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.