Obituaries can be treasure troves of information to the genealogy researcher.
Take this announcement from the Richwood Gazette, Ohio in October 1946.
It’s a short piece but packed with factual information:
- her date and location of birth
- date and place of death – and even the time of day (I’ve never seen that level of detail in any other obituary)
- religious affiliation
- indication of a former residence
- her family members
- location of burial
Based on that I was able to construct a family tree and discover additional information about this family.
Hattie Heenan was born as Hattie Decker in Richmond, Ohio. She married John Francis Heenan (known as Frank) in Union County, Ohio in May 1898. By 1910 Hattie had given birth to four children, one of them a set of twin boys. But one twin died a few days after his birth in 1917.
Frank was a farm labourer for a time. Though he was subject to the World War 1 draft in Richmond, Ohio, he was never called upon for active service. He died in a retirement home in Montgomery, Dayton county, a year after his wife. The cause of death was indicated as pneumonia resulting from pancreatic cancer.
Civil War Connection
Frank Heenan was the son of an Irish immigrant Thomas Heenan and his wife Mary Bailey (Bayley/Bryley).
They married in Pickaway, Ohio on Jan 3, 1858 but moved fairly soon after to Columbus, Ohio. The couple had at least eleven children.
Thomas worked by hauling stone needed for construction in the growing city. When the civil war started he enlisted into E company The 155th Ohio Voluntary Infantry on 2 May 1864. The 155th was formed Camp Dennison, Cincinnati and left for New Creek, West Virginia on the 12th of May.
The regiment did garrison duty at Martinsburg until June 3, when it moved to Washington, D.C. and on to Virginia and North Carolina. In July the 155th Ohio, marched forty miles or so to Elizabeth City to capture horses, cotton, tobacco and other contraband. On August 6, 1864, the regiment returned to Natick. Fifteen days later, its term of enlistment expiring, the 155th was ordered home. The regiment returned to Ohio and was mustered out August 27, 1864. The 155th Ohio lost during its service 20 enlisted men by disease.
Thomas died in February 1894 and was buried in Claibourne Cemetery, Richwood county, Ohio.
His wife Mary outlived him by many years. In 1928 she celebrated her 88th birthday by recalling the early days of life in Columbus when the largest building was just three stories high. She died in January 1932 and was buried in Saint Joseph Cemetery, Lockbourne, Franklin County, Ohio.
Want further information?
Follow this link to see the detailed family history of Thomas Heenan and his descendants.