What was he doing there. I have trawled the net to no avail!

+5 votes
My 5th great grandfather Thomas Winship died in Wetar, Maluku, Indonesia 1838. What was he doing there ?

He was born 1746 Tynemouth Northumberland. Thank you Terence Wilson-Winship
in Genealogy Help by

2 Answers

+2 votes
He would have been about 92 years old in 1746.
by Frank Gill G2G Astronaut (2.6m points)
He was 92 in 1838. Not 1746.
Thanks for the correction.
+3 votes
The Maluku Islands were the centre of the trade in nutmeg and mace. The British held them during the Napoleonic wars and they were still in dispute until 1824. My guess is that your ancestor was on a trading ship.
by Susan Scarcella G2G6 Mach 8 (81.4k points)
I'm very curious, too. I am helping with the proposed Indonesia Project on wikitree and am interested in someone who was in Indonesia at this time. Let me have a look around. I speak Indonesian, so can ask questions to the locals. Can't promise I'll find anything, but who knows?
He actually died in Maluku at the age of 92. Would I be correct that he may have partnered up with a local native girl. Because his wife died in England?
That would be probable. He must have stayed on after his ship left- that wasn't uncommon. Very interesting indeed. The Maluku are an archipelago, of which the Banda archipelago is a part, and Wetar one of the islands in the Banda archipelago. Wetar is still a long way from anywhere, so his presence there at that time is very interesting. I'll keep looking. Cheers.
Here's an Indonesian article about Wetar. The pics are nice, even if you can't understand the text. Basically, the author is saying that Wetar hardly gets a mention, but it's a nice place. http://www.tahuribabunyi.com/2016/04/pulau-wetar-meski-kami-jauh-di-pelosok.html
Terence, is there any other information you an give me about Thomas winship? I have found a person on Wetar who is interested and I think might have an ask around. He's very curious as to where he was on Wetar, if you know.
Terence, I may have had a breakthrough for you. I asked around in Indonesian for you and came up with a hotelier from Wetar. He answered in very good English!


hello Miss, I have received your email about Thomas Winship. I'm pretty sure your friend was telling the truth.


in 1825 the accident occurred the sinking of a British warship named Lady Nelson, the ship's name is taken from the name of the King of England daughter. Head sculpture on display aboard the Lady Nelson Princess made of pure gold as a symbol of the greatness of the British Empire. But the ship sank and all the treasures that it carries. Everythings drowned in Tutuwawang village (sea), only soldiers and crew survived. But until now there is still one relic is still preserved in the village Tutuwawang ie a cannon. On the body of written cannon "K.Q 65 '.

I'm pretty sure that Thomas Winship is the one of the crew of the Lady Nelson Warship.

I hope you friend coming soon to the island to see all about Lady Nelson warship history.. people in the vilage also keep and save every history include Europan and past war.

I'm sorry for bad language.

best regards :)
Viqjelen Kusaly from Moluccas - Indonesia"

There are a couple of difficulties:

1) The ship is recorded as going down off Babar Is, which is a fair way from Wetar. HOWEVER, there is a small island off Babar called WETAN. There may have been a confusion of names so close in spelling.

2) Is it possible that the birthdate you have for your ancestor is wrong, and that he was young enough to be a seaman on the Lady Nelson? He may have been stuck there for a long time, awaiting rescue, or simply opted to stay.

It is interesting to note that the wikipedia article has the European press reporting that the ship was taken by pirates and all crew massacred. Perhaps not all died, though. especially if your ancestor was on board.

I forgot to tell you, too, that I have Winship ancestry, but mine is from Goxhill, Lincolnshire.
Thanks, Susan, for your work on this! Fascinating! Part of the New England Winships were seamen and I know of at least one more that died at sea. Your connection to Indonesia was very nice to help! Susan Winship Brett
My pleasure, Susan. The gentleman who responded was amazing. And there is another guy in the wings, who is going to help as soon as he gets back to Wetar (he is in Jakarta at the moment). I really do think that your ancestor died on WETAN (near Babar) rather than Wetar, near Timor. I suspect he died in the wreck or storming of the Lady Nelson, and that his age is wrong.
There is also Winships in the Americas as well. Winship famirly fro Boston was a maritime trading family who started in the beef shipping, started in Alaskan fur and ice shipping. They eventually had 12 ships. Many of the Winship brothers sailed their own ships.

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