Introduction: when my mother died in 1983 I asked if I could have the few family papers. The only Hagan official documents were grandfather's Ben's short birth certificte and his marriage certificate. From that I found his father had been in the 13th Hussars regiment. I obtained a full copy of his birth certificate that gave me his mother's name - Mary Snape. After more than 20 years I found a Census entry for Ben senior: 1871 Preishill Barracks, Edinburgh. From that, his detailed army records gave much detail from his birthplace aged 18 to his death in 1890.
Aims for my Hagan family history.
Since then there has been some progress but no definitive answers to most. See the bottom of this page.
My paper trail is very limited. My father, Lloyd John, was born in Nelson, Lancahire on 3rd Ausust 1915 and he died aged 67. His father, Benjamin, was born at 106 Gregson Street, Everton, Liverpool on 24 January 1888 and he died in Nelson aged 63 years.
Benjamin's father, also Benjamin, was born around 1850. He enlisted to join the 13th Hussars at Clones and gave his place of birth in Ballybay, County Monaghan and his age on 15 January 1866 as 18 year but on both his marriage and death certificates it appears he was only 16 upon enlisting. He gave his occupation as a baker. There is documentation of his life from then until his death on 14 October 1890 at Everton, Liverpool, aged about 40 years. His discharge papers, 10th June 1884, completed 2 March 1886, gave his next of kin mother Sarah Ann living in Belfast, Antrim and his brother John living in Dublin Street, Monaghan. Upon marriage, 27 April 1887 he gave his father's name John, deceased publican (licenced victualler).
An 1856 the Ballybay register gave John Hagan publican and confectioner. It also gave "Hagan, Mrs" a dressmaker. (In 1870 the Ulster Directory recorded for Ballybay a Sarah Ann Hagan - dressmaker, no John).
I have no further Hagan paper trail. February 2021
When my mother died in 1983 I asked her for and was given our family papers. Amongst them was grandfather Ben's short birth certificate. I purchased the long version and found that his mother was Mary Snape and his father was also named Benjamin.
Also was his marriage certificate. He married May Parkinson in 1911 and named his father Benjamin, deceased and sergeant major in the 13th Hussars.
Many years later I was searching gg father Benjamin and found a 1871 census return from Preishill barracks, Edinburgh, Scotland. Benjamin was in the 13th Regiment and was born in Ireland.
I wrote and asked for his army papers. Two of them had valuable family history information: his recruitment certificate gave place of birth
and his Service certificate giving next of kin and where they lived in 1881.
His father, John is not recorded so perhaps he died prior to 7 November 1881, even before 1870.
Below is a copy extract from the uk army British Empire website - the dates and actions are as on his Military History Sheet.
Below is an extract from Baden-Powell (Scouts) writing about his ex-commanding officer Sir Baker Russell. Great grandfather Benjamin is mentioned and interesting - his physique.
When Benjamin left the army in March 1886, after 20 years service, he moved to Everton, Liverpool. There he met and married Mary Snape at Christostom Church, both from 46 Spencer Street, Everton. Their son also Benjamin was born in 24 January 1888 and and Mary was born Q3/Sep 1889 and she died aged 3 Q4/Dec 1892. Benjamin had died about earlier, Q4/Dec 1890 aged 40.
By 1899 Mary and Benjamin had moved to Blackburn where Mary worked in a shop. She could not afford to feed Benjamin so he was placed in an orphanage in Blachburn. Further details click here
In 1861 John and Sarah Ann lived at 147 Main Stree Ballybay, Monaghan and below are copies of Griffith Ireland Valations carried out between 1848 and 1864. This was used to determine the Poor Rate - monies raised to support the poor and destitute.
I've marked where their property was before it was demolished to make way for Meeting House Lane widening:
1861 John & Sarah Ann address
Above and below, as it is now in 2018. Properties around number 147 have been demolished to widen the road. These properties, above left, are similar.
John & Sarah Ann are recorded in 1856 working as a publican & confectioner and dressmaker respectfully. I have been told these were "good" occupations during the Great Famine.
By 1870 only Sarah Ann was recorded in the Ulster Directory as a dressmaker. There was no mention of John.One of his great granddaughters, Mary Ann, contacted me and kindly provided more details, tree below:
It would be great if I could contact other descendants of John & Eliza Wells. Some of them emigrated to the US.
Benjamin (II) Hagan 1888-1951
- The 1891 Census shows Mary Hagan b1861 was a widow with children Benjamin(b1888) and Mary (b1890) living at 27, Minshull Street, West Derby, Liverpool. She was working as a laundress.
- 1901 Census gives Benjamin in the Blackburn Orphanage, Wilpshire.
