View Full Version : HEENAN/LEWIS in Birr pre 1850
08-06-2010, 2:41 PM
My ancestors Denis Heenan and his wife Johanna or Judith Lewis came from Birr to New Zealand on the Mariner in 1850. My father did extensive research on the family from then on but could find very little before that. They arrived with 11 of their 12 children, the oldest, Denis, having arrived the year before on the Mary. We believe that they were Crottyites, and left the RC church to become Church of Ireland. We believe they were married in the mid 1820s and that he was born about 1790 and she was born about 1808 but we have not been able to confirm any of this. I understand that most records from this time were destroyed. Is there anywhere I could look for further information?
08-06-2010, 4:42 PM
I was intrigued by the word Crottyites (new to me) so had a look around. In no particular order….
Can’t see any results for Denis Heenan on the IGI or pilot so far. The library catalogue doesn’t seem to be responding to see what they hold for Birr.
Useful (but expensive) Irish History Foundation does not yet cover Co Offaly (free index always worth looking at for Irish births and marriages)
book Tracing your Irish Ancestors by John Grenham states there are RC records for Birr from 1838 held by National Library of Ireland (ref Pos. 2478), Irish Midlands Ancestry and LDS(you may be able to order from local LDS centre)
National Archives Ireland has microfilms of Church of Ireland records for Birr ref MFCI 2 (no dates given). There is further information about church records in general on the National Archives of Ireland site.
Irish Midlands Ancestry carry out paid research for Co Offaly. (They have a web site) Surnames Heenan and Lewis are on their surnames list.)
Crotty church now seems to be a heritage centre – might be worth contacting them directly. They may know if and where any church records were kept.
If you cannot find the marriage you may perhaps try to locate children’s baptisms (do you have their names and ages?)
There is a book – Exploring Family Origins in Birr by Noel Farrell 1998
There is a Birr Historical Society (with web site) tho looks to be more buildings than people
Well, you may already be aware of all of the above – but I have enjoyed discovering another new place.
09-06-2010, 8:13 AM
Thank you for all those useful pointer to info. I do have children's names and ages. I will be in Dublin next week so if I have a chance I will try National Archives.
13-06-2010, 11:56 AM
has a Heenan birth in 1783
26-07-2010, 4:21 PM
Although I didn't ask this question I am also a descendant of Denis and Joanna Heenan. I just wanted to thank you for the comprehensive reply with all the possible leads. I'd be very interested to know if mariah found anything else in her trip to Dublin!:boat:
27-07-2010, 8:29 AM
Nothing found I'm afraid. NLI sent me to Archives then Archives gave me ref NLI Pos. 5013 but I didn't get a chance to get back there. However I had looked there, probably the same ref, last time and found nothing, partly because I simply couldn't read most of the handwriting on the microfiche. At home in NZ I do have a collection of photocopies given me by other relations (mostly dead now) with names of Heenans at various addresses, I think about 1840, but none of it much help. I think it was the result of paid research. Also a map of where Holybrook Farm used to be. I've been to Birr twice and even looked across fields where farm used to be but didn't find anything in library there or nearby family history centre. Was told there might be something at Tullamore family history centre but it seems to be only for paid research. Was there anything in particular you were searching for? Who are you descended from? I'm descended from Michael, the youngest son, through his son George Lewis and my father John Angus.
28-07-2010, 4:50 AM
My husband (Jim Low]) is a descendant of Michael's sister, Ann Heenan. I see I have you listed in my tree :) Like you, I have done lots of research on the Heenans over the years but very little has turned up of their life before their arrival in NZ. I''d be very happy to share what I have with you - do you have the images of Denis and his wife? If you don't, email me (valda AT mountaintracks DOT com DOT au) and I'll send them to you. I'm back into the family search again after putting it to one side for a while but mainly I am finding now that when I search most of what I find is uploaded by people I've given info to - so I'm not finding much new. I'd be very happy to share my tree with you. Who knows, between us we might be able to add to the big picture. It is amazing how another person can see something in what you have that you missed seeing. Do you have the booklet that Colin and Faye Moore compiled recently on the Heenans (mainly on the descendants of William Heenan)? I was sent a copy this week.
