The History

In 1859, when William was proposed for membership of the Royal Lodge of Brighton, he was nominated as William Ledger. By March 1860, he was elected Auditor of the lodge, and history notes that throughout the first four months of that year, he was variously recorded in the minutes as both Jemson, and Ledger.

There has been quite a lot of debate within the family as to the origin of the “Jemson” name, but until I read Avril G.Holt’s, The Vanishing Sands, there had been no mention that he may have been born outside of marriage. That does seem to be a logical explanation, particularly in view of the fact that all efforts to trace him prior to his marriage continue to lead to a dead end.

Whilst William was buried as William Jemson, his wife, Mary Ann, is referred to in her newspaper obituary as Jenison Ledger. His children who died as infants are all buried as Ledger, and his remaining family are referred to in a variety of ways with either one of the names, or both. The gravesites of my great grandparents are no longer in existence, but their daughter’s headstone refers to them as Jemson, and of the remaining adult children of William and Mary, Lizzie is buried as Jemson, Nellie is buried as Ledger, and William Jnr. is buried as Ledger.

My great grandfather, Edgar, being the 3rd son, and the 11th child born, took the name “Jemson”. His direct line has continued to be known by that name, although any legal documentation relating to the family carries the name Jemson Ledger. The remaining family lines, to my knowledge, are known as Ledger.

The unmarked gravesites which I have located belonging to William and Mary Ann, and the gravesite where his young children are buried, along with that of his daughters, Lizzie and Nellie are now all marked.

I choose to use the name “Jemson-Ledger” whenever I mark a gravesite, because my Great, Great Grandfather came to Australia as William Ledger, and died as William Jemson, Both of the names are relevant to the history of William and Mary Ann, and may be helpful to other Ledgers and Jemsons trying to trace their family.