Tuesday, 9 March 2010

1841-1851 Scotland

In the 1841 Census although 6 of the 7 Clan names were McElhago and the 7th was McIlhago they were in fact all one family. The six were in Dundonald, Ayrshire: James and his wife Jane (nee Harvey), two daughters, Eliza 15 and Jane 10, and two sons 'Richd' 8 and Jam(i)eson 4 - they had given him a version of his mother's maiden name. Eliza had been named after her grandmother, the 'Widow McIlhago' whom we met in the special 1820 Irvine Church Census, and who, we must assume, had died by 1841. The 1820 Census told us that Elizabeth had two sons living with her, and it might appear from 1841 that they were James and Samuel who is listed in Dunbar in East Lothian. Both give their age as 45 (so a birth year of 1796) and it might seem that they were twins. This however is not correct. If we move to the 1851 Census they are both still there, Samuel still in Dunbar but a year older that James, still in Dundonald. This time the are 59 (so 1792) and 58 (so 1793) respectively, from which we must conclude that for a good or not so good reason in 1841 they declared that they were some four or five years younger than they really were!

In 1841 Jane was 40 and in 1851 she was 58, the same age as her husband James. She had knocked 8 years off her age ten years before! They do seem to have been accurate with the ages of their children - Eliza 15 and 25, Jane 10 and 21, Richard 10 and 19, Jameson 4 and 14. By 1851 Samuel in Dunbar had married Jean, ten years his junior (49) and they had a son John, 16, who would of course have been 6 in 1841, when neither he nor his mother seem to have been 'at home'. Maybe they were with grandparents, though if so they were not recorded. Strangely Samuel's wife Jean is recorded as Gend! One can understand how their surname could become McElhagie, but how could Jean have become Gend?!

One has to be very careful to double check what one can easily assume were facts from the 'evidence' of the Censuses. The two sons (unnamed) in the 1820 Irvine 'Census' were not James and Samuel, but James and his younger brother Robert. Samuel had already left for East Lothian. Grandmother Elizabeth's husband was Robert, and it might seem odd that the youngest rather than the eldest son was named after him, and so the Scottish naming pattern not followed. In fact it was. There had been a first child named Robert who had died young, hence another son born later taking the name. It is quite possible that the first Robert had not died until after James and Samuel had been born. We know from Old Parish Records that James was in fact born in 1791 (on 9th December) and Samuel in 1793 (2nd October). He died the year after the 1851 Census, aged 58, when his son John was only 18. Fortunately John's mother lived another 3.1/2 years, so was able to see her son married in 1854 and become established in the Milling Industry in Edinburgh. James and Samuel were both Master Mariners. The further details of both the Dundonald family and the Dunbar family, who emigrated to New Zealand, I have outlined in earlier blogs.

No comments:

Post a Comment