John Bernard


Introduction to the Bernard Family of  Carlow, Laois and Offaly, Ireland

Charles Bernard of Carlow  born circa 1638 - died 1668 (Children: Thomas John and Philip)

Thomas Bernard and Deborah Franks (Children: Charles, Franks, Elizabeth, Joseph and Anne)

Philip Bernard (1668-1721)

Charles Bernard of Laois (Queen’s Co). (Eldest son of Thomas and Deborah)

Franks Bernard of Carlow (Second son of Thomas and Deborah)

Joseph Bernard of Carlow (youngest son of Thomas and Deborah)

Thomas Bernard of Castletown, Offaly (Son of Joseph and Mary)

John Bernard of Carlow (Son of Joseph and Mary)

William Bernard of Carlow (Son of Joseph and Mary)

Thomas Bernard of Carlow (Son of William and Mary)

Arthur O’Brien Bernard of Carlow and the Isle of Man (son of Thomas and Anne)

Bernards of Tullow, Aghade, Newstowne and Rathrush, Co Carlow

John Bernard, born about 1717/18, was the second son of Joseph and Mary Bernard.  He was a Captain (RN) and spent time in England where he married in 1763 in Holborn, London. "John Bernard Esq of the Parish of St Andrew Holborn, Wood St, London batchelor and Frances Pickering of the Parish of St Andrew Holborn in the county of Middlesex spinster were married in the Church by license on the 20th day of July in the year one thousand seven hundred and sixty seven by Thomas Clark Curate in the presence of Mary Pickering and Richard Perry."  Frances was obviously much younger as she has her first child in 1768 and her last in 1772.

Frances Pickering, was believed to be the daughter of Gilbert Pickering, Bart. of Carlow who was a cousin to John Bernard. In Burke's Landed Gentry she is referred to as Elizabeth Pickering.

Children of John and Frances:

  • Mary Bernard, 1768, Baptised in Carlow 10th Dec 1768.
  • Frances Bernard 1769 Baptised 30th Dec 1769  *
  • Jemma Bernard 1771 Baptised 1st July 1771.  Married Bagnall Gurley in Carlow 26th Feb 1793. He was born to Thomas Gurley in 1771 in Carlow. He died in 1796.  * 

 (* Neither Frances or Jemma were mentioned in their father's will, dated 1791)

John Bernard did not marry Frances Pickering until he was 50 years old. He had an illegitimate child prior to his marriage. In John's will he refers to his "natural son John

"The phrase "natural son" in a will meant an acknowledged child of the testator who had been born out of wedlock. The only meaning the phrase had in the law in that context back then was "a bastard; a child born out of lawful wedlock." .

There is the baptism of a John Pickering (father also John, mother Mary) 27th Aug 1757 in St Leonard's Shoreditch, England. This is possibly John's "natural" son.

  John Bernard died in 1789 in Co. Carlow.
    "In Carlow, Capt. John Bernard Esq.. - Near Tullow",
    Publication: Freemans Journal 1763-1924*; Date: Nov 24, 1789;

Although no mention is made of properties in England it is clear from his will that he had some. His will was found in the English National Archives. Will proved 1791.   John left many bequests to his nephews and nieces, children of his brother Thomas. He left nothing to his daughters Frances (may have been deceased) or Jemma (who was definitely living).  It was also noteable how little he bequeathed to his brother William and his  sister Mary's eldest children John, Thomas and Mary  In his will John refers to his "sister" as Mary Humphrey. Mary Bernard married firstly Thomas Bennett and had children Mary, John, Thomas, Ann, Sarah, Grace, Jemima and Julia Bennett. Thomas Bennett died at 46. Mary (Bernard) Bennett later married Mathew Humfrey.

Joseph, father of John and William left his estate to be equally divided between the two brothers. In 1779 in  Articles of Partition (1) John agreed to be cede the estate to William. Which may explain why so little was left to William in his brother John's will. He bequeathed a lease for land in Tinriland to his son Joseph. This is the same place which is referenced by John Bernard, his ancestor in 1619.  John Bernard was a very wealthy man leaving thousands of pounds in the 1700s to his children and nephews and nieces.


Joseph Bernard (son of John and Frances) married Rebecca Smyth in 1795. They lived in Green  Hills, King's Co. and had three children:

  • Thomas Bernard, born about 1796
    • Elizabeth-Frances Bernard born about 1797. She married James William Cusack, son of Athanasius Cusack and Mary Ann Rotheram, in April 1818. James was the son of Athanaeseus Cusack of Laragh in Co Kildare and, "…was married to a famous beauty of the day, Elizabeth Frances Bernard". Elizabeth-Frances died when she was quite young (in her 30s) on 4 September 1837, but had already established a family of six children:


      • Henry Thomas Cusack            b. 20 Oct 1820,           d. 6 Jan 1865.              Barrister
      • Sir Ralph Smith Cusack          b. 16 Nov 1821,          d. 3 Mar 1910             Barrister. JP DL, was chairman (1865-1905) of the Midland Great western Railway of Ireland
      • Mary Anne Cusack                 b. 7 Sep 1823,             d. 8 Oct 1906             
      • James William Cusack             b. 6 Aug 1824,            d. 2 Oct 1868              MD Dublin
      • Elizabeth Jane Cusack            b. 10 Oct 1828                        d. ?

    James Cusack became Queen Victoria's Surgeon in Ordinary in Ireland. He remarried in 1838 to Frances Rothwell (née Radcliffe).

    • Margaret born about 1799. Married Thomas Bunbury (son of Benjamin Bunbury Isaac) in December 1816 (2)

        Rebecca and Joseph separated in 1805 and Rebecca kept custody of the children (3).

    Registry of Deeds: Vol #, Page #, Memorial #
    (1)   Memorial  327/590/220886    Image # 326
    (2)   Memorial   711/47/48658        Image # 29
    (3)   Memorial  586/279/397128    Image # 447
    To find the Memorial go to Registry of Deeds Index Project Ireland. Insert Volume# and Image #

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