Saturday, 24 December 2011

Two middle names - and Christmas

When I was searching the Ireland, Civil Registration Indexes, 1845 - 1958 I came across two clan members from the 20th Century, one male and one female, who had distinctive middle names. They were both births in Ballymena. All I have are the dates of the births. Agnes McClurkin McIlhagga was born in the January to March quarter of 1909 and Robert Carroll McIlhagga was born in the July to September quarter of 1916. I have searched the 1901 and 1911 Irish Censuses for any clues to which families they come from and have drawn blanks. I have also posted queries on Carroll and McClurkin websites and blogs, again without success. I assume these middle names come from surnames of females who married into McIlhagga families, or they could be the surnames of either the mothers or grandmothers of Agnes and Robert. If anyone has any clues they can offer, please put a note on this blog or get in touch by sending me a message.

Over the Christmas period I'm off to see a Memorial Stone on which I've had my parents' names added to those of my grandparents. I'll publish a photograph when I return. Thank you to all who have sent Christmas greetings to the blog and all its readers. I wish you a happy and blessed time, especially if you are with your family. May 2012 bring more good genealogical discoveries!

Wednesday, 21 December 2011

An 18th Century birth/baptism

I'm turning to the birth records from the Ulster Historical Foundation, the earliest of which is for Margaret, daughter of Nathan and Sarah McIlhaggy in Belfast. She was baptised, perhaps on the day of her birth, on 4th March 1790 at St. Anne's Church of Ireland, Shankill, by the Revd Richard Meade. I have more than once referred to this event in other contexts in this blog, but have not looked at it for its own sake. There is incidentally another probable 1790 birth, of a Martha McIlhagga. We know this from the fact that she died in 1875 aged 85, though I do not know if McIlhagga was her birth name or her married name.

Births in 1790 mean that the parents were probably born between 1760 and 1770. There are certainly Nathans of this period born in Maxwells Walls and in Carnmoney. In Shankill at the same time as Nathan McIlhaggy there was also a James McIlhaggey (spelled slightly differently). He and his wife Sarah had a son William in 1792. Two other Jameses were born in Islandmagee in 1755 and 1788. Finally in the 18th Century a John McIlhago was born in 1788 to a James McIlhago. This is known because he emigrated to the USA and his death is recorded there.

The above facts raise a number of possibilities. We have both a Nathan McIlhaggy - Sarah marriage and a James McIlhaggey - Sarah marriage, Nathan having a daughter in 1790 and James having a son in 1792, both in Shankill, Belfast. Were there two brothers, Nathan and James, who both married a Sarah? Or did Nathan die after Margaret was born and did Sarah then marry his brother James? Incidentally the Nathan in Carnmoney was born about 1758 so is of the right age to be the Shankill Nathan, but we know that he married Betty Burney and had a number of children, none of whom as far as we know was a Margaret.

There is also an 'unattached' Nathaniel who ceased to farm in Islandmagee in 1770, so may have been born as early as 1720. He, based on his probable age, also is somewhat unlikely to be identified with Shankill. The Maxwell Walls' Nathaniels are all too late to be considered as being the Shankill Nathan, though of course Nathan of Shankill may be their ancestor, a link we are at present unable to make for lack of evidence. So, despite a fair number of Nathans and Nathaniels in the 18th Century - clearly it was a popular name - we are no nearer to identifying the Shankill family.

Without a surname, I cannot speculate about Sarah. And what of Margaret? There is a Margaret (of unknown birth year) who married James McHag(g)o and had a son James in 1828. A 1790 birth for this Margaret would fit. There is also a Margaret McElhaga who died in 1845 in Ballymena. Again the date fits, but I have to say that both these Margarets seem to offer only very remote chances of finding a real identification. O dear! Let's hope for some new information which will throw more light.

Tuesday, 20 December 2011

Wilson McIlhagga

The next marriage record from the Ulster Historical Foundation that I want to look at is dated 3 Jan 1867 from Buckna Presbyterian Church, Ballymena, Racavan. It is for the marriage of William McIlhagga, a farmer from Racavan to Jennifer Stewart of Craigamoy. Both were of 'full age' so would have been born, say, about 1845. In all probability this gives their parents birth years of around 1820. For a reason unknown there are no parents' names for Jennifer, though the 'husband's witness' was William Stewart, perhaps her brother. My special interest is the name of William McIlhagga's father, which was Wilson McIlhagga, also a farmer

I have one other marriage of an offspring of a Wilson, namely Maria, born 1843, daughter of Wilson McIlhaggo married to Samuel Winning on 12 May 1868 at Antrim Civil Registrar's Office. Maria was from Newpark Antrim, though this may be where she lived as a Servant and her father may well have been the same Wilson, a farmer from Racavan. Her witness, Mary Carnaughan does not I'm afraid add any further clue to this family's identity. We may know who William and Maria's father was, but not her mother as I have no marriage of any Wilson around 1820.

