There are no surviving Ireland Censuses for 1861, 1871, 1881 and 1891 so it's difficult to keep track of people - unless of course they emigrated! And this is the case for two families from Lisnacrogher / Newtowncromelin, County Antrim. They emigrated to the USA in the 1850s so appear in the US Federal Census taken in Ohio and Pennsylvania in 1960. Here they are:
James McElhager, 24 (b.1836 Ireland), South Shenango, Crawford, PA;
Liza McElhager, 19 (b.1841, PA), South Shenango, Crawford, PA;
Augusta McElhager. 8 months (b.PA), South Shenango, Crawford, PA.
It would appear that very soon after emigrating James met Liza, married and had a daughter. In fact there may be an error here as other evidence shows that Liza was born in Ireland (see my last blog);
Isabell McElhager, 20 (b.1840 Ireland), Factory Hand, living with the Ferand family in Kinsman, Trumbull, Ohio;
And living next door with the Pell family is Sophrona McElhager, 12 (b.1848, PA).
Isabell was James' cousin, but who was Sophrona, of whom I have never heard? Surely the family didn't emigrate before 1848, so perhaps Sophrona is simply adopting the same name as Isabell? However, another mistake - Isabell wasn't 20 in 1840, she was 25. I have a reference to her baptism. So was Sophrona her daughter? If so Isabell would have been 13 when she had her. Unlikely, but possible. But I guess unlikely for surely Isabell would have been in Ireland then.
John McElhager, 19 (b.1841 Ireland), a Carpenter living with the Smith family in Jamestown, Mercer, PA.
John was Isabell's brother.
David McElhages, 25 (b.1835 Ireland), a Tailor, at Gustaves, Trumbull, Ohio;
Maria McElhages, 21 (b. PA);
Catherian McElhages, 17 (b.1843, Ohio).
First, I suspect the enumerator wrote down two names incorrectly. McElhages should have been McElhager and surely Catherian should have been Catherina. Perhaps like his cousin James, David married soon after he arrived in the USA, to Maria. But who is Catherina? Clearly not their daughter. So was she a sister of Maria and adopting her new surname? How strange! Or was she a sister of David? But it says she was born in Ohio. Maybe this was another enumerator's error, or perhaps she was just a visitor and was assumed to be 'family'.