Magees of The Glens, Antrim

#1
Looking for relatives of Magee family, history, or photographs. Patrick J Magee born 15 August 1862 came to America in 1880 and later became a police officer in Chicago, IL. His father was Charles Joseph Magee, 1822-1910 and his mother was Catherine McLaughlin, 1824-1891. Parents of Charles were Alexander Magee 1790-1864 mother Catherine Lynn 1799-1859. Siblings of Patrick include Rose Magee born in Cushendun in 1863. Please contact me if you have any information at all. Thank you! Kathy_Kavanagh@yahoo.com
 
#2
I looked in the statutory records for deaths for Catherine Magee in 1891 and also for Charles in 1910, but did not find either in the Ballycastle registration area (which includes Cushendun). Likewise I can’t see a Charles Magee in the 1901 census of Ireland that fits. What’s your source for this information, and what was Charles occupation?

I did find Rose’s baptism on 10th July 1863 in the Layde RC records:

https://registers.nli.ie/registers/vtls000633075#page/21/mode/1up

Sponsors were Patrick Magee and Ann McGloughlin. I didn’t find Patrick’s baptism but I only looked at 1862. You might want to scan the records to see if he was baptised earlier than that. There were no townlands given in those baptism records so that makes it tricky establishing where the family lived, other than it was within that parish. There’s a couple of households in Unshinagh that loosely fit some of your information. Griffiths Valuation for 1861 lists a Charles Magee on plot 5 in Unshinagh. Next door on plot 6 was Alexander Magee. So likely related.

Alexander’s farm passes to Patrick Magee in 1889 (according to the Valuation revision records). I think Patrick was born c 1830 and died 8.1.1896. His wife was Ann McLoughlin b c 1840. (So they may be the sponsors for Rose’s baptism in 1863). This looks to be that family in the 1901 census:

http://www.census.nationalarchives.ie/pages/1901/Antrim/Glendun/Unshanagh/923575/

Alexander died 26.12.1887 aged 99. According to the death cert he was still married, but I can’t find a death for any wife between then and the 1901 census. The informant for his death was his son Alexander.

Same household in 1911:

http://www.census.nationalarchives.ie/pages/1911/Antrim/Glendun/Unshanagh/114813/

Charles’ farm passes to Alexander Magee in 1882 and then to Patrick in 1884. However in the 1901 census it appears to be occupied by Alexander (absent on census night) and his wife Mary Dinsmore, plus their children. Alexander married Mary Dinsmore on 30.5.1886 and that marriage cert gives his age as 21, so born c 1865. His father was named Patrick. So that might be Patrick b c 1830, who appears to be the son of Alexander born c 1788.

1901 census:

http://www.census.nationalarchives.ie/pages/1901/Antrim/Glendun/Unshanagh/923576/

1911 census:

http://www.census.nationalarchives.ie/pages/1911/Antrim/Glendun/Unshanagh/114815/

3 probate abstracts from the PRONI wills site:

Probate of the Will of Patrick McGee late of Unshinagh County Antrim Farmer who died 15 November 1916 granted at Belfast to Charles O'Neill Farmer.

Magee otherwise McGee Alexander of Unshanagh Glendun county Antrim farmer died 22 December 1934 Probate Belfast 16 July to James Magee farmer. Effects £69.

McGee otherwise Magee Joseph of Unshanagh Cushendun county Antrim farmer died 9 November 1957 Administration W/A Belfast 14 July to Joseph Magee farmer. Effects £440.

The probate files themselves are not on-line but should be in PRONI in paper format.

Hopefully that may give you some assistance.
 
#3
Elwyn, Thank you for your kind and experienced help! That's just amazing. Charles and his wife Catherine (the parents of Patrick) came over to America as well, and died in Chicago. It sounds like most of the family came over at that time. I think I discovered why. I just found out that in 1880, Ulster was hard hit with a famine that was almost as bad as the Great Famine earlier. That is when Patrick came. I never knew that. And I had puzzled over why he and his family came then, when they had survived the Great Famine. The other side of my family, the Kavanaghs, came in 1850.

I know for a fact Patrick is from Glendun because when he applied for his job as a police officer, he stated he was from Glendun. So lucky to find that little piece of information from his retirement records! I don't know when Charles and his wife Catherine came over. I will have to do some more research on them. I just started on this side of the family. But I am thrilled knowing that I have narrowed it down to this area. And such a gorgeous place! It looks like heaven on earth. Really. I have always wanted to go to Ireland, but when I saw Antrim, especially the Glens, I know I have to make it there no matter what. I will have to go back and check the family tree that I have at this point. Patrick, son of Alexander is probably a new name to me.

I do have one piece of vague memory of my grandmother telling me that her father Patrick (and his family) used to talk about how the Protestants kept destroying the bridge that they used to use. They were Catholic, so of course, that didn't sit well. But I got the impression that it must have been a small bridge, or else they couldn't keep rebuilding it....