I do have one late birth of a Wilson, son of James McIlhagga of Eglington on 30 December 1880. It looks as if Wilson was the surname of a mother or a grandmother and it is just possible that if we were to go back a couple of generations in the Eglington family we might find a Wilson from Racavan. James of Eglington married a Johnston whose mother was a Greer, so no Wilson there. James was son of Nathaniel and Ellen McIlhaga. It is possible that Ellen's surname was Wilson and that in addition to James she may have had a son Wilson, though at present this is entirely in the realms of speculation. There was indeed a Nathan McIlhaggar, born about 1804 in Carnmoney, who did marry an Ellen Wilson, born about 1809. They married in Carnmoney on 21 May 1830 and they did have a son James. However, to the best of my knowledge neither he nor his parents had a son who was named Wilson, so the temptation to identify the Eglington family with the Racavan family seems to have run into the sand.

There is one other Wilson McIlhagga, born in 1875 to John McIlhagga and Eliza McCullough of Connor. Was he named after his paternal grandmother? Sadly we don't know her name! So we have come to the only other Wilson references I have which are second names. John W. McElhago was born in 1865 and died in 1867. James W. McIlhagga, born 1871 was son of Henrietta Wilson, so must have been named for her and another James W. McIlhagga, born 1894 was a nephew of the 1875 Wilson, so clearly was named after him.

We do have a 'late' female, Jane Wilson born in 1904 to William Hugh and Maggie McIlhagga, who was possibly named after her great uncle, one John Wilson McIlhagga. a farmer who died in 1896. Now he had son William who according to the IGI married a Jenny Stewart on 2 Jan 1868. Time-wise we are in the right ball-park, and I think we have come full circle! I think Jenny Stewart and Jennifer Stewart were one and the same person, and that the IGI's date of 2 Jan 1868 should be corrected by the Ulster Historical Foundation's date of 3rd Jan 1867. Conclusion - William's father was simply using his second name only when he was being 'father' at both William's and Maria's weddings. John Wilson McIlhagga's father was one William McIlhagga, born about 1810 in Maxwell's Walls, in the parish of Connor. John Wilson, known as 'Wilson', was the youngest of nine siblings.

Monday, 19 December 2011

Kirkmichael in 1861

On 8 August last I referred to a Frances A. McHagg who lived from 1857 to 1925, found in Virginia USA, and who may have been related to three McHaggs found in the 1881 English Census, Mary (born 1843), John (1851) and Peter (1856). Frances' father was Thomas (according to the IGI) who married a Letisha Bishop. Frances married a Thomas Bishop in 1874 in Scott County, Virginia. The 1881 English Census tells us that Mary, John and Peter were living at 21 Victoria Terrace, Dudley, Worcestershire, John and Peter being travelling drapers and Mary keeping house for them. Significantly they were siblings who had all been born in Scotland and in August last I was making the assumption that McHagg was a deviant version of our clan name.

I haven't yet found any McHaggs in the 1871 Censuses, but I may have done in 1861. Thomas McHagg is in the English Census living in York, East Riding of Yorkshire. He was 58, so born in 1803. He in all likelihood was the father of Frances whom we find in Virginia, USA. More interestingly, according to the 'findmypast' website, there is a family of McHaggs to which the siblings Mary, John and Peter might have belonged, and they lived in Kirkmichael in Ayrshire, and I had been assuming that all clan members had disappeared from Kirkmichael! The family were John (65), Isabella (61), Isabella (20) and David R. (2). It is unlikely that a 59 year old Isabella would have given birth to a baby, so we may assume that David R. was the illegitimate son of young Isabella when she was 18. The 'R' is probably the clue to the surname 0of the father.

