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Posts Tagged ‘Genealogy’

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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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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I’ve finally written up what I’ve discovered about our Paget ancestors. It’s now the first chapter of “The story”. See the link in the right hand column. It’s really just a first go, and, like the rest of the story I’ll keep updating it as I learn more. One thing that made this study fascinating for me is that, unlike other branches of our family, hardly any other family history researchers appear to be interested in the Pagets of Mayo although so much documentation about them can fairly easily be found, especially at the Registry of Deeds in Dublin. The verdict of professional historians is summed up by Donohoe (rather unkindly I think!) on page 588 of his “History of Crossmolina”, 2003:

The Pagets were a minor family who did not figure much in the political and social life in North Mayo. They were Justices of the Peace, sat on the Bench and served in the army. Their daughters married local landowners but the family died out.

Has this branch of the Pagets died out? In terms of descendants with the Paget surname I think they have, even in Australia. There are dozens of descendants in the Paget Bourke and Paget Beatty and other lines, but no actual Pagets that I know of who are descended from the first Thomas Paget of Knockglass. If you know better please contact me.

We believed we were of Irish descent and were taught how to pronounce “Enniscrone” with an Irish accent, but how Irish were the Pagets or even the Beattys? As far as the real Irish are concerned the Pagets were really English, part of the hated landlord class. Does this contribute to the lack of interest in them? Were they kind or heartless landlords? I can’t tell, although I was told in Enniscrone that the Ormes (closely related to the Pagets) were considered to be reasonably good landlords. It must be nicer to discover ancestors you can be unreservedly proud of though such as First Fleet convicts 🙂

There are lots of things I’d like to add to the Paget chapter such as maps of Knockglass and Kinard from the 1840s, but I can’t link directly to the Griffith’s Valuation maps of the estates themselves and am prevented by copyright from displaying them. Maybe at some stage I’ll draw my own! Also I’ve heard from people who lived at both Kinard and Knockglass, the former especially with wonderful accounts of life there in the mid 20th century some details of which can’t have changed all that much since the Pagets lived there. I might add some of that eventually if my sources agree.

There are tantalizing unresolved issues in this story which I could spend the whole rest of my life trying to tease out. Much more is to be discovered at the Registry of Deeds for example and if there’s a lawyer in the family I’d love to have some help working out what those deeds are actually saying in among all the verbiage.

Now for the Beatty part of our Irish story. They will probably be equally fresh fields but much harder work.

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I’ve just spent days nutting through all the information I gathered in Dublin and am confident that I have figured out the structure of the Paget family in Mayo. It’s lucky that there were so many documents from all the Pagets called Thomas, Robert or James at the Registry of Deeds where the preamble lays out the residence of each at a precise date and the relationships between them. I’m also very grateful to the first Thomas Paget of Knockglass for marrying Margaret Orme since her family history is all in Burke’s – genealogy the easy way. The result is that the Beatty side of Harold Beatty’s family tree now goes back a generation further than the Forster side – well the Orme part does anyway. Our 7th great grandfather William Orme (1614-1665) owned and resided at Hanch Hall, a serious mansion in Staffordshire.

Beatty family pedigree after Ireland visit

The other thing I worked out is our relationship to Mary Robinson (nee Bourke) the former President of Ireland. The local history experts in Enniscrone, Co. Sligo told me that we were bound to be related to her through the Bourkes of Ballina. So we are! She is our 5th cousin for those of the same generation as I am. How thrilled she would be to know that! I think we should all go and visit! 🙂 We share the first Thomas Paget of Knockglass as our 4th great grandfather.

From Thomas Paget of Knockglass (centre) up to Mary Robinson’s grandfather and down to mine.

The Bourkes of Ballina, like the Beattys, are a family where marrying one of the Pagets of Mayo made such a big impact that Paget recurs for many generations as a forename. The Mr. Paget Bourke of Ballina (our fourth cousin once removed) who Aunt Peg Beatty was referred to on her 1953 visit, was later knighted by the Queen. What a shame he was out and she didn’t get to meet him. She was such a monarchist and would have loved following his career.
Considering Donohoe in “The History of Crossmolina” (p.588) describes the Pagets as “a minor family who did not figure much in the political and social life of North Mayo…[and] died out” I think they’ve done, and are still doing pretty well!

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One mystery is completely solved. We now have a labelled copy of the 1892 photo of the whole James Beatty family, and yes, the baby is Rupert and Charles Gordon is on the far right! Also the earlier photo was apparently taken in Dublin, which narrows the window of opportunity for the family to have travelled to Australia. Many thanks to Jocelyn, grand-daughter of Alfred Joseph for permission to include her family photos here, and also to the Charles Gordon branch for photos of him.

