Monday, 28 June 2010

Another piece in a Jigsaw?

I have been working through all the surname variants in FamilySearch and have reached the single example of MacIlhaggart. I will suggest that it perhaps provides a new piece in a family jigsaw about which I have written twice already this year. Margaret MacIlhaggart was a widow when in the April Quarter of 1903 (see Ireland, Civil Registration Indexes, 1845-1958) she married. This is the extent of the information in FamilySearch. However we know from AncestryIreland that on 11 April 1903 she married Joseph Hills at Kirkinriola Church of Ireland. She used her previously married name so we need next to ask to whom she had first been married. Unhelpfully her father is named as Thomas Luff a shoemaker. However her marriage witness was an Agnes Tuff, so my suspicions were raised that one or the other (Luff or Tuff) could be a misprint. This is indeed confirmed when we find an earlier marriage for a Margaret Tuff, daughter to Thomas Tuff a shoemaker, to John McIlhagga, Labourer of High Street, Ballymena, son of William a Labourer. This marriage was less than two years previously, on 15th July 1901 at Ballyclug Church of Ireland. And again the witness was Agnes Tuff. At this time Margaret was a spinster of King Street, Ballymena. These facts mean that John died between 15th July 1901 and 11th april 1903. Clearly after John died Margaret had continued to work or had gone back to work for her occupation was given in 1903 as a Mill Hand. And incidentally I'm not at all surprised to find her using two variants of the clan name!

The above accords with the fact shown by the 1901 Irish Census which I noted in my blog of 11th June 'Bits and Pieces', that a John McIlhagga aged 58 (so born about 1843), a widower, was boarding with a family at 8 High Street, Ballymena. He was a Timber Labourer. He was a Presbyterian, but the fact that he married in the Church of Ireland probably simply indicates the tradition that a marriage normally took place in the bride's church . So if we now make the assumption that we have the right groom, we can now ask who might have been his first wife, who of course must have died before the 1901 Census was taken on 31 March that year. If John was 58 when he remarried his first marriage could have been up to 35 years earlier. The only record which I have which 'fits' this possibility is the marriage on 14th March 1863 of John, a Timber Labourer, son of William a Weaver, to Mary Ann Atkinson, daughter of John, a Labourer. This is the same conclusion I came to by a slightly different route in my blog of 11th June when I was considering the loan lodger in Ballymena High Street. And as I then went on to point out, John and Mary Ann had four children about whom I had written in an earlier blog, 'Ballyclug to Partick' on 9th February. I think I have found a jigsaw piece which fits pretty snugly.

Saturday, 26 June 2010

McIlhaggar and Galgorm

One of the forms of the clan name, McIlhaggar, was in surprisingly frequent use in the 19th Century. I have 21 births and 23 marriages in my records. Today it has virtually disappeared. A number of examples involve the simple dropping of the final 'r'. An interesting known example is that of Miss McIlhagga(r) - she was either Margaret or Mary who married John Fullerton. I say Margaret or Mary because I have an AncestryIreland marriage record for Margaret McIlhagga to John Fullerton on 8th January 1782 and then just 23 days later on 31st January the birth of Mary Ann to John Fullerton and Mary McIlhaggar. It may of course be that Margaret and Mary were sisters and that both records are accurate, though I have no evidence of this. The marriage was in Connor Church of Ireland, the bride's father being James and the marriage witness Eliza Ann McIlhagga. I also have another marriage in Connor Church of Ireland with a father James, of Eliza Ann McIlhaggi (sic) to William Buchanan, on 12th April 1890. It seems probable that Eliza Ann was Margaret (and/or Mary)'s younger sister.

Now it is interesting that Mary Ann Fullerton's baptism took place at 145 Galgorm, County Antrim, Ireland. Galgorm was a townland in the countryside outside the town of Ballymena. Seven of the fifteen McIlhaggars on the new FamilySearch website are located in Galgorm, and there is certainly an association between some of them. This can be assumed from four baptisms, of William, Samuel and Agnes the children of Jane McIlhaggar and Thomas Francey; and Jane the daughter of Rachael McIlhaggar and John Francey. Clearly Jane and Rachel were probably sisters and almost certainly Thomas and John Francey were cousins - they had different fathers. This McIlhaggar clan family can at present be dated back to the marriage in about 1830 between Francis McIlhaggar and Nancy Fletcher. To some degree I dealt with this family on 8th November last when I was looking at the unusual name of Francis. However, for completeness I will repeat here some of what I then wrote.

