Saturday, 7 August 2010

Surname Saturday: Dunstone

So far I have traced the DUNSTONE name in Cornwall back to the early 1700s.  Next stop...?

The DUNSTONEs lived in and around the St Germans area of Cornwall, then moved to Rame (not too far away!) and I have evidence of them in the Cawsand and Kingsand areas as well.   Emma Elizabeth DUNSTONE (my gg grandmother) was the one who stayed in the Bodmin County Lunatic Asylum and was described as having a room which was 'all in disorder'.

But an even more colourful DUNSTONE was her mother, Thomasine.  In some of the censuses she is enumerated as 'Tamson' - can't you just hear her Cornish accent coming through?  Thomasine was born in 1814 in Cawsand, the sixth child of John and Ann DUNSTONE (who are proving to be another brick wall), with six sisters and one brother.  Thomasine married when she was twenty, to George AVERY, a ship's carpenter then a shipwright (yet another brick wall, as he seems to have appeared out of nowhere!), and the censuses record her living in Cawsand, then Kingsand.  She had ten children, four of whom died when they were tiny, so Thomasine was not a stranger to tragedy quite early on into her marriage.  In the 1871 census, George and Thomasine are listed as living at the 'Halfway House'  Beer House - are they the publicans? Her husband, George, died when their youngest was only 14, but Thomasine did not sink into despair and end up being farmed out around the children or, worse, end up in the workhouse.   Only a couple of years after George's death, she is listed on the 1881 census as being the landlady of the 'Halfway House' Beer House in Fore Street, Kingsand, and she remains there until her death in 1897.  I would like to know more about this brave lady.  The 'Halfway House' still stands and runs as a bar and restaurant, in what they call 'Cornwall's Forgotten Corner', so maybe I will email them and see what happens.  Watch this space...

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