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Belfast

After a wonderful diversion via Bolzano, Italy and Innsbruck, Austria, I’m actually here in Belfast. I’ve spent two days at the Public Records Office (PRONI) now. I’m afraid Belfast strikes me as rather bleak and grim, though it could be mainly that PRONI is in the Titanic quarter where the extensive shipyards used to be, largely a wasteland now, with a huge new stadium, flash new PRONI, and (yes, they built it here) the Titanic museum. My hotel is very comfortable with a view over St Anne’s Square in the Cathedral Quarter, over the river from PRONI. All I’ve done so far (apart from persuading KLM to find my suitcase which they left in Amsterdam – it did turn up, 24 hours after I did) is work all day, and in the evenings try to find a cheap dinner. So far the pubs are best.

After two days I’ve worked out the system at PRONI, but haven’t made much progress yet towards establishing the relationship between Archibald Beatty of Farnamullan and James Beatty of Aghavoory. There are certainly many thousands of documents in the Colebrook Estate records, but most of them are after 1850 and too late to tell us which Archibald Beatty was the father of James of Aghavoory. I’ve found a couple of coloured maps of James’ farm, so if I go to Fermanagh I should be able to see if the birthplace of James Beatty of Ballina/South Yarra (1842-1903) is still there. I was going to put one in to add colour to this post, but I’m too tired to work out how to convert it from PDF and I don’t have the “snip” tool that’s on my computer at home.

I found one map of Aghavoory from 1787 which could have been very useful. It shows Mrs Moore at farm No 1, which was leased by Price Moore in the 19th century. It also shows 4a and b and 10,later leased by James Beatty, but they belong to a Robert McKnight, so we still don’t know how James acquired them.

More tomorrow.

Firstly, I had a good look at James Beatty, Farmer of Aghavoory, Fermanagh (c1810-Aft 1875) now that we know more about him (for example that his father was  a Farmer called  Archibald Beatty), and can see that he must have been born about 1807, earlier than I had thought. The earliest mention of him (so far) at Aghavoory is in the Enniskillen Chronicle 14 May 1829, listing persons in Fermanagh who have registered their freeholds to establish their qualification to vote at elections. Probably at the time you’d also need to be over 21.

Secondly, on the basis of our YDNA111 tests, there’s a 70% probability that the Grandfather  of James above will be our common ancestor with the person whose test results are closest to ours of those tested so far. We* both also carried out “Big Y” tests whose significance I don’t really understand, but am told that we share a mutation that makes the relationship even more likely. Pete has been researching this family for many years and has an extensive tree of Beattys in Fermanagh. In his tree is a Farmer Archibald Beatty of Farnamullan townland (1758-1831), whose son James Beatty born c1807 disappeared off the genealogical radar. Pretty interesting eh? Furthermore, Archibald of Farnamullan in 1794 married Martha Moore who was from Aghavoory townland! It’s hard to believe this is a coincidence –  there are 2,294 townlands in Fermanagh!  I’m guessing that James, who was the eldest surviving son of Archibald, inherited the lease on the farm at Aghavoory from his mother’s family –  I understand that leases could be inherited? Leaving his younger brothers to inherit the Farnamullan lands. I spent a few hours spreadsheeting all the Archibald Beattys in Fermanagh at the time, using every mention from the usual online sources, and as far as I can tell, only two are likely candidates to be the Farmer father of James of Aghavoory, one of whom is Archibald of Farnamuallan.

This is so exciting after all these years of facing our Beatty brick wall that I’m booking plane tickets to Belfast for next week. Aghavoory townland was on the Colebrook Estate of the Brooke family, one of the few estates whose papers survived. The papers are in the Public Records Office of Northern Ireland in Belfast. I’m hoping to spend a few days combing through them for clues about our family, and hopefully some proof that Archibald Beatty of Farnamullan was the father of James of Aghavoory. I’m sure to end up very knowledgeable about 19th century farming practices in Fermanagh at least!

And the common ancestor, if all this can be established, the father of Archibald Beatty of Farnamullan, was Charles Beatty (1725-1798). We know that name!

I’ve been cross with our g grandfather James Beatty of Ballina/South Yarra (1842-1903) for passing on virtually nothing useful about his family in Ireland – not even the name of his mother! Yet he did in a way – by leaving little clues scattered among the names of his children 🙂

*Not my DNA of course! I borrowed some from a sibling with a Y chromosome!

Firstly, I’m making it official that James Beatty of Ballina was in fact the younger brother of Archibald Beatty of Ballina. I ask you, why else would two young men, both from Fermanagh, both of whose father was James Beatty, Farmer, both appear in Ballina, Co. Mayo at about the same time and share a house there if it isn’t because they’re brothers? There just isn’t another sensible explanation, even apart from the name Archibald occurring in the next generation of our family – SO, moving on.