Francis and Nancy appear to have had at least five children, though there is a gap between numbers three and four. The eldest was Mary Jane (born 1831) who married William Devlin on 27th August 1861 in Kirkinriola, Ballymena. The second daughter was Rachael (born 1836) who married John Francey on 12th July 1858 in Ballymena and who as we have seen had a daughter Jane in 1872 in Galgorm. Third came Jane who married Thomas Francey on 12th April 1859 in Connor Presbyterian Meeting House and had three children, William (1865), Samuel (1870) and Agnes (1872). Then after a gap of eleven years came William (born 1850) who in 1872 married Mary Jane Bell in Ballymena. They had seven children, the first in Ballymena but the rest in Scotland, three in Pollockshaws, one in Paisley and two in Carmyle.

John Bell McIlhaggar, first child of William and Mary (nee Bell), was born in Ballymena and in 1899 married Ann Clyde. They had six children (William, John, David Clyde, Robert Bell, Frank and Mary Jane Bell). Agnes, eldest daughter, was born in 1875 in Pollockshaws and in 1896 married John Brown. They had two sons (William and John). Martha Bell was born 1878 in Pollockshaws and in 1901 married Dugald Ballantyne. They had five children (Mary, Margaret, Martha, Agnes and John). Robert Bell, second son, was born 1880 in Pollockshaws and married Marion Dalrymple and had a daughter Isabel. Next Francis was born in 1886 in Paisley and in 1910 married Janet Mason. They had four children (Janet Mason, Mary Bell, William and Jeanie Mason). It is a granddaughter in Scotland from this marriage from whom my main information comes about this clan family and I am very grateful to her. The sixth child of William and Mary Jane McIlhaggar was Sarah Bell. She married John McPhee and had five children (John, William Haddow, Edward, Mary Bell and Margaret Marshall). Sarah Bell McIlhaggar married twice, the second time to John Young. The seventh and last child of William and Mary Jane was Jane who in 1910 married James Skelton McIvor. They had six children (Mary Jane Bell Haddow, Robert, Jean Skelton, Agnes, William and James).

Finally, the fifth and last child of Francis and Nancy (nee Fletcher) McIlhaggar was Elizabeth born in 1853 in Ballymuckvea, County Antrim, Ireland.

Sunday, 20 June 2010

Minus One, Plus One

My grandmother who married William McIlhagga, had a younger brother. He had a son called Ian McLean in 1903 which makes him my first cousin, once removed. I know that Ian became a Marine Engineer, though I don't know the name of any ships he worked on. Recently The National Archives (Kew) made available on the Internet the details of Merchant Navy seamen and I put in 'Ian McLean'. There he was! Born 1903 in Glasgow (right place!). Should I spend £7.30 and get his full details? He has been one of my 'brick walls' for ages. Surely there can't be two Ian McLeans born in Glasgow in 1903. So I did, and duly waited three week for the large A2 envelope to arrive. Was he an engineer? - that was one of the pieces of information not on the Internet. No, he wasn't - he was a cook! Was his father John Francis? No, he wasn't - In fact his birth name hadn't even been McLean! Ah, well, put it down to experience. Minus One!

However, there's a Plus One as well. ScotlandsPeople has just been taken over by an Internet firm and part of the deal seems to be activating any credits which have expired. I had just enough to look up a marriage. I'd been wondering who Elizabeth McIlhagan was, who had married Robert Johnston and had had a son in 1881 in Greenock. I would know her parents' names if I spent my credits. I did. They were John McIlhagan and Mary Stewart. Now John McIlhagga who married Mary Stewart was my Great great uncle. I knew he and Mary had a daughter in 1859/60 but knew nothing more about her. Now I do - and yet another spelling variant for my family and a marriage on 4th May 1877 at Greenock Free Church of Scotland, to Robert son of James Johnston ( a Tailor) and Isabella McInally. Robert was a Sugar House Labourer. With their son James born on 17th March 1881, that's two more people added to my family tree. Elizabeth was my first cousin, twice removed.

