Monday, 31 December 2012

Harry McIlhagga has recently allowed free access to its records of Border Crossings from Canada to the U.S. 1895-1954, which I am gradually working through. They include Harry McIlhagga on 26 Jun 1916. I already had a record of him travelling from Liverpool to arrive on that date at New York, from the records of both and He was on the ship Cameronia. There is however extra information on his Border Crossing record. The New York port has the name Rouses Point. His class of travel is given as 'C'. His occupation is Commercial Traveller. He was born in Belfast, Ireland. His age is 37 (on the transcript though on the original image it may be 57). He paid for the passage himself. He was 5'10" tall, had brown hair and blue eyes. Crucially he gave his wife's name as Elizabeth, living in Belfast. I say 'crucially' for there are I think two Harry McIlhaggas born in the year 1879, which would have made them 37 in 1916.

The first Harry/Henry was the son of John McIlhagga and Elizabeth McCullough, born and baptised in Connor parish. At present I have no certain evidence that he survived and married. The second Harry (always as far as I can see known as Harry) was the son of William James McIlhagga and Ruth Woods of Belfast. In the 1901 Census he was an Invoice Clerk and in 1920 was described as a Linen Salesman when he married Sarah Laura Browne on 11 February at Lisburn Register Office and Legacurry Presbyterian Church. This marriage was four years after his 'Border Crossing' from Canada to the U.S. when he said his wife's name was Elizabeth. Both his place of residence and his occupation surely identify the crossing Harry as my second Harry, so we must assume that before he married Sarah he was previously married to Elizabeth. This is new information for us.

Friday, 28 December 2012

Pender's Census

It is rarely worth reporting something that appears to be totally negative, but today I think I must as part of the search for the earliest date on which our clan name appears in Ireland. At present the earliest date is 1669, on the Hearth Money Rolls in County Antrim. I have just come across a transcription of 'A Census of Ireland circa 1659', Irish Manuscripts Commission, Seamus Pender, editor. It records first 'Tituladoes', the most notable people in a Barony, then the 'Principall Irish & Scotch [and] their Numb.'.  The only name which is even remotely linked to ours is in the Barony of Antrim, where the name 'Taggart' occurs nine times. Interestingly the name Crawford occurs 7 times, Boyd 7 times, and McCullough 6 times, all names to which ours is linked by marriage.

The negative conclusion we must I think draw is that our clan name had probably not reached Ulster from Scotland by 1659. However, to be established householders by 1669, only ten years later, which three men were in order to have to pay the Hearth Tax, must mean that they had crossed the North Channel very soon after Pender's Census was taken.

Tuesday, 25 December 2012

A No Christmas Boar War

I wish all the followers of the McIlhagga blog a very Happy Christmas. I've tried to write something every three days during December, and the third day just happens to fall on Christmas Day! I have nothing particularly relevant to Christmas, except perhaps that what I have to pass on has no Christmas in it! I have on several occasions referred to the Boar War. The person who served was John (H) McIlhagga. born 1880 to Nathaniel Owens and Henrietta McIlhagga. John survived his war without injury, but was subsequently killed in the First World War at Passchendale. I have only recently seen his Attestation Papers for the Boar War, which can be found on ''. The details are as follows:

First name: John. He didn't use his middle name of Huchison.
Last Name: McIlhagga.
Year of birth: 1880. He was in fact born on 8th July.
Parish of birth: Skegonul, Belfast, County Antrim. This is a mistranscription for Skegoneill.
Age 22 years.
Date of Attestation, 6th January 1902, at Curragh Camp.
Corps, Imperial Yeomanry.
National Archives reference: WO128/129/72.

He entered on 'Short Service'. He gave his trade as Dyer. The previous year in the 1901 Census he is described as a Linen Dyer & Finisher. When asked if he received a Notice, presumably about the need for recruits, he said 'Yes, from R. Bently, from a local Corps.' Mr. Bently acted as his witness. He then took an oath of allegiance to His Majesty King Edward VII, signed by Justice James Craig.

