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Home: Surnames: Bearse Family Genealogy Forum

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Re: Myth of Mary Hyanno
Posted by: Martin Hollick (ID *****5839) Date: February 18, 2006 at 11:23:47
In Reply to: Re: Myth of Mary Hyanno by tracy dalesky of 334

Is good genealogical scholarship a matter of opinion or is it a matter of good judgment in the reliability of the sources one uses?

Clearly you loved your grandmother, but our parents and grandparents, no matter how wonderful they were, were not perfect in all matters. She certainly relied entirely upon Franklyn Bearce's manuscript for her identification of Josiah Bearse and his wives and children. Unfortunately, Franklyn Bearce was a fraud. So you are relying upon your grandmother's work, which she did in good conscious, but relied upon a fraudulent source. So now you are perpetuating the fraud unwittingly in deference to your grandmother's memory, but not with any reasonable judgment based on scholarship.

I'm a Bearse descendant myself. I recently was working on someone else's ancestry that had two Bearse lines, so I came upon all the Mary Hyanno controversy again. When Jacobus wrote his famous rebuttal in 1938/9, Franklyn Bearce was still alive so he wrote the article and tried in the strongest terms possible to say that it was a fraud without actually writing the word fraud.

Since then, someone posted Bearce's manuscript on the Internet. A simple glance at the generations not dealt with in the Jacobus article shows how much of a fraud he really was. By using the online 1860, 70, and 80 censuses one can see Franklyn Bearce's family and they are not Indians. They are as New England Yankee in all lines in all generations, as Boston baked beans.

Why Bearce wrote this I have no idea. But Jacobus's article is simple to understand (and why people dismiss it is beyond me). He's ready to accept the line based on the manuscript. But the manuscript is based on a diary which doesn't exist. He next takes the second and third generations given and proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that they are not true. Since there is no diary and those generations are false, it is a rationale conclusion that the first generation is also false although the lack of records during that time period makes it impossible to prove or disprove independently.

Despite the Mary Hyanno question, one can see how wrong Bearce was in identifying Augustine Bearse as a convict (wrong) and gypsy (way wrong). Augustine is one of the few early passengers to New England where the ship's passenger list survives. He is clearly associated with one family with whom he is listed and all the surrounding families are from Oxfordshire. One would think that his English origins would be found there or in neighboring Berkshire.

In any case, you mention in another posting that they (your grandparents) got their information (from among other sources) calf bound Bibles. Certainly the earliest generations of the Bearse family was not in those Bibles, which one can only assume are now in your possession. So certainly their primary research back to the 1700s may be excellent. It was from there back they relied on other people's research. That's where they (and you) have made your mistake.

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