Now I have recorded the above, which I have noted from the 'findmypast' website, in part to show how careful we must be to check our sources. I went to the 'ScotlandsPeople' website to view the original census page for Kirkmichael.. The family's address was 91, New Village, and the surname is clearly not McHagg, but is either McHaig or McHarg. ScotlandsPeople thinks it is McHaig. It could well be of course that the siblings in Dudley are also McHaig or McHarg.

Before I found this original I was going to make a suggestion - which I'll make anyway - that John and Isabella, born respectively in nearby Straiton and Ayr, might possibly have been the only John and Isabella marriage I have on record for that period, namely John McIlhague who married Isabella McCallum who had a daughter Jean on 8 March 1824. Their certain link to our clan is that Isabella's brother Alexander married Elizabeth the daughter of James McElhago and Jane Harvey of Irvine. There is also a possible further link that I have pointed out in a previous blog, that John McIlhague may be the same John who later married a Jean Glen in Greenock. If this were so, then we might assume that Isabella had died, perhaps in chiuldbirth. Had the McHaigs really been McHaggs, I was going to point out this possible second marriage to show that John and Isabella McIlhague couldn't be the same as John and Isabella 'McHagg' in 1861, but of course I don't have to do so now, as the 'McHaggs' were in fact 'McHaigs'!

Saturday, 17 December 2011

Rutherglen in 1861

The Internet site called '' has just published the 1861 Scottish Census. There are four places of special interest for us, Tradeston, Irvine, Rutherglen and Renfrew. I will return to the first two on another occasion. The five people in Rutherglen, Lanarkshire, are husband and wife, William (45) and Mary (49) McIlhago and their offspring Mary (20), Margreat (sic) (18) and Samuel (16). There is also a Willm McIlhago aged 22 in Renfrew (Burgh), who could be their eldest child.

I believe this couple to be William Gage McIlhago/McIlhagga/McIlhaggie and Mary Houston who would have married about 1835 after the demise of Mary's first husband, William's older brother John. As I have suggested in earlier blogs, John probably fathered three known children, Henry, Eliza and William, Henry being named after his paternal grandfather. It is possible that William is the 'Willm' in Renfrew on the 1861 Census. However, to the best of our knowledge at present William was born in 1834 and 'Willm' in 1839, so they could well be two people. There is no reason why Mary could not have had two sons called William by different fathers, however 'inconvenient' it was to have step-brothers with the same name. And it appears that she also had two Henrys, for there are two half-siblings older than the four listed in Rutherglen in 1861, namely Rebecca (born 1836) and Henry (born probably in 1838).

The 1861 Rutherglen list has added the names of two children to my indexes, namely William and Mary. The fact of a Mary McIlhago living in Rutherglen in 1861 has opened up a further possibility. By 1863 she would have been twenty-two, and I have the record of a marriage on 6th June that year of a Mary McIlhage (an 'easy' variation) to a William Gibb. They had a daughter Mary on 22nd March 1867 in Belfast, indicating that between '63 and '67 they returned from Scotland to Ireland. However not all the family returned. By 1871 Mary senior (now McIllhago) aged 58 was living, apparently alone, in New Monkland and 'Willm', now 36, married to Catherine, 28, with four McIlhago children, were living in the centre of Glasgow.

Friday, 16 December 2011

Harryville family

I have acquired more birth and marriage details from the Ulster Historical Foundation and the first one I want to explore is the marriage of John McIlhagga, a Labourer of 87 Queen Street, Harryville, Ballymena, to Mary Sloan of 103 Queen Street. They were married on 5 January 1894 in Ballychug Church of Ireland. No parents are given for Mary, and as is the case with most marriage records, just the father of the groom is named, who was also John McIlhagga, also a Labourer. Mary's witness was a Mary Matthews. John's witness was William McIlhagga who we may presume was his brother. Both John and Mary were recorded as of 'Full age', so in all probability were born about 1873.

If we now turn to the 1901 Census for Ballymena we do have a husband and wife, John and Mary McIlhagga living at 102 Queen Street, the house either next door to, or opposite 103, the address Mary gave at their marriage. John's age in 1901 was 26 and Mary's 25, giving them possible birth years of 1875 and 1876. If these are correct, when they were married they were in fact 19 and 18 respectively, two and three years under 'full age', not an unusual situation to find, including giving false ages. In 1901 no occupation is given for either John or Mary, and they appear to have no family. If we now turn to the 1911 Census again we find a married couple, John and Mary McIlhagga, living in Ballymena, this time at 115 Queen Street. John gives his occupation as Railway Carter. However their ages are recorded as 30 and 30. If they are the same couple, and there is no reason to think they are not, they have knocked five years off their ages. Once again there are no children recorded, though we do know from the census that they had had three children all of whom sadly had died in infancy.

