Beare Family Tree – Next Steps

Three days into 2016 and I have my plan for next steps on my ever-expanding family tree. It’s time to add some video to my website http://www.bearefamilytree.com!

You can check out the first video which I uploaded to YouTube here. It features John Beare (1780-1867) and his children and grand-children, some of whom emigrated to Canada and Australia. A far flung family within two generations!

Enjoy and stay tuned for more family tree updates 🙂

And of course do give me a shout if you have any comments 🙂

Best regards,

Elaine

Follow me on Twitter @elainebeare

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Mary Ann Hilliard – Suffragette, Nurse, Ancestor

Mary Ann Hilliard was a daughter of Dominick Hilliard and his first wife, Margaret Duke. She was a half-sister to my great-grandfather, William Dominick. Mary was born in Cork in 1860 and died on 21 October 1950 in Wembley.  She went to England to train as a nurse when she was sixteen. She was a military nurse throughout the 1914-18 war and spent part of her wartime service abroad. One of her main duties was looking after Italian prisoners.

When the suffragette movement was at its height, Mary Ann, known to the family as Minnie, took part in suffragette demonstrations in London in 1912 and was sentenced to two months hard labour in Holloway Prison for her activities. While in prison, the suffragettes embroidered a handkerchief with all their names and the slogan “Votes for Women”, a souvenir of her experiences she treasured for many years before sending it to the movement’s headquarters for safekeeping. This document outlines the story of The Suffragette Handkerchief

An article from the The Suffragrette HandkerchiefBritish Journal of Nursing from March 1942 mentions that Mary Ann donated the handkerchief to the British College of Nurses.

A few months ago we announced that the late Sister Catherine Pine had bequeathed to the British College of Nurses the priceless historic Medal and Bars bestowed upon her by the late Mrs. Emmeline Pankhurst, for her devoted services to her when released from durance vile. As time goes on this gift we may hope will be valued at its true worth by women all over the world, And now, no doubt inspired by Sister Pine’s example, Miss Mary Hilliard, a gentle, very valiant suffragette, has bestowed as a gift to the College the fine linen handkerchief, signed by and embroidered by all the gallant women who suffered imprisonment for conscience sake, in support of the enfranchisement of women in Holloway prison in March, 1912, It displays 67 signatures embroidered in various colours, and all that remains is to offer a warm vote of thanks to Miss Mary Hilliard, R.B.N.A., and to await the time when this historic gift can he suitably framed and placed in the History Section of the British College of Nurses, where its unique value will be appreciated.

After retiring from nursing in the early 1920’s, Mary fell victim to arthritis which in time restricted her physical activities. She had lived in Wembley only a few years, coming to the borough from Hackney after the air raids. After she died a service was conducted by the Rev. R. Kirby, Minister of Park Lane Methodist Church, which preceded the cremation at Golder’s Green.

 

 

Growing Your Family Tree

Speech 8 in the Toastmasters Competent Communicator manual covers “Getting Comfortable With Visual Aids”. Visual aids help an audience understand and remember what they hear; they are a valuable tool for speakers. The most popular visual aid are computer-based visuals, overhead transparencies, flip charts, whiteboards, and props. The objectives for this speech are: –

–      Select visual aids that are appropriate for your message and the audience.
–      Use visual aids correctly with ease and confidence.

For my speech I chose a flip chart and drew out the different steps involved in a family tree. This is the speech I gave on 3 December 2012.

Beare and Forebear – this toastmaster, fellow toastmasters and welcome guest, is our family motto. It seems
an apt motto for my interest in genealogy, as not only am I researching my forebears, but it also takes a
lot of forbearance to continue delving through records to find the vital links in my tree.

So how does a person start a family tree? My advice is to start with a simple 1 2 4 8 layout such as this
example here (point to chart). There is you (1), then your parents (2) then grandparents (4) and so on.
The majority of people will know their grandparents names but what about dates of birth, and place of
marriages? The county and preferably the town or city are key to tracking ancestral records.

