Monday, 22 November 2010

McIlhagga - 'E'

The FamilySearch site offers us eight McIlhaggas with a first name beginning with 'E', the first of which is Eliza McIlhagga of Ballymena, daughter of John, a farmer. She married Matthew McDowell of Carniny, a Weaver, son of Robert, a Weaver, on 17th May 1856, at Ballymena 3rd Presbyterian Church. Eliza was a minor when she married, so she had to have been born after 1835. The two witnesses at the marriage were William McIlhagga and Mary McIlhagga. Family search records the birth of four children, all at Ballymena, as follows: Cecilia on 1st February 1864, Robert on 10th Jun 1866, William Houston on 28th Jan 1868 (mother's name Elizabeth) and Samuel on 3rd Jan 1872. It is somewhat surprising that there were no children registered in the first eight years of marriage, though if there were some who did not survive, this may account for the apparent departure from the Scottish/Irish naming pattern. One would look for a first male to be Robert and a second male to be John. Can we decide where this family fits into the wider clan picture? Perhaps the second name of William Houston gives us the clue. Eliza is most likely the daughter of John McIlhagga/o and Mary Houston of Maxwell's Walls, and indeed this Mary under her married name may well have been the female witness mentioned above. Who the second witness, William McIlhagga, was I cannot be sure.

The next three are all Elizabeths, the only information given being place of event and the registration quarter of a particular year. I do however have more information about two of them. In date order they are first Elizabeth McIlhagga who married in Belfast on Oct-Dec 1910. She was the daughter of Nathaniel Owens McIlhagga and Henrietta Wilson. She married Hugh Minford on 16th Nov. 1910 at Antrim Road Baptist Church, Belfast. I have written about the McIlhagga-Minford link in an earlier blog. The second record is of the death of Elizabeth McIlhagga aged 76 in Jan-Mar 1913. She was born Elizabeth McCulloch and married John McIlhagga. Again, I have written previously about the McIlhagga-McCulloch link. Third, we have the death of another Elizabeth McIlhagga in Belfast in Jul-Sep 1919. She was only two years old. Unfortunately I don't have a record of an Elizabeth born in 1917, so if anyone can enlighten me, I would be most grateful.

I now come to a marriage in Ballymena of Elizabeth Lowry or McIlhagga to James Graham, son of Robert Graham. This was on 10th Apr 1854 when Elizabeth was 30 (born 1824) and James was 46 (born 1808). Clearly this was a second marriage for Elizabeth, confirmed by the name of her father, William Lowry. Sadly I have no record of an earlier Lowry marriage to a McIlhagga so I cannot determine how she is linked to a Family Tree.

Lastly I come to five children born to couples where the mother's maiden name was McIlhagga, all of them new to me. The first is Robert, born on 15th Feb 1872 in Connor, County Antrim, to Robert Scroggy and Ellen McIlhagga. Ellen was I believe the daughter of John McIlhagga/o, one of three sisters, Rose, Mary and Ellen. John was a farmer in Maxwell's Walls. The next birth is of Ellen Jane on 14th Apr 1876 to John Hinton and Ellen McIlhagga. Now my records spell Ellen's surname McIlhage, from a marriage giving her father as Nathaniel and the event on 5th Jan 1872 at Eglinton Street Presbyterian Church, Belfast. I do not have a record of an Ellen born about 1850 to a Nathaniel, so again I do not know where to place this nuclear family in a Family Tree. The FamilySearch record is unusual in giving a very precise place of birth for the father, John Hinton, namely 57 Everton Street.

Finally there are three children born to Robert Whiteside and Esther McIlhagga. Again my marriage records have the variant spelling of McIlhaggar for Robert and Esther's marriage on 9th Aug 1851 at Ballymena Registrar's Office. On this occasion I can fit them into a Family Tree. Esther's father was David, a Linen Weaver of Newtoncromelin, County Antrim. This is part of the family that emigrated to Ohio and particularly to Jamestown, Pennsylvania, an emigration led by Esther's brother David. William was born on 7th Jun 1875 in Broughshane, County Antrim. The baptism place is given as 149, Broughshane. Elizabeth Jane was born on 9th August 1872 at Broughshane (baptism at Broughshane) and Thomas Alexander was born on 18th Nov 1874 at Skerry, County Antrim, Northern Ireland.

Saturday, 20 November 2010

McIlhagga - 'C' and 'D'

There are no McIlhaggas in FamilySearch with first names beginning with 'B', and there are just two beginning with 'C', both 'Crawford'. Both are part of the family which goes back to William McIlhagga and Agnes McCosh at Ballycloghan, County Antrim, Northern Ireland. Both are marriages, though neither is in Ireland. On 1st September 1865 Crawford McIlhagga married Elise Smith in Port Glasgow, Renfrew, Scotland. He was the third son of William and Agnes and I have written about him in detail in an earlier blog. The second Crawford was 34 (born 1871) who married Margaret Abiah Jones aged 29 (born 1876). They were married at St. Alban's, Liverpool, Lancashire, England on 6 March 1905. Both bride and groom were single, which might seem a little surprising at 29 and 34. I don't know why FamilySearch should give the name of Margaret's father, Richard William Jones, but not that of Crawford's father. He was in fact our first Crawford. Like the father, the son was also the third male child in the family.

