Saturday, 14 November 2009

Three Mistranscriptions

Today I have had a closer look at the 1911 Irish Census. There are a good number of McIlhagga families and a few McIlhaggers. There are also three families apparently with other name variants - McIlhaggo, McIlhagge and McIlhaggart. I first looked carefully at the signatures on the Household Returns completed or at least signed by the heads of these families and I came to the conclusion that two and maybe three transcriptions are misreadings of McIlhagga. However, each of those families revealed other clues which led me to their respective places within family trees which I have compiled over the years.

First, Robert McIlhaggo, at 44 Glenfarne Street, Upper (Shankill, Antrim) was listed as brother of the head of house, Elizabeth Orr. I found them as part of the McIlhagga-McCulloch family about which I wrote on 14th September. Elizabeth (McIlhagga!) married Patrick William Orr in 1902. As I said in September, she was a widow. Her young brother Robert, a Coal Vendor, was now living with her in 1911, as was a lodger George Clements. No doubt as a way for her to make ends meet. Both siblings seemed to have 'upped' their ages; I wonder why?

Next came the 'McIlhagge' couple at 32 Maxwell's Walls, John aged 86 and Eliza 76. They turned out to be none other than Elizabeth's and Robert's parents! The Census says that they had been married for 52 years and that they had had eleven children. That was the big give-away. The 1901 Census had rightly called her Elizabeth McCulloch but noted that she was known as Eliza! And in 1911 McIlhagge should certainly have read McIlhagga. John was to live just one more year and Elizabeth two years. One day I'll work out whether their marriage of 52 years is a McIlhagga record.

The third mistranscription was James McIlhaggart head of a household of three. He was 77, John Elliott was his son-in-law aged 26, a farmer, and Margaret Elliott was his daughter, aged 30. They had been married for six years but had no children. Now here's the exciting part - I found them in two family trees! Which must mean that the two trees are really one, and that scores of folk in both trees are related to each other, a fact that I haven't know before. One tree went back to Nathan born in Carnmoney in 1758 and the other to James (McIlhagga / McIlhaggart) who in the past I have known as James of Ballyportery born 1840. Now I had not only written a blog about the McIlhagga-McCulloch link but also about James of Ballyportery (21st September) and I hadn't spotted that only four days later I had contradicted myself! On 21st I had said that James McIlhagga of Ballyportery and James McIlhaggart in the 1911 Census couldn't be the same person, despite both being born in 1840, because one had a daughter Margaret and the other didn't. Stupid me! One had a daughter Margaret and one had a daughter Maggie!! How we can miss the most obvious things. Of course they were the same person. Which means that the family tree of James of Ballyportery can now be taken back to Nathan in 1758. One thing that we can't yet demonstrate, but hopefully will one day, is that James moved from Carnmoney where he was born and baptised to Ballyportery where he worked, married and brought up a family.

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