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from Michael S. Begnal
Calista Begnal sent this....her hand-written note at the of the letter reads:
“This was given to me ages ago by my cousin, Sr. Josita (Mary Begnal), a Sister of Mercy [d. Oct., 1989]. It had been sent to her nephew, Jim Begnal.
Joseph Begnall, P.C.
Republic of Ireland
27th April 1950
Dear Mr. Begnal:
The Town Clerk of the Mullingar Town Commissioners has forwarded your letter of the 13th March to me. His reason being, of course, that our names are almost similar, also I being an official of the Westmeath Co. Council and a Peace Commissioner for the County, he concluded that I was the person who was likely to know of your relatives of which there are six, four men and two girls of ages ranging from thirty years to fifty.
However, I must point out that you are mistaken about “Newton Pass”, there is no such place. There is a Kilbride Pass where your great-grandfather was born and the family are still there and it may interest you to know that the house he was born in is still in existence. No. 2 your original name was “Beglin” not “Begnal” but it seems that your G.G.father changed to Begnal when he went out in 1851. Beglin is an old Irish name and is found in the Annals of the “Four Masters”, which is a history of Ireland. I find the name referred to in 1616 A.D. It seems strange that your G.G.father changed the name 99 years ago and it is doubly strange that although I knew nothing of that I did the exact same thing over 30 years ago when I was fighting in the Army of the Irish Republic, but, of course, it was for Military and Political reasons I took that step and since then I do all my business in the name Begnall although I was registered Beglin when I was born. The Irish spelling of the name is BEIGLEIGHINN. Well so much for that, your G.G.mother’s name was Whelehan not Wheelehan. I am enclosing a “Family Tree” which I prepared when I found out all the data about your family. I also found out that G.G.father Michael was home here about the year 1900 and I understand that from my mother (who is now 86) that my father had a great time with him.
However, I was only one year of age at that time and my father died in 1904. I knew nothing of this until now. I want you to note particularly that anything I put in pencil on the family tree is simply for balance, I, of course do not know your grandfather’s name but I presume your father’s name is James because you call yourself Junior. I trust you will excuse this scribble as I am doing it in a hurry.
There is also another matter which I wonder if you know anything of. Your great-grandfather had a nephew named Thomas who went to Waterbury in the eighties or nineties of the last century. I take it he is dead by now but I think I heard he has a family. Now for your direct relatives (I cannot say what relation I would be, I know my father was a cousin of your great-grandfather but I don’t know the degree.
There are four living in the old homestead at present, 3 boys and a girl, and one boy (Peter) in the North of Ireland, also one girl (Mary [E?]) the oldest of them in Dublin. None are married but Peter. The names of those at home are Michael about 60 years, Edward 35, Dick 30, and Jane 28. They are farmers and live on about 40 acres of land (if you understand that term of measurement. Their father Michael who was a nephew of your Grandfather and a brother of Tom who went out there in the nineties died about ten years ago and he was not what could be called very well off because if you study the family tree you will notice that it fell to his lot to bury two brothers, two sisters, his wife, two sons and a daughter and all that occurred in the course of 10 years. If you contemplate getting in communication with them I suggest that you address yourself to Edward Beglin, Kilbride’s Pass, Milltownpass, County Westmeath, Ireland.
My reason for saying write to Edward is because he is rather a smart fellow and acts as Manager of the farm.
I think that except I am making a mistake I would call Ned and his brothers and sisters second cousins once removed to you, or full second cousins of your father.
While on the subject of names I will give you here a list of names beginning with “BEG”
Beggie Roman Catholic Line Baganal Non-Catholic Line
Well now I feel it is time for me to wind up. I am sending you along an old map of Ireland, it might be of interest to you. I have drawn a square on it down near Mullingar and within the square are two dots, one at Milltownpass and the one nearer to Kinnegad is at Kilbride Pass. I could give you more information as to the meaning of place names such as Kilbride Pass but more of that later. I trust you will be pleased with this effort of mine and I hope you will find time to write to me soon and by the way I hope your rheumatic fever attack has eased off. I suffer myself from sciatica, a very violent and painful complaint too. So do let me hear from you and tell me all about yourself, your parents, family, age, occupation, etc.
I have been speaking to your cousin Ned and I told him of your letter being sent to me and he will be delighted to hear from you.
So for the present I will say [Gaelic] and best wishes from the Old Land.
I am yours very sincerely,
(signed) Joseph Begnall, P.C.
P.S. A Peace Commissioner is a sort of local Justice of the Peace. J.B.