grandfather's brother came from Carry, Muff, Donegal.  Muff is only about 5-6 km. north of Derry and Bready is only slightly further to the south of Derry.  So it could be entirely possible the two families are connected.  Unfortunately I can't link them.  There is a family story that the Donaldsons, before 1850 at least, took sheep aboard a boat to take them to Scotland where they still had land!!!  Another family anecdote relates the story of a Major Donaldson who was granted land for the part he had played in leading a Scots Regiment to relieve the Siege of Derry, although this seems unlikely.  And I think someone thought some member of the family went to America.  It is all quite vague.  

    The Protestant Cathedral in Londonderry records an Isabell Donaldson, christened on 16th March, 1683.  This shows that there were Donaldsons (not necessarily ours) living in the Londonderry area in 1683.

    The first person that may be our ancestor in Ireland is a William Donaldson, born about 1779.  A William Donaldson is buried in the Londonderry Cathedral grounds.  The tombstone reads “To the memory of William Donaldson who died 3rd March, 1837, aged 58 years.”  (Tombstone No. 126/1 MIC. 1/29).  Nothing is known of that William or his wife. 

    If it were assumed their sons were William and Samuel (1782 – 1877), and possibly Robert,  William’s date of birth – 1779 - does not tie in with the birth of a son, Samuel, being born in 1782!!

    William Donaldson married Catherine Margaret Williamson, and they lived at Iskaheen/Eskaheen, Cabry/Carry, Muff, Inishowen, NE Donegal.  He died 18/5/1877. 

    His brother, my 3rd  GGrandfather, Samuel Donaldson, married Nancy Burns.  There is also a record at Knowhead Presbyterian Church of a Robert Donaldson, of William’s generation – perhaps another brother – who married Jane Morrison and had a son, James, on 28/4/1843. 

    Two sons of William Donaldson and Catherine Williamson, William and Samuel, lived at Carry, Muff P.O.  They worshipped at Knowehead Presbyterian Church, Muff, Donegal.  William is described as being a farmer of Carry (Tearry). 

    My 3rd G Grandfather, Samuel Donaldson (1782 – 1877) married Nancy Burns, in about 1815.  They appear to have lived in Templemore Parish, which is in Londonderry, County Londonderry, very close to County Donegal.  He was a weaver.  While his brother William Donaldson marr. to Catherine Williamson lived at Carry, Muff, this does not necessarily mean that Samuel and Nancy and their son William and Rosanna Donaldson came from there.  Samuel & Nancy's only children we know of are William, Mary, Anne and Jane, (and possibly Andrew.)  

    Samuel’s wife, Nancy, had died prior to their children, William (married to Rosanna Burns) and Mary (later to marry William Devine), coming out to Australia in 1841.  Their daughter, Anne (married to Joseph Miller) came to Australia in 1852.  And their daughter Jane (later to marry John Bosch in Australia) and Samuel himself came out to Australia in 1856.

    My 2nd G Grandfather, William Donaldson (1819 - 1883) married Rosanna Burns in 1840/1841 in Derry, Co. Donegal - they were Presbyterians - he was aged 21.  William and Rose arrived in Australia in 1841, and went on to have 10 children.

    We haven't been able to find any documentation to know exactly where the Donaldsons lived in Ireland.  We understand the Donaldson familly originated in Scotland, possibly Ayeshire, before moving to Northern Ireland.  William and Rosanna could read but not write when they came to Australia, and therefore we have no written documentation to work with.  I'm sorry I can't be of more help, but it is always worth following up any lead.  Thank you.




    Thursday 13th January 2022 06:33AM
  • The Australian line descended from Samuel Donaldson of Templemore would appear to be related through his brother William Donaldson of Carry, Muff [Carey in the townland of Carnamoyle, parish of Muff] Co. Donegal to both Margaret Donaldson and her sister Jane Canning – both discussed before. Templemore is on the left bank of the Foyle and therefore these Donaldsons are more likely to have come from Co. Donegal or expanded into it from Co. Derry.....

