Wednesday, 29 August 2012



A couple of years ago I found a 17th Century Will which at first I thought might be for a man with a version of our clan name, Farquhar McIntagairt, from Inverness in 1667. Subsequently considerable doubt was thrown on this possibility from an etymological viewpoint when I found out a little more about the Gaelic make up of the name, and I wrote a fairly extensive blog about this on 13 Jan 2011. However, I am including now, for completion, references to the document collections I have found recently which include the name or variations of it, first from Dunbarton - Writs of Munro of Foulis, 1299 - 1711 where in 1566 one Patrick Mcintagirt was a witness; second from Marriage Books in both the Midlothian: Edinburgh - Commissariot of Argyll, Register of Inventories, 1693-1702, and in Inverness: Commissariot Record of Inverness, 1630 - 1801.

The record from Inverness is that which includes a reference to the Will I found earlier with the date which I presume to be the probate date of 17 June 1667, in Fanellan, with the information that Farquhar married Katherine nein Alister vic Ean Vore (Katherine daughter of Alister son of Ean ?). There are four records from Argyll, all a generation later, so one is tempted to think they concern the offspring of Farquhar and Katherine, except that there are three Johns who died in different years. Maybe two of them were offspring and maybe all are related. For the record they are:

M'Intagart (M'Intagert, M'Intagirt), Hugh, in Tountaynish. See M'Ilvernock, Effie.

M'Intagart (M'Intagert, M'Intagirt) John, in Crosshill. See Mairtain, Marie.
Mairtaine, Marie, spouse to John M'Intagirt in Crosshill, par.(ish) of Kilkeran, d. Jan 1694; Malcolm and John, children 04 May 1694.

M'Intagart (M'Intagert, M'Intagirt) Mary, spouse to John M'Cleran in Cove, d. May 1693 11 Jul 1693.
M'laurine (M'Claurine, M'Cleran, M'Laurin, M'Claurine) John, in Cove. See M'Intagirt, Mary.

M'Intagart (M'Intagert, M'Intagirt) John, in Auchadachein, par.(ish) of Kilfinan, d. Dec 1701 01 Dec 1701.

M'Intagart (M'Intagert, M'Intagirt) John, in Auchadalverrie, par.(ish) of Kilfinnan, d. Mar 1698; Christian N'Keich, relict; Archibald, son 07 Feb 1699.

Together with Christian (or Christine) there is the beautiful silhouette portrait which I have reproduced above. From 100 years before Farquhar comes the extracted Parish Record from the Writs of Munro of Foulis, subtitled Hic dies eorum obitis et non sepulturae annotator. The text reads:

80. 02 Oct 1566. Notarial Instrument under the hand of James Buchart, clerk, of the diocese of Brechin, narrating that in presence of him the witnesses underwritten, compeared Robert Munro of Fowlis and discharged John Munro and Farquhar Munro, his brother, portioners of the feu-lands and town of Kilterne, with the mylne zair and fishing thereof, of 14 barrels of salmon owing by them to said Robert Munro for the fishing of said zair for the years 1564 and 1565, for which discharge said John Munro and Farquhar Munro resigned said fishing in favour of said Robert Munro, without prejudice to said town lands and mylne of Kilterne together with ale-house. Witnesses, Paul Munro Robertson, Patrick Mcintagirt, Alexander Mcawne moir, Hector Munro Johnesoun, and sir Alexander Moresoun. (NB. the title sir indicates an ordained priest).

The above extracts can be found on, and each has the footnote that the copyright 2012 is with The Generations Network, Inc.

Monday, 27 August 2012

Alberta Obituary

On 23 January 2010 I wrote about 'Three Military Men', the first of whom was Robert, known as "Ross" McIlhagga born about 1933, who died 3 October 2001 in British Columbia, Canada. I had to admit that I did not know to which Clan family tree he belonged. Then in June last year I reported the death of John Owns ("Jack") McIlhagga, the eldest son of Joseph McKee McIlhagga and Catherine Ross, and I mentioned (from information in the obituary) that he had been predeceased by his two brother Ross and Alan. At the time I did not make the connection to my earlier blog, but must do so now, for I have received a further obituary notice from May this year of the widow of Ross McIlhagga. She (and they) must surely fit our family trees at this point. The obituary notice was from the Vermilion Standard, Alberta newspaper, printed on Wednesday May 16, which reads as follows:

Marnie McIlhagga (nee Antos) of Vegreville passed away at the age of 80 years. Marnie is survived by three daughters, Lynda (Larry) Baddock, Susan (Randy) Cannon and Sharon McIlhagga; eleven grandchildren, two great grandchildren, one brother Ted (Irene) Walden, and one sister Eleanor James. She was predeceased by her husband Ross.

