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!