Let me introduce you to my new family…

The power of the internet has led me to discover that a family link to New Zealand had really begun in Newfoundland. I can now profess to be a part of the Watts family of Newfoundland.

The Watts family originated from Ringwood, Hampshire in England.

In 1796 Henry Corbin Watts (1782-1867) journeyed across the sea to Carbonear in Newfoundland to work for his uncles- G and J Kemp.

He married Mary Pike in 1804 and their fourth son, Claudius Watts was born in Carbonear in 1811.

Claudius married Mary French of Bay Roberts in 1839 and they settled in Harbour Grace. Their six children were  Mary (1840-1917), Zela (1842-1868), Frederick (1846-1859), Horatio John (1848-1924), Theodore (1850-1899) and Corbin (1852-1917).

An example of a letter from the collection

What makes this  family special is that Claudius Watts penned and received a large quantity of letters that have survived and are now archived in the Archives and Special Collections, Queen Elizabeth II Library, Memorial University  Newfoundland: https://www.library.mun.ca/asc/

The letters bring a family to life by offering insight into their sensibilities and relationships within the backdrop of the social history of the time.

A  direct link with Zela Watts now brings my past alive through researching and transcribing the letters and embarking on my own journeys across the sea to Newfoundland and discovering a small part of my family heritage.

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