But what about census records to locate your ancestors? Well, the thought is good but there is one small
problem… The very first Irish census was taken in 1813 but it had so many flaws that the records were deemed
useless and destroyed. A second attempt was made in 1821 and, due to its success, an Irish census was
subsequently held every ten years until 1911. The information contained in these census records varied
according to the year but always included at least the names of all individuals, their ages and their
relationships to their head of household, plus some basic data about their land or home.

You’d be forgiven for thinking that as a result of such extensive record-taking (which started two decades
before similar all-names censuses were taken in England, Scotland and Wales, and three decades before the
USA), your Irish ancestor search through the 19th century was going to be a breeze.

Sadly, that is not the case. The original census returns for 1861 and 1871 were destroyed shortly after they
are collected, and for some inexplicable reason (possibly for something as prosaic as a need to create
additional storage space), the records for 1861 to 1891 were pulped, by government order, during the First
World War.

Just a few years later, in 1922, an explosion and subsequent fire at the Public Records Office in Dublin
destroyed most of the four censuses taken from 1821 to 1851. Only a few fragments of these censuses
survive. This means that the censuses of 1901 and 1911 are the only complete sets available for your Irish
ancestor search. These have now been digitised and released, free, online for anyone to search through.

This brings us to the internet, a valuable source of information. My favourite site is ancestry.com, not
least because of the following story…

Last year in between jobs I had time on my hands and the internet at my fingertips. I decided to go “Beare”
hunting. Trying different variations of the spelling of our surname, on one genealogy website,
ancestry.com, I came across an Anne Beare, born in 1821 in Bandon. Could this possibly be the sister of
Jane and George and another daughter of John and Elizabeth Beare that we had not yet traced? I dashed off a
quick email to the tree owner and within 24 hours I had a response. Anne was indeed my long lost ancestor.
She had sailed to Sydney, Australia with her brother John. John had, we pieced together, returned home to
Bandon after his brother Isaac was killed in a riot in New York. He was obviously then chosen to accompany
Anne, or maybe he had the travelling bug my family still possess. Either way they both set sail on the
Neptune from Cork on Thursday, 26 October 1843. Three and a half months later they arrived in Australia on
11 February 1844. During the voyage ten people had died on board from smallpox, which meant the ship was
quarantined offshore for 3 days. Both Anne and John had assisted passage which meant in return for a ticket
they agreed to work a certain length of time for their benefactor in Australia, a common occurrence back
then. We have not yet traced where John ended up after his arrival but there is an intriguing story on what
happened to Anne Beare.

Within two years of Anne arriving in Australia she married a Peter Plummer on 20th October 1846 in St.
Saviour’s Church, Goulburn, New South Wales, Australia. The union was a fruitful one as they had six
children. As time passed it appears that Peter had a shady past as he was convicted of sheep rustling. He
served his sentence and then set up a haulage business with a horse and dray transporting goods. His bad
luck continued with fatal consequences as during one episode of transporting he fell beneath the wheels of
his cart and died from his injuries on 16 February 1857. Poor Anne was left a widow at the young age of 36
with five young children to support. But the story doesn’t end there. As luck would have it Anne met a
George Blewett whom she married on 5 January 1858. They had a daughter Charlotte a year later. Life must
have seemed good for Anne when she discovered she was pregnant for the second time but once again tragedy
was to befall her family. In October 1860 just a few months short of their third wedding anniversary, and
with Anne three months pregnant George died as a result of falling into a fire. Once again poor Anne was a
widow, with the heartbreak of losing a second husband. For Anne to contemplate a future must surely have
been driven by the need to care for her kids, Anne is just 39 years old and appears to have an unbroken
spirit as eighteen months later she married again. On 5th April 1862 she walked down the aisle of
Christchurch, Queanbeyan accompanied by Patrick Licedy who was born in Limerick, Ireland. The minister who
performed the ceremony was Alberto Deas Soares. Well time passed, all of five years and one day Patrick
must have felt a pain in his chest, and on 21st April 1867 he was found dead near Cuppacom Balons. He was
thirty-two years old.

