Some Williams Family Researchers

Page numbers given refer to the revised 1998 edition of Faith and Farming, the Legacy of Henry Williams and William Williams (720pp, 4,436 names) published by Evagean Publishing.

1867 - 1939: Hilda Temple Williams (p. 255)


  In the 1930's Hilda became interested in the life of her grandfather, Henry Williams. With the help of her cousin, Henry (Hal) Williams, she researched from the Church Missionary Society, London, letters and manuscripts appropriate to the early activities of the Rev. Henry Williams in New Zealand. After her death her work was continued by her younger brother, Algar Temple Williams.

1877 - 1966: Algar Temple Williams (p. 268)


  Early research on the life of Henry Williams had been undertaken by his older sister, Hilda Temple Williams, with the help of her cousin, Henry (Hal) Williams. After Hilda's death in 1939, Algar took over the research and copied by hand many hundreds of Henry Williams' letters. Both originals and copies are now deposited in the library of the Auckland (War Memorial) Museum. These early records were the source of Journals of Henry Williams; 1861, and The Life of Henry Williams; 1972 (actually, Te Wiremu; A Biography of Henry Williams; 1973), both written by Lawrence Rogers of Tauranga.

  His granddaughter, Caroline Temple Fitzgerald, (b. 1964; p. 269), author of Letters from the Bay of Islands, The Story of Marianne Williams, records that, ...'For the first ten years after her arrival in New Zealand in 1823, Marianne Williams wrote to her mother-in-law, Mary Williams, who passed the letters around the family before they were bundled up for safe keeping. After Mary's death she wrote regularly to her sister-in-law, Lydia Marsh, Henry's elder sister. One hundred years later, during the first World War, Marianne's granddaughter, Hilda Williams, was staying with her cousin, Hal Williams, and was shown the box of letters written by Marianne and Henry, and sent to the family from 1822 until Marianne's death in 1879.

  At the end of the war, she brought these back to New Zealand with the aim of having some of them published. She was unsuccessful in her mission and, upon her death in 1939, she left the letters to her brother, Algar, who then spent almost twenty years transcribing the handwritten records, which were typed out and bound for safe keeping. Algar died in 1965, leaving the original letters to the temperature-controlled Auckland Museum Library and the boxes of typed copies to his daughter (Belinda Temple Williams b. 1928; p. 268).'

1873 - 1943: Henry (Hal) Williams (p. 310)


  In some notes he compiled on the ancestry of the Williams family, Fritz Williams (q.v.) wrote that, '... According to Algar Williams, H.B.Williams, of Gisborne, asked Hal Williams, of London, to undertake a search for this ancestor. (This was carried out in 1928). But the record of this search was never sent to Algar. When Hal died, Cecil, his wife, sent these records to Dr Henry Williams, of Christchurch. Henry lent me [Fritz Williams] a copy of them, in 1970, when I was getting reports on the same lines from Mrs Stowell, and all the material from Griffith's 'Pedigrees' '.
[Fritz Williams's papers are with his son in Australia, but I have not been able to persuade the latter to let me have a copy of them. Where are those of Hal Williams, I wonder? N.T.H.W.]

  Hal's researcher was very, very thorough, and sifted through masses of wills and parish records of baptisms, travelling all over Wales. The final result was rather disappointing and inconclusive, giving almost the same information as J.E.Griffiths gives in his massive 'Pedigrees of Anglesey and Caernarvonshire Families', (which was published in 1914, and of which Mr Davis seems to have been unaware), - except that Mr Davis backed up all his evidence with Wills and parish records. But we must remember that he had been engaged to track down a Thomas Williams in this one branch of the family - because William Williams had written that it was so; and he proved fairly conclusively that no Thomas had been born into this branch.

  Griffiths gives the whole connection of the Williams-Bulkeley branch with the other branches descended from the same ancestor, who bore these arms - there was at least one other branch whose baronets bore these same arms - but whose title became extinct about 1696, under very queer circumstances. And there were lots of Thomas Williams in this family. And I would hazard a guess that most, or many, of these other land-owning Williams branches made use of these Arms - just as the New Zealand branch has 'assumed' them.

  For a short period Mr Davis concentrated upon another Thomas Williams, whom he found in parish records. This was Thomas, 4th son of William Williams of Llanforda; Bt. born 1696, and was not mentioned in his father's will - this almost fits in with what Mary Williams told her son William. But if we accept this, we must forfeit the Williams arms and crest - for the two families are unconnected in their ancestry.' [There is another snag; the Rev. Thomas Williams was not 74 when he died - he was 45. N.T.H.W.]

1899 - 1990: Charles Athol Williams (p. 232)

1905 - 1979: Fritz Leslie Williams (p. 168)


  He was researching the pre-New Zealand origins of the Williams family until his death in 1979. He compiled some notes on the ancestry of the Williams family in 1973. 'Some of the following facts came to light in 1927-8, when Hal Williams (1873 - 1943) got a researcher to try to find out the connection with Wales and the 'assumed' family arms and Crest; other facts emerged when I got Mrs Stowell, genealogist and record searcher, of Southampton, to do some research for me, in 1969-70; being quite unaware, at first, of the earlier search in 1928. (Hal's researcher was Mr Bernard Davis).'

1930 -  : Nevil Thurstan Harvey-Williams (p. 344)


  With initial encouragement and support from Canon Nigel Williams, Nevil has concentrated his researches on the early history of the Williams family in the 18th and 19th centuries. Nevil has spent much time and effort in studying original sources in local Record Offices (Nottingham, Norwich, Portsmouth and Dr Williams Library in London) and in checking Church and Chapel registers. In addition, much helpful data was supplied by descendants of Thomas Sydney Williams, the senior clan of the Williams family.

  A major contribution to the story has come with the discovery of the John Marsh Journals. These have provided a huge mass of contemporary references which greatly enhance our knowledge of the day to day lives of the Williams family and illuminate the account that Nevil has written about them.

  During the course of his research, a number of anomalies have been thrown up with versions of events given in accounts written by members of the familiy in New Zealand, and Nevil would dearly like to engage with any family members who can help to resolve these discrepancies.

More details of his research are to be found here in the introduction to his main family history article.

1947-  : Gary Standish Williams (p.277)


 Since paying a visit to the U.K. in 2006 and spending some time with Nevil (see above), Gary has become one of the most enthusiastic researchers into the early family history. Gary has created a website ( on which much of the account compiled by Nevil, and some supporting documents, can be viewed. In addition, he was responsible for acquiring some original letters written by Thomas Williams in the period 1794-1803, which have provided a most valuable first hand account of the Williams family in Nottingham during that time. His persistent research on the internet has produced a quantity of supporting background evidence and has resulted in a number of contacts with distant family connections.