Tuesday, 29 December 2009

Death in Buckingham

Earlier this month, on 5th December, William Robert (Bob) McIlhagga died in the town in which he had settled and where he had been a builder, Buckingham in the Home Counties of England. He was born and brought up in Northern Ireland. I recall with pleasure calling on Bob and his wife Mary a few years ago and being made most welcome. Bob used to email me with family news and he used to look forward to our annual Clan Newsletter and always most thoughtfully made a contribution to the postage. Bob was predeceased by two of his five children, Robert Boyd as a young 20 year old in 1983 and recently his daughter Dawn just two years ago in December 2007.

Bob was born in Belfast on 20th March 1934, one of four children of Samuel and Ann (nee Kennedy) McIlhagga. If my researches are accurate, Samuel's father was also Samuel (1872-1958) who had five children including William Robert easton who emigrated to Australia where his descendants still live, John who stayed in Belfast and had five children, James who also had offspring and Martha who married John Robinson and had a family. The following Obituary Notice appeared on 10th December in the Buckingham and Winslow Advertiser:

McILHAGGA Bob: Died 5th December 2009, united with daughter Dawn, died 5th December 2007 and our son Robert. The most wonderful husband, father and grandfather. One of the saddest days for all of us, miss and love you Bobby, from your wife Mary. The funeral will be held at St.Peter & St.Paul's Church, Buckingham on Tuesday 15th December 2009 at 10am. No flowers please but donations, if desired, may be given towards a bench to commemorate Bob's life and sent c/o Heritage & Sons, 1a Bristle Hill, Buckingham, MK18 1EZ Tel: 01280 813188.

Monday, 28 December 2009

McIlhagga - Wade

The third child of William and Agnes (nee McCosh) McIlhagga was Jane born about 1834 in Ballycloughan, County Antrim. She was their eldest daughter so quite probably was named after Agnes' mother. On 16th May 1854 she married Robert Wade (sometimes spelled Waid) in the Presbyterian Church at Broughshane. Robert was then a Weaver, son of Thomas, a Labourer. Robert signed his name but Jane 'made her mark'. The marriage register would have been filled out by the Minister, the Revd. A. Robinson, who uniquely spelled the clan name McIllhagah! Clearly this was what he 'heard' rather than what he 'knew'. The witnesses were Samuel Smyth and Thomas Wade.

Their first child Agnes was born in Ireland on 23rd June 1855 but the family was in Greenock, Scotland, two years later when Robert was born (21st Feb 1857). Later five more children were born: William (on 1st Mar 1859), Thomas (on 24th Apr 1861), Margaret (on 20th Mar 1863), Elizabeth (on 4th Apr 1866) and Crawford (on 27th Nov 1869). I do not know what happened to any of these children or whether there are any McIlhagga-Wade descendants. Robert the Weaver in Ireland became Robert the Shipbuilder's Labourer in Scotland. Jane died on 18th June 1909.

I have already had occasion to refer to the McIlhagga-Wade connection several times in my blog this year. On 22nd January I told how Jane's youngest son recorded his mother's death and made an interesting mistake. On 4th July I mentioned how Jane's younger sister lodged with her before she married in Scotland. On 13th August I recorded how the name Wade was mis-transcribed in a bizarre fashion and on 26th October I noted that 2009 has seen the 100th anniversary of Jane's death. Her place in the Ballycloughan family was given in my overview on 21st November.

Sunday, 27 December 2009

Arms and Tartans

In genealogical magazines, on the Internet and in other places you will see advertisements offering for sale heraldic devices related to any number of surnames, and they usually include McIlhagga, though not I think its variants. Some years ago, when I was just beginning to dabble in the hobby I corresponded with a firm in Canterbury, England, who produced one of the heraldic devices at the head of this blog. They assured me that it had been carefully researched by a freelance expert. I asked to be put in touch with this researcher in the hope of discovering precisely where he or she had searched, so that I could verify things for myself. As you will suspect, I received no reply. In subsequent conversations with other clan members I have heard similar stories, two of the results of which also head this blog.

Along with such designs these firms usually offer a so-called potted history of our clan. Let me say that the history which I have tried to outline in earlier blogs is usually ignored and origins which I consider to be false or at least very doubtful, are peddled. In a couple of cases I have written to these firms offering my own summary of the history of our name, without, I'm afraid, any result. So I advise scepticism about such offers.

