This month has seen good progress in several areas of my research.
- Five new biographies of soldiers with the Heenan surname who were killed while serving in World War 1, have now been added. This month I’ve completed and posted my research on Edward Heenan, Hugh Heenan, Charles Stuart Heenan, Arthur Heenan and Thomas George Heenan.
- There was one seaman among the Heenan men killed during the Great War. Able Seaman P Heenan was serving in the merchant navy aboard the SS Gower when it left the Tyne bound for France with a cargo of coal. The ship was last seen on 4 April 1917 and probably sank after striking a mine. Unfortunately I haven’t been able to find anything about P Heenan.
- On the Fold3 site I found some interesting records of soldiers from Ohio, USA who served in the American civil war and the Spanish-American war. One record caught my eye because the soldier was born in Germany – that’s the first individual I’ve come across that was born in that part of the world.
- More names have now been added to the database, bringing the total to 966 individuals. A lot of these have come from the census returns for England for 1871 and 1881. I’m half way through reconstructing families based on the 1891 returns – will be adding these to the database over the next few weeks. 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.
- I’ve also added a lot more detail to some of the individuals already recorded. One of them – Claude Rigby Heenan – I’ve discovered moved to South Africa where he established himself as a sugar planter. As a result of his contribution in World War 1 he was awarded a DSO (Distinguished Service Order) in the King’s Birthday Honours List in 1918. I’ll write up the results of my research and post that here soon.
Many of the individuals I’ve found so far have been engineers, labourers, textile workers and merchants. But there were also a few people involved in the entertainment business.
This month I featured a Miss C Heenan who as “the Fat Lady” was an attraction in freak shows enjoyed by many Victorians. See her story here .
I also found two actors. One of them – Barry Heenan – appeared alongside some of the big names from the early days of Hollywood, including Buster Keaton and Joan Crawford. He was a descendant of the Hammersley Heenan family which originated in Ireland.
Richard Heenan began his working life as a commercial traveller in England but then headed for New York to become an actor. Whether he made a success of that venture isn’t yet known. He lived in Brooklyn for a few years where his two sons were born but then returned to his home area of Seacombe in Liverpool.