Thursday, 23 August 2012

A tenancy for Archibald

On 15 August I reported that in 1898 the name of John W. McElhagga had been crossed out from plots 28a and 29 in Maxwell's Walls, in Book D of the Griffrith's Valuation Continuation Volumes. I did not then say that the name inserted was that of Archibald McElhagga which in its turn was then crossed out in 1902 and that of Agnes inserted. The Immediate Lessor column had the note 'In fee'. The size of the plot was Acres 27, Roods 0, Perches 5, for which was being paid in 1909 the sums of £12.5.0. for land and £1.10.0 for property, a total of £13.15.0. Also against the plot 29b in 1902 the name of Mary McMullen was deleted as was Archibald McElhagga as the Immediate Lessor (it had been John W. McElhagga before Archibald). The name of Agnes McElhagga remained against plots 28a and 29 until 1922 when it was deleted and the name of Robert Scott inserted.

Who was Archibald and who was Agnes? This was certainly Archibald the fifth son of William and Margaret McIlhaggo, who was born about 1853. He died on 10 April 1898 at the young age of 45. Agnes (nee Jamieson) was his wife. They had married on 8 June 1885 in Wellington Street Presbyterian Church, Ballymena. She was born on 26 April 1865. Clearly she continued farming until 1922 when she retired to live to the grand age of 90 years, dying in 1956.

This blog completes all the references I found in PRONI to the Griffith's Valuation Continuation Books relating to the parish of Connor.

Wednesday, 22 August 2012

A tenancy for Samuel

There is one more name which appears in the 1862 Griffith's Valuation in Connor Parish. Like Francis he is in the townland of Ballymuckvea and he is Samuel McIlhaggert. His landlord was a representative of Samuel Densmore. The plot he was living on is in the Ballymena Union, Kells Electoral Division and is listed in Book A of the Continuation Volumes as number 17c. This number probably indicates that it is one of a row of cottages. The plot is very small, Acres 0, Roods 0, Perches 12, defined as a house and garden, for which Samuel paid 5/- for the land and 15/- for the house, a total of £1 per annum. However Samuel's name was deleted in 1864, so he had it for only two years from the time of the original valuation.

Who was this Samuel? Of all the Samuels I have on record there are I think two possibilities, though one first thought both rather remote. One is a man born within the Connor Parish family. The other is a man who would have moved in from Carnmoney. For reasons I will explain, I favour the 'incomer'. The 'local' boy isn't actually in Connor or indeed in Ireland. His grandparents were Henry McIlhaggo and Mary McDowell and his father was William Gage McIlhaggo. However William migrated to Rutherglen in Scotland where Samuel was born in 1844/5. We know this family were there in 1861 when Samuel is in the Census for Rutherglen, aged 16. The question is, would this teenager have 'moved back' to the parish of Connor within a year and have become a tenant of a cottage in Ballymuckvea? Admittedly his grandparents may still have been in the parish, so it is possible but I think unlikely. It looks as if by the age of 19 or 20 he was married to Jane Easton and living in Rutherglen where the following year, on 2 Jan 1865 they had their first child, also Samuel. It seems to me that he had been in Rutherglen all along.

The second possibility is that Samuel born into the Carnmoney family on 30 July 1842, about whom, at the present, we know very little, except that he was baptised in Carnmoney on 27 November 1842, is a candidate. He was the son of Nathan McIlhaggar and Ellen Wilson. In our records the surname of this family is spelled as McIlhaggar and McIlhaggart and this accords with the Griffith's Valuation spelling of McIlhaggert. This may seem a slender basis for preferring Samuel of Carnmoney over Samuel of Rutherglen, but the fact that he stayed only two years I think supports my preference, as does the fact that he would have been a bit older than the so-called 'local lad'. He would have been 20 to 22 while he lived in Ballymuckvea, at least a year older than Samuel from Rutherglen.

Tuesday, 21 August 2012

A shared tenancy in Castlegore

In the Parish of Connor the townlands of Maxwell's Walls and Castlegore  share a boundary and adjacent to McIlhagga lands in Maxwell's Walls was the farm of Francis Gardiner in Castlegore. In the Castlegore section of the Connor Valuation Continuation Book A, at Map 36 we find that in January 1866, to the name of Francis Gardiner there was added the name of Nathaniel McElhagga. It appears to indicate that they have equal shares. The name of the Immediate Lessor is 'Same'. Perhaps Francis was 'getting on' and needed a younger man to share the work, or perhaps it was a case of giving an opportunity to a younger man. The house(s), offices and land were quite large at Acres 61, Rood 1, Perches 5 (which had been slightly altered in 1864 to A61, R0, P10 when the rent on the land of £22.10.0 becomes £24 plus buildings £1). In 1865 Francis and Nathaniel appear to be paying £12.10.0 each.

