HomePort S.S. Neptune which was
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We are pleased to host information on the Bemister family of Carbonear, Newfoundland. The first member of the Bemister family arrived in Carbonear from Corfe Mullen Parish, Dorset UK in 1810. William Willis Bemister (1789-1863) at the age of 14, arrived as an apprentice clerk for a local export firm, and eventually bought his own business. His younger brother Edward joined him in 1812.

William Willis Bemister, married Ann Howell, who was born in 1795 to a family that was already established in Carbonear.  Ancestral ties, to the rich history of Carbonear, where William and Edward Bemister first settled, remains an important connection for relatives now living in many places.  Their stories and the biographies of over 200 individuals are told through the book They Lived By The Sea by M. Elizabeth (Hopkins) Squires, and published in 2000.

The Bemisters of Carbonear continue to discover their extended family, which leads to family gatherings of varying size. The first reunion in Corfe Mullen (from where the family emigrated in England) was held in the summer of 2004.  Three family events were organized in 2003. A dinner in 2002 in Vancouver followed the first Newfoundland reunion in 1999 in Carbonear, Newfoundland, where the descendants of John and Mary Bemister initially settled. The first major gathering was held in 1998 in Toronto.

The family originates from Corfe Mullen near Poole in Dorset, England, and through the 79 grandchildren of John and Mary, hundreds of descendants now live throughout North America, and other locations. Bemister descendant lines gives an outline of the first three generations.

Ships associated with the Bemister family is a nautical page about schooners, brigs and brigantines, owned or captained by family members.
George Bartlett Bemister, known as Bart, was a brother of Emma Jane Bemister (1855-1933). With the opening up of Western Canada by the railway, he left Newfoundland and headed west, where he found work as a surveyor. Christmas portrait from 1915 shows the family of George Bartlett Bemister and Mary Elizabeth McPhillips of Winnipeg, Manitoba. The couple had nine sons, and four daughters and thus, the Bemister name became well established in Western Canada.


Hon. John Bemister from the Dictionary of Canadian Biography, tells of one of the more famous members of the family. Everton House which he built in St. John's, Newfoundland in 1891, remained a family home for his daughter Hannah and her husband, and was in family hands until 1931. It operated as a heritage inn in recent years.

A collection of over 330 family pictures, called the Rorke Family Fonds was recently donated to the Centre for Newfoundland Studies is now available on-line. It includes images of Capt. Willis Bemister and his father William Willis Bemister.

Check out the Bemister Blog and Bemisters Reunite on Facebook.

Do you have information that could be helpful in correcting or adding to the contents of HomePort ?  We appreciate your comments, suggestions and additions.

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