There is just one 'D' record in FamilySearch and that is of the death of Daniel McIlhagga of Belfast in the July Quarter of 1913, the age at death being '0'. Again there is a paucity of information. I have no idea to whom this child was born and if anyone has this information I would be glad to add it to the clan indexes.

Friday, 19 November 2010

McIlhagga - 'A'

Having trawled through all the clan name variations and deviations in the FamilySearch website I am now going to work through all the McIlhagga references to see whether they throw up any new information. I shall do so alphabetically, starting with the first names beginning with A.

First we have the marriage of Agnes Ethel McIlhagga of Maxwellswalls, Connor. In the July Quarter of 1915 she married William McVittie. She was born in 1892 to William G. McIlhagga and Jane Todd. Clearly she fits into the Maxwells Walls Family Tree, though I have no information about any descendants from this marriage, or indeed whether there have been any descendants.

Next comes Ann, a daughter of William McIlhagga and Agnes McCosh of Ballycloghan, who married Robert Linton. The FamilySearch site misspells this name as both Linten and Clinton! There are records of the births of four children, the first of which is simply 'female' on 8th April 1865, a birth formally unknown to me. No name must mean that this infant was either still-born or died very soon after birth. I suspect the latter is the case as in all probability stillborn children were not registered; also this conclusion is supported by the record giving us a place for a baptism, namely 146, Broughshane, County Antrim. I don't know whether the 146 indicates the address of a church or of another building. The second child, almost exactly twelve months later, was Robert, born 4th April 1866. The baptism place on this occasion is given as 142 Broughshane. The third child is Mary, born 1st February 1872 with the baptism place of 120, Ballymena. Finally Martha Jane is born on 12th January 1878, this time the birth place being 'Antrim', which could mean either the town or the county, probably the latter.

I now come to the part of a family about which I have written before, but not with quite all the information. Ann Eliza McIlhagga appears in Ireland Births and Baptisms, 1620-1881 as the mother of three children, Eliza Jane, Margaret and Hugh Patrick. All the children have the surname Kelly and we know that Ann Eliza married Hugh Kelly on 1st October 1872 at Wellington Street Presbyterian Church, Ballymena. Interestingly their witnesses were Francis and Agnes Millikin (see my blogs of 18 May 09, 20 Mar 10, 25 Mar 10 and 6 Jul 10). However, the eldest child, Eliza Jane, born 25th May 1876, has the father's name recorded as Joseph Kelly, born Portrush, the place where Eliza got married to Hugh! Now it is possible that Joseph was a brother of Hugh, or that the father was Joseph Hugh who sometimes used one name and sometimes the other. I certainly have no marriage record for a Joseph Kelly. It may of course be a mistaken transcription, though if so, very odd. The Kelly family came from Portrush on the Antrim-Derry border, and Hugh was certainly son of Patrick Kelly, a Fisherman. Hugh was a Gardener. Margaret Kelly was born on 28th June 1880, her father being Hugh, and the third child, Hugh Patrick, born 10th May 1878 must indisputably have been the son of Hugh Kelly. All three children were probably born in Portrush - Hugh Patrick certainly was. Ann Eliza's father was William McIlhagga, a Yarn Boiler. She was born about 1851, so he must have been born before 1830. It is probable that she had a younger brother William who married Mary Spence and had seven children. Like Hugh and Eliza Ann, William and Mary had a marriage witness also of the name Milikin. Again, if anyone can throw any light on the Hugh-Joseph scenario I'd be pleased to hear from them.

The last two 'A's are Annie and Archibald. Annie McIlhagga married in Belfast in the October Quarter of 1909. This is all the information I have about her from FamilySearch. I do however have a probable identification in the shape of a marriage record from AncestryIreland which took place at Belfast Civil Registration Office on 5th October 1909 of Ann McIlhagga of 164 New Lodge Road, Belfast, aged 41 (so born c.1868), widow, daughter of Daniel McIlhagga, Farmer, to James Bingham, widower, aged 42, Labourer, of Upper Charlesville Street, son of James Bingham, Farmer. Their witnesses were Robert and Ellen Do(g)herty. There is an Anne McIlhagga, born 1868 , who in the 1901 Census was married to John McIlhagga, born 1851. It is possible that by 1909 John had died and left Anne a widow, who had remarried James Bingham. However, her maiden name was Ann Kerr and her father clearly was not Daniel McIlhagga (he was David Kerr). Alternatively, if in 1909 Ann gave her father as Daniel McIlhagga, she could have reverted to her maiden name, perhaps the most reasonable assumption, though I have no record of such a father-daughter relationship at or near the relevant date. So again, an unsolved mystery.