Once again and for the third time Anne is a widow at the age of 46. She had out-lived three husbands and
four of her ten children. She lived on for almost thirty more years, and in the course of time the symptoms
of old age kicked in. Eventually Rheumatism was diagnosed as the contributing cause of her passing on the
11th November 1896. She is buried at Riverside Cemetery Queanbeyan, New South Wales Australia. The coroner
Mr. Davies Downing said an inquest was unnecessary. Despite the loss of three husbands and four children
Anne carried on living to a good old age of 75. Any one of those events in her life could have broken her
but she chose instead to soldier on.

So this is just one story uncovered as a result of researching my ancestry. Sad though the story of Anne
was, it also showed a perseverance and strength of character. And I am sure there are many more stories yet
to discover. So why don’t you try it? With a bit of exploration and perseverance who knows what you will
discover. You may be related to Brad Pitt, or have a pirate as an ancestor, or even have a millionaire
relative still living somewhere around the world.

I hope this speech is of some help to you be it for Toastmasters or for researching your family tree. Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions or comment.

Bye for now,

Elaine

Follow me on Twitter @elainebeare

 

Perseverance Pays Off

Speech 6 in the Competent Communicator Manual covers vocal variety. Your voice should reflect the thoughts you are presenting.  The objectives for this are: –

–      Use voice volume, pitch, rate, and quality to reflect and add meaning and interest to your message.
–      Use pauses to enhance your message.
–      Use vocal variety smoothly and naturally.

On 19 November 2012 this is the speech I delivered.

 

Perseverance Pays Off

What makes us strive to achieve our goals?  Is it our genetic disposition or do we learn along the way that persevering will bring us success? Toastmaster, fellow toastmasters and welcome guests, as you may be aware my father and I have a keen interest in genealogy and my family history.  But how did this interest start and what is the relevance to my speech title? 

Soon after my paternal grandmother died in 1985 my father came across some old letters.  His curiosity was piqued and therein began the laborious hours week after week spent trawling through church records.  His search soon began to eke out small titbits of information, and the bait to continuing the search was not in vain as it resulted in a list of eight children born to John Beare and Elizabeth Maynard.  Births and baptisms were listed but no equivalent deaths so what became of these eight children?  They were born in the early 1800’s, an era when Irelands population was heading for an estimated 7 million.  Economic depression had come on the heels of two foreign wars. The Napoleonic wars end with final British victory over France, and the War of 1812 with the United States. Soldiers returned to a time of protest, low wages, and high food prices. Two more victories for steam were achieved – an “iron horse” showed the success of rail-locomotives, and the first steam ship crossed the Atlantic in 26 days.  Conventional sailing ships still took at least 60 days.  All of these factors, the search for work, and the looming famine led to mass emigration from Ireland.  So did these eight children emigrate?  And if so where?  This brings us back to the old letter my father had found.  It was written by Jane’s husband, Josiah Roberts, on her behalf and addressed to her brother George.  

 

29th December 1892

My Dear Brother George,

As I have not heard from you for so long a time, I was so uneasy I thought I would write again.  Hope that nothing is seriously the matter with you or any of the family.

I have had a very bad cold I am not as well as usual now.  My daughter Louisa died in October after having suffered excruciating pain with a very severe attack of Gangrene.  This attacked her in the lower limbs and they were affected so badly that by her consent and the doctors the limbs were amputated.  There were four doctors present and she seemed to rally after coming out.  This was in the afternoon but suddenly about the middle of the night she took a turn and died immediately.

I took this very hard as it was my only daughter living, but such as this is God’s will.

Your sister Jane

As Jane was unable to write, her husband Josiah wrote the letter and added a PS.

P.S.  If it is possible a speedy answer to this letter would let us know how you are and I thought it better to write as she is always speaking of you and Sarah (her sister).