Monday, 14 June 2010

Yet more Bits & Pieces from 1901

Sometimes a Census entry can give as much insight into the family into which a clan member has married as to the 'primary' clan family. Such is the case with Ruth McIlhagga. She was born Ruth Woods and on the 28th November 1877 and married William James McIlhagga, son of William a farmer. They married at St. John's Church of Ireland in the Upper Falls Road, Belfast. By 1884 they had had three children, Harry, Elizabeth and Margaret. Some time between 1884 and 1901 William James died, for Ruth was entered as a widow on the Census. Presumably she and William James had had their own home, which was in Belfast for that is where their children were born. She might have continued to live there, or perhaps have gone to live with her in-laws, but more naturally she looked to her own parents and returned to live with them. No doubt this was also helpful to them for by 1901 they were a good age. Michael Woods her father was 84 and Elizabeth her mother 83. They were also farmers, living at 23 Ballymoney, Ballygomartin. The Census shows us that Ruth was 43 by then and that two of her siblings, still single, were also living at home, William, 54, a Clerk and Ann Jane, 48. Ruth's three children made up the rest of the household, Harry, 22, an Invoice Clerk, and Elizabeth (20) and Margaret (17) perhaps rather surprisingly both 'School Teachers'.

The only clan entry in the 1901 Census of a single person living alone is for William John McIlhagga aged 44 in Albert Bridge Road. He was a widower and his occupation was 'Tea Packer'. 1901 was however for him an interlude between two marriages. I can be certain about his second marriage which was in the following year on 3rd September to Jane Burgess Anderson of 60 Jerusalem Street, at Elmwood Presbyterian Church. I can be certain for he was still a Tea Packer. We learn from this record that his father was James, a farmer. Jane's father was Samuel Anderson, a Van Man. But who was William John's first wife? Do we have an earlier marriage of a William John whose father was farmer James? Well, we do, though not of a 'Tea Packer'. That must have been a job he took later. His first marriage could have been to Letitia Gaston, daughter of Alexander Gaston, also a farmer. William John was then also called a farmer, and he was aged 28 when they married on 10th July 1883. We know of course that many 'ag. lab's' called themselves 'farmer' and William John was, even at 28, probably assisting his father in the townland given as their residence, Ballylough. I have no knowledge of children from either marriage, and we must presume that Letitia died some time before the 1901 Census.

My final query from 1901 concerns one of the boarders at The Industrial School, Victoria Homes, 11.2 Ballysillin Lower, Shankill. She was 13 year old Presbyterian Jane McIlhagga. I have no certain idea who her parents were. From birth records the only person of the right age who might fit was Jeannie daughter of Archibald Duncan McIlhagga and Agnes Jamieson. By 1911 aged 21 she was a Linen Weaver who later in 1911 married Thomas Smyth a Provision Dealer. But what of The Industrial School? Its history is written briefly on the website of a Charitable Trust which has inherited its property. I quote from it: 'In 1881, the Belfast Women's Temperance Association first began the charitable work of rescuing "young girls from homes made miserable by poverty, unemployment and abuse of alcohol and to prevent the possibility of them becoming prostitutes or involved in other kinds of crime." The education of these girls was undertaken by young lady Associates of the Women's Temperance Association who taught reading, writing, arithmetic and sewing for two hours a day at the Home. Matron assisted the children with their homework and established a happy, secure place for them to live and grow up. In 1892, the first of the Victoria Homes was opened and the children moved to the Home in Ballysillin, overlooking the city then in a semi-rural setting.' It looks as it Jane benefitted from the regime and became a future good wife. Whether she had children, I'm afraid I do not know.

More Bits and Pieces from the Irish 1901 Census

There is a young couple, John (aged 26) and Mary (25) McIlhagga, husband and wife, who lived at 102 Queen Street, Ballymena and belonged to the Church of Ireland. John's occupation is 'Carter'. There is no further information about them. They would have been married about 1896, when John was 21. I have checked my Irish marriages and there is just one possibility of identifying John, in a marriage in 1894, when he would have been 19 and Mary 18. This was in the Church of Ireland in Ballyclug, Ballymena, between John McIlhagga, 87 Queen Street, Harryville, Ballymena, a Labourer (son of John a Labourer) and Mary Sloan of 103 Queen Street. Ten years later (1911 Census) a John and a Mary were still living in Queen Street at number 115 when John was a Railway Carter. They still had no children so I am not going to find them from any descendants. One final piece of information. At their marriage John's witness was William McIlhagga. He could have been John's brother or possibly his uncle. So who was John, father of John, who also had a son William or possibly a brother William? John senior would have been born about 1850.