Finally Archibald Duncan McIlhagga: from British Columbia records, for some time I have had his birth date (19 June 1882) and his death date (20 Dec 1968). He was one of the sons of Nathaniel McIlhagga and Henrietta Wilson. From the death registration extracted by FamilySearch, the new information I now have is that when he died he was a widower and that his spouse's name was Minnie McNabb. He died in West Vancouver, BC, Canada.

Wednesday, 17 November 2010


I am returning briefly to the name variations that I found some months ago by doing a trawl of the FamilySearch website. There was just one reference to Mcelhagan. Maria F. Mcelhagan, born Aug 1838 was resident in Jamestown borough, Mercer, Pennsylvania. This was from the United States Census for 1900 where she was 'head' of what appears to be a single person household. She had been born in Pennsylvania, though her father had been born in Ireland. In 1900 she was a widow. Her husband had been David, a Tailor, born 1834, son of David born 1806 in Newtoncromelin, County Antrim. No fewer than four other variants of our name are on record for this family, namely McIlhago, McAlhager, McElhager and McIlhaggar. David and Maria had three daughters, Minnie Bell who married the Revd. Lewis Winfield Chambers, Anna who died as a teenager and Dolly who died in her thirties. David had died the year before the Census, aged 65. Maria lived for another eighteen years, until she was 79. Both were buried in Jamestown. I wrote more extensively about this family on 22nd June 2009 under the title 'Jamestown'.

Sunday, 14 November 2010

The last signature

I come to the last clan signature on the Ulster Covenant for us to consider. It is of Robert McIlhagga of 6 Lawther Street, Belfast. We learn from the 1911 Census that he had been married for seven years to Eliza Jane who was three years older than he. Eliza was living at nearby 48 Lawther Street when they married on 15th February 1904 at Trinity Church of Ireland, Belfast. She was the daughter of James Eston, a Flaxdresser. Both she and Robert are recorded as being of 'MR' age when they married. That indicates that they were minors. Robert was 18 and Eliza must have been just under 21. As their eldest child, William R. was seven in 1911 Eliza must have been pregnant when they married, we may presume with parents consent, as Agnes Eston was one of the witnesses. When Robert married he was working as a Labourer and living at 164 Newledge Road with his father John, a Carpenter. John at different periods was a Carpenter, a Bread Server and a Car Owner. He was married to Margaret Douglas of Templepatrick. The family had moved from 26 Sheridan Street in 1901 to Newledge Road in 1911. The supplementary form 'A' completed with the 1911 Census tells us that Robert and Eliza had had three children, two being still alive. Their other child with them in 1911 was one year old Samuel. We may presume that John and Robert worked together at one period, when John was a Bread Server, for by 1911 John had become a Baker.

On 8th June last I wrote about this family, particularly about Robert's older brother John who was also a Baker, and about his father John. Clearly Baking was something of a family business.

Saturday, 13 November 2010

Ormeau Road in the Covenant

Penultimately on the Ulster Covenant we have two signatures from 204 Ormeau Road, Belfast, William J. McIlhagga and Mrs. J.B. McIlhagga. 'J.B.' is the only clan signature to include a title, which shows how the practice must have almost disappeared by 1912. In the 1911 Census there are a William John McIlhagga (48) and a Jane McIlhagga (32) with their family at 161 Ormeau Road. The children have been transcribed as David M (7), William John (6) and Agnes (2). This was a Presbyterian family. We learn from the supplementary 'Form A' that since being married in 1901 or 1902 they had had four children, all of whom were alive, so we can deduce that the fourth child must have been staying elsewhere on Census night, perhaps with grandparents. On looking carefully at this form I am unconvinced about the name David - it could be Samuel! 'W. John', as he signed himself, was a Fruiterer. So, a bit of detective work. Is there another child listed as a grandchild with another McIlhagga family? There is four year old Mary, granddaughter, at 8 Tullaghgarley Lower, Kells, with William (55) and Mary (50) McIlhagga. But how can the child of a 48 year old William John be the grandchild of a 55 year old William? Not possible! So let's go back to the 1901 Census. Where is William John (38)? He doesn't appear to exist! Does a Jane McIlhagga (22) exist? No!