Thank you again Elwyn! This is just a wonderful Christmas gift. All the best to you, Kathy Kavanagh
 
#4
Kathy,

Re the famine, Antrim wasn’t as badly affected as other parts of Ireland. Your family were farmers, and most farmers did OK in the famine. They grew a variety of crops, eg oats, barley, hay, and usually kept a few sheep and cattle. Their potatoes would be blighted undoubtedly but they had these other crops and resources to rely on. It was labourers who were worst affected in the famine because they were one crop dependent, normally only growing potatoes, on a small piece of land beside their cottage. Even then, in Antrim they had linen weaving money to fall back on, and that brought in a bit of cash which kept most going. Though there were some famine deaths in Antrim it wasn’t on the same scale as elsewhere in Ireland. In the years 1841 – 1851, the population of Ireland as a whole fell by 20%, but in Co Antrim it only fell by 2%. But as I say, your family were farmers and so wouldn’t have been so badly affected.

I think there may be a different reason for migrating. The tradition in Ireland is for the farm to pass to the eldest son. The other sons have to make their own way in the world, and with Ireland not really benefitting from the industrial revolution (having no natural resources such as iron, coal, oil etc) there were no other jobs. So folk had to migrate. People were pouring out of Ireland all through the 1800s due to lack of work. All the famine did was speed it up a bit. Note that at least 2 Magees stayed farming in Unshanagh. (They must have been eldest sons, I would think). If the famine was the main factor driving folk out, they’d all have gone surely? I think the reason your family left was simply they had no farm to inherit, and no other work. That was a pretty common reason for leaving.

The land in Unshanagh is half way up the Glen and goes up the side of a hill which forms part of the Antrim plateau. It’d be of mixed quality. Some at the top of the hill would just be moorland but some would be reasonable quality. The 2 farms were 41 and 59 acres in size. They should have made a reasonable living from that. (And folk are still farming there today, which tells you it can’t be too bad). They might even be Magees. You should check.
 
#5
Kathy,

Re the famine, Antrim wasn’t as badly affected as other parts of Ireland. Your family were farmers, and most farmers did OK in the famine. They grew a variety of crops, eg oats, barley, hay, and usually kept a few sheep and cattle. Their potatoes would be blighted undoubtedly but they had these other crops and resources to rely on. It was labourers who were worst affected in the famine because they were one crop dependent, normally only growing potatoes, on a small piece of land beside their cottage. Even then, in Antrim they had linen weaving money to fall back on, and that brought in a bit of cash which kept most going. Though there were some famine deaths in Antrim it wasn’t on the same scale as elsewhere in Ireland. In the years 1841 – 1851, the population of Ireland as a whole fell by 20%, but in Co Antrim it only fell by 2%. But as I say, your family were farmers and so wouldn’t have been so badly affected.

I think there may be a different reason for migrating. The tradition in Ireland is for the farm to pass to the eldest son. The other sons have to make their own way in the world, and with Ireland not really benefitting from the industrial revolution (having no natural resources such as iron, coal, oil etc) there were no other jobs. So folk had to migrate. People were pouring out of Ireland all through the 1800s due to lack of work. All the famine did was speed it up a bit. Note that at least 2 Magees stayed farming in Unshanagh. (They must have been eldest sons, I would think). If the famine was the main factor driving folk out, they’d all have gone surely? I think the reason your family left was simply they had no farm to inherit, and no other work. That was a pretty common reason for leaving.

The land in Unshanagh is half way up the Glen and goes up the side of a hill which forms part of the Antrim plateau. It’d be of mixed quality. Some at the top of the hill would just be moorland but some would be reasonable quality. The 2 farms were 41 and 59 acres in size. They should have made a reasonable living from that. (And folk are still farming there today, which tells you it can’t be too bad). They might even be Magees. You should check.
Elwyn,

You must be a genealogy goddess to have sorted all that out so quickly. I will be at it for days, but it appears that you have figured out some cousins for me. Its so good to have such local knowledge and assistance. I will report back to you when I sort it out. Again, thank you for your kindness. I thought you might enjoy this link (I hope it works- it is an image taken of a Patrick Magee of Glendun, Antrim Ireland that is in the Museum of Fine arts in Houston. It was taken in the last 20 or 30 years, so perhaps I do have relatives still there. It turned up on a google search.
Kathy

https://goo.gl/images/BJGEGK
 
#6
You have dozens, maybe hundreds, of Magee relatives in the Glens area. The farms mentioned above in the townland of Unshanagh are still in Magee hands. The current owner being Brendan Magee. He is the son of the Patrick in your photography and is one in a family of more than a dozen siblings.
 
