Wednesday, 29 December 2010

A 37 Marker DNA

I have said on more than one occasion that I have chosen to have my DNA analysed (by in the hope that other male McIlhagga's might follow suit and so possibly establish a recognised DNA pattern for our clan. Of course there is always the possibility that a particular ancestral line (including my own) might have become 'corrupted' by someone in the paper trail who had or has the surname but who has or had been fathered by a man who had a different genetic make-up, and probably a different surname. This chance has to be recognised though of course in one sense the possibility adds to the general interest. The opposite may of course also be true. The McIlhagga genes may have found their way into an ancestral line which has a surname which doesn't appear to be related in any way to our clan. To put it plainly, there may be an illegitimate birth somewhere in the line, an event which is extremely common in many families.

Since I had my DNA analysed four years ago no other male McIlhagga (or other clan surname) has sent their DNA for analysis - until this last couple of months! An analysis is returned with a code on either 12 markers, 25 markers, 37 markers or 67 markers. The advice is that 37 markers are sufficient to establish a very good match, though it is clearly of interest if a lesser number of markers match. The agency that does the analysis lets me know when a 'match' occurs, at any of the levels. In the past four years while I have been waiting and hoping that another known clan member might have his DNA analysed I have been informed of 1068 12-marker matches and 123 12-marker (genetic distance - 1) matches. I presume these are 11 marker matches, or perhaps 13. I have been notified of one 25 marker exact match, that of a Mr. Smith in America. Yes, I know I have here broken my rule of not referring in this blog to someone who is alive, but I do this on the assumption that it would be impossible to identify someone with one of the commonest names in the world! I have corresponded with Mr. Smith and exchanged photographs, in the hope that we might spot a family likeness. I'm afraid I am not sure that we have. I also have the names of two people with 25-marker (genetic distance - 1) matches and 11 names of people with 25 marker (genetic distance -2) matches. I presume these people have respectively 24 and 23 marker matches with my DNA. I do not think that any of these 13 surnames indicate a clan link to McIlhagga.

However, now we have a second McIlhagga whose DNA has been analysed. He happens to be my third cousin once removed. The 'once removed' means that we are a generation apart. The 'third cousin' means that we have a common ancestor who is my GG grandfather and my cousin's GGG grandfather. That person was someone about whom I have written in earlier blogs, namely William McIlhagga of Ballycloghan, County Antrim, who married Agnes McCosh of Clogh, County Antrim. My cousin is descended from their first son and eldest child, William. I am descended from their third son, Crawford. After my cousin sent his DNA sample for analysis first published a 12 marker result, and we were identical! But as we know not much can be deduced from 12 markers. I waited anxiously for the next couple of weeks until the 25 marker result came through. It showed that we were identical!! And then finally this last week the 37 marker result came through on 23rd December. We are identical!!! It was my best Christmas present. Perhaps we now have a DNA analysis against which we can reasonably compare any future analyses which might be done. Thank you, third cousin, once removed.

Monday, 20 December 2010

McIlhagga F - G

I'm back to the Family Search 'McIlhagga's', to see whether there's anything new or needing further research. There is only one 'F', the death of an infant female in the October - December quarter of 1914, in Belfast. With no name given I imagine this was a death at or very near birth. I'm afraid I have no knowledge of which family this birth/death belongs to, and would welcome any further information.

There are three 'Gs', two George's and a Georgina, and they all give us new information. The one with the least is another infant birth/death, but this time with a name, George, again in Belfast in the July to September quarter of 1916. And again I have no further information to be able to fit this birth/death into a family. The other two are father and daughter. George was the eighth of the nine sons of Nathaniel Owens McIlhagga and Henrietta Wilson. He had been born on 14th June 1888 in Belfast and in the 1911 Irish Census he was recorded as a Carpenter. By 1919 he had emigrated to Canada where on 20th of August of that year he married Ella Fossey. We know the date from a letter Henrietta wrote to her youngest son, Joseph. For some years George and Ella lived in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, for that is where Georgina Lillian was born on 24th November 1930. Clearly the name Georgina was a feminization of George. Lillian was possible for her aunt Elizabeth who was known as Lily. At some stage, perhaps on retirement, the family moved to Nanaimo, British Columbia. There George died in his 72nd year, on 17th June 1959. His wife Ella outlived him, though by how long I do not know. Their daughter Georgina married Robert Lawrence Wilson. She died at the young age of 35, also in Nanaimo. These records give us (for the first time) the name of George's wife (I had wrongly thought it was Mary Jane) and the facts that they had a daughter, her spouse's name, and the date of her death. I have no knowledge that they had any other children, not whether Georgina had any offspring.

