James Berry (my great grandfather) was born on 18 Jun 1864 in Lagan Village, Ballymacarret; which is in the Belfast area. He married Mary Agnes Scott (known as Mary) on 25 Feb 1893 in the Willowfield Church of Ireland, Belfast. The witnesses at their wedding were James Stewart and Anne McIlwain. James was a labourer at the time of their marriage and living at 41 Moore Street in Belfast which was his family home. Mary was living at 44 Westmoreland Street in Belfast. It has yet to be validated if Mary was living with extended family at this address.
Mary had been engaged to a neighbouring farmer (had even purchased her wedding dress) in order to increase the size of the family farm; a practice that was very common in that era. Oral family history indicates that Mary Agnes changed her mind about the marriage and moved to Belfast to work as a midwife. Since she refused to marry the “neighbour” she was written out of the family Will. This fact is no longer family lore as it has been proven with a copy of her fathers, Richard James Scott, Will.
James parents were Robert Berry and Agnes Ann Beatty from Ballymacarret, Co. Down. Mary’s parents were Richard James Scott and Mary Agnes Hendren who were from the Stoneyford, Co. Antrim area.
Through the years James worked as a gas fitter and plumber and had his own plumbing business where he had several employees. He and many of his friends worked on the Titanic when it was being built at the Harland and Wolff shipyard in Belfast.
They had eight children; Mary (who died as an infant), Mary Agnes, Frances (who also died very young), Robert, Richard (Dick), Frances, William (Willie) and their youngest daughter was Eliza (Lizzie) Berry and my grandmother.
James and Mary lived in Belfast for the duration of their lives. Initially living at 3 Tyne Street; this is believed to be their first home together. Later at 7 Cherryvale Street, which was renamed Cherryville Street, and eventually purchasing 41 Cherryville Street where they resided from 1901 until their deaths. James died on 17 Nov 1930, and Mary passed away on 12 Aug 1939. They are both interred at St. John’s Parish Church Graveyard in Stoneyford, Co. Antrim.
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