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.

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