#7
Dear Postpm, Thank you for telling me this! I am fairly certain that this is my family, but the number of Magees in Ireland is overwhelming. Even in the Glens area. If by some chance you actually know Brendan Magee and his family I would love to speak with him and show him my ancestry chart. Maybe he could verify whether in fact I have found the right family. I actually feel more confident that Elwyn found this information and sent me in this direction. The one thing that I am absolutely certain of is that I am a direct descendent of Patrick Magee, born in 1862. He was my great grandfather, although I never met him. Thank you for sharing this with me. Respectfully, Kathy Kavanagh
 
#8
Kathy,
What complicates matters and makes lineages difficult to disentangle is that there were several related Magee families living in close proximity to each other in the townlands of Glendun. The details from the 1911 census referred to above relate to the family of Jim Magee (to cite the occupant of my generation) whereas I'm pretty certain you belong to the Joe Magee line (instancing again the occupant of my generation); the Patrick in your photograph is Joe's son. These two Magee farms are, as far as I know, now united as the above Jim was unmarried and had no direct heirs. Brendan, a grandson of Joe Magee, farms both. There was one further Magee family in the townland of Clochy West further up the Glen above Unshinagh (now died out) to which I am related, my great grandmother being a Peggy Magee. Magees fought with the local titular family of McDonnells (Lord Antrim) in the Battle of Orra (1583) in their struggle for local supremacy with the previously dominant McQuillans and were rewarded with the grant of a number of land holdings in the Glendun area. To complicate your pursuit of relatives still further Magees historically are intermarried with a large number of local families, McCurdys, McCormicks, McCrystals, McMullans, Dinsmores, O'Connors, Murrays, McAlisters, etc., etc. If I were to add to this all the additional connections of the most recent generation I would be writing for a long time!
 
#9
Dear postpm, Well it sounds to me like we are probably related. That's wonderful! I should clarify that the picture I posted of Patrick Magee was a picture I found on the internet, only because it was a Magee from the Glens and his name was Patrick, not because I knew that I was related. I thought it might help me connect with the Magees, and perhaps they didn't know that it was in a museum. What I can do is send you a picture of my great grandfather Patrick Magee, born 1862 in Glendun. If you bear with me, I can tell you who came to Chicago from the family around the same time, and perhaps that can tell you which line we are talking about. We have a lot of Charles and Patricks, but also Josephs.

My great grandfather was Patrick J Magee, born 1862, his father was Charles Joseph Magee born 1822. Charles Joseph married Catherine McLaughlin and had Ellen? Charles (1855) Catherine (1860) Patrick (1862) Rose (1863) Alexander (1865) Catherine McLaughlin (1867) Catherine (1867) Mary (1868) and possibly a Frances G. and a Michael G. after that. Patrick came over about 1880 and it appears that most of the family came with him and settled in the Chicago area.

Charles Joseph and his wife Catherine McLaughlin came over and died in Chicago. He left behind a brother Patrick who I believe died in Ireland in about 1896. I believe his father Alexander, died around 1887 in Ireland.

Charles Joseph (1822) was the son of Alexander Magee (born about 1788) and Catherine Lynn (born about 1799). That's as far as I have gotten.

You are more than welcome to check my family tree on ancestry.com, its listed under Kathleen Kavanagh Family Tree. Fair warning: I have multiple Magees that I am trying to sort out, so the tree is sort of screwed up. I am working on correcting it now. One attached photo is of my Great-grandfather Patrick J. Magee who was a policeman in Chicago. The other one is of Charles Magee, three generations that I obtained off of ancestry.com. (Its not clear to me whether the oldest Charles in the picture was the brother or the father of my great grandfather ) It was taken in the Chicago area presumably, so they had probably been here for awhile. Thank you so much for all your information about the Magees. I truly appreciate it! And my family is so excited that we have narrowed it down to the Glens. Such a beautiful area.

All the best,
Kathy Kavanagh
 

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#10
Kathy,

You have listed the children born to Charles & Catherine. 1864 is when birth registration began in Ireland, and those records are on-line free on the irishgenealogy site. You thought Charles & Catherine might have had a son Michael. They did. He was born 16.12.1865 at Unshanagh, so that places your family clearly in that townland at that date:

https://civilrecords.irishgenealogy...s/birth_returns/births_1865/03555/2308936.pdf

I looked for Alexander, the 2 Catherines and Frances but did not find them.
 
#11
Elwyn, You do love a puzzle don't you? I really appreciate the help! I have been trying to sort out my Magees on ancestry. I got so excited and started adding them one night when I was really tired, and realized that I had made multiples of many of the Magees (which is easy to do on that program if you aren't careful.) My chart turned into a big mess and I have been trying to clean it up since then. As soon as I have it all cleaned up again, I will get back to it. But that is great news, because that verifies that it is the right family in that townland! Thank you so much!

Kathy
 
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