Thursday, 9 February 2012

McHaggart revisited

In May 2010 I wrote about a McHaggart family whose records are scattered from Ireland to the Scottish Highlands, to Canada and the USA, producing some dozen people on a Family Tree with a few other 'strays' who at the moment I'm not sure where to put. Now, finding an extra person (or two) on the 1871 Census for Greenock in 'findmypast' has set me thinking again.

The people central to this mini-tree are Donald McHaggart and his wife Christina McCorquindale. In the 1860s Donald was a Shepherd near Lochgilphead in Argyllshire where, according to the IGI on 21st January 1864 Bella was born. In all probability a year or so apart Edward was born, though we only know of an approximate birth year for him from a later death record of his daughter. And now I have discovered on the 1871 Census for 3 Cowgate Street, Middle Parish, Greenock, a Margaret McHaggart aged 2, so born 1869, also in Lochgilphead. This must be a second daughter for Donald and Christina, though we have no idea why she was to be found in Greenock in the care of Isabella Innis, Widow, aged 50, born apparently in Greenock in 1821.

We may assume that Isabella was a near relation, and she presumably gave her name to the first born, Bella. Donald and Christina, according to Bella's birth record in Aldhui, Glassary, Lochgilphead, were married on 31st March 1859 in Kilchoman District, Argyll. Although I can find no paper trail, this probably gives us a birth year for Donald of about 1838. Was Isabella Innis Donald's mother, and grandmother of Bella and Margaret whom she was looking after on Census night? It would fit the Scottish 'naming pattern'! But if so so must have been 17 when Donald was born. I can find no documentary proof of this, or indeed that she was the mother of Margaret McHaggart born in the previous year, in the July Quarter of 1837 in Preston, Lancashire, north west England. It is possible that this Margaret had given her name to Donald and Christina's second daughter.

If Isabella was Donald's mother, her 1871 Surname Innis was either her maiden name to which she had reverted as a widow or it was the name of a second husband. The third possibility of course is that her maiden name was McHaggart which she had given to Donald as a single mother, after which she had married an Innis. Although I can find no paper trail for any of these possibilities, the third seems most likely if in fact she had had two children as a teenager.

The other two people living at 3 Cowgate Street in 1871 were another Widow aged 46, born in Greenock in 1825, Margaret Mitchel, who was employed as a Washerwoman, and Mary Mitchel aged 9, born in 1862 in Greenock. Although it is tempting to think that these two widows might have been sisters, this need not have been so. Although I have not found a birth record for two year old Margaret, I think I may have found one for Mary born on 15th June 1862 in Greenock, the illegitimate daughter of a Mary Mitchell, fruiterer. Were Mary the fruiterer and Margaret the Washerwoman sisters? Who knows! But I think the balance of evidence is that Margaret Mitchel was not a relation of Donald and Christina McHaggart. In conclusion, we may note that Briget McHaggart whom I mentioned in my earlier blog on this family, born in 1827, could easily have been a sibling of Isabella, born in 1821.

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