Jane and Sarah were my great great grandaunts, and George my great great grandfather.  So here we had mention of three of the eight children.  

The letter came from PEI, which, after searching the atlas, we discovered was Prince Edward Island, a small island off the east coast of Canada.  Dad decided to write to the postmaster of the island to see if he could shed some light on what had happened to Jane.  A few weeks passed with no news until one day eureka a letter arrived with the postmark P.E.I. 

It was from the postmistress telling us that not only was there still a living descendant of Jane on the Island named Laura Roberts, but that she herself was also related! 

A flurry of letters followed over the next few months, family trees were exchanged and confirmed and then came the stunning announcement; Laura and her sister in law Beatrice were coming to Ireland for a holiday.  My parents contacted their travel agent and arrange to collect the two ladies and bring them home for dinner.  The big day arrived and all went smoothly.  An emotional reunion between my father and Laura ensued and the piecing together of the family history began. 

Jane had emigrated to Prince Edward Island, where she met and married Josiah Roberts.  Josiah had also emigrated to PEI along with his parents from Plymouth England.  Jane and Josiah produced seven children, two girls and five boys.  Most of these children in turn married and had children, down to the current generation of Laura and her children.  Over 100 relatives descended from Jane and Josiah.

In 1990 a few years after Laura and Beatrice visited my parents decided to visit PEI.   A large family gathering was arranged and my father got to meet many of his distant cousins.  The tales emerged of different ancestors, some of whom had migrated to the far side of Canada, where we believe their descendants still live.  It appeared life was a little quieter on the island with only one liquor store and they produced five generations to our four here in Ireland.  

In November 2011 we read with sadness the passing of Laura who had only died a few months earlier in April.   However there are still many surviving relatives living on the Island and across Canada and we hope to make contact with them also. 

Jane died in 1894, two years after that letter was written, and is buried on Prince Edward Island, in that same area Murray Harbour where she and Josiah had raised their family. 

So in conclusion I ask you to consider this.  Who would have believed that one old letter over 100 years old could have become the basis for creating so much of our family history?  My father and I persist in our quest to find every descendant of that family of eight children.  You can take the negative route of saying who cares, dump that old letter and dismiss the past.  Or you can take the positive to follow up, dive in and explore the rich rewards that persistence brings.  We have now traced five of the eight siblings and what an adventure it is proving to be with living descendants located around the globe.  Remember if what you seek is just out of reach one more step will bring it within your grasp.   

 

I hope you enjoyed this speech. If you have any comments or queries I would love to hear from you.

Bye for now,

Elaine

Follow me on twitter @elainebeare

Strength Through Adversity – Jean Elliot Fay

When researching family history it is almost inevitable that one will bring to light some poignant stories from ancestor’s lives. Such is the case with two of my relatives; Jean Elliot (she was christened as Jane but known as Jean) and her first born child Robert.

Jean Elliot, first daughter and second child of Robert Elliot and Jessie Purves, was born on 15 December 1890 in Ancrum Parish, Harestanes, Roxburghshire, Scotland, in the early hours of the morning at 3.30 a.m. Her older brother John was born just under a year earlier but sadly died after only eight days. Jean’s birth must have brought great joy to her parents and perhaps helped ease their grief over losing their firstborn.

Around the age of 12 or 13 Jean moved to Ireland with her parents and surviving siblings. Two other siblings had died in early childhood. Perhaps it was these losses that prompted her father, Robert, to seek a new life. But more likely it was the challenge of a good job with better prospects when Robert secured the position of Land Steward/Farm Manager for the Longfield’s at Castle Mary Estate, Cloyne, Co. Cork, so the family packed their belongings and departed Scotland en-route to Ireland.

