Bervie and Beyond reaches back to the early 1700s and into the lives of the author’s paternal ancestry in North East Scotland, and then endeavours to trace the lives of all his fellow descendants through to around the mid-1900s.
It tells the story of a not very successful smuggler who turned legitimate and established the first linen mill in Scotland. It progresses to his son Walter, who published several books in the early 1800s before being lured to Ireland by Chief Secretary Robert Peel to publish the Dublin Journal newspaper. But it was the next generation which brought real success. Alex Thom developed what was to become the leading Irish printing company, culminating in appointment as the country’s Queen’s Printer. Alex amassed a huge personal fortune which enabled him to establish his beloved Thom’s Directory. By his own efforts it grew in content and stature, and quickly became the primary reference source for all things Irish. It was his greatest achievement, and the Irish nation will forever remember him for it.
But wealth and a second marriage created downsides, with family divisions and a widow who took “spreading the joy” (to other than family) to a new art form. In the following generations we learn of a suicide, successful migration to Argentina and South Africa, and in The Antipodes, destitution.
About Colin W. Thom
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Published March 13, 2013
Biographies & Memoirs, History, Education & Reference.