There is a small household at 21 St. Mary's, Shankill, Belfast, of three single people. The head of the household was William McIlhagga aged 30 whose job was as a Linen Beetler. A Beetler operated the Beetling machine used for embossing textiles and giving a shiny surface to the cloth, part of the 'finishing' process. His two companions at home were both cousins and presumably siblings, Daniel Boyd, also 20, a Pork Curer and Maggie Boyd, 24, their Housekeeper. Now there are three or four clan families who have married Boyds. Which one was this? The only clue I have is William's age. As a 30 year old he fits into the family of George McIlhagga who married Eliza Anne Robinson. I have never known anything about him, but now I do. My thinking is confirmed because we find that on 1st January two years later (1903) William married his cousin Margaret. He was still a Beetler. By then they were living together at 101 Kilburn Street. Margaret's father was James Boyd, a farmer; William's father was George, a Clerk (who at his own marriage called himself a Merchant). I wonder what happened to Daniel, the Pork Curer? He wasn't one of the marriage witnesses. They were Alexander and Agnes Jane Hunter. William had three siblings, Margaret Jane, Samuel Robinson and Eliza Ann. Samuel married Jane McNeice, a family which ended up in Australia. One further point: if William and Maggie were cousins before they married, there must have been a McIlhagga-Boyd marriage in a previous generation. I must research this.

My third query from the 1901 Census concerns Rebecca McIlhagga who was a boarder with the Sinclair family (no relations that I know of) at 50 Ambleside, Shankill, Belfast. She was working as a Damask Weaver, and gave her age as 20. There are very few Rebeccas in my indexes and none who had a birth year of 1881! I am persuaded however that she was Rebecca who was to marry later that year, on 20th December 1901, Charles Kennett, an Engineer, son of Charles Kennett, a Wood Turner. They married in Albert Street Presbyterian Church, Shankill. The marriage record gives us her father's name, John, who married Elizabeth McCullough. John gave his occupation as a Ship's Carpenter. Knowing who her parents were we can now find Rebecca's birth and baptism. She was baptised on 16th September 1879 at Connor Presbyterian Church. If she was baptised soon after her birth, then when she said she was 20 on the 1901 Census, she was really 21 or 22. There is a McIlhagga-McCullough grave stone in Kirkhill Cemetery, on which a number of Rebecca's eleven siblings are named, though not she. Perhaps that was because she was still alive when it was erected. After all, she was the ninth of the twelve children in her family.

Friday, 11 June 2010

Bits and Pieces from the 1901 Irish Census

James and Jane (nee Maitland) McIlhaggar were living at number 1 Lavin Upper, Castlequarter, Ballymoney, possibly where Castle Street is in the modern town. One daughter (from nine children) was still living at home, Maggie aged 25. James was a farmer and described Maggie as a farmer's daughter, possibly because she worked for him. The vignette is completed by the presence of their Domestic Servant. She was Rose Anne McClements, born in County Antrim, no relation that I know of. She was only twelve years old. Like the rest of the family she was a Presbyterian but unlike the rest she could not read. I wonder what was the story behind her living with the McIlhagga(r)s? And what happened to her? I'm afraid I have failed to find her in the 1911 Census or in the AncestryIreland marriages.

I've written a lot about the family of Nathaniel Owens and Henrietta (nee Wilson) McIlhagga. Nathaniel was a successful Oil Merchant and they had a large family. What the 1901 Census reveals is that they belonged to The Church of God. One might suspect that such an entry could be a way of avoiding enterning the name of a denomination. However, I think this is probably not so. There is to this day a local church in Conway Street, Shankill, Belfast, called 'The Church of God', which presumably belongs to one of the Pentecostalist denominations. Henrietta certainly started life as a Methodist and Nathaniel probably as a Presbyterian. One son moved from Church of Ireland to Baptist and at least one daughter became a Baptist. In fact, after what is clearly a Pentecostalist 'interlude', by 1911 the whole family is listed as Baptists.

In 1901 there was a John McIlhagga, aged 58 (so born about 1843 in County Antrim) who was a Widower and was boarding with the Graham family in 8 High Street, Ballymena. As far as I know they were not related to him. He was a Presbyterian, as they were, and he worked as a Timber Labourer. His age and occupation are good clues as to whom he was. I think there is only one candidate, John son of William a Weaver from Ahoghill, who married Mary Ann Atkinson on 14th March 1863. They married in the parish church (ie Church of Ireland) of Ballyclug, Ballymena. Clearly Mary Ann had died before 1901. They had had four children, William, John, Elizabeth Jane and Clark. I wrote about these descendants on 9th February in my piece 'Ballyclug to Partick'.