John's description includes, Height 5'10"; Chest 35"-37"; Fresh Complexion, Grey eyes, Dark Brown hair; one vaccination mark on his left arm. He was a Presbyterian. A Lt. W.Davis of the RAMC medically examined him and two officers of the Imperial Yeomanry gave him Certificates as 'fit', and 'Approved'.

John's Statement of Service confirms his date of Attestation as 6.1.02 and his Discharge on 25.11.02, so no Christmas involved! During that time he was at 'Home' the first 124 days, presumably being trained, then in South Africa for 193 days and finally again at 'Home' for 7 days. He served in the Campaign known as 'S. Africa 1902'. He was not wounded and he gained the relevant service medal.

He gave his parents as Nathaniel and Henrietta McIlhagga of Loughview Cottage, Old Cavehill Road, Belfast, and he declared that he was single. His certificate of discharge was signed by Capt. James Craig and his discharge witness was a Samuel Telford, on 25th November 1902. He was 38432 Private McIlhagga, J. of the 29th Bn. Imperial Yeomanry, Irish Horse, 134 Company. He was discharged at Aldershot, aged 22 years 10 months, to go to Loughview, Old Cavehill Road, Belfast. He had been discharged at his own request. His conduct and character had been 'Very Good'. He had gained no special qualifications during his time of service. His physical development was said to be good. He was re-vaccinated on 7.2.1902 with a 'perfect' result.

Saturday, 22 December 2012


When I started this blog, four years ago, I decided to look for any artefacts which were connected to our clan, for you never know what may turn up. Apart from a war medal which I am pleased to say has found its way to the family where it belongs, the only other things which have turned up have been books. There are quite a number which have authors with clan names and I have quite a long list of those, which I need to bring up to date sometime. What I am concerned with here, however, are those books in which one or more characters, factual or fictional, appear and who have a clan name. As I have come across them I have referred to them in the blog, but never listed them. I do that now:

Dixon Donaldson, History of Islandmagee, 1927, re-published 2002 by Islandmagee Community Development Association;
James Reynold, Maeve the Huntress, a Novel, 1952, Farrar, Straus and Young, Inc., New York;
Tom McCaughren, The Legend of the Golden Key, 1983, third edition 2011, Mercier Press, Ireland, a Children's Story;
Janet Fawcett Higginson and Vicki Landis Wiatt, Mom I'm Bored!, 1985, A Guide for Parental Survival, Oak Lodge Publishing, Oregon, illustrated by Marjorie McIlhagga;
Mark Nelson, Winnipeg's Navy, 2003, published by Mark Nelson.

In addition I have recently come across four titles listed by Google Books, as follows:

George Henry Thurston, Ed., Directory of Pittsburg and Allegheny cities, 1856, referring to Margaret McElhago with an address. I have written about this person who is buried in Allegheny Cemetery. There are, of course, several Irish Directories referring to a number of clan members;
The Northern Ireland Law Reports, Butterworths, 1944, referring to the case of Belfast Corporation v. McIlhagger. I have not yet been able to research this publication;
HM Stationary Office, Report of the Deputy Keeper of the Records, 1949, referring to James McElhago of Larne, Co. Antrim, having a Lease in 1786. I have a copy of this lease;
Finally there is a sociological study by Rosemary Harris, Manchester University Press, 1972, which will be the subject of another blog.

Wednesday, 19 December 2012

Ballyclug Burials

One of my Australian correspondents has kindly sent me a link to an Ireland site that I hadn't come across before. Quite recently the burials at Ballyclug have been listed and can be found at There are just two for McIlhagga, both children, as follows:

Samuel, age 5, buried 22 Nov 1896 from Tullygarley, parish of Kells, fee paid 1/";
William, infant, buried 7 Jan 1911 from parish of Ballymena, fee paid 2/6.

I am very uncertain about whose children they were. For Samuel I have a possible birth in the Antrim Registration District for 1891, in their Vol. 1, page 16. I can't get nearer than that. For William, there is a possibility of this being the son of William Hugh McIlhagga and Margaret Boyd, born 9 Jan 1911. However, he was registered William Hugh, though of course the burial record may just say William.

