Select Beattie/Beatty Surname Genealogy

Beattie and Beatty are names of Scottish and Irish origin.  In the Scottish case these names are diminutives or pet forms of the Bartholomew name that was popular since the time of the Crusades. Beattie became a well-known Border name, found on both the Scottish and English sides.  Most Beatties and Beattys in Ireland are of Scots origin. The name Beatty also arose in Ireland from the Gaelic occupational name betagh, meaning a public victualler.

The Beattie spelling is preferred in the UK. Both Beatty and Beattie occur in Ireland (Beattie shows up in Antrim and county Down, Beatty in Armagh, Tyrone and Fermanagh). It is mainly Beatty in America.

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Select Beattie/Beatty Ancestry

Scotland. Batie or Beattie was a well-known Scottish border surname.

Borders. It was recorded as Batie in Berwick-on-Tweed as early as 1334. But Baty and Bateson were initially more names of Eskdale in Dumfriesshire. Adam Baty of Eskdale appeared in the 14th and again in the 15th century. By the 16th century, there were numerous references to the Batie Border reivers operating out of their fortress homes in Eskdale. There were also Baties in Dumfries who appeared separate from these Border reivers in Eskdale. Sir John Batie was a prosperous burgess of the town at this time.

The Border pacification in the early 17th century resulted in many of these Beatties departing to Protestant plantations in Ireland.

Elsewhere. The Beattie name in Scotland was not confined just to the Borders. It seemed to have developed independently by the 16th century in Montrose, Fife, and Edinburgh. The name for some reason was particularly common in the parish of Laurencekirk in Aberdeenshire in the 18th century. James Beattie, the poet and moral philosopher, grew up in this parish, the son of a local shopkeeper and farmer.

Ireland. Scottish Beatties seem to have come first to county Fermanagh in Ulster. The 1631 muster roll in Fermanagh listed a number of Beattys with other Scottish Border families.

“It was Fermangh’s remoteness from Scotland and the consequent immunity from Scottish justice that it provided which rendered it particularly arttractive to Borderers.”

From Fermanagh Beattys moved out into other Ulster counties. The name today is found mainly in south Antrim and north Down.

Betagh had become an Irish surname in county Meath by the 16th century and then spread to neighboring counties. The 19th century surgeon Thomas Edward Beatty, whose mother was a Betagh, came from a Cavan family. Admiral David Beatty, the British naval commander during World War One, was from a well-known Wexford family.

. Beatties in England have come from the border area with Scotland and were to be found mainly in the counties of Cumberland and Northumberland.

One Beattie history traces back to George Beattie, a stonemason, who was born in Clatton, Northumberland in 1787. His family built many of the farmhouses and railway stations in the area during the 19th century. Another Beattie family were stonemasons in Carlisle (they still operate there today). John Beattie, born in Bewcastle near Carlisle, became a successful draper in Newcastle and was elected its mayor in 1900.

America. A large proportion of the Beattys in America are of Scots Irish origin.

The earliest arrival was possibly John Beatty from county Antrim who came to Kingston in upstate New York sometime in the 1680’s. His grandson Colonel William Beatty became one of the civic leaders in Frederick county, Maryland – being a magistrate and member of the local legislature. He and his wife Elizabeth raised sixteen children. The family farmhouse, now known as the Beatty-Cramer House, has been preserved.

John Beattie, fleeing Ulster in the 1740’s because of religious persecution, came also to Maryland, but soon moved onto the mountainous area of SW Virginia (now Washington county). Son William, who fought in the Revolutionary War, died in 1860 at the ripe old age of a hundred. His grandson Fount survived the Civil War and lived onto 1923.

In the 1740’s also, there were three Beatty families in the Piedmont region of North Carolina: William Beatty who lived in Rowan county near Salisbury; Francis Beatty who settled in Mecklenburg county; and John Beatty the pioneer who crossed the Catawba river and built his home on its west bank. Francis Beatty is commemorated today by the Colonel Francis Beatty Park in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Warren Beatty’s ancestors came from Ireland and settled in Warren county, Virginia in the late 1700’s.

Canada. Willliam and Ann Beatty, reportedly Scots Irish, emigrated from county Cavan with their family to Thorold in Ontario in 1835. William and his son James got involved in the lumber business, building or acquiring a number of sawmills. James had built the United Empire, the largest wooden boat then operating on the Upper Lakes.

William Beatty, also from Cavan, came to Canada with his family
in the 1870’s and headed west, settling in Oxbow, Saskatchewan.
His son George later moved further west to Vancouver. Frank Beattie was also in the Canadian West by this time. He was operating hotels in Banff, Alberta and British Columbia in the 1880’s. Son Arthur ran the Hot Billiard parlor, newstand and restaurant in Banff until around 1935.

Select Beattie/Beatty Miscellany

If you would like to read more, click on the miscellany page for
further stories and accounts:

Select Beattie/Beatty Names

James Beattie was a prominent Scottish academic and writer of the late 18th century.
Chester Beatty was an American known as the “king of copper” for his mining success in Colorado. He was also a highly regarded collector of Oriental art and books.
David Beatty was the British admiral at the Battle of Jutland in the North Sea in 1915.
Warren Beatty is an American actor, producer, screenwriter, and director. His sister is the actress Shirley MacLaine.

Select Beatties/Beattys Today

  • 20,000 in the UK (most numerous in Belfast)
  • 13,000 in America (most numerous in Pennsylvania)
  • 18,000 elsewhere (most numerous in Canada)


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