Long Lost Hanrahans

I have visited my aunt Annie Josephine Finn (married name Murphy) in Warwick, Rhode Island, USA twice, plus I have met her on visits to the UK and I have spoken to her several times on the telephone.  This is a picture of my Mum in the glasses with my aunt on one of her visits to my Mum’s house.

Mum and Aunt Ann

One day a couple of years ago, my mother mentioned Aunty Anne in America and from what she was saying, I realised that she wasn’t talking about my aunt.  I managed to establish that I had a