Sunday, 19 December 2010

Probate Index update

On the first of August last I listed sixteen clan related Wills or Administrations known to me at that date. Since then a few more have come to my notice on each of which I have commented individually. The list now contains twenty three names and is as follows:

1667 Inverness, Scotland: Farquhar McIntagairt

1734 Maybole, Scotland: Jonet McIlhagow

1764 Burlington, USA: James McElhago (witness)

1777 New York, USA: Samuel McHago (witness)

1818 Islandmagee, Ireland: Samuel McIlhaggo

1835 Ballymena, Ireland: Margaret McElhago

1886 Maxwellswalls, Ireland: Henry McIlhagga

1896 Maxwellswalls, Ireland: John Wilson McIlhagga

1901 Maxwellswalls, Ireland: Archibald McIlhagga

1904 Belfast, Ireland & Courtrai, Belgium: Samuel McIlhaga

1905 Belfast, Ireland: Nathaniel Owens McIlhagga

1912 Belfast, Ireland: Mary McIlhaggo

1914 Belfast, Ireland: George McIlhagger

1919 Belfast, Ireland: David McIlhagger

1927 Liverpool, England: Margaret McIlhagga

1931 Tullygarley, Northern Ireland: William McIlhagga

1937 Belfast, Northern Ireland: Nathaniel McIlhagga

1939 Belfast, Northern Ireland: Mary Elizabeth McIlhagga

1940 Liverpool, England: Margaret McIlhagga

1940 Whiteabbey, Northern Ireland: Mary McIlhagga

1941 Hillsborough, Northern Ireland: Samuel Robinson McIlhagga

1942 Belfast, Northern Ireand: William Boyd McIlhagger

1948 Northern Ireland: James Spence McIlhagga (Executor).

Saturday, 18 December 2010

Application for Relief

If you come across an 'Application for Relief' you might be very fortunate in obtaining information that might not be available from another source. The likelihood is that the interviewing Inspector wrote down what the applicant said and such is the case I think with an application made in the Glasgow area at 12.30 on 20 February 1886. The name of the applicant is recorded as 'Widow George McLean. Mary McElheggo'. It is clear to me that Mary did not check the spelling of her surname as it is spelled differently later on the form, and indeed is different to that she may have learned as a child, but possibly because she couldn't read or write. Mary gave her address as '120 Renfrew Street' followed by what looks like 'sunk flat McCulloch's'. Does this mean what today we might call basement accommodation owned or rented by a McCulloch family? The form records that she was 'in lodgings' in a 'single apartment'. There was a McCulloch - McIlhagga marriage in Ireland. Was there a link to this family Mary was lodging with? The McCullochs were from Maxwellswalls and did move across to Glasgow looking for work. Mary's country and place of birth is recorded as 'Maxwellswalls, County Monaghan, Ireland'. This of course is very interesting as we have many references to clan families in Maxwellswalls, though none to a McLean. So where will Mary fit in?

What personal things are recorded about Mary? First, and most importantly, she is 66, then she is a Protestant, a Widow, she has previously been 'supported by her own efforts' as a Cook, though she has been 'out of a situation since August last', six months, and finally she has 'no family alive'. Certainly this must mean she has no children to whom she can turn, and probably it also means that she has no siblings alive. From a genealogical point of view we are then given valuable information about her late husband and about his and her parents, possibly more information than we would have got from say a marriage certificate. Mary married George McLean in 1846 in Ballymena, by Rev. Dr. Dobin. The Rev. Henry Jackson Dobbin, DD, was minister of First Ballymena Presbyterian Church and in 1848 served as Moderator of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland. Mary's late husband George was a Highland Scot '35 years born somewhere about John O'Groats'. I take it that this means he was 35 when they married, which in turn means he was born about 1811. Mary would have been 26.