- The 1911 Marriage Certificate between Benjamin Hagan and May Parkinson, 28 October, gave both Benjamin and May cotton weavers. Benjamin gave his father´s occupation as Sargeant Major in the 13th Hussars. (This is incorrect - he was a corporal)
- Benjamin died 6 May 1951 and is buried at Walton Lane Cemetery, Nelson Benjamin and May left 2 sons, Victor Benjamin (1913-1952) and Lloyd John (1915-1982)
- Data from both STRs and SNPs indicate that our Hagan surname is not adopted, not an NPE (non paternal event) but descendants of an ancient north west Ireland clan, possibly from Niall of the Nine Hostages who lived around the end of the 4th century AD/CE. From that time to being members of cenel Eoghan through Fergus, Coelbad and Ogain we have the name O Agán / O'Hagan, about 900 AD.
- Through the generations from Ogain until the destruction of Tullyhogue Fort by Mountjoy in 1602 the descendants are unknown. The later regrant of land to individual clans/families is also unknown.
- Possibly the O'Hagan clan families dropped the O' to became Hagan so that they were more anglicised hence more accepted by the Englsh and could have better working conditions. Interestingly, many Irish reintroduced their O' during the 19th century.
- Again, during the 17th and 18th centuries my ancestors may have lived amongst the Protestant families and converted from Catholicism.
- I have learnt a great deal about the Irish celtic culture whilst trying to find my and my great grandfather's roots. I was interested to learn that he would have faired relatively well during the great famine of the 1840's being a master baker and publican.
- John and Ann 1856
- Griffin Valuation, 1861
- Army Career 1866-1886
- Sarah Ann, Dressmaker 1870
- 1871 Scotland Census
- Enrol 1
- Enrol 2
- 13th Hussars Dress
- 1881 John Dublin Street & 1881 John Dublin Street
- 13th Hussars 1866-85
- Benjamin´s African whip.
- Military Record
- Army Career 1866-1886
- African whip
- 1887 Marriage Certificate
- 1888 Birth Certificate
- 1891 Census
- Orphanage documents
- 1901 Census
- 1901 Mary Census
- 1911 Census
- 1911 Marriage Certificate
- St Chrysostom Church
- 1939 Marriage Certificate Updated September 2020
Daughter Mary died before 1899
I wrote to the Orphanage and they kindly sent me copies of their records from his admission to time after leaving.
His mother Mary worked Walmsley's Eating House, 5-7 Church Street, Blackburn for 5 shilling (25p) a week, now equivalent to about £110 a month..
She could not afford to feed and cloth herself and her son so her employer asked if Ben could be placed in the orphanage. He was admitted 25 January 1900 and left 26 May 1902 to work at Mr Butcher's Boot Shop, King Street, Blackburn. From 20th December 1904 he worked at the Print Works and lived at 19 Watt Street, Sabden. In April 1908 he lived at 139 Clitheroe Road, Sabden.
Victor and Lloyd John Hagan Victor was born 1913 and died 9 December 1952. He married Eileen Hunt (1926-2004). They had one child, Stephen who married and had 2 daughters.
My father, Lloyd was born 3rd August 1915 and died 13th December 1982. He married Ena Whittaker (13 April 1913 - 1983). They had four children.
Lloyd passed the entrance examination to attend Nelson Grammar School. He went on to study pharmacy and gained an M.P.S. (Bradford) on 16 July 1938. During WW2 he spent time in Africa then in Shetland where my mother went with her children from August 1944.
Further Hagan ancestry details.
At my 75th birthday party Richard suggested that as I had done so much tracing our family history I should write my own.
One of the disappointments I've had doing the research was that it would have been much easier if I'd spoken to both of my parents, all 4 grandparents and my 2 great grandparents about their reminiscences. Two things I was told were: my mother said we were descended from Tom Sayers the world champion bare fist boxer. We are certainly not directly descended but could be distant cousins and the other was Nanny said we were descended from Oliver Cromwell. There's no evidence as yet!
