52 Ancestors: Bearded

Sadly this post is not about the marvel that is Justin Trudeau’s beard, but the latest in this year’s 52 Ancestors series. That’s not to say I couldn’t do a whole post dedicated to that beard. Because I could.

But looking at my family photos, one thing strikes me. Beards didn’t feature large in my family, with a few exceptions here and there …

I’ve already shared a picture of my 3 x great-grandfather David Thomas Robins (more friendly mutton chops than beard), and of my husband’s family member, Ernest Cartlidge, and his marvellous beard. Real or not, it was due to a part in a play. It should be noted that my husband is an ardent beard grower. As is my uncle Conrad.

Uncle Conrad and his beard, 1994

Then there is my father’s great-grandfather, Frederick Palmer. A much more expected 19th century farm labourer’s beard …

Fred with his wife, Mary Jane (nee Fisher), and grandson.
(Photo taken from local history book)

Maybe it’s just me, but I can imagine something … roguish and almost rakish about him.

In the same village we have my step-grandfather’s grandfather, Thomas Taplin, who had a more … open-faced approach to his beard. Or at least bare-lipped.

Thomas at rear in hat; a rather sullen Grampy Eddie on the right at the back with a side-parting c.WWI*
(Photo taken from local history book)

(*William Robert Taplin, pictured at rear with moustache, served in WWI and was demobbed in 1918 so I suspect this photo was taken either before he left or upon his return. The little girl at the front, Gladys, was born in 1911.)

Then we have to move away from my immediate line – and away from England altogether – for a few more beards. But what wonders they are.

John Halliday and his beard (right), and Charles Arthur Halliday and his whiskers (left)
Portrait Collection, State Library of South Australia

Australia grows a good beard, as can be seen above with the beards of John Halliday, the brother of my 4 x great-grandmother Ann, and his son Charles in 1918. (Charles’ rather dashing son Herbert opting for the more au courant moustache.)

And that seems to be it for beards – or at least those that were photographed – in my tree. There are a fair few more moustachioed chaps, and I imagine that the majority of my agricultural labourer ancestors and family members sported a beard – at least at some point in their lives.

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