The simple truth is that heraldic designs are never given by the 'powers-that-be' - for example the Lord Lyon and King of Arms in Scotland - are never given to be associated with a name in a general kind of way. They are only granted to individuals, usually because they are in some way eminent, perhaps indeed in relation to a clan. I'm afraid (to the best of my knowledge) no McIlhagga or McIlhagger, no McIlhaga or McElhago (&c.) has ever been granted such an heraldic device. And furthermore it is quite wrong for any individual or family to use such a device without a disclaimer making it clear that it hasn't been granted to them personally. I know that we used one of the above designs on the front page of the annual clan newsletter that we have published for the past seven years (though not this year) but, with one year excepted, we always printed an appropriate disclaimer.

You will see that over one device above there is the Latin motto Fuimus which means 'I have been' and is the motto of The Bruce. I believe this design was produced by a firm in Edinburgh, Scotland. Concerning Scottish connections, as well as queries about heraldic devices I occasionally get asked whether our clan has a tartan. Again the answer is 'No', though in the case of tartans I understand that anyone can design their own and can have it recognised. There are existing lists of tartans with surnames and I found one recently claiming that McIlhagga has the right to wear a Wallace tartan. So again I wrote to the firm and asked what evidence they had for saying this? Again, no reply! I would dearly like it to be true that there is some link to either Bruce or to Wallace, but I have no evidence that either link has any basis in fact, unless one could make something of the link to the Earls of Carrick which I mentioned in my blog of the 8th of February.

Now of course it might be fun to design a kind of 'Clan Logo', or indeed a new Tartan, and if anyone would like to have a go I'd be delighted to see the result.

Saturday, 26 December 2009

John McIlhagga & the Boyds

'Grandma Boyd' (Nancy McIlhagga)

I have traced the descendants of William and Elizabeth (nee Carson), the first son of William and Agnes (nee McCosh). We have seen that there is only one male line where the clan name may be continued. We will now discover that, although there are descendants, no male line survives from John, the second son of William and Agnes. John did marry and had no fewer than nine children. Two were boys but they didn't survive beyond infancy.

John was born in Ballycloughan, County Antrim, probably in 1830. Like so many in his day he took up weaving to make a living. On 15th July 1851 he married Mary Stewart in First Presbyterian Church, Broughshane. They were both living at Ballygarvey at the time. When signing the marriage register both 'made their mark', so it is not surprising that the minister, Dr. Robert Stewart, mis-spelled John's surname McIlhagar. Equally when they appear in Censuses, we have McHagga (1861) and McIlhaggart (1881).

Over a twenty year period John and Mary had the following children: Ann Jane (1851), Elizabeth (1853), Agnes (1854), MArgaret (1857), Mary (1862), Janet (1866), (John (1867), Matilda (1868) and William (1871). Ann Jane, who became a Flaxworker, married Thomas Smith on 25th February 1870 and died in Greenock in 1887. It is not known if they had any children. Elizabeth was baptised in Broughshane on 19th August 1860, presumably when she was seven years old. No further information has been garnered about her. Agnes, also known as Nancy was baptised in Broughshane on 30th april 1854. Aged 21 she married William Boyd on 23rd april 1875 at The Free church Manse, Rotho Street, Greenock. It is her photograph at the head of this blog.

Clearly the family had followed the example of elder brother William and moved across the North Channel to Scotland and settled in Greenock. On 20th september 1875 a son John was born to the Boyds. He left Greenock when young to move to Tyneside, living at Wallsend, where he worked in the shipyards. He lodged with a widow, Mary Jane Isabella English whom he married and by whom he had a son and a grandson. After John came Thomas (11 Jun 1877), William (13 Feb 1881), Margaret (2 Oct 1883), Mary (24 Oct 1885) and Agnes (13 Jun 1887). I know no more than birth dates for these children. The final two offspring were boys, first Nathaniel (13 Sep 1891 - 11 Apr 1945) who married Mary Gourlay and had four children, three daughters who emigrated to Australia and a son William who has a son and two grandchildren alive today. The final son after Nathaniel was Joseph who died aged 4 on 22 Apr 1898. My information on the Boyds comes partly through this branch of the family, to whom I am very grateful.

