Saturday, 12 September 2009

Maxwellswalls strays

I have attempted in recent blogs to link up a number of people who were resident in the 19th century in Maxwellswalls. In the later generations we can be almost certain that the links are correct. In the earlier generations, from the first three decades of the century, we can only say we are making intelligent guesses. A number of 'strays' exist - for example people who claimed residence in the townland when they married. At present I am unable to place them in a family tree with any certainty. There are six such marriages. Five record 'William' as father of the clan member being married. Those five may cross three generations. The first chronologically is William McIlhagge's son Henry marrying Agnes Stevenson in 1854 in Donegore 2nd Presbyterian Church. Henry was born about 1833, so his father William, a farmer, would have been born in or before 1810.

Three of the five marriages are a decade later. They all have a William McIlhagga, farmer, as father, possibly the same William, who must have been born about 1820. Daughter Nancy Betty (born 1843) married Alexander Brownlees in 1865 in Antrim Civil Registrar's Office. George (born about 1845), a merchant, married Elizabeth Anne Robinson in 1866 at Raloo Presyterian Church, Larne. George and Elizabeth went on to have at least four children, Margaret Jane (1868), William (1870), Samuel (1872) and Eliza Ann (1875). Third, Jane (born 1851) married James Boyd in 1872 in Ballymena 3rd Presbyterian Church. The fifth marriage with a William McIlhagga, also a farmer, as father, is a full generation later. His daughter Margaret (born about 1881) married William Kerr in 1902 at Connor Presbyterian Church. This date would give her father a birth year of about 1855.

The sixth and final 'stray' marriage records a John McIlhagga, farmer, as father (born about 1865) whose daughter Henrietta W. (born about 1892) married Matthew McNeilly in 1913, also at Connor Presbyterian Church. From our earlier knowledge of what I have called the 'main' Maxwellswalls family, we would suspect that the 'W' stands for Wilson, thus continuing to carry a maternal surname down the generations. However, I cannot at present place this Henrietta in that family with any certainty. There is a possibility that her father John is the son of Henry McIlhaggo/McIlhaggie who married Agnes McMeekin, though at present I know of no marriage for him which produced a daughter.

In addition to the above 'strays' there is one family about which we know something, which has Maxwellswalls connections, and interestingly one of the witnesses to Henrietta and Matthew McNeilly's marriage, Margaret McCullough, must be a member of it. I referred to this family in my blog on 2nd February when I was sharing the information on a Memorial Inscription. My information about this family comes from two descendants, one in England and one in Australia. I can with confidence here name Neville Darragh from Victoria as he gave permission for an extract from his own Family History to be published in our Clan McIlhagga Newsletter in 2003. It concerned a great-aunt of his, Eliza McCullough, who married into the McIlhago/McIlhagga family.

Eliza or Elizabeth married John who was son of Harry or Henry McIlhago. They married in a Presbyterian Church in Ballymena on 10th September 1859. John McIlhago was of 'full age', so was probably 21. Eliza was 20. The marriage entry includes the following: In the Presbyterian Church, Ballymena, in the Parish of Kirkinriola in County Antrim....Residence: Maxwellswalls. Eliza 'made her mark' before witnesses John Cathcart and Andrew Patterson. Neville Darragh tells us that the Cathcart family lived at Connor and subsequently at Warrnambool, Victoria, Australia. We can deduce that John's probable birth year was pre-1838. In fact the 1901 Census of Belfast gives us a probable date of 8th February 1830. This in turn means Henry, his father, possibly had a birth year of about 1805. Henry was a farmer, as was his son John, and as also was John's future father-in-law, Samuel McCullough. This family has 187 people on its Family Tree and needs a blog entry to itself. The open question is whether its McIlhagga progenitor, Henry/Harry is to be identified with the Henry who appears in the Maxwellswalls Tithe Applotment Book in the 1830s and/or the Henry whose Will I transcribed in an earlier blog.

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