Saturday, 7 March 2009

Lost and Found

I read recently in one of the national Family History magazines that The FamilySearch Volunteer Indexing Project has been uploading millions of records on the web, including 23 million for Ireland, so I decided to check the variants of the clan name on It soon became obvious that there was the occasional additional entry since I last checked in 2006. Now all my GG Grandparents' eight children were born in Ireland. Their second son John was born between 1830 and 1833 though I have never been able to find which year. He married Mary the daughter of William Stewart in 1851 and they had nine children between 1852 and 1871. By 1862 they had moved from Ireland to Greenock on the west coast of Scotland where their last five children were born.

In the 1881 Census of Scotland there were seven family members living at 56 Drumfrochan Road, Greenock, including Mary aged 49, marked 'head' of the household.  As she was so listed I assumed for some time that John must have died, though Mary was not said to be a widow. However, subsequently I discovered that John's grave was in Greenock Cemetery with a death date having been published in The Greenock Telegraph, as 14th July 1895, where his name is spelled McIlhaggart, as is Mary's surname in the 1881 Census.  So where was John in 1881? Had he simply left the family or was he away working and helping to keep the family? I think the FamilySearch Indexing Project may now have provided the answer. A John Mac Haggart aged 50 (so with a birth year of 1831) born Ireland, was living as a boarder with a Robert Lafferty and his wife at 18 Agnes Street, West Ham, Essex, England, where both John and Robert give their occupation as Sugar H(ouse) Labourer.  So we have yet another variant, or deviant, of the Clan name, but I think we've found John son of William and we know the probable year of his birth.

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