What further clue can we find? Perhaps the fact that 'Mrs. J.B.' signed the Ulster Covenant before her next door neighbour, who was an Anderson. Was there a relevant McIlhagga-Anderson marriage? Indeed there was. The Ulster Historical Foundation has recorded a marriage at Elmwood Avenue Presbyterian Church on 3rd September 1902. It was between William John McIlhagga of Albert Bridge Road, a Tea Packer, son of James McIlhagga, a Farmer, and Jane Burgess Anderson of 60 Jerusalem Street, daughter of Samuel Anderson, a Van Man. So back to the 1901 Census of the year before. Do we have a James McIlhagga with a son William John? No! The only James with a son William John was James married to Jane Maitland in 1865 who are not in the 1911 Census though in 1901 they are at 1 Lavin Upr. (Castlequarter), both aged 65, and spelled McIlhaggar. There is one daughter with them, Maggie (25) but no son. Nevertheless my best guess is that William John McIlhagga of 1912 was the son of James and Jane (nee Maitland) McIlhagga(r) and that their children were Samuel (or David), William John, Agnes and a fourth child.

The last question to be asked is whether the fourth child was perhaps staying with Anderson grandparents? On 18 January last I started my blog with the fact that a David McIlhagga, aged 4, on census night was staying with his grandparents Samuel and Agnes Anderson and their two daughters Eliza Anne and Sarah Agnes at 160 Ormeau Road, Belfast. Clearly, when considering W.J. and J.B. signing the Ulster Covenant and comparing the 1911 Census for that address, I was suspicious that their 7 year old son had been mistranscribed as David. Now we know that their 4 year old son was David, and that in all probability the 7 year old was called Samuel. Before today I have been unsure where this family fitted in to the wider clan picture. I am now pretty confident that they belong to the family we can take back beyond James and Jane (nee Maitland) to Nathan and Ellen (nee Wilson) and then to Nathaniel and Betty (nee Burney) at Carnmoney.

Gilmagu - Carthagus

A correspondent in the USA (he's a McHago-Milligan) has just emailed me the digitised references to 'Gilmagu' in George F. Black's The Surnames of Scotland. Now I have this book because it has his research on the name MacIlhagga (he spells all Mc's as Mac), which refers to the medieval name Gilmagu as both the pre-cursor of our clan name and also as having derived from the Scottish and Irish Gaelic Ghille/Giolla Mo-Chuda, 'servant of (S.) Mochuda (=my Cuda), another name for St. Carthage of Lismore' (in the south of Ireland). Two other authors favour this (or a close) derivation. Diane D. McNicholl, in The Surnames of East Lothian, based on the Old Parish Registers, writes 'MacIlhagga - See McElhago'; 'McElhago - Patronymic from MacIlhagga, Gael. mac/ghille/Mochuda, from Mo chutu, pet form of Carthach, "lover/loving"'. A nineteenth century author Eugenie O'Growney, in an article The Muls and Gils: some Irish Surnames in The Ecclesiastical Record, Vol III, 1898, has a slightly different conclusion. He wrote 'TheGaelic Mochuda = Mo-Chuda = my Cuda was probably his personal name and Carthach or Carthy the name of his clan. The English "Carthage" is borrowed from the Latin form of Carthy or Carthach, Carthagus'.

To sum up my best thinking about the origins of our name and about our eponymous ancestor, we have to go back to the 6th/7th Century Celtic saint 'Mochuda Carthach'. His name means simply 'loving one'. In Ireland his 'surname' or 'clan name' has been anglicised, via the Latin form Carthagus, as Carthage, and also has been abbreviated to Carthy. Followers have spawned a number of variants, such as McGillycuddy and McElhuddy. Parallel to this evolution we have what appears to be a migration to the south-west of Scotland, possibly a very early migration in the same Celtic period, using his 'pet' name Mochuda, via the Latin follower-form Gilmagu, evolving into McIlhago and McIlhagga. The meaning is of course the same, 'son of the devotee of the loving one'.

My American correspondent searched for 'Gilmagu' in Black's Surnames and found of course the MacIlhagga reference that '(p)art of the lands of ffincurrokis were granted to Gilmagu and his heir c. 1160-80', recorded in the annals of the Abbey at Kelso in the Scottish Borders (see my blog of 8 Feb 2009). He also found another relevant historical reference, that the named witness to this transaction was one 'James de Draffon or Drafon, from the lands of Draffon, near Lesmahagow, Lanarkshire. Between 1160 and 1189 he (James) appears several times as a charter witness in the chartulary of Kelso' (Black 220). Black points out that in another charter Gilmagu is mentioned as Gilmagu mac Aldic and he is most probably Gilmalgon (evidently a miscopying of Gilmahgou) mac Kelli, who witnessed Abbot Arnald's gift of the lands of Duueglas (Douglas) to Theobald the Fleming, c. 1150 (again, see 8 Feb 09).

As a final point of interest and comparrison for today, in contrast to the Scottish derivation McIlhagga being one of the rarest surnames in the world, I may quote Edward MacLysacht, in The Surnames of Ireland, that Carthy, or rather MacCarthy, 'the chief family of the Eoghanacht and one of the leading septs of Munster, prominent in the history of Ireland from the earliest times to the present, is the most numerous Mac name in Ireland'.

