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"A Boy from Bridgeport" identified by Dianna Hammond as John Willis Beattie

   I have arrived at the end of January, so it’s time to check in and see how things are going.

Getting organized is never as easy as it sounds.  I have cleared up some of my piles, but there are more to go through.  I’ve gotten better at clearing my desktop, at least every other day, of accumulated files.  Did not do as well with clearing my emails every day, but did clear a couple of hundred emails from my inbox.  I still chased a few of those BSO’s.  I also got a few of the items that had been hanging out on my personal to do list completed.  The big one…I completed the current phase of my Johnston research by finalizing the sketch on Matilda (Tilly or Jennie) Johnston, the half sister of the four children of James Johnston and Unknown. (See the sketch below.)  Matilda was the only daughter of James Johnston and his second wife, Jane Johnston.  Researchers of this James Johnston take note…Jane was not the mother of Eliza, Margaret, Rachel and William, even though you might see her listed in some of the family trees online!  All and all, I’d give myself about a 70% for my first month. How did you do?

   One of the major sources for information on Matilda was newspaper articles.  She married Edward Beatty/Beattie in Ireland in 1877 and her first three children, John Willis, Sarah Jane and William Benard were born there. (  Matilda, Edward and their two sons emigrated in 1887 to Bridgeport, Connecticut where her final two children, Emily Elizabeth and Loretta Evelyn, were born. I always ask the question, why a person emigrate to a specific location?  It seems clear in this case that Matilda had cousins in Bridgeport, although there is not much information on any interactions with the cousins. The only connection was a photograph in my great grandmother's photo album of John Willis.  There were also some other Beatty families in Bridgeport, but I haven’t been able to connect them yet.  As you will see, if you read the sketch, it was a hard life for Matilda.  Edward died in 1901 and she remarried in 1902.  The daughter who remained in Ireland joined the family in 1898 but was blinded in a fire at her workplace in 1899.  Her two youngest girls ended up being taken in by other (non related) families and Matilda died in a poor hospital for tuberculosis patients in 1910. Most of these details came out through newspaper articles at

   My initial connection was through a descendant of Matilda’s who identified a picture on my website of a boy in Bridgeport Connecticut. She had the same picture and was able to tell me that it was John Willis Beatty, the oldest son of Matilda and Edward and that he died in 1905. Named after his grandfather, also John Willis, it allowed me to make another connection.  Matilda’s husband Edward, was the brother of Margaret Beatty, the first wife of James Mackey.  James second married Rachel Johnston, my 2x great grandmother.  Another reason to search everyone in the family, and not just your direct ancestor.

   It’s important to reassess your plan and adjust as necessary.  My plan was to move on to the Moughty family in February.  I’ve decided to put that off, probably until July.  February is a busy month…taxes!  My plan is to have all of my tax preparation done by the end of the month when our oldest daughter is coming for a visit.  One other thing I didn’t account for in my original plan is education.  There are a number of webinars I want to view, primarily on DNA and AI at Legacy Webinars.  I’ve had a subscription for two years and haven’t completed any yet.   I also signed up for a DNA course with Diahan Southard in the fall which I haven’t completed. Hopefully I can get to those in February.

   Speaking of education opportunities, RootsTech is scheduled from February 29th to March 2nd.  Even if you can’s make it to Salt Lake City, you can sign up for free for the Virtual Conference.  Last year I was disappointed with the Irish lectures (quantity not quality), but this year there are 11 new Irish themed lectures. In addition, there are lectures going back to 2021 to view for free.  Check it out.

Finally, I had the privilege of being interviewed by Drew Smith for the Genealogy Connection, Episode #84.  It is now online here.

Good Luck with your plans and Happy Hunting!


Jennie Matilda (Tilly) Johnston Beattie/Deasey

Daughter of James Johnston and Jane Johnston

7. Jennie Matilda (Tilly) Johnston  (James2, James1). Born abt 1859 at Unshinagh, Rossinver, Leitrim, Ireland, her approximate birth date was taken from her age at marriage {endnote 1}, given as 18.  There are no civil registrations or church records for baptisms or burials extant for that time period and place.    Her age (57) on her death record also points to 1859 as her year of birth.  She died in Bridgeport, Fairfield, Connecticut, on 8 Jun 1910; she was 51 and was buried in Lakeview Cemetery, Bridgeport, Fairfield, Connecticut. {endnote 2} Jennie Matilda was the daughter of James Johnston of Unshinagh and Jane Johnston of Aghanlish, Rossinver, Leitrim.  She was found in various records listed as Matilda, Tillie or Jennie.  Edward’s surname was found as both Beatty or Beattie on various records both in Ireland and the United States.