My first vivid recollection was sailing to Shetland on the SS St Magnus from Newcastle to Lerwick. Being a 4 year old I decided to go on deck where I was met by a sailor who said he would throw me overboard if he saw me on deck agsin. I was petrified! In Shetland I remember living by the sea at Ness O' Sound, just south of Lerwick. We lived in one small room at the left hand side of Bank Croft Cottage, it had a square table in the middle. We had no gas or electricity so we used a Tilley lamp for light, a tin bath to bath in and a box bed for Jill and me. I don't remember how my mother cooked, but it was probably on the fire. My father who was stationed there, as a RAMC pharmacist presumably at the military hospital, came home regularly. One day I tugged at the tablecloth, a cup of hot milk tipped over and I was scalded on my chest. At that time picric acid was used to deaden burns pain and it was used extensively on pilots. Unfortunately it leaves scar marks - I still have on my chest. I remember too that I had nightmares. Outside at the front there was a mound, a tiny hillock with a tractor starting handle laying there. In my nightmare it was chasing me. Some of the time I wore a kilt and that was later made into a scarf. To the front and left of the cottage was a field where Jill and I used to sit on the wall watching the farmer making hay-ricks. One day as we were walking by the shore my mother told us that we were going to have a brother or sister. I asked if she was not happy having only Jill and me. I must have been a disappointment to her having such a strong opinion aged 4. We should have left Shetland at the end of the war but we stayed on until my young brother Magnus was old enough to travel. I vividly remember us opening all the windows and standing outside as they detonated the mines across the water; that was exciting. We returned home to 81 Townhouse Road, Nelson and I went to St. John's school in Barkerhouse Road. After the first morning session I set off home but was dragged back to school and caned for going off the school premises. Before Robert was born in 1947 I went to live with Nanny and Granddad at 76 Lomeshye Road and went to the local school. (I have much to thank Nanny because when I was only a few months old my mother put me to bed and generally didn't look at me again until her bedtime. One day, unexpectedly, Nanny called and asked to have a look at me. I was blue and choking. They picked me up and banged my back whilst upside down. I had something stuck in my throat - a lucky escape! During June 1947 I returned to St. John's school. We lived near Marsden Park which was a great play area for us. Mains water regularly ran out so we had to go to stand pipes to fill buckets for home. We learnt to ride bikes and the road was a good area as there was very little traffic. I was quite expert at making and riding trolleys that I made them from old prams or anything with wheels. I don't remember when I went to the Open Air school but I do remember looking out of the window watching children on sledges remarking I can't play out like that (because of my illness). Both my parents rounded on me and said I had never to mention being ill again. The best advice I've ever had. I was in my late 30's before I dared ask my father what the illness was. He said it was polio and the girl I played with had died. I remember Mr Tiplady making me walk and march across the road, just like soldiers. Aged about 8 I went with Jill on the bus to Nelson centre to shop for our parents. The cost was a farthing, about 1 tenth of a 1 pence. For shorter journeys it was half that so we paid every other time! And we did. I remember only one occasion when all the local children danced around a Maypole. We were dressed in our best clothes. I didn't like many of my clothes especially the liberty bodice and vest because they scratched. Even the socks were uncomfortable, especially after I'd poorly darned them.
In 1949 we moved to Pasture Gate House, Barrowford. It was a very old property, reputedly built at the beginning of the 17th century at the same time as the White Bear Inn. We had a large garden, with an orchard of apple, plum and cherry trees and there was a large heated greenhouse with a vine. We grew tomatoes and vegetables so there was a plentiful supply of fresh food. We had bee hives too The land sloped down to a small stream where I enjoyed building dams. In the early 1950's my father bought the adjacent land making the total area about 2 acres (over 0.8 hectare). On that there was a 100 foot (30m) greenhouse and a part wild area that we called the jungle. We cultivated this land by growing potatoes, beans, peas, pumpkins, cucumbers, and marrows and many other vegetables. We also kept hens, ducks and later goats. I used to deliver eggs locally and to Uncle Victor and Auntie Eileen who lived near Nanny in Nelson. Jill & I attended Rushton Street Primary school. Soon after moving there the teacher, in a maths lesson, asked the class a question and various incorrect answers were given. I whispered an answer to the boy next to me. The teacher gave the correct answer so the boy told the teacher I had whispered that answer. I realised then that maths came to me much more easily than many other subjects - such a small event can make a huge difference to self's perception of abilities. My early schooling was rather haphazard: school started at 6 years old in Shetland, so none there, firstly I went to St John's School, Barkerhouse Road then the Open Air School, afterwards I lived at Lomeshye Road and went to Walverden School then back to Barkerhouse Road and finally to Barrowford Primary School - all before I was 11 years old. (Of interest to me internet testing puts me on the autistic end of the spectrum and that coupled with being left handed (ruler to knuckles for that) makes me pleased there weren't labels of "special needs" for children such as me during the 1940's and 50's!) A year later I was fortunate enough to pass the 11+ exam and went to Nelson Grammar School when my grandfather gave me a leather