Strangely John McIlhagga (b.1830) is absent from the 1881 Census where Mary (his wife) is 'head' of the household at 56 Drumfrocher Road, Greenock. With her were four Boyds and two lodgers. Likewise in the 1891 Census Mary is listed as 'head' of the household with the occupation of Grocer. However, we know that John didn't die until 14th July 1895 (at 52 Ann Street, the house of his son-in-law Joseph Williamson). John was the titleholder of a 'Lair' at Greenock Cemetery. The first two people buried in it, who may have been relations, were James Giffen (21 years on 31 Dec 1873) and Thomas Davis (28 years on 8 Aug 1877). Later John's daughter Mary and his two grandchildren Joseph and Mary Boyd were laid to rest there.

After Agnes (Nancy) who married into the Boyd family, John and Mary (nee Stewart) had six more children: Margaret (1857-1937) who died a spinster in Greenock aged 80, Mary (b. 27 Nov 1862) who married Joseph Forbes and who had a son John McIlhagga Forbes who sadly died in infancy, Janet (b. 1866/7 - Jun 1908) who married Joseph Williamson and had seven children all of whom died either as infants or at comparatively young ages, and lastly John (b.1867), Matilda (b. 1868) and William (b.1871) all of whom died as infants.

We have now noted the offspring and the descendants of the two eldest children of William and Agnes (nee McCosh) McIlhagga of Ballycloughan. They had a further six children whom we will come to in other blogs.

Sunday, 20 December 2009

William Neil Duncan


On 30th November and 14th December I wrote about Thomas Norris McIlhagga who emigrated from Scotland to Montreal and I mentioned his son - his only son who lived. He was William (Bill) Neil Duncan, born 21st December 1920 in Montreal. Thomas and Annie (nee Campbell) had had two previous children. A baby was born 23rd July 1917 who lived only a week (d. 1st August), then they had a son who was stillborn on 12th August 1918. Bill's son, Neil, gave us an insight when he wrote about his father in the first Clan Newsletter in May 2001:

"Bill contracted rheumatic fever and this damaged his heart. The damage was so severe that his physician recommended that he leave Canada for a warmer climate, as he would have difficulty coping with the cold winters in Montreal. At this point Bill was engaged to Helen Merle Norton, my mother. After discussing the situation with their parents Bill and Helen made the decision to move to Florida. Bill left Montreal on May 16th, 1948 and moved to Jacksonville. After establishing himself in Florida, Helen followed him down on November 22nd, 1948, and they were married on November 27th, 1948.

"When Helen was in the process of moving to Florida she was required to provide a number of affidavits to the U.S. Authorities. These documents were required to assure U.S. officials that she would not become a 'Ward of the State'. Among the affidavits that were provided was one from my dad, Bill McIlhagga. In this letter he relayed how he was sponsored into the United States - by his cousin and her husband. Now he didn't specify his cousin's name other than to call her by her married name, Mrs. J. Strathearn. As I didn't have a first name I wasn't sure if this was a cousin from his father's or his mother's side of the family. I thought perhaps I had reached a dead end.

"In the course of an internet search.. I located a brother and sister in the United States... who kindly provided some information.. including a reference to.. Ina McIlhagga who married James Strathearn and moved to Kenmore, New York... [This] was the same person who was my dad's cousin - my first link with a live blood relative!"

I referred to Ina in my blog of 12th December. We have good documentation concerning William Neil Duncan McIlhagga, about his baptism at Knox Church, Crescent Street, Montreal, his Church Roll Certificate (giving his dates of birth, Dec 21st 1920 and baptism, Mar 6th 1921), his Marriage Certificate (27th Nov 1948) as McIlhagga in Jacksonville, Florida, a letter from him about his intentions in moving to Florida and his Death Certificate as McIlhagga, when he was an Office Clerk with Setzer Gr. Co. at the age of 33, on August 7th 1954. He was buried at Greenlawn Cemetery 4300 Beach Boulevard, Jacksonville. We also have a photograph of him serving in the RAF Ferry Command in the Second World War, before he moved to the USA. Helen, his widow, returned to Montreal and died in Canada on 3rd May 1997 in Ottawa, Ontario and is buried at Pinecrest Cemetery there. William and Helen had one son, who also has one son and three grandchildren, all in North America today.

