Sunday, 4 September 2011

Immigration follow-up

Once again the value of the Internet and this blog in particular is to be applauded. A valued correspondent from Australia has been able to shed light on my last entry entitled 'Immigration', and indeed has been able to add to it. First, an addition: she observes that a J. McIlhagga, born 1870 in Belfast worked his passage from London to Melbourne and Sydney as a carpenter on the crew of the ship Warrigal arriving 30th December 1904. I have a James who was a Carpenter, but he was born in 1865 and emigrated to Canada. As crew 'J' may not have stayed in Australia, but returned to Britain as crew. I have added him to a new Index of Migration references that I have started.

Next she comments on 'Mr. McIlhagga' in my second paragraph who arrived at London in 1898. He was in fact a 'J. McIlhagga' on the ship Peninsula which may have departed from Sydney, but he boarded the ship at Bombay, India. He was single and English. The only J. McIlhagga of whom I know who could claim to be English was John, born 1879 in Liverpool. He was in fact a great-uncle of mine and I have to say that I know nothing about him, except that he was indeed, and remained, single. He could well have found his way to India! The only other possible clan reference to India that I have found is a much earlier one, to Ellen McHago married to Charles Johnson, also in Bombay. Ellen's father was a James, but he clearly cannot be the single Englishman travelling in 1898. Incidentally three other people boarded the Peninsula at Bombay, but I do not think they give us a clue to the identity of 'J. McIlhagga'. They were a Mr. Long and two nurses in the employ of a Mrs. Waddell.

Finally my correspondent comments on James McIlhagga and his wife arriving Liverpool 1898. Apparently James was listed as a farmer on the ship Parisian which docked first at Liverpool and then a week later at Londonderry, Ireland. James was 37 and his wife 35, giving him a birth year of 1861. However my friend observes that they may have returned to Canada (St. John's) five months later, departing Londonderry on 7th April 1899 on the ship Mongolian where they are again James McIlhagga, farmer and Mrs. McIlhagga, wife. This time their ages are given as 34 and 30, making James' birth year 1865. If these rather than their 1898 travel dates are correct, it gives us the strong possibility that James was the son of James McIlhagga and Jane Maitland of Ballyportery, County Antrim. Father James was a farmer so it was possible that when his son emigrated he continued life as a farmer, though I have to record that the 1901 Census of Canada lists him as a Carpenter. He later became a Building Contractor and then Inspector of School Buildings in Sarnia, Lambton, Ontario. James was born in 1865 and in 1889 he married Alwilda Breault from Seymour, Northumberland, Ontario. After they returned to Canada they had two children, Wilda and William James.

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