Friday, 23 March 2018

#52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks. Week 9: 'Where There's a Will'

Week 9 Prompt:   'Where There's a Will'

We have a quite a lot of Wills in my father’s side of the family.

William Pearce 1700 - 1757
Richard 1734 - 1824
Richard’s brother -  William Pearce 1778 -
Richard 1803 - 1877
William (Will) Pearce 1838 - 1914
Francis George brother - Frederick William 1866 - 1924
William Louden Pearce 1904 - 1982
William Joseph Pearce 1941 -2004 
Alexander William Philip
Will Flynn Hayes and then William  - the newest little Will only 2 months old
Then there are all the Williams who are sons of brothers etc.

But this is not my story.
I am going to write about a Will which brought new meaning to my Shanks family on my mother’s side.  I had many years of trouble trying to get to the bottom of the Shanks girls who came out from Co Down in Northern Ireland.  
I finally got onto a bit of a trail when we visited the Poyntzpass (Pp) area and met with Kathryn Stewart who was a Shanks. I had found that the Shanks owned farms at LIsnabrague just out of (Pp), which was also where Kathryn’s family lived. 
She did not know who the Samuel and Margaret Shanks were who were buried in the Presbyterian Church in Pp.  I was hoping they were mine as they were the names the girls had given as their parents on their marriage certs, but I was unsure of the dates. 
We were unable at that time to make a connection between Kathryn’s and my families.  We have kept in touch and done quite a bit of work since and have other Shanks descendants overseas and in other parts of Australia and New Zealand, who we are all trying to connect up.  

I slowly worked my way through the Shanks girls - purchasing their BDM’s and then found a couple of wills. In the second will, the daughter Mary whose married name was McConnell, left money to purchase a memorial headstone for her mother’s grave back in (Pp) at the Presbyterian Church.  Samuel and Margaret Shanks.  EUREKA.  As the stone was erected some time after their deaths, that could explain death dates being out. It seems the dates are both one year out from the Death certificates in Ireland.  But at least I now knew they were mine.  I also discovered that there was another sister in USA I hadn’t known about and I then found info on her and her descendant. And so the family unfolds…

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