Thursday, 17 December 2009

Lulu, Gleason and McIlhaggo

Sometimes one chances on a 'link' to something genealogically productive. A book produced by the online publisher Lulu contained in its advertising blurb a reference to a McIlhaggo family. The book was entitled A Genealogy of the Gleason Family by Diane Marie Gleason. It was far too expensive to buy, but as it said it was a 'work in progress', I thought she would welcome a contribution I might be able to make. I emailed the company asking to be put in touch with the author. I had no reply so had another look at Lulu's site. I realised I could download the book in pdf format for about a third of the price of a hard copy. I bit the bullet and paid up!

The McIlhaggo link was to Henry McIlhaggo of Maxwells Walls, about whom I have written fairly fully in this blog. He married Agnes McMeekin on 31st August 1851 in Templepatrick, County Antrim, Northern Ireland. The marriage record for Henry and Agnes simply says 'full age' for them both, and I have to admit that I assumed this probably meant they were both about 21. Diane Gleason has rightly taken their ages from the 1881 Census, which hopefully I would have got round to checking! This reveals that James was no less than 15 years Agnes' senior. She was born about 1836, he about 1821. The link to the Gleasons, of which of course I did not know, is through Henry and Agnes' daughter Mary Ann (born 1864) who is Diane's great-grandmother through the female line. For me the result is that my attempt at reconstructing a Maxwells Walls Family Tree is now a little fuller than it used to be.

Wednesday, 16 December 2009

A Census anomaly

A comparison of the Scottish Censuses shows up an interesting comparison of entries related to a child born in Dundonald in 1837. My comments here follow up the blogs I wrote on 22nd April last where I may have made a false assumption. In the Dundonald, Ayrshire census of 1841 we have the youngest child of James and Jane (nee Harvey) McElhago, namely Jameson, male, aged 4. In 1851, still the youngest offspring of James and Jane McElhago, Jameson is aged 14 but this time is listed with an 'F' for female, under 'Sex'. Is he or she there is 1861? James and Jane are now in Irvine, Ayr, and with them there is indeed a Jamieson, 'F', but she is aged only 2, so was born in 1859. She is in fact listed a a grandchild and is possibly the daughter of Eliza, aged 34, who is living with them. The family's surname is now spelled McIllhago. Now Jameson (born 1837) would then have been 24. There is a female McElhage in Tradeston, Glasgow who is 24, and McElhage was surely a mistake for McElhago - and the other two people from the clan in Tradeston do have the surname McElhago. So surely we have the right person. The movement from rural Ayrshire to industrial Glasgow must have been by someone in their early twenties looking for work. But what is her first name? It is Jane plus second name initials McH. Perhaps Jameson was indeed female and got fed up with having a male sounding name and, keeping the initial 'J', changed it to Jane. The designation 'male' at the age of 4 was probably an enumerator's error. And did two year old granddaughter Jamieson keep her name? Where is she, aged 12, in 1871? Nowhere to be seen, though there is a 12 years old Jemima McElhago in Tradeston!

Monday, 14 December 2009

Thomas Norris in Montreal and Florida

Thomas Norris McIlhagga

I suppose, genealogically speaking, the 'senior line' of any family is traditionally the first son of the first son..... or, in our day of gender equality, the first child of the first child....... Well, the first son/child of William and Agnes (nee McCosh) McIlhagga was William (born c. 1830). His first son/child was William Carson McIlhagga (born c. 1852). His first son/child was William (born 1875) of whom we know very little, except that he lived until he was twenty-two. Moving down his seven siblings we know of no descendants alive today until we come to the youngest son/eighth child, Thomas Norris McIlhagga who was born on 6th December 1891 in 'Plantation', Govan, Glasgow, to Furnaceman William. He was born at 7.15am at 132 McLean Street, where he lived until he was twenty. At the turn of the century Thomas Norris (where did that second name come from?) could be said to be the 'senior' representative of this branch of the McIlhagga clan, as any present-day representative would be today.

Family tradition has it that in 1911 Thomas and his friend Robert Howie Hardie decided to go abroad to Canada to look for work. Their immediate circle of friendship extended to girlfriends who were sisters, Annie and Katie Campbell who had been brought up in rural Argyllshire in a little loch-side village called Furnace. They were two of the children of Neil Campbell and Christina Bird. Neil's family line can be traced back to Sylvester who was born in 1731, probably in Kenmore. Christina's father was Maitland Bird, born about 1750, of whom we have an early photograph. Thomas and Robert's commitment was to find work in Canada and then to send for their fiancees. We know that Robert Hardie married Vatherine Campbell and Thomas certainly brought Ann Munro Campbell to Montreal where they married in 1913 at Crescent Street Presbyterian Church. (Ann's second name was the maiden name of her paternal grandmother).

