Wednesday, December 3, 2008

The Bestick Family of Longford

Last week I blogged a little about my great-grandmother Mary Bestick Brady. This week, I plan to start posting what I know about her Bestick ancestors and relatives.

My earliest Irish immigrant ancestor was Mary’s father Timothy Bestick. He came from County Longford and settled in Newark, NJ before 1833. When I began doing genealogy, I knew very little about the Bestick line. Since then, I’ve had some great discoveries. For example, originally we didn’t know where in Ireland the Besticks were from. I did find through the Householders Index that the name was found in Longford, so I started researching in church records there. I also wrote to the church in Newark, NJ to obtain Timothy’s marriage certificate for my collection. I received a transcript from the church with the basic information. But then, I noticed that the Newark church’s records were also on microfilm through the Family History Library. So, I decided to take a look at the microfilm too. And when I did, there was Timothy’s marriage listed on the first page of the church marriage register. Besides the information I already had, it stated that he was from County Longford and his wife Ellen McSorley came from County Tyrone. The priest only noted where people were from for the first few pages of the register. So, this was the first of my lucky finds in my Bestick research.

Timothy was the son of James Bestick and Catherine Farrell. He was baptized on 25 March 1809 at the Catholic Church at Longford (Templemichael and Ballymacormack parish.) The baptism sponsors were James Kiernan and Judith Bestick. Timothy was born into a large family. According to the Catholic baptism register for Longford, James and Catherine Bestick had at least 7 children: John, baptized 11 June 1803; Mary, baptized 29 June 1804; Francis, baptized. 10 May 1807; my ancestor Timothy; Edward, baptized 13 October 1810; Robert, baptized 18 September 1812; and Charles, baptized 12 December 1813.

Timothy’s parents both died at Longford before Timothy turned 18. His mother Catherine died 7 April 1819 and his father James died 22 February 1827.

Although Bestick is not a common name, there were several Bestick families in Longford. Judith Bestick was the baptism sponsor of my ancestor Timothy. Baptism sponsors of his siblings included Edward Bestick and Penelope Bestick. According to the Longford Roots research service, there was a Patrick Bestick married to Mary Beglin. Patrick and Mary had 6 children baptized between 1818 and 1830. An Edmund and Elizabeth (Greer) Bestick had 6 children baptized from 1806 to 1820. William Bestick and his wife Mary Kelly had 8 children baptized from 1814 to 1833. John and Brigid (Gannon) Bestick had one child baptized in 1838. While the Bestick name is uncommon, they were “thick on the ground” in Longford prior to the famine.

How were these other Besticks related to Timothy’s family? I don’t know for sure, but I believe they may all have a common ancestor 2 or 3 generations back from Timothy. I hope that someday I will be able to prove at least some of the relationships.

Coming soon: Timothy’s siblings in the United States and in Ireland.


Luke Baxter said...


A colleague and I are currently reading the tombstone inscriptions of St. John's Churchyard, Longford with a view to publishing same next Nov- there are two Bestick headstones - one of Catherine d. 1830 age 21 - dau of Anne Bestick - the second one dates into the late 1700s - Nary Bestick d.1783, her son Francis and his wife Catherine alias Smith d.1785. CaN I have your permission to quote from your blogg in our book. Sincerely, Luke Baxter, Longford Historical Society

Kathy Brady-Blake said...

Hi Luke. Yes, you have my permission. Thanks for the information. I never saw the earlier Bestick tombstone when we visited.