Sunday, 16 December 2012

Island Magee rents

When I was in Ireland earlier this year I found an Estate Record which gave me a list of rents paid by the tenants on Islandmagee in 1824. Although in my haste I didn't note the name of the document or where it can be sourced, as you can see below, my notes are preceded by item numbers so I think they must come from a Viscount Dungannon Estate Book. They are as follows:

Townland of Kilcoanmore

144 Samuel McIlhago (no arrears)

    Half year due May 1824, £12.0.0 (in red ink);
    Half year due Novem 1824, £12.0.0 (in red ink);

This is the first time I have come across a tenancy in this townland on the west side of Islandmagee.  It was however next to Ballytober where Samuel's two brothers were farming, which I think helps to identify which of two possible Samuels we are talking about. He was I believe the Samuel who was farming also at Port Muck on the east side of the peninsular. He was married to Ellon McWhinney and had three children, Catherine who married Arthur Forbes, William who died at 23 and Mary who married John Fullerton.

Townland of Ballytober

149 William McIlhago (no arrears)

    Half year due May 1824, £2.10.0 (in red ink);
    Half year due Nov 1824, £2.10.0 (in red ink);

When I was an accountancy student red ink indicated an amount in debt, but in these accounts it appears to mean the opposite for they clearly say 'No arrears'. Perhaps it simply means 'not yet paid because its due date hasn't arrived'. The amount William paid for rent was comparatively low, presumably because it was for a small amount of land. Maybe he had other land in another townland. I think William was married, possibly to a Mary, and possibly had three children, who may have been George, who may have been married to a Catherine, Sarah who married Thomas McMurtry and William John who possibly married a Mary Jane. I'm afraid much of my reconstruction of the Islandmagee Family Tree has many 'possibles' in the early and mid 19th Century. I may one day find more certain evidence.

Also farming in Ballytober was

150 James McIlhago Junior

    Arrears due November 1823, £16.0.0 (black ink);
    Half year due May 1824, £8.0.0 (black ink);
    Half year due Nov 1824, £8.0.0;

It would appear that brother James was not too good a farm manager for he was in debt by a full year's rent. Maybe a brother of James was standing guarantor for him. James Junior may have been the person who was to marry a Margaret Mawhinney, who may have been a sister of Samuel's wife. On the west side of Islandmagee the next two townlands moving north were Carnspindle and Ballydown where we find two men farming who were related to our clan by marriage. They were:

Townland of Carnspindle

164 John Napier late Sam. McIlhago

    Half year due May 1824, £9.11.0 (red ink);
    Half year due Nov 1824, £9.11.0 (red ink);

A Samuel Senior had died in 1818 when farming at Ballylumford and Carnspindle. One of his daughters had married Mathew Aiken. Their daughter Mary who died at the young age of 20 had a son who took the name of John Napier and he seems to have taken over the farmland previously worked by Samuel, his great-grandfather. I have to say that this is a rather unlikely scenario as John could not have been more than a teenager. Perhaps there was another John Napier, of the previous generation, maybe his father?

Townland of Ballydown

181 John and James Aikin

    Half year due May 1824, £11.0.0 (red ink);
    Half year due Nov 1824, £11.0.0 (red ink);

Samuel who died in 1818, according to his very damaged Will, probably had a son, possibly Andrew, and three daughters. The two youngest married Samuel Barneford and Patrick Willson respectively. The daughter who married Patrick was Jennet. The third daughter, possibly Eliza, married Mathew Aiken. In addition to Mary, above, they had a son John. Mathew had twin brothers, John and James, so it is not surprising to find them farming together in Ballydown. Mathew had taken over one of Samuel's farms in the next townland, Ballylumford.

