Thursday, 5 February 2009

New Zealand Family

Some time ago a correspondent from New Zealand sent me the above photograph from about 1880-90 of his forebears who had emigrated from Scotland.  This week a distant cousin of his (4th cousin, once removed) emailed me from the Isle of Skye, Scotland, wanting to know who all the people in the photo are - we put it in the recent Clan Newsletter without any names!

The family hails from Irvine in Ayrshire.  The progenitor was possibly a James McElhago or McIlhagow (the oldest versions of the Clan name).  He may have been the James McElhago who in 1765 is found as one of a number of 'incorporators' of The Bridgetown Library, Mount Holly, Burlington County, New Jersey, USA.  The library was chartered by King George III on June 11th of that year.  We have no evidence that he emigrated, though he must have stayed for some time as he appears on the Calendar of New Jersey Wills as a witness to the will of a widow, Elizabeth Jackman of Mount Holly. One possibility is that he was a sea captain between voyages.

The next generation down from the possible James is a certain Robert born about 1770 in Irvine, who was indeed a Sea Captain.  He married Elizabeth Jamieson and they had three (maybe four) sons, James, Samuel and Robert.  (A fourth, John, has not been proved, as yet, to be theirs). They all continued the seafaring tradition.  As far as we know only Samuel's descendants come down the male line beyond another generation.   Sometime I'll write a note about each of the lines.

In the meantime here's the list of those in the photograph taken in Dunedin where we know this family was involved in carriage-making.  The parents are John White McElhago, second on the right, middle row, and Christina (nee Fowler) second on the left.  John was the eldest son of Samuel mentioned above, who had run a Mill in Edinburgh.  His father had married a girl, Janet White, from Dunbar on the east coast of Scotland and had brought up two sons there. John and Christina had nine children, including on the back row from the left: Christina ("Teen") who married a McCullock, John Ormiston ("Jonny"), eldest son, who managed the carriage-making factory, Betsy Ann who married a McMillan and Sam, possibly the second son. At the end of the row there is "Maggie" Darlinson (nee Fowler) a half-sister on the mother's side - mother Christina was married twice and was a widow when she met John.

On the middle row is William Adam, who continued the male family line.  He was born in Tasmania, married Jane Elizabeth Gloag and had six children. He was a saddler by trade.  After mother Christina comes the youngest daughter with the remarkable name of Maria De Los Santos Eschobar.  She was known as "Tot" and married a Mr. Jones, son of a whaler.  Maria was apparently named after the wife of an uncle by marriage in the Pacific, a Plantation Owner who was said to have been murdered by natives.  After father John we have Thomas ("Tom") who was a carriage trimmer.  As yet we do not know if he was a family member.  The man reclining at the front certainly was.  He was Robert Cameron who became an Electrical Engineer and a Gold Dredge Manager.  Robert had had a twin sister, Alice, who died of rheumatic fever aged 16, in 1883. This fact probably indicates that the photograph was taken after that time.

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