Thomas's signature on a Certificate copy of the marriage entry appears to be McIlhaggie, the version he used in that year's Montreal Directory. He must have settled into a job quickly for the 1913-14 Directory has him as a 'Clerk, living at 231 St. Martin Street'. The following year he is at the same address as a 'Messenger'. By 1926-7 he had become a Salesman, with the more conventional spelling of McIlhagga, and he had moved to Cote des Neiges. In 1935-6 the Directory has 'TN' working for The Steel Company of Canada (STELCO) with an address at 4570 Cote St. Luke Road, Montreal. In 1948 he left STELCO to work for Stuart, Busby & Asgo, a Wholesale Hardware firm of 116 St. Paul's Street West, Montreal. This is his last appearance in the Montreal Directory for he retired to the warmer climes of Florida that year, where sadly he died only the following year at Daytona Beach.

Thomas and Annie in fact followed their son William to Florida, as the following Newspaper report makes clear. It is headed 'Couple sell out; Going to Florida - Mr./ And Mrs. McIlhagga Favour Southern Climate':

When Mr. And Mrs. Thomas McIlhagga, 5453 Cote St. Luke Rd, first visited their son, William, in Jacksonville, Florida, they fell in love with the warmth and beauty of the place. But only when William, who had moved down two years ago, returned to Montreal for awhile (sic) in September, and wondered aloud why his parents endured the cold and dampness here, that they decided to take their son's offer to move down and live with them.

In the past few weeks, Mr. And Mrs. McIlhagga have made all the necessary adjustments, passed all the necessary examinations, which involved more red tape and repetition than they like to remember, and sold every household article except bedclothes, cutlery and some dishes. When they board the plane on Tuesday, November 22, they will be starting up a completely new life, and they intend, in time, even to become American citizens.

The couple came to Canada from Scotland (Thomas McIlhagga was brought up in Glasgow, and his wife in Furnace) in 1911, and two years later they were married in the Old Crescent Church. Mr. McIlhagga is a hardware salesman, and will continue this line of work in Florida.

Mrs. McIlhagga belonged to the Daughters of England, Excelsior Lodge, and her husband was a member of the Montreal Operatic Society and the Masonic Order Mount Lebanon Lodge. The latter lodge presented him with a beautiful tan cowhide grip last week.

In the above we have noted an element of doubt about the spelling of Thomas' surname. His birth register clearly says McIlhagga, his marriage Certificate McIlhaggie and his death register McIlhagga. His widow appears to sign this Annie McIlhaggie however. I think we can take it that McIlhaggie is a variant due to mis-hearing or mis-transcribing. A Florida Newspaper notice of Thomas' Death, aged 58, makes it clear that they had moved to Daytona Beach only three weeks before and were visiting a nearby friend for Christmas. He died at Ridgewood Osteopathic-Medical Hospital. Annie survived both him and their son William and died on 1st May 1965 back in Montreal. In an earlier blog on 2nd November I showed a photograph of Thomas' grave stone in Daytona Memorial Park, formerly known as Cedar Hill Memory Park. I am grateful to much of the information about Thomas to his grandson who still lives in Canada.

Saturday, 12 December 2009

Mass Emigration to North America

Joseph McCulloch McIlhagga aka Haggarty

I concluded my last blog with the story of Joseph McCulloch McIlhagga, aka Haggarty. I want to add a note about a couple of mistakes on his official records. In the Greenock East District Registers his birth contains a note of his parents' marriage in 1867. This is clearly incorrect as they would then only have been 11 and 7 respectively! It should of course read 1876. Second, in the Statutory Register Index of Scottish Births (1855-1904) he is listed as McIlhaggs. This should of course be McIlhagga. Last time I mentioned that he had a son James. James was born on 22nd September 1910 at 66 Ann Street, Greenock to Joseph and his wife Annie (nee Glenesk) whom he had married on 31st August 1909 in East Greenock. By whatever surname Joseph had been married, a year later he signed the register of births 'J. Haggarty'. James was eventually to marry Margaret Wallace Chisholm and have six children, all of whom could still be alive so will not be named in this blog. One of the children was male who in his turn has a male heir, so there are certainly two Haggartys in Middle England who have and are able to pass on the McIlhagga DNA.

