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Posts Tagged ‘Family History’

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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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.

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I’m sure now that Mary Jane McLean (and probably her mother nee Eliza Boak) lived at Woodford House in 1869 with Janey’s elder half-sister Margaret Shiels and her husband John Shiels. I don’t think they owned it but managed the house for the owner. This is also where William Mark Forster married Mary Jane in 1869. You need to imagine the shingle roof though apparently the building hasn’t changed much otherwise.

Woodford House (now Woodford Academy) Built in the 1830s in the Blue Mountains of new South Wales, owned by John and Margaret Shiels in 1869 and where William Mark Forster married Mary Jane McLean the same year

Woodford House (now Woodford Academy) Built in the 1830s in the Blue Mountains of new South Wales, managed by John and Margaret Shiels in 1869 and where William Mark Forster married Mary Jane McLean the same year

Here’s my reasoning: Towards the end of the inquest report into the fire at Shiels’ house at Regentville near Penrith we read “Thomas Ellison, sworn: I am a licenced publican of Seventeen-mile Hollow, Bathurst Road. I know John Shiels; he lives at Bass’s (Woodford), about three miles from me”. I could find nothing about a Bass’s, but lots about Buss’s at Twenty-mile Hollow on the Bathurst Road. Here’s a quote about the history of Woodford House

“In 1855 Hogan sold the property to William Buss of Cowra, who was an ex-convict transported for life on the ‘Phoenix’ in 1828 for horse stealing. Buss was granted a ticket of leave in 1836, and a conditional pardon in 1843. The inn became known as “The King’s Arms”. Buss was a colourful and popular publican, and the inn was also known as “Buss’s Inn”. The Gold Rush brought an increase in traffic travelling west to the Turon and Bathurst gold fields. The King’s Arms was one of a series of wayside inns providing accomodation and refreshments far travellers. Buss retained the property until his death in 1867. He bequeathed all his properly to his wife Bridget. In August 1868 Bridget Buss sold the property to Alfred Fairfax. Fairfax renamed the building “Woodford House” and lived there intermittently. The main use during the late 1800’s was as a mountain retreat or fashionable boarding house.”

Between January 1869 and 23 Oct 1869 the following advertisement repeatedly appeared in The Sydney Morning Herald:

Advertisement for Woodford (late Buss's), Blue Mountains: from Sydney Morning Herald 6 Oct 1869

Advertisement for Woodford (late Buss’s), Blue Mountains by J. Sheils: from Sydney Morning Herald 6 Oct 1869

There was little else at Woodford in the 1860s in any case. Even the new railway station wasn’t called “Woodford” until 1871.

A footnote to this is the disappearance after Oct 1869 of not only Eliza McLean but also John Sheils. His wife Margaret is evidently managing properties in Bathurst without him by 1873. Does anybody know where he went?

CHANGE of AIR, BATHURST - Mrs. Sheils (late of Regentville and Woodford) has opened a place for the above...Smith's Cottage, Russell St., Bathurst. from Sydney Morning Herald 24 May 1873

CHANGE of AIR, BATHURST – Mrs. Sheils (late of Regentville and Woodford) has opened a place for the above…Smith’s Cottage, Russell St., Bathurst. from Sydney Morning Herald 24 May 1873

What do you think? I was going to post about James McLean, but this is already too long.
Thanks so much to a couple of you who got back with comments regarding my previous post. It encourages me to peg on!

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I’ve been writing up more details about the early Forsters of the Coquet River valley in Northumberland (in the chapter on “The Forsters of Rothbury” – see link in right hand column), and think I’ll draw a map to make their movements around the valley in the 18th century a bit clearer. I’m also about to add a few paragraphs about the McLeans, and have just spent a couple of days trying to find out more about the mother of Mary Jane Forster. We do actually know a bit more than we did, thanks to Bruce and the wonderful TROVE. She was living with her eldest step-daughter Margaret (who had married John Shiels in 1856) at Regentville House near Penrith in 1869 when it burned down. There is a lot of detail in the Inquest report, including “Eliza McLean, sworn, states: I am Mrs. Shiel’s mother…” and “John Sheils, sworn, states: I principally reside at Regentville. I go up into the mountains occasionally as I have had a house at Eighteen Mile Hollow at Woodford which I keep as an accommodation house for the public. My Sister-in-law Jane McLean was up when I returned [to Woodford]”.

We know a few things about Eliza from this. Firstly she was obviously still alive and fit in 1869. Secondly, when her husband died in 1853 leaving her with four step children as well as her own 3 year old daughter Mary Jane, Margaret the eldest was only 14. Sixteen years later Eliza and Janey are living with Margaret, very much part of the family.

I concentrated on trying to find her death details rather than where she came from as we’re not even sure of her surname from the two documents we have – her marriage certificate where she is “Eliza Bolk” and signed her name X so was presumably illiterate, and the birth certificate of her only child Mary Jane McLean, where she is Eliza Boak. The death certificate should tell us where she came from. Except I still can’t find it!! This isn’t 19th century Ireland where many records have been lost. In late 19th century Australia when anybody died the death was registered! We’re probably not talking about a homeless person where identity might have been a problem but somebody with a family. I can’t find an Eliza (or Elizabeth) McLean who died in the Blue Mountains or Bathurst where her step-daughter Margaret is known to have lived. Her stepson Robert lived in Ashfield.   She died at 29, and was born in Middlesex, the daughter of a Joseph Millard McLean, bricklayer, and Louisa Stevens.