On 14th June I received the following message from Mary in Australia: "I was reading your blog of 11th June where you mention my great-grandparents, James and Jane McIlhagga living at Castlequarter. Castlequarter was the name of the townland at that time, covering Lavin, Ballyportery, Ballyweaney etc. My birth certificate actually gives Castlequarter as the place of my birth. It would be about 7-9 miles from the town of Ballymoney."

Thursday, 10 June 2010

Laurencetown, Onchan and Knockbride

The above photo has kindly been sent by a correspondent in Australia who is the great-granddaughter of the first name on it, George McIlhagger (1848-1914) and Mary Jane Boyd (1849-1929). His great-great-grandson took the photo when he was working in Ireland. The stone is in the Belfast City Cemetery. George was a Police Sergeant in the Royal Irish Constabulary, first in Belfast and then in Laurencetown, Co. Galway. Earlier today I received a message from my correspondent about my blog on the Isle of Man (5 June) with reference to George's grandson, James McIlhagger, born 1913 and who died at Onchan in the Isle of Man. She wrote, "James was the Secretary for the Bank of Ireland and went to the Isle of Man for work. He was my mother's mother visited him there in 1974. William Boyd McIlhagger was also mentioned (in the blog)... he was my g'father's brother - I found him on the UK 1901 Census transcribed under "Schagger" - (you really have to be a detective don't you?)".

I imagine she must have entered a wild card before 'hagger' so I tried it on the 1901 Census Online. I didn't get 'Schagger' but I did get three of my family members who had been mistranscribed and whom I assumed had been missed:

Crawford Mctehagga, 61, born Ireland, Balamina (sic), Parish: Bootle Cum Linacre, Lancs; Occupation: Labourer.
Elizabeth Mctehagger, 53, Born Ireland. Knockbride; Parish: Bootle Cum Linacre; and
John Mctehagga, 21, born Liverpool; Parish: Bootle Cum Linacre, Lancs; Clerk.

Crawford was my great-grandfather, and for the first time I have learned where my great-grandmother was born, Knockbride, which is in County Cavan, now in the Republic of Ireland. Thank you Australia!

Wednesday, 9 June 2010

A Young Widow Farmer

For some time I have had information about a family of six children from a transcription of the 1911 Irish Census, all with the surname McElhagga and have wondered how to get further information about them. Now that I have the 1901 Census I know that McElhagga was a mistranscription for McIlhagga. I looked for each of the children in turn in my own birth index using the name and year (worked out from the child's age) and knowing the name of their mother from the census. I drew blanks on the first five but found Nathaniel aged 5 (in 1901) born with parents Agnes and Archibald McIlhagga. Up to this point I hadn't known the father's name. The 1901 Census simply has Agnes McIlhagga, age 34, widow, farmer. In addition to the six children who were all 'scholars' aged 15 down to 5, there was also living with them at 28 Maxwellswalls, Connor, Agnes' father, Robert Jamison, aged 82. This of course gave me her maiden name and I was able to look up the marriage of Agnes and Archibald on the AncestryIreland website. They married on 8th June 1885 in Wellington Street Presbyterian Church, Ballymena. Archibald was a farmer, as we have seen, in Maxwellswalls. Agnes was the daughter of a farmer in Tardee. The interesting detail on the marriage record is that Agnes was a 'minor'. This meant 'under 21' and we know from the ages she gave in the 1901 and 1911 Censuses that she was either 17 or 18. She was in fact six months pregnant when they married.

I suspect that Archibald was somewhat (maybe considerably) older than Agnes. I have the birth date of one of his brothers in the 1830s. Archibald died on 10th April 1898 and we know from his will (proved on 27th September 1901) that he left everything to his wife. The schedules attached to the 1901 Census show us that Agnes not only owned the land on which their house, number 28 Maxwellswalls, stood, but also that on which 29 stood. Clearly from the time of Archibald's death three years earlier Agnes had continued to farm, no doubt with a little help from her retired father. This would have meant a continuing stable family life for all the children who were still in education. William, the eldest is called 'Farmer's son' so clearly was employed on the farm. We have a very different picture ten years later from the 1911 Census, possibly a change which came about when her father died, when the family moved into the Shankill area of Belfast. They were still all together, all still single and living at 3 Diamond Street.