I blogged about this situation on 10 October 2010, but on that occasion did not address the question of who Nathaniel was. There is really only one candidate. William and Margaret McIlhaggo's second son was Nathaniel Owens who we know chiefly because he had a very successful business career as an Oil Merchant. However, we now know that first, for ten years, he was a farmer in partnership with Francis Gardiner. We know the time period because in the Castlegore section of Book B, in 1876, against Map 36 we have the name of Nathaniel McIlhagga deleted and that of James Boyd inserted. This was at the same time as the name of Henry McIlhagga was deleted from Map 37, a small plot within plot 36, and James Boyd also inserted. The name of Nathl. McIlhagga was also deleted as the Immediate Lessor. James Boyd was the husband of Nathaniel's younger sister Jane. She and James had been married four years before in 1872. They were still in Castlegore in 1901.

Monday, 20 August 2012

Rockhampton to Melbourne

25 Jan 1947

Rockhampton is on the coast of Queensland, Australia, near Bundaberg where part of the McIlhagger family lived. Ernest Frederick George was one of the sons of George and Annie Elizabeth McIlhagger. George had emigrated from Belfast in 1883 with his parents. Ernest was born in 1911 and probably attended one of the several Churches of Christ churches in the area. There are today one in Bundaberg and two in Rockhampton. 'EFG' was to become a minister of that Denomination and to serve in the State of Victoria. In 1942 he married Margaret Coventry who I imagine was from Melbourne where they married and where 'EFG' did part of his training. Perhaps they went north to Queensland after their marriage for, according to the above newspaper cutting from the local Rockhampton paper, 'Mrs. McIlhagger' (I am presuming she was 'EFG's wife!) had for a time before 1947 been President of the Ladies' Guild of Rockhampton Church of Christ congregation. I assume that 'EFG' was the minister at the time. However, early in 1947 it was a move south again for them, apparently to Melbourne and this event was reported in the local Rockhampton newspaper on the 25th of January of that year. The report, as you can see, is entirely about 'Mrs. McIlhagger' with no mention of her husband. I hope I have got the sequence of events right. If not, I suspect someone will let me know.

Sunday, 19 August 2012

Two Weaver tenancies

Before considering any further references in the Valuation Books for Connor, I think I should look for any references to the other clan member who appears in the 1835 Tithe Book for Connor, namely James McIlhaggo, and also the other man who, given his probable dates, may well be another brother in this family, Francis McIlhaggo. Both James and Frances were Weavers by trade. James married the 'other' daughter of Francis Gardiner. Mary Anne, and had five children. Francis married Nancy Fletcher and also had five children. Neither were in the original Connor Griffith's Valuation but both appeared in the Continuation books of the Ballymena Union, Kells Electoral Division.  

In Book A under the townland of Slaght we find James McHaggar, at Map 12f renting a house for 15/-. He appears also in Continuation Book B with the same map reference where his name is deleted and that of his wife Mary Anne McIlhaggar inserted as the house resident, still paying 15/-. We may therefore assume that James died in 1890. In Book C, dated 1901, with the same map reference, Mary Anne McIlhaggar's name is deleted from the house, with the note 'Kennedy got h. by exchange'. this  could imply that someone called Kennedy and Mary Anne swapped houses, though there is no sign in these Books of her occupying another house. Clearly we can draw no conclusion from this that Mary Anne had died.

This brings us to Francis who is not in the 1835 Tithe Book. He is however to be found in the 1862 Griffith's Valuation for the nearby townland of Ballymuckvea, which, like Slaght is in the Parish of Connor but is found under the Kells Electoral Division. Francis' landlord is named, Alexander Brownlee, who in 1865 had married Nancy Betty, a daughter of William and Margaret McIlhagga. This was one of six houses on the same plot of land. Alexander and Nancy Betty lived in another of the houses. This plot has map reference B, with house Bb being occupied by Francis and Nancy. He was paying 15/- per annum for the house. In Bc was Elizabeth Francey, presumably related to Thomas Francey who married Jane(t), one of the daughters of Francis and Nancy McIlhaggo.

