Michelle Dennis' Genealogy




Michelle's great great great paternal grandfather Dr Samson DAVIS  was born in Whitechapel, London in 1818.
He qualified as an Apothecary (doctor) in 1827 and in 1840 married Louisa EMERSON (daughter of his chemist friend George Emmerson). He published a book on Physiology, and spent much of his time lecturing at various universities mostly about mesmerism.  Unfortunately, his wife Louisa died of consumption, shortly after the birth of their only child in 1842. Read more about Samson's life and family here.

Dr Samson was heartbroken, (and in his words) - "a great calamity overcame me, and I desired at once to leave my native land for some time...." He set sail for New York, North America in 1842 and stayed for only a short time with his brother John. Read more of Dr Samson's Diary extract here.

He returned to London, perhaps slightly happier, and in Jan 1846 married Annie RATHBONE REEVES in Brompton, Middlesex.  He had three children, and then decided to immigrate to Melbourne, Australia with his brother Joseph and family. Read about why exactly the Davis family decided to immigrate.

In 1852 he arrived in to Port Phillip Bay, Melbourne aboard the ship "Gloriana" and settled in East Melbourne (then known as Emerald Hill). After a daughter was born in South Yarra (Mary Eliza) in 1855, he decided to move to the busy goldfield town Castlemaine, Victoria. After the death of a child, and having established a busy, eminent medical practice in both Castlemaine and nearby Newstead, Dr Samson finally met his end by drowning in the Loddon River in 1860. He was only 42.

His firstborn son George Rathbone DAVIS selected land and settled at Boho, near Violet Town in 1879 where the DAVIS family can still be found today. He named his property "Woodvale".


As for Dr Samson Davis's father - Samuel Samson DAVIS......  he is my brick wall ancestor!

Samuel Samson Davis, a gunlock maker of Aldgate, London has been on my ‘most wanted’ list for over 20 years. I have gathered much information on his marriage, children, occupational life, and burial, but can’t find anything of his origins (birth, baptism, parentage).

I have researched all the known baptisms for Samuel/Samson DAVIS – but cannot confirm the correct one.


Born approximately 1781, probably in London. (from age at burial).
1803 – marriage to Betty HOLBROOK at St James, Paddington, London – stating he was ‘of this parish’.
1804 – 1st son Samuel born Prescot Street, Whitechapel, baptised St Mary Whitechapel.
1805 – 1818 worked Tower of London, living at 4 Upper East Smithfield, Aldgate.
1807 – 2nd son Joseph born Butlers Buildings, East Smithfield, baptised St Botolph, Aldgate
1809 - 1832 Butlers Buildings/4 Upper East Smithfield, Aldgate.
1832 – death & burial 4 Upper East Smithfield, buried at St Botolph, Aldgate.

Samuel had a sister Ann (died 1840) who married James Keech a chemist of Deptford, Kent (1796-1846) at St Dunstan’s, Stepney on 24 July 1823. No children found. (Ann was mentioned in Samuel’s will of 1832 naming her as a guardian of his surviving 9 children).

Samuel and Betty’s children were – Samuel 1804, Joseph 1807, Sarah 1809, Elizabeth 1811, Ann 1813, Catherine 1814, Mary 1816, Samson 1818, and John 1821.

I am descended from their third son, Dr Samson Davis who immigrated with his family to Melbourne, Australia in 1852.


Trade & post office directories, taxation records, death duties, occupational records (apprenticeship, guild, freedom, trade, company, Tower staff records, board of ordnance), patents, newspapers, obituaries, magazines, property, insurance, will, burial, marriage, baptism of all children.
Checked Paddington St James baptisms and marriages (for his own and his parents)
Followed up possible London baptisms, but unable to confirm. (1779 St Mary Whitechapel is not him!)
FamilySearch entry regarding Samuel Samson DAVIS is my own old, incorrect entry.
Checked all London wills of Samuel and Samson DAVIS in case they were his father – all ruled out!
Had my male line DNA tested to look for possible connections.

Any advice on where else to look for his origins would be greatly appreciated!!!



  Susan Rogers BRITNELL family

Stuart Bone's WHITE family - including photos of Aston Rowant, Oxfordshire

Peter White's WHITE family of Oxfordshire

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Compiler: Michelle Dennis Victoria, Australia

Some of these pages were created by John Cardinal's Second Site v1.9.9.
Site updated on 16 Jul 2006 at 8:55:56 PM from Davis; 1,708 people