My name is James and I live in Montreal, Quebec. I've been researching my family history for about a year. I always thought that all of my great-grandparents had emigrated from Europe to Canada, but I found soon enough that one great-grandfather had been born in Canada. It's this line that I've been focusing on researching and that has led me, figuratively speaking, to Bewcastle.
It was relatively easy to work my way backward from my great-grandfather to my GGG grandparents Alexander Cockburn and Mary Ewart, thanks to Canadian censuses and the Drouin collection. But then I got stuck on the Ewarts. There are quite a few Ewarts in the 1852 census of Lower Canada (now Quebec) but no Mary. There is a Mary Ewerd, but the date of birth didn’t match with what I know from her obituary in the local newspaper’s archive, and I couldn’t find any info to match up Mary Ewerd to Mary Ewart. There were also many Hawarts, Awarts, Hawards, Yewarts, Uarts, Yeowards, and others, some of whom were probably Ewarts in actuality but whose names were mispelled by the census-taker. Still, Mary Ewerd had several siblings, so I looked to see what I could find for them. Luckily, the Drouin collection has many records for various Ewarts who share names with the Ewerds, and several of them mention the parents’ names John Ewart and Sarah Boston. The parents of Mary Ewerd on the 1852 census are John Ewerd and Sarah Boston. Aha! But, even more confirmation came when I found a marriage certificate for Sarah J. Ewart, daughter of John and Sarah, witnessed by Mary Cockburn. That was Mary Ewart’s married name. They must indeed be siblings.
James Ewerd (really Ewart) is listed as having been born in England on the 1852 census. How could I make the leap to the old country when immigration records were so sketchy at the time? I went back to that local newspaper archive (The Huntingdon Gleaner, and a very valuable resource!) and I found an obituary for another sibling of Mary’s, Annie Ewart Sullivan. It mentions that she was the daughter of John Ewart and the granddaughter of Thomas Ewart, who came to Canada in 1795. More digging through the Gleaner’s archives led me to a few more Ewarts who, based on dates of birth, were probably siblings of John’s. What’s more, John’s death notice and that of his likely brother Robert mentioned that he was a native of Cumberland, England. OK, so now I had the county, but not the place.
I searched on a few different websites, but finally, FamilySearch.org had the info I was looking for. I searched for Ewarts born between 1799 and 1820 with the father’s name of Thomas in Cumberland, England. What came up, on the first page of results, were records for George, John, Thomas L., Ann, and Robert Ewart, all born to Thomas and Violet Ewart in Bewcastle, Cumberland, England, and with dates of birth that match up with various obituaries from The Gleaner. Even better is that the name Violet shows up a couple of times among Canadian Ewarts. It must be a family name.
To sum up, what I know about "my" Ewarts in Bewcastle starts with Thomas and Violet Ewart, who had, according to FamilySearch.org, children George (b. 8 Jan 1802), my GGGG grandfather John (b. 12 Sep 1806), Thomas Lander (b. 1810), and Ann and Robert (twins, b. 29 Jun 1812). I also know from the Ewart family forum at genealogy.com that Thomas and Violet's eldest son was James (b. approx 1799). The dates of the various family members' immigration are unclear. Annie Ewart Sullivan's obituary says that Thomas Ewart came to Canada in 1795, but he had at least five children in Bewcastle between 1802 and 1812. Perhaps he came to Canada as a young man, returned to England, and then his children emigrated when they were older.
On the 1852 census John Ewart and Sarah Boston (who was born in Upper Canada) had 10 living children: James (aged 21), Mary (19), Thomas (18), John (16), Hugh (14), Robert (12), Elisabeth (10), Violette (8), Ann (5), Sarah J. (3). In addition, John's siblings had many children. They all lived near to each other in the Huntingdon area of Quebec and many of the cousins share names and have similar dates of birth. For instance, there are three Thomases, two Jameses, two Violets, and two Elizabeths and a Betsy. This makes it difficult to sort out who is related to whom when looking through baptismal, marriage, and death certificates.
I will be spending more time in the future sorting through the various branches of the Ewart family, both in Canada and in England. I look forward to putting the pieces together, especially if I can make the connections between what I know about "my" Ewarts and the other Ewart families that I've already read about on this site.