When we move to Book B we find Francis McElhagga's name deleted from the Ballymuckvea house and the name of James Cooper inserted. This presumably gives us the death year for Francis of 1889 when he would have been about 80 years old. As there is no reference to his wife Nancy continuing to live there, we may presume that she predeceased him. In that family Francis' name continued through his grandson born to his son William, in Paisley, Scotland in 1882.

Saturday, 18 August 2012

Two Henry tenancies?

There are possibly no fewer than five generations of clan Henrys in the townland of Maxwell's Walls between 1755 and 1899. Which of the five are referred to in the Griffith's Valuations? We can discount the first and the last. The last was Henry born to Henry and Agnes (nee Gardiner) 3 Feb 1870. By age 11 he was in New Monkland, Scotland with his parents and siblings and was to died age 28 in 1899. The first 'Henry' I have simply given this name as the father of the four 'brothers' (my assumption) who are in the 1837 Tithe Applotment Book. I have used the name in accord with the Scottish/Irish naming pattern. He could have been born about 1755. This leaves three Henrys which in my attempt to reconstruct a Maxwell's Walls Family Tree I have thought might be as follows:

1. Henry McIlhaggo, born about 1870 who married Mary McDowell and who made a Relief Application as a Farmer in Maxwell's Walls. They had four offspring, including:

2. Henry or Harry McIlhaggo/McIlhagga (see Marriage entry for son John in 1859) Farmer. If this was Henry McIlhaggo in the Tithe Book of 1835 he would have been about 35 years of age at that time. He married (whom we do not know) and had two sons, the eldest of whom was:

3. Henry born about 1821 (date from the1881 Scottish Census) who emigrated to Scotland. In 1855 he was a farmer in County Antrim. In 1857 he married Agnes Gardiner in Antrim's Registrar's Office. He was certainly in Scotland permanently with his family by 1881 working in a brickworks.

There is I think an outside possibility that Henrys 1 and 2 might be one person. In any case I think that Henry 3 is the one who had plot 30 in Maxwell's Walls in the 1862 Griffith's Valuation and was still there in 1863 (Book A) and in 1876 (Book B) but not in 1886 (Book C) when his name was still against the plot 30 but prefixed by 'Rep.', indicating someone acting as his representative. This would be necessary because he was by then in Scotland, though why he was hanging on to the tenancy I don't know. Maybe he was sub-letting it as an 'insurance policy' if Scotland didn't 'work out'.

If we now turn to the Valuation Continuation Books, there are three. In Book A a Henry McElhagga continues (from the original Griffith's Valuation of 1862) on Plot 30, Acres 2, Roods 1, Perches 20 for which he was paying £4.10.0 (land) plus £1.5.0 (buildings), a total of £5.15.0. From the above it seems that this was Henry born c. 1821. There is also a Henry McElhagga on Plot 37 with a small area, A2, R1, P5 with a house for which he was paying £1.5.0 (land) plus 10/- (house), a total of £1.15.0. Plots 30 and 37 have separate houses which rather indicates an older person, perhaps semi-retired, which could be Henry's father, also Henry on plot 37.

There is however a different scenario which I have put forward in a previous blog (10 Aug 2010) that plot 37, which is in fact just over the Maxwell's Walls/Gastlegore boundary, was rented from Francis Gardiner, Henry's father-in-law, in the middle of whose farm it is. It would have been natural for him to rent it to his daughter and son-in-law, though equally I think as a favour to them, to his daughter's new father-in-law! In the light of the 'Rep' note, which is new information since I wrote in 2010, I now  hold to my new theory.

In the following Book (B) a Henry continues on plot 30 but there is a change on plot 37. Henry is deleted from there and James Boyd inserted. As I have pointed out plot 37 is within a Castlegore plot (36) where in 1876 James Boyd has taken over and clearly wants both plots to work as one. There is however yet another plot to consider. In 1880 a Henry McElhagga takes over plot 47 from William Christie who in 1864 had taken it over from John McElhagga. Which Henry was he? Surely the likelihood is that he was 'father' Henry, who was swapping plot 37 for plot 47, the Henry who goes back to the 1837 tithes. In 1880 Henry's plot 47 was A14, R2, P20, for which he paid Land £7.5.0, buildings £1.10.0, total £8.15.0. Incidentally, James Boyd had married Jane, one of the daughters of William McIlhagga, in 1872.

