My great grandfather Joseph Henry Hearn was born in Langtree, Devon in 1854. He married Louisa Mounce when she was eight months pregnant in 1882. She soon gave birth to their son William and within the next year they immigrated to the U.S. Joseph and Louisa ultimately settled in the small town of Benicia, California.
Joseph had had some musical training while in Langtree. Shortly after settling down in Benicia Joseph formed a town band. This band has been called “Hearn’s Brass Band” and “Benicia’s Juvenile Band.” Over the past 30 years I have been looking for a picture of Joseph and/or Louisa or the band. I made many inquiries with no luck and I resigned myself to the fact that no photos existed.
Then I decided to take the Ancestry DNA test. My first match was a second cousin! I was familiar with his name from my research. I contacted him. He was so friendly but he didn’t have any pictures. He suggested I contact his sister since she seemed to have most of the family photos. And this is where I hit the jackpot! She had a few pictures of Joseph and the town band and was more than happy to share them! I discovered that my father actually looked quite a bit like Joseph.
I had been skeptical for a long time about taking a DNA test. I mean, why would I? I’ve been researching for 30+ years. So for those of you that are on the fence about DNA, I encourage you to pursue it. You never know what you will find!!
Published Devon Family History Society
Joseph Henry Hearn
Benicia's Juvenile Band