Wednesday, 30 May 2012

From Sloop to Passenger Liner

I have put a comment on my blog for 6 November 2011 concerning the sloop 'Industry'. This blog is however about a quite different ship, 'The Aquitania'. I have records of ships' passenger lists and also records of Border Crossings from Canada to the United States for two people on the 'Aquitania' who appear to be connected, though I don't know how!

George McIlhagga, who was born in Northern Ireland about 1900 sailed on the PS Aquitania from Southampton, England, arriving at Halifax, Nova Scotia, on 26th February 1947. He crossed the border to St. Alban's, Vermont in the United States. Exactly a month later he returned to the United Kingdom, on the same ship, arriving at Southampton.

Why did he make these journeys? Was it to prove to himself, and to other family members, that the destination of St. Albans was suitable for 19 year old Elizabeth McIlhagga who was to arrive there on 10th April 1947, having also sailed from Southampton? Her birth date was estimated as 1928. Although she, like George, said that her nationality was Irish, she was born in Scotland. So was there a family relationship between George and Elizabeth?

Was Elizabeth George's daughter? The only birth record I have for a George in 1900 is for George Robinson McIlhagga who was indeed born in Northern Ireland to Samuel Robinson McIlhagga and Jane McNeice. However, I have no independent evidence that he ever went to America, though he did take out a US Patent for a Razor Blade! And I have no evidence that he had a daughter Elizabeth, or indeed any children, though he did marry Kathleen Trueick.

Nor do I know if any part of George's family went to live in Scotland. The only Elizabeth known to me to have been born in Scotland in 1928 was born in Bathgate, and I think she might have been the youngest daughter of James McIlhagga and Jean Walker Wallace. However, the birth date I have for her is 1936, some eight years different, though I have to say that is not from a reliable source. According to a nephew of this Elizabeth she did go to live in the States. She married Larry McKenna and lived in St. Louis. But I'm afraid I don't know of any George McIlhagga linked to this family. Perhaps a reader of this blog may have a clue which will solve this little mystery?

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