Monday, 23 February 2009

Linking people

One of the most interesting and rewarding things about researching the McIlhagga/ McIlhagger/ McIlhaga/ McElhago Clan is being able to link up people. I mean this in two very different ways. Sometimes members of a family lose touch with each other for a whole range of reasons, and, for example, a father doesn't know where his son is or a daughter doesn't know where her father is. I have had two fairly recent approaches 'out of the blue' to ask whether I could help people get in touch again. If I can provide any helpful information without breaking any confidences then I am happy to do so, especially if it is already in the public domain. If the information is sensitive, as in one case it was - there had been a recent death - then I will take whatever precautions I can to protect people's feelings and privacy, though such instances are very rare. I hope the outcomes are good and that being in touch again is good, though this cannot be guaranteed.

The other way is quite different. One way of keeping the research into a clan family history in some sort of order is to build up 'mini' Family Trees, maybe of just two or three generations. Then suddenly a piece of information comes along which links together two or more 'mini' trees, and either I or others find there is a much bigger family than was known about the day before! It happened this week when I learned that James Wilson McIlhagga (1870-1952) of Belfast married twice and had had offspring from both marriages. I admit that in this case it was I who learned to link step-children from a generation back, though others also have learned that the two branches of a family were larger than they had known before. And if the people who have been in touch to share their knowledge want to make a present-day link, then this possibility can be explored.


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