Thursday, 19 December 2013

Memorials - and three for Kate

we can discover some detail about a person's life is to discover where his or her death is recorded. An obvious example is a War Memorial or a plaque in a church. In Britain the famous 'Blue Plaque' on other buildings is another.  Occasionally families may find a more intimate and personal was of making such a record. When my wife Kate died just over ten years ago I did three particular things at the time. I decided to collect together, edit and publish a book of her 'prayer-poems'. This I did under the title The Green Heart of the Snowdrop. It was published by the Ion a Community Press.

Kate was a member of that Community so the two other things I did were associated with it. Together with other members of the family, and in particular our three sons, we have provided a bench in the ground on the Island of Iona in the Scottish Western Highlands, where people my sit and experience and enjoy what George Macleod the Community's founder called 'a thin place, where barely a tissue of gossamer divides earth and heaven'. The bench is in the care of Historic Scotland and has in recent years been found in the grounds of either Iona Abbey or Iona Nunnery, incidentally places also associated historically with myself through my McLean grandmother. On the back rest of the seat is simply reads Remember Kate McIlhagga, nee McCrae, 1938 to 2002.

The third thing I did was to provide a hundred tree samplings, which were planted on the Isle of Mull at a tiny salmon-fishing hamlet canned Camas. Camas is within sight of Iona and is used by the Iona Community as a place where people can experience spiritual renewal in the context of an 'outward-bound' type living together. This is primarily aimed at young people and was near to Kate's heart for she was trained by the Church of Scotland as a Youth Worker before we married and some five years later trained in England as a minister.

The photograph above was taken recently by a friend called Kate on a visit to Camas as part of her training to become a member of the Iona Community.In red on blue you can just discern in a Celtic script the name of the plantation, and the name Kate McIlhagga. For those visiting Iona Abbey and in particular worshipping with its daily morning worship it gives a little context to one of the names read out on the 31st day of the month when all former members are commemorated.

Sunday, 3 November 2013

1920 Scottish Valuation

I have made a correction in the blog of 13 Oct last, thanks to a friend in Co. Antrim, namely to the date of the marriage of Jame McIlhagga and Aaron Scott Crowe.

The Scottish Records in Edinburgh has now digitised the Scottish Valuations of land and property in four years, namely 1895, 1905, 1915 and 1920. I have already written in this blog about the first three years, respectively on 1 Jun 2013, 29 Jan 2013 and 1 Apr 2012. In 1920 there are four members of our clan who are recorded as follows:

1. Daniel MacIlhaggar, a Miner and Tenant Occupier of a property at 104 Livingstone Station, Parish of Livingstone, County of Linlithgow. He was paying a yearly rent of £10.1.0. The Valuation reference is VR122/33/253.

2. James MacIlhaggie, a Seaman and Tenant of 22 Blackburn Street, Govan, Glasgow. He was paying a yearly rent of £10.15.0; reference VR 102/1284/153.

[NB. Also at 199 Blackburn Street was a James Haggerty, paying £7.15.0, who may have been related].

3. George McIlhago, a Railwayman and Tenant of 40 Murano Street, Glasgow. He was paying a yearly rent of £12.10.0, reference VR 102/1280/57.

4. Harry McIlhago, a Clerk and also a Tenant of 40 Murano Street, Glasgow. He was paying a yearly rent of £11.5.0, reference VR 102/1280/58.

Friday, 18 October 2013

Another Court Case - in WW2

There is no doubt that this case is influenced by the conditions under which people had to work during the Second World War. William Boyd MccIlhagger was employed by Belfast Corporation at a Pumping Station were sewerage was discharged into tanks where, after the solid matter had sunk to the bottom, the liquid was pumped off before the solid matter was discharged into the sea via barges.

On 16 December 1942, in the midst of a gale and a rain storm, William started work at 6am. During his inspection of the tanks he must have been blown into one of them and tragically was drowned. There was no fence between the path alongside the tank and the tank itself, which protruded just one inch above the path.

William's widow, Eleanor, brought an action for damages under the 1938 Factories Act of Northern Ireland, for negligence at No. 2 Pumping Station in Northern Road, Belfast. William had worked there for many years and when he hadn't returned to the screening house by 7.05am two other employees went to look for him. They found his body opposite to a place on the path where they found his torch and where he would have had to kneel over the tank to see its state. Pre-war (1939) lighting had been switched off and no adequate guard rail had been erected.

The judgement was that Belfast Corporation had failed in its duty in Common Law to its employee. Despite the fact that William had worked under these conditions for some three years and had not complained, the onus was on his employer, and they had failed to protect him. He was not guilty of any contributory negligence. Damages were given under The Fatal Accidents Act of 1846, of £600.

William Boyd McIlhagga married Eleanor McArthur on 6 May 1908 at Lynn Memorial Methodist Church, Belfast. William was the second son of George McIlhagger and Mary Jane Boyd. Two of his brothers predeceased him, David and Henry Joseph. He was survived by John George, Samuel Robert and his sister Mary Kathleen.

Thursday, 17 October 2013

Court Case over a drain

Our retired solicitor in County Antrim, in his researches, picked up on a couple of court cases one of which involved a McIlhagga and a second a McIlhagger. The first was a case brought by a Mrs. Sargerson against McIlhagga and Another, on 9 September 1960. Mrs. Sanderson 'sustained personal injuries while walking on the footpath of a street in Belfast when she tripped over an iron gutter which had been cut in the footpath to carry away rain water from premises owned or occupied by the defendants. The top of the gutter had become raised above the level of the pavement and there was evidence that this condition had existed for some time'.

Apparently the Recorder of Belfast had dismissed a claim for damages but Mrs. Sargerson put in an appeal. Although there were no broken bones the knee was bruised and swollen, with continuing pain. Photographic evidence was submitted. The defendants tried to claim a technicality in the Belfast Corporation Act of 1845, making them not liable. However, it was said that 'owners and occupiers must take reasonable care to prevent danger to the public.' It was ruled that it was not a case for large damages and that a fair amount to award would be £20. The appeal was allowed.

The second case is considerably more interesting, which I will summarise in a subsequent blog.

Wednesday, 16 October 2013

Tulleygarley - the next generation's tragedy

Welcome to the newest signed-up reader of this blog!

The next set of dates researched by our Antrim friend were those of the children of James Spence McIlhagga. They are as follows:

Mary Ann (Mai), 17 Oct 1906 - 2 May 1971;
William, 24 Nov 1907 - 16 Feb 1980;
John, 16 Jun 1090 - 2 Oct 1975 (who married Jean who died 29 Mar 1998);
Samuel, 4 Dec 1910 - 25 Mar 1984 (who married Jessie Elizabeth who died 25 Jan 1995);
Lizzie, 14 Sep 1912 - 29 Sep 1997;
James, 8 Aug 1914 - 6 Jun 1972;
Robert: In my blog of 20 Mar 2010 I referred to Robert, born in 1914 and James, born in 1916. It seems that James was actually born in 1914 and no reference has been found for a Robert, son of James Spence McIlhagga.

We now come to the offspring of the other children of William McIlhagga and Mary Spence / Ross:

We can confirm that the children of Andrew (who married Sarah Pattali Wilson) were:

Liston Burns McIlhagga, 221 Nov 1918 - 20 Jan 2006;
William, 2 May 1922 - 27 Oct 1992.

The children of Robert (who married Annie Lowry) were:

John (Jack), 11 Nov 1914 - 19 Feb 1982;
Robert, 8 Jun 1916 - 6 Jun 1977;
Andrew, 22 Mar 1918 - 15 Jun 1955;
William, 6 Jun 1920 - 6 May 1997;
Samuel Robert, 22 Jun 1922 - 16 Feb 1998;
Jean Crowe (Ferguson), b.c. 1925 - 6 Sep 2007, Ballymena.

The children of Jeanie (Who married Aaron Scott Crowe) were

William Crowe, 18 Mar 1920 - 21 Dec 1985;
Samuel Crowe, 29 Dec 1921 - c.1988.

Finally the children of  Samuel Robert, (married to Kathleen Baillie, who died 29 Mar 1982) and grandchildren of Robert and Annie (nee Lowry) McIlhagga, were:

Robert Ronald (Ronnie), born 28 Jan 1949;
Brian Thomas Charles, 12 Jan 1950 - 14 Mar 1953.

One poignant discovery has been the death of little Brian, above, aged 3. He died tragically in a hayshed fire at the family home at Cromkill, near Ballymena. He is buried in the same grave as his grandparents, Robert and Annie McIlhagga, and his uncle Andrew. Elizabeth (Betty), daughter of Samuel and Jessie Elizabeth McIlhagga and grand-daughter of James Spence McIlhagga, who died 30 Mar 1990 aged 49, is buried with her parents in Ballymena Cemetery.

Monday, 14 October 2013

Gloria Jean Cross McIlhagga

A cousin in Canada has kindly sent me the following obituary from The News-Press published on July 13:

Gloria Jean Cross, 64, of Cape Coral died July 11, 2013. Formerly of Buffalo, N.Y., Gloria was born May 17, 1949, in Buffalo, the daughter of the late James and Magdalena McIlhagga.  She attended Fredonia State University, graduating in 1971, and received her Masters in Education from Canisius College. Gloria began her teaching career at N.Collins (NY) High School, and culminated at Cape Coral High School where she was a cherished mentor and colleague for 15 years. Gloria's impact beyond the classroom included being an advisor for student government, the senior class and the yearbook staff, assisting with events such as prom, homecoming and commencement, and coaching powderpuff football. For the second consecutive year in 2013, Gloria was one of a select group of Lee County teachers recognized as Teachers of Distinction for her excellence in the classroom. Each nominee displays a certain characteristic such as a love of learning in students of all abilities and backgrounds, stimulating thought and provoking student dialogue, challenging students to reach high standards and expectations, understanding the needs of students individually and collectively, and meeting those needs with determination, enthusiast and imagination while involving families in their educational process. She was married to the late Tyler Cross who preceded her in death on 2005. Gloria is survived by her brother, Doug (Jackie) McIlhagga of St. Louis; fiance, Jack Rosenberg of Bradenton, Fla; stepsons Nate (Ashley) Cross of Forestville, N.Y., Josh Cross of Watertown, N.Y.; 3 grandchildren, Anderson, Eliana and Nolan; uncle William McIlhagga and cousin Scott McIlhagga of Buffalo. Memorial services will be held Friday July 19 at 11 AM from the chapel of Coral Ride Funeral Home, 1630 SW Pine Island Rd. Cape Coral. The family will receive friends one hour prior to service time at the funeral home... In lieu of flowers, donations to Cape Coral High School in Gloria Cross' name are greatly appreciated.

