After over thirty years researching family history, I think that I have finally cracked how we have Hunter in the Magill names.
Family lore had two different stories as to why our surname is Magill;
The first one is that Samuel (Hunter), murdered a man called Magill and took the Magill name and high-tailed it out of Ireland.
The second one is that he took his mother’s maiden name of Magill and left Ireland because of reasons unknown.
While both of these were interesting, I took them with a grain of salt. Samuel wasn’t above telling ‘stories.’
In February I was in Salt Lake City, home to the BIGGEST FAMILY HISTORY LIBRARY in the world and have looked into Samuel’s birth. We know that he was born in County Antrim between 1844-1849. This has been gleaned from family lore and his death certificate.
Well before I arrived in Salt Lake City, I found a birth of one Samuel Magill, son of a James Magill and Mary.
I then looked for their marriage and found this.
James Magill m Mary Ann Hunter, 1850. This sent tingles down my spine. Could this really be the answer?
I headed to B2 and the Irish records. Microfilm number 101313 holds the key.
The record had some words I couldn’t decipher but the important bits were there.
Name Age Condition Occupation Abode Father
James Magill Full Bachelor Mechanic Ballymoney James Magill
Mary Ann Hunter Full Spinster --------- Ballymoney William Hunter
Parish of Belfast, County of Antrim.
Presbyterian by Licence.
Date 29 March 1850.
Okay, this give us the names, James, William, Mary Ann and Hunter. So are they THE ONES?
It took some searching for Samuel’s birth but this is what I found.
Samuel Magill born 27 May 1849, Ballymoney Parish, Antrim, Ireland to James Magill and Mary.
I know what you are thinking they married 1850 and he was born 1849, really?
A note at the front of the Baptism Book reads;
Parish Church of Ballymoney.
Baptisms and Births 1807 -1898.
The spelling of a Name or Parish may vary quite markedly in different records. The name was often spelt as it sounded to the writer; therefore it is advisable to note carefully variations of spelling.
Some entries do not appear to be recorded in their correct order – many entries (single & multiple) appear in the register at much later dates.
I spoke to several other credited genealogists. All agree that with the information I have and what I have found, I can make the creditable assumption that Samuel Magill born 1849 is the son of James and Mary Magill and probably OUR Samuel.
It is also noted that in the baptism register that there is only one surname give, meaning he was legitimate. I did see births where both parent’s names were listed and the word illegitimate was used.
So do you think I’ve found Samuel?
Bye for now,