“A Sea Faring Man”

The One Who Doesn’t Want To Be Found” … My Brick Wall!

Once again I am returning to Robert Berry who is my 2nd great grandfather… he’s the one who doesn’t want to be found; or maybe he does and I’m just not looking in the right places!

Robert Berry married Agnes Ann Beatty on 27 Oct 1860 at the Lisburn Cathedral. William and Sarah Ann Crothers witnessed their wedding.  The Crothers families are intertwined with my family going back many generations; a story for another day!

Robert was a twenty two year old labourer at the time of his marriage and was living in Belfast. His father and my 3rd great grandfather; was a farmer named James Berry.  There is no indication of Agnes Ann’s age in the record; however it reveals she was a weaver who resided in Clogher, Co. Antrim.  It would seem that two of my 3rd great grandfathers in this particular “crooked branch” of my tree were James; and both where farmers.

Robert Berry & Agnes Anne Beattie - Marriage Record

Robert Berry & Agnes Anne Beattie – Marriage Record

Robert & Agnes Ann had four children that I’m currently aware of, James born 1862, my great grandfather; Elizabeth born 1865; Sarah born 1866; and Robert who was born in 1869.  Considering the birth dates, there are other children that remain to be found; but for now I’m focusing on Robert and what I know, and don’t know; for sure!

The birth record for my great grandfather James verifies that the family was living in Ballymacarett, Co. Down on the 18 Jun 1864.

James Berry - Born Ballymacarrett

James Berry – Born Ballymacarrett

Marriage records for Robert’s children show that on 23 Sep 1882 his daughter Eliza’s marriage record indicated he was a farmer. On 25 Feb 1893 his son James’s marriage record shows he was a labourer; and on 3 Jul 1909 his daughter Eliza’s 2nd marriage record revealed he was a sailor.  Frustratingly, none of the marriage records divulged if Robert was living or not at the time of the marriages.

Berry Marriages

Berry Marriages

By 25 Feb 1893 the family was living at 41 Moore Street, Belfast which was confirmed by their son James marriage record.  The question is… was Robert still living then?

A snapshot in time... A Street scene from the same general area as 41 Moore Street; the Berry home.

A snapshot in time… A Street scene from the same general area as 41 Moore Street; the Berry home.

When Agnes Ann died on 27 Feb 1894 her death record listed both her home address of 41 Moore Street; and the workhouse as her last residence at time of death.

On the 28 Feb 1894 a Death Notice was published in the Belfast Telegraph by her son James (my great grandfather). It stated: “BERRY February 27, at 3 Tyne Street, Belfast. Agnes Ann Berry the remains of my mother will be removed for interment in the city Cemetery on tomorrow (Thursday) afternoon at two o’clock. Friends will please accept this intimation. James Berry”.

Death Notice

Death Notice – Agnes Ann Berry (nee Scott) Published by her son James

As her son James had the death notice published, and there was no mention of her husband Robert; this might infer that Robert was deceased by 1894? Maybe… however, her death record indicates she was “married” at the time of her death; not widowed!

Grave A492 at the Belfast City Cemetery is the burial ground of Agnes Ann, her daughter Sarah, a son in law and a granddaughter.  When Sarah was buried in Jan 1887 her death record showed that the Grave Owner was her father Robert Berry.  The next burial in the grave was that of Agnes Ann who died on Feb 1894 and showed that James Berry was the owner of the grave.  Is this another indication that Robert was no longer living?

Burial Ground - Berry Family

Burial Ground – Berry Family

Together, all of this information would intimate that Robert died between 1887 and 1894. To date I have been unable to find a death or burial record for Robert; he is not interred in the family burial ground.

Growing up my grandmother, Lizzie; told me that her grandfather was a “sea faring man who went down with is ship”.  Much of the information I have gleaned would lean toward her statement being factual.  If so… what ship, where did it sink and when?  Robert, to date; remains a man shrouded in mystery!  Where do I go from here?

Copyright (c) (2014) (https://colleenjmurdoch.worpress.com). All Rights Reserved.

About CJ Murdoch

Looking For "Dead People"! My Journey Back In Time - Tracing my ancestors and researching the counties, cities and towns where they resided. Taking a “Glimpse” into their lives and stories and the times in which they lived; all in an effort to learn about their “Dash”! “I read of a man who stood to speak at the funeral of his friend. He referred to the dates on her tombstone from the beginning – to the end. He noted that first came the date of her birth and spoke of the second with tears, but he said that what mattered most of all was the dash between those years.” I have always been interested in researching my family tree and “hanging out” in cemeteries. Like most of us... I didn't ask enough questions when elderly family were still living. Oh, what I would give for 24 hours and a camera with my ancestors… just to sit and listen! I'm researching many family lines, including: Murdoch, Wilson, Berry, Love, Scott, Beattie/Beatty, Hendren, Sweeney, Robinson and Elvin; just to name a few. My families are predominantly from counties Antrim, Donegal and Londonderry. However, it seems that many of them, both maternal and paternal lines, originally hailed from Co. Donegal. I was born and raised in Northern Ireland and now live in Ottawa, Canada, making frequent trips back home to visit with my family. Of course those visits also include treks to the many burial grounds of my ancestors. My most recent trip back home was during the summer of 2019! Looking forward to August of 2020 when I will return. If you are interested in help tracing your ancestors I’d love to hear from you!
This entry was posted in Belfast, Burial Records, Co. Antrim, Family History, Geneaology, Ireland and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to “A Sea Faring Man”

  1. Bob Graham says:


    Deceased SurnameBerry
    Deceased ForenameRobert
    Primary Beneficiary/ExecutorJames Berry
    Sec. Beneficiary/ExecutorWilliam J Brown
    Date of Death14 Mar 1890
    County of DeathFermanagh

    National Archives Dublin Calendar of Wills.


    May or may not be your man.

    Bob Graham


    • cjmurdoch says:

      Hi Bob, thank you so much for sending this! I’m vibrating I’m so excited. Obviously I will have to clarify and somehow, prove or disprove that this is MY Robert! Thank you again, I’ll keep you posted on what I find. I appreciate that you not only took the time to read my blog; but to try and find “my guy”! All the best, Colleen


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