     On 27 Dec 1877 when Jennie Matilda (Tilly) was 18, she first married Edward Beattie in Rossinver Parish Church (COI). Edward was the son of John Willis Beatty/Beattie (abt 1805-16 Feb 1882) & possibly Elizabeth (abt 1811-1883). [Elizabeth Beatty who died in 1883 in Knocknashangan appears to be the widow of John Willis who died in 1882.  Since there is no birth or baptismal record for Edward, It is unknown if she is the mother of Edward or a second marriage.] Edward was born  abt 1844 in County Fermanagh, Ireland and died in Bridgeport, Fairfield, Connecticut, on 30 Apr 1901.  Edward Beattie was the brother of Margaret Beatty, the first wife of James Mackey, who second married Rachel Johnston (Matilda’s half sister).

Edward Beattie and Matilda  had the following children:

32 i. John Willis Beatty (9 Apr 1879-18 Feb 1905)

33 ii. Sarah Jane Beatty (7 Aug 1880-10 Mar 1971)

34 iii. William Benard Beatty (1 Jan 1883-28 Jun 1963)

35 iv. Emily Elizabeth Beattie (21 Jun 1893-5 Jun 1981)

36 v. Loretta Evelyn Beattie (1 Mar 1898-13 Dec 1914)

     The births of the first three children of Edward and Matilda were recorded in Ballyshannon Registration District which covered parts of Leitrim, Donegal and Fermanagh. Attempting to identify the townland where Edward and Matilda lived from their marriage until their emigration was based on the location of the births of the children born in Ireland.  The birth registration of both John Willis and Sarah Jane appears to indicate “Tullyderravreagh” in the Superintendent Registrar’s District of Ballyshannon, the Registrar’s District of Church Hill in the County of Fermanagh.  There does not appear to be a townland in the Church Hill Registrar’s District with that name. Even dropping the Tully and using just Derravreagh produced no results on or with just a Google search.  There is a Tully in the Church Hill District in the Civil Parish of Inishmacsaint. The birth registration for William lists Rogagh (which might be Roogagh) also in the Registrar’s District of Church Hill.  There is a Roogagh Waterfall just outside of Garrison, a townland in the Civil Parish of Devenish, but in the Registrar’s District of Belleek. Edward Beatty’s father, John Willis Beatty was listed in Griffith’s Valuation {endnote 3} in the townland of Knocknashangan in Devenish Civil Parish and Registrar’s District of Belleek.

     Matilda and Edward Beatty emigrated aboard the Circassian, departing Molville, Donegal and arriving in New York on 27 April 1887.{endnote 4}  They traveled with Wm and John W, leaving Sarah with family in Ireland.  Sarah joined the family in Bridgeport, Connecticut on  27 Apr 1898 {endnote 5} having traveled from Londonderry on the Anchoria. The last two children, Emily and Loretta were born in Bridgeport.

     John Willis Beattie, the oldest son, named after his paternal grandfather, left home in 1898.  A newspaper article, titled “John Beattie Gone” indicated he took a train to head west.  I didn’t find any follow-up articles, but he clearly returned as he appeared in the 1900 census {endnote 5} and died in Bridgeport in 1905 {endnote 6}.

     Sarah Beatty lost her sight in a fire in 1899 {endnote 7}.  The article titled, “Miss Beatty May Lose Her Sight” states that she was burned in a paper box factory fire in New Haven on August 19th and her injuries were more serious that first thought. Sarah was enumerated in the 1900 census {endnote 8} as Sadie Beattie, age 18, a patient at the Connecticut Institute and Industrial Home for the Blind.

     In the 1900 census{endnote 8}, Matilda and Edward were living in Bridgeport with 4 of their children.  Matilda stated she had 13 children with 9 still living.  Only five have been identified. There were 10 births to Beatty/Beattie in Ballyshannon between 1877 and 1886 and there were only the three known children of Matilda and Edward in that timeframe.  There were 9 deaths in that time period, only 1 listed with the age of “0,” but not a child of Edward and Matilda.

