Tuesday, 12 April 2011

The Greenock Family

Ina McIlhaga, working as a servant to a physician, gave her age as 18, which means she was born about 1893. My first reaction which I put in my last blog was that she was Ina McIlhagga who emigrated to the States. There she worked as a housemaid and in the 1930 USA Census gave her age as 27 therefore with a birth year of 1903! She was in fact born on 24th January 1894 (Statutory Birth Record). If this was the same Ina she would have been 37, not 27. It is not unusual for someone to falsify their age, perhaps to get employment, perhaps to wish to appear younger to a prospective marriage partner. Ina did marry a James Strathearn in the USA. I have to say that I have no other Ina in my records, and certainly not an Ina McIlhaga, and I am convinced that the Greenock Ina and the USA Ina were one and the same. Do I have Ina in the 1901 Scottish Census when she would have been about eight? I think so. Born in Greenock I have an Alexander aged 7 which is I'm sure an error for Alexandrina, Ina's full name. His/her parents were James and Johanna (nee McCulloch) McIlhagga of 19 Ingleston Place, Greenock. James was 45 in 1901. Where is he in 1911? He is surely James aged 54, still a Rivetter and now living at 31 Lyle Street. His eldest daughter Marion was keeping house as his wife Johanna had died six years earlier in 1905 having had 'Pulminary Phthisis' for two and a half months. That sounds like Tuberculosis. The family had moved house after her death. In 1911 only four of their fifteen children were still 'at home', namely Marion, Agnes, Isabella and James. They also had a lodger, David Bell who was born in England. It is likely that he was a relation as they had called their eighth daughter 'Annie Bell', but how the Bells and the McIlhaggas were linked I'm not sure.

We now come to Joan McIlhagga, 22, who was a Domestic Servant in Greenock to Robert and Marion Anderson. I am somewhat mystified! I have no Joan on record. However the name could be short for Joanne or Joanna, and there was one Joanne McIlhagga born about 1885, which would have made her 26 in 1911, who eventually married Melville Russell Dean in about 1919 in Alberta, Canada. This does not immediately solve the mystery because I don't know her parentage from that event. Do we get anywhere by going back to the 1901 Scottish Census? Yes, I think we do, for there was a Johanna McIlhagga aged 13 in Greenock East who was another daughter of James and Johanna. And (aha!) she was none other than the person who married Melville Dean. She had two children by him but died at the early age of 35 in 1923, sadly in childbirth. Interestingly her sister Agnes, whom I have noted above, also died in Calgary, Alberta, also at the young age of 27. Their sister Isabella also went to Canada, married Hugh Gallagher Bates and died in 1944 in Kimberley, British Columbia, aged 47. They had one daughter Isabel in 1921 who married John Duff Leith and died in Trail, British Columbia, aged 49. James, who also appears with this family in 1911 emigrated to New York where he married Aa Scots girl from Fairlie, Jean Blue Crawford in 1924. They were to have two sons.

But we haven't dome with this family yet! The Catherine M C McIlhaggie in the 1911 Census is a slight misreading for Catherine McC McIlhagga - her middle name was her mother's maiden name, McCulloch - who, aged 24, was also a Domestic Servant, to Daniel and Margaret Kerr. Like so many of her siblings she too emigrated across the 'pond', ending up in Plant City, Hillsborough, Florida where she died at the great age of 89 in 1976. As far as we know she didn't marry.

Who was the James McIlhaggie, aged 29 in the 1911 Census who was in the Merchant Navy? The record says he was born in Greenock, but there is no James aged 19 in the families of the 1901 Census. The reason? He was at sea then, but in the Royal Navy! He was in fact James the son of William Carson McIlhagga and Rachel McLelland, mentioned above, who was born 19th August 1882. In 1901 he was counted on board a battleship in Gibraltar Bay. Between 1901 and 1911 he must have transferred to the Merchant Service. And in that time he married Mary Young on 30th October 1908 in Govan. They had a son John Young McIlhagga who when he was a Quay Labourer in 1931 married Margaret Smellie Allan in Union Church of Scotland, Maryhill, Glasgow. They had a daughter, Margaret Allan who sadly died as a small child in 1937. John died at the young age of 31 in 1940. Lastly, in this mixture of McIlhagas, McIlhaggas and McIlhaggies, all of who were near relations in the same clan family, we come to Mary McIlhaggie aged 29 who had the one year old son John. We learned from the Census form that she had been married for three years, so her maiden name was not a clan name. Who was she? Yes, she was the Mary Young who married James was was on board ship in 1911 and whose son was John Young McIlhagga. I do not know if they had any other children.

Finally, and from the same clan family, we have William, Martha and Thomas McIlhaggie in the 1911 Census. Their name is also spelled McIlhagga in other documentation. William's wife Rachel (nee McLelland) had died in 1893. In 1911 two of their nine children were still at home. Martha was to remain in Scotland and marry a Mr. Dickson. She died in Dennistoun in 1959 at the age of 71. Thomas, who had the interesting second name of Norris, was to emigrate to Canada where just two years later he married Ann Munro Campbell in Montreal. They were to have just one son who lived past infancy, William Neil Duncan who to this day has five descendants in Canada and the USA. Thomas Norris McIlhagga died at Daytona Beach, Florida.

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