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.

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