What of Book C? Both plots 30 and 47 are there and similar entries apply. From plot 30 the name Henry McElhagga (who had a 'Rep' from 1886) was crossed out in 1889 and John Warwick Senior inserted. He was the father of John Warwick Junior who in 1847 had married Rose the daughter of John McIlhaggo. Also the name Henry McElhagga was deleted from plot 47 and John Warwick Senior's name also inserted there. In 1890 this became John Warwick Junior. We can make no deductions from Book C about whether this was the same or different Henrys. We must however I think assume that our arguments up to now have been correct which makes it look as if both Henry (married to Agnes Gardiner) and his father Henry were deleted in the same year, so that both must have died in the same year, 1889. Henry senior would have been the grand age of (about) 89.

These deductions leave us without a death date for 'grandfather' Henry who had married Mary McDowell, and in my mind raises again the question of whether he (Henry 1 above) and his 'son' (Henry 2 above) where in fact the same person. I must give more  thought to this.

Friday, 17 August 2012

William's tenancy

William McElhagga in Maxwell's Walls

John (Junior) farmed plots 26 & 27 in Maxwell's Walls. His near neighbour with plots 28 & 29 was his uncle William, his father Henry's (probably younger) brother. He too was in the Tithe Applotment Book for 1837. It was William who we think had a large family of nine, six boys and three girls, two of whom we have already met in the Griffith's Valuation Continuation Books for Connor, namely George and John W(ilson).

William was farming on plot 28: Acre 1, Rood 1, Perches 35, for a rent of 15/- (land) and £1.10.0 (buildings); and on plot 29: A25, R2, P10 for a rent of £11.10.0 (land). Clearly with buildings only on plot 28, he must have lived in the house there - see the map above. His total area was A27, R0, P5 for an annual rent of £13.15.0. In March 1863 the name of William McElhagga was crossed out and that of Margaret McElhagga inserted. I have assumed for some time that as their third daughter was Margaret, in 'naming pattern' style, so his wife's name must have been Margaret, her full Maiden name (from that given to their second son Nathaniel Owens) being Margaret Owens. By the same token it is possible that Margaret's mother was Nancy Betty and that William's mother was Jane, though 'Jane' isn't necessarily supported by the naming pattern of the children of William's 'siblings'. At least we can now be certain that William's wife was Margaret! 

As I pointed out when writing about 'John W.', in Book B of the Continuation volumes, under 'Maps 28 and 29', in 1880 the name of Margaret McElhagga was crossed out and that of John W. McElhagga inserted, with House, Offices and Land, a total of A27, R0, P5, for a rent of £12.5.0 for the land and £1.10.0 for the buildings, a total of £13.15.0. Likewise under map 29a in 1880 the name of Mary McMullen appears with the name of Margaret McElhagga as the Immediate Lessor delelted and John W. McElhagga inserted. Clearly Margaret had sub-let to Mary, a sub-letting that John took over. From the above we may assume that Margaret died in 1880.

Thursday, 16 August 2012

Two more John tenants

In the 1835 Tithe Applotment Book for Connor there is one John McIlhaggo. In fact he is the only John in all the Applotment Books for the county of Antrim. By the time the Griffith's Valuation was recorded in Connor in 1862, a generation later, in addition to a John in Ballycloghan and a John in Killygore, there were certainly two and possibly three John's in Connor. In addition to 'John W.' about whom I wrote last time, there was John McElhagga in map reference 26 and John McElhagga in map reference 27 and finally John McElhaggan in map reference 47a. He is referred to as John, Senior, the implication being that there were two Johns of different generations, one occupying plot 47a and the other (Junior, though not called that) having the adjacent plots of 26 and 27.

The first Valuation Continuation book for Connor clearly has John (Junior) continuing on his land rented from Viscount Massereene and Ferrard, of a total area of A27, R0, P10 for which he was paying an annual rent of £8.10.0 plus £1.10.0 for buildings, a total of £10. However in May 1864 John McElhagga (Senior)'s name is crossed out from Map 47a (a slightly smaller site of A14, R2, P20, rent total £8.15.0) and the name of William Christie inserted. Interestingly William Christie had married John (Senior)'s daughter Mary in Connor Presbyterian Church in 1859. The assumption we must make is that shortly before May 1864 John (Senior) died. The fact that the land was 'inherited' by a son-in-law rather than a son indicates that John and his wife had only female offspring, which I believe to be the case.

Until seeing the Continuation Books it had been tempting to think that John Junior was either a son of John Senior or was the John W. who was the son of John Senior's sibling William. However, the positive identification of John W(ilson) as the son of William clearly changes the picture. It looks to me now that John (Junior) was probably the son of John (Senior)'s sibling Henry. This is a very satisfying conclusion as up to this point I have had no information about where this John and his wife Mary Houston farmed in Maxwells Walls.

