Monday, 14 March 2011

Henrys in Donegore and Maxwell's Walls

I've had an interesting email via the Internet site RootsChat from someone whose family line goes back to the 19th Century Stevensons of Ballywoodock, Donegore, one of whom, Agnes (or Nancy) married a Henry McIlhagge. I have the marriage record of Henry and Agnes from which we learn that he was a Farmer in Maxwell's Walls. I replied to my correspondent to say he was not the only clan Henry in my reconstruction of the Family Tree for the townland of Maxwell's Walls, in the Parish of Connor, but it was only after I had sent the reply that I added up the number of Henrys in it. There are no fewer that thirteen, as follows:

1 A probable Henry who was the progenitor of the clan in the townland, who would have been born about 1755;
2 Henry born about 1780, son of the progenitor and who married Mary McDowell;
3 Henry born about 1800 to Henry and Mary (nee McDowell);
4 Henry born 1821 to Henry, who married Agnes Gardiner in 1857;
5 Henry born 1821 to John and Mary (nee Houston), who married Agnes McMeekin;
6 Henry born about 1833 to William, who married Agnes Stevenson in 1854;
7 Henry born about 1838 to William Gage (McIlhaggie) and Mary (nee Houston);
8 Henry born 1870 to Henry and Agnes (nee McMeekin);
9 Henry born 3 Feb 1870 to Henry and Agnes (nee Gardiner);
10 Henry born 5 Apr 1872 to Nathaniel Owens (McIlhagga) and Henrietta (nee Wilson), who died 5 July 1890 aged 18;
11 Henry born 10 June 1879 to John and Elizabeth (nee McCulloch);
12 Henry born 1893 to George Gardner (McIlhaggo) and Isabella Scott (nee Boak);
13 Henry born 1907 to William and Mary Ann (nee Boyd).

The totally new fact that my Stevenson correspondent shared with me was that Agnes/Nancy's parents were William Stevenson who died in 1815 and Martha Montgomery who died in 1854, both buried in Donegore. Now, if Henry and Agnes were married (as they were) on 12th December 1854, this must have happened soon after the death of Agnes' mother. Furthermore, Agnes must have been conceived before her father died in 1815, making her at least 39 years old when she married. My attempted reconstruction of the McIlhagga clan tree in Maxwell's Walls, made in ignorance of Agnes' true age - I only knew from her marriage record that she was 'of full age' - has assumed that Henry's father, William, would have been born about 1810 and that Henry would have been born about 1833. So do we have an 1854 marriage of Agnes Stevenson aged 39+ and Henry McIlhagge aged 22, a 17 year gap in their ages?

Perhaps they hadn't got married as early as Henry was legally able to, without parental permission, at least a year before, because Agnes' mother was against the marriage. Perhaps they therefore got married as soon as was reasonable after her death and before Agnes had reached 40! My correspondent asked me whether I had any record of children from this marriage? I'm afraid I don't. And perhaps that is no wonder, given Agnes' age. The reason I have listed all thirteen Henrys above is to check that I haven't mixed up two of them. If the Henry who married Agnes Stevenson had been nearer to her age, and conventionally slightly older, he would have been (say) 40-45 in 1854, with therefore a birth year of 1814-1819, but I think there is no other 'free' Henry in the Maxwell's walls Family Tree with whom I could have confused him. How interesting!

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