Tuesday, 3 April 2012

Scotland-Ireland missing link?

On 7 November last I noted a reference in the Belfast Newsletter to William McIllhago in 1781. He appears in Ireland 'out of the blue'. Where has he come from? On 15 February I raised the question whether he had moved into Connor from Islandmagee? I now think this unlikely. Why? Because I have now asked myself whether there was another William with whom he could be identified. In filing a paper copy of the Newspaper report I have realised that he could be the William born on 9 January 1743 in Dalmellington, Ayrshire. One reason for this is that the spelling of the surname McIllhago is the same in the Belfast Newspaper and in the Ayrshire Old Parish Records, both in the Baptism Register, and indeed in the Marriage Register where his parents appear in 1740. His father was David McIllhago; his mother Elizabeth Dunbar.

I am aware that spelling variations were to be found frequently in the 18th Century, but surely it is significant to find the same very distinctive spelling in the same time frame? If William in Connor had been born in 1743 he would have been 38 in 1781, a man in his prime as a farmer making a new start in a new country. If this identification is correct, he had a sister Mary born in 1744. His father David was born in 1702 and his grandfather John in 1666, both in the village of Kirkmichael. John's father was another David, born 1634 and his grandfather Thomas, born 1610. That is as far back as we can go with absolute certainty, but I have postulated in another blog that Thomas' father was a Robert known to be in Tradidnell, Ayrshire in 1597, possibly son of Patrick, known in Kyle in 1533, possibly son of Michael, known in 1527 in the village of Colmonell. Michael could have been born in the 15th Century.

Have we now found a near certain link between Scotland and Ireland?

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