In the tree for this family I cannot at present go back further than John the father of John. In addition to the possibility that William, John's marriage witness, was a brother, I think it is probable that he had a younger brother Andrew who in 1906 was also married in a Church of Ireland (Ahoghill), to Elizabeth Todd. In 1906 John senior was also described as a Labourer, as indeed was Samuel the father of Elizabeth Todd. In 1906 Andrew was also married from Queen Street, Ballymena, though no house number is given. Andrew and Elizabeth subsequently had a large family of five boys and five girls.

If we ask whether there were any other McIlhaggas living in Queen Street, or nearby in Ballymena and who therefore might well be related, we find in 1901 Robert and Margaret and family at 67 Queen Street. In 1911 Robert and Margaret have moved away to Azamor Street, Belfast. Robert who was probably 42 in 1901, though he said he was 47, could well have been a brother of John senior. If that were the case, then we can take the family with whom we started back a further two generations because we know that Robert's father was James who was son of William a Weaver, who was born at the end of the eighteenth century.

Monday, 5 December 2011

Medieval Lesmahagow

Under George F. Black's entry in The Surnames of Scotland for 'McIlhagga' he says 'See Gilmagu', and there quotes three examples from the 12th and 13th Centuries. They come from the annals of Kelso Abbey in the Scottish Borders, but concern the Priory of Lesmahagow in Lanarkshire, which as 'Lesmahagu' in a King David's charter of 1144 was given by him to Kelso Abbey. In another charter of the same year the Bishop of Glasgow confirms this grant.

The personal name 'Gille Mohagu' appears several times in early charters pertaining to the district around Lesmahagow, spelled 'Lesmagu' in the Kelso annals. This personal name appears in the forms 'Gilmagu' and 'Gilmalagon/Gilmahagou' and in the place name 'Gilmahagistoun', these forms, as W.J. Watson points out in The Celtic Place Names of Scotland establishing the vernacular of the twelfth century, when Gaelic was doubtless spoken in the parish. The earliest reference to the name of a Celtic Saint associated with Lesmahagow is in King David's charter of 1144, but this is in Latin, a fact to which I will return.

The earliest Gaelic name reference in the medieval period was to Gilmalagon, who witnessed a charter concerning land granted by Arnold who was Abbot of Kelso 1147-1160. It was concerning land belonging to the Priory of Lesmahagow and was being given to Theobald (the) Fleming and his heirs. The extent of the land and its rent are detailed in the charter. W.J. Watson thought that the name Gilmalagon had been copied in error for Gilmahagou, the main part of the old topographical name Gilmahagistoun which lies within the parish of Lesmahagow and is mentioned in a charter dated between 1208-18. Watson also suggests that Gilmagu is a shortened version of Gilmahagu. Gilmalagon or Gilmahagou is there given the 'surname' Mac Kelli.

The next earliest Gaelic name reference is during the period 1160-1180 when John was Abbot of Kelso. Gilmagu had a portion of the lands near Lesmahagow, in Glenane, now Kerse, granted to him and his heirs, "bounded by the march which is between him and his brother Saludes, and by the loch which is between him and us (? the Priory of Lesmahagow) and so across from the march of Saludes, thence to the burn at Wenhath, and so by the burn of Gregeref, by the Naithan into the Clyde".

There are two fascinating questions from this charter for our clan. Were Gilmagu and Saludes blood brothers, or were they religious brothers from the Priory? The fact that Gilmagu either had or might have heirs surely implies that he was married or might marry, and so was most likely a 'secular', not a 'religious' brother. If this were so, were the names Gilmagu and Saludes 'given' Christian names rather than 'family' names? The second question is entirely in the realm of speculation. The burn or stream called Naithan which ran into the River Clyde reminds us of one of the earliest anglicised names given in our clan, Nathan. Is the burn Naithan where it came from?