Thursday, 11 November 2010

Records for Armistice

Jean, Agnes & John

Today is Armistice Day (the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month) and has given free access to its military records. I have been able to access the records of three men, first Pte. James McIlhagga's WW1 Medal Rolls Index Card. He has two Regimental numbers S/28088 and S/30566 respectively for the Seaforth Highlanders and the Royal Highlanders. I have written about him on 23rd January last. The second man was Dvr. John McIlhagga for whom I have two records, the Medal Card and the WW1 Pensions Record. His Regimental Number was 1602, 696562 in the Royal Field Artillery. The Pension Record is a document from 1915 and it is his Attestation for the Territorial Force. The interesting information it gives is his post-war civilian address, 97 George's Street, Whiturch, Glasgow. This is a mistranscription for Whiteinch. I gave my opinion on 9th February last that he became the husband of Jeannie Hay and emigrated to Australia. I have put an early photograph of John and Jean with their daughter Agnes at the head of this blog.

The third man whose documents I was able to access was my own father Lindsay, who was Number 357419 a Sergeant in the Liverpool (Scottish) Regiment. In addition to his Medal Card I have been able to see for the first time his 'Short Service' Attestation document. From this I have learned that he was 22 years 5 months when he joined up on 9th December 1915, and that at that time he was working as a Clerk at J. & T. Wrights at 2 Seel Street, Liverpool. To my surprise the Attestation Form was for the Royal Army Medical Corps. However, on 18th March 1916 he was appointed to serve in The King's (Liverpool) Regiment. For some reason there are two copies of the Attestation Form, one a copy of the other, though with extra information. I wrote about Lindsay's military service on 12th January last.

Wednesday, 10 November 2010

Neighbours sign together

Neighbours in Donegall Avenue, Belfast, signed the Ulster Covenant together. Maggie McIlhagga lived at number 32 and Mary A. at number 30. Their respective husbands, both William McIlhagga, also signed on different occasions. Were the two William's related? They can't have been brothers. This is clear by comparing the entries for the two addresses in the 1911 Census. William who was married to Maggie was in fact William Hugh aged 39, a Burling Engine Man. William who married Mary Ann was in fact William Gage, aged 35, a Gas Worker. Both households had children. At number 30 there were Henry (4), and Jane (7). They were members of the City Mission. At number 32 there were Elizabeth (4), James (3), Jane (7) and William (0). They were Presbyterians. I hope there wasn't too much confusion having two Janes, both aged seven!

William Hugh and Maggie had been married eight years (1903) and had a cousin Daniel Boyd (29) living with them. So maggie must have been a Boyd. They were married on 1 January 1903 at Belfast Civil Register Office by Licence, the minister being J. Cleeland. I don't understand how a Civil ceremony can have a minister involved, unless he was acting as the Registrar. William and Margaret were both living at 101 Kilburn Street, Belfast. William's father was George McIlhagga, a Clerk. William was a Beetler in the Linen Industry.

William Gage and Mary A. had, according to the 1911 Census been married just one year and had two sisters-in-law living with them, Jane Wilson Boyd (25) and Barbara Boyd (23). So Mary Ann must have been a Boyd. In fact Maggie and Mary Ann, living next door to each other, were sisters. The 'one' year marriage on Census Form 'A' must have been an error, for they were in fact married on 27th June 1902 at Connor Church of Ireland, when Mary Ann lived at Castlegore and William was a Pit Headman at Bonnybridge, Stirling, Scotland. I noted this family in extenso in my blog of 7th August last, and here am going over much of the same ground, though from a different perspective. William's father was Henry McIlhagga, a Farmer. The Boyd girls' father was James Boyd, also a Farmer. One of the witnesses was Henrietta Boyd, another sister.

In the 1901 Census William (Hugh) was a 'Head of Family' living with two cousins, Maggie Boyd (who he was to marry) 24, and Daniel Boyd (20). So we learn that William Hugh and Maggie and her sisters were cousins. However, where was William (Gage) aged 25 in 1901? Was he with Mary A. Boyd? She was at home at 35 Castlegore with her parents James (54) and Jane (54), and siblings Barbara (13), Jane (15), Hettie (21) and Wm. (27). The only William G. (aged 35) was living in Eccles Street, Shankill, head of a family of 6 children and married to Jane Todd. The nearest in age William (28) was at Tullaghgarley Upper, Kells. He was William Sam said to be the Niece (sic!) of Andrew McIlhagga (Head, 50) and his sister Matilda (60), both unmarried. I have come to the conclusion that in 1901 William Gage was not counted in the Irish Census. Perhaps by then he had gone to work in Scotland? Yes, I think he is there. There is only one William aged 25 in the 1901 Scottish Census, and I have wondered for a long time who he might be! He is called McIlhago and is in Hurlford, Ayr, presumably looking for work or in a temporary job before finding work in Stirlingshire. I have for a long time cherished the thought that this William McIlhago might have been the remnant of the much earlier Ayrshire McIlhago family. But apparently not so!