Sunday, 13 October 2013

Tulleygarley family update

In 2010 I wrote of one of the more extended family trees of our clan. It has a number of extant members, mostly in Canada. It originates with William McIlhagga a Yarn Boiler whose name we know from the record of the marriage of his son William, a Railway Porter, to Mary Spence on 17 May 1878 at Wellington Street Presbyterian Church, Ballymena, Co. Antrim, Northern Ireland.

Recently a retired solicitor from Templepatrick, Co. Antrim got in touch with me to tell me that he too was researching this family and offering to enter into dialogue with me and to share any insights to the benefit of our clan records. This blog is to let folk know that some new information has come to light.

Mary, wife of William, was a key person. She was born about 1861/2 to James Spence, a Farmer, and one Mary Ross. Clearly She used her father's surname though it transpires that her parents were never married. This is clear from the fact that in a Will dated 5 December 1913 mary Ross left "all my lands and property of every nature and kind to my daughter Mary, wife of William McIlhagga of Tullygarley". The Will went through Probate on 22 September 1922. She died on 10 December 1929 age 65 of a 'cavernous thrombosis following cellulitis of the face'. William, described as a Porter, was present at her death.

A calculation from these details would mean that Mary was married at the age of 14! Her marriage record does indeed say that she was a minor, so was certainly under 21 and we know from the fact that she 'made her mark' that she could neither read nor write, so possibly had very little schooling. However it is unlikely that she was as young as 14. An age given at death is of course only as accurate as the knowledge of the informant. The evidence of the 1911 Census is that she was in fact born about 1861 or 1862, which would make her 16 or 17 at her marriage.

Mary Ross died on 22 July 1922 and her daughter Mary was registered as the owner of the lands comprised in Folio 1200, Co. Antrim in the Land Registry of Northern Ireland. This consisted of the valuable nine acres, three roods and eighteen perches of lands at Tullygarley passed to her after the death of Mary Ross, 'spinster', Tullghgarley. How valuable may be indicated by the fact that in recent times there has been a substantial housing development at or near Tullygarley, the name chosen for it being 'The Rosses'.

Among other things I have learned from my Templepatrick friend is about the Wellington Street Presbyterian Church, Ballymena, in which so many of this McIlhagga family were baptised, married or buried. Currently the Wellington Street buildings are for sale as the Congregation has in 2009 moved in to a new Church which has been called Wellington Presbyterian Church. It is at Sourhill Road, Ballymena, just a short walk from Tullygarley Bridge.

William, the retired Railway Porter, died on 14 October 1931 at Waveney Hospital, Ballymena, aged 71 years, making 1860 the probable year of his birth. He died of 'a prostatic urinary obstruction 1 month, shock following operation'. This information was given to the registrar by an inmate of Waveney Hospital.

William and Mary had seven children, the dates, some of which I did not know, as researched by our retired solicitor:

Elizabeth (Eliza), 29 Aug 1878 - 15 apr 1969;
James Spence, 12 Sep 1880 - 15 Apr 1958;
William, 12 Jul 1883 - 2 Feb 1921;
Andrew, 25 Nov 1886 - 27 Mar 1953;
Robert, 7 May 1889 - 29 Mar 1985;
John (Jack), 17 Aug 1894 - 3 Jul 1968;
Jane (Jeanie), 27 Feb 1897 - 8 Jan 1922.

Among the facts new to me are the names of William's and Jane's spouses. William married Matilda Allen, a Weaver from 116 Antrim Road, at Ballymena Baptist Church on 22 September 1910. Tragically only six months later, Matilda was dead. She died of a cerebral haemorrage on 29 March 1911 at Queen Street, Ballymena, age 26. Presumably she and William had set up home in Queen Street and after her death William must have returned to Tullygarley. This is confirmed by the 1911 Census where he is referred to as a widower. Jane married Aaron Scott Crowe on 12 November 1919 at Kells Presbyterian Church, Co. Antrim.

I will continue the story of further discovery in a subsequent edition of this blog.

Sunday, 8 September 2013

McCarleys continued

I am following up my blogs of 6 July and 3 August concerning the McIlhagga clan - McCarley marriage links. In June I wrote to my correspondent to whom I referred on 6 July, suggesting that the Robert McCarley in Charleston in 1824 (see the letter reproduced on 3 August) was the Robert McCarley who married Eliza McIlhagar in 1843 and that perhaps he first emigrated to the US as a single man then returned by 1843 in order to be married in Broughshane. My correspondent remembers seeing those names in the records of the 1st Presbyterian Church so was able to correct this assumption, for when they married on 31 March 1847 both Robert and Eliza were only 19. She also noted that there  appears to be no record of children's baptisms with Robert and Eliza as parents, at Broughshane 1st Presbyterian, which raises the possibility that they may have moved elsewhere. Equally of course they may not have been able to have children. The details in the record books are as follows:

Marriage on 31 March 1847 at Broughshane 1st Presbyterian Church;
Robert McCarley, 19 years old, shoemaker of K?nbilly, to
Eliza McIlhagar, 19 years old, spinster, Kinbilly.
Robert's father is also Robert, a farmer of Kinbilly;
Eliza's father is James, also a farmer.

Two facts of interest to our clan are first that James McIlhagar is a farmer in a townland adjacent to the townland of Ballycloghan where a number of our clan lived, and second that Robert McCarley was a shoemaker. Was James related to William McIlhagga of Ballycloghan, and was this possibility emphasised by there being a relationship to a shoemaker family - see my blog of 14 July 2012. My correspondent adds from the McCarley perspective, that surely Robert in Charleston is not married in 1824 otherwise there might have been some enquiry about his family. She thinks he may have been in Charleston at least from 1823 based on the news about the grandparents' deaths and his new nephew Robert. Perhaps he is about 20 and the second son of James. She says she is assuming James's first son is John and is involved with farming and that the trade referred to in the letter is to supplement that. There is no mention of John's children, so perhaps he is not married. In my June reply to my correspondent I next commented on Jenny, which I will take up next time.

Monday, 12 August 2013


Perhaps today's blog is not much more than an opportunity to print the above portion of an early 19th Century map of County Antrim, but it is the portion which has some small significance for the history of our clan. It was sent to me by a correspondent who believes he is descended from the marriage on 20 May 1713 of James Millikin and Helen McHago in Carnmoney Presbyterian Church. So of special interest is the name on the map of Millikinhill near Ballyclare which we may presume was named for the Millikin-McHago family who stayed in the area and farmed there. I have explained in earlier blogs why I think the name McHago is a variant of either McIlhago or McElhago, a very early clan name.

We do not know the name of Helen's parents, though it is possible that we may know that of a sibling or cousin. Helen was probably born in 1692 and a James McHago about 1699. They may both have been born in Ayrshire, Scotland. James was probably from Dalmellington and on 1 May 1745 married a Jean Booll in nearby Kells, Kirkcudbright. It is from James that the version of our clan name, McHago (or McHaggo) could have descnded. We have no certain vital record until the birth of another James, a hundred years later in Ireland, though we can find a Samuel born about 1750 who could be of the same line. We know of him because he witnessed a Quaker Will in New York City on 18 Sep 1777 (proved 18 April 1780). The reference to this can be found on the olivetreegenealogy website.

The Millikin line is a very interesting one, including another Samuel who was killed at the Battle of Antrim Hill in 1798 when he was a member of the Society of United Irishmen. It is interesting to speculate whether he might have fought alongside Andrew McIlhagga from Island Magee, the only one member of our clan known to have been also a member of the United Irishmen. The Millikin line is much more complete than that of McHago, though the McHago line probably does continue through two offspring of James and Margaret who were I think the parents of Ellen (b. 1827) who married Charles Johnson in Virginia, and John (b. 1828) who married Ann Rieley in Virginia (7 Sep 1850).

We know of a further five McHagos, all of whom could have been the offspring of John and Ann, namely Ellen (b. 1850) who married the German C. Frederick Augustine and had a son James on 13 Feb 1877 in Wisconsin, Tom born 1853 in New Jersey, Kate born about 1855 who married Frank Ladham and had a son Thomas (b. 27. Dec) in Vermont, also in 1877, Edward born 1859 and ?Baba in 1865. A 'final' McHago, Michael, appears a generation later on an 1892 Passenger List out of the United Kingdom.

Saturday, 3 August 2013

Letter to South Carolina

I have published a new comment on the blog entry for 4 July 2009. Thank you, Sandra.

Last time I promised the letter to South Carolina. Here it is, with the permission of the Deputy Keeper of Records, Lorraine Bourke, Private Records, PRONI. Its reference number is T3655/1.

To : Robt [Robert?] McCarley
     Charlestown [Charleston?] South
     Newberry Courthouse

From : James McCarley,
       [County Antrim?]

