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  1. #1
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    Default HEENAN/LEWIS in Birr pre 1850

    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?

  2. #2
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    Hello there

    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.

    Good luck!

  3. #3
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    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.

  4. #4
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    www.pilot.familysearch.org
    has a Heenan birth in 1783

  5. #5
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    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!

  6. #6
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    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.

  7. #7
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    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.
    Last edited by Jan1954; 28-07-2010 at 5:41 AM. Reason: Email edited and link to personal website removed - please read the AUP

  8. #8

    Default Heenans

    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.

  9. #9
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    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.

  10. #10
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    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

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