Monday, 2 February 2009

Two Johns

This last week I have heard from two people who were following up earlier items in this blog.  'Death in Sheffield' referred to John (Jack) McIlhagga aged 72 who died on 9 January.  Sadly a first cousin of his, June Millar (nee McIlhagga) died later in the month, on 27th.  Our informant is a niece.

My second correspondent is a great-grandson of Esther Belcher (nee Loakman) later McIlhagga mentioned in '1911 Census'.  He was asking for more information about the father of Esther's second husband, John McIlhagga.   We can say for certain that her husband was a carpenter who probably became a shipwright in the Merchant Navy.  The reason he was not on the 1911 Census in London was probably that he was at sea.  According to the marriage entry for John and Esther John was 31 and his father was also John, a farmer.  We always have to ask whether people gave their right age.  May be he said 31 to be near Esther's age of 32.  So we are looking for farmer John with a son John born about 1870.

We have some information from a correspondent in Australia which gives us the possibility that Esther's John was the son of a farmer John McIlhagga who married Elizabeth (known as Eliza) McCullough at Maxwell's Walls near Connor, Ballymena, Northern Ireland.  He was their sixth child of ten or eleven.  One of their sons, Robert, erected a fine headstone in Kirkhill Cemetery, Connor (grave No. 86) which includes a father and son both John, the son perhaps being the spouse of Esther.  The Memorial Inscription reads:

Erected by Robert McIlhagga, Belfast
In Loving Memory of His Father
John McIlhagga,Who died 4th Feb 1912 
and His Mother Elizabeth McCullough McIlhagga Who died 6th March 1913.  
Also his uncle Robert McCullough, Who died 14th October 1919.
Also His Brother John McIlhagga Who died 18th Sept 1922
And his sister Mary who Died 14th Oct 1940.
And the above Named Robert McIlhagga, Who died 13th April 1951
Also his sister Elizabeth Orr, Who died 5th February 1952.

Elizabeth and Robert McCullough were sister and brother, the children of Samuel and Eliza McCullough.  Robert never married.  Clearly we have here a death date on the tomb for the son John of 18th September 1922.  We know that John who married Esther was dead by 1926.  If we can find a certain death date for him, we will have a certain identification.

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