George was a Coachman and he had died in Glasgow Royal Infirmary in 1862 when he would have been 51. His parents were James McLean, a Crofter and Mary Ann Beattie both of whom were deceased by 1886. Mary's parents were Henry McElhaggo, a Farmer and Mary McDowall, both deceased by 1886. This fact confirms the marriage of Henry and Mary; however, here is the most important new information - Henry and Mary McIlhaggo of Maxwellswalls had a daughter. All my records show that they probably had three sons, John, Henry and William Gage, all of whom would have been born before Mary. Mary was the youngest, so when the 'Relief Inspector' recorded 'no family alive' it probably did include 'no siblings' as well as 'no children'. This was the first (and possibly the only) application Mary made for 'relief'. Assistant Inspector M.D. Toner visited Mary the day after she made the application, at 3.30 on 21st February 1886. It is a sadness that anyone had to make such an application, but we can be grateful for the information it reveals.

Stalag Luft 4

Stalag Luft IV

On 28th April last I wrote a blog about a young Pilot Officer W. McIlhagga serving with 156 Squadron of the RAF in the early days of the air service in World War II. He was with 156 Squadron for five months in 1942. I said at the end of that piece that William McIlhagga emigrated to Canada and transferred to the Royal Canadian Air Force in which he rose to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. I have had no other information about his war service until recently I came across a reference to him in a Forces Genealogy website where he is referred to as Flight Lieutenant W. McIlhagga, with service in the RAF, his regiment being the Royal Canadian Air Force. The reference was to him being a Prisoner of War in the German Camp known as Stalag Luft 4, which was at Tychowo Poland (German Gross Tychow).

This camp opened in May 1944 and appears to have been disbanded in February 1945 when a Russian Offensive was approaching and some 6000 prisoners were forced to leave on foot and undertake what became known as the 'Death March', of some 600 miles spanning 86 days. Most of the prisoners of Stalag Luft 4 were Americans though there were also British, Canadians and others. The general conditions in the camp were reported on by the Red Cross and were judged to be poor in relation to food, health, mail and recreation, though there did seem to be adequate clothing. Although I have searched the Internet I have found no list of prisoners, nor any details about individual prisoners. Therefore I have no knowledge of whether William McIlhagga was transferred to Stalag Luft 4 from somewhere else, nor how long he was there nor whether he was involved in the 'Death March'. We do know he survived the War and at some stage returned to Canada.

Tuesday, 14 December 2010

McIlhaggo - Owens farm handover

Several men who were part of the 19th Century Maxwellswalls clan family, all of whom had the first name Nathaniel, also had the second name Owens, and I have often wondered where this second name came from. The most reasonable assumption is that it was a maternal surname or a grandparent surname. Our earliest example is the name of Nathaniel Owens McIlhagga born 28th May 1834. Was his mother an Owens? Or was one of his maternal grandparents an Owens? Or just possibly was his paternal grandmother an Owens? A small clue came to me yesterday from a lady in Sydney, Australia who found this blog by chance when searching on the internet to find where Maxwellswalls is. She writes, 'I have not long downloaded a will from the PRONI site for Patrick Owens who died 28 May 1886. In addition to his farm at Castlegore (which is adjacent to Maxwellswalls) Patrick also includes the following, "I also leave and bequeath all my farm in Maxwellswall known as John McIlhaggo's farm to my son John Owens he paying my daughter Lizzie a principal sum of one hundred pounds sterling and to my granddaughter Margaret Charters McFall the principal sum of Fifty pounds sterling on her coming of age...".'