01-12-2010, 10:33 PM
Hello there. I'm sorry I don't have any answers to your questions, but I am also a descendant of Denis & Johanna Heenan - my great(?) grandfather, Michael being one of their children. I'd be very interested to know if you managed to find out any more information.
02-12-2010, 2:41 AM
Nothing since the earlier post I'm afraid, Jacqueline. We were in touch some time ago, 2007, I believe and there has been nothing of note since then. Plenty post 1850 of course but pre-1850 only some of the children's christenings. Even Denis's birthdate is in doubt as it is different on the shipping list and his death certificate and in either case he was unusually old to be emigrating. 60 is old enough and 66 seems rather extraordinary. 2 Denis's appear on the Ballybritt 1821 census and one would be about the right age to match the age on the death certificate but he is living with his sisters Catherine and Sally, neither of which are family names so I have my doubts. I'm afraid I've been researching other sides of my family where I've been able to find more so have abandoned the Heenans for now.
04-01-2011, 6:22 PM
By any chance, would you have a Peter Heenan and Susan McDuff anywhere on your trees? The only child I know of is a Peter Heenan born about 1809 in Ireland and emmigrated to Scotland where he died in 1876. Any help or suggestions would be appreciated. Thanks
ive no conection with family !
if any of the names below are kids names that went with parents
(google) rootsireland a fee paying site where you can get copys of there baptism records , typed .
Church Baptism Heenan Mary 1830 Co. Offaly all born to a father , dennis
Church Baptism Heenan Jer 1831 Co. Offaly
Church Baptism Heenan Jer 1831 Co. Offaly
Church Baptism Heenan Owen 1833 Co. Offaly
Church Baptism Heenan Thomas 1834 Co. Offaly
Church Baptism Heenan Dan 1840 Co. Offaly
Church Baptism Heenan Margaret 1834 Co. Offaly born to father denis
would be worth while to search surrounding countys for other baptisms and parents marriage
05-01-2011, 11:50 AM
My answer probably won't be much help to you, but as far as I know my great grandfather Denis Heenan emigrated to Scotland from Birr, Ireland prior to leaving with his family for NZ around 1840. It appears something to do with the Crotty Schism, where followers seem to have been forced away from Birr, and some headed to Scotland. It may be possible if Peter lived in Birr that he was a brother of Denis?
05-01-2011, 8:10 PM
Sorry no Peters or Susans anywhere in sight and my family emigrated from Ireland to NZ
05-01-2011, 8:15 PM
Very interesting! I had been aware from 1821 census that there were 2 Den(n)is Heenans in this area and think there may have been some confusion over dates. No idea how they were connected. None of these names are from my branch but baptism certs may give some links. Thank you.
05-01-2011, 8:54 PM
Hi Jacqueline S Fascainated to see you are now in Greece. Last time we connected I was in France and you in Oz just back from France. I'm interested to see that you say our common ancestor Denis emigrated to Scotland. I knew that they left from London in 1850 but as I have notes from a relation (now deceased and no record of where the information came from) saying that the oldest girls were admitted to the the Presbyterian Church in Birr in 1849 and/or (I can't quite read the handwriting) 1850, I presumed they stated in Birr and left from there for London. Denis and Judith (which seems to be an alternative name for Johanna), young Denis and 3 other children had been admitted around 1840. What do you know about the Scottish connection?
05-01-2011, 9:10 PM
Hello again Mariah - sorry I meant to reply to you earlier, and yes I do remember touching base with you 2 or 3 years ago when I was heading to Ireland. Many thanks for the feedback on dates etc - I'll keep digging! Good luck with your other family searches .