We can further note from the later Valuation Continuation Books that John McElhagga (Junior) continued with tenancies on plots 26 and 27 until 1882 when his name is crossed out and that of William Owens inserted. Clearly the McIlhaggas and the Owens who intermarried continued to be closely related as farmers in the Maxwell's Walls townland of Connor parish. There is a most interesting addendum to this transfer of the tenancy. A correspondent in Sydney, Australia posted information on this blog on 11 Dec 2010 to say that she had downloaded a Will fro PRONI for Patrick Owens who died on 28 May 1886. In addition to reference to his farm at Castlegore, Patrick also included the following, "I also leave and bequeath all my farm in Maxwellswalls known as John McIlhaggo's farm to my son John Owens...". Presumably the tenancy taken up by William Owens in 1882 had passed into the hands of Patrick Owens before 1886.

Wednesday, 15 August 2012

A Tenancy for John W.

When I was at PRONI in June the first name I looked at in the Griffith Valuation Continuation Books for Connor was George, who was a son of William McIlhagga of Maxwell's Walls (see my Blog on 11 Aug). The next name I came to was John with three references in Book A (1863-9), two references in Book B (1870-1880), two in Book C (1881-1890) and one in Book D (1890-1902). I start with one of the references in Book B as the easiest to identify. Against the plots of land in Connor at Maps 28a and 29 we have a reference to Margaret McElhagga being crossed out and John W. McElhagga inserted in 1880. He took over a house, offices and land, of total area A27, R0, P5, and paid an annual rent of £12.5.0 for the land and £1.10.0 for the buildings, a total of £13.15.0.

In Book C he continued with this holding as he does as Immediate Lessor for 29a, a house in which Mary McMullen was living for 15/- per annum. I have no idea whether Mary was related in any way to John W. though it is an intriguing question as is appears that he remained unmarried throughout his life. In Book D, against Maps 28a and 29 John W. McElhagga is crossed out in 1898, the year in which, or by which, we might assume that John died. In fact we know from another source that he died on 11 April 1896. Maybe someone continued to live in the house for another two years until a transfer took place.

So who was John W.? Undoubtedly he was, like George, one of the sons of William and Margaret, John Wilson McIlhagga who was probably born about 1840, though we don't have a precise date of birth. It appears that he died in his late 50s, probably unmarried. He left a Will in which he named his brother Archibald, as tenant-in-common, which of course gives us the reason why there was a gap between John's death and the hand over of the tenancy. I'll look at the other two Johns in Book A next time.

Tuesday, 14 August 2012

Irish Hearth Tax again

If you count up the number of time in this blog I have mentioned the Hearth Tax you will know that the three clan males who are mentioned in the Irish Roll of 1669 are rarely out of my mind! These are the earliest people we have in any kind of Census or Census substitute. We all know that the 17th Century was when families migrated from the west of Scotland to Ulster, so it is a reasonable assumption that all three moved across the North Channel together and that all were related, though one discouraging fact is that despite two of them being named Alex and Allexander, there are no known Alexanders in the West of Scotland family based at Kirkmichael.

I first wrote about them on 13 April 2009 when I assumed that despite two spellings of the surname they must have been from one nuclear family. This of course need not be true. Start with the one who was James McIlhaga. There appears to be one relevant James born in 17th Century Kirkmichael. He was James son of Thomas McIlhagow baptised at Kirkmichael on 30 May 1653. As I have pointed out before, if he were the James who turned up at Cogry in 1669 he would only have been 16, which is another discouraging factor. How could he have been old enough to own a property on which a Hearth Tax had to be paid? So what about a slightly oblique approach?

We know that Thomas (father of James 1653) had two siblings, David and Agnes. David incidentally also had a son James who died as an infant, which makes me think that James at least was a name inherited down the family. In David's case his son James was the third son, so named probably after an uncle (who would have been another sibling of Thomas). We only know of the one son (James 1653) born to Thomas, but as he is not named for his grandfather (who was another Thomas), it is likely that he wasn't a first son either.

As I've said before, it seems likely that Allexander McIlhago and Alex McIlhago were father and son, the father possibly taking us back a further generation, making Alex not a brother but a cousin of James who paid the Hearth Tax, and thus giving us a reasonable explanation for the two spellings of the surname, McIlhaga and McIlhago. This would make Allexander a sibling of Thomas the grandfather of James (1653), and since I have attempted a reconstruction of the Ayrshire Family Tree I have realised that there is one male sibling who certainly existed, but whose name we do not know. He could have been Allexander.

