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Archive for the ‘James Beatty (1797-1873)’ Category

We now know a lot about Archibald Beatty, Merchant of Lisnaskea/Ballina/Liverpool (c1836-1897), almost certainly the older brother of our James Beatty of Ballina/South Yarra (1842-1903). Both were born in Fermanagh with father Farmer James Beatty. In an earlier post we established that Archibald had a nephew Joseph Beatty who was keeping an eye on Archibald’s pork/bacon factory in Enniskillen, Fermanagh after his uncle’s death in 1897. In an attempt to encircle the elusive farmer James, I’ve spent the last few days spreadsheeting every mention of a Joseph Beatty in Fermanagh in the late 19th century that I can find anywhere on the record. Luckily there were fewer Joseph Beattys than James Beattys in Fermanagh at the time and this one was probably alive at the time of the 1901 census (the earliest Irish census to survive intact!). Only one Joseph seemed the right age and to have reason to be in Enniskillen in 1897. He is Joseph Beatty, Egg and Butter Merchant, the son of Joseph Beatty, Farmer of Agheeter townland just south of Fivemiletown. His paternal grandfather is (YES!) James Beatty, Farmer.

Capture

Archibald Beatty of Lisnaskea/Ballina/Liverpool/Fivemiletown family tree

I tried not to get too excited. There were over a dozen James Beattys in Fermanagh in the late 19th century, and 90% of them were farmers. To save a lot of time I lashed out on a subscription to RootsIreland.ie -very expensive, but it gives every detail from birth and marriage records including addresses, even names of witnesses at weddings. Joseph Beatty senior married Margaret Mulligan in 1855. His father was James Beatty, Farmer, and his address at the time was not Agheeter, but the nearby townland of Aghavoory. Since at least 1829, Aghavoory, near Fivemiletown had been the address of a farmer James Beatty. Surely Joseph was still living at home at the time of his wedding! A witness at the wedding was Archibald Beatty. Then I found another Beatty whose address at the time of her marriage was also Aghavoory. She was Matilda Beatty (father Farmer James Beatty), married in 1853, again a witness at the wedding was Archibald Beatty. She has to be Joseph’s sister, right? Her husband was William Robinson a farmer at Breandrum townland near Brookeborough, not far from Fivemiletown. Both were still there at the 1901 Census many years later.

Now Archibald Beatty, with his wife Eudora and son Edward John had left Ballina, Co. Mayo for Liverpool in 1874, and all still had a Liverpool address in 1897 at the time of Archibald’s death. So how come the widowed Eudora, whose own family were from Belfast, died at Breandrum near Brookeborough, Co. Fermanagh? Yes! Her sister-in-law lives there 🙂

Eudora Beatty probate

Eudora Beatty of Liverpool, widow, died at Braindrum (Breandrum), Brookeborough, Fermanagh 19 Nov 1900. Probate to Edward John Beatty

 

Furthermore, Edward John Beatty of Liverpool, England, who must have been a well-off young man after the death of his father Archibald in 1897, in 1898 married Martha Eleanor Beatty, daughter of the above Farmer Joseph Beatty of Agheeter, at Brookeborough, Fermanagh. First cousin weddings were pretty common in 19th century Ireland. She went to Liverpool with him where they raised a family.

Archibald Beatty burial at Fivemiletown 1897

Burial of Archibald Beatty at Fivemiletown, 1897 from the Fermanagh Times 18th March 1897

Finally, thank you Sean at the Enniskillen Library who looked up some local papers not yet digitised and found that Archibald Beatty wasn’t buried at Lisnaskea, Ballina, Liverpool or even Enniskillen, but at Fivemiletown. Well of course he was, having come full circle from his birthplace 🙂

I think the above family tree is proven. Now if only I could prove that Archibald was indeed the older brother of our James Beatty of Ballina/South Yarra. Our James certainly had children named Archibald, Matilda, and Joseph! Hmm… Back to Ballina.

 

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I’m going to focus on breaking through the James Beatty of Fermanagh brick wall now. Just because it’s difficult is no excuse not to try. For those of you interested in the Forsters/McLeans though, I did find one more document which casts a little more light on the McLean family, particularly James McLean, in 1858. It’s now incorporated in the McLean family story .