The first question may be answered either by referring back to Gilmalagon/Gilmalagou mac Kelli, or to another charter which refers to Gilmagu Mac Aldic owning a croft in Glenane at some time between 1180 and 1203, when Osbert, the Abbot of Kelso after John, granted some land to Radolphus, a servant of the Priory of Lesmahagow. This land was bounded in part by the burn running between Gilmagu Mac Aldic's croft and the croft of Fretheton. There was certainly a time in Ireland when the name of Saint Mochuda was incorporated into the Christian names of his followers or devotees, and may be this was happening also in Scotland, examples being Mac Kelli and Mac Aldic (see also my blog of 8 Feb 2009).

An important question is whether there is a direct link between the person-names Gilmagu, Gilmahagou, and the place names Gilmahagistoun and Lesmahagow? If the person-names are derived from Mochuda, are the place-names also so derived? It is tempting to think so, but if it is in fact so, the charter of 1144 of King David granting the lands to Kelso Abbey is in error in naming the saint (in Latin) Sanctus Machutus, a Welsh or Bretton saint, despite that charter calling the Priory Lesmahagu. Maybe at some earlier stage there was a confusion between the Welsh Machute and the Irish Mochuda - which to our modern ears, would be easy, would it not? -the Priory dedicated to Machute though the followers of Machuda faithfully following as Gille-Mochudas, Gilmahagous, Gilmagus, and eventually McIlhaggas!

Sunday, 4 December 2011

A Gaelic Scholar's help

Scottish and Irish authors of books on family names differ on the Gaelic origins of McIlhagga. The Irish have linked the name with McIlhargy and therefore found the derivation from Mac Gille Chairge, 'Son of the Lad of the Rock', or perhaps Mac Con Chairge, 'Son of the Hound of the Rock'. The Scottish have seen its origins in Gille Mo Chuda, literally 'Son of My Heart' from the name Mochuda, otherwise Carthage, the 6th Century Celtic Abbot of Lismore in County Waterford.

I have always favoured the Scottish theory, mainly because the clan 'paper trail' does not come up with the variant McIlhargy, a fact supported by differing DNA results for McIlhagga and McHarg, McHargue, a shortened form of McIlhargy. Following my recent visit to Northern Ireland I have been in correspondence with the historian and Gaelic scholar in Belfast I mentioned in my last blog, who has kindly said she thinks that even from language that the Scottish view is entirely correct on the derivation of McIlhagga and that confusion with McIlharg(y) would be just that, confusion. Her view is that the most quoted Irish author, MacLysacht was terrific on documentary evidence, but less so on etymology. She quotes the more Gaelic-based Irish surname scholar, the Rev. Patrick Woulfe ('Irish Names and Surnames', 1923) who, though he does not deal with Scotland, gives the Irish surname formation Mac Giolla [Mo] Chuda, anglicised as McGillyCuddy (as in McGillycuddy's Reeks) but also in the shortened form as McElcuddy and McElhuddy. She adds 'If you accept that -d- could be changed to -g- (a slight surprise)', but we may suppose the effect of migrating across the North Channel, 'McElhuddy is a good Irish comparison with the Scottish McIlhagga'.

My friend from Belfast also adds that she doesn't know why the personal name Giolla [Mo] Chuda became Gilmagu in Scotland, which is part of the theory propounded by the main 'Scottish' author, G.F. Black, though she admits that 'as a set these Gille / Giolla compound names do get abbreviated in surprising ways'. I will write further about Gilmagu in my next blog.

Saturday, 3 December 2011

Family Name UK Project

On my visit to Northern Ireland in October I met a history/gaelic scholar who told me about an academic project based at the University of Western England which is revising the standard works on family names, and she kindly offered to submit the result of my work on our clan name. My attempt to summerise it for her consideration was the following:

The family name McILHAGGA

The surname McIlhagga appears in Surname Dictionaries published in both Ireland and Scotland, though interestingly all known to me refer to it as a Scottish surname. There is however a distinct difference in the way the etymology of the name is discussed on the two sides of the North Channel. This will be obvious if I quote George F. Black, 'The Surnames of Scotland' and Edward MacLysaght, 'The Surnames of Ireland'.

Black has “MACILHAGGA. Most probably for 'son of the gille of Mochuda'. See GILMAGU.” There follows five examples from 1527 to 1715, four in Ayrshire and one in Galloway. He then names three place-names in which the saint is commemorated in Scotland. His entry for GILMAGU has “Ir. Giolla Mo-Chuda, 'servant of (S.) Mochuda (=my Cuda), another name for S. Carthage of Lismore'”. He then quotes two Medieval charters referring to Abbeys in the Scottish Borders which are witnessed by Gilmagu in the 12th Century. He adds 'See also MACILHAGGA'. Black is followed by Diane D. McNicholl in 'The Surnames of East Lothian'.

