Wednesday, 6 January 2010

South into England

Staying with the branch of the 'Ballycloughan Family' I began to write about in my last blog, Crawford, like most of his siblings, crossed the North Cannel to work in the town of Greenock. It is perhaps surprising that a hundred and fifty years later there is but one McIlhagga left in that town. The first part of that family to leave was in fact Crawford and Elizabeth (nee Smith) and their two sons, William and Thomas. They headed down the west coast to Liverpool in the English County of Lancashire. This move is illustrated by the 1881 Census map above. It is produced from Surname Atlas, copyright Archer Software 2003 ( which can produce such a map for any surname. They kindly gave me a copy for McIlhagga at a Family History study day and said I may use it in a Clan publication. You can see that it is based on the actual numbers in each county in the 1881 Census.

The first family event 'down south' was the birth of their fourth child, Crawford, at 16 Raymond Street on 20th July 1870. His birth record incorrectly spells his surname McIlhagger. He joined his two older brothers William aged 4 and Thomas aged 2. His mother 'made her mark' when she gave notice of the birth to the Registrar of the Liverpool District of St. Martin. Crawford and Elise (as she was known) had two more children, Agnes five or six years later and finally John on 13th August 1879.

Where and how did Crawford obtain work? In Greenock his 'profession' in the Port Glasgow Marriage Register was 'Sugar Baker'. On the Internet today there is a Sugar Refiners & Sugar Bakers Database ( Crawford and his two eldest sons are listed on it from the 1881 Census. Both the Greenock Mill and the Liverpool Mill were owned by Tate & Lyle, and perhaps Crawford had seen a Liverpool job advertised when he was still in Greenock. In any case in 1881 Crawford is still a Sugar Baker. Fourteen year old William was a Sugar Baker Office Boy (Mess) and his thirteen year old brother Thomas was a Sugar Bks (sic) Office Boy. Their younger siblings were all still of school age.

While this family was growing up they moved house several times. From Raymond Street they moved into 'St. Martin's Cottages'. They were in No. 76 by 1879 and in No. 17 by 1881. I wonder if No. 17 had two or three bedrooms? Maybe the move from No. 76 to No. 17 was to get an extra bedroom, the larger rent made possible with three wages coming in. From there William, Thomas, Crawford and Agnes were all to marry and about each, as well as about the 'baby' of the family John, there is a story to tell, but first, in my next blog, I must explain how as a family, by moving into 'St. Martin's' they were, possibly unknowingly, making history.

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