Sunday, August 19, 2012

Saturday, August 18th, Keswick


This is hard work, but it sure is fun.  Today, we trooped around some graveyards, and tried to correlate the information which I had gathered from years of research online with the facts on the ground.  It included talking with the local Vicar of the churches in the Ennerdale Valley, to the pub owner in Ennerdale Bridge, and an email correspondence in the last two days with the leader of the movement to create a community center in my grandfather's hometown.

I think that what I've concluded is that, while I'm pretty sure that the homestead is somewhere near Ennerdale Bridge, it might not be on this trip that I can locate it.  The problem is that the place terms used in the 1841-1891 census forms were not clear addresses.  The census takers referred to the locations where families lived by the names that were used locally then, names which had originated in the 1700's, and which referred to homesteaders, founders, or geographical features (proximity to mills, mines, or mountains).  Current residents of the valley don't recognize the names, and aren't of much help.  Neither are current hiking maps.

We did find a couple of Fearons in graveyards, notably in the village of Dean.  While I don't have anyone in my current tree born or died in Dean, it may only be that my tree doesn't go back far enough.  When I first began my research, in the 1990's, I was able to find, from early LDS records, quite a few Fearons living in Dean in the 1600-1750 period.  Those initial clues, as well as the fact that many Fearons were living in the same period in Armagh County, Ireland, led me to believe my grandfather's assertion that we was born in Belfast.  My theory was that the family moved through time from the Lake District to Northern Ireland to America, following the search for new lives and fertile farmland and opportunities.  

I still believe that the Fearons in all these areas are all related, and that more research will show the patterns I suggest.  But since Census records began only in the early 1800's here, it will take a comprehensive compilation and correlation of death and burial records to do so.  That's a challenge for more than this trip.

We finished the day with a great performance of "Roma and the Flannelettes" at the Theatre by the Lake.  They need a bit more ventilation in the Studio venue, but the acting was excellent.  And the accents made the script difficult to follow when the arguments were came hot and heavy.  But a play about domestic violence, focusing on the lives of residents and staff of a women's refuge, is well worth those inconveniences.

Here is a link to the photos taken today:  Saturday, August 18th, Keswick


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