I think this reference gives us some circumstantial evidence that there probably was a family link between two farming families in Maxwellswalls, the Owens' and the McIlhaggo's. It is indeed interesting that a farm run by an Owens should actually be known locally as 'John McIlhaggo's farm', John having presumably left it sometime before 1886. The John being referred to could be one of two or three, but most probably John born about 1800 to Henry McIlhagga and Mary McDole (or McDowel). He was married to Mary Houston, probably about 1820. It is also probable that he died about 1834 for his wife Mary in 1835 married William Gage McIlhaggie. William was probably John's brother, and as far as we know was not a farmer. So we have a reason for John's farm becoming vacant in (say) 1834/5 and possibly having been taken over by Patrick Owens, an ancestor of whom in all likelihood donated his name to Nathaniel Owens McIlhagga.

Monday, 13 December 2010

Wills of Son and Father

I now come to the Will of Nathaniel McIlhagga who died at the young age of 41 in March 1937. As with many of the Wills I have been reviewing there is a slight discrepancy between the date of death recorded on the Will and that recorded elsewhere, in this case on a Memorial Stone in Connor New Cemetery, namely 23rd March and 22nd March respectively. Nathaniel was the youngest son of Archibald McIlhagga and Agnes Jamieson. There are references to his wife Charlotte both on the Memorial Stone and in the Will, but I have as yet found no record of their marriage. It is clear from his Will that when he died he was working in the Linen Industry, on the 'shop floor'. The Will was proved at the Belfast Registry only five weeks after he died, on 30th April 1937. The Full Abstract reads as follows:

McIlhagga Nathaniel of 62 Excise Street Belfast damask tinter died 23 March 1937 at Royal Victoria Hospital Belfast Administration Belfast 30 April to Charlotte McIlhagga the widow. Effects £359 8s. 8d.

Nathaniel was only two years old when his father Archibald died in 1898. He, like his son, died in his mid-40s, a farmer at Maxwellswalls. The full Abstract reads: Probate of the Will of Archibald M'Ilhagga late of Maxwellswalls County Antrim Farmer who died 10th April 1898 granted at Belfast to Agnes M'Ilhagga the widow. I have previously printed this in my blog of 15th August 2009. In Archibald's case there is a full image of the Will which I have also previously printed in my blog of 29th August 2009.

Tuesday, 7 December 2010

The Wills of two Marys

At PRONI there is an abstract of the Will of Mrs. Mary Elizabeth McIlhagga (n0 image) in which we learn her address at death, the place she died and the value of her effects which went to her husband. Mary Elizabeth was the second wife of John McIlhagga who according to her will was a retired baker when she died. I have written about this family in a blog of 8th June this year. John was one of the sons of John and Margaret (nee Douglas) McIlhagga who were buried at Templepatrick Old Graveyard, where Mary Elizabeth herself is also buried. Mary Elizabeth's Will was proved at Belfast Registry on 19 January 1940. There appears to be a four day discrepancy in her death-date, it being 15th November in the Will and 19th November on a Memorial Stone. The Full Abstract reads as follows:

McIlhagga Mary Elizabeth of 9 Grand Parade Belfast died 15 November 1939 at Royal Victoria Hospital Belfast Administration Belfast 19 January to John McIlhagga retired baker the husband. Effects £339. 11s. 8d.

The second Mary was born a McIlhagga on 28th June 1860, the eldest child of John and Elizabeth (nee McCullough) McIlhagga. She remained single through her long life, dying on 25th May 1940, aged 80. She appears to have left her effects, valued at over £900 to two of her siblings, her fourth brother, Robert who was a Coal Merchant and her younger sister Rebecca who was the widow of an engineer, Charles Kennett. Though on second thoughts perhaps these two acted as executors to the Will of which once again we have no image. Miss Mary McIlhagga's Will tells us that at the end of her life she lived at Whiteabbey, County Antrim. The Full Extract reads:

McIlhagga Mary of Newmarket Villas Whiteabbey county Antrim spinster died 25 May 1940 Probate Belfast 19 July to Robert McIlhagga coal merchant and Rebecca Kennet widow. Effects £923 18s. 7d.

Sunday, 5 December 2010

Wills of Henry, George and Samuel Robinson

I have added the Full Abstract of the Will of Henry McIlhagga alias M'Ilhaga to the blog of 12 July 2009.