Trawling through TROVE hasn’t helped either. Should I send away for more certificates? There are a couple of possibilities. Could she possibly have remarried after 1869? You’d think if she was going to she would have already! Could she have gone to Melbourne to be near Mary Jane? If so there’d most likely have been a death notice and I can’t find one. Any suggestions?

On another note, does anybody know what happened to James McLean the 2nd son of Edward McLean and Mary Jane Gordon and who came from Ireland with them?

Update 14 Jan 2016: The James McLean mystery is now solved at least- see later posts.

Update 18 Jan 2016: To save others wasting time and money, and in case it’s useful to other families, here are some details from each fruitlessly purchased death certificate for Eliza McLean.

  1. Eliza Jane McLean died in Ashfield in 1900 in a private hospital aged 29. She was born in Middlesex, England to Joseph Millard, Brickmaker, and  Louisa Stevens. She was married  in Leichardt aged 24 to Donald Allan McLean and had a 4 year old daughter, Louisa.
  2. Eliza McLean died at Emu Plains in 1922 aged 80. She was born at Williams River NSW to Samuel Gibson, a Farmer, and  Mary Ann Russel. She married Donald Hugh McLean in Manning River in about 1900 and had 8 children.
  3. Eliza Heath McLean died in Woollahra aged 80. She was born in Hobart, Tasmania to John Heath, Lawyer, and Mary (surname unknown). She was married in Hobart to Robert Anthony McLean and had 9 children still surviving and 4 dead.
  4. Eliza Grace McLean of Emu Plains died in Lewisham Hospital (death registered in Petersham) in 1901 aged 4 years. She was born in Liverpool NSW, the daughter of Samuel Mclean, Constable and Colina Burges.

 

 

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“Enniscrone” 12 Trafalgar Street, Mont Albert. Home of Archie and Connie Beatty and family. Front and drive 1932

After wading through hundreds of (mostly unlabelled) photos, several years of Peg’s diary and various letters and other stuff, I’ve added two new chapters of our family story: see the links to them in the right hand column. Chap 11 deals with the family from 1930-1935 and includes the move to “Enniscrone”, Mont Albert. Peg’s diary records many visits to and from other branches of the Beatty and Forster family, and I’ve mentioned many of these. The Littleton family, particularly Ruth, Geoff and Gwen occur in many of the photos.  Chap 12 is mainly about Harold and his friends and their camp at Rye Back Beach on the Mornington Peninsula, which they called McBeatsome Town.

I have to say it’s a lot easier and more rewarding writing about this very well-documented end of the family story. It’ll probably take another visit to Ireland to tease out more about the early 19th century Beattys with no guarantee even then.

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Kinard at Landed estates Court from Belfast News-Letter, 27 June 1874

Oh Dear! No wonder the Pagets and Beattys emigrated in 1878. I have found James Paget’s will. He made our gg grandmother Hannah Dempsey (note use of her maiden name) the sole executor. Subsequently she sold all his remaining land in Ireland at the Landed Estates Court in 1874 to one of James’s second cousins John Paget Bourke for £6,225. Hannah continued living at Kinard Lodge with the children until they emigrated 3 years later. It’s pretty clear now that James and Hannah were not technically married.

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From Freeman’s Journal – Dublin, 16 February 1877

Also, I had wondered why James Beatty didn’t set up as a Draper in Melbourne and instead worked in clerical or travelling salesman jobs. Well he evidently wasn’t such a great businessman since his Ballina drapery business went broke! This fire sale was just a couple of months before Archie’s birth. I wondered why Archie was born at Kinard Lodge and not in Arran street, Ballina like his siblings James and Emma.

Anyway, on the far side of the world nobody knew  (until now!) about illegitimate births or bankruptcies. Hannah was the widowed Mrs. Paget for the rest of her life and she and her eldest son James Paget both bought farms at Baddaginnie in Victoria while James Beatty and Marcella (nee Paget) were friends of the bishop in South Yarra, Victoria and all highly respectable.

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From Belfast News-Letter late July 1861

I did find out something that might be a good lead on the elusive Beatty ancestors though. At about the same time as our g grandfather James Beatty the draper (who was born somewhere in county Fermanagh) appeared on the record in Ballina, Mayo, an Archibald Beatty, merchant, appeared there too. Of course his name (Archibald) made me wonder if they were related even apart from their sudden appearance in Ballina at about the same time. The earliest mention of this Archibald in any source I’ve found so far was 1861 and he isn’t mentioned in connection with Ballina after 1871 and I don’t know where he went. [Update Apr 2015: He moved to Liverpool in 1874]. Anyway, look at this notice about the birth of his daughter in 1861. It would have been more useful if it had named either his wife or daughter, but it does have three VERY interesting words “late of Lisnaskea”. Where is Lisnaskea I wondered? Have you already guessed? It’s in County Fermanagh 🙂 The plot thickens!

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This is a bit weird. After much fiddling I worked out how to get the photo out of Marcella’s locket. Naturally it contains a photo of her husband James Beatty which you can now see under “Image gallery– Beatty, James and family”. The tiny photo may have been taken the same day as our earliest photo of him (around 1873?) as he appears to be wearing the same suit. The locket itself is decorated with the intertwined letters AEI (Amity, Eternity and Infinity) in decorative red and white enamel, the enamel now much damaged. It has a case which was obviously made to fit it, which is labelled “Waterhouse & Compy, The Queen’s Jewellers, Dublin”. Presumably it came from Ireland with the family in 1878. I wonder if it was an engagement or wedding present from James to Marcella? The weird thing is this photo (here very much enlarged) of a very young man – a boy perhaps – which was hidden underneath James in the locket. Who the heck is this?Image

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