     Edward Beatty died on 30 April 1901{endnote 10} and is buried in Lakeview Cemetery, Bridgeport, Fairfield, Connecticut.

     On 29 Sep 1902 {endnote 11} when Jennie Matilda (Tilly) was 43, she second married Timothy Deasey/Dacey, son of Timothy Deasey & Esther, in Port Chester, Westchester, New York. Timothy was born on 22 Dec 1878 in Middletown, Middlesex, Connecticut. Timothy died in New Haven, Connecticut, on 13 Jul 1946; he was 67. He was buried in St. Michael’s Cemetery, Stratford, Fairfield, Connecticut.

     On the marriage license {endnote 12} for her second marriage, Matilda named her mother as Jane Graham.  Although there is no birth record for Matilda in Ireland (her birth pre-dates civil registration and no church records survive) there was a marriage record for James Johnston (Matilda’s father) and Jane Johnston {endnote 13}.  James Johnston appeared to have died prior to 1862 when Jane replaced him as the occupant of the property in Unshinagh {endnote 14}. Matilda likely lived there with her mother until her marriage to Edward in 1877.  On her marriage certificate her address was listed as Inchenagh [sic] and William (her half brother) was listed as a witness.   Unfortunately, the mother’s name was not recorded on an Irish marriage record.

     What is known about Matilda’s life between 1900 and 1910 comes mostly from newspaper articles.  Daughter Emily went to live with her sister, Sarah (Beattie) Reeves in Southington, Connecticut to provide assistance.  In October of 1903 it was discovered that Emily had been severely abused by her sister, {endnote 15} including being burned with a flat iron. The article mentioned that her father was dead and her mother had re-married and was living in Bridgeport.  In a hearing a few days later, it was stated that her mother would come for her and take care of her, {endnote 16}  however, in a later article it was stated that Mrs. Jennie M Decay [sic] sent a letter to the Probate Court “releasing all claims upon her.” {endnote 17}   Emily was given over to the custody of Mrs. Pollard, the Superintendent of Schools and appeared in the household of Thomas Pollard in the 1910 census {endnote 18} in Quincy, Massachusetts..   

     In the 1910 Census {endnote 19}  for Bridgeport, Connecticut, Timothy Dacey is enumerated as a 35 year old widower, a laborer boarding at 56 Chapel Street.  The official date of record for this census is 15 April 1910 (so not yet a widower).  Matilda  (Jennie) was also enumerated in the 1910 census  {endnote 20}  as an inmate at the Lakeview Home where she died on 8 Jun 1910.  There is no actual date on the census page with Timothy and the house numbers are not chronological, so it’s possible that this information was collected at a later date.

     It is unknown how long Matilda “Jennie” Dacey was in the Lakeview Home.  The articles regarding a legal case that appeared in The Bridgeport Evening Farmer, appear after Matilda’s death.  The principals in the lawsuit  {endnote 21}  were a Miss Agnes Crystal, who was in charge of the women’s ward of the Hospital and a Miss Frances Ladd, a visiting nurse who alleged negligence against Miss Crystal.  It was mentioned that Miss Ladd had visited Mrs. Dacey for a few months and had taken her little daughter to bring up.  This would have been Loretta Evelyn Beattie, the youngest daughter of Matilda and Edward Beattie. Evylin Beattie appears in the household of a Sarah E. Perkins as a border and is enumerated just below Frances Ladd.  {endnote 22}  

Note: Names appear with various spellings as they occurred in the records.


1. “Civil Registration,” Marriage, Ireland, Digital Image,,Edward Beattie and Tillie Johnston, 27 December 1877, Parish Church of Rossinver (by license), Leitrim, Ireland, 1877 Ballyshannon, Group Registration ID 2911278.

2. “FindAGrave,”, Jennie Matilda “Tillie” Johnston Beattie/Dacey-Deasey, Memorial ID 28514788, Permit 4766.

3. “Griffith’s Valuation,” database online, AskAboutIreland, John Willis Beatty, OS Map #7, Knocknashangan, Devenish, Fermanagh.

4. “New York, Passenger Lists, 1820-1957,” [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2010., Passenger Lists of Vessels Arriving at New York, New York, 1820-1897. Microfilm Publication M237, 675 rolls. NAI: 6256867. Records of the U.S. Customs Service, Record Group 36. National Archives at Washington, D.C. 27 Apr 1887 Beatty, Edward, Mrs., Wm and Jno W arriving New York on Circassia from Moville, Ireland, Lines 802-805.