I have also added the full abstract of the Will of George McIlhagga (alias McIlhagger) to the blog of 28 October 2009. In that blog I said that George's widow, Mary Jane, had to pay £130 Estate Duty. The Will Calendars at PRONI make it clear that George left effects worth £130. It was a mistake for me to say she had to pay £130 Estate Duty. In fact she had to pay Estate Duty on £130 which amounted to £1.10s.0.

Another of the 'PRONI Wills' is for Mr. Samuel Robinson McIlhagga. 'SR' was the second son of George McIlhagga, a Merchant in Maxwellswalls, Connor. He had married Elizabeth Ann Robinson, hence Samuel's second name. George had always been a 'white collar' worker, with records of him as a Merchant, then as a Clerk. Samuel Robinson, his son, had also always been in some form of 'trade', with records of him being a Linen Remnants Salesman, A Wood Coal and Coke Merchant, a Hawker and a Dealer, which he was at his death at the age of sixty-eight. His Will not only gives us new information about his occupation, but about his residence and of course the value of his 'effects'. The Will was proved at the Belfast Registry. There is no image of the Will but the full abstract reads:

McIlhagga Samuel Robinson of Glentaugh House Annahilt Hillsborough county Down died 17 October 1941 at The Belfast Infirmary Administration Belfast 6 May [1942] to George McIlhagga [son] wholesale merchant. Effects £319.17s.5d.

Friday, 3 December 2010

William Boyd McIlhagger Will

Among the Northern Ireland Wills that have recently been published is that of William Boyd McIlhagger. I have written about this family in my 2009 blogs of 16 May and 29 October, and in the 2010 blogs of 20 February and 5 June. The new information we have from his Will is the date and place of his death, his occupation and of course the value of his effects which he left to his wife Eleanor. She was the daughter of Charles McArthur an Upholsterer. William died when he was 62, and we may assume from the Abstract below that he was still working. His Will was proved on 29th April 1943 at Belfast Registry. The Abstract, which is found in the PRONI Wills Calendar, reads as follows:

McIlhagger William Boyd of 171 Dunluce Avenue Belfast pump man died 16 December 1942 at York Road Belfast Administration Belfast 29 April to Eleanor McIlhagger the widow. Effects £73.

Wednesday, 1 December 2010

Back Home

Luban Memorial, Malaysia

Yesterday evening I returned home by ambulance car through horrendous snowstorms, having been in hospital for an operation. After two days in the Intensive Care Unit I found myself in a ward of six men, three of us engaged in serious pieces of historical research. One, back in this country from Zimbabwe, publishes in an international journal on philately. Incidentally he and I had a mutual friend from a professional world. Another, a retired Sea Captain, had done research on the ships used by the East India Company. Another man in the ward and I found we have a mutual acquaintance who has enabled me to further my research into the McLean line of my family on the Isle of Coll. Inevitably my full name on a board behind my bed-head started a few conversations on the origins and spread of such a rare surname as McIlhagga, not least on St.Andrew's Day!

I spent a lot of my time reading three genealogical journals and also getting a sense of what life in 18th Century Scotland was like by reading a biography of Robert Burns, appropriate to the opening of the new Burns Museum in Alloway. I spent a little of my time wondering whether anything of interest would be waiting for me in the midst of nearly 400 unread emails. And indeed there were two things which I will pursue in future blogs. First, a Forces Genealogy site has published a database of Prisoners of War 1939-1945. I knew of the 'only one', namely William John McIlhagga, about whom I wrote on 19th September last. The first surprise is that his name did not come up. He died in a Japanese Prisoner of War Camp in Malaysia, and is commemorated at the Luban Memorial illustrated above. I suppose the reason for his omission is that although he was born in the United Kingdom, he had become an Australian Citizen. The second surprise is that another name did come up, of someone who survived to 'tell the tale'. I will reveal his name when I have done a little more research.

The second thing waiting for me was also a new publication on the Internet, from PRONI, The Public Record Office of Northern Ireland (which incidentally is to reopen in a new place at the end of March 2011), a list of twelve McIlhagga Wills from 1886 to 1942, with the details of all of them freely accessible, and the images of four of them downloadable. We can assume that the ones where there is 'no image' had been destroyed. I will study all of this information very carefully to see whether there are any new facts to be shared. Watch this space!