Life proceeded as normal for Jean and the Elliot family for the next few years. The next record we have is in the 1911 Census that shows her having secured work as a nurse in the Royal Edinburgh Asylum for the Insane. There were hints over the years of the birth of a child but it is only now in 2014, over 100 years later, that we have pieced the story together. It appears that Jean developed a friendship with a local youth that extended beyond affection and resulted in the damsel being with child, around the end of 1908 or early in 1909. She was sent back to Scotland for her “confinement”. In the course of time, on 5 September 1909, she gave birth to a son, and named him Robert; he was born in Colinton, Edinburgh, Scotland. This was an era when the only choice for an unwed mother was to give up her child for adoption, and such was the case for Jean. We are happy to say that instead of giving the child to strangers, he was instead adopted by her cousin Jane Mitchell Guthrie, wife of James Brown. Jane was the daughter of Jane Purves and Adam Guthrie, and granddaughter of James Purves and Jane Mitchell. To simplify, she was a first cousin to Jean Elliot.

Jean returned to Ireland late 1911 or early 1912 to continue her life. She got engaged to an American soldier stationed locally in Midleton and on 7 September 1912 she set sail for America on the Celtic (sister ship to the Titanic). On her arrival at her fiancé’s house she was greeted by his wife and children so that was the end of that romance! Jean then moved to Chicago, Illinois, where she met and married Charles Elmer Fay, owner of a local boarding house. A few years after their marriage Jean gave birth to twins but sadly they died soon after birth. She remained childless thereafter.

You would think this was the end of tragedy for Jean but you would be wrong as more was to follow. Young Robert who was growing up happily in Scotland lost his adopted mother Jane at the age of ten. Robert became an apprentice joiner. A few years later, on 12 July 1924, he was tragically killed, at the tender age of fourteen. He was cycling home when he was struck by a charabanc (early 20th century people carrier) and died instantly from a fractured skull.

Such a loss may have hit Jean even harder, and following the deaths of her twins, she could surely have despaired but it seems faith and determination prevailed. One has to admire her courage and tenacity in continuing on with life. Charles, her husband died in 1945, aged 67, and Jean later moved to Florida. My parents George and Daphne Beare were contacted around 1970 by her Church Minister with the information that her health had failed, her finances were rapidly depleting and she needed help. The offer was extended to bring her home to Bandon, and was instantly accepted. Careful nursing by my grandmother, her sister Margaret, soon brought her back to good health and she settled in with my family.

One of my earliest memories is of walking up our yard holding their hands. I was only about three at the time but the memory is clear. Apparently I used to gabble away to them non-stop! Jean continued in decent health until her death on 15 October 1974. She had a life filled with ups and downs but happily it ended amongst family. At the good age of 83 Jean Elliot Fay was laid to rest at Kilbeg Graveyard, Bandon.

Rest in peace Jean Elliot Fay. You are remembered for your strengths.

 

 

From Bandon Ireland to Kuruman South Africa

There is nothing more satisfying than finding another piece of a puzzle that is the family tree. Only last week I finally discovered the grave of one of my ancestors. This is his story.

On 17 May 1862 Susan (nee Smyth), wife of George Maynard Beare, gave birth to her fourth child and her third son.  He was christened George on 2nd June by Rev. John Bleakley in St. Peter’s Church, Bandon, Co. Cork, Ireland. George received his early education at Bandon Grammar School, and at the age of 21 he entered Trinity College, Dublin. He lived with his brother John Isaac Beare while attending University. 

George graduated as B.A. in the winter of 1887, and BAO. BCH H.B. in the winter of 1892.  He did his locum at Ballineen, Co. Cork, a village 8 miles from Bandon. Names where jobs were available were put in a hat in College and those who qualified picked out their future destination (As far as we aware this is how the medical jobs were allocated).  George chose Griquatown, Bechuanaland, South Africa.

George left his family and his home in Bandon for the last time on the ship Athenian in April 1893.  His brother, John, was at Southampton to see him off. Did he know this was the last time he would see them, (with the exception of a few visits by his brother John) as he said his goodbyes, I wonder?

This is a copy of a letter he sent to his brother William, shortly after arriving on board the Athenian. 