William, the eldest, now 25, was a General Labourer, as was his brothers Robert, 23, and John, 17. Jennie, 21, was a Linen Weaver, as was her sister Margaret, 19. Nathaniel aged 15 was a Message Boy. There is now no occupation against Agnes' name, who is 45 and still 'Head of Household'. With six incomes coming in she could no doubt afford simply to continue to be the home keeper, though doubtless she had her own income from the sale of the farm in Maxwellswalls. After this time I do not know what happened to William. Jeannie married later in 1911 (23rd June) to Thomas Smyth. Her sister Margaret was her marriage witness, though I don't know what happened subsequently to 'Maggie', nor indeed to Robert (Bob). John married Elizabeth Kerr. They had three children, William Wallace, Elizabeth and John. After John senior's death in December 1946 consideration was clearly given to emigration and it would seem that almost the whole family went to Queensland, Australia in the mid '50s, though John turns up later in New Zealand where his descendants flourish today. Other descendants are in Australia though one, an eminent scientist, has moved back to the United Kingdom. Archibald and Agnes' youngest son, Nathaniel, married Charlotte and had two sons who I think stayed in Northern Ireland.

Finally, there is a Memorial Inscription in Connor New Cemetery, as follows:

In loving memory of Nathaniel McIlhagga
beloved husband of Charlotte McIlhagga,
died 22nd March 1937
aged 41 years.

Tuesday, 8 June 2010

A Baker and BreadServers

In the 1901 Census of Ireland there appears to be a lone couple at 45 Wigton Street, Belfast. John McIlhagga, aged 27, was born in Belfast about 1874. He was a Baker. Bella was two years older, born about 1872 in County Antrim. Fortunately I have some Irish marriage records, including that of John McIlhagga to Isabella daughter of Thomas McKay, tailor. Interestingly John's father, also John, is called a BreadServer. Presumably father served the bread to the public that son John baked. John and Isabella were married at St.Anne's Church of Ireland, Shankill, Belfast, on 11th July 1893 when John was 22 and lived at 48 Brussels Street. Isabella was 24, worked as a Smoother, I imagine in the Linen Industry, and lived at 67 Grove Street. Their witnesses' names do not give me any further clues about them at present (Frederick McCullough and Elizabeth Thompson), but John Senior's occupation possibly does.

By good fortune (for us) another marriage of only seven moths earlier, on 23rd November 1892 was of John McIlhagga, son of Robert, BreadServer and Widower, of Belfast to Anne, daughter of David Kerr, Farmer of Belfast. This marriage was at Townsend Presbyterian Church, Shankill. Anne had not been married before. Little did they all know that John Senior's experience of widowhood and remarriage would become John Junior's experience. Isabella died at the comparatively young age of fifty-four and John would remarry Mary Elizabeth. We know this from the headstone commemorating his parents and both his wives which John erected in Templepatrick Old Graveyard. His mother was Margaret, daughter of Paul Douglas and Jane Johnston. The Douglas Records go back to 1763 in the village of Ballycushin on the North Antrim Coast. The Templepatrick Memorial Inscription reads as follows:

In loving memory
of my dear mother Margaret McIlhagga
and my father John McIlhagga
also my dear wife Isabella McIlhagga
who died 19th March 1926
also my dear wife Mary Elizabeth
who died 19th November 1939
also my brother Samuel
who died 30th November 1944.
John McIlhagga who died 16th July 1956.
Peace perfect peace.

The Memorial Inscription is in Medium Grey Sandstone with Wrought Iron Metal surround.

The last piece of this jigsaw is the name of John Senior's father as Robert McIlhagga, a Farmer. But herein lies a difficulty! The record of John's first marriage to Margaret Douglas names his father as John, a Labourer. And we know this is correct from the Gravestone. So what are the possibilities? Perhaps John the BreadServer who married in 1892 was not John Junior's father and there were two John McIlhaggas, both Breadservers. Really unlikely! Perhaps the record which says John Senior's father was Robert was wrong. Rather unlikely. Perhaps the father's name was Robert John or John Robert. I certainly have no record of these two names together. One final line of enquiry: John and Margaret had six children, Hannah (1870), Jane (1872), John (1874), Daniel (1880), Robert (1885) and Samuel (undated, probably about 1877). If John was the eldest son he may have been named after his grandfather, which accords with the name of his father's marriage to Margaret. Grandfather John would have had to have been born before (say) 1825. So where do I go from here?

