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Hugh McCaughan, Coastguard boatman
Can anyone help me with information about my ancestor Hugh McCaughan (born c1800, Ireland, died 1876 Belfast)?

The UK National Archive Coastguard records indicate that Hugh served as a coastguard boatman at Cranfield, Co Down from 1822 until 1825, having been nominated in Ballycastle. (ADM 175/15, pg 160)
In 1825 he was posted to HM Coastguard Station, Hornsea, W Yorkshire (ADM 175/3, pg 73) and I've established from census & BMD records that he served in various stations in Yorkshire, including Burniston and Flamborough Head, until at least 1853.

Iíd like to find out if he served at Ballycastle or whether Cranfield was his first posting. (Iím trying to find out where he was born and this would help). Iíd also like to find out when he retired.

Thanks for a great website

Welcome to the Forum Alan.

You are quite correct, Hugh McCaughan was first nominated to Cranfield. I did a check of the Index of Nominations, which in some instances can provide additional information. In ADM 175/99 pdf 73 I found his entry, this shows that in 1822 he was 26, born in Ballycastle, and at the time of his nomination was single.

On the question of his retirement, this was on 13 May 1853 on an allowance of £36 per annum (ADM 175/7 pdf 620).

Having looked at the census's for 1841 and 1851 he looks to have married an Ann Brain in 1840, a second wife who was 20 years his junior.

Hello Martin

Thank you very much for such a prompt and comprehensive response. This is very helpful in focusing my search. Though some of Hughís descendants - ďmyĒ strand of the McCaughan family - are located in Belfast after 1870, I was beginning to suspect that Hugh himself hailed from North Antrim where there were a considerable number of McCaughans in the 19th century. This provides a few more bits of the jigsaw.

The coastguard records have been invaluable. Without them I think it would have been well nigh impossible to track Hugh. The COY guidance on searching the ADM175 files is really helpful. Iím hoping to gather a bit more detail about Hughís service in Yorkshire but Iím having difficulty downloading the relevant ADM 175 files at the moment. They keep coming down as empty files. I know the National Archive is currently migrating its on-line documents to a new system so that might be the problem. Iíll keep trying.

Best wishes and thanks again.
I noted that the info on the GENUKI coastguard website was incomplete and a little inaccurate, so contacted Stan Waight who kindly supplied some additional information:

His first wife, Matilda, died in Scarborough in the Dec qtr of 1838 and he remarried, in Scarborough, in the Dec qtr of 1840. The second wife was Ann Brain (hence the brother-in-law Benjamin).

The children he had with Matilda were Margaret, Ann, Georgiana, and Emma.

The children by the second marriage were Hannah, Hugh, and Alexander.


Have just found the following, which puts in doubt some of the above i.e. the name of his first wife

Edited by crimea1854 on 11/06/2012 17:13
Well thatís turned things on their head! On the evidence of the BMD and census records, I came to the same conclusions about the names of Hughís wife(s) and children but this needs another look.

There were 2 Matilda McCaughan deaths in Scarborough (1838 & 1841). I assumed that one was Wife number 1 and the other the 1st child of the second marriage but thatís clearly wrong. I think I can see how this will eventually make sense but Iíll need to send for some certificates from GRO to be sure.

Thanks again Martin for your help and insight with this. Very much appreciated. Iíll post again when I know more.

PS I exchanged emails with Stan Waight at GENUKI a month or so ago and he has promised to correct the misspelling of Hugh's surname in due course.

Merged on 27/06/2012 17:47:14:
After some time spent with the ADM175 files, the BMD records in Belfast and some certificates from GRO UK, this is what I now know about events in the life of Hugh McCaughan:

Hugh McCaughan, Coastguard boatman (c1797-1876)

Born Ballycastle, Co Antrim around the end of the 18th Century, Father Alexander, a farmer.
Served as a Coastguard boatman from 1822 until retirement in 1853, in the following stations:

Cranfield, Co Down, 1822-25
Hornsea, Yorkshire, 1825-31
Sandlemere, Yorkshire, 1831-32
Scarborough, Yorkshire, 1832-51
Flamborough Head, Yorkshire, 1851-1853

Married first wife Sarah Ann around 1824. She died in 1837. Children - Margaret, Ann, Georgiana, Emma, Matilda (Matilda died in 1838, Georgiana in 1856). Sarah Ann and Matilda are buried in St Maryís Churchyard, Scarborough.

Married second wife Ann Brain in 1840. Children - Matilda, Joseph, Hannah, Robert, Hugh, Alexander, James, John. (Matilda, Joseph, Robert and Hannah all died young).

Returned with family to Ireland after retirement, living initially in Coleraine, then East Belfast where he died on 27 March 1876. He is buried in Belfast City Cemetery.

Hope to go and seek out Hughís grave soon. Thanks again for all the help.
Edited by nix on 27/06/2012 17:47

Thanks for coming back with an update. I'm pleased that you finally managed to sort out his wives, such information will be invaluable to anyone researching other McCaughan lines, who might 'stumble' across this thread.

Regards Martin
Since posting here, Iíve been contacted by someone on the other side of the world who is also descended from Hugh McCaughan. Thank you CoY for making this possible.

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