Ship Athenian

April 11th 1893

Dear Will

I was just going to go without writing you a line which would be too bad.

I was simply writing a few words to Mom when I remembered that I led you to expect a letter from me before I sailed out.

I got that letter of Mr. Donovan’s’ from you the other day.  It was a pity John Bird did not find out before the vestry meeting whether he was at liberty to publish it.   I expect John was keeping it dark to himself so that nobody should get hold of his important news with one exception information.

Be sure to get the bicycle by hook or crook if you did not get it before. This is the finest exercise in the world for keeping up the heart for when you find yourself low spirited you drive away dull care by working the peddles hard against the hill

John has gone away in the tender and I am now sitting in the saloon writing this by myself all the other passengers are on deck gazing.  I have a very decent fellow in the cabin with me as far as I can judge.  There are only the two of us in it.  He was at the Cape before and I suppose will be able to give me some tips.

I will let this letter open for a while to see if a parcel came from a friend of Mr. Bennett for me as I have closed the letter to herself without being able to find out.

George

Tell Tom I wish him well also his wife
Remember me to all at home

Interesting how even over 100 years ago the benefits of cycling were promoted by the Medical profession!

The next letter received from Doctor George was by his brother John, sent from Kimberly.

Kimberly

May 7th 1893

Dear John

Just a line to say I have got so far.

I have not much to say about the voyage out.  I was sick the first week and the last, when we had a storm which kept us back a couple of days.

I did not land at Madeira but saw plenty of the natives about and in the ship.  It would do your heart good to see some of them diving for money.  I tried to drop four half pence into the boat of a little fellow who was not getting anything, but in trying to catch them he knocked three into the sea.  Another fellow who saw them fall down from about five yards out under the little fellows boat and brought up the three before they had gone down any distance.  Snow capped or enveloped in cloud or what ever you like to call it ‘Tenerife’ was certainly a striking sight.  When I first saw it there was a thick cloud covering it from about the middle to very near the top and which we were passing, the cloud gradually got dispersed and left it shine out in all its majesty.  It looked to me the highest thing I ever saw and the snow looked curious in such warm weather. I was pointed out Albatrosses which had nothing grand about them.  The sailors said the large ones are not seen on the West coast of Africa.   The ones we saw were about the size of ducks and flew just like seagulls.  Flying fish we saw in thousands.  It seems to me the reason they fly is that they are afraid of the ship as you only see them when near it and fly away from it.  We saw a lot of porpoises and a few whales.

We came into Table Bay on Friday morning and saw Table Mountain just as the sun was rising on it.  It is flat on top, looks about 1000 feet or so high and a few hundred yards long.  It is supposed to resemble a lion but I could not make out the likeness.

Cape Town itself is very English looking.  I had to pay £5 for registration.  I started for Kimberly at 9 o’clock pm on Friday and arrived this morning at 8.30.

The journey up was very monotonous.  Hundreds of miles of flat land, with here and there a low  earth path – stones sometimes in great quantities scattered about – then only vegetation, small bushes call ‘veldt’ at some distance from one another and hardly green which merely makes more striking the awful barrenness of the country.  This of course is when there is no water but it is so in 99% of all the land I saw from Cape Town to Kimberly.  Where there is a spring everything is exactly the opposite, the land seems to be the most fertile and the vegetation most luxurious I ever saw in coming to Kimberly.  I believe I came 60 miles too far but I can not get accurate information today as it is Sunday.   Hoping Gussie and the children are well

I am yours as ever

George  

It appears the good Doctor was quite the prose writer when he put his mind to it, with an honest but at the same time descriptive letter about his journey and surroundings. He worked in Griquatown for the next 3 years and then received a posting to Kuruman, as evident in the following letter.