Sunday, 6 June 2010

McIlhagan and McIlhagar

In my FamilySearch trawl there were just two McIlhagans. Both, however, are errors for other name variants. The first is the marriage of Jane in 1846. This should have been transcribed as Jane McIlhagar (see below) who married William Witherspoon on 11th April 1846. The second was the baptism in 1870 of Mary. This should have been transcribed as Mary, daughter of John McIlhagger and Mary Jane (Hull) on 9th October 1870 in Ballymena. Mary emigrated to Australia, married Jacob Heiniger in Queensland and had twelve children there.

Ireland Marriages, 1619-1898 records three events in the first half of the 19th Century for the surname McIlhagar. Two of them were marriages performed at the Presbyterian Church in Broughshane. Given that a large McIlhagga family lived in Ballycloughan, Broughshane, we have the possibility of cousins living close by. The earliest event however was of Jane McIlhagar marrying William Witherspoon on 11th April 1846 at Kirkinriola, Ballymena, Co. Antrim. Unfortunately no parents' names are noted. The second is a year later on 21st March 1847 of Eliza McIlhagar, daughter of James, a farmer, to Robert son of Robert McCarley. The marriage place is given as Racavan, which is a Civil Parish. In fact it was at Broughshane. Interestingly we know of another clan-McCarley marriage living at or near Broughshane. We know this from the parents names in the Baptism Register of the Presbyterian Church. They are John McIlhago or McElhager (born 1788) and Jenie or Jenny or Jane McCarley (born 1790). The dates mean that Jenny/Jane was probably the sister of Robert. I have already written about John and Jane in an earlier blog. They were part of the family which emigrated to Jamestown, Pensylvania. The third marriage, also at Broughshane, was on 25th August 1847 of Mary, daughter of William McIlhagar (also spelled McIlhaggar) to John son of Robert Auld. We know of one other Auld reference, connected to our Maxwell's Walls families. Margaret Auld married Paul Burney in 1874. Was this John and Mary (nee McIlhagar)'s daughter? I'm afraid that at present I do not have family trees into which I can fit Witherspoon, McCarley or Auld. Yet more research!

McIlhaggo - McNeilly

The 1901 Irish Census has just been published and as I analyse all our clan references (which will take a little time!) I hope that some of our genealogical problems will be solved. However this is really not true of the first references to come up. They concern a household at 45 Ballygallough, Ballyclare in the District of Larne, County Antrim. The head of the household was James McNeilly, a farmer, born about 1843, who was unmarried. In the same household was his sister Mary, born about 1836, now Mary McIlhaggo. Her husband is the third name at number 45. He was William McIlhaggo, another farmer, born about 1851. William and Mary had married on 15th March 1875 in Mountpottinger Presbyterian Church, Belfast. (I am adding whatever other information I have, as I go along). Interestingly the two witnesses at the marriage were James McNeilly and Mary Jane McIlhagar, who was probably William's eldest sister. We know from the 1911 Census when William was head of a household at 52 Ballygallagh (note slightly different spelling), that he had another sister, Jenny, who was single in 1911. The last clan member on the 1901 list was William and Mary's daughter, Maggie born 1876 or 1877. She is listed as Niece, of James McNeilly. She too was still single ten years later. We know from William and Mary's marriage record that Mary's father was Joseph McNeilly and William's was William John McIlhaggar (or McIlhaggo to use the 1901 spelling). All but William were Presbyterians. William belonged to The Brethren. The only other Plymouth Brethren I have found in the clan were a family a generation later, namely Samuel Robinson and Jane McNeice and children. Was Samuel influenced by William? If so, were they related? Samuel's father was George, whose father was William. Was William who married Mary McNeilly therefore a brother of George? The 1901 household included two unmarried servants, Martha Pennie, 20, a domestic Servant and James Adair, 26, a Farm Servant. It will need further research to know where this family fits into the clan.

Aha! I have found William's two other sisters. They were living together at 4 Clement's Hill, Ballynure. Jannet, aged 50 was the Home Keeper and Head of Family. Mary Jane, aged 58 was working as a Muslin Lopper. Neither was married and both belonged to the Church of Ireland.

Death in New York

Marilyn S. McIlhagga

We report with sadness the death on 4th June (Friday last) of Marilyn, aged 71, wife of William McIlhagga in New York. She was born Marilyn Susan Weber on 30th March 1931 in Buffalo, New York. She married William Archibald McIlhagga on 22nd September 1961. A marriage of 47 years leaves a widower, three children and two grandchildren. Marilyn's funeral is on Monday 7th June when a Memorial Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at the Infant of Prague Roman Catholic Church, Cheektowaga. William is the younger son of James McIlhagga and Jean Blue Crawford. Jean was brought up in Fairlie, Largs, Scotland, the eldest daughter of Archibald and Mary (nee Drummond) Crawford. James was brought up in Greenock, Renfrew, Scotland, son of James and Johanna (nee McCulloch) McIlhagga. James junior emigrated to the USA in 1922 and became a naturalized citizen in 1937. We send our sincere condolences to all the family in New York, not least because William is my third cousin.

