McCartney's Journeys

Andrew McCartney - 1807

Andrew McCartney was the father of Henry McCartney. This was shown on the marriage certificate for Henry and Ann McCaw. The document listed his occupation as shoe and boot maker. Except for Henry and another son, Andrew, we do not know how many other children he may have sired.

In the 1840s a project was started to catalog all commercial interests in Ireland. The result of this project was a publication known as I. Slater's Commercial Directory of Ireland. On page 523 of the directory is the list for Portglenone. There are nine boot and shoemakers listed. Among the nine are Andrew McCartney, James McCartney and John McCartney. This tells us that Andrew was indeed in Portglenone in 1846 working as a boot and shoemaker. It does not, however, tell us what his guild rating was nor who James and John were. They could have been sons, brothers or nephews of Andrew.

Two marriage licenses have been discovered for an Andrew McCartney from which we have learned about these men: one of them is our ancestor while the other is his son (a collateral relative).

The first one of these documents was issued in 1852: On Friday, 9 July 1852, Andrew McCartney married Caroline Hanna. His age is listed as "full age", meaning that he was over 21. Her age was "minor". She would have been 20 years old or younger. His occupation is listed as "tailor". Her occupation was "dressmaker". His father was Andrew, shoemaker, and her father was John Hanna, baker. Their marriage took place in the Second Presbyterian Church and was witnessed by Thomas McKeon and Andrew's brother Henry McCartney.

Andrew and Caroline appear on an Irish Census record for Sunday, 31 March 1901. They lived on Bryan Street in Ballymena, County Antrim, not far from Portglenone. It lists Andrew's age as 68 and Caroline's as 63. From this we can guesstimate their birth years, but first we must make some assumptions.

If Andrew was born after March he would celebrate his 69th birthday in 1901. This would put his birth year at 1832, making him 21 (full age) in 1853. Since Caroline is listed as five years younger than Andrew, her birth year would be 1837. She would be 16 years old (a minor) when they married. In the possible chance that Andrew's birthday was in January, February or March, his birth year would have been 1831, making him 22 in 1853. If Caroline were born in the first quarter, her birth year would have been 1836, making her 17 when she wed.

The 1901 Census also tells us that Andrew and Caroline had three children; two daughters and one son: Martha, Caroline and Fredrick. In 1901 Martha was 35 years old. Her occupation was listed as Housework. The daughter Caroline was 25 years old and employed as a general domestic servant. Fredrick, at 22 year of age, followed in his father's footsteps as a tailor. They also had a boarder, Elizabeth Henderson, 25 years old, who was a general domestic servant, probably working in the same place as Caroline. Andrew still worked as a tailor, but his wife, Caroline no longer worked.

The second marriage certificate was issued seven months after the first, in 1853: this was also for Andrew McCartney, however this man was 50 years old and a widower. This is the father of Andrew discussed above. The certificate is for his second marriage. The bride was Esther Kelly, age 30 years, and a spinster. They were married on Tuesday, 15 February 1853 in the First Presbyterian Church of Portglenone. Andrew was a shoemaker and Esther was a servant girl. Andrew's father was William McCartney, shoemaker. Esther's father was Mathew Kelly, a carpenter. The marriage was witnessed by James McAteer and John Nesbitt.

From Andrew's age of 50, we can estimate his birth year as 1802 or 1803. If his 50th birthday was in the first six weeks of 1853, he would have been born in 1803. If, however, his 50th birthday was any time after 15 February 1852, then he would have been born in 1802. Unfortunately, we were unable to find Census records or other documentation about him.

While we don't know much about this man, we believe that at some point he lived on a large estate in Portglenone. No, he was not wealthy. He was employed there. It is possible that he worked for the Alexander family making shoes. When he retired the owner of the estate supposedly allowed him to remain living in the cottage in which he had lived for some years.

We have come across another marriage in Portglenone in the mid-1800s. Robert McCartney, born in 1828, married Isabella McKeown on 10 July 1854. They had one child that we know of; a daughter, Ellen, born in 1854.

We know that our ancestor Andrew had two sons: Henry, born about 1827 and Andrew, born about 1823. Robert was born in 1828. Could Robert be another son of Andrew? While the connection is very possible, we cannot confirm or deny this. There is a link, however circumstantial, that must be considered. Robert married Isabella McKeon. One of the witnesses at the younger Andrew's wedding was Thomas McKeon. Could Isabella have been Thomas's sister and been introduced to Robert through the his friendship with the McCartney family?

There is an Irish tradition for naming your children. The first son is named after his paternal grandfather; the first daughter after her maternal grandmother. The second son would be named after his maternal grandfather; the second daughter after her paternal grandmother. Other sons would be named after uncles and daughters would be named after aunts.

Given this method and the fact that we know the elder Andrew's father was named William, we can assume that Andrew had another son, named William after his paternal grandfather. Though we can make this assumption, we have no proof that it was so.

A Tale of a McCartney and a Horse

Like most families, there are McCartney family legends. One of which pertains to an elderly gentleman from Portglenone. I relate it here as I remember it. I was very young when I heard the story so the memory could be a bit blurred.

Two brothers, who lived in Belfast, wanted to bring their great grandfather into town to live because of his advanced age and he lived alone. At that time he was supposedly in his late eighties. The two brothers built a room on the back of one of the brothers houses in the Shankill section of Belfast and moved the old gentleman in.

As the story goes, the brothers came home one day to find a note from the old man saying that it was too noisy in the big city. He had packed his bags and was walking home to the cottage, a distance of more than twenty miles. The two brothers set out after him.

Approximately twenty miles away from Belfast the brothers came upon an accident. A runaway horse had trampled someone. When they investigated, they discovered that the victim was their great grandfather and he was, unfortunately, deceased.

Portglenone, Antrim, is about thirty or forty miles from Belfast. It also boasts a stately house, which has parklands and a 300-acre farm.

Could this story be about the older Andrew who spent most, if not all his life in Portglenone? Unfortunately, this is another situation which can neither be confirmed nor denied. Since I heard the story when I was a child, I don't remember any names or dates to give us leads. It is just an interesting story that must be consigned to the unprovable legend category.

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