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My great, great grandmother was Anna Barrett, reportedly born in county Roscommon on or around August 1830. There was no information about her parents. Her husband was James Stewart, the steward of Mote Park estate employed by Lord Crofton. He was born in Scotland around 1823 and lived in Dublin prior to coming to Roscommon. James died on 11 Sep 1865 at the age of approximately 42. Anna and her four sons emigrated to the United States in 1866, although the passenger list is yet to be found. She settled in Burlington, New Jersey, where she remained until her death 12 Feb 1913. A brother, “Carey,” had reportedly also emigrated, settling in Moorestown, New Jersey. However, no evidence of him has ever been found.

Anna’s four sons were James W. Stewart (1851-1920), John Augustine Stewart (1854-1913), Charles R. Stewart (1855-1913), and William Scott Stewart (1860-1947), my great grandfather. William is the only son for which there is birth documentation. He was baptized 9 Jun 1860 in Killian, Galway (Diocese Elphin). The parents were listed as James Stewart and Anna Barrett; the single sponsor was Anna Naughton. I have scoured Killian, as well as numerous other parishes in Galway and Roscommon for evidence of the other sons, but have found nothing so far.

The situation is complicated by the fact that the marriage appears to have been secret. James Stewart’s civil death record stated that he was a “bachelor, never married.” In addition, William’s baptism record is annotated “spurious,” although perhaps that reflected the fact that James Stewart was a Presbyterian. The family story was that Anna had been a servant, and therefore James’ parents did not approve of the marriage. This story may indicate that Anna had once been a servant at Mote Park. Her obituary states that she “removed to Galway” after her marriage.

That her sons were, in fact, of Stewart lineage has been proven by DNA analysis. One of Anna’s great, great grandsons (Stewart male line) submitted his DNA to a Stewart Y-DNA project. After extensive testing, he was confirmed to be a descendent of Alexander Stewart, 4th High Steward of Scotland (1210-1283).

My cousins and I have been trying to trace Anna Barrett and her family for several years now without a whole lot of success. Several people in Ireland have helped us, for which we are grateful. The reason for this post is to see whether there is anyone with the knowledge or expertise to develop the information further. Thanks very much—Frank Chase


Friday 3rd Aug 2018, 06:02PM

Message Board Replies

  • Hi there,

    There is a headstone in Kilmeane graveyard, Roscommon for James Stewart, this graveyard is on the former Crofton estate. I live in Mote Park, the former Crofton estate  and can arrange to send a photo of same to you over the next day or so.

    Kind regards

    Eilish Feeley 






    eilish feeley

    Friday 3rd Aug 2018, 06:51PM
  • Hello Eilish--Thanks for the offer, but I already have a series of good digital photos of the memorial plaque and the chapel thanks to a nice person who took them last year and sent them to my cousin. I also have some newspaper articles about James Stewart, including his obituary, that were published in Roscommon Journal, 1864-1865. The real difficulty has been obtaining any information about the family, whether in Roscommon, Galway, or even the Stewarts in Dublin. But thanks very much for your fast reply and offer. Sincerely, Frank


    Saturday 4th Aug 2018, 03:23AM

    Hi Frank,

    Have any of the descendants undertaken an autosomal DNA test with Searching the matches by surname Barrett or location Roscommon may produce some clues.  





    eilish feeley

    Sunday 5th Aug 2018, 08:14AM
  • Hi Eilish—Yes, two of my Barrett/Stewart cousins and I got our DNA analyzed through Ancestry several years ago. This had not advanced us very far, until quite recently. Only last week I found a Barrett cousin (Mary C) by doing exactly what you suggest—comparing our common matches.

    The farthest Barrett in Mary C’s line with conclusive information was Margaret Barrett, born 24 March 1865 in Mountbellew (Skeanna), Galway. She emigrated to America in the 1880s. Margaret’s Irish civil birth record listed her parents as James Barrett and Catherine Creahan. That record agrees with Margaret’s Iowa marriage license, which stated that her parents were James Barrett and Catherine Crane.

    In looking further for James and Catherine, I found a marriage between a James Barrett and a Catherine Creacken that took place on 4 Dec 1858 in Menlough parish, Galway. Menlough appears to associated with Skeanna/Skehana, so I took that as a good sign. There were two witnesses to the marriage: Michael and Mary Mannion. I also looked for any evidence of James Barrett’s birth. Although I found several James Barretts born at approximately the right time in Galway, there was one whose father was also a James and whose mother was a Mannion. This James was born 21 Jan 1827 in Loughrea parish, Galway. I realize that these identifications get more and more tenuous the further you go back without additional corroboration.

    In any case, James Barrett, father of Margaret, would not be Mary C’s and my common ancestor. Since the DNA puts Mary C and me as 4th to 6th cousins, at best James could be the brother of Anna Barrett (my great great grandmother born c. 1830). If Mary C and I are actually 5th or 6th cousins, Margaret and James would have been 1st or 2d cousins, respectively. So still at least one generation to go, if not two or three to find the common ancestor. The good news is that Mary C told me that one of Margaret’s granddaughters is still living, and that there is apparently a family Bible. So I am waiting on what she finds from those sources. This is real-time and ongoing.

    My working hypothesis is that James Stewart and Anna Barrett met while she was a servant at Mote Park. Their first child was born around 1851, so it would appear to be around then that Anna moved to Galway. Since Mary C’s Barretts come from Mountbellew, Galway, maybe Anna located her household near Barrett relations there in Galway. Maybe near Killian. James continued to be the Steward at Mote Park until his death in 1865, and it appears no one was aware that he was married or that there were a total of four sons by 1860. (The last son was baptised in Killian, Galway in May 1860—the only real “hard” fact we have.) I have never been able to ascertain exactly when James Stewart became the Steward of Mote Park; it was only described as “several years.” I am also unclear on what records of James Stewart in relation to Mote Park may still exist. I am aware that a fire destroyed much of Mote Park House in May 1865—and that James Stewart fought to save the house to the extent possible.

    So while hopefully the DNA analysis will eventually lead to something, you can maybe see why I tried reaching out to people in the vicinity in the hope that some evidence of this ultimately clandestine family might still be known to someone, or discoverable. Thanks again for your interest and assistance. Frank


    Sunday 5th Aug 2018, 04:04PM
  • Just jumping in here. I'm one of the cousins that Frank met online, descended from James and Ann's 2nd son, John Augustine Stewart. I just discovered this site and this discussion thread. Thank you, Eilish, for providing advice. I have corresponded via e-mail with Martin Dunne of Roscommon Town Heritage, and he was kind enough to take pictures of the Crofton chapel and cemetery at Mote Park, along with the memorial plaque erected for James Stewart. Martin also spoke highly of your work.

    One day, we hope to crack the mystery of Ann Barrett's ancestry, as well as on James' Scottish roots.

    (I also took the Ancestry DNA test and also tested my mother. Neither Mom nor I show up as a match for Frank, but we do match with other cousins that Frank and I have in common.)

    Tracy S

    Saturday 16th Mar 2019, 08:45PM

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