5th October 1824

Dear Son
       I send you these lines to inform
you that your Grandfather is died
7th Nov 1823 and your Grandmother 1 Mon [one month?]
after your Grandfather left me
and the land I opposed and my own house
that I had before your Uncle Moses was
left 30Å“ & his former possessions his Daughter
Jenny 30Å“ your Uncle Mathews [Matthew?]  land
in & my old house in Knockboy together
with your Grandfathers chest & bed
your Uncle Mathew [Matthew?] was left 30Å“ &
your Grandfathers house & his land
your Uncle William was left 1Å“
but it equals him in money I gave
him 7Å“ & Moses 7Å“ & Mathew 7Å“ & 10Å“ that
he got before his death which makes him
equal in money but the land he should
have got was left to Jenny McCarley
at your Grandfathers death [your?] Grandmother
was left 10Å“ & the land & his [clothes?] as
long as she lived but at her death
it was equally divided between I & Moses and
Mathew & Moses children 7Å“ each who
are 5 yrs [years?] & your Uncle Saml [Samuel?]
was left 4Å“ your brother John wants to know whether
he could live better by his trade or Farming
if he was to come
Your brother Stafford has made
a good proficiency in learning
& whether he could better by a Clerk
or Schoolmaster & intends to come
positively again next fall your
sister Jenny is well and is coming
on well and has 2 daughters and a son named
  Corn is from 6/s [shillings?] to 6/s [six shillings?]
8 [pence?] p [per?] cwt [hundredweight?] butter 10/s
[shillings?] & [Carrots?] potatoes [8-?] p [per?]
[bushel?] & pork 50/s [shillings?] p [per?] cwt
[hundredweight?] cotton from 40/s [shillings?] to 200/s
[shillings?] p [per?] [----?] [---?] is married to
Widow Dale and mary Eliza Dale to David McCash
Junior of Knockboy [--?] Thos [Thomas?] Ferguson
is dead and carried out by the Sheriff Saml [Samuel?]
Wilson has bought all that farm and living in it.
We all enjoy a tolerable state of health
and join in love to you I add no more
at present but remain your affectionate
     Father till death 
James McCarley

Saturday, 6 July 2013

More on the McCarleys

A month ago a lady who was born a McCarley in Ballymena, County Antrim, wrote to me. She has traced her great grandparents to the townland of Ballycloghan, close to Broughshane. I was particularly interested to receive her letter not only because my own great grandparents lived in Ballycloghan but also because at least two McIlhagga's married McCarley's. She had found one of my references to this fact on this blog.

I am hopeful that as she continues her research we will discover more about those two families and the relationships between them. There are already a number of references in the blog, not least to their emigration to Pennsylvania, USA. My hunch is that there are today descendants in the USA though the McIlhagga name has evolved there somewhat, providing us with some of our most interesting variants.

As you might expect, her gggrandfather, like mine, was a Weaver, and indeed his first name was the same as mine, William. She remembers a relative saying that the McCarleys all used to meet up at a place called 'Pursten', which is probably 'Perrystown' in the townland of Ballycloghan.

The name Jenny McCarley is of particular interest, for two reasons. First, there is a Jenny who married John McIlhago and emigrated to the US. Second, there is an extant letter which mentions two Jennys, one possibly the person who emigrated and the other probably her aunt. This letter is on the Irish Emigration Database and can be found at PRONI (The Public Record Office of Northern Ireland). It was written on 5 October 1824 by James McCarley of Knockboy to Robt. McCarley in Charlestown, South Carolina. I will ask PRONI for permission to give the full text of the letter in my next post.

Monday, 17 June 2013

Birthday Honour

I have only very rarely departed from my 'rule' of not referring to clan members who are alive. However, this is one such an occasion. Queen Elizabeth II has two birthdays - her own and an 'official' one, always on a Saturday in June. On that day some of the British Nation's superb pageantry takes place, as it did last Saturday, such as the 'Trooping of the Colour'. Also on Her Majesty's 'official birthday' there are published the names of the people to whom she is granting 'honours'. Mostly these are people who have done significant things in their local community and who have worked to promote charities. This year over a thousand such honours were granted, over a half to women.

Sometimes these people are referred to as the 'unsung heroes' of the nation. I think it is probable that Clan McIlhagga has never had a member so honoured, but from Saturday last this cannot be said, for Dorothy Sheila McIlhagga was granted the British Empire Medal for services to Music and to the Local Community. The citation, published in The London Gazette, specially mentions that she is the Founder of the Oldershaw Singers. The 'Singers' have been, and are, a fine choir in the Wallasey and the Wirral area of the County of Cheshire. For many years this choir has performed at concerts which have raised many thousands of pounds for charity. They are still trained and conducted by Dorothy, a very active retired music teacher now in her 77th year.

Dorothy trained professionally on the piano and organ at the Royal Manchester College of Music under Professor Gordon Green. She taught first in the city of Liverpool and then in Wallasey on the Wirral where she became Head of Music and Fine Arts at Oldershaw Grammar School (first for girls, the a Comprehensive Coeducational School). For many years she has been the organist at a Presbyterian (then United Reformed, then URC-Methodist) Church. In recent years she has also been the Guest Musical Director of St. James' Church of England, New Brighton and has conducted its choir in many English Cathedrals when it has been the visiting choir leading Evensong at holiday times. Our sincere congratulations go to Dorothy who clearly richly deserves her B.E.M.

Saturday, 1 June 2013

Another Scottish Valuation Roll

On 1st April last year ScotlandsPeople published the 1915 Property Valuation Roll on which we found five clan members. These included George MacIlhago at 40 Murano Street, Glasgow, paying between £9/9/- and £17/15/- per annum as a Tenant Occupier. On 29 January this year the 1905 Valuation Roll followed which also included George at 40 Muram Street, Glasgow, I suspect the same address.

ScotlandsPeople as now published the 1895 Valuation Roll which includes just two clan members, one of which is again George, a Watchman, at 45 St. Mungo Street, Glasgow in Glasgow Burgh (Ref: VR102/460/57). The Proprietor is named as Mrs. Margaret Phillips to whom George paid 9 shillings and 5 pence rent.

The second name is one which does not appear on either the 1905 or the 1915 Valuation, that of Henry MacIlhagga who was renting a house at 8 Westbank, Glenboig, New Monkland, Lanark County (Ref: VT107/153/771). He was listed as a Labourer, who paid a rent of £4/11/- per annum. This may have been the Henry McIlhaggo who in 1895 was 24 years of age and who died four years later. This fact could account for the lower rent being for a smaller appartment suited to a single man, and also for no Henry being found in the subsequent 20th Century Valuation Rolls.

Thursday, 2 May 2013

Battle of the Narrow Seas

There is an Internet site for the Hathi Trust which is no less than a Digital Library. Google has there digitised a book held by the University of Michigan called The Battle of the Narrow Seas, A History of the Light Coastal Forces in the Channel and the North Sea, 1939-1945, by Lieutenant-Commander Peter Scott, MBE, DSC & Bar, RNVR. It was published in 1946 by Charles Scribner's Sons, New York.

Rarely have we found an instance in which a McIlhagga's exploits are put into context, but this book provides us with such an occasion. The section is entitled Decision by Ramming.

'The Germans found the attentions of our Coastal Forces, during this active summer of 1942, so embarrassing that in August they decided to lay a defensive minefield in mid-Channel with a dual purpose, partly to keep our boats away from their convoy route and partly in order to protect their coast against landings.  These mines were laid by E boats and R boats.

The laying was, in itself, a hazardous operation, and led to several brushes with our M.G.Bs., so the enemy tried various methods to catch us off our guard.  On the evening of 16th August, for example, they came out some time before dusk, hoping to complete their lay before our night patrols would be likely to be in position.  They chose an evening of poor visibility, so that they would not be spotted by aircraft, and they came out in great force - between twenty and thirty of them.

Two of our small gunboats, led by Lt. G.D.K. Richards, R.N., were just setting out when the alarm was raised, and three other M.G.Bs., under the command of Lt. Sidebottom were still in Dover harbour, but preparing for a normal anti-E boat patrol. The message came through just as the crews were getting into their seagoing clothes, and four minutes later the three M.G.Bs. were passing out of harbour on their way to intercept the enemy. Thus, two separate forces were closing in on the German minelaying R boats in mid-Channel. Their combined numerical strength was less than a quarter of the enemy's.

During the preceding week the German minelayers had managed to elude our forces and complete their lay on several occasions.  Once, when our boats were about to intercept them, engine trouble combined with a signal error spoiled the chance, and the E boats escaped again.  On this account, our boats were all the more determined that this new opportunity should not be lost.  They did not know, however, that they were about to fight one of the classic Coastal Force actions of the war.

In the dark automatic guns are very difficult to sight, so that quite a long action can be fought at close range without any decisive result.  But on this summer evening the sun had only just set and it was far from dark.  It was 9.25 p.m. when Sidebottom's gunboats sighted a line of six ships, about the same size as themselves, steaming across their bows on a south-westerly course.  The main enemy force had evidently split, but this part of it still outnumbered, by two to one, the M.G.Bs. that were now sweeping in to attack them.

"We closed them fast", writes Sidebottom, "challenging them with a signal lamp to identify themselves.  They did not reply.  They were clearly the enemy.  When we were within 400 yards of their line they had neither opened fire on us nor increased speed to escape, and as we closed still further we could see that they were R boats, and we knew that their maximum speed were no more than 20 knots.  We therefore decided to attack the rear of their line, as they were double our strength, and we thought that by throwing their rear into confusion we should make it difficult for their leader to distinguish friend from foe, and so prevent him from coming to their assistance.

"When separated by no more than one cable, we turned to starboard to steam on a parallel course.  Our three boats were now in close order in line ahead, with the enemy also in line ahead, but with greater intervals between his boats, 200 yards to port.

"Just as we manoeuvered into this position to attack, the other force of two gunboats was sighted away to starboard approaching at high speed, and we flashed them an identification signal so that they would know who was who.

"We were now in a perfect position to make our chosen form of attack, and still without any interference from the enemy.  It seemed almost uncanny to be allowed to come nearly alongside them without being fired on, but they either mistook us for another of their own units or they hoped we should mistake them for one of our and let them pass.  They soon had their doubts resolved.  At 9.27 p.m., two minutes after first sighting, I pressed the button. The open-fire signal blared at each gun position and a simultaneous broadside of all weapons swept from our three boats into the last two in the enemy line.

"Their reply was instantaneous, not only from the boats we had engaged, but from every gun which could be brought to bear from up their line.  In that light and at that range, neither side could easily miss.  The air was filled with bright tracer as though all the neon signs in Picadilly Circus were flying to and fro.  Our 2-pounder shells were bursting all over the enemy's hulls, showering sparks like a hammer on an anvil.  In a matter of a minute all the guns on our engaged side were out of action after direct hits, and the guns' crews were casualties.

"If the leading boat turned away to disengage, those astern would probably follow her, for the action was too intense for a signal to be passed to them, and the opportunity for them, as yet comparatively undamaged, to finish off the two badly hit enemy vessels would be lost.  If she continued as she was, she would be a sitting target and would almost surely be sunk.  The other alternative was to turn towards the enemy and try to sink the last boat in his line by ramming.  We turned hard a-port and swung out of the line towards our target."