Saturday, 5 June 2010

Isle of Man

There are today McIlhaggas who live and work in the Isle of Man. I chanced upon the website called CensusOnline and put in McIlhag*. Strangely it did not produce the Liverpool family to which I referred on 11th January. It did produce William Boyd McIlhagger aged 20 in Hampshire. He had been born in Belfast and was in the Army. Also a James McIlhaggie aged 18, was born in Scotland. No residence is recorded for him. However, most significantly three people are listed in the Isle of Man in the Census for 1901 in England and Wales. This is the first time I have come across any historical references to the Island. The three are Barbar (?Barbara) McIlhaggart, 35; Joseph McIlhaggart, 40 and Margarette McIlhaggart aged 12. All were said to have been born in Scotland and lived now in the Parish of Marown, right in the centre of the Isle of Man, in fact in the only parish which does not border on the coast. Interestingly, Joseph was a Shepherd. I have searched my birth records and all the earlier Censuses taken in Scotland and as yet cannot find any reference to Joseph. I do have just one other reference to the Isle of Man, to the death of James McIlhagger, born 1913 who died 2nd November 1986, aged 73 in the Parish of Onchan. As I pointed out on 29th October last, he was the son of David and Elizabeth (nee Sherwood) McIlhagger of Belfast. He married Ethel Neville in 1939 and had two sons. I have no idea what took him to the Island, possibly a holiday. Any further information about clan members in the Island would be very welcome.

Tuesday, 1 June 2010

One 'g' McIlhaga

In the FamilySearch website there are nine clan names spelled with one 'g', as McIlhaga. Three of them certainly belong to the family I have written about a couple of times (see blogs of 9th and 10th Nov 09 and 20th Feb 10) namely Margaret daughter of Samuel McIlhaga and Grace Marrs, born 1870 in Ballymoney, William John Marrs, son of Samuel McIlhaga and Grace Marrs, born 26th August 1877 in Belfast, and John Wellwood McIlhaga married in the June Quarter 1941 in Dublin South. Others are simple droppings of a 'g' in the marriage of Nathaniel Owens McIlhag(g)a and Henrietta Wilson in 1866, and possibly James born September quarter 1916 in Ballymena, who may be the son of James Dunlop McIlhagga, though he may also be a son (unknown to me) of William John Marrs McIlhaga. Also Daniel Mc'Ilhaga born 1868 in Ballymoney is probably the son of James McIlhagga and Jane Maitland. Also Rebecca McIlhaga is given as the mother of Elisabeth Dunwoodie at her birth on 3rd June 1881 in New Monkland Landward, Lanark, Scotland. Her father was David Dunwoodie. Rebecca was the daughter of William Gage McIlhagga and Mary Houston. This is a family for which I have no fewer than four spellings of our surname - McIlhaga, McIlhago, McIlhaggie and McIlhagga.

This leaves me with just two people who need further research. On 17th March 1881 Elizabeth McIlhaga is given as the mother of James Johnston in Greenock Middle Parish, Renfrew, Scotland. His father was Robert Johnston. This is a new record for me, which I can check on by looking up the 1881 Census on the ScotlandsPeople website. My records include the marriage of Robert Johnston and Elizabeth McIlhagan in 1877 in Greenock. If I also look this up on ScotlandsPeople hopefully I'll find Elizabeth's parents' names. I will be intrigued to know if They are one of two possible couples I know about. The first is Francis McIlhag(g)a(r) and Nancy Fletcher of Ballymuckvea. The other is John McIlhagga and Mary Stewart of Ballycloughan. Both these couples had a daughter Elizabeth in 1853, about the right year for her to be married in 1877. The final McIlhaga record is one which I have not been able to trace further yet. It is for the marriage of Jane McIlhaga in the June Quarter of 1908 in Belfast. Strangely the Ireland Civil Registration Indexes only give this very basic information, though I believe this to be her marriage to Thomas Robinson on 8th April 1908 in Clifton Park Congregational Church. Her father was James.