Tuesday, 13 November 2012

"Wm. C. McElhager"

A couple of days ago I included a note about Wm C. McElhager age 21 born in Pennsylvania in about 1879, living in 1900 in the Philippine Islands. He was a Private in the Military, possibly in a Signal Unit. A correspondent in Australia has kindly sent me the Schedule of the Census with William's name on it, which I can magnify to show that Ancestry.co.uk has not only mistranscribed some information but also has omitted some other.

First, I do not think his second initial is 'C'. It could be 'A'. It does make it clear that he was a Private in the Signal Corps and adds what is I presume his home address, 248 Dorset Street, Cleveland, Ohio. It clarifies that his birth was April 1869 and that he was 31 (not 21) and single. Vitally it also gives his place of birth as Jamestown, Pennsylvania, and the country of birth of both his parents as Ireland.

I am now sure that this Census reference is to William son of James and Eliza McElhager of Jamestown, PA. He did have a second name, though we don't know what it was. I'm glad to have evidence that both his parents were born in Ireland. I was uncertain about his mother, for the burial records of Eliza (wrongly) state that she was born in Pennsylvania. Although we don't know for certain her maiden name was probably Rogers.

Also William was certainly in the Signal Corps, as his War Pension Records make clear. William's interment record gives him a year of birth of 1864, so maybe he wanted to appear younger in order to get into the Military. Who knows? There is a possibility that I have not yet been able to prove, that he married someone called Hanna and had a daughter Mavis in 1892. If so, Hanna was a Widow by the time the 1910 Census was taken, so William must have died before that date.

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