In Search of "Adam" Beatty

In researching Beatty lineages, it isn't long before questions turn to the origins of the lineages.  A few families have conclusive evidence of an ancestry stretching back 400 years or more. For most, such evidence exists only for eight generations or less. But members of each family wonder where the roots of their family might lie.

It is generally accepted that the Beatty surname is of Scottish origin (with an intervening Scots-Irish connection in some cases). Numerous records exist of the presence of Beattys (by various spellings) in the Border region of Scotland in 1300, 1400, and 1500. This "Border" region is that part of southern Scotland adjoining England. Historically, this was an area of continuing conflict before England finally conquered Scotland and incorporated it into the British Empire.

In the early 1600s, King James I of England undertook to solve the "Irish problem" by setting up some "plantations" in what is now Northern Ireland. (This was the same King James for whom Jamestown, Virginia was named.) The plantations were populated by installing Presbyterians from Scotland and Anglicans from England.  Some families named Beatty were among the transplants from Scotland.

In the 1700s and early 1800s there was a big movement of the Presbyterians from Northern Ireland to other places, notably Pennsylvania in the American Colonies, Canada, and elsewhere. The movement was known in America as the "Scotch-Irish Migration" (also called Scots-Irish).  Other immigrants to America came directly from Scotland and England.  The term Scots-Irish does not mean that these people were Irish, although it's possible that some Scottish men could have married women of Irish descent. It generally means that these people were Scottish by way of Ireland.  They may have lived in Northern Ireland for three or more generations before moving on.

Because of the high percentage of test results in Group 01 (
See Test Results, Table II), considerable attention has been devoted to the possible geographic origin of "Adam," the reference haplotype of Group 01. It is reasonable to assume that he lived about 20-30 generations ago. Assuming 25 years per generation that means Adam lived in about 1250 to 1500.  Since this was a time prior to the relocation of Scots to Northern Ireland, we are confident that "Adam" lived in Scotland.

John Beatty has easy access to a good library and has been examining medieval Scottish records to learn more about the "Beatty" family in Scotland before 1600. This was done with the faint hope of being able to determine the identity of "Adam." While he didn't think he would be able to conclusively name the person, he thought that an examination of Scottish sources from that time - such as they are - might yield some important clues about the general whereabouts of the Beatty name in Scotland before 1600. 

His theory at the outset was that the name was heavily concentrated in Dumfriesshire, a county in southern Scotland. His research bears that out. However, he also found the name in Edinburgh, Berwick, Forfarshire, and Fifeshire; a somewhat wider distribution than he had surmised.  It suggests the possibility that the name may have more than one origin in Scotland, but we can't be sure.  The written record at this time is very spotty. It is nearly impossible to construct family groups or relationships from the records. The best we can do is find clusters of names associated with a particular place and time.

John continues to believe, based on the conclusions of Perceval-Maxwell and other historians, that a large portion of the Beattys who settled in Northern Ireland came from the Border area of Scotland. The 1630 muster roll of County Fermanagh in Ireland lists a number of Beatties in different family groups, settled on various estates.  Invariably the name appears with other surnames of Scottish Border families. It is conjectured that many of these Beatties dispersed to other counties in Ireland (likely Cavan, Leitrim, and Monaghan and perhaps also Tyrone).

John's report of his search of ancient Scottish records can be read at:

In addition, using the information contained in Johnís report and early maps of Scotland, we have attempted to plot the geographic locations of the various Beatty families in the Eskdale region of southern Scotland. The results of this effort can be found

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