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.

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