Tuesday, 22 February 2011

The 12 Months of 2010

The last couple of session at the Family History Group I go to have been home made, and very interesting and useful. People have shared their finds and their problems. Although I only had time to share one event from the past twelve months, I thought it would be interesting to list the progress I've made. Sometimes it doesn't feel like it, but things do happen!

1. DNA - Last January I had a 25 marker match from a Mr. Smith in America. We've compared notes and photos, but haven't got anywhere. In November I had a 37 marker match from a 3rd cousin in Canada!

2. I discovered that my gt-grandfather who worked for the sugar firm of Tate & Lyle was involved in the process of crystalising sugar and represented the firm at the famous Paris exhibition of 1889 where he won a prize related to the process.

3. I've discovered a clan grave in Carnmoney, Co. Antrim, and am grateful to the Secretary of the local Family History Society for photographing it for me.

4. I've found the first Quaker who married a McIlhagga and I'm hopeful of finding their Marriage Register entry in Dublin. She's buried in the Friends Burial Ground at Blackrock.

5. I've had my first video link on Skype with a McIlhagga in Australia and he has kindly sent me some old photos of Glasgow from where he emigrated.

6. I've revisited my grandfather's grave in Liverpool and have realised there is room on the stone to put my parents' names, so have found a mason to do this.

7. I've discovered the one McIlhagga who was a pilot in theBattle of Britain and later found he spent time in a concentration camp, Stalag Luft IV, and may have gone on the infamous 'long march'. Also I've found the only McIlhagga who fought in the Boer War, in the Imperial Yeomanry. He returned to Belfast to work on building the Titanic as a Carpenter, on which he was killed.

8. I've found a new 3rd cousin in Wales who has given me new information about a relative who was blinded at Peebles Tweed Mill and then went to the Royal Blind School in Edinburgh.

9. I've been sent a copy of a letter from the 1920s in which an aged matriarch lists all the birth, marriage, and some death dates of her twelve children.

10. I've found my first McIlhagga in the Isle of Man who apparently went to work there for the Bank of Ireland. There is still a family there in the Travel Industry.

11. I've been sent a World War I widow's medal (from County Mayo, found in a Car Boot Sale in Yorkshire), on the condition that I tried to find the nearest relative and send it to them. I found a second cousin in Calgary and it went in July.

12. I've compiled Indexes of BMDs (McIlhaggas and name variants) and they have enabled me to fit a number of people into families, and have enabled me to link up with someone who has retired to Kelso, Scotland, and though we don't think we are related, we do know our respective grandparents knew each other when living in Greenock. He's from Northern Ireland and I've learned a lot from him about the townland called Maxwells Walls where a lot of McIlhaggas lived. Our families intermarried.

And those were only the twelve new discoveries of the twelve months of 2010. The everyday work of researching the clan continued, and continues. Please get in touch any time with news, however small or insignificant you may think it is. It may be the link we're looking for. And please don't forget, old photos and other ephemera can reveal part of our history.

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