How were William and Mary Ann Boyd cousins? The answer is that Mary's mother was a McIlhagga - Jane, daughter of William of Maxwellswalls. They were in fact second cousins once removed. William Hugh's parents were Henry McIlhaggo/a and Agnes McMeekin. William who married Maggie Boyd was the son of George McIlhagga and Elizabeth Ann Robinson. William and Maggie were first cousins. The two Williams, married to the two sisters in Donegall Avenue, Belfast, were also second cousins once removed.

Tuesday, 9 November 2010

Was Lizzie alone?

In the Ulster Covenant we now come to the signature of Lizzie McIlhagga of North Street, Ballymena. She appears to be the only clan member who signed from that road. In the 1911 Census there are no fewer than four Lizzie McIlhaggas, two from 4 North Street, mother and a new baby. Lizzie is aged 28 and married to Andrew. And there are two Andrews, father and son (aged 3). Father is aged 32. He is a Flax Buncher, and the family is 'Church of Ireland'. The AncestryIreland website tells us that Andrew McIlhagga and Elizabeth Todd, daughter of Samuel, were married on 7th August 1906 in Ahoghill Church of Ireland. Andrew's father was John McIlhagga, a Labourer. Andrew at the time was a Mill hand. Andrew and Lizzie had ten children, Jeanie, Andrew, Agnes, Elizabeth, Lillian, Samuel, Thomas, William, an unnamed daughter and Clarke. Elizabeth eventually married Hilda Lowry and had five children. There are great-grandchildren alive today. Thomas married Eileen and there are grandchildren today. William married Dorothy May McCormick and their descendants include a great-grandson. Finally Clarke married Winnie and again there are grandchildren.

It is an intriguing matter to think about where this family might fit into the wider clan picture. The 'naming pattern' may not be helpful as the eldest son was named Andrew after his father rather than John after his grandfather. Perhaps John's father was Andrew? But if so I have no such record. It is of interest that no child was named after the paternal grandfather. The first daughter was normally named for the maternal grandmother which would be Lizzie's mother. The second daughter was named for the paternal grandmother which would make John's wife Agnes. But again I have no John - Agnes clan marriage. If Andrew was born about 1880 his father was probably born 1845-55. There were three or four Johns born in the 1840s but none seem to fit this family.

Now Andrew and Lizzie were married in 1906, just 5 years before the Census, and Andrew gave his address as Queen Street, not North Street, Ballymena. Presumably Queen Street was the family home, but the newly married couple moved into North Street. In 1911 we find John and Mary McIlhagga living at 115 Queen Street. Can there have been two clan families living in Queen Street? I think it is probably that John and Mary must have been related to Andrew and Lizzie. Andrew was 32 and John 30. John's father was also John, a Labourer, so surely they were brothers. Also John's witness at his marriage was a William McIlhagga. Was he another brother? Quite possibly. If we now go back to the 1901 Census we find a large McIlhagga family living at 67 Queen Street with whom I can see no link at present, though I would be surprised if there were none. There is also a 26 year old John McIlhagga at 102 Queen Street, married to a 25 year old Mary. Could they be the John and Mary of the 1911 Census who had falsified their ages to give the impression that they were old enough to marry? He was listed as a Carter, virtually the same occupation as 30 year old John gave in 1911, when he was a Railway Carter. The identification is born out by the Census 'Form A' completed in 1911. John and Mary declared that they had been married for 13 years and had had three children, none of whom had survived. John had therefore married at the age of seventeen and in 1901 would have been 20, not 26 as he declared.

There is a final 'clue' from the 1912 Covenant. The signature following that of Lizzie McIlhagga is that of a Maggie McCosh, as I have illustrated above. It is very probable that they would have been friends or even relations and as we have seen in earlier blogs, there is one McIlhagga family which married a McCosh family. William McIlhagga of Ballycloghan married Agnes McCosh of Clogh in about 1830. It is therefore possible that Lizzie and Maggie were (distant?) cousins. This is something we will have to keep in mind as we do further research, but for the present more than this we cannot say.

Old Cavehill Road in 1912

There are the above two signatures on the Ulster Covenant from Old Cavehill Road, a leafy suburb of East Belfast. They were of Nathaniel McIlhagga and of Joseph McIlhagga who entered the name of their house, 'Loughview'. Presumably the house had a view over Belfast Lough towards County Down. These were two of the brothers in the large family of twelve children born to Nathaniel Owens and Henrietta McIlhagga, about whom I have written before. In 1912 they were living with their widowed mother. Nathaniel (whose second name was also Owens), born 1878, later married Sarah Ann Craig in May Street Presbyterian Church, Belfast. Joseph (who had the second name McKeee) was the youngest, born 1892. He would have been 20 when he signed. In 1927 he married Catherine Walker Ross in Canada, and there are certainly descendants in Canada today. I have had the pleasure of corresponding with one of them. I have no record of descendants of Nathaniel. In the 1911 Census he was a Clerk in a Linen Business.