    I’ve found a bit more on Jane Donaldson by searching Irish newspapers. Her marriage to Patrick Canning was announced in the Londonderry Sentinel for 28 Jul 1888: “July 26, at Second Glendermott Presbetyrian Church, by Rev. F.R. Moore, Patrick Canning, Bready, to Jane, second daughter of the late William Donaldson, Carry, Muff [Carey in the townland of Carnamoyle, parish of Muff, Co. Donegal].” Her father shows up in the 1837 Tithe Applotment book and in the 1857 Griffith’s Valuations for Carnamoyle. By the time of his death on 18 May 1877, William, a widower, aged 75 years, held 61 acres as a tenant farmer. His son William Donaldson (d. 1928) sold the land in 1883. There was a Jane Donaldson, age 24, who died at her father’s residence in Carnamoyle on 5 Dec 1865. 

    The 1901 Ireland Census lists Patrick and Jane Canning as living in the townland of Tamnaclare, Dunnalong, Co. Tyrone. Both are listed as Prebyterians; and Patrick appears to have been a sub-tenant agricultural labourer. Neither appears in the 1911 Census. Both Jane and her sister Margaret were the daughters of William Donaldson and his wife (possibly Margaret Jane unknown). They may be related to your Donaldson line. I should point out that neither sister had children.

    I’ve found more information on Patrick Canning alias Cannon alias Canna. He died on 16 Sep 1905 at the age of 70 after having suffered a cerebral hemorrhage. He had been an agricultural labourer and was a widower (so his second wife Jane had died sometime between 1901 and 1905). He died at the home of his daughter Margaret Hunter in Gortivea [Gortaclare], near Bready, Co. Tyrone. He was the son of Michael Canna, an agricultural labourer (the surname Canna derives from the Irish Gaelic MacAnnaidh). Patrick was living in the townland of Solis [Sollus, parish of Donaghedy. Co. Tyrone] at the time of his marriage on 2 Dec 1856 at the First Donagheady Presbyterian Church to Margaret Henderson (underage) of Killymallaght [parish of Cloudermott, Co. Londonderry – this may be the link to Jane Donaldson] the daughter of the agricultural labourer Robert Henderson. Their children were: Nancy, 1859; Robert James, 1861; Margaret, 1864; John Henderson,1865; Eliza Jane, 1867; William (I), 1870; Robert, 1872; William (II), 1875; John, 1877; and Sarah, 1878. Patrick appears to have lived in Killymallaght from ca. 1857 to 1865, and in nearby Tirkeeveney from 1865 to 1867, when he shifted south to Mountcastle, parish of Donaghedy, Co. Tyrone. By the time of his marriage to his second wife, Patrick was living in nearby Drumgauty, near Bready. Jane’s sister Margaret may have been staying with her sister Jane at the time of her death in 1891. 

    I looked at the death registration you attached. Margaret Donaldson was a servant who died of complications from Elephantiasis and a stroke at the age of 42. Her sister, Jane Canning, was present at her death in Bready. This Jane Canning may be the same woman as the Jane Donaldson of the parish of Clondermot, daughter of William Donaldson, labourer, who married the widower Patrick Canning of Drumgauty, Lower Strabane, Co. Tyrone, on 26 Jul 1888 at the 2nd Presbyterian Church in the parish of Clondermot. One of the witnesses was Margaret S. Donaldson. On 27 Sep 1901, a widow named Jane Canning, charwoman, aged 50 years, died in the Londonderry Workhouse.


    Friday 14th January 2022 07:12PM
  • Thank you, Team, for all the helpful information.  I can see that the marriage of Jane Donaldson, daughter of William Donaldson of Carry, Muff, to Patrick Canning of Bready, shows a link to my Donaldsons with the Donaldsons of Bready.  You have also given me an approximate DOB for William Donaldson, and Jane's sister Margaret.  

    The only information I'd had on Jane before was that she may have married a Daiton or Dalton.  It looks as if that information is wrong.




    Monday 17th January 2022 01:11AM
  • When my great great grandfather William Donaldson, his wife Rosanna and William's sister Mary arrived in Sydney, Australia on 23rd October, 1841 on the 'New York Packet' , their names are shown as 'Donnell' in the Shipping Records, not as Donaldson.  

    When William and Mary's father, Samuel Donaldson, and their sister, Jane Donaldson, arrived in Melbourne, Victoria in June 1856, their names are given as 'Donaldson'.




    Monday 8th August 2022 04:36AM

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