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.