This is Sidebottom's reasoned explanation of a most gallant decision.  With nearly all his guns out of action he had one remaining weapon - the stout stem of his ship - and he determined to go in and use it.

"It was only a short distance to cover, but to do so we had to turn at right angles to the enemy line, presenting almost a broadside target to his four leading boats, and we were raked by a concentrated fire.  Just before the moment of impact, two shells hit the bridge, bursting and wounding everyone on it.  The coxswain collapsed, the wheel spun round, the ship's head swung to port and we passed under the R boat's stern, missing her by a few feet.

"As I was the only one on the bridge still standing, I took the wheel and put it hard to starboard.  The boat swung round again, partly helped by the force of the enemy's wash, and her bows crashed into the R boat's port quarter some 20 feet from her stern.  My First Lieutenant was thrown across the bridge and stunned by the impact, and the enemy's fire ceased immediately.  She heeled well over to starboard, and both boats, locked together, swung to port out of the line.  The starboard point-five gunner fired most effectively at the next ahead in the enemy's line, who was already under fire from the other two gunboats.

"Our engines were still running at high speed, keeping our bows forced into the R boat, and as we had too many casualties to make boarding a possibility the only thing to do was to pull our bows out and let the water pour into the large hole we had made, which would, we hoped, sink her.  I moved the engine-room telegraphs to stop, but she continued to go ahead; evidently the line had been shot away.  An unwounded member of a gun's crew was sent with a message to the engine-room to stop engines.  As we slowed, the R boat, whose engines were still running, wrenched herself clear and staggered off into the gathering darkness with smoke billowing out of her."

As soon as the leading boat had turned, with the obvious intention of ramming, the second M.G.B. had moved up into her place and continued to engage the remaining R boats with undiminished vigour.  The last of these had been badly damaged in the first few moments of intense fire, but the enemy force was still powerful and the second M.G.B. suffered heavily.  Two of the crew were killed and two more were mortally wounded.  Her Commanding Officer (Lt. A.D. McIlwraith, R.N.V.R.), her Canadian First Lieutenant (Sub-Lt. L.B. McIlhagga, R.C.N.V.R.), her Navigating Officer and eight of the crew were wounded.  But she fought on until the engine-room was hit and she was forced to disengage.  As she did so, she struck some underwater wreckage which damaged the rudders and the propeller of the one engine which was still working.

The third gunboat then carried on the fight alone until her guns were put out of action and her Commanding Officer (Lt. N.R. Weekes, R.N.V.R.) was wounded; then she also disengaged.

Saturday, 6 April 2013


The new name for the catalogue at The National Archives at Kew, London, England, is 'Discovery'. By typing in 'discovery dot nationalarchives dot gov dot uk' is now the primary way to search the collections. If McIlhag* is entered in the search box, there are 12 results, as follows:

McIlhagga, Andrew, born Ballee, County Antrim. Registry of Shipping and Seamen: Royal Naval Reserve Ratings' Records of Service. Number TS5524. Date of Birth: 13 April 1896. Records of the Board of Trade and of successor and related bodies: 01 Jan 1908 - 31 Dec 1955. Ref. BT 377/7/115447. Subjects, Merchant Seaman, Navy.

McIlhagga, William, Register Number 8917. Division: Royal Marine Light Infantry: Plymouth Division. When Enlisted: 06 Dec 1897. Records of the admiralty, Naval Forces, Royal Marines, Coastguard and related bodies. 01 Jan 1880 - 31 Dec 1899. Ref. ADM 159/75/8917. Subjects, Armed Forces (General), Army, Navy. 

McIlhagga, John, Official Number 228210. Place of Birth: Ballymena, Antrim. Date of Birth 03 Feb 1888. Records of the Admiralty, Naval Forces, Royal Marines, Coastguard and related bodies, 01 Jan 1903 - 31 Dec 1903. Ref: ADM 188/403/228210. Subjects, Armed Forces (General), Navy.

McIlhagga, Lindsay, Medal Card; Liverpool Regiment, No. 357519, Private. Records created by the War Office, Armed Forces, Judge Advocate General and related bodies: 01 Jan 1914 0 31 Dec 1920. Ref: WO 372/13/8126. Subjects: Medals, Armed Forces (General) Army, Operations, battles and campaigns, Conflict.

McIlhaggar, Robert: Medal Card, Royal Irish Rifles. Regimental Number: 12/7536. Private. Records created by the War Office, Armed Forces, Judge Advocate General and related bodies. 01 Jan 1914 - 31 Dec 1920. Ref: WO 372/13/8127. Subjects: Medals, Armed Forces (General) Army, Operations, battles and campaigns, Conflict.

McIlhagga, John, Medal Card. Royal Field Artillery. Regimental Number 1502. Rank: Driver. Royal Field Artillery 696562, Driver. Records created by the War Office, Armed Forces, Judge Advocate General and related bodies. 01 Jan 1914 - 31 Dec 1920. Ref: WO 372/13/8125. Subjects: Medals, Armed Forces (General) Army, Operations, battles and campaigns, Conflict.

McIlhagga, James, Medal Card. Corps: Seaforth Highlanders. Regimental Number S/28088. Royal Highlanders S/30566. Rank, Private. Records created by the War Office, Armed Forces, Judge Advocate General and related bodies. 01 Jan 1914 - 31 Dec 1920.  Ref: WO 372/13/8124. Subjects: Medals, Armed Forces (General) Army, Operations, battles and campaigns, Conflict.

McIlhaggie, James. Medal Card. Place of Birth: Greenock, Date of birth 1881. Records of the Board of Trade and of successor and related bodies. 01 Jan 1914 - 31 Dec 1925. Ref: BT 351/1/93283. Ref: BT 351/1/93283. Subjects: Medals, Merchant Seamen, Operations, battles and campaigns, Conflict/

McIlhagger, Samuel, Place of Birth: Galway. Date of Birth 1996. Records of the Board of Trade and of successor and related bodies. 01 Jan 1914 - 31 Dec 1925. Ref: BT 351/1/93282. Subjects: Medals, Merchant seamen, Operations, battles and campaigns, Conflict.

McIlhaggie, James, Official Number 206988. Place of Birth: Greenock, Renfrewshire. Date of Birth: 19 August 1882. Records of the Admiralty, Naval Forces, Royal Marines, Coastguard and related bodies. 01 Jan 1899 - 31 Dec 1899. Ref: ADM 188/360/206988. Subjects: Armed Forces (General), Navy.

McIlhagger, Robert. Royal Irish Rifles. Regimental No: 12/7536. Rank: Private. Records created or inherited by the War Office, Armed Forces, Judge advocate General and related bodies. 01 Jan 1914 - 31 Dec 1920. Ref: WO 372/13/8128. Subjects: Medals, Armed Forces (General), army, Operations, battles and campaigns, Conflict.

McIlhagger, W.B. Corps: Royal Irish Rifles. Regimental No: 3158. Rank: Private. Records created or inherited by the War Office, Armed Forces, Judge advocate General and related bodies. 01 Jan 1914 - 31 Dec 1920. Ref: WO 372/13/8129. Subjects: Medals, Armed Forces (General), army, Operations, battles and campaigns, Conflict.

Sunday, 17 March 2013


I thought that on St. Patrick's Day I might write a brief blog on the relationship of the name 'Patrick' to our clan. First, the only reference to the saint himself (apart from place names like Templepatrick and St. Patrick's Church, Kirkinriola) is to the carved tomb in St. Carthage's Cathedral, Lismore. Our interest is in the fact that one of the three figures carved on it is St. Carthage (=Mochuda, the name from which our name may derive). The other two are St. Catherine and St. Patrick. There is a photo of the tomb on this blog for 3rd February 2009.

The earliest clan reference to the name is in Ayrshire, Scotland in 1553 when Patricius McIlhagon witnessed a charter to Kennedy of Bargaltoun at Balmacclanoquan in Kyle in the 'sheriffdom of Ayr'. Finding the name Patrick in Scotland in the 16th Century does rather indicate that it may have come over from Ireland, maybe two generations earlier, if the Irish/Scottish naming pattern was being followed. This could take us back to a Patrick born in the 15th Century, say in about the 1460s. Sadly there is no known continuation of the name in the Ayrshire family, though Patrick's grandson (eldest son of Robert) whose name is not known, could have been named Patrick after his grandfather.

The next Patrick was born (or more probably baptised) in 13th October 1799 at Carnmoney, County Antrim, Ireland.This information comes from an 'individual record' in the old International Genealogical Index, a record that should have a question mark against it until verified. He was the son of Nathan and Betty McIlhaggar / McIlhagar who were married about 1783 in Carnmoney. I wish I could say that he was inheriting a clan name, but I cannot. Betty's father was Patrick McBurney as was her grandfather and great-grandfather. That is where his name came from. Nor can I say there were any subsequent Patricks in that family. I have not found any independent proof of Patrick's existence and to complicate the matter there is another son of Nathan and Betty, namely Nathan, who was baptised on the same date, 13th October 1799. There are several possible scenarios. They could have been twins. Two brother could have been baptised together (the likely scenario). The original recording on the IGI could be misleading.

We do have a couple of clan females marrying Patricks, but not subsequently having offspring who were called Patrick. Ann Eliza McIlhagga of Ballymena did have a son Hugh Patrick before she married Hugh Kelly on 1st October 1872, after which all her children took the surname Kelly, probably because Hugh was the father.

Any other references are few are far between. A Patrick Mcintagirt was a witness to a Writ at Dunbarton in 1566 and another of the same name married an Ann Ncewn in 1703 in Kenmore, Perthsire. However these are I'm afraid among the surnames I reject as clan names - see my last blog. On 20th February 1881 Patrick Kernan was born in Belfast to James K. McIlhagga and his wife Catherine. I do not know from which side of the family the name came. Finally in the 20th Century there are a couple more. A Patrick McIlhagga married a Barbara in the USA. He was born about 1967/8. And in 1989 a Jason Patrick was born to Raymond Samuel McIlhagga and Diane L. Conroy in Stockport, Lancashire, England. Should anyone be able to add to the above information I would be glad to hear from you.

