I have tried to send this message three times, but it never reached you. Then I tried to send the word 'test;' and of course it did get to you. Anyway, here goes again.
While researching my family history back in February1967 I received a letter from J.D. Wollaston, formerly Wollstein. Below is a transcript of the letter. I have now retired and am again interested in my family history, so I would be grateful if you (or anyone) could send me what you have on the wollstein/Wollastons and their family tree.
Best regards, Barry.
Further to your letter about the history of the wollaston name, you may be interested in the following comments.
All Wollaston people in England are my relatives, (This is not correct. BW) most of them I have met, there would be no more than 150 throughout England.
The origin of the name has caused a great deal of controversy, and there are two distinct camps. there are those who believe they originated in England, and deny the name changing story, others are very proud of the fact.
We have a family tree dating back to a Count Wollstein. The part that interests me is the religious argument.
Majority of Wollastons in England are very much of the Church of England, but some say they originate of Jewish blood.
During 1950 I was in Australia as a chief officer of an English ship. My father asked me to call on a relative of his in Brisbane. I did so, but found that he had changed his name to Wollstein. At this time I knew nothing of my family tree history, and when I returned to England my father dug out papers that he and his brothers had investigated over many years, including records obtained from Poland.
The following is an extract of that “tree”. The last of the family in Poland consisted of a man who married twice, his first wife died. There were six children by the first marriage, Otto, Rudolph, Edward, Moritz, Samuel, Sigismund. These had surname of Wollstein. By the second marriage we have Berthold, Wilhelm Wolf, Isadore Heinrich, Frederika and John Edward Israel. These were all killed in Europe except one, ie John Edward Israel Wollstein.
He fled to England and took the name of Wollaston. The first man on record of such name. The year 1810.
My grandfather was Lewis Edward Wollaston. He had 6 brothers and one sister.
George (deceased) At early age.
James (no record of this man)
William (NZ) born July 14th 1846
John (no record of this man)
Margaret (Stratford England)
Thomas (Aust,) born March 19th 1854
Henry (deceased) At early age.
All of my father’s brothers and sisters are now dead. They included my father (Louis,) John, Bertha, Alfred (Perth W.A.) Harry, Alice, and one other.
Mrs A.C. Wollaston of Boronia Ave, Nedlands, Perth (WA) is the second wife of my father’s brother Alfred. His first wife was killed by the Japanese in Changi Jail Singapore. Mr A.C. Wollaston of Perth was formerly Governor of Post and Telegraph, Federated Malay States, he died two years ago, as a result of long illness.
He was recommended to move from London to Perth due to ill health from years in Japanese prison camps. His son A.M. Wollaston is married and in Australia, I don’t know where, this man is my cousin.
It must be understood the name Wollaston and Wollstein has been bandied back and forward, over several generations many have changed the name.
My father changed back to Wollstein but in 1914 went back to Wollaston.
Even today some of my relatives talk of changing back to the original name. In New York are a number of relatives, some Wollastons, some Wollsteins.
According to the records the original family in Australia settled in Brisbane, as stated previously this was Thomas Wollstein, he had several sons, most of whom also became Wollaston. A Mr Leonard Wollstein may still be alive in Brisbane son of Thomas, but he would be in his 80’s.
I met this Mr Leonard Wollstein in 1950, who was violently opposed to going back to the Wollaston, he is very proud of his family name and history.
Relatives of the Brisbane family live in South Australia and another lot in the USA.
Full records dates etc. are held by my brother Peter Frederick in England. The only other complete records may possibly be in Perth (WA) but I’m not sure of this.
May I conclude by saying that the Wollstein part of my family is very proud of their history, but on the Wollaston side I would venture to say that 90% do not wish to know their history, and great efforts have been made to keep the Wollstein story a secret.
The records held in England cover a lot of history, and if you wish to peruse this I could send to England for it.