James, the eldest son of Robert and Elizabeth, was born on 9th December 1791 and baptised at Irvine ten days later: 'James, son of Robert McIlhaggert, shipmaster & Elizabeth Jamieson'. On 27th March 1819 at the age of twenty-eight he was to marry, also at Irvine: 'James McElhago & Jane Harvey parishioners'. I have written about his professional life between 1825 and 1862 in the 'Shipping News' blog on 25th March. James and Jane lived all their lives in Irvine and Dundonald where they both died, James on 4th September 1862 and Jane on 17th December 1864. James was 70 when he died of 'Apoplexy' at his home 'Friar's Croft' in Dundonald. His daughter Eliza McElhago gave notice of his death and signed the parish register. Likewise she gave notice of her mother's death from 'General Debility'. She had been living at 'Waterside' in the parish of Dundonald. Eliza was one of four or five children born to James and Jane. She remained single and when she herself died of cancer of the womb, only four years later (13th May 1866) her sister Jane McElhago said she was 40 which gives us her birth year of 1826.
The Irvine / Dundonald Censuses for 1841, 1851 and 1861 show this family with four children as follows:
1841 James 45 1851 James 58 1861 James 68
Jane 40 Jane 58 Jane 60
Eliza 15 Eliza 25 Eliza 34
Jane 10 Jane 21
Richard 8 Richard 19
Jameson 4 Jameson 14 Jamieson 2
The surname was McElhago in 1841 and 1851 and McIllhago in 1861. There is no entry for this family in the 1871 Irvine Census or later. We know the parents died in 1862 and 1864. Clearly by 1861 Jane (30) and Jameson (24) had left home unless Jamieson age 2 in 1861 is an error for Jameson 24. This is the most likely possibility, though 'Jamieson aged 2' could have been an illegitimate son of Eliza or of Jane who in 1861 was in fact pregnant with Archibald who was born on 6th July that year but sadly died soon after.
So what happened to the four children in the Census, and can we resolve the question of the size of the Dundonald family in both the generations we have noted? That must be the topic of 'Dundonald: Part 2'.