Friday, 15 March 2013

Spelling Clan Name

I have just reviewed all our clan name variants that I have come across and have referred to in this blog. When searching the various resources (eg on the Internet) I may of course have missed some variants and will certainly have missed some 'deviants'. We know that most variants occurred before most people could spell. There are many possibilities depending on what one does with each letter of our name.

M: normally it's included, but occasionally may not be, eg
      if 'Mc' has been wrongly transcribed as a middle name;
      if 'Mc' has been misheard, perhaps as 'Muckle';
      if 'Mc' has been deliberately dropped, as in 'Hagger';
      if a Gaelic pre-Mac/Mc version is being used, as in 'Gilmagu'.

Mc may precede the rest of the name in a number of forms, eg
      Mc, Mac, M', even Mic, or any of these followed by a space.

The letter following Mc. Normally I, it can also be A, E, even G (as McGilly), H (as McHago where a syllable has been dropped), T (as McTaggart, a related name) or L (as McLihager where two letters have been reversed).

The second letter of the second syllable is usually 'l', though in a parallel and possibly related name may be 'n' (as McIntaggart), may be omitted (as McItegart) or may be absent as part of an omitted syllable (as McHagg).  This letter may be doubled, eg 'll' though normally only after 'I'. Only very rarely is it doubled after E (as McEllhagow).

The third syllable is nearly always 'hag' (single or double 'g'). Very rarely the 'g' is mistranscribed as 'd', 'f' or 'n' or the vowel is changed to 'ae', 'ai', 'e', 'o' or 'ou'. Extremely rarely the 'h' is omitted or a 'r' is intruded after the vowel.

The greatest number of variants occur because the last syllable varies. All of the vowels have been used, the earliest in time possibly being 'u', then 'o', then 'a'. Any number of consonants may then be tagged on to the final vowel giving endings as 'gan', 'gart', gel', ger', gey', go', gow', &c.

In this blog you can find 152 names which I have considered as clan names. Of these there are 6 McA...(s), 24 McE...(s), 49 McI...(s), 11 McH...(s), 12 McIll...(s), 20 Mac...(s) and 19 others. In addition there are 11 which I have to reject as clan names.

Wednesday, 13 March 2013

Dog License

I referred to the Irish Petty Sessions Court on 10th December last and on 13th January when I gave the details of a couple of incidents. I did not however show how these incidents appeared in the local crime book. Clearly from the two I gave in January they were minor offences. The same is true of the copy I have produced above.

The complainant in whom we are interested was S. Const George McIlhagger. In this case the defendant had a dog in his possession without a license in 7th of June 1877. In a sparsely populated rural area (this was Galway) those who were charged with enforcing the law both on the streets and in the courts mostly had very minor incidents to deal with. The punishment in the last column was to take out a license forthwith, with a cost of 1/- (one shilling).

I write this just after watching the election of the new Pope who has taken the name Francis. I don't know whether this is meant to refer to St. Francis of Assisi who had a special care for animals. Let's hope the motive of S. Const George was similar in prosecuting this case!

Monday, 11 March 2013

Ballymena Times

I recently searched the archives of the newspaper The Ballymena Times for any clan Births, Marriages or Deaths and came up with just two items. The first I have published earlier in an abbreviated form, but the second I have not referred to before. I'm afraid I do not know the families to which the two McIlhaggas referred to belong, and any information about this would be gratefully received. Here are the two death notices as they appeared in the newspaper:

KERR — (nee McIlhagga). August 15, 2010, at hospital, Jennifer Carol, late of 3 Sperrin Heights, Portglenone. Beloved wife of Andrew, devoted mother of Kirstie, Justin, Penny and Chloe, mother-in-law of Paul and Noel, loving grandmother of Oliver and Erin. Friends welcome at the home of her daughter and son-in-law Penny and Paul Hampshire, 26 Hiltonstown Road, Portglenone. Family flowers only please. Donations in lieu, if desired, may be sent to James Henry Funeral Services, 100 Broughshane Street, Ballymena for N.I. Hospice Care. Lovingly remembered by her sorrowing Husband, Family, sister Anne and brother-in-law Sammy, brother Alan and sister-in-law Heather and Family Circle. "Greatly loved and now greatly missed."
SUTTERS — October 2, 2009 (suddenly), John Parker (Jack), late of 6 Mount Street, Ballymena, much loved husband of the late Annie and devoted father of Dawn, Jacqueline, Alan and Shane. Donations in lieu of flowers, if desired, may be sent to James Henry Funeral Services Broughshane Street, Ballymena, BT43 6EE for Antrim Area Hospital Coronary Care Unit. Lovingly remembered by his sorrowing Daughters, Sons, sons-in-law Paul and Barry, grandchildren Jamie, Naomi, Lauren, Ryan, Christopher and Sophie, sisters Maureen (McQuiston), Eleanor (McIlhagga) and Family Circle. “The Lord is my Shepherd.”  

Saturday, 9 March 2013

Drumbeg Gravestone

The Church of Ireland graveyard at Drumbeg, County Down, has a gravestone erected by the Woods family and which includes Ruth McIlhagga who was the wife of William James McIlhagga. He was the son of William a farmer. The stone is in a large low-railed enclosure and reads as follows:

Erected by James Woods of Woodlands
to the memory of his father and mother,
Michael and Margaret Woods.
The former departed this life
March 1812 aged 77 years,
the latter February 1818 aged 79 years.
And three of his children who died young
Also his daughter Jane
who died 11th September 1831 aged 21 years.
Also his beloved wife Fanny,
who died 9th September 1860 aged 77 years.
Here also lie the remains 
of the above named James Woods
who died 21st April 1862 aged 81 years.
Also in loving memory of Margaret Woods,
who died 18th March 1862 aged 20 years.
Adam McFarlane Woods,
died 24th Dec 1862, aged 1 year and 2 months
Fanny Woods died 20th July 1868 aged 27 years
Ruth McIlhagga died 23rd June 1901 aged 49 years
Daughters and son of 
Michael and Elizabeth Woods of Woodlands
Also their son William Woods
died 18th Nov 1914 aged 68 years.

Thursday, 7 March 2013

1930 US Federal Census

Recently I came across the unlikely, but I thought possible, variant of our surname, McElhaug, in the 1930 US Federal Census which encouraged me to take a closer look. There were in fact five households which I began to suspect all had distant links to the families which emigrated from Lisnacrogher and Limavallaghan in County Antrim in the mid-19th Century. They are as follows:

1.  Edith McElhaug, 15, in Birmingham, Alabama;
2.  Frank McElhoge, 9, in an Orphanage in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania;
3.  Ulysees McElhaug, 61 and Lena McElhaug, 54, in Armitage, Oregon;
4.  John C. McElhage, 43, Bessie 40 and four children: Edward 13, Arvin 9, Clifton 7 and Bessie E 1, in Liberty, Arizona;
5.  Joseph McElhaugh, 55, Ida 44 and eight children: Christian 22, Mary 21, William 19, Rose 16, Joseph 14, Charles 11, James 8 and John 5. Susan Richards aged 77 was living with this family in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. I suspect that Susan was Ida's mother.

In addition I have noted that there is a family found in the 1910 US Federal Census, from Alhergeny, Pennsylvania: Addison J. McIlhage (b.1875), Anna B. and their children, Mary A (1900), William L. (1902), and Aleta B. (1905).

Did any of the above fit with the known members of the families who had emigrated between eighty and a hundred years before? I have demonstrated in earlier blogs that there were two family lines involved, probably related lines. Of the one descended from David McElhager (b. 1806) there were four males through whom the name might have been continued, William (b. 1826), David (b. 1834), John (b. 1845) and George (b. 1849). All David's children were girls and we know of no children from the other three; and in any case I think they are all probably too early to have given birth to any of the people in the 1930 Census, with the exception of Ulysees.

The logical thing is to ask whether we can identify the oldest person in the 1930 Census, namely Ulysees McElhaug. In an earlier blog (22 June 2009) I noted the only other time the name Ulysees has occurred in our clan history, when one Augustine, son of James and Eliza McElhager was entered in the Youngstown, Ohio, Directory as Augustus Ulysees. I believe this to be the same person as Ulysees McElhaug, who had dropped the Augustus, in the 1930 Census. I think this not least because the birth dates agree, at 1860.

In 1930 Ulysees has living with him Lena (b. 1867). The first thought is that Lena would be his wife. There is however no evidence of him ever marrying or of him fathering any children. Admittedly a possibility is that he is the father of Joseph McElhaugh due to the similar spelling of the surname. We can however dismiss this as Ulysees would have had to father Joseph when he was 14 and when Lena was far too young to bear a child. John C. McElhage could also have been a possible offspring, though equally likely he could have been a son of Ulysees' younger brother William.

So I come to the conclusion that Ulysees and Lena were not husband and wife but brother and sister. The birth year of Lena is given as 1867, not too far away from that of his sister Ella, thought to be 1869. Also there is no evidence of Ella marrying, so a spinster sister may have gone to live with her bachelor brother. And, surprising as it may seem, the name Lena and the name Ella are both variants or diminutives of the one name Helen / Ellen. So, until I know better, this is what I'm settling for!

What of John C. McElhage and family? From a date perspective he fits well as an offspring of William and Hanna McElhager. We know that they had Mavis in 1892 and they may well have had John in 1887. So we are left with the two families of Joseph McElhaugh and Addison McElhage, both from Pennsylvania and both born in the year 1875. The only place I can fit Addison in is as a late son of James and Eliza McElhager from Jamestown, Pennsylvania.

Joseph was born in 1875 and I have found a Joseph McElhaugh in the 1900 Federal Census where he is the son of a Bridget born 1830 in Ireland and who emigrated in 1850. I'm afraid I have found no evidence of a Bridget marrying into the clan about 1850 so must assume for the present that, despite the similarity between the names McElhaug and McElhaugh, there is no direct relationship to the Limavallaghan family. In addition to Joseph, Bridget appears to have had ten other children between 1851 and 1879, four at least of whom married, two of whom at least had offspring. I will keep a record of these 26 people in case a clan relationship should appear.

