My Haggerty ancestors, coal miners from Ayrshire
My great great grandmother on the Strachan side was Margaret Haggerty, who was born in 1808. Researching my Haggerty ancestors has proved tricky, and I haven’t discovered all that many of them, but that’s frequently how it goes when your starting point is prior to official registration in 1855.
Margaret Haggerty was born 16 March 1808 but wasn’t baptised until 20 June 1810 at Muirkirk, Ayrshire. She most probably came from a coal mining family and her father was probably born in Ireland. According to her OPR baptism record, her parents Joseph Haggerty and Jean Orr were residents of Glenbuck.
Glenbuck is a remote location and, in the past, was predominantly a coal mining village. Coal was mined there for the Glenbuck Iron Company which was formed in 1794 and operated until 1799, when it ran into financial difficulties. It was brought back into production in 1805, then ran into trouble again and ceased production in 1813. These dates fit into what is known of Joseph Haggerty and his wife Jean: they had children baptised in the parish of Muirkirk in 1808, 1810 and 1812 but then had another child baptised in Irvine in 1816. It looks as if they moved to Glenbuck in around 1805 due to work opportunities and left in 1813 when mining ceased. Today Glenbuck is the site of a huge open cast mine.
Joseph Haggerty and Jean Orr (dates unknown)
Sadly, I’ve not been able to find out anything about Joseph Haggerty or Jean Orr as they both appear to have died before the 1841 census, and there is no marriage record for them to be found in the OPR. It’s likely that Joseph Haggerty was born in Ireland, as Haggerty is a common surname in the Donegal and Derry area. As for Jean Orr – she was probably born in Ayrshire but so were lots of others named Jean Orr and as I don’t have any dates for her it’s impossible to know which one is the correct one.
However, there is a death in 1879 at Hurlford of Jean Richmond age 49, wife of John Richmond coal miner. On the death certificate, which a researcher put online as part of their family tree, it says she was the illegitimate daughter of Robert Pollock and Jean Hagerty ms Orr. Jean Pollock would have been born about 1821 but there is no baptism for her in the OPR.
The illegitimate birth of Jean in about 1821 means Joseph Haggerty probably died between 1816 and 1820, and his widow had an illegitimate child with Robert Pollock in 1821. Jean Haggerty ms Orr then seems to have died before 1841 as there’s no further trace of her. Some family trees on Ancestry have her attached to a Jean Orr in the 1841 census and one in the 1851 census, but I don’t think they’re right.
Margaret Haggerty 1808-1846, married to Robert Strachan
My great great grandmother was born 16 March 1808 but wasn’t baptised until 20 June 1810 at Muirkirk, Ayrshire so may not have been born there. The family moved to the Irvine area when she was about 8 years old. In 1828 she married Robert Strachan in the parish of Dundonald, which most likely means that both their families were at Shewalton Colliery. Margaret and Robert can be found in the 1841 census at Shewalton Colliery, with 8 children aged from 14 years to 8 months.
Between 1842 and 1846 the family moved to the parish of Kilwinning. Sadly, Margaret died of fever on 4 July 1846 age 30 (a contact looked this up in the parish records), which is the same month as the death of her brother-in-law Peter Strachan. Both deaths were possibly due to a typhus epidemic. Margaret’s widow Robert Strachan remarried four years later.
Hugh Haggerty 1810-1849, married to Janet Muir
Hugh Haggerty was born in Muirkirk on 24 June 1810 to Joseph Haggerty and Janet Orr, and became a coal miner. In 1837 he married Janet Muir at Dundonald, and when the 1841 census was taken they were living at Fullerton, parish of Dundonald, with their daughter Jean/Janet and Janet Muir’s younger sister Ann. Hugh and Janet had three more children – Hugh, James and Adam – but Hugh Haggerty died about 1848, and may well be yet another victim of the typhus epidemic.
His widow Janet Haggerty can be found in the 1851 census, a muslin sewer and pauper living at Boat Stabs, Dundonald with her four children Jean, Hugh, James and Adam, her widowed and pauper mother Ann Muir, and the same sister Ann who was living with her in 1841. By 1861, Janet has moved to 38 Bensley Square, Kilwinning and is living with sons Hugh, James and Adam (daughter Jean has married) but there is also John Haggerty son age 4 born Irvine. This John is a mystery – he was born well after Jean’s husband Hugh died, but even though he was born after the start of official registration I’ve not been able to find a birth record for him. If he is Janet’s son then he must have been illegitimate, but there is no trace of him after the 1861 census. Also with Janet in 1861 is her mother Ann ms Hunter, age 66 and a sea captain’s widow. In 1869 a Jean Haggerty age 42 migrated to the United States on the same ship as her married daughter Jean Shirkie (the names Jean, Jane and Janet tend to be interchangeable in Scotland). In the 1880 US census Janet is at Contra Costa, California, keeping house for her sons Hugh and Adam, but no further trace of her can be found.
