Friday, 14 May 2010


In the FamilySearch trawl of clan names ten McHaggarts emerged. I admit that I had previously noted the two who were Scottish based, but hadn't come across the others, one of whom was in Ireland, the rest in North America. At first glance there appear to be five separate families and as I begin to write about them I cannot see any link between them except the surname which I am assuming is a variant on a more common name. It may be a variant on a name quite different from McIlhagga, such as Hoggart, but I have no evidence for that. As I write I may of course find some links.

The oldest date we have is for Bridget born 1827 in Ireland, who died during March 1850, aged 23, in Penobscot County, Penobscot, Maine, USA. Now in Ireland the name Bridget occurs frequently in the Roman Catholic Church, and hardly at all in the Presbyterian Church with which our clan is primarily associated. It may well be that a second Bridget, born a generation later also in Ireland may belong to the same family. An Ireland Births and Baptisms, 1620-1881 Index shows us she married a Hugh Starkey and had a son Patrick on 18th April 1876 at Deerpark, in County Tyrone. The name Patrick and the place Tyrone both also point towards a Roman Catholic family. This in its turn of course throws some doubt on a link with our clan, though I must put on record that we do have a few Roman Catholic families.

The next oldest date would be the birth of Donald McHaggart in about 1840, of Lochgilphead in the County of Argyll, Scotland. It is indeed interesting that this is in the Scottish Highlands for we have no other instance of our clan name being attached to a Highlander, which we can assume Donald was, for that is a Highland Christian name. Donald married Christina McCorquindale and had a daughter Bella at Lochgilphead on 25th January 1864. Now Edward McHaggart in the USA, who was the father of Elizabeth born in New York on 4th October 1886, would have had a birth year about 1865. This raises the interesting possibility of Edward having been a brother of Bella and having been born in the Highlands. Elizabeth, his daughter, married Frederick Pothier. It is from the record of Elizabeth's death on 10 February 1911, aged 24, in Springfield, Massachusetts, that we know of the existence of Edward and Frederick. Unfortunately there is no mother's name recorded in Massachusetts Deaths, 1841-1915. From our trawl there are two other people with birth years very near that of Elizabeth (1886). Mirna Wilhelmina was born in 1882, though sadly died on 8th April 1883 when only 5 months and 13 days old. Roy McHaggart was born in 1884. It is therefore possible that the three were all children of Edward and grandchildren of Donald. However we must add that the places of birth may not support this theory, unless the family moved around rather rapidly. Mirna was born (and died) in East Whitby, Ontario, Canada. Roy was born in Indiana, USA, and Elizabeth in New York. It is of course possible that Edward (and his wife) emigrated from the Scottish Highlands, landing in Canada, then moved south into the USA.

We next have a record of Isabel McHaggart being the mother of Mollie C. Amsberry (born 1891) who married John C. Higbee in Des Moines, Polk, Iowa, USA, on 26th March 1912. He was the son of O.J. Higbee and Mary E. Goode. Mollie's father was M.J. Amsberry of Milo, Iowa. The date of Mollie's birth allows us to calculate a year for her mother's birth in the mid 1860s. This fact raises the possibility that Isabel McHaggart is none other than Bella, daughter of Donald McHaggart in Lochgilphead, for Isabel and Bella are two forms of the same name.

We are finally left with Earl McHaggart born 1892 in North Dakota, being married to Leila, born 1902 in Nevada. We know this from the US Census taken in 1920 in Lyon, Nevada. I cannot see where Earl would fit into any of the above families, for sadly we do not have details of his parents. However, as a result of the above ten McHaggart references I have been able to construct a 'possible' family tree, albeit for only some of them.

1 comment:

  1. I have found a reference to Roy McHaggart in the 1930 US Census where he is aged 48, so born 1882. He was resident in the Klamath Indian Reservation in the State of Oregon.