Tracing your Kerry Roots
Tracing your Kerry Roots
While visiting a family grave in Annagh Cemetary between Blennerville and Curraheen, on the Tralee to Dingle road, I came upon the grave of Beatrice Caroline Fitzgerald-Harris nee Nesham 1881-1968. Beatrice Caroline was born in Stoke Devonpot, England and I began to wonder how life had brought her so far from home.
I first found Beatrice Caroline in the 1901 UK Census living with her widowed mother Constance, in 142 Houghton Cottages, Warblington, Hampshire. Constance is recorded as ‘living on her own means’. They have 1 servant Bellie Manchaster, age 23, born in Portsmouth.
I went back to the 1891 Census and found Beatrice age 9, a boarder in the town of Clewer, Berkshire. The Headmistress is Mary E. Berkeley.
In 1911, Constance is living as a boarder in the house of Ann Leslie Hine, 39 Ashburton Road, Southsea. She is recorded as an Officer’s widow. She is still 50! In the same Census, Beatrice is visiting the home of Frederick H S and Edith Le Mesurier, The Border Regiment, Falklands, Standford Hill, Liphook, Hants.
I went back again to the 1881 Census to see if Beatrice Caroline had been born at the time of the Census but found the following instead. Constance E. Nesham, age 31 (born Argyll, Scotland) is living at 103 Molesworth Terrace, Devon, Civil Parish of Stoke with her son Thomas age 11 months born in Devonport, Devon. She has 2 servants Ellen White 18, a nurse born Perrenworthal? Cornwall and Maria Steer age 34, cook and general servant born Almington, Devon.
A google search for the name Thomas Nesham, Beatrice Caroline's brother yielded the following sad information;
THOMAS PEERE WILLIAM NESHAM
LIEUTENANT ROYAL FIELD ARTILLERY ONLY SON OF THE
ADMIRAL NESHAM & CONSTANCE HIS WIFE BORN 2ND MAY 1880 Devon.
Died AT TWEEBOSCH, Western Transvaal 7TH MARCH 1902
Thomas senior died 1900 in Yarmouth, Norfolk, England. (familysearch.org)
Adding up everything I had learned thus far, I was able to search for and find a Marriage recorded for Thomas Peere W. Nesham to Constance Eliza Colquhoun, Apr-Jun 1877, Totnes, Devon, Vol. 5b, page 329. (http://www.freebmd.org.uk/cgi/search.pl)
But this brought me no closer to finding Beatrice Caroline after 1911, so again I went to familysearch.org with Beatrice Caroline Nesham and the surname Fitzgerald-Harris and found that on Jan. 22 1912, Beatrice Caroline married John James Fitzgerald Harris, Country gentleman in the Cathedral Church of St. Andrew and St. Michael, Bloemfontein, Orange Free State, South Africa. (source familysearch.org)
A further search led me to the sad information that just 8 years after their marriage Beatrice Carolin's husband died.
HARRIS, JOHN JAMES FITZGERALD.
Rank: Major. Regiment or Service: South African Infantry. Unit: 1st Regt.
Age at death: 43. Date of Death: 20-January-1920 Awards: O B E.
Supplementary information added read that Beatrice Caroline was of Feirm Bawn, Doughcloyne, Co. Cork.
Now Beatrice Caroline, born of a Scottish mother and an Admiral father, sister of a veteran of the Boer War and wife of an Army Major, lies within sound of the sea, at the foot of the mountain in Annagh Cemetary.
PS It is hoped that information on this website will give you a starting point for your own research. If it has been helpful to you, I would be grateful if you would add any aditional information you have in the comments below so that together we can break down those brick walls. Martine Brennan