(Sydney or Maitland?) NSW Australia

Following is an outline of the situation surrounding the possibility that William Edward McDonald may have been the child born to Donald McDonald and Elizabeth Clifton, who were not married, did not ever marry, and did not raise their child in any type of union.

William Edward McDonald born c.1855 Newtown, Australia was the son of Donald McDonald, painter/plasterer/glazier. After much complicated research we still do not know the name of William's mother.

What we do know is that Donald and Harriet (nee Harber) McDonald were the couple who raised a son by the name of William Edward who was born approx. 1856. If this is a different William to the child born to Donald McDonald and Elizabeth Clifton (see suggested scenario below) then at this stage we don't have any birth/baptism details on him.

We also know that -

  • On various documents for the William McDonald who was raised by Donald and Harriet his place of birth is shown as NEWTOWN. As the McDonald family lived and died in the Newtown, Sydney area it is presumed this is the area referred to. However, if William is in fact the child born to Donald McDonald and Elizabeth Clifton, his place of birth, Seaham, is near Maitland - in an area on the Paterson River near Vacy which in the 1800's was known as NEWTOWN! (something of a coincidence.....?)

  • The only birth for a William McDonald registered in NSW was -
    William born 5 November 1856. Father - Donald McDonald, Mother - Elizabeth Clifton, Seaham, East Maitland, NSW
If this is the same William McDonald who was raised by Donald and Harriet, his maternal ancestral line (which was supplied to me by another researcher) is -

  • (1) Timothy O'BRIEN, “Soldier”. Came from Cork in Ireland as a free settler on the ship “Duchess of Northumberland” in 1836.

  • (2) His daughter - Ellen O'BRIEN m.William CLIFTON 13/11/1837 at West Maitland R.C. Church, NSW, Australia.
    William died 1854 leaving wife and 8 children.
    Ellen CLIFTON (nee O'Brien) remarried in RC Church - Bryan McGUIGAN 25/9/1854. They had 5 children.
    Ellen (O'BRIEN) CLIFTON/McGUIGAN died 21/6/1900 at Seaham aged 84 yrs. old.

  • William and Ellen CLIFTON's 2nd daughter -

    (3) Elizabeth Ann CLIFTON was born 25/6/1840 at Raymond Terrace and was baptised 30/7/1840 at East Maitland by Minister E Mahoney.

  • Her first child was -

    (4) William McDonald born 5/11/1856 at Raymond Terrace, baptised 25/11/1856 East Maitland. “REGISTERED AT EAST MAITLAND ONLY”

  • He was brought up as William McDONALD not CLIFTON.

    Eight months after the birth of her son William McDonald, Elizabeth Ann CLIFTON married James EDGELY 1/7/1857 at Depthford, Clarencetown near Seaham. (He had been a witness at the baptism of William CLIFTON/McDONALD born to Elizabeth Clifton and Donald McDonald).

    At the time of the marriage James Edgely was 48 and Elizabeth was 17.

  • There is no further mention of Donald McDonald!

  • Elizabeth and James Edgely had children named John, Sarah, Margaret, James, Charles and Mary Ann

  • William is included in details of ‘previous issue’ on two of the Birth certificates for children born to James and Elizabeth.....!

  • In 1869 Elizabeth left James to live with Robert CROSS.

    She and Robert produced children named Robert, Florence, Henry, Ellen, Rose, Alice, Edith, Myra.

  • James EDGLEY died 17/11/1888 Tamworth.

  • Elizabeth Ann CLIFTON/EDGLEY/CROSS died at Narrabri 25/11/1912 aged 72 years.

There is no certainty or proof by documentation that the William McDonald who was the son of Elizabeth Ann CLIFTON and Donald McDONALD is the same William McDonald who married Elizabeth Augusta Peters

There is
proven documentation of the marriage between William McDonald and Elizabeth Augusta Peters, their descendants and their deaths.

What is needed is some kind of documented information that will either prove or disprove the connection.

Will we ever find it........?

NOTE: If and when this information does come to light, further background on the CLIFTON family line will be added to this site.


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