Townland of Ballylumford

214 Samuel McIlhago, now Matthew Aikin (no arrears)

    Half year due May 1824, £7.10.0 (red ink);
    Half year due Nov 1824, £7.10.0 (red ink);

Finally we come to Samuel, brother of William and James Junior:

Townland of Portmuck

232 Samuel McIlhago

    Arrears due Nov 1823, £7.7.0 (black ink);
    Half year due May 1824, £6.0.0 (red ink);
    Half year due Nov 1824, £6.0.0 (red ink);

Samuel farmed Portmuck in addition to Kilcoanmore. It would seem that he lived at Port Muck though Kilcoanmore was the larger, or at least the higher rent farm.

Thursday, 13 December 2012

Highland and Ireland

Most of the Scottish names that populated Ulster at the 17th Century Plantation and later came from the South West of Scotland, in particular Ayrshire. A few also came from further north into the Islands and Highlands. An example is McLean, a name to which I have links through my paternal grandmother. There is also a highland name which in the past I have been tempted to think was related to our own clan name, which can still be found in both Scotland and Ireland, namely McIntaggart. I have referred to it in two blogs (13 Jan 2011 and 29 Aug 2012) and I must admit that I am still ambivalent about whether there is a relationship to our name, more than the obvious shared gaelic 'sagairt', priest. Perhaps it is something that one day DNA matching may demonstrate.

I have recently come across two references which I though it worth recording, one in Scotland and one in Ireland. In the mid-19th Century there was a McIntaggart family on the Isle of Mull in Argyllshire, not far away from where my own McLeans were living. In the 1851 Census a Rachael McIntaggart appears, age 32, born 1819. She is a visitor, unmarried, a General Servant, born Kilmeny, Argyllshire, staying with the Black family: Hector 56, a farmer of five acres, born Kilfinichen, Argyllshire; Jane 54, his wife, born Kilmeny; Lachlan 27, an unmarried son, a mason's labourer, born Iona and Ann, a daughter and servant, age 15, also born Iona. Their address in 1851 was 3 Bra Chreich, Bra Chreich, Kilfinichen.

There is a Mull genealogy site which gives us four others. John McIntaggart married Christian McLean on 18 Sep 1832. Christian was probably a local girl. Then there are three people who must be their children, Archibald born 21 July 1833 (baptised 23 July in Kilfinichen), Mary baptised 25 October 1835 and Alexander baptised 17 September 1838, both also Kilfinichen. Possibly related, there is an OPR (Old Parish Register) marriage of a Jean McIntagart to Archibald Munn on 4th June 1831 in North Knapdale, Argyll. A Mary McIntagart, possibly Jean's mother or aunt was born in North Knapdale in 1795. A further 60 McIntaggarts can be found on the ScotlandsPeople website and three can be found in Liverpool, Lancashire, England, namely Owen b. 1787, Henry b.1816 and William b.1834.

My Irish reference comes from the Baptism Registers of Christ Church, Church of Ireland, Delgany (Glendalough) which is a few miles south of Dublin in County Wicklow. There are three baptisms, as follows:

Henry Perciva McEntagart, 27 Jan 1888 (b. 19 Apr 1886); parents John George and Ester Grace of Greystones where John George was a Shopkeeper;
Gladys Gwendo M'Entagart, 10 Apr 1889 (b. 19 Dec 1888); parents John George and Ester Grace of Greystones, where John George was a Licenced Victualler;
Edith Rebecca M'Entagart, 16 Apr 1890 (b. 25 Jan 1890); parents John George and Ester Grace, of The Beach, Greystones, where John George was a Licenced Victualler.

Monday, 10 December 2012

I have had a subscription to for the past year, which has been useful. However, quite a lot of information relating to Ireland is not included. There is a separate (though related) site,, the information from which one has to pay extra. Maybe next year I will switch as the Irish site seems to keep adding interesting things. Among these are 55 records of Passenger Lists leaving the UK, Land Records in 1862 for two people, namely Samuel McIlhaggert of Ballymuckvea, Connor, and William McIlhagel of Tullaghgarley, Ahoghill, and Landed estate Court Rentals for 1872 for John McIlhaggart. The 1862 ones must however be Griffith Valuations and they are free on another site. More significantly the recently added Irish Petty Sessions Court Registers have 242 results for McIlhag*. These all appear to be in Galway for either 'Sergt. McIlhaggen' or 'Geo. McIlhagger'. These two are in fact the same person who was in the Irish Constabulary in Galway. It will be most interesting to read through the many times that George appeared in Court, presumably giving evidence.

