In recent months I have been passing on some of the interesting discoveries I have made by searching the Internet site Ancestry.co.uk, using different versions of our clan surname. The final category I have noted for 'McIlhagga' is 'Immigration and Travel', especially the UK Incoming Passenger Lists, 1878-1960.
It is fascinating to note the comings and goings of both men and women, often unaccompanied, travelling between the home country and the 'New World' of Australia, Canada and the United States of America. One learns the names, ages, ports of departure and arrival, the names of the ships and of the Shipping Companies, a person's normal place of residence, the address to which people are travelling, their occupations and occasionally the passenger 'class' like 'tourist' or '2nd Class'. Clearly very often the travel was to visit family either at home in Great Britain or in the country of immigration.
There are two journeys of special interest, both, it so happens, of people fairly closely related to myself. The first I have commented on before, that of John S. travelling on the ship Penisular which sailed from Sydney, Australia, to London in 1898. The interest is created by the fact that John embarked at Bombay. I had no idea that he had ever been to India. He would have been nineteen in 1898. He was a great uncle of mine.
The second occasion refers back to one of the earliest blogs I wrote, and I think one of the most interesting, on 24th January 2009, entitled Home Children. It concerned my first cousin, once removed, Thomas who after his mother's death was sent as a thirteen year old to Canada where he was 'adopted' by a farmer in Quebec. I had been able (and have since been able) to find out quite a lot about Thomas in Canada - see my blogs of 11 April and 8 July 2009. I ended the last blog on the depressing note that Thomas had probably lost contact with his family in Liverpool and may be had never returned to his birth 'home'.
How wrong I was! And how pleased I am to discover I was wrong. It is clear that Thomas must have kept contact with at least one of his siblings, his eldest sister. The passenger list for the Canadian Pacific Liner Metagama shows that Thomas was on board from Montreal to Liverpool arriving 24th June 1919. The record confirms that he was resident in Canada and that his occupation was 'Farmer', an occupation to which he must have returned after the end of the First World War, in which he served.
Thomas gave the address to which he was travelling as 118 Tatlock Street, Liverpool, the same address from which his sister Agnes would get married to Michael Doyle a couple of months later. Presumably the pending nuptials gave Thomas the excuse and the impetus to make the return journey to his native city. He would have been twenty-four at the time. I have no information at present about a return journey to Canada, though return he did. An interesting side-light on the visit is that Agnes married in a Roman Catholic Church, something that Thomas was also to do when he returned to his adopted home.