Monday, 8 November 2010

Plus Three Johns, minus One Robert?

The first John McIlhagga who signed the Ulster Covenant lived at 41 Cumberland Street, Belfast. There is no other person from this address who signed, so we must look elsewhere for clues to his identity. Fortunately we have at least three other resources to call on. John and his wife Isabella were living at the same address the year before when the 1911 Census was taken. Also the same address occurs, as I pointed out in my blog of 23rd July last, in a Belfast Directory, where we learn that John was a baker. Next we have an Irish marriage record at St. Anne's Church of Ireland, Shankill, for 11th July 1893 when John McIlhagga, a Baker, married Isabella McKay, a Smoother. She was from 67 Grove Street, daughter of Thomas McKay a tailor. John was from 48 Brussels Street, the 22 years old son of John McIlhagga, a Bread Server. Clearly father and son worked together. John junior had in fact been born on 4th February 1871. I considered this family on 8th June last when I was looking at the 1901 Census. The mystery I noted then, of the identity of John's grandfather, I'm afraid remains, and so of where I can place these people in a wider family.

The second John who signed was from Harryville, Ballymena. The 1911 Census has a Ballymena John living with his wife Mary at 115 Queen Street. He was a Railway Carter. They were both thirty years old. This couple is surely the John McIlhagga and Mary Sloan who married on the 5th January 1894 at Ballyclug Church of Ireland, Ballymena. John, a Labourer, had given his address as 87 Queen Street, Harryville, son of John a Labourer. His witness was a William McIlhagga. Mary lived at 103 Queen Street. The record does not name her parents. Like the first John to sign, a mystery remains about this John. I explored this couple in part in my blog of 21st January last, and again on 14th June when I was considering the 1901 Census. And once again I have to say that I am no further with placing this family in a wider context.

So we come to the third John signature, signed as from 120 Agnes Street, Belfast. As I pointed out on 2nd October last, this is John who signed as one of five men from the same address, Nathaniel, John, William and two Roberts. My first thought was that if there were two Roberts, one had to be the father and the other a son, or at least they had to be from different generations. I then searched other records for such a family. In the 1911 Census I found a family of four sons at 3 Diamond Street, Shankill, Belfast. And they were Nathaniel, John, William and Robert. They were all single and living with their mother Elizabeth who was 'head of the family'. No second Robert! And further investigation, back to the 1901 Census, revealed that their father, who had died in 1898 aged 45, was not Robert, but Archibald! They were part of the Maxwells' Walls McIlhaggas of whom I have written before. So yet another mystery. Who was the second Robert? Is there any further line of enquiry? Yes I think there is - back to the 1912 Covenant, and a careful examination of the two Robert signatures, which I have reproduced above. I have come to the (slightly reluctant) conclusion that they are in the same hand. For a reason best known to himself young Robert appears to have signed the Ulster Covenant twice! Maybe a simple case of over-enthusiasm!

Saturday, 6 November 2010

Ballygallough, Ballyclare and the Covenant

Our next signature on the Ulster Covenant is the sole clan member from Ballygallough near Ballyclare. It is that of Jenny McIlhagga, a signature which leaves us in no doubt about how she spelled her surname, a matter which is of some importance, as we will see. If we go back a year to the 1911 Census we find Jenny, a single woman of 64, the sister of the head of the household at 52 Ballygallagh (note the slightly different spelling). He was William James McIlhagga, Jenny's younger brother at 62, a widower and a farmer. There is also a younger single woman, Margaret, aged 34 who William James enters as his daughter. This family adhere to the church of The Brethren.

If we now go back to the 1901 Census we find the same family, slightly expanded, still at Ballygallough, though then at number 45, which I wrote about on 6th June last. It immediately becomes clear why a gap of ten years sees them in a different house. In 1901 the head of the household was James McNeilly who at 58 was eight years older than William. The relationships then were defined in relation to James. William was his brother-in-law who had married his sister Mary, in 1901 aged 65, who had had a daughter Maggie whom James rightly calls his niece. The household was completed by two servants, one domestic and one on the farm. My conjecture is that James and William, both farmers, worked in partnership. William was then a member of The Brethren, though all the others were Presbyterians. Clearly during the decade following 1901 James had disappeared, certainly died, and the Presbyterian influence had given way to that of The Brethren.

