Monday, 6 June 2011

Evidence from Armagh

The above photograph is of Andrew McIlhagga when he was twenty-two and about to become a Fireman in the Merchant Service. The number in the picture above him, 448498, was his Identity Number in the Service and is in fact the number of the Identity Certificate given to him, which also gives his date and place of birth, 13th April 1896 in Ballymena, Ireland. It states that both he and his father were Irish. His parents were Robert McIlhagga (1859-1912) of Ballee, County Antrim and Margaret Craig, both of whom are buried in Dundonald Cemetery, Belfast. His paternal grandparents were James McIlhagga, a Weaver, and Jane Middleton, and one more generation with William takes us back into the 18th Century.

Andrew had nine siblings and the grand-daughter of one of them, Robert James, has done some excellent research including identifying Andrew's wife, Elizabeth May Walker. There have already been several references to Andrew in this blog, on 14 July 09, 7Oct 10, 23 Mar 11 and recently on 2 June. The last of these references included my postulating that he may well have been the RUC Constable who was involved in a 'Border Incident' in County Armagh. I am delighted to say that we now have a piece of circumstantial evidence which supports my hypothesis. His wife Elizabeth's family was from Armagh, so the probability is that he met her when he was serving with the RUC in that county. Perhaps he lived in Lurgan where Elizabeth's mother was living when she married and where she was still living during the 1911 Census. It may even be that Andrew lodged with the family.

Elizabeth May McIlhagga, nee Walker, came from an Army family. Her death certificate identifies her birth date and place as 20th April 1908 in Hounslow, England. Her sister gave notice of her death. Her father was a Private soldier serving in the Inniskilling Dragoons, though he, Thomas Walker had married Margaret Ann Connor back in Armagh in 1899. They were born respectively in Dublin and Cork, in the south of Ireland, as the 1911 Census makes clear. The evidence appears to be that Elizabeth and Andrew did not have any children.

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