52 Ancestors week 44 theme is “Bearded” and I have several bearded ancestors. Ora Philander Seward had a pretty good beard for example. So did another ancestor named George Douglass (below left) who was the father of Ada Barnum Douglass. The most impressive beard I found though belonged to an ancestor on my father’s side named John Wheeldon (below right). Or so I thought.
The photo is not the greatest but what’s not in question is that he had one amazing beard. I found it on Ancestry in a Green leaf hint a long time ago and happily copied it over to my ancestor’s profile. Going through the 52 Ancestors exercise has helped me with sorting through all the sources and files attached to Ancestry profiles. I have found that some of the sources turn out to be good and some turn out to be questionable.
What I do know about John Wheeldon is that he shared his name with several men of his same time period. From the records on Find My Past, I can confirm that there was a John Wheeldon who lived, worked and raised a family in the London area. However the account who provided the photo on Ancestry links it to a John Wheeldon who was born, lived, and died in Derbyshire, England, about 113 miles as the crow flies north of London. These men are most likely two different John Wheeldons.
My John Wheeldon was probably born about 1797 and married his wife Mary at St. Bride’s on Fleet Street in 1827. His reported occupation in the 1851 census was Publican and he lived with his family in the Stepney district of London. I have not found him in the 1861 census or any taken later. There are no mentions of his beard in any of the records surveyed.