Not only had James died, but also his sister Mary, William's wife, who had passed away on 16th October 1901, just a few months before the Covenant was signed. We know this from the fact that Mary left a Will, or rather there is an 'Admon' in her name, that is the abstract of the Administration following her death. It is dated 24th April 1912. What I imagine happened is that James McNeilly, unmarried, as we know from the 1901 Census, did leave a Will, leaving the 'estate' which, as we will see, he had inherited from his father, to his sister. Then, naturally enough, she left all her estate to her husband. The abstract reads:

Administration of the Estate of Mary McIlhaggo late of Ballygallough County Antrim who died 16 November 1910 granted at Belfast to William James McIlhaggo Farmer the Husband.

Interestingly here we have William's full name as in the 1901 Census (abbreviated to 'William' in 1911) and also the 1901 spelling of McIlhaggo changed to McIlhagga in both 1911 and in the 1912 Covenant (in the case of Jenny).

The surname McNeilly in 1901 confirms that in a further document I have, the marriage record of Mary McNeilly to William McIlhagar, took place on 15th March 1875. So we have yet a third spelling of the clan name for one person, showing how folk in the 19th and early 20th Century sat lightly to a 'definitive' spelling. The further details on this record doubly confirm that we have the same people as those who appear on the later Censuses. Both were from Ballygallough. William doesn't use his second name James (as in the 1911 Census); he is a bachelor and (interestingly) a Presbyterian. He was the son of William John McIlhagar, a Weaver. Both he and Mary were 'of full age'. She was a Spinster, a Presbyterian and the daughter of Joseph McNeilly, a farmer. So we can see that the farming was inherited from Joseph to his children James and Mary, who were joined by William, probably shortly before he married Mary. They were married at Mountpottinger Presbyterian Church, Knockbreda, County Down.

At their marriage they had two witnesses, one from each family, James McNeilly and Mary Jane McIlhagar. Clearly James was Mary's brother. Perhaps Mary Jane was therefore William's sister. We know from the 1911 Census that William had a sister Jenny, and it is probable that he had two sisters. This would seem to be born out, as I poined out in my blog of 6th June, by the 1901 Census which recorded two sisters living together in Ballynure, Mary Jane McIlhaggo, aged 58, working as a Muslin Lopper, and Jannet McIlhaggo, aged 50, who is listed as the Home Keeper and Head of the family. It would have been natural for the older sister to sign as witness at the marriage. The fact that the younger is 'head' of the family may indicate that she was judged the more competent, of simply that she chose to keep house.

A few further comments may enlarge the picture that we have been building up of this family. It is quite possible that Jannet was known by the name 'Jenny' and that therefore Jenny who signed the Ulster Covenant and Jannet in the 1901 Census were one and the same. Admittedly Jannet was 50 in 1901 and Jenny was 64 in 1911, but we have seen discrepancies of four years before in Census figures, and of course mistakes. If they were not the same person, then this may mean that William had three sisters. Further, we know that the words 'full age' in a marriage record can sometimes hide an age difference between spouses, and this appears to be the case in this family. When they were married it seems from the ages given in subsequent Censuses, that William was about 24 years old and Mary was about 39 when they wed. When she died in 1910 she would have been 74. If Margaret the daughter was born about 1877, when Mary was 41, it is not surprising if William and Mary did not have other offspring. The only birth record I have found which could be that of Margaret is for a Maggy Meneally born on 17th May 1875 to William John and Mary (Meneally) McIlhagga. The name McNeilly has evolved into Meneally and William's second name has become that of his father. These could easily have been mistakes in giving the notice of the birth, by either the reporter or the registrar. If, despite these two 'discrepancies', this is the correct record, William and Mary in fact married when she was seven months pregnant, and we are given a reason why there was an age gap of fifteen years between them. Finally, I also have to add that at present I have not been able to integrate this nuclear family with a larger family grouping.

Thursday, 4 November 2010

The Covenant in Londonderry

In the 1911 Census the McIlhagga Clan had no one living in the County of Derry. However, a year later there was one member living at 3 College Street in the city of Londonderry, namely Jeannie McIlhagga. The 1911 Census shows us three families at that address, each employing one or two servants, so presumably Jeannie had moved there to work as a domestic servant. From where did she move? The only Jeannie in the 1911 Census was the eighteen year old daughter of Daniel and Annie Eliza McIlhagga of 4 North street, Ballymena. In 1911 she was listed as a scholar, so either still at school or at a form of further education, perhaps doing a course preparing her for domestic work. I must say that her signature above is in a confident adult hand.

The 1911 Census lists this family as 'Church of Ireland', reflecting probably Annie Eliza's upbringing as she and Daniel married at Loughguile Church of Ireland. This was a large family of ten children amongst whom there was a Jean. She however was too young to be 'Jeannie'. 'Jeannie' was the eldest, named at birth Jane, born on 18th October 1892. Her father Daniel was the third son of James and Jane (nee Maitland) McIlhagga of Carnmoney. Annie was the daughter of Robert and Mary (nee Young) Wright of Lavin. She was the eldest of five children. I have no record of Jane, who moved to Londonderry, ever marrying.