If this revised scenario is reasonable, then Alex like James would have been about 40 years old and Allexander would have been in his early 60s, all reasonable ages for owning properties which demanded that they paid the Hearth Tax in Cogry in County Antrim in 1669.

Saturday, 11 August 2012

A House for George

When I was in PRONI in June, after I had searched fiches for births, marriages and burials, I turned my attention to the Valuation Continuation Books which follow those of the original Griffith's Valuation of 1862/3. First I searched those for the parish of Connor (entitled 'General Valuation of Ireland, Union of Antrim, Electoral Division of Connor, Townland of Maxwell's Walls'). The first reference I found was to George McIlhaga (sic) in January 1866. This concerned a House and Small Garden on Map 4Ad where the name of John Elliott had been crossed out and George's name inserted. Under Immediate Lessor 'same' (ie Elliott) had been crossed out and Wm. Montgomery (the occupier of 4Aa) inserted. The size of the plot was Acre 0; Rood 1; Pole or Perch 0. [Acre = 4840 square yards; Rood = 1/4 of an acre; Pole or Perch = 30 and 1/4 square yards).

Who was George? I believe he must have been the third son of William McIlhagga of Maxwell's Walls, a farmer. Until 1866 George had probably been living at home. William was also in the Griffiths Valuation (Maps 28 & 29). William's first son was Henry (possibly named after William's father) born about 1833; his second son was Nathaniel Owens (possibly named after his wife's father) born May 1834. George appears to have been born about 1841 (see my blog of 7 Aug 2010 and the Belfast City Council Burial Records). He was to marry Eliza(beth) Ann(e) Robinson in Raloo Presbyterian Church, Larne on 20 March 1866 and clearly he needed a house in which to set up home with her.

He must have applied to the agent of the Land Owner, who was probably Lord Massereene who would have advised him that this particular house and garden on a plot of about a quarter of an acre was becoming available. George was not to become a farmer like his father, but a merchant like his older brother Nathaniel. We know how long he and Eliza occupied the house, for there is a further entry in the Valuation Continuation Books for Connor. In 1870 the name of George McIlhagga (sic) of plot 4Ad is crossed out and that of Charles Manson inserted. During the period 1866 to 1870 George and Eliza had their first child, Margaret Jane in 1868. Their first son William Hugh was born in June 1870 and it was perhaps to accommodate a growing family that they moved house in that year. From 1866 they paid the Rateable Value on the land of 5/- and on the house of £2 per year.

Tuesday, 7 August 2012

Three US Censuses

Two US State Censuses have been published on FamilySearch and one Federal one on First we have the 1915 New York State Census, where we have one name, Katherine McIlhagga, born 1889. Residence: Buffalo, Ward 25, Erie, New York, US. This could well be Catherine McCulloch McIlhagga, born 17 May 1888. I have a record of her sailing to New York in 1916 but she could have been there a year earlier. Many Census returns were written by an enumerator, who maybe did not think to ask 'Is you name spelled with a 'K' or a 'C'. Or perhaps he was concentrating on getting 'McIlhagga' right! In the 1925 New York State Census, in the same area, we have James McIlhaggs (surely a mistranscription for McIlhagga), born 1898 and Genie McIlhaggs, born 1898, both also at Buffalo. James would have been Catherine's brother. Genie had to have been his wife Jean. Is your name spelled with a 'G' or a 'J'? No mention of course of their son James as he wasn't born until the following year.

The 1940 US Federal Census is available free on I searched for 'McIlhag*' and received six results. There is a 'short order' result giving you the basic facts, then you can click on the Population Schedule which gives quite a lot of extra information, as follows:

Nathaniel McIlhagga lived at 5515 S.W. Corbett Street. He owned the house he lived in (value indistinct, but I think $2880). He was Head of household, male, white, age 31, married. Attended School Grade C-4, born Ireland. Where resident in 1935? Same place. At Private Work? Yes. Hours worked during week 24-30 March 1940? 40, in the Engineering Department of a Telephone Company; Class: Private Worker; Weeks worked (presumably during the past year) 52; Income $1600. Other Income? None. Marjorie McIlhagga, wife, age 25, School grade C-2, born Oregon; 1935 - same place; no paid work; works in House. In addition to the above information one can view a map showing they lived in Multnomah Village and near Gabriel Park. A 'bird's eye view' show it to be a leafy suburb.

