Sunday, 23 May 2010


In the Ireland, Civil Registration Indexes, 1845-1958 there is just one example of the variant name McIlhaggor. It is the marriage in Ballymena in 1849 of Martha McIlhaggor. Fortunately other Irish records give us a little more information. The full date of the marriage was 15th June, at a church known either as Cloughwater Presbyterian Meeting House or Skerry Presbyterian Church. Martha's parents were John and Jenny nee McCarley. Over a number of records John's surname is variously spelled McIlhago, McElhager, McIlhagar and McIlhagga. Martha, who was born about 1833 married James McCrory born about 1828.

All of the above gives us a considerable amount of detail about Martha McIlhaggor, who may well have experienced a number of name variations in different circumstances through her life. However, if it were not for one more fact, we would not know how to relate her to the wider clan family. That fact is that her residence at the time of her marriage was the townland of Lisnacrocher. There is a very small group of clan members whose origins are in that townland, and almost without exception they emigrated to Jamestown, Pensylvania, USA. In fact most of the information we have about them comes from their American life experience, and I have written about this in blogs on 19th and 22nd June last year. Now there is one Irish reference which establishes that John and Jenny had not one child, Martha, but at least two, namely James who was baptised at Broughshane Presbyterian Church on 22nd November 1836 under the name of McIlhago. In fact the Jamestown records also show us a third child, Elizabeth. In 2009, when I was starting mainly from the Jamestown end, I made no reference to Martha for she seems to be the exception to the emigration rule, and this must mean that the family did not emigrate until after her marriage. However, all the facts about her fit this family, her birth year, the name of her father, the place of her origin. It is probable that she and her spouse James McCrory did not emigrate, or at least not to Jamestown, Pensylvania.

I note that for its 150th Anniversary, Annabel Witherspoon wrote a book entitled Cloughwater Presbyterian Church, 1840-1990. It would be good to know whether it has any clan references in it. I'm afraid I judged that the one copy on sale at Amazon at nearly £24 was too expensive to buy.

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