05-01-2011, 9:26 PM
Hello again Mariah - sorry I hadn't seen your reply when I added the other quick message (below)! Yes, I am now living in Greece - it seems us Heenans are always on the move! As far as the Scottish connection, I have nothing on paper, but as far as I recall when visiting the Castle in Birr (where evidently there is a Heenan field, though I couldn't quite find it) I was told by a helpful gentleman on the desk that the Heenans and a lot of the other Crottyites left Birr for Scotland when they began to be persecuted for their break away from the Church. They then travelled from Scotland to England to leave on the ship to NZ. Unfortunately my time in Ireland was shortened, so I didn't get to investigate further. I will have a look around for my notes and see if I have anything more concrete, but what you say about the oldest girls would probably dispute that. Was the relative you mention Wilma Fuller by any chance?
06-01-2011, 5:13 AM
They may have originated with Wilma though I never got anything directly from her. Mostly from Daphne Trevena who was in touch with Wilma, Margaret Saville, Mary Neill ( who did the updated family tree) and Joyce McCredie. I think the photos and map of the farm at Holybrook came from Margaret. I too visited the castle but couldn't find anyone who knew anything about the Heenans apart from the name of Heenans Field which one family member said was so named because a Heenan drowned in the area. If you are at the same email address as a few years ago I could send the notes I typed up from Daphne's recollections of family stories of their !st few years in Dunedin.
06-01-2011, 5:23 PM
has a Heenan birth in 1783
The site address for the Irish Civil Register has been altered.
06-01-2011, 6:55 PM
Hello again Mariah (I do hope only one reply appears as we've been dropping on and off line!)
I would love to receive a copy of your notes if thats possible and I'm fairly sure my email address will be the same one - many thanks. Most of what I've managed to gather has been via Wilma or Mary Neill and I've not had any contact with Joyce (or Margaret Saville). Have you seen the booklet referred to in one of the other posts above? I have seen a website with Denis & Johanna's DOB as listed on the Mariner and it refers to a Brian Heenan - have you had contact with him at all?
11-01-2011, 8:59 PM
Hello there. I think I may have had contact with you some years previously Valda, when I lived in Sydney? I'm still slowly plugging away and was interested to hear of the book you mentioned on the Heenans. I am a descendant of Michael Heenan.
16-07-2012, 8:44 PM
i'm a heenan born in tipperary, close to the offaly border. i'm interested in any info on the birr heenans, if anyone would like to share with me. I have accessed the birr baptism and marriage records but they only start at 1839. i hope to put together a database of all the heenan researchers and maybe we could all help each other?
look forward to hearing from any heenans
16-07-2012, 8:50 PM
Mariah has not visited the forum since before last Christmas but, if you click on her user name, a drop-down menu appears, giving you the option of sending her an email or a private message. :smile5:
17-07-2012, 9:14 AM
Hi Elaine and all at this wonderful site. No I haven't been here lately, partly because I've been moving house in NZ but also because I seem to have got as far back as I can with most family branches. I keep recommending this group to other family history researchers because of the amazing help I've had here. I'm in France again but will return to NZ mid-Aug and can't access most of my information till then. I'm using a new laptop here and the family history stuff is on the old one in the attic and probably not worth resurrecting before I go home, especially as the NZ database is more detailed. I've love to correspond with you and see if we can share information. I usually come to Dublin when I'm on this side of the world but not this time unfortunately.
25-07-2012, 6:22 PM
Hello there Elaine and any other Heenans!
I'd be very happy to share anything I have with you but don't have much in the way of early info on the Birr Heenans I'm afraid. Would also love to be involved in a Heenan researchers database (a great idea). Like Maria H (who I've already been in contact with) I'm currently travelling in Europe but will be back at my computer sometime next week when I'll try remember where I've got to in my geneology. Would love to hear from you. Jackie
Powered by vBulletin™ Version 4.1.3 Copyright © 2013 vBulletin Solutions, Inc. All rights reserved.