Kuruman  (Kuruman is about 108 miles north of Griquatown in British Bechuanaland)

June 4th 1896

Dear Will

I only arrived here on Thursday last though I left Griquatown on the preceeding Tuesday and I can assure you I found the journey a bit tedious. The latter half of the road was not too bad as I travelled with Mr. Price, the oldest Missionary around here, and a very decent old chap indeed.  He asked me to stay a few days with him at Kuruman till I got some suitable lodgings and when I was about to learn yesterday for the only boarding house in the place – which by the way  has anything but a good reputation – he proposed that I should stay on at his place till I get married.  I said I should be very glad if he would accept the same amount from me per month as the boarding house charged, which he would not hear of at first but after a lot of persuasion on my part he agreed to take £3-10-0 per month for my board.  The usual rate about here is £5 or more so that I may consider my self lucky.  I have hired three rooms from the mission society for 30/- per month which Mr. Price will furnish for me gratis.  One will be a surgery the others a sitting and bedroom so that up to the present I am not doing so badly.  The magistrate here is very nice.  He has written to Cape Town to get the Government to appoint me acting D.G.. until the estimates are passed and in the meantime has got me to visit the jail, see some sick prisoners and write some medical certificates for which he says I must be paid even though the Government do not appoint me acting D.G.

This is about the nicest little place I have seen since I came to S.A. The people too are as kind as kind can be and I should not be surprised if I got on very well with them.  Of course there are only very few of them so that there will be little or no private practice except among the natives and they can’t pay much.

Yours ever   George

 A new post mark on the envelope so a new address for Dr. George.  He has moved north a hundred odd miles to Kuraman.  The possibility of marriage seems a bit sudden or did we miss a hint?  It is more likely there are missing letters.  The offer of accommodation is coming from his future father-in-law.

George did indeed marry. He and Elizabeth Price, daughter of Roger Price and Elizabeth Lees Moffat,  on 31 Dec 1896. They had two daughters, Helen Barbara Beare born in February 1904 and Mary Elizabeth Beare, born on 1908. George’s wife Elizabeth was related by marriage to the famous Dr. Livingstone.

George continued to work at Kuruman until his death on 24 Jan 1941. The Kuruman Moffat Mission at Seodin was established in 1816 and still exists to this day.

Up until last week we did not know where Dr. George was buried. I finally found a photograph of his grave which I have attached here.

Beare George 1862 - 1941

IN MEMORY OF

GEORGE BEARE

BORN AT BANDON, CO. CORK, 17 JAN 1862

DIED AT KURUMAN, 24 JAN 1941.

~

“ENOUGH, IF SOMETHING FROM OUR

HANDS HAVE POWER

TO LIVE, AND ACT, AND SERVE THE

FUTURE HOUR.”

Please feel free to leave a comment or if you have any queries.

Bye for now,

Elaine

Follow me on Twitter @elainebeare

Perseverance Pays Off

Vocal variety comes into play for Speech 6 of the competent communicator manual. The objectives are to:-
–      Use voice volume, pitch, rate, and quality to reflect and add meaning and interest to your message.
–      Use pauses to enhance your message.
–      Use vocal variety smoothly and naturally.

I used this speech to show how one simple letter can start you on a quest resulting in a rich family history. This is the speech entitled “Perseverance Pays Off” which I delivered on 19 November 2012: –

Perseverance Pays Off

What makes us strive to achieve our goals?  Is it our genetic disposition or do we learn along the way that persevering will bring us success? Toastmaster, fellow toastmasters and welcome guests, as you may be aware my father and I have a keen interest in genealogy and my family history.  But how did this interest start and what is the relevance to my speech title?  

Soon after my paternal grandmother died in 1985 my father came across some old letters.  His curiosity was piqued and therein began the laborious hours week after week spent trawling through church records.  His search soon began to eke out small titbits of information, and the bait to continuing the search was not in vain as it resulted in a list of eight children born to John Beare and Elizabeth Maynard.  Births and baptisms were listed but no equivalent deaths so what became of these eight children?  They were born in the early 1800’s, an era when Irelands population was heading for an estimated 7 million.  Economic depression had come on the heels of two foreign wars. The Napoleonic wars end with final British victory over France, and the War of 1812 with the United States. Soldiers returned to a time of protest, low wages, and high food prices. Two more victories for steam were achieved – an “iron horse” showed the success of rail-locomotives, and the first steam ship crossed the Atlantic in 26 days.  Conventional sailing ships still took at least 60 days.  All of these factors, the search for work, and the looming famine led to mass emigration from Ireland.  So did these eight children emigrate?  And if so where?  This brings us back to the old letter my father had found.  It was written by Jane’s husband, Josiah Roberts, on her behalf and addressed to her brother George.  