Finally we are left with the two single children, Edith McElhaug, age 15, in Birmingham, Alabama and Frank McElhage, age 9, in a Pennsylvanian Orphanage for boys. Perhaps they were brother and sister, whose parents had died. Surely the Pennsylvanian link must place them somewhere on one of the Family Trees I have been referring to. Perhaps they were children of Joseph and Ida, or even John and Bessie. Again, we must await more evidence.

Tuesday, 5 March 2013

Winterfield Mains, Dunbar

1832 map of Dunbar for The Great Reform Act

We look to the registration of births, marriages and deaths for the basic facts about these events. However there is often more information contained in newspapers which adds special interest, and prior to statutory registration it is particularly valuable to find such a publication. In addition to newspapers there have always been some 'upmarket' journals that have included references to 'society' events. The Gentleman's Magazine was one such and I have just come across another that I have not heard of before, called 'The New Monthly Magazine and Literary Journal'. In its part 3, on page 336, July 1st 1825 there was included a reference to the marriage of Mr. S. McElhago to Miss White. This fact of course we already knew. The new information is that it took place at Winterfield Mains, near Dunbar. The site of Winterfield Mains farm can be seen on the (almost) contemporary map above in the National Library of Scotland and more clearly on the modern map below. 

I'm afraid we don't know whether either Samuel McElhago or Janet White were resident at Winterfield Mains farm. Perhaps one or other was a tenant of the owner of Winterfield House, the main residence near that farm. By courtesy of the National Library we have not only a map of the period of the marriage. It is the 1832 map of John Thompson which shows where the farm was. We also have two illustrations of the main house itself, one of its billiards room and the other of its lounge. So we are able to put a little 'flesh' on the 'bones' of the basic facts of one of our early clan marriages. I now add a modern map which shows where Winterfield Mains is today.

Saturday, 2 March 2013

The Coortin' O' Jeems M'Ilhagga

In '' there are all sorts of goodies. And one of them is in a book called 'Pat M'Carty, His Rhymes', published with a setting by John Stevenson (London, Edward Arnold, 1903). It has been digitised by The Library of The University of California. Chapter XVII is entitled 'Love'. The author, who calls himself 'a farmer of Antrim', prefaces the poems in this section with the comment, 'Courtship with us is not demonstrative, but not all of it is so tame as was that of Mr. M'Ilhagga'. Now do we have a James McIlhagga born about 1850 who married a Margaret Brown? I'm sorry we don't, so you'll have to make up your own mind about whether or not the story is ficticious! Enjoy.....!


He wasn't bad lookin', o' means he had some,
A guid steady man, warkin' early and late,
And noo, by the favour o' Providence, come
To years o' discretion - weel, say forty-eight -
The thought had come to him that maybe a wife
Might add to the comfort and pleasure o' life,
He thought, too, wi' raison I think, that the hand
That held twa leases o' guid ploo-land
Was no in the market just every day.
      He thought, as I say, that way.

For merriage the farmin's a deefficult trade,
It's no if she's tall, if she's light, if she's dark,
The man has to think o' in choosin' his maid;
He has to conseedir her p'ints for wark.
The wedded to farmer will verra soon feel
She has wedded the kye and the byre as weel,
And whaur there are acres o' guid ploo-land,
In less than a fortnight she'll weel understand
She, wi' the man bodie, has merried same day
      His praties and corn and hay.

Wi' halesome regard to the needs o' the case,
Jeems settled his mind on a lassie ca'e Meg;
A lassie no' muckle defeecient in grace,
The dochter o' ould Jamie Broon o' Dunbeg.
Her age might be thirty, he likit her hair,
Her temper (as far as he's kenn'd it) was fair;
Her step it was firm and weel rounded her arm,
Nae brithers had she to inherit the farm,
And then the bit penny that in the bank lay
      Was sure to be hers, some day.

Noo maybe ye'll think when the sweetheart was found
That Jeems wad be coortin' her every day,
And buying her peppermint draps by the pound,
And sayin' the saftest sweet things he could say,
And writin' lang letters extollin' her charms,
And tryin' to measure her waist wi' his arms,
And praisin' her eyebroo and kissin' her hand.
Na! sixty-wan acres o' guid ploo-land
Get on wi' nae blethers like that - not they.
      They coort quite anither way.

Once every week he wad tallow his shoon,
Wad put on the coat that o' Sundays he wore,
And find his way ow'r to see Mister Broon
And talk aboot matters o' farmin' galore.
His feet, straight afront o' his chair, he'd contrive
To fix at an angle o' forty-and-five.
And while the bit lassie, to north o' the fire,
Sat flashin' her needles and knittin' sae fast,
Oor frien' was addressin' his chat to her sire;
His face releegiously turn'd sou'-wast.
O never a word to the lass did he say -
       He lookit the ither way.

'Twas maistly o' Fridays the veesit was paid,
He cam' aboot seven and waited till nine;
But after the first "How d'ye do?" to the maid,
'Twas aye to the feyther his speech did incline.
He kept up the custom a guid twa year
Wi' weekly discourses on farmin' and gear,
And systems and praties and leases and hire,
And horses and butter, and drainage and hay,
Wi' Maggie aye knittin to north o' the fire,
And never a saft lovin' word went her way.
      Nae sweetheartin' word did he say.

The twa year complete, next Friday that came
He wesh'd his face weel wi' a bit scented sape,
And spent half-an-'oor at the glass wi' the aim
O' gettin' his touzled rid hair into shape.
Then a' in his best his guidsel' he arrays,
No' just the coat like ordinar' weeks,
But likewise the braw Sunday weskit and breeks.
In fack, wi' the hale o' his very best claes,
His boots, no' wi' tallow, but black frae the shap,
He polish'd until he had made them to shine;
Then oot frae the cupboard he took a wee drap,
The sma'est wee drap o' the ould port wine.
He fix'd in his buttonhole, wi' a bit string,
Twa lilac primroses - the saison was Spring -
Then made in the usual direction a start,
And whistled a bit to keep up his heart.
He didn't feel aisy although he look'd gay,
      Felt queer, just a bit, that day.

I s'pose ye'll be thinkin' ye're gaun to hear noo
O' kissin' and huggin' and wark o' that kind.
Git oot wi' your nonsense - I want ye to mind
This wee bit o' story I'm tellin' is true.
Proposals o' merriage ye must understand
Are serious in cases o' guid ploo-land,
Nae maitter what folk that tell stories may say,
      They're no' to be made that way.
It's mortal partickler is guid ploo-land,
It has to be carefu' in givin' its hand.
It doesn't do coortin' by commonplace rules,
Love letters, hand squeezes, a couple o' fools.
It does what it does in a 'sponsible way,
      A ser'ous, responsible way.

He arrivit at seven, like ordinar' days,
His greetin' was just o' the ordinar' kind.
But, barrin' the weel-observ'd fact of his claes,
Was naethin' to show he had aught on his mind.
His feet were, as usual, in front o' his chair,
Weel plac'd at the angle of forty-and-five.
His talk to the fayther was a' o' the fair
And prices o' cattle baith deid and alive.
He kept to that subjeck the veesit entire,
His face in the usual direction - sou'-wast
(The lassie aye knittin' to north o' the fire).
And never a word for the girl till the last,
And no' till the door clos'd behind him to boot
Did he put his heid back wi' the words, "May I beg
That ye'll come to the door for a meenute, Miss Meg".
And Maggie got up frae the fire and went oot.

They settled the maitter in two words then,
He ax'd her the question in one word, "Weel?"
She answered him straight wi' anither word, "When?"
(A word frae guid ploo-land, it means a great deal.)
They're married a year and a quarter the day,
The bairn's an uncommon fine laddie, they say.
      Tremendous fine babby, they say.

Thursday, 28 February 2013

PRONI eCatalogue

The Public Record Office of Northern Ireland (PRONI) has an eCatalogue of documents which can be searched by entering the name (eg) of our clan.  There are seven documents which may be of interest which I have listed below. The site doesn't indicate whether you can see the original, though presumably you can if you visit Belfast. You used to be able to ask PRONI to send you photocopies of originals, and I do have the first five listed below, and fascinating they are!

1. 16 June 1786  Assignment of the Mill Tenancy in old town of Larne. Consideration £8.0.0 John White, Larne, to James McElhago, Larne (PRONI ref: D300/2/1/97/21);

2. 1 Aug 1786  Lease of premises for 3 lives or 31 years from 1 Nov 1783. Consideration £ Rent £1.10.2 James McElhago, Larne, Co, Ant. to Charles Buchanan, Ballyvallagh, Co.Ant., Larne, Co. Ant. (PRONI ref: D542/4);

3. 29 Nov 1822  Counterpart Lease from Arthur, Viscount Dungannon to James McIlhago, junior, of Ballytober, farmer, for 31 years of 10 acres in Ballytober, Island Magee, Co. Ant.. Annual Rent £16. Owes multure to the mill of Island Magee (PRONI ref: D788/721);

4. 20 Dec 1824  Counterpart Lease from Arthur, Viscount Dungannon to William McIlhago of Ballytober, farmer, for 31 years of 3 acres in Ballytober. Annual rent of £5. Labour services and multure to the mill of Island Magee (PRONI ref: D788/931);

5. 22 Dec 1824 Counterpart Lease from Arthur, Viscount Dungannon to Samuel McIlhago of Portmuck, farmer, for 31 years of 10 acres in Portmuck, Co. Antrim. Annual rent £12. Labour and multure to the mill of Island Magee (PRONI ref: D788/953);

6. 1938  Mr. W.J. McIlhagga. Claim against his former representative in Courtrai (Mr. Wilson) (PRONI ref: COM/62/1/686);

7. Dec 1950  Belfast Association of Engineers: printed lecture: "Dynamometers and The Measurement of Power" by D.S. McIlhagger, M.Sc., Ph.D., AMIEE. (PRONI ref: D2703/2/7) (also D4063/9/75).

Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Street Directory update

From time to time I have referred to facts about people which can be obtained from a Street Directory. The Public Record Office of Northern Ireland (PRONI) updated its Street Directory page about six weeks ago, so I looked for any references to our clan name. There were entries in the Directories for 1870, 1877, 1890 and 1892. The following is a summary of the information:

1870 Belfast Directory

57 Boundary Street, Saml. M'Ilhaggo, car owner; p.218;

1877 Directory for Belfast & Ulster

Alphabetical Directory, p. 433:

M'Ilhagga, G, Clerk, 66 Eglinton Street,
M'Ilhagga, John, Clerk, 99 Charles Street South,
M'Ilhagga, Saml. Flaxbuyer, 33 North Queen Street,
M'Ilhagga & Co., Mill Furnishers, Oil Merchants & Commission Agents, 5 & 6 Albert Square;
M'Ilhagga, Nathaniel O. (of M'Ilhaggo & Co.), Antrim Road

1884 Directory for Belfast & Ulster

38 Lavinia Street, M'Ilhagga, W., Commercial Traveller; p. 247;

1890 Directory for Belfast & Ulster, p. 664

Mill and Railway Furnishers:
M'Ilhagga & Co, 84 to 88 Great Patrick Street;

1892 Directory for Belfast & Ulster, pp. 96 and 159

Belfast Homing Pigeon Society.
The objects of this Society are the promotion, training and improving of the homing pigeon. The Society has races during the Summer season. The subscription is 5s. per annum, with a small entry fee. President - Lavers M. Ewart, Esq, J.P.; Committee [includes] J. M'Ilhagga.

Streets: (Old) Cavehill Road. M'Ilhagga, N.O. Mill Furnisher.

Sunday, 24 February 2013


Apart from the 1901 Census anomaly which treats 'Mc" as a middle name, and so for a time prevented me finding McIlhagga in England and Wales, I have noted several instances of our full clan name being used in this way, though have not before attempted to bring all the instances together. A recent author on names calls surnames used as middle name 'Surmids', hence the title I've used for today's blog.

First, however, let me mention one or two notable examples of other middle names used by clan members. Adam White McElhago (b.1831) and John White McElhago (b.1834) have their mother's maiden name as their middle name. She must have been very influential in their lives as this line, a generation later, when they emigrated to New Zealand, adopted White as their surname, as they do to this day. They have, however, in at least one family brought back McElhago as a middle name. There are a number of other maternal names used in this way though none which have 'taken over' a family. These include McCulloch, McClurkin, McClure, Ingram, Carroll and Wilson.

If we now move on to versions of the clan name being a 'Surmid' we find the 1911 Census has a Samuel McIlhaga Johnston aged 6. Was this his mother's surname? Probably yes. The internet site GenealogyBank cites Evelyn V. McIlhagga Milligan who died in 1999. From where did she get her middle name? In earlier blogs I have mentioned John and Sarah McIlhagga of Belfast having a grandson John McIlhagga.... John McIlhagga Collins (1945-82) was the son of Albert Collins and Agnes McClure McIlhagga of Glasgow. Marion McIlhagga Meldrum was daughter of William Broadfoot Meldrum and Marion (Minnie) McIlhagga. Robert Dunlop McIlhagga and Annie Thompson of Castlequarter had a granddaughter Annie McIlhagga..... Mrs. McIlhagga and the late Mr. McIlhagga of Wales have two grandchildren, Cameron McIlhagga.... and Catrin McIlhagga.... William McIlhagga Boyd was the son of James Boyd and Jane McIlhagga (b. 1873). John McCalmont and Martha Forbes of Islandmagee had a son Samuel McIlhagga McCalmont.

The following names can be found in published lists of births, marriages and deaths:
Jane McIlhagga Rush (b.1920), Belfast;
Agnes McIlhagga Clarke (b. 1908), Ballymoney;
John McIlhaggard Wilson (b.1895), Belfast;
Elizabeth McIlhaggs McPhee (b.1910), Ontario;
John McIlhagga Forbes (d.1894);
Robert McIlhagga Kennett;
Ryan McIlhagga Diamond;
George McIlhagga Whiteside.

I would be very glad to know of other examples of 'Surmids'.

Friday, 22 February 2013

Charity Passed On

A further cutting from an Australian newspaper follows up the one I published in this blog on 14th February about a train crash. I think we may be proud of the action taken by John McIlhagger.

A transcription is as follows:

At the time of the Traveston railway disaster one of the victims was Mrs. Isabella M'Ilhagger, of Edina Street, North Bundaberg, and her husband Mr. John M'Ilhagger lodged a claim for the full compensation of £2000. The Department temporised for a long time and at last tendered through the Public Curator a cheque for £46.1s.6. Mr. M'Ilhagger and his eldest son, Mr. Joseph M'Ilhagger, also a resident of the city, felt that this was more of the nature of a sop than compensation when it was remembered that in Parliament a statement was made that £11,000 had been distributed. Mr. M'Ilhagger told the "Bunderberg News and Mail" that in the circumstances he thought the proper destination of such "charity" was a charitable fund. He chose the Ambulance as that and on Friday night banked the cheque to Superintendant Miller for the use of the Brigade.

Wednesday, 20 February 2013

Irvine Harbour Trust

The Irvine (Ayrshire) Harbour Trust has a Harbour Book detailing the cargoes in and out of Irvine from 1821-1824. Under the code Gr1/18/16 there are just two entries for the ship 'Jean' [which I think may actually have been 'Jane'] whose captain's surname was McElhago.

In July 1822 her 'cargo in' from Drogeda was simply listed as 'Ballast'. She then left Irvine on 20 August 1822, also for Drogeda, her 'cargo out' being 'Coals'.  Her tonnage was 106. The Rate Charged is listed as 3. I don't know whether this number is a code or whether it means £3.0.0.

I think the captain must have been James McElhago who would have been 31 years old at the time. He had been married to Jane Harvey in 1819 and by 1822 they had had their first daughter, Elizabeth. In his profession as seafarer and captain, James was following in the footsteps of his father Robert.

Interestingly the same ship (here called 'Jane) is referred to in the 'History, Directory & Gazeteer of the County Palatinate of Lancaster', by Edward Baines, Vol. 1, Liverpool 1824. Under Coasting Trades to and from Liverpool to Drogeda we have listed the 'Jane', captain James McElhago, though with no further information.

Monday, 18 February 2013

Death in Cullybackey

Yesterday (17th February) Elsie McIlhagga (nee Johnston) passed away. Elsie would have been 97 next month. She was the dearly loved wife of the late William McIlhagga of Ballyweaney. He was the son of Robert Dunlop McIlhagga and Annie Thomson. William died in 1975 and his twin brother John in 1979. William and Elsie had three children, Irene and twins Florence and Maurice. I heard this news from Mary in Australia, a niece of William's. She pointed me to the full notice in which also names Elsie as much-loved mother-in-law of Albert and Barbara and dear grandmother and great-grandmother. A service is to take place on Tuesday (tomorrow) at 1pm in D.J.M. Robinson & Son Funeral Home, Cloughmills, followed by interment in The Family Burying Ground, Clough. Donations in lieu of flowers have been requested to The Alzheimer Society c/o the Funeral Directors, 121 Culcrum Road, Coughmills, BT44 9DT.

Saturday, 16 February 2013

Fasti Ecclesiae Scoticanae

The 'Fasti' is the roll of Scottish Ministers and their succession from the Reformation.In the volume containing entries for the North Isles, and listed under Rousay and Egilsay, two small islands north of the Orkney Mainland, we find John Williamson, for me a second cousin, once removed. His entry reads as follows:

JOHN WILLIAMSON, born Greenock, 8th Oct. 1886, son of Joseph W. and Janet M'Illhagga; educated at Bible Training Institute, Glasgow, Univs. of Glasgow and Edinburgh; assistant at Newhall, Glasgow, 1914-15; on War Service (Ministry of Munitions) 1915-17; ord. to Free Church, Culter, Lanarkshire, 21st May 1917; trans. and adm. 8th Feb. 1921; trans. to Kirkfieldbank, Lanark, 5th Dec. 1922. Marr. 5th Aug. 1912, Mary Cecilia Cummings, Blairmore, Argyll (born 23rd April 1888), and has issue - Mary Cecilia Janet, born 22nd Nov. 1913; John Alexander, born 20th Feb. 1920; Charles Kerr, born 1st June 1924. 

The only detail to note is that his mother's surname is misspelled. It should read McIlhagga (correct on John's birth entry in the Statutory Registers on ScotlandsPeople). Janet was the sixth daughter of John McIlhagga and Mary Stewart (b. 1866/7) of Greenock. John had migrated from Ballycloughan in County Antrim, the second son of William McI. and Agnes McCosh.

Thursday, 14 February 2013

A Correction & Victim of Two Accidents

Four days ago I included an Australian newspaper cutting from Sydney about 'Robert McIllhagga' being injured when a smoke stack collapsed. I made the assumption that this happened to Samuel Robert McIlhagger who had been working for Sydney Council for the previous two years. I'm afraid I was wrong! I've just heard from an Australian correspondent that the story of the accident had been passed down from father to son and that the Robert concerned was Robert James McIlhagga who went to sea as a boy from Ireland and eventually emigrated to Sydney. In the time of the Great Depression (it was 1928) maritime work was scarce and the 'chimney stack' demolition was a temporary job. Apparently Robert avoided being killed because he was working nearer the chimney than his fellow worker who was killed, and the bricks fell out at an angle and not straight down.

This gives me the opportunity of showing another cutting, this time from The Queenslander (Brisbane, Queensland) published on Saturday 20th June 1925.

This begins by referring to 'The body of Mrs. M'Illhagger'. I can (I think accurately this time) identify her as Isabella, formerly Humphreys, who was buried on 11th June, 1925. She lost her life in a rail smash the day before, this date I take from 'june 10' on the cutting. She was the second wife of John McIlhagger who survived her by two years. After his first wife, Mary Jane Hull, died in 1886, he sent 'back home' to Ireland for Isabella who had also been widowed. She came to Australia with the eight children she had had by her first husband and it must have been two of her grandchildren from that line who are also referred to in the cutting, Isabella and Mavis Gold. The whole cutting reads as follows:

VICTIM OF TWO ACCIDENTS, BUNDABERG, June 10. The body of Mrs. M'Illhagger, the aged lady [she was 80] who lost her life in the disaster, was brought to Bundaberg this evening for interment to-morrow. Her two granddaughters, Misses Isabella and Mavis Gold, from South Australia, whom the deceased lady went to Brisbane to meet, and who sustained serious injuries, arrived by the same train and were admitted to the Bundaberg Hospital. Miss Isabella Gold, who sustained a broken leg and other injuries, survived a railway accident at North Bundaberg 24 years ago. At the time she was an infant. 16 months old, and crawled out on to the line. She was run over by a passing train, having two fingers of the right hand and half of her right foot, cut off.

