Note that the family name is sometimes spelled "Mulligan". The family originated in Ireland, where Mulligan is common, but Milligan is fairly common too. We have so far not located any mention of this family in Irish records; the only official sources we have are Scottish. There seems to be no point in time at which one name is discarded and the other is preferred: Milligan appears as early as the 1841 Scottish Census, and Mulligan is still being used as late as 1903. The discrepancy is most likely due to habitual errors on the part of the Scottish record-keeping officials. In fact, on one family member's death registration (1865), "Mulligan" has been crossed out and replaced with "Milligan". For that reason we have standardized the name as "Milligan" throughout this history.
Mathew was born about 1811 in Ireland. He moved to Ayrshire, Scotland, some time before 1833.
Prior to 1833 (but after moving to Scotland) Mathew married Elizabeth Dickson (or Dixon), born 1813 in Ayrshire. Elizabeth was the daughter of Francis Dickson, a coal miner, and Mary Caldwell.
Mathew and Elizabeth had the following children:
Ayrshire in the mid-19th century had flourishing textile and coal-mining industries, a fact reflected in the occupations of Mathew's family members.
At the time of the 1841 Census, Mathew was a "Cotton Hand-Loom Weaver". Ten years later, he was a Groom in a coal mine (presumably this was someone who looked after the livestock down in the mine). After that we have no further information about Mathew except that he was called a Coal Miner on his son's death registration in 1873, long after his death.
Mathew died sometime after 1851 but he predeceased Elizabeth. Elizabeth lived to the age of 52, dying on February 10, 1865, in Kilmarnock, Ayrshire, of Laudanum (opium) poisoning.
Francis was born in St. Quivox, Ayrshire, in 1833; he became a coal miner like his father.
Francis, aged 24, married 23-year-old Margaret Frew on April 10, 1857, in Whilletts, Ayrshire, in the parish of St. Quivox. They were married in the Church of Scotland. Margaret was a hand-sewer. Her parents were John Frew, a coal miner, and Susan Moffat. Susan was deceased at the time of her daughter's marriage.
Margaret asserted on the 1861 Census that her birthplace was Edinburgh. In 1871, she claimed to have been born in "Linlithgow, Falkirk". These two towns lie between Edinburgh and Glasgow. No other documentation of her birth has been found.
Francis and Margaret had the following children:
The story of Margaret and Grace continues in the Elliott Family History.
Francis died young: December 25, 1873, aged 41, of broncho-pneumonia. After Francis' death Margaret appears to have married a man named Alex McKinnon. We discovered the McKinnon name from her daughter Margaret's marriage registration, where Margaret Sr. is identified as "Margaret McKinnon, formerly Mulligan [sic], married surname Frew".
The McKinnons' union may have been informal, as we can find no record of it. (The Scottish records do contain a marriage registration in 1874 between a Margaret Frew and an Alexander McKinnon, and while the dates seem to line up, the bride's parents do not match what we know about our Margaret).
Margaret and Alex lived in the suburbs of Glasgow. She was still alive in 1895 because she signed her granddaughter Mary's birth registration; she may have died before 1903 because an "Alex McKinnon" signs the birth registration of Mary's brother Matthew.
In 1851, 16-year-old Matthew was working as a groom in a coal mine, just like his father. The only other thing we know about Matthew is that outlived his brother Francis, as he was the informant on Francis' death registration in 1873.
Mary appears on the 1841 Census, aged 5, but does not appear on the 1851 Census, indicating she may have moved out to work, or may have died. No further trace of her has been found.
In 1851, 13-year-old Jean was employed as a "Flowerer of Webs", i.e. an embroiderer, a common job for teenage girls in Ayrshire in the mid-19th century.
In 1851, at the age of 9, John was already working as a Coal Miner Apprentice.