Joseph was the fifth of James' and Johanna's 16 children. Number six was Catherine McCulloch, born 17 May 1886. The 1901 Census tells us she became a Mill Worker who died on 4th February 1976, aged 89 in Plant City, Hillsborough, Florida. When her young brother James sailed to New York in 1922 he named Catherine as the person with whom he was going to stay at 730 Main Street, Buffalo. Catherine is to be found on sailing lists, first from Liverpool to New York in 1916, then in 1934, 1956 and 1957, so she must have made several trips 'home'. Next in the list of 16 came Johanna, born 28th May 1888 at 19 Ingleston Place, Cartsburn Street. She also emigrated, but to Canada where she married Melville Russell Dean in Frank, Alberta, in 1919. They had a daughter the day before Johanna died on 26th December 1923 at the comparatively young age of 35.

Number eight child was Elizabeth born in July 1890. She died in about 1968 aged 77. Number nine was Agnes born in 1892. She too emigrated to Canada when she was 21, only to die there on 14th January 1919 when she was 27. This information is to be found at Greenock Cemetery. The tenth child, about whose gender there may have been some dispute was born on 24th January 1894. The name on the birth certificate is Alexandrina. However 'she' becomes Alexander in the 1901 Census, by which time she/he must have been at school. There may have been a 'gender doubt', though the 1901 Census may simply contain an enumerator's error. She later appears as Alexandrina in the New York Western Naturalization Index in 1929. The emigration pattern continues with the 11th child in this family. Isabella McFady McIlhagga was born in 1896. We know this also from the Greenock Cemetery information where it is recorded that she died on 26th September 1944 in Kimberley, British Columbia, aged 48.

We come now to the 'younger brother James', born 13th May 1888. James sailed from Glasgow for the USA when he was 24, arriving on 13th August 1922 on the ship Columbia. He landed, as most immigrants did, at Ellis Island. When he arrived he had £16 on him, destined to stay, as we have said above, with his sister Catherine at 720 Main Street, Buffalo, New York. His stated intention was to stay in the USA permanently, which indeed he did, in New York. His description on the immigration record says he was 5' 7.1/2" in height, of datk complexion with black hair and brown eyes. It was another two years before he married and yet another twelve before he became a naturalized American. He married Jean Blue Crawford who had been born in Fairlie, Scotland, to Archie Crawford and Mary Drummond. James and Jean married in 1924 in Buffalo and had two sons, the eldest of which they also called James (1926 - 2001).

According to the 1930 Federal Census they had Jean's two brothers living with them, presumably temporarily. Alexander was a Riveter Helper in a Bridgeworks and Archibald was a Truck Helper in a Gas and Auto Works. James Junior, who had been born on 6th February 1926, in 1946 married Magdalena Lindstadt. She died in 1971. They had three children, the eldest of which, George William died as an 18 year old teenager (1947 - 1965). Two years before they married James enlisted in the army at Fort Dix, New Jersey, to fight in World War II. He was eventually to be a veteran both of the Second World War and of the Korean War. Before his retirement he worked as a Sales Representative for 'Food Enterprises'. He died on 11th September 2001 six days after he had been admitted to hospital. Although James (b. 1888/9) had for a time adopted the surname Haggarty, eventually he and the majority of the subsequent generations of this Clan line reverted to the McIlhagga name.

The final four children of the large family of sixteen brought up by James and Johanna (nee McCulloch) were all girls: Annie Bell (8th Sep 1900 - 3rd Nov 1901), Ina (b. 1900), Janet (1902 - 30th Oct 1902) and Mary Morrison (1904 - 23 Dec 1904). Three of them died as infants. The survivor was Ina, who, I assume, was a twin with Annie. Ina, like so many of her family, emigrated to New York, where initially she entered service as a Maid. She married James Strathearn and, as we shall see in a later blog, sponsored one of her cousins when he applied for an Immigration Visa from Canada to live and work in the USA.