In addition to Nathaniel and Marjorie there is a second family whose surname is transcibed (bizarrely) McIlhagpa! However I have to say that the original script looks like McIlhagga, so, James McIlhagga was 41, born about 1899 in Scotland, living at 114 Woodside, Buffalo, Erie, New York. He lived in the same place in 1935 and was Naturalized. His education standard was H-3 and he was in Private Work, 32 hours as a Switchman in a Steel Mill. He had worked 40 weeks for an income of $1200. He rented his house for $25 a month. His wife, Jean, also 41, born in Scotland, also had an Educational standard of H-3, but with no paid work. They had two sons, James Junior age 14 and William age 3, both born in Buffalo. James was in Grade 8 at School. The map shows them living on the edge of Lake Erie in a very built-up area, but near the Waterfront.

Sunday, 5 August 2012

Two bits

1. In the Brigham Young University, Banyan Yearbook (Provo, UT) page 422, the Class of 1961 is listed Joseph Alan McIlhagga. I would be very interested to know who Joseph Alan was or is. We have very few Josephs and practically no Alans!

2. The Irish Emerald Ancestors website has added BMDs from the 3rd Presbyterian Church, Ballymena, 1829-1864. The names listed includes McIlhaga. However, when I searched for McIlhaga no names came up between 1829 and 1864. I emailed Emerald Ancestors who replied promptly. The explanation is that the spelling McIlhaga during that period applies only to the mothers of children born to Heaney, McDowell and Witherspoon families. Where the child's name is McIlhagga it is spelled with a double 'g', so I must presume that there were none between 1829 and 1864.

Friday, 3 August 2012

A Broad Brush across Antrim

The other day I made an A3 map of County Antrim and went out and bought 200 map pins. The pins were in six colours so I could easily pinpoint where the different clan families settled. There are four on or near the coast (not counting Belfast), Larne, Islandmagee (two) and Carnmoney. There are four in  inland rural areas, Templepatrick, Connor, Quarrytown and Newton Cromelin. (I am using the names on my contemporary OS map). There are four in the central town of Ballymena and there are six in the big city of Belfast. There were also three individuals in Ballymena who were probably part of the Quarrytown (= Ballycloghan) family and one individual from Ballymoney who was brought into a Ballymena family. Discounting any 'breakaways' who settled in Scotland, England or Belgium, there were also parts of these Antrim families who settled for a time in other parts of Ireland, namely Coleraine (County Derry), Dublin and Galway.

On a rough count, but not including women who 'married in', the numbers in the respective families are approximately as follows:

Islandmagee  10 + 7 (=17)
Larne             14
Carnmoney    21                (Total 52)

Templepatrick  5
Quarrytown    14
Newton Cromelin 12
Connor           139              (Total 270)

Ballymena (1) 38
Ballymena (2) 34
Ballymena (3) 71
Ballymena (4) 38                (Total 181)

Belfast (1)       59
Belfast (2)       12
Belfast (3)       17
Belfast (4)       32
Belfast (5)       11
Belfast (6)         6                 (Total 137)

                                            Grand Total  640.

Clearly the majority worked originally in agriculture (say 350). Most of the rest were in trades and a few became industrialists or academics. On a time-scale from 1650 - 2000 the first three families (Islandmagee, Larne and Carnmoney) died out quite early. Of the next group, Templepatrick, Quarrytown and Newtown Cromelin all emigrated (as did sections from the rest) leaving three large groupings in and around Connor, Ballymena and Belfast.

I realise that this is a very generalised picture of our clan distribution and there are a number of places I haven't mentioned which feature in the above families, like Loughguile, Craigs, Ballyclare, Doagh, Lisburn, &c. Maybe I'll get around to taking a closer look at these eighteen clan families who settled in County Antrim and in particular at any movement from one place to another, which in turn may indicate links between families that we have yet to discover, to prove, as we said yesterday, that 'all are related'!

Wednesday, 1 August 2012

All Related!

I had a nice e-mail last evening from a regular reader of this blog in Canada. It was simply recalling her mother in Ballymena saying how all the McIlhagga families in Northern Ireland are connected, though as we know many of the links are not documented. I'm sure there must be many small bits of knowledge 'out there' which could be clues to such links. We don't realise that they are important facts, but however small, they might be. Last evening's e-mail contained several things I didn't know - the birth of a baby who died at birth, where that baby was born, the name by which someone is normally known and the date of birth of a lady who will be 100 on the 22nd of this month! So I'm breaking my rule of not referring to people who are alive. Congratulations to Lily McIlhagga. And whoever you are, please write to me. As I have said before, even the smallest and apparently most insignificant thing may provide a way of linking up our different families.