Thursday, 23 September 2010

Profile, Intestate and a piece of luck

Iona Abbey Memorial

It has been quiet on the McIlhagga genealogy front in recent weeks. I have renewed my profile page on the Guild of One Name Studies website, which anyone can see, removing the clan website which doesn't work any more, and replacing it with the URL of this blog. A new clan website is under construction in Canada and I will mention it in this blog when it is ready.

Some weeks ago I noticed that there is an index to wills and to 'admons' on the Ancestry website. I was somewhat surprised that only two McIlhaggas were listed, though gratified to find that they were my aunt Margaret who died in 1940 and my grandmother Margaret who died in 1927. I duly sent off my £10 to Her Majesty's Courts Service in York for any details they held, in the hope that either or both referred to other people, in particular to any McLeans related to my grandmother. One of my brick walls is associated with Ian McLean who was her nephew. My frustration continues! Today I have the reply which tells me that both Margarets died intestate. At least I have confirmation of the addresses at which they resided, the names of their next of kin (my father and grandfather respectively), the only people entitled to their estates, the stated occupations of my father and grandfather, together with the gross and net values of the two estates. I suppose the thing which surprised me was that my grandmother had a fairly substantial amount of her own money. May be it was before the days when joint accounts were popular. My aunt of course had her own money as she was a 'spinster'.

Very occasionally good luck provides information that one couldn't expect to gain without an enormous amount of original work. My first such good fortune came some years ago when I found The Sole Society which includes work on the name Sewell(s) and found they had records including Sarah Ann Sewells, a maternal great-grandmother. The society kindly provided me with information going back to about 1590. The second such piece of luck was three years ago when I discovered the work done on the MacLean family by Nicholas Maclean-Bristol of the Isle of Coll and the record he had of one of my great-great paternal grandfathers. His research, together with that of other clan historians has taken this line back to the beginning of the clan in the 12th Century, and, through the wife of the 5th Clan Chief, into the Royal Stewart line in the 14th Century. At the head of today's blog I have included what remains of a memorial brass to be found in front of the high altar in Iona Abbey. It is probably of either the first Laird of Coll or of his father Lachlan Lubanach Maclean who died about 1405.

The third piece of luck is associated with the Macleans for my Great great grandfather John McLean married a McKinnon whose mother was a McPhaiden (who was therefore my GGG grandmother). This week an excellent website concerned with the genealogies of the Isles of Coll and Tiree has published years of work on The MacFadyen - McPhaden Family in those islands done by Glenda McPhadden Franklin and Gene Donald Lamont. They have traced the family back also to the 14th Century. Such is the value of the Internet!

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