MacLysaght has “Mac Ilhagga. Mac Giolla Chairge. This Gaelic form is given by MacGiolla Domhnaigh. A Scottish name found in Cos. Antrim and Derry. MacElhargy, MacIlhargy and Maharg are variants of it.” In MacLysacht's Supplement, 'More Irish Families', he has “MacIlhagga, Maharg. At first sight these two names would not appear to be variants, but when we remember that MacIlhagga is also found as MacIlharga, MacElhargy and McIlharg and that in Ulster Mac is frequently abbreviated to Ma the transition becomes intelligible. According to MacGiolla Domnaigh the Gaelic form is MacGiollaChairge which is common to Galloway in Scotland and to Cos. Antrim and Derry. Maharg is also written Meharg”. Further, Maclysacht has an entry under MacHarg, which says “Tyrone name is an earlier form of Maharg. See MacIlhagga”.

In Ireland it appears that MacLysacht has been followed uncritically, e.g. by Robert Bell in 'The Book of Ulster surnames' where he says 'Maharg is a variant of the Scottish MacIlhagga' (p.82), and by the Irish Times Internet site.

It also appears that MacLysaght has 'expanded' MacGiollaDomnaigh, where, in 'Some Anglicised Surnames in Ireland' (1923, p.45) there is no reference to MacIlhagga. He has “Meharg, Maharg – These two names are the shortened anglicised forms of McIlhargy. Other forms are McIlharg and McElhargy; in Gaelic the name is written MacGiolla-chairge, and is mostly found in Galloway and in Ulster, particularly in S.E. Derry”.

I have for the past twelve years done a 'One Name Study' (with the Guild of One Name Studies) of the name McIlhagga and its variants and have compiled Indexes of the name referring to thousands of births, marriages and deaths, and have come across no examples of the so-called variants quoted in MacLysacht, namely MacElhargy, MacIlhargy, Maharg, Meharg, McIlharg, McIlharga or MacHarg. The 'paper trail' appears to demonstrate that these names have a different origin to McIlhagga.

The result of the 'paper trail' appears to be confirmed by recent DNA analysis. A 'MacHargue / McHarg' DNA project has produced one set of results, up to 37 markers, and a McIlhagga DNA project has produced a totally different set of results, up to 37 markers. The McIlhagga results are part of group M269, sub-group R1b1a2* which is very rare.

I am no Gaelic scholar but my best thinking about the origins of the name McIlhagga is that if we go back to the 6th Century we may find our eponymous ancestor as a follower of (Saint) Mochuda Carthach. In Ireland it may be that followers have spawned a number of variants including McGillycuddy and McElhuddy. Parallel to such evolution we have what appears to be a migration to the South-West of Scotland, possibly a very early migration initiated by St. Colmon of Ella, where the name Gille Mochuda, via the Latin form Gilmagu evolved into McIlhago and McIlhagga. It was in Colmonell (named for St. Colmon Ella) in Ayrshire where the clan name appeared in 1527 in its Anglicised form, namely Macylhaggow.

Interestingly an internet site associated with an academic project at University College, London, which maps the whereabouts of Western Names, at, confirms that the name McIlhagga is 'Group: Celtic; Subgroup: Scottish; Language: English'. For the variant McIlhagger it correctly changes the subgroup to 'Irish'.

Friday, 2 December 2011

Timeline for William

I'm sure that the William McElhagan recorded in the Rent Revision Books for Ballycloghan, to which I referred in my last blog, was my great-great-grandfather, otherwise recorded as William McIlhagga at family events such as Baptisms, and Marriages. It is useful to get an overall view of an ancestor's life by making a timeline for him or her. It will inevitably have some unresolved issues in it, and these can encourage further research on that person. A Timeline for William of Ballycloghan looks like this:

