52 Ancestors – Week 20.

The theme is ; BEARDED.

All the ancestral male portraits which I have show bearded gentlemen. One favourite is my Great Grandfather Alexander Johnston (1829 – 1906). How I acquired his portrait is a story in itself.

When I first started genealogy I knew little about my father’s family. I knew his father, a younger Alexander, had been born in Launceston, Tasmania and that his father had been a librarian. I started to correspond with a lady living there whose Johnston family were also from Launceston but we soon established we were not related. However she went on making enquiries on my behalf and one was at the Launceston Library. It turned out they had a huge portrait of Great Grandfather, commissioned on his retiring after over 60 years’ “faithful service”. Without being asked, the Library had a professional photograph taken and mailed it to me.

Great Grandfather looked exactly like my own clean-shaven father, apart from his huge beard. The same benign expression, the same dark eyes. But both look totally unlike my Granddad.

I’m certainly not bearded but I seem to have inherited characteristics from both GGFather and Gfather ….

The story of Alexander and his wife Margaret is at https://nancyvada.me/alexander-johnston-margaret-lyle-tasmanian-pioneers/

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