Wednesday, 13 October 2010

The Covenant at Tullaghgarley / Tullygarley

In the last two blogs we met Andrew McIlhagga of Azamor Street, Belfast. Two other Andrews signed the Ulster Covenant, both from a townland just outside Ballymena. One entered his address as Tullygarley Bridge, the other as Tullygarley, Ballymena, both of course the same place; Tullaghgarley is an older spelling. The bridge is an old structure which has been widened in recent years to accommodate a modern road. Also there were no fewer than six other people who gave their address as Tullygarley, namely Jack, Jeanie, Lizzie, Mary, Matilda and William S.. I am disposed to think that all the McIlhaggas who lived in the same townland must belong to the same family, so what does a comparison with the 1911 Census reveal?

First, we have living together Andrew, 62, head, at 21 Tullygarley Lower, a Farm Labourer, and Matilda, 71, Andrew's sister. Clearly Matilda signed a year later (she was the only Matilda), but did Andrew (senior)? As I have indicated above, I believe so. And isn't the signature above that of an older generation who learned to write with a copper-plate hand? We will see however, that there remains some doubt as to where these siblings fit in the family tree. All the others were at 8 Tullgarley, surely not far away from 21. This was a large family. The parents were William, 55, head, a Railway Porter and Mary, 50. The family births were spread over 18 years. Lizzie was 32, a Factory Weaver; William was 27, a Carpinter (sic); Andrew was 24 (the third Andrew to sign the Covenant), a Railway Clerk; Robert 22 was an Engine Cleaner; John, 16, was a Shop Boy and Jeanie 14 was still at school. This Census list omits James Spence (b. 1844 who was married to Elizabeth McGrillis). In addition there was a four year old grand-daughter, Mary, staying at the house. It is interesting that the new Railway Industry gave employment to at least three of this family. As we can see from the list of Covenant signatures one of the sons present at the Census, Robert, did not sign the Covenant. William signed as William S, a middle initial or name we did not know about, presumably Spence, his mother's maiden name. Other information tells us that the granddaughter Mary was in fact the child of son James Spence and Elizabeth (nee McGrillis).

So, where do Andrew (senior) and Matilda fit in? From marriage records we know that William who married Mary Spence had a father also named William. Had he been alive in 1911 we can assume he would have been in his late 70s and so could have been a sibling of Andrew (senior) and of Matilda, and indeed of Eliza Anne (who married Hugh Kelly). Certainly the name Andrew was continued in this family for at least another generation: Robert had a son Andrew.

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