5. “New York, Passenger Lists, 1820-1957,” [database on-line]. 27 Apr 1898 New York, Sarah Beattie (17) aboard the Anchoria List HH, Line 12.

6. “1900 United States Federal Census,” [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations Inc, 2004., United States of America, Bureau of the Census. Twelfth Census of the United States, 1900. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 1900. T623, 1854 rolls. Household of Edward Beattie Household, Bridgeport, Fairfield, Connecticut, ED 49, Sheet 2B, 1825 Seaview Ave, Family 35, Line 52.

7. “John W. Beattie,” Certificate of Death, Bridgeport, Connecticut, 18 Feb 1905, Certificate 45, Photocopy of Original, Sent by Dianna Hammond 30 Dec 1905 <>, 20 June 2002.

8., 1899-8-30 "Miss Beatty May Lose Her Sight" Hartford Courant, p 3.

9. “1900 United States Federal Census,” Sadie Beatty, Connecticut Institute and Industrial Home for the Blind, Hartford, Connecticut, ED 177 Sheet 11A, Line 23.

10. “1900 United States Federal Census,” Household of Edward Beattie Household, Bridgeport, Fairfield, Connecticut, ED 49, Sheet 2B, 1825 Seaview Ave, Family 35, Line 52.

11. “FindAGrave, Edward Beattie, Lakeview Cemetery, Bridgeport, Fairfield, Connecticut, Memorial 7055204.

12. “New York State, Marriage Index 1881-1967,”, New York State Marriage Index, New York State Department of Health, Albany, NY. 1902 Port Chester, Timothy Deasey and Jennie Matilda Johnston Beatty, Certificate #18938.

13. 1902-9-29 Marriage of Timothy Deasey and Matilda Beattie, 29 September 1902, Registered Number 2366 (written) 18938 (Stamped), Port Chester, Westchester, New York Image sent by Diana Hammond.

14. “Civil Registration,” Marriage, Ireland, Digital Image, 1858 Ballyshannon, James Johnston and Jane Johnston Marriage, Parish Church of Rossinver (Church of Ireland), Group Registration ID 3280393.

15. “Revision Books,” Republic of Ireland, Valuation Office, Dublin, Ireland.  Viewed May, 2022, Leitrim, Kinlough DED, Unshinagh townland. 1862, Jane Johnston, occupier, property 12.

16.,; 1903-10-20 "Torture of Child,” The Meriden Daily Journal, p 1.

17.,; The Meriden Record-Journal, p. 3 1903-10-22  "Truant Officer Here," Meriden CT, from Diana Hammond.

18.,; 1903-10-22  The Meriden Daily Journal, p. 3 “Southington News, The case of Emily Beattie…”

19. 1910 U.S. Census, Population Schedule, [database on-line] Provo, UT, National Archives Micropublication; T623. 1910 Quincy, Emily Beattie, in the Household of Thomas Pollard (50) ED 1140, Sheet 17A, Line 30.

20. 1910 U.S. Census, Population Schedule, [database on-line] Provo, UT, National Archives Micropublication; T623. Timothy Dacey, Lodger, Bridgeport 56 Chapel Street ED 23 Sheet 23B Line 92.

21. 1910 U.S. Census, Population Schedule, [database on-line] Provo, UT, National Archives Micropublication; T623. Jennie Daecy [sic], inmate,  Lakeview Home (Poor Farm),  Bridgeport, Fairfield, Connecticut, ED 44, Sheet 8A, Line 35.

22. 1910, 7-10,,; “Nurses in Wordy Battle in Charities Board Hearing,” The Bridgeport Evening Farmer,  p. 3.

23. 1910 U.S. Census, Population Schedule, [database on-line] Provo, UT, National Archives Micropublication; T623. Evylin [sic] Beatty, Boarder, Bridgeport, Fairfield, Connecticut, ED 4, Sheet 7A, Line 30.

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Hi Donna,

There is a John Willis Beatty listed in Griffith’s Valuation in Tullgerravra, Boho, Fermanagh in 1862, Plot 2, Herd's Office and land.


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Hi Donna,

I entered Tullyderravreagh into and it suggested Tullygerravra

Then at gives Tullygerravra, Fermanagh, Boho, Ballyshannon, Church Hill. Worth exploring further?

All the best.

Dale Fogarty

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