Wednesday, 15 February 2012

Irish Time-Line

I have been convinced for a long time that our clan name was taken from Scotland to Ulster, and more specifically to County Antrim from Ayrshire. To say with any certainty by whom and when is more difficult. Hoping that it would suggest some links between people and places I have made a time-line of the little knowledge we have through the 17th and 18th Centuries in Ireland, which in date order shows the following:

Two or three men are listed on the Hearth Money Roll in the townland of Cog(g)ry, Doagh Grange, namely James McIlhaga and Allexander McIlhago twice, which may mean two Allexanders or one Allexander owning two properties. James is a name used in the Ayrshire family, but not Allexander though it is certainly a Scottish name. To be settled in properties they had surely been there a few years, perhaps since 1665 and must have been old enough to have sufficient money to own these properties. If, say, they were 35 years old, they would have been born about 1630. Did they marry and have children? It would be surprising if they did not.

Was Helen McHago who was born in Carnmoney really Helen McIlhago and was she the daughter or granddaughter of James or Allexander? She married James Millikin in 1713 so it is unlikely that Nathan McIlhaggar born in Carnmoney 45 Years later was Helen's descendant, but was he, or indeed the other mid 18th Century clan member, Samuel McIlhaggo, born in 1745 in Islandmagee, a descendant of James or Allexander? The name James was certainly continued in Islandmagee in about 1755.

Samuel McIlhaggo was born on Islandmagee between 1740 and 1750. We know a fair bit about him from the Will he wrote in 1818. It is possible that he was married to Jennet McIllhagoo who appears in Islandmagee in the Belfast Newsletter of October 1798. Many of the names in Samuel's Will are indecipherable so we don't find any other early Samuel, though we do find an early Nathaniel.

First, however, we have a Nathan or Nathaniel McIlhaggar born in Carnmoney who married Betty Burney there is 1783 and had probably five children, Nathan (1784), Jon (1785), George (1792), Agnes (1795) and Patrick (1799). Was this Nathan the same man who we find ending a lease on Islandmagee in 1770? This seems somewhat unlikely as he would have been only 28 and why would such a young man not be renewing his lease?

It was an advertisement in the Belfast Newsletter in 1770 which tells us that Nathaniel McIllhago's lease on a farm in the townland of Ballytober, Islandmagee, was coming to an end. He could have been the father of Samuel McIlhaggo, and maybe he had decided to move away from the 'island'. Is he to be identified with Nathan McIlhaggy who married Sarah and who turns up in Shankill, Belfast where in 1790 they had a daughter Margaret? Alternatively could he have been the father of Nathaniel above (b.1758) as well as Samuel (b. c.1745) and James (b. 1755) who started as a Mill bleacher in Larne before farming on Islandmagee?

James from Larne was the father of three boys, James Junior (1778) who farmed in Ballytober and may have married Margaret Mawhinney, Samuel (1780) who farmed in Port Muck and married Ellon McWhinney and William who also farmed in Ballytober.

If Coggrey, Carnmoney and Islandmagee were the first three places in Antrim to which clan members found their way, then the parish of Connor and specifically the townland of Maxwell's Walls was certainly the next. A family farmed there probably from the 1770s, the earliest of whom was William about whom we know because he was reported in a 1781 Belfast Newsletter for allowing a beef cow to stray in the parish of Connor. Did he, William, stray from Islandmagee? The father of a family of four or five brothers who were to continue to farm in Maxwell's Walls was likely William's son, Henry.

Were there any continuing links between the 'homeland' of Scotland and the new homes in Ulster? I have no firm evidence that there was. By the 18th Century the Ayrshire family had become seafarers and one remote possibility is that either of two men, both of whom had become sea captains, might have had some contact with their agricultural cousins. Captain James McIlhago certainly put in to a number of Irish ports in the years 1786 and 1787 for again his movements are documented in the shipping news of the Belfast Newsletter. Ten years later in 1897 Captain Robert McElhago was sailing into Drogheda harbour when he and all his crew were shipwrecked. They were buried in the Church of Ireland graveyard in that town.

1788 & 1798
There are two 'stray' clan members who may have migrated short distances, both possibly from one of the parishes mentioned above. In 1788 John McIlhago was born in the townland of Lisnacrogher only to emigrate in adult life much further afield, to Pennsylvania, USA, where he died at the age of 88. He had married Jenny McCarley who was born in Ireland in 1790. In 1798 William McIlhagar was born probably in the townland of Ballee where he farmed, as did his son James after him. Finally, as I noted in my blog of 2 November last, in 1798 Andrew McIlhagga from Island Magee probably took part in the 'Battle of Antrim' as one of the 'United Irishmen'. We know nothing more about him though speculate that he might have been a son of Samuel (1740-1818) who referred to him but whose name has been erased from the Will. Evidence from the Will gives us the names of two of Samuel's sons, Samuel and John, but not the third and this may have been Andrew.

I continue to research in the hope that further references will appear to the 17th and 18th Centuries and so fill out further the movement of clan members and the relationships between them.

1 comment:

  1. I have scanned several of your columns since spotting the name McCarley. Now I see there is another common factor. My husband's gr. gr. grandfather, William John MCCARLEY was born in 1822 in the townland of BALLEE, near Ballymena, Antrim. He emigrated to Canada ca. 1842 while several of his siblings settled in Boston ca. 1850-60, the latter changing their surname to Carley. Our McCarleys came to Antrim from Western Scotland, according to family lore, but I have no documentation pre-1790. Nancy Dulmage, Kemptville, ON, Canada