1798 Earliest date for birth, if son of James and Sarah of Shankill;
1807-9 Latest date for birth based on probable marriage date;
1828 Ballycloghan Townland Valuation - Applotment Books. Two plots;
1828-30 Probable date of marriage, maybe in Clogh Presbyterian Church;
1831 Son William born, based on 1851 Census, aged 20;
1832-3 Son John born, Co. Antrim;
1834 Daughter Jane born, Ballycloghan;
1835 Daughter Mary born (?Baptised 26.2.1837);
1837 Son Crawford born, Ballycloghan. Baptised 26 Feb 1837;
1838-9 Daughter Ann born Ballycloghan. Baptised 16 Jan 1839;
1841 Daughter Nancy born Ballycloghan. Baptised 17 Oct 1841;
1844 Daughter Margaret born Ballycloghan. Baptised 16 Jun 1844;
1844 Wife Agnes (nee McCosh) died (?in childbirth);
1851 Weaver (William's and John's marriages);
1854 Farmer (Jane's marriage, Broughshane);
1863 Farmer (Nancy's marriage, Broughshane);
1865 Farmer (Crawford's marriage, Port Glasgow);
1866 Margaret's marriage (Port Glasgow);
1879 William still in Ballycloghan (Rent Revision Book);
1889 Death recorded on son William's death record.

It may never be possible to find exact dates for William's birth and death, or indeed his marriage, unless further information is found. From the above evidence he must have died between 1879 and 1889, between the ages of 70 (if born in 1809) and 91 (if born in 1798).

Thursday, 1 December 2011

Plot 21

Plot 21, Ballycloghan

On 25 October in this blog I 'revisited' Griffith's Valuation for the townland of Ballycloghan in the parish of Skerry. I showed a map of Plot 21 in its townland setting and referred to Estate Revision Rent Books. I thought it would be of interest to show a larger scale of the Plot, hence the map above, and to show the detail of what I found in the Revision Books. The list of occupants on Plot 21 were as follows for April 1877-79:

21a Occupier: John Glynn; Immed. Lessor: E(lizabeth) McI.H.Fulton;
House off land. area of land: 59 acres, 3 roods, 35 perches;
Land rent: £35.10.0; Buildings £4.0.0; Total: £39.10.0.;
The other five names listed had no land, simply buildings (house) rent:
21b. Saml. Aungish. Lessor: John Glynn. Rent 15.0 (shillings);
21c. John McElhagan, Lessor: John Glynn. Rent 10.0
21d. Wm. McElhagan, Lessor: E.McI.H.Fulton. Rent 15.0
21e. Jas. McErland. Lessor: John Glynn. Rent 10.0
21f. Edward Mooney. Lessor: John Glynn. Rent 15.0

When I first saw this list I imagined a row of six cottages or perhaps a farmhouse plus a row of five, but when later I found the map on the internet it became clear that the houses are grouped in a 'random' way, no doubt determined by the lie of the land. John Glynn who lived in the main house (at least the house with the land) was also the Lessor for four of the cottages. Cottages one three and five are clearly larger than two and four. William McElhagan (=McIlhagga) lived in number three, paying 15/- rent. John McElhagan (=McIlhagga) was living 'next door' in number two, paying 10/-. In my earlier blog I raised the question whether they were father and son, or brothers. If they were brothers, and both sons of William McIlhagga and Agnes McCosh, they would have been 48 and 47 respectively. If they were father and son, as I believe, then in 1879 they would have been respectively 72 and 47.

Incidentally there were two nearby plots in the name of William Crawford, after whom William and Agnes's third son Crawford may have been named. I know no other possibility for this unusual first name. There was also a Joseph McCosh, possibly a nephew of Agnes. The other surnames of people occupying houses in this Plot 21 'hamlet' do not relate to the McIlhagga clan as far as I know. About ten minutes walk from these cottages there was a National School called Braiduile or Braidujle, exempt from paying rent, which not only means that the landlord, Lord Masserene, was 'community minded', but that all Ballycloghan children of that time had a basic education. Sadly no Braiduile School Records seem to have survived.

The Revision Books tell us what happened to these cottages. In 1897-8 the main house was still occupied by John Glynn. However, by 1905 David McCosh was in residence. The name of William McElhagan had disappeared by 1897. John McElhagan appears to have moved into one of the larger cottages as he is paying the higher rent in 1897, though in the subsequent three years he is replaced by John Glynn (1898), John Gavit (1899) and then David McCosh (1900). The final revision books of 1916 contain no clan names. By 1913 the two cottages originally occupied by William and John were in ruins. The main house was still occupied up to 1923. The National School site was 'vacant' and all the cottages had gone. So it looks as if William McElhagan died between 1879 and 1897, and John in 1897. In fact we know that John died in 1895 and that on his death record is says his father William was also deceased.