James, Kathleen and Emma Beatty above, and Archie Beatty sitting in front, Melbourne about 1884

This is my favourite of the photos Jocelyn sent, as one of Archie’s grandsons looked so comically like him at the same age.
I’ve revamped the Beatty page of the image gallery with all the new photos, and rewritten the relevant parts of the chapter of the story “The Beattys out of Ireland“. I haven’t uploaded the revamped family tree yet but will get there. I think I’ll write a new chapter about the Pagets next.
It would be wonderful if we could get in touch with the heirs of the eldest Beatty, James Paget (Jim) as apparently they have Marcella’s own Bible and the 1835 document appointing her father James Paget a JP! A letter from Janet Godfrey to Pag Beatty listed Marcella’s entries in the Bible. Mostly this was information already known, but included details such as Archie having been born at Kinard Lodge in Enniscrone and Marcella Constance Isobel having died aged 4 weeks at Woolpress Farm, Baddaginnie, presumably on a visit to her grandmother. All this information is now included in The story and will be in the family tree when I update it.

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So what did I find out about the Pagets after two weeks of hard work?

Well on the male side our Paget family tree now goes back two generations further than gentleman James of Kinard Lodge (1803-72). I have discovered that he had two brothers who didn’t live to adulthood and four sisters who did, one being another Marcella. They all seem to have been born at Knockglass House.  His father James Paget of Knockglass (1749-1826) was a very conscientious father. For each of his four daughters there is a document at the Registry of Deeds making sure she will be well provided for if she should outlive her husband, and two of their marriages were important enough to be mentioned in Burke’s or Walford’s. One of the missing marriages is his own though. None of his children were born until he was fifty. The mother of two of them is Margaret Cummins, her name appearing after his in the birth entries in the Crossmolina parish register as though they are not married? Surely they must have been though for his daughters to marry so well. Was she the mother of all his children including our James?

They were a very in-bred lot. James of Knockglass’s younger brother married Catherine Orme, his Aunt Margaret had married Edward Orme, his grandmother (I think) was Margaret Orme and his youngest daughter  Marcella (the Aunt of our Marcella) married another Edward Orme. If there wasn’t an Orme to marry they even married each other. His eldest daughter Margaret Paget married her cousin Thomas Paget.

The most annoying missing marriage is the one I was determined to find between James Paget and Hannah Dempsey and I’ve looked everywhere.  James was definitely married in 1829 to Catherine Benson though they seem to have been childless.  I think I mentioned in a previous post the document I found at the Registry of Deeds dated 1849 between James Paget and Charles Benson which I (very roughly and possibly wrongly) translate as “I’ll give you a couple of Townlands if you’ll take your daughter back”. Opinions are divided among the experts I’ve consulted here as to whether James would have been allowed to marry again with a living wife. Divorce as such wasn’t recognised then though I’m told “There were ways and means”. He certainly made up for lost childbearing time with Hannah, married or not. Our Marcella was the eldest of five.

In short I found out both much more and much less than I had hoped. Half an answer leads to two more questions. No wonder people who get sucked into family history spend the rest of their lives at it! Anyway I think I’m over the Pagets for the time being. If I come back to Ireland I’ll try the Beattys.

 

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Left Dublin at 9.30 this morning in a little Suzuki hatch, switching the wipers on and off instead of the indicators. It was more annoying than usual because I then couldn’t see since it was raining. Drove through several indistinguishable counties, though the scenery got progressively more interesting through the morning with lakes and finally as I reached Co. Sligo, some actual hills. After 4 hours I reached Enniscrone, where Archie Beatty was born.

The first visit was to Kinard Lodge to take some photos.

Kinard Lodge, Enniscrone, Sligo with gate and drive

The nice lady who currently owns it, Mrs. Mary Judge was really interested in the history of the house and invited me in for a chat and showed me around. The inside was completely renovated about 30 years ago and only the windows, deeply inset in the stone walls still look Georgian but the sheds and gates outside look original.

Next I went to Kilglass Church, wrestled open the big cast iron gates and found James Paget’s tombstone. It’s now very hard to read, and like everything in Ireland, covered in moss.

Apparently the person to talk to is a Mrs Mac Hale who knows the whole history of Enniscrone. I might see her tomorrow. Some friendly locals were interested to help trace the Pagets, but quickly concluded “Oh They’d have been the Landlords. The enemy! We wouldn’t know anything about them!” only half joking after 150 years.

Enniscrone is a seaside town, the stone buildings still huddled along the original narrow road through the town,  probably little changed since the Beattys and Pagets left in 1877. The beach is very wide at low tide and pretty impressive even to Australian eyes, and this afternoon a fierce surf was rolling in from the Atlantic driven by a bitingly cold breeze.

