Thursday, 20 January 2011

The McIlhagga - Boyd Intermarriages

Castlegore/Maxwells Walls Farms

I have written a good number of times about the McIlhagga families in the townland of Maxwells Walls, recently because I have met a descendant of the Boyd family which lived in the neighbouring townland of Castlegore. The Boyds and the McIlhaggas intermarried and there are three particular marriages which are very interesting, the first being of Jane McIlhagga to James Boyd in 1872, and then of two of their daughters, Mary Ann Boyd who in 1902 married William son of Henry McIlhagga, and of Margaret Boyd who in 1903 married William son of George McIlhagga. George was a clerk in Belfast but doubtless knew well and was probably closely related to the three or four men who were farming in the Parish of Connor which embraced the townlands of Maxwell Walls and Castlegore. The map above shows clearly at least three McIlhaggas, William, John and Henry and at least three Boyds, James, Daniel and James Junior, who all farmed within a couple of square miles. One Henry McIlhagga worked and farmed with a Boyd and a Gardiner in Castlegore, living in plot 37 on the map.

I got in touch recently with my friend who is related to the Boyds to tell him that during some Scottish research I had discovered that James and Jane Boyd had had their first child in Greenock, Renfrew while James had been working in the Sugar Industry there. Neither of us had known that they had had this son in 1874 whom they called William McIlhagga Boyd. There is however no evidence of William playing any continuing part in the life of this family and although we cannot be certain we agree that he may well be the 'William Boyd' whose death is recorded in Ballymena in 1876. The FamilySearch website puts his age at three years, though no parents are listed. This couple's third child was given the single name William. It was not an unusual practice to give the next male the same name as an earlier child who had died. Our continuing discussion has clarified for me one or two relationships between the families, and most importantly has corrected the Family Tree which I have been attempting to reconstruct for the McIlhagga clan family based in Maxwells Walls.

For some considerable time I have worked on the assumption that William who married Mary Ann Boyd was part of the family of Henry and Agnes (nee McMeekin) McIlhaggo/ie/a. I was right about the Henry and the Agnes but not about her maiden name. From the standpoint of a greater appreciation of the relationships between the McIlhagga and the Boyd families, I have realised that the Henry concerned must not be he who married Agnes McMeekin in 1855 but Henry who married Agnes Gardiner on 27th July 1857 at a Civil Ceremony in the Antrim Registrar's Office. Incidentally I have no idea why this was a Civil rather than a Church Ceremony. The Gardiner link is implied I believe from the evidence of the map above, with its reference on plot 36 to the joint tenancy of James Boyd and George Gardiner. What happened was that in 1864 farm 36 consisted of a house and land of just over 61 acres and was being rented by Francis Gardiner from Viscount Massereene. It was Francis' daughter Agnes that Henry McIlhagga married. By 1876 this house and farm was being rented by James Boyd the husband of Jane McIlhagga in a joint tenancy with George Gardiner, who I assume was Francis' son. Henry McIlhagga was living in a house in plot 37, within plot 36. Clearly by 1876 he and Agnes had returned home from Greenock.

The father of Henry (of the McMeekin marriage) was William McIlhagga. The father of Henry (of the Gardiner marriage) was another Henry McIlhagga. My present thinking is that Henry of plot 37 and John of plot 27 on the map were probably brothers and that their father Henry (possibly of plot 30) was one of four siblings, John, Henry, William Gage and Mary, who were all the children of another Henry (born about 1780) who married Mary
McDole/McDowel/McDowall. He in turn could have been one of four brother, Henry, John (who had three daughters, Rose, Mary and Ellen), James and William (the father of nine children, one of whom was Jane who married James Boyd).

James and Jane Boyd had ten children born between 1873 and 1888, two being the sisters who married McIlhaggas. Mary Ann Boyd and William McIlhagga had (at least) two children, Jane and Henry. Margaret Boyd and William McIlhagga had (at least) four children, Jane, Elizabeth, James and William. The parents of William McIlhagga who married Mary Ann Boyd, namely Henry and Agnes (nee Gardiner) McIlhagga migrated to Scotland where most of their family stayed in the New Monkland area of Lanarkshire and where both Henry and Agnes died.

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