Agnes McClung and Robert Crozier

My great grandfather David McClung had three siblings and two half-siblings. One of his siblings, Agnes, married Robert Crozier in Tassagh, Keady, Armagh 4 Apr 1883. Until the release of the 1901 census, I knew a few things about the family. Agnes was born about 1859 in Armagh, she had six children, she had died 30 Nov 1904 in Portadown and Robert married Ellen Henderson relatively not too long thereafter on 3 Jan 1906. In both the 1901 and the 1911 censuses, the family is living in Charles Street in Portadown (see end).

However, the release of the 1901 census opened another door. Three children who were not on the 1911 census were listed - Robert (born about 1886/7) and William (born about 1889/90)- and they were born in "America". Another son, James (born about 1890/91) was also listed as born in "America", but that was more difficult to prove. None of them appear elsewhere in the 1911 Irish census.

Using the America connection, I was able to find the return of Agnes and her children Robert and William, landing in Liverpool 24 Aug 1891. Obviously Agnes and her husband Robert emigrated some time between 1883 and 1887, (I can't find the information on that) and then the family returned. It would be interesting to know why, but that's unlikely.

James Crozier and Annie Reynolds
Of Agnes' nine children I found the most information on James. James emigrated to Canada in 1910 and married Annie Ruth Reynolds 26 Nov 1924 in St. Catherines, Ontario. Prior to his marriage, he returned to Ireland at least once to visit his father in 1921. He was a fireman or trainman with Canadian National Railways and there is evidence of him entering the U.S. on trains until at least 1941. He died in Niagara Falls, Ontario in 1956. On all of his documents, James maintained he was born in Philadelphia, but he was not listed as returning with Agnes in 1891. He would have been less than a year old, so it is unlikely he would have traveled separately. However, there is a baptismal certificate for James in Portadown, Armagh dated 19 Mar 1895 that lists his birth as 11 Sep 1890.

Another child, Annie, born 1894, died in 1895. DAvid, who is not listed with the family in the 1911 census, was born in 190. He is living with an uncle.

After finding the two children who were definitely born in America, I decided to see if perhaps they had re-emigrated between 1901 and 1911.

Robert Crozier is a common name in the passenger lists, but none that were the Robert Crozier I was looking for. Similarly there were a lot of William Croziers, but I eventually saw a pattern. One William kept entering the U.S. several times a year from several places over at least 30 years. Out of curiosity, I took a look at one of the manifests(1). He was a seaman on a passenger ship, a waiter or mess man, but his age was off by a few years. Then I spotted his next of kin. He listed a cousin J. Connay, 15 Arlington Ave., Jersey City, NJ.

Jersey City rang a bell. I remembered I had information on Eliza Jane Conway (nee McClung) in Jersey City. I looked up the census and the family was listed at 115 Arlington Ave, Eliza Jane was the daughter of Thomas John McClung who was Agnes' half brother, and therefore would be William's cousin. I checked a few of the other manifests that William was shown on and the next of kin continued to be either Mrs. Conway or her husband, Charles, and the address became 115 Arlington Ave.

I narrowed the search a bit more and also turned up the draft registration for William Crozier in 1942 in San Francisco, California. On it he listed the person who would always know his address as Hannah Huitt, Niagara Falls, Ontario. William had a sister Hannah.

Digging into the Canadian passenger lists, I found the arrival of Hannah Hewitt, 28 and her daughter Evelyn, 1 1/2 , in Halifax in 1928. Her departure contact was her father Robert Crozier, 109 Charles Street, Portadown and she was going to her husband Robert Hewitt in Niagara Falls. One further internet search of the cemeteries in Niagara Falls turned up a photo of Hannah's and Robert's gravestone in Fairview Cemetery and the years of their deaths - Hannah in 1987 and Robert in 1982.

There are more questions that probably won't be answered.

What happened to Robert Crozier? If he re-emigrated to the U.S. it is likely that William would have listed him as next of kin, not his cousin Eliza Jane Conway. Did he perhaps die between 1901 and 1911 or is he just missing from the records?

Where was William between 1901 and the first time he entered the US on board ship in 1924? There is no record of his actually re-emigrating and settling in the US, although that might still surface, and he doesn't appear in the 1910 or 1920 U.S. censuses. He indicated on his draft registration that he had been a seaman for 17 years, meaning he started around 1925 at the age of 35. What did he do between 1901 and 1925?

September 21, 2010
Since writing this I made contact with someone else who has William in his family tree. During WWI William was a gunner with the 52nd Brigade, Royal Artillery Force. Using that information, I found him in the 1911 British census stationed in Jubbulpore, India. It's conceivable that William joined the army in his teens and stayed until the mid-1920's, at which time he became a sailor on passenger ships. Even more interesting is that William married Maud Hawker (date unknown, but probably in the early 1950's) and retired to Bletchley, Bucks. England which is near Milton Keynes. He died 1 July 1956 in Bletchley; Maud died in 1963.

(1) The manifests occasionally list other information about the person. William was 5'9" and weighed from 175 lbs. in the 1920's to 240 lbs. in the 1940/50's. He is also shown as having tattoos on his chest, arms, wrists and neck. His position on ship was variously listed as wiper (keeping spaces and machinery clean), messman, waiter, bath steward, head steward, night watchman, janitor, utility and several others.

Brian Rodgers - September 11, 2010
Last revised November 4, 2011
Added William Crozier's date of death

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