case with his name "Ben" on it. As we were new to the school I had my nickname ready made. I have used that briefcase all through school, Burnley College, Universities Hull and Manchester then through my teaching career, later at Crystal Doors and now during my retirement it is used to hold various tools. It has had continuous use since 1951. At that time too I saw a boy who had a pair of bones (or rickers) who could make a noise with them. I was intrigued. I had a bag full of marbles that I played with at Junior school so we decided a swap. Over the next weeks I taught myself to play them but unfortunately I didn't know anyone who could show me technique so I developed my own style; somewhat different to those who played at Abbeyfeale in 2004 and I continue to play them. However my style is similar to the late 19th century American minstrels. At school there were bullies such as a well built lad called Magnall who went up to the younger pupils and hit them hard across the back. Occasionally some boys had their heads put in the toilet then flushed; fortunately I missed that. I started a paper round quite young and remember thinking that as I posted papers people would be upset to read the King had died. Up at 6.30, papers at 7 a.m. with our trusty Cumberland collie, Peggy, then on the school bus for 8.30. After school I often tried to beat the bus home by walking or jogging down Reedyford Road whilst the bus went through Nelson centre. My favourite subject was geometry - I loved the proofs with QED at the end. Chemistry came to me very easily but most of the other subjects were difficult, especially French. During the second year we were taught English by Mrs Steen. She asked us to write an essay about our summer holiday. Others in the class wrote about where they had been; I, because we never went on holiday, wrote about the docks in Liverpool, a subject about which I knew nothing. My parents were asked to go to school to explain the strange essay. I don't know the details but it happened that my father who was the pharmacist at Reedyford Hospital knew Mr Laurie who was the pathologist at Burnley General Hospital and Mrs Steen was Mr Laurie's cousin. Mr Laurie owned a chalet at Llandanwyg, near Harlech, Wales. We could holiday there! We did and my parents decided to have a chalet built in the same area. At school Michael Ashworth used to go a relative's sheep farm near to the Scottish borders. He came back with what he said was a Gaelic numbering system. Number 2 was tyan. At home when we were discussing a name for the chalet I suggested Tyan for our second house. My parents mentioned this to a local person at Llandanwyg; they asked who asked who Ann was. The chalet was then called Tyena after my mother's name, Ena. We had some very enjoyable holidays there and there was always plenty of work to do. We had visitors too - Dr. Premdas stayed on a number of occasions. At home we sometimes went to Pasture House Farm when it was haymaking time. I could not understand why I always got straw in my eyes when that didn't happen to the other children. Some 30 years later I was diagnosed with having asthma and have quite severe allergic reactions. When I was about 13 I was asked to make a pen and hut for some hens. When it was finished my father saw it, praised my work and I began to cry. He asked why that was and I said it was the first time in my life I'd been praised by my parents. A young neighbour could throw a homemade arrow for quite a distance. He said it was what some Red Indians did. He showed me how to make arrows from a cane, weighted at the tip and flights made from thin cardboard. I knotted one end of a length of string, wrapped it singly around the top of the shaft then spent many an hour throwing it. In about 1956 the front wall was in disrepair and my father was concerned that the gable end of the house was being weakened by the milk lorries that went past daily. They decided to employ a stonemason to rebuild the wall and strengthen the corner of the house. I was fascinated. I wanted to be a stonemason. However, he suggested a hobby would be much better than a career so he taught me how to cut stone and dress it. I bought tools and had others made by the local blacksmith who worked opposite the George and Dragon lnn, by the river in Barrowford. Being able to cut and dress stone has proved to be a very useful skill. I loved climbing trees. This may have resulted from my father needing to repair our house roof. He needed my help; I was about 14 years old when he showed me how to get off the ladder onto the roof and then back again. Initially I was petrified, but soon learnt a method.
I did not enjoy secondary school so went to Burnley College to study for my "A" level GCE's. My subjects were chemistry, physics and mathematics plus "O level French because in those days a foreign language was required for university entry. I was given a conditional entry to read chemistry at Manchester University should I obtain the grades; yes, at "A" level, maths A, chemistry B and physics C but failed French "O" level so I worked as a laboratory technician at the College under Miles Ainsworth in the science department and Mr Learoyd in the (coal) mining department. Miles was interested in electronics and showed me how to make a valve amplifier. I made a mains supply amplifier using a ECC83 double triode valve that I connected to our record player at home. It worked perfectly! I was hooked on electronics and I followed developments throughout my career and beyond. As an older teenager my main hobby was my chemistry set. Not really a 'set' but a fully working laboratory where I was able to carry out semi-micro analysis of various samples. For example, I extracted arsenic from old perforated zinc sheeting. Wasps were a particular nuisance in early Autumn as they ate the plums and other fruit. I sought out their nests, put potassium cyanide at the entrance then added dilute hydrochloric acid to that. Fortunately I was able to smell the gas, so it was not a problem. Health and Safety it wasn't! To be continued.