A question for other family historians: How much circumstantial evidence do you need before you conclude that two people are related? Yes, I know. It isn’t proof. It’s certain that James Beatty the Draper, who is first documented in Ballina, Co. Mayo in 1862 and who brought his young family to Melbourne in 1878, was born Co. Fermanagh in 1842. All we know of his parents is that his father, also James Beatty, was a farmer. At about the same times as James, an Archibald Beatty, Merchant, 7 years older than James, also appeared in Ballina. He is first documented there in July 1861. It is certain that he had formerly been a Merchant in Lisnaskea, Fermanagh, but his father, also a James Beatty, was also a farmer. Could this be just a coincidence?  Beatty was not nearly such a common name in Mayo as it was in Fermanagh. Yesterday I found a document showing that Archibald and James Beatty both joined the Freemasons in Ballina on the same day, 16 Dec 1867. Only 2 others joined the same day. What’s the probability that James and Archibald Beatty are brothers? James the Draper named his second son (my Grandfather) Archibald.

The main thing that came out of the DNA testing was finding a fellow researcher whose family are genetically very closely related to ours and who has a detailed family tree of Beattys in Fermanagh, including Archibalds and a James. Thanks Pete! I’m going to work on the area around Lisnaskea, Fermanagh, and follow the names James and Archibald, and hope to work out which Farmer James Beatty is our ancestor!

 

 

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Records are so sparse for nineteenth century Ireland that we may never know much about our Beatty ancestors before the emigration to Melbourne in 1878.

While awaiting the outcome of an upgrade from 37 to 67 markers on our DNA test which may or may not help find out more, I’ve been pondering the usefulness of the only surviving family anecdote about the first known James Beatty. HAP was told that his Great Grandfather James Beatty, father of the James Beatty who came to Australia, was a strong swimmer who “used to swim with Captain Webb”. HAP will have been told this by his father Archie because HAP himself was a strong swimmer and the school breaststroke champion. His proud father probably saw it as an hereditary trait. Sadly HAP was told (or remembered) nothing else about his Great Grandfather.  Archie has a credibility issue as he was the source of the (since debunked) rumour of our close relationship to Admiral Beatty. However I think the Captain Webb thing may have a grain of truth. Why would Archie have known otherwise that there was a west coast of Ireland connection to Captain Webb? At least one whole book (“The Crossing” by Kathy Watson) has been written about the famous Channel swimmer which doesn’t mention that he ever went to Ireland at all. David Elderwick in “Captain Webb : Channel swimmer” says “A trip to the Faroe Islands as Chief Officer of the ‘Ballina’ and a six-month spell as captain of the steamship ‘Emerald’ preceded Webb’s departure for new pastures … His employers were sorry to see him go. The rapid passages he had made between Liverpool and Ballina on the west coast of Ireland had boosted the company’s trade considerably.” Terry Reilly in “Ballina : a storied place…” says “Captain Matthew Webb became the first man to swim Killala Bay in 1874, from the Enniscrone (Sligo) side to the Kilcummin (Mayo) side. He boasted to fellow drinkers in McDonnells Pub on Bridge Street (now the Bolg Bui) that he would buy them all a drink after successfully completing his Channel challenge.” http://www.everytrail.com describing the “Yeats country drive” claims that “Captain Matthew Webb used the lake [Lough Gill] as part of his training for the feat [his Channel swim]. He was a friend of W.B. Yeats grandfather who lived in the area”. Lough Gill is close to Sligo town and it turns out that Yeats’ grandfather was William Pollexfen of Sligo town, one of the largest ship-owners in Sligo and the grateful employer of Captain Matthew Webb as mentioned above.

Anyway, for the lack of much other evidence I’m going to explore the possibility that our gg grandfather did know Captain Matthew Webb. It doesn’t matter whether he swam with him or was just a fellow drinker at the pub, this would mean that he was still alive in 1874 and lived a short buggy ride from either Lough Gill and Sligo town or (more likely) Ballina. Have a look at County Sligo in google maps to see what I mean. We know (from the marriage certificate of his son James who was born in county Fermanagh in 1842) that he was a farmer. By the dob of his (eldest?) son, he must have been in his 50s when he “swam with Captain Webb” who was much younger. HAP was a formidably strong swimmer into late middle age too though.

So James and his family evidently left county Fermanagh (in the 1840s or 1850s?) to farm near either Ballina or Sligo town. This probably isn’t surprising either as a lot of people moved around during and after the potato famine. HAP said the swim was “across Sligo Bay”, but, never having been to Ireland he may have meant Killala Bay. Whichever bay it was, that’s a smaller haystack to examine for our elusive ancestors. At the moment I think Ballina more likely. That’s where James’ son James set up his drapery business and his brother (or another son?) Archibald was a storekeeper/auctioneer in the 1870s. Also, Peg Beatty went to Enniscrone and Ballina in the 1950s expecting to find Beatty relations there. Surely this was because her father had lead her to believe they would be there?

What do you think? I think I feel another trip to Ireland coming on.

 

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