Friday, 7 December 2012

Vancouver Museum

The website of the Royal British Columbia Museum, Canada, allows you to search free under 'Genealogy' where it produces any BMD and Baptism results. There are three death results for McIlhagga, Archibald Duncan, 86, West Vancouver, 1968/12/20; George his brother, 71, Nanaimo, 1959/06/17; and Mary Ellen, their sister-in-law, 59, Vancouver, 1941/01/16. The first two had a 'Vital Stat' Image which when clicked produced the full Registration of the Death with an enormous amount of detail, as follows:

Address; Length of stay at residence and address, and when arrived in Province; Full Name, Sex, Citizenship, Racal Origin, Marriage Status, Birthplace, Date of Birth, Age, Profession, Place of Work; Wife's Maiden Name, Names of father and mother and their places of birth; Signature of the Informant, Burial date and place; Undertaker's name and address; Date and cause of Death, Medical details, signature of doctor and address, Date of Registration and the signature of the Registrar.

I had known most of the details about Archibald and George but had not known what had happened to Mary Ellen, the widow of John Hutchison McIlhagga who was killed in the First World War. She was born Mary Ellen Kennedy in Manitoba and clearly she had not remarried but had moved at some stage to Vancouver. Also I learned that the notice of Archibald's death was reported by his youngest brother Joseph who lived in Calgary. It is good to know that the rather scattered family kept in touch.

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Two Burial records

The Internet site deceasedonline has added one McIlhagga record, for Robert, buried 1 Jan 1918 in Livingston Old Parish Kirkyard, West Lothian, Scotland. The authority supplying this information is called West Lothian Memorials. Apparently there is a headstone for Robert. The interesting question is this: which Robert is buried at Livingston? Could it be Robert Wright McIlhagga, who served in World War 1 and who died on 4 Sep 1917 and was buried at Rocquigney-Equancourt Road British Cemetery? Was his body brought to Scotland and reburied? This seems unlikely, though his name is on the Livingston War Memorial. Perhaps someone can enlighten us.

The second burial appears on and is supplied by the Society of Australian Genealogists. It is for Lillian F. M. McIlhagga, who died 3 September 1957, aged 54. The inscription reads 'Our mother', in Rookwood Cemetery, Sydney, New South Wales. The grave is in Section J, Row 20. The Denomination is recorded as Independent. Interestingly this resource also tells you if anyone else is buried in the same grave. In this case there is one subsequent burial, that of Jean Marie Cormack, who died 22 February 1959, aged 25, wife of Colin Cormack. Jean Marie was in fact the daughter of Lillian.

Saturday, 1 December 2012

Half way to 1000

It's the 1st December 2012 and I'm coming towards the end of the fourth year of writing this blog. Today's 'publication' is number 500! In total I have written over 240,000 words, probably a quarter of a million by the time the third anniversary comes round. There have been 70 published comments and there are 30 signed-up followers. There have been a total of 20,697 page views so far, which is nearly 600 a month, from the UK (6828), the USA (5240), Australia (2079), Canada (1535), the remainder from the rest of the world, most views as you would expect via Google. The most viewed pages were Maxwellswalls (11.7.09), Stalag Luft 4 (18.12.10) and McIlhaggar and Galgorm (26.6.10). Ours not to reason why!

I have often wondered whether the resources which provide material for the blog would dry up and it would come to a natural end. Perhaps it will. What I would really like is for other people to contribute, but in the past this has happened only rarely. When it has, it adds enormous interest. I know that I should now turn to rewriting the Clan history, which I drafted several years ago and never published. I'm glad I didn't, as the blog has certainly revealed more. It's all in the blog but could now be put together in a more readable way. If anyone has a suggestion for a title, please let me know.