It’s a while since I did an update on the progress of my research activities on the Heenan surname. But that certainly doesn’t mean I have been lax in that department.
Making connections Down Under
In February while on holiday in New Zealand I had the chance to visit a museum dedicated to the early settlers in the city of Dunedin which is in Otago Province, South Island. The archivist took me back stage to see a painting of one of those early Heenan settlers (Joanna Heenan) and also a silver spoon that she and her husband Dennis took with them on their voyage to Otago in 1850. The article I posted gives you more information.
The archivist also directed me to a booklet written by a descendant of that family. It’s no longer in print but I was able to get a copy due to he kindness of the library staff in Dunedin (I just had to promise not to circulate it for copyright reasons). It has some very helpful information about one of Dennis and Joanna’s – Edward – who owned Hazelbrook Farm at Maunguata, Otago. Edward arrived in New Zealand at the age of four when his parents moved from Ireland. He became the head of a household of 13 children. I’ll write more about him in a subsquent article but for now I’ll leave you with this portrait. Apologies for quality – the original isn’t available so this comes from a scan within the booklet.
By a convoluted route I was able to establish contact with another descendant of Dennis and Joanne who still lives in New Zealand. Maria and I have been busy exchanging our various items of information to try and piece together more of this family’s history back in their native Birr, Ireland.
We are trying to establish if there is any truth in the story that Dennis turned to the Presbyterian church as a result of a Catholic schism in the Birr area in the 1840s.
April was the month of a challenge to bloggers to write a new article each weekday using the letters of the alphabet. I chose to do this based on the first names of the people in my database. It was quite a time consuming activity. I managed to write 19 biographical pieces (you can find them all via this link ) about naval officers, journalists, port engineers and an adulterer. I should probably complete all the remaining letters (though X might be a struggle) in the course of the next few weeks.
- The number of individuals now recorded in the database has increased to 1700. Having added all the family groups from the census years in England and Wales I have now started to add couples and individuals.
- I’ve found some new sources which have given me new names to add or have enlarged the info I already had. These include:
- Applications for army pensions for UK soldiers/dependents who served in World War 1
- Marriages and baptisms in Sheffield, Yorkshire – these are from a team of volunteers who transcribe the registers
- I’ve made a start on the US census also, focused initially on Ohio.
- Just as a reminder: to search the database, click on this link or go to the Records tab on the top menu bar and use the drop down menu. The database can be searched by name or place or date of an event.