Hugh and Janet’s daughter Jean married Stewart Shirkey (although he’s named Thomas Sharkey on the marriage certificate), a miner. They married in Dalmellington in 1857 and in 1861 were at 13 Bensley Square, just a few doors from Jean’s mother and brothers, with two young sons Edward and Hugh. In 1869 Jane Sharkey sailed to New York along with her children Edward, Hugh, Peter and Janet, and her mother Jean Haggerty. The Shirkey family (or Shirkie as they became in the US) did well for themselves: they settled in Clinton and Terre Haute, Indiana, and the sons of Stewart and Jean Shirkie set up Shirkie Coal Company and West Clinton Coal Company. Jean had 11 children and died in Terre Haute in 1919 at 80 years of age.
Hugh Haggerty and Janet Muir had three sons: Hugh Muir Haggerty born 1842, James Haggerty born 1844 and Adam Aitken Haggerty born 1848. Hugh migrated to America in 1866 and can be found in the 1870 US census as a miner at Coal Mines, Russell, Kansas. His brother Adam migrated to America in 1870. In the 1880 US census they can both be found at Judsonville, Contra Costa, California living with their mother Janet, who is their housekeeper. All three of them then disappear from the records. James initially stayed in Kilwinning and married Janet Maxwell and had two children, Hugh and Janet. Then he and his family migrated in 1880. He can be found in the 1900 US census in Dick Johnson, Clay, Indiana, a widow living with his daughter Jeannie who had married John Blanchard. James’ son Hugh is living nearby with his wife Bertha and daughter Ruth.
John Haggerty 1812-???, married to Mary Gogles or Coghill
John Haggerty was born 1812 and baptised at Muirkirk, son of Joseph Haggerty and Jean Orr. He married Mary Gogles on 11 December 1835 at Dundonald and in 1841 is in the census at Fullerton Street, Dundonald, living close to his brothers, with his wife Mary and daughter Ellen age 1. Helen (or Ellen) Haggerty was born 16 March 1840 at Dundonald, to John Haggerty and Mary Gogles. The family then proved difficult to find, until their daughter Ellen turned up in 1851 living in Glasgow her uncle Daniel Coghill and his family. That’s when it dawned on me that Mary Gogle was in fact Mary Coghill – say both names quickly in an Irish accent and you can see how the Dundonald kirk clerk got her name wrong. Finding Helen also resulted in finding out she had a younger sister Jane, who was born in around 1843 at Irvine. But in 1851 there is no sign of either John Haggerty or his wife Mary. Did they both before 1851?
Ellen (Helen) Haggerty is a domestic servant in 1861 and the married Andrew Cassidy in Glasgow in 1868. They lived in South Shields, England during the 1870s where four of their children were born, but were back in Glasgow for the birth of their fifth child in 1880. They can then be tracked through the census in 1881 and 1891, and are living with one of their married daughters in 1891.
Joseph Haggerty 1816-1877 married to Janet Aitken
Joseph Haggerty was born 17 July 1816 at Irvine, son of Joseph Haggerty and Jean Orr. He married Janet Aitken at Dundonald on 19 February 1836. They’re at Fullerton Street, Dundonald in 1841 and at 11 Bensley Sqaure in 1861, without any children. No sign of them in Ayrshire in 1851, but there’s a couple called Joseph and Janet Haggerty living in West Ham, London in 1851, without children and both born in Scotland. Could that be them? If it is, what were they doing in London? Joseph was a coal miner so it’s an unlikely location for them.
Joseph’s wife Janet Aitken died in 1866 at Kilmarnock , and Joseph remarried in 1867 to Elizabeth Durham. They are in Kilmarnock in 1871 with no children of their own but with two children who must have been Elizabeth’s by a previous marriage. Joseph Haggerty died in 1877 age 61, still a coal miner and with no evidence of having had any children. The informant for his death was John Richmond, half nephew, who was the son of his half sister Jean Pollock.
Jean Pollock (Jean Haggerty) 1821-1871
Jean Pollock was born in 1821, the illegitimate daughter of Robert Pollock and Jean Haggerty ms Orr, born after Jean’s husband Joseph Haggerty had died. In 1841 Jean Pollock age 20 is a female servant in Irvine, and in about 1845 married John Richmond, although I haven’t found a marriage in the OPR. John and Jean Richmond can be tracked in the census at Kenneth’s Row, Kilwinning in 1851 and 1861, and they had a large family of ten children. They lived in the same miners’ rows as many of the Strachans they were related to via the marriage of Jean half sister Margaret, and they named one of their children Mary Strachan Richmond. Jean Richmond ms Pollock died in 1871 at the age of 49 in Hurlford of tuberculosis.
I haven’t yet researched any further forwards, but the Haggerty line is clearly full of coal miners who had mixed fortunes in life. some died young, some stayed poor, some migrated to American and can’t (yet) be traced and at least one migrated and did very well for herself and her children.