Tuesday, 12 February 2013

Urban Dictionary

I am fascinated by the internet site called 'urbandictionary' . It is advertised as 'the dictionary you wrote'. Apparently it has been building up since 1999 to its present 7 million definitions. If you look up 'McIlhagga' you will find the following, which is I think an accurate definition, and which I may add has clearly been taken from this blog:

Mcilhagga: It is generally accepted that McIlhagga is a Scottish name though its Gaelic form is found in both Scotland and Ireland: Mac Ghille Sagairt, 'the Son of the Devotee of the Priest'. It is possible that the priest was Mochuda, otherwise St. Carthage, Abbott and Bishop of Lismore in AD 555.

People can add comments and one droll fellow has added 'Mcilhagga: it's damn boring to be the son of the devotee, I think I'll take a gap year'. The definition claims to have been submitted by someone who calls themselves 'acoldcupoftea', on Jul 24, 2011.

Sunday, 10 February 2013

Two comments and an Accident

I have recently added two comments to earlier blog entries, first to that on 14th July last entitled Shoemakers. Also I've added to 26th April 2009 a comment  about an 1851 advertisement from an Australian newspaper about the ship Stata which I referred to in the blog.

Today I have published a cutting from another Australian paper, The Barrier Miner, from Sydney, on Friday 9th March 1928. It is digitised in the excellent Australian site called 'Trove'. It reads as follows:

John Paull (42) of Paddington, was killed and Robert M'Illhagga, of Ranwick, was hurt when portions of a smoke stack at the Prince of Wales Hospital, at Ranwick, collapsed yesterday. The men were on a platform painting the chimney and when the stack collapsed they were hurled to the roof of a shed 20ft. below. Paull died a few minutes later.

We can note that Robert's surname was misspelled. He was in fact Samuel Robert McIlhagger, son of George McIlhagger and Mary Jane Boyd. From 1926 he had been working for the Sydney County Council. He had married Elizabeth Lewis in 1919 in Belfast before they emigrated. He died many years later, aged 87. He and Elizabeth were the parents of Florence and Norah who both served in the Women's Royal Air Force in the Second World War.

Friday, 8 February 2013

Larne siblings

St. Cedna's Churchyard, Larne

Some time ago I downloaded on to my computer's free 'kindle' a book by George Rutherford called Old Families of Larne & District. It contains mostly records of the inscriptions on gravestones, and 'lo and behold' there is indeed one clan stone, which gives us new information. It is in the Larne and Inver Old Graveyard at St. Cedna's Church in the townland of Town Parks and parish of Larne. Those with good memories will recall that this townland is where in 1861 a George McIlhaigh was landlord to Daniel McConnell in Newton Street, a site which I suspect he had taken over from his father, James McIlhaggo who had a lease on a property there when he was first a Mill Bleacher and later a Publican.

The stone is one of those pictured above in the grounds of St. Cedna's which is at the end of Church Street just south of the Inver river and the modern bypass to Larne Harbour. The stone has been moved from its original place and set against the east boundary wall. This is the only medieval burying ground in the combined parishes of Larne and Inver to continue in use to modern times. The oldest stone dates from 1677 and all the inscriptions in the graveyard and on memorials in the church building have been copied.

Our stone reads 'Here lieth the body of Agnes McElh[e]go who died July 27th 1819 aged 17 years. Also two of her brothers viz. George and James'. Although very short this inscription tells us a number of things. First that Agnes existed and must have been born about 1802. Also that George and James were siblings and that she had at least one other brother who is buried elsewhere. My researches into Larne and into nearby Islandmagee tell me that there were indeed two other brothers, Samuel and William. Samuel is buried at Ballypriormore and possibly that is where William is also buried.

I think Agnes and possibly George (see below) were the youngest siblings and a somewhat late addition to the family. The oldest brothers were James (born about 1778), Samuel (1780) and William (1782). At present I cannot be sure when George was born and sadly the stone does not give us burial dates for either James or George. There are no extant church burial records for 1819 when Agnes died, but they do exist from 1826 so might include George or James. Another trip to PRONI is required! 

I must now add one more apparently unrelated fact that I have just discovered by dint of putting M'Elhago into Google. There was a brief notice in a digitised newspaper, the Otago Times for 10 June 1868, headed 'Missing Friends', which says 'George McElhago, a letter from home for you, at Mr. Macassey's Office, Dunedin'. Now Dunedin is the town in New Zealand to which the McElhago family from Dunbar and Edinburgh (and originally from Irvine) emigrated. However by 1868 they had changed their surname to the maternal 'White' and in any case there was no George amongst them, at least to the best of our knowledge. So, was the 'Missing Friend' George in fact George McElhago from Larne who was visiting cousins in New Zealand? This is quite possible for we do have a George McIlhaggo's death in Larne in 1880 aged 76 who could be both the 'missing friend' and the brother of Agnes. He would have been born about 1804, a couple of years after Agnes. If this is the case then, most interesting of all, we have a potential family link between Scotland and Ireland.

Wednesday, 6 February 2013

National Archives of Australia

If one does a Record Search on the Australian Government's National Archives site, one comes up with eleven items related to our clan name, any of which can be ordered (for a price). They are as follows:

1. McIlhagger, Henry [Box 28], Sydney 1948;

2. McIlhagga, John, Jean [nee Anderson Hay]; Application by British migrants for assisted passage, Perth 1952;

3. McIlhagga, Robert, Dorothy, Basil; Application by British migrants for assisted passage, Perth 1947;

4. McIlhagger, Norah Georgina. Service Number - 109564. Date of Birth: 21 Mar 1923. Place of Birth, Belfast, Ireland. Place of Enlistment - Sydney. Next of kin, McIlhagger, Samuel. Canberra 1939-1948;

5. McIlhagger, Florence Jane. Service Number - 108337. Date of Birth: 14 Mar 1920. Place of Birth, Belfast, Ireland. Place of Enlistment - Sydney. Next of kin, McIlhagger, Samuel. Canberra 1939-1948;

6. McIlhagga, William John. Service Number - NX35826. Date of Birth 05 Oct 1900. Place of Birth, Bathgate, Scotland. Place of Enlistment - Wagga, NSW. Next of kin, McIlhagga, Anne. Canberra 1939-1948;

7. Craig, Benjamin Wilson. Service number - NX28837. Date of Birth, 22 Dec 1900. Place of Birth, Belfast, Ireland. Place of Enlistment - Paddington, NSW. Next of kin, McIlhagga, Sarah. Canberra 1939-1948.

8. McIlhagga, Jean Anderson [Naturalisation File] Perth, 1966;

9. Application for registration of a design by George R. McIlhagga for Safety razor blades - Class 2. Canberra, 1933;

10. McIlhagge, E - DOB 6/4/1924 [Australian Women's Land Army history card]. Sydney 1942-1945;

11. McIlhagga, John. Perth, 1959-1966.

Monday, 4 February 2013

Irvine M.I.

Recently the website of a professional genealogist in Scotland mentioned a lady in Edinburgh who had taken photographs of memorial stones including those in Irvine Old Churchyard in Ayrshire. I emailed Muriel Adam who kindly sent me the above photograph with permission to reproduce it. Way back on 26 April 2009 I recorded the wording on this stone, and now we can see it as it exists in Irvine, thanks to Muriel Adam. Isn't it interesting how, except for the first three lines, the carving is not centred on the stone, though some of the other lines are indented. The wording is as follows:

22ND MAY, 1870, AGED 48 YEARS.
6TH JULY, 1832, AGED 42 YEARS,
21ST MAY, 1863, AGED 74 YEARS.
IN 1865, AGED 37 YEARS.
1880, AGED 54 YEARS.

Friday, 1 February 2013

That Ross name again!

I have written before about the possible, though remote link between our clan family name and the family name of the Earls of Ross, which is McIntagairt (and its variants). For the time being I have kept in my Clan Probate Index the 1667 Will of Farquhar McIntagairt in Inverness, Scotland, though have often thought that I should delete it. However, perhaps not just yet, for I have in my own family tree computer programme the ability to bring on to the screen a very useful 'reminder' list of relationships which includes, on today's date, 1st February, the death 762 years ago of Sir Farquhar MacIntsacairt, Earl of Ross.

Sir Farquhar died in Tain in 1251/2. Now I have to say immediately that he was not a blood relationship of mine, though his wife was. We do not know her name, though we do know that she was the eldest daughter of William de Bruce, 3rd Lord of Annandale. She and I have as common ancestors her parents, William de Bruce and Christina Stewart, daughter of Walter, High Steward of Scotland. They were among my many 23rd Great grandparents, which makes their daughter a distant great aunt. This in turn makes me a blood relative of the offspring of her and her husband, Farquhar MacIntsacairt.

It is of course possible that he was an ancestor of the Farquhar McIntagairt whose name I have for the time being kept on our Probate Index, though I admit that I have not proved this to be the case. So perhaps I will not dismiss the Ross family just yet. They and their name go in intriguing me!

Tuesday, 29 January 2013

Scotland's 1905 Valuation Roll

On 1st April last I reported that ScotlandsPeople had put on line the Scotland 1915 Valuation of Property Roll, on which there were five clan heads of households. They have now put on line the 1905 Roll. I put the same 'McIlhag*' in to the search box and this time received four results, three the same people as in the 1915 Roll (Clark, James and George). They are again all Tenant Occupiers of Houses, as follows:

1. William MacIlhage, 87 Burnhouse Street, Glasgow; Ref: VR102/578/773;
2. James MacIlhagga, Upper Cartsburn Street, Greenock; Ref: VR36/61/51;
3. Clark MacIlhaggy, 13 Grace Street, Govan, Lanark; Ref: VR107/227/624;
4. George MacIlhago, 40 Murans Street, Glasgow; VR102/578/347.

Although the transcription spells Mc as Mac this is not necessarily the case in the original document. It is interesting to note variations in the spelling of the surname, even between 1905 and 1915, and we can note that only George was living in the same house ten years later.