 

29th December 1892

My Dear Brother George,

As I have not heard from you for so long a time, I was so uneasy I thought I would write again.  Hope that nothing is seriously the matter with you or any of the family. 

I have had a very bad cold I am not as well as usual now.  My daughter Louisa died in October after having suffered excruciating pain with a very severe attack of Gangrene.  This attacked her in the lower limbs and they were affected so badly that by her consent and the doctors the limbs were amputated.  There were four doctors present and she seemed to rally after coming out.  This was in the afternoon but suddenly about the middle of the night she took a turn and died immediately. 

I took this very hard as it was my only daughter living, but such as this is God’s will. 

Your sister Jane

As Jane was unable to write, her husband Josiah wrote the letter and added a PS. 

P.S.  If it is possible a speedy answer to this letter would let us know how you are and I thought it better to write as she is always speaking of you and Sarah (her sister).

Jane and Sarah were my great great grandaunts, and George my great great grandfather.  So here we had mention of three of the eight children. 

The letter came from PEI, which, after searching the atlas, we discovered was Prince Edward Island, a small island off the east coast of Canada.  Dad decided to write to the postmaster of the island to see if he could shed some light on what had happened to Jane.  A few weeks passed with no news until one day eureka a letter arrived with the postmark PEI. 

It was from the postmistress telling us that not only was there still a living descendant of Jane on the Island named Laura Roberts, but that she herself was also related! 

A flurry of letters followed over the next few months, family trees were exchanged and confirmed and then came the stunning announcement; Laura and her sister in law Beatrice were coming to Ireland for a holiday.  My parents contacted their travel agent and arrange to collect the two ladies and bring them home for dinner.  The big day arrived and all went smoothly.  An emotional reunion between my father and Laura ensued and the piecing together of the family history began. 

Jane had emigrated to Prince Edward Island, where she met and married Josiah Roberts.  Josiah had also emigrated to PEI along with his parents from Plymouth England.  Jane and Josiah produced seven children, two girls and five boys.  Most of these children in turn married and had children, down to the current generation of Laura and her children.  Over 100 relatives descended from Jane and Josiah.

In 1990 a few years after Laura and Beatrice visited my parents decided to visit PEI.   A large family gathering was arranged and my father got to meet many of his distant cousins.  The tales emerged of different ancestors, some of whom had migrated to the far side of Canada, where we believe their descendants still live.  It appeared life was a little quieter on the island with only one liquor store and they produced five generations to our four here in Ireland. 

In November 2011 we read with sadness the passing of Laura who had only died a few months earlier in April.   However there are still many surviving relatives living on the Island and across Canada and we hope to make contact with them also. 

Jane died in 1894, two years after that letter was written, and is buried on Prince Edward Island, in that same area Murray Harbour where she and Josiah had raised their family. 

So in conclusion I ask you to consider this.  Who would have believed that one old letter over 100 years old could have become the basis for creating so much of our family history?  My father and I persist in our quest to find every descendant of that family of eight children.  You can take the negative route of saying who cares, dump that old letter and dismiss the past.  Or you can take the positive to follow up, dive in and explore the rich rewards that persistence brings.  We have now traced five of the eight siblings and what an adventure it is proving to be with living descendants located around the globe.  Remember if what you seek is just out of reach one more step will bring it within your grasp.   

 I hope you enjoyed this speech and my brief delving into family history. I welcome all comments so please feel free to leave a message.

Warm regards,

Elaine

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