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Hints from Online Family Trees

   I’ve continued to work on my research plan for the Moag family.  My main goal is to identify the parents of William S. Moag.  Because it’s an unusual name I’ve collected the names of all of the Moags in the online church records, the civil registration indexes, wills, directories, freeholder and land records (Griffith’s and the Tithe).  I’ve been able to put together family groups, but I still can’t find any baptismal record for William or the name of his mother.  Based on last week’s letter, I think I have the names of at least some of his siblings, but I need additional information from the church records to prove I have the correct individuals.  I’m hoping that at least one of the sibling records might name the mother.

   I’m going to begin with the records from the Loughaghery Presbyterian Church.  William was married there, and all of his children were baptized there. He was also buried in the cemetery at this church, which I visited in 1997 and took a picture of his gravestone.  I sent a copy of this picture to a cousin who posted it on Ancestry (without attribution) and it can not be found in every Moag tree online!  The flower in front of the stone represents another grave of an unrelated person.   However, Cousin Andrew, who I met last year in Belfast, told me the stone is no longer there.  

   The records for the Loughaghery church begin in 1801 for baptisms and marriages, however burials don’t start until 1868.  According to the IFHF, these records are included in their online database…so why isn’t William there?  I plan to go through the microfilms to see if there are pages missing or if there is any indication that the records are incomplete.  There’s also a chance that the name was mis-transcribed in a way that I haven’t been able to find it.  But there’s more!  The microfilms at PRONI also include Session minutes from 1801-1896; Weekly Collections from 1801-1845; Sacrament Accounts 1806-59; List of Communicants 1924-60 and Transfer Certificates 1808-42.  The Moag family could have been named in any of these records.   According to the Freeholders records, John Moag of Ballycrune was a Freeholder as early as 1813 so his family should be there.   I also plan to check the burial records for the Annahilt Church of Ireland parish.  

   After working through these records, I’ll move to the records for the Boardmills Church in the parish of Killaney since this is where I found the earliest record of two children of John Moag and Mary Petticrew.  

   I have a lot of other records I want to check, including Freeholders, and a Coroner’s Inquest for an Ellen Moag in 1894.  

   One of the steps for creating a research plan is to check to see what research has already been done.  There haven’t been a lot of books or articles written on the Moag family, so online Family Trees are another place to check.  I always take the information from trees as hints unless there is a source which I can confirm independently.  But it does give me a place to start.   So what did I find?

   One tree has the parents of William S. Moag listed as John Moag and Mary McClean - no source.   I found two marriages for Mary McClean/McClain but neither of them married a Moag.  I’ll add the name McClean to my research to do list when I’m looking through  church records.  Although there were 133 McCleans listed in Griffiths in County Down (which I realize was 40 years later) there were none in Annahilt, Saintfield or Killaney.  I’ll check the Tithe records for these names at PRONI. 

   Going back to the letter last week, I found a Robert Moag in the 1880 census in Niagara, NY born 1831 whose parents were born  in Ireland. There was also a Samuel in the same location born in 1834.  Robert had a son Willie (perhaps the William who wrote to James Moag.)   I found a couple of trees naming this individual with his parents as Samuel Moag and Clarissa Belvin.  Samuel’s father is listed as William.  So it’s the same names repeating.  Again, unfortunately, there are no sources.  So I now have some additional names to research.

   Finally, I have another tree that shows Stewart Moag, b. 1823 in Ireland d. 1 Apr 1897 in Lanark, Ontario, Canada.  This appears to be the teacher referred to in James’ letter.  

   So I have lots of pieces of information and hopefully I can pull some of this together during my time in Ireland.  

   Happy Hunting!

© Donna M. Moughty 2007- 2017