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.

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