In my last post it was established that the Farmer father of Archibald (and James) was James Beatty of Aghavoory near Fivemiletown, and two other siblings were discovered whose names also reoccurred in the next generation of our family. The Fermanagh experts in Rootschat drew my attention to a Margaret Beatty born 1863 to James Beatty of Aghavoory and his wife Sarah. At first this set me back on my heels – neither of those names is familiar, and Margaret is 20 years younger than our g grandfather James, who is the youngest of Farmer James’s children so far discovered. It occurred to me that James might have married twice. Then I found this entry in RootsIreland:

Second marriage of James Beatty of Aghavoory, WIDOWER in 1859 giving the name of his father

Second marriage of James Beatty of Aghavoory, WIDOWER in 1859 giving the name of his father

Ignore the spelling of the surname, it is certainly James Beatty of Aghavoory, WIDOWER. Ignore the given age of 22 also, couples didn’t usually give their ages, the convention at the time was just to say if you were over 21. The really exciting thing is that since this marriage occurs in the civil registration period it gives the name of Farmer James’ father – long dead no doubt – another Farmer, Archibald Beatty who would certainly have been born in the 1700s 🙂 🙂 No wonder Sarah and Margaret sounded unfamiliar. Our James and his brother Archibald would hardly have known them. I wonder if it was a coincidence that they both left for Ballina the following year? Maybe young James – only about 17 at the time – didn’t feel so much at home at the Aghavoory farm after his father’s remarriage?

Unfortunately we still don’t know the name of Farmer James’ first wife, our gg grandmother, and we may never know. I BET it was either or both of Emma and Matilda though – the name of our James’ eldest daughter!

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.

 

More about the McLeans!

1905 Alfred J. Craig of Leura

Alderman Alfred James Craig of Leura, 1905. Photo by Mr George Kitch from Blue Mountains Historical Society Archive

It turns out that people from the Central Mountains History Community are interested in our McLean branch too! See the comment from Kate at the bottom of the McLean chapter of our family story. I’ve quickly updated the chapter with some information she provided, and suspect there would be still more to find out about the McLeans in the archive at Wentworth Falls if anybody is keen enough to visit. The family lore in the James McLean branch about John Sheils being an Alderman on the Leura or Katoomba Council turns out to refer to his nephew Alfred Craig instead, brother of Florence Craig who married WCD Forster – unless there were indeed two Aldermen in the family.

 

Also I’ve sent for 2 more death certificates for Eliza McLean (nee Boak or Bolk). The results of this will be found as a footnote to my original post about Eliza and will hopefully save others from wasting time and money on our mysterious appearing-from-and-disappearing-to-nowhere Great Grandmother. Of course if I actually found her you’d hear soon enough 🙂

And NOW I’m getting back to the James Beatty of Fermanagh brick wall!

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!

 

 

Family history research can be so rewarding – not to mention addictive. Also, progress is so much faster when we collaborate! Thanks everybody and, as usual, you all know who you are! 🙂 The James McLean described in the previous post who was a Saddler in Bathurst is INDEED the same James who arrived on the Sarah Botsford in 1842 with Edward and Mary Jane McLean (nee Gordon) as a baby.

I’m deeply grateful to descendants of his who have provided more information. Apparently the family weren’t aware of the newspaper reports (see previous post), but did know that their ancestor James MacLean (or McLean), had arrived on the Sarah Botsford as a toddler. They also knew that the Sarah Botsford had sailed from Glasgow, so had naturally assumed (given their Scottish name) that James was Scottish. The information in those news reports must have been provided by family members, or friends of James though, so he is clearly from the north of Ireland. Also I read through the whole list of people on the Sarah Botsford and can only find one James McLean or any name like it. We still don’t know for sure that James wasn’t born in Glasgow. As Bruce suggested it’s possible that the McLeans could have been there for some time arranging their passage to Australia. Possibly James’ son who provided the death certificate information and was closer to events was right about this. I think it most likely that James was born in Ireland before they left though. Margaret Long had “travelled with him [Edward] from home” entrusted to his care by her family – probably the arrangements to emigrate had already been made.

On the down side, unfortunately Geoff, the Eliza McLean who died in Penrith in 1922 isn’t ours either! She was born about 1842 and married to Donald Hugh McLean. I don’t know what else to try apart from sending for more certificates! Does anybody have any suggestions?

Our McLean ancestors are starting to seem less shadowy and more interesting though, so I’ll write a chapter of “The story” about them next.