Friday, 2 September 2011

'Immigration' - Travel home

A good number of the members of our clan emigrated to distant places, in particular Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the USA. Some never returned to their native soil, even for a brief visit, though some did. The internet site has just allowed free access for a limited period to its 'Immigration and Travel' records, which include thirty seven journeys, by ship, between 1878 and 1960 by clan members. Seven were from Australia, seven from the USA, one from South Africa and twenty-two from Canada. Twenty -three journeys landed at English ports and fourteen at Scottish ports.

1898 saw the earliest recorded journeys, and it was a 'bumper' year with one man from Sydney, Australia and four people from Montreal, Canada. I really do not know who the man was who arrived from Sydney on 26th August 1898, in London. The passenger list simply says Mr. McIlhagga. The only male know to me who went to Australia who was born earlier than 1898 was John McIlhagger (born 1883), though to the best of my knowledge he didn't emigrate until 1909. The four people who boarded a ship in Montreal are also a mystery. They appear to be two couples arriving in Liverpool a week apart, on 12th November and the 19th november 1898. However both couples are Jas. McIlhagga (born about 1861) and Mrs. McIlhagga (born about 1863). Surely there is a mistake in these records and there is but one couple who arrived on either the 12th or the 19th. Who they were, again I do not know, as I have no record of births or a marriage which fits with their dates.

In December 1903 J. McIlhagger returned to Southampton, England, from South Africa. His estimated birth year was 1878, so he was about 25. I hope this is a mis-spelling of the surname. I have written twice about a 'John' returning from the Boar War. On 20th Feb 2010 I noted that he was John McIlhagga. On 4th Jan this year I thought he might be John G. McIlhagger from Belfast. Six weeks later (25th Feb.) I changed my mind when I realised that John Hutchison McIlhagga who died in the First World War had served previously in the Imperial Yeomanry in the Second Boar War which ended in 1902. I think he must be the 'J. McIlhagger' who arrived in Southampton in 1903. Admittedly 'JH' was born in 1880, but a two year discrepancy on Army documents is not unusual.

In 1907 'S. McIlhagga' travelled from Montreal, Canada, to Liverpool, England arriving on the 8th July. There is a passenger record of 'Saml. McIlhagga' leaving Londonderry, Ireland, in 1899 for Halifax, Nova Scotia. He was then 30, so was born about 1869. The only Samuel I have in my Birth Index born in 1869 died as an infant. The next 'nearest' was born on 25th April 1871 to Samuel and Elizabeth (nee Glass) McIlhagga of Belfast. He was baptised at St. Mary's Roman Catholic Church. I have to admit that I do not know what happened to him, and it could well be that it was he who emigrated to Canada.

We now come to two women who may have been travelling alone (I haven't paid to see the full passenger lists), namely Lucy McIlhagga, from New York, USA, arriving Glasgow, Scotland on 3rd July 1910 and Lizzie McIlhaggs, from Montreal, arriving Glasgow on 27th August 1911. Lucy may have been the daughter of William Gage McIlhagga and Jane Todd, born 7th August 1895, who therefore in 1910 would have been only 15. There is no record of this family emigrating so it is possible that Lucy went to the USA on a short visit, possibly to see relatives. Certainly she is at home in Belfast a year later when she is listed on the 1911 Census as an Office Girl, and living with her parents. Who Lizzie McIlhaggs was, I'm afraid I do not know. On an Emigration passenger list there is a Saml. McIlhaggs, aged 22, born Ireland, who disembarked from the ship Victoria on 14th July 1906. He is on a list published by the Nanaimo, Canada, Family History Society. Lizzie could have been a sibling, and she might just be the Lizzie McIlhaggo, aged 25 who went out to Quebec, arriving on the 22nd May 1909 on the ship Manitoba.

I will continue the list of 'returnees' in a future blog.

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