Wednesday, 28 October 2009

Police Sergeant George McIlhagger

Irish McIlhaggers 1898
Standing: William, Henry, David
Sitting: John, George, Mary Kathleen, Mary Jane, Samuel

If the McIlhagger version of the clan name has died out in Australia, has it survived in the Irish branch? Indeed it has! David and Mary's second son, George, did not emigrate. George was born in 1849, three years after his brother John, also in Ballymena, Northern Ireland. He married Mary Jane Boyd from County Monaghan, on 28th October 1876 in Mountpottinger Presbyterian Church. At the time both bride and groom lived in Sandy Row, Belfast. Mary Jane was a Factory Worker. George became a Police Sergeant with the Royal Irish Constabulary and went to work in what we now know as the Irish Republic, in Laurencetown, County Galway.

Their first child, in accord with the Irish naming pattern, was called David after George's father. He was born 6th January, 1879, in Shankill, Belfast, as was number two son, William Boyd, born 8th December 1880. The subsequent four children, John (born 1883), Samuel Robert (23rd September 1884), Henry Joseph (1885/6) and Mary Kathleen (1889) were all born in Laurencetown. Their father George was the sergeant of police there from 1881 to 1894. Thereafter George and Mary returned to Belfast where among many clan members George signed the Ulster Covenant in 1912 and had his name entered in a number of annual Belfast Directories as a retired policeman. George died intestate on 15th October 1914 at 29 New North Queen Street, Belfast. He was buried in Belfast City Cemetery. Probate administration was given to his widow, Mary Jane, who had to pay £130 Estate Duty. Interestingly the High Court of Justice which issued the Letters of Administration mis-spelled their surname McIlhagga. Mary Jane lived until 2nd February 1929, aged 80. She also was buried in Belfast City Cemetery. I will comment on George's descendants in a subsequent blog. We are grateful for the old photograph of the family which has come to us from Australia.

Full Abstract of the Will:

Administration of the Estate of George McIlhagga late of New North Queen Street Belfast Police Sergeant (Retired) who died 15 September 1914 granted at Belfast to Mary J. McIlhagga the Widow).

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