Killala Bay from Enniscrone, cold November afternoon

I hope conditions were milder when Captain Matthew Webb swam across Killala Bay from here. According to the story he was accompanied by James Beatty’s father James. I wonder if there’s a grain of truth in that or if it’s another family myth?

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I went on a bus tour on Sunday when the Libraries and Archives were closed, and I hiked right across town via Dublin Castle and Chester Beatty Library with books and manuscripts from antiquity which should be really interesting some other time. I was thinking Dublin is a very grey place, until for a few hours the sun came out one day, and then I discovered the Registry of Deeds.

I’m glad I did so much homework before leaving because the amount of genealogical resources here is astounding. Given sufficient time here I could probably even work out the Beattys. This trip I’m focussing on the Pagets though, and since they were landholders, there’s an unexpected place that I’ve found out quite a lot more about them, although not always what I was expecting to find. All the stuff in the Registry of Deeds escaped the Four Courts fire of 1922 which destroyed so many Irish records.  It’s mostly about Land purchase and agreements to do with property, marriage settlements etc. going back to 1705, all couched in abstruse legalese, but full of genealogical information all the same. What’s really fun is the place itself though.

The indexes to the deeds, and hand written copies of every one are in thousands of enormous books referred to as “tombstones” – giving you an idea of their size and weight. The earlier ones are written on skin of some kind, and many are leather bound, once beautiful but suffering badly from over-handling. Most have been given hessian covers with their numbers stencilled on them like wool bales. The “tombstones” are arranged in special pigeon holes all around the walls of several large rooms up to about 4 metres high. It’s all self serve once the system is explained, so you have to climb up and down tight spiral staircases and lug these things up and down ladders to consult them. You sit on high stools to read them like Uriah Heep in illustrations by Phiz. I’d have loved to take photos, but it isn’t allowed.

I’m sure now that  James Paget of Knockglass who purchased Kinard townland in 1810 is the father of Marcella’s father James Paget who built and lived in Kinard Lodge. Two documents that I’m having copied make this clear, though I still don’t know his mother ‘s name. Also, James Paget of Kinard Lodge married a Catherine Benson in 1829, who was still alive and married to him 20 years later only 4 years before Marcella was born whose mother, and the mother of all James’s children was Hannah Dempsey, not Catherine. There’s a particularly abstruse document from 1849 that might be some sort of separation agreement between James and his first wife. In 1867 James seems to be entailing Kinard to others  because he has no legitimate heirs, at a time that Marcella and at least two of her brothers were well on the scene. Not sure what to make of that yet. I could go off on a tangent researching Irish marriage and heredity laws but might shelve that issue until I get home.

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A few leads have emerged which I haven’t got around to documenting here yet but I’m too impatient to keep on waiting to get information out of Ireland page by painful page when I can see how much of  it is right there in the National Archives and National Library in Dublin. Good grief I could spend the equivalent of the airfare in dribs and drabs before getting noticeably further so why not just go? Good excuse eh? I booked the flights this morning.

We knew that James Beatty had a drapery business in Ballina, Mayo in 1876 and that his two eldest children were born in Arran street Ballina in 1874 and 1875.  No James Beatty owned or leased land in Ballina, or anywhere in Mayo for the Griffiths Valuation, but somewhere between 1857 and 1863,  No. 5 Arran street was leased by, not a James, but an ARCHIBALD Beatty.  Now there’s a familiar forename.  Slater’s directory of 1870 has the following business addresses for Beattys in Ballina:

Under Linen & Woollen Drapers & Haberdashers:  James Beatty, Knox street

Under Grocers; Leather sellers and as an Auctioneer: Archibald Beatty, Arran street

As there’s no James Beatty leasing in Arran street where his children were born, and his business is in Knox street, it’s quite likely that the family lived at 5 Arran street with Archibald. Living with extended family was quite common back then. Was Archibald James’s uncle or his brother perhaps?

My other lead is about the Pagets. One source I’ve seen recently has Kinard being originally purchased in 1810 by “James Paget of Knockglass”. Our James Paget was only 7 in 1810, so who is this James Paget? His father? His Uncle? I think at least it does prove that our Pagets are the same family as the Pagets of Knockglass, Crossmolina.

Remember the Beatty brother and three sisters who lived at Enniscrone, County Sligo, the last of them dying only 3 years before Peg Beatty went looking for our forebears there in 1953? Someone posted here who is definitely related to them, and to most of the other Beattys of Mayo and Sligo of the late 19th century and we’re exchanging information. Whether we are all related to each other or not remains to be established, but the more researchers trying to sort out the Beattys the better. Thanks for your help new contact!

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