Wednesday, 12 September 2012

M'Ilhagar, McIlhaggar and M'Ilhaggar

Continuing from yesterday's blog, my next marriage registration is for William M'Ilhagar, married in 1875 in Belfast (Vol. 1, p. 451). I already have this record with the name McIlhagar. William called himself a Farmer from Ballygallough, son of William John, a Weaver. He married Mary McNeilly, also from Ballygallough, at Mountpottinger Presbyterian Church. However, again I cannot fit this family into a Tree.

There are two possible clues, the second of which might relate to my Skerry Reconstruction. First, there is a Matthew McNeilly who married Henrietta W. McIlhagga in 1913, daughter of William John. The 'W' may stand for Wilson and indicate a relationship to Henrietta Wilson who married Nathaniel Owens McIlhagga of Maxwell's Walls. Despite both of these marriages being to a McNeilly and both clan fathers being William John, they cannot be brother and sister for they are 38 years apart. It is of course possible that Henrietta W. was the daughter of William and Mary (McNeilly) and that William Junior was in fact William John Junior. I have searched for further clues in the 1901 and 1911 Censuses and in the Ulster Covenant but have drawn blanks so I remain in the dark about a family tree. Though see a reference to William John below!

The second clue is that one of the marriage witnesses for William and Mary at Mountpottinger was Mary Jane McIlhagar, who may well be the daughter of Robert McIlhagga and Mary McAtteer who are in my Skerry Reconstruction. She was born in 1849 so would have been 26 in 1875 and apparently unmarried. Presumably she was related to William. Was Robert his uncle and a brother of his father William John?

So I come to two McIlhaggar marriage registrations, both in Ballymena:

Elizabeth 1851, Vol. 2 p. 128, spouse, Robert Graham;
Esther 1851, Vol.2 p. 177, spouse Robert Whiteside.

Elizabeth I have put on my Skerry Reconstruction, as one of the offspring of John the Weaver of Lisnacrogher. They were married at Cloughwater Presbyterian Church on 21 July 1851. Elizabeth's father was John. Her witness was one William Russell, the same person who witnessed her sister Martha's marriage in 1849, also at Cloughwater Presbyterian Church. These sisters are both on my Skerry Reconstruction. Having written today about William, son of William John, and now of Elizabeth, on reflection I think the whole section under John the Weaver (Generation 3) should be seen as descendants of John and Jenny (nee McCarley) rather that of James and [Sarah].

Coming now to Esther and Robert Whiteside. In listing Generation 4 in the Reconstruction I omitted that David, son of John and Jenny must have married twice, and had an earlier family of five children as follows:

Jane, b. 1824;
William, b. 1826 who married Mary McGowan;
Eliza, b. 1827;
Esther (or Easter) b. 1830 who married Robert Whiteside in 1851 and had 5 children;
David, b. 1834 who married Maria L/F and had 3 children.

Fourthly in Ancestry we have the name M'Ilhaggar, all this time in Ballymoney Registration District. There are three marriages as follows:

Agnes, 1875, Vol. 16 p.203, spouse ?John Stewart;
William John, Jul-Sep 1883, Vol. 1 p.165, spouse Letitia Gaston;
Robert Dunlop, Jan-mar 1899, Vol 1, p.153, spouse Jane Maitland.

I comment in reverse order. Robert Dunlop I have documented fully before as Robert McIlhagga, except for the registration reference in Ballymoney. William John, who was the elder brother of Robert Dunlop, I have documented fully with respect to his marriage to Jane Burgess Anderson. They had five children. However, when JW married JB he was a Widower, and this is my opportunity to record his first marriage to Letitia Gaston, on 10 July 1883 at Ballweaney Presbyterian Church. Letitia must have died before his second marriage on 1902. I do not know the cause of her death, though it would not have been unusual if it had been in childbirth. But did they in fact have a child who lived? In the second paragraph above I said see the reference to William John below! Did he and Letitia have a son William who married Mary McNeilly? And who maybe had a daughter Henrietta W. who married Matthew McNeilly? Another speculation, but I think a reasonable one.

Finally, the third marriage in 'Ballymoney', of Agnes M'Ilhaggar in 1875. This is totally new information to me. Although registered in Ballymoney there is no evidence that she was from the same family as Robert and William. Their parents, James and Jane (nee Maitland) had nine children and it is possible that I have missed one (Agnes) but I do not think so. The registers give the possible spouse as John Stewart, but again, someone I have not heard of before. I have of course added this couple to my clan Marriage Index, in the hope that a clue will turn up to identify them further.

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