Thursday, 10 December 2009

Ballycloughan to Greenock

In my last blog I referred to James (born 1855/6) who married Johanna McCulloch and had sixteen children. This must have been one of the largest, if not the largest of our clan families. There were just four boys among the sixteen, only two of which survived to produce offspring. James was born to William and Elizabeth (nee Carson) who had moved from Ballycloughan, County Antrim, to Greenock, Renfrewshire. We can calculate James' birth year from later events like Censuses and in particular his marriage. He is in the 1861 Scottish Census aged 6 where his family name is McIlhaggan. Ten years later he was a 16 year old 'Storekeeper Boy', McIlhaga, still in Greenock. By 1876, when James McIlhagga was 21 he had become a Journeyman Rivetter still living in the family home, 12 Terrace Road. On 3rd November that year he married the girl next door at No. 14, Johanna McCulloch, a Domestic Servant, daughter of John McCulloch, a Police Constable (deceased) and Marion Calder. They were married according to the forms of The Free Church of Scotland. After their marriage they set up home at 13 Ingleston Street, east Greenock, the house in which James died thirty-seven years later.

James' and Johanna's marriage took place in her parents' house where, just five weeks later, she was to have her first child, a girl who was called Marion, after her maternal grandmother. Marion seems not to have married. She appears in records of course: 1881 aged 4 as Marion McIlhaggart; aged 14 in 1891 as Marion Haggerty. On 23rd August 1915 her brother gave her name as his next-of-kin when he enlisted in the First World War. Her address was then 31 Lyle Street. She was to live in Greenock until 1961 where she died on 3rd November aged 84. Her burial in Greenock Cemetery was as Marion McCulloch McIlhagga.

It was two more years after the birth of Marion before the birth of James' and Johanna's first boy, whom of course they called after his paternal grandfather, William (b. 1878/9). In 1881 he was William McIlhaggart aged 2, at 13 Ingleston Street. In 1891 he was William Haggerty aged 12, at 19 Cartsburn Street. In 1913 he was 34 and living at 88 Portland Place, Hamilton, when he gave notice of his father's death. Margaret McCulloch was child number three, born on 17th March 1881, though a month later she appears on the Census form as Matilda! Perhaps there was some family discussion about the name! Margaret, as she became known, eventually moved to Bridgeton, Glasgow, and died there in 1961 aged 80, though she returned to be buried in Greenock Cemetery. The fourth child in this family was Robert, born 1883, who also died in that year.

So we come to Joseph McCulloch McIlhagga about whom we know rather more, and who was born in May 1884. Of James' and Johanna's sixteen children most retained the McIlhagga form of the surname. However for a reason that I do not know, there appears to have been some form of 'collusion' between Joseph and his younger brother James (he was 14 years younger) to adopt the name Haggerty. I won't speculate here why this decision was taken, or precisely when, though in the event Joseph seems to have persuaded his descendant family to follow him. In addition to his wife, his son James and his six grandchildren used or presently use the name Haggerty. Only one of his six grandchildren was male so this 'deviant' form continues with just him and his son in the English Midlands. I use the word 'deviant' rather than 'variant' as the name Haggerty appears to have quite a different origin to McIlhagga. According to George F. Black, in The Surnames of Scotland, it has an Irish origin meaning 'descendant of the unjust'.

Joseph married Annie Black Glenesk on 31st August 1909 in Greenock's Imperial Hall. Early in the First World War he decided to enlist with the Canadian Expeditionary Force. He did so at Blairmore, presumably in Alberta, not Scotland. Oddly he gave his sister Marian (sic) as his next-of-kin. However, the person he later assigned his pay to was Mrs. A. McIlhaga (sic) - Annie of course - at 39 Ingleston Street, Greenock. It is probable that Annie never went to Canada and we know that they only had one child. Joseph joined up on 23rd August 1915 with the 50th Battalion, in Calvary, and later transferred to the 10th Battalion. He went to France in February 1916 and was badly wounded on 5th June, possibly during the German attack on Canadian positions at Mount Sorrel. I owe this surmise and some essential information to a great-grandson of his who has done some good research on his family.

Joseph's records indicate serious bullet wounds in both legs, the left the worse. His injuries were serious enough for him to be returned to Canada in 1917 and he was discharged from the army on 19th March 1918. His place of discharge was Frank, Alberta. He stayed for some time in Canada where he worked as a Miner and as a Locomotive Fireman on the Canadian Pacific Railway, before he eventually returned to Scotland, to 9 Belville Road and then to 14 Inverkip Road, Greenock where Annie died on 30th June 1960. If there had been a parting soon after they were married, there appears to have been a reconcilliation late in life. Joseph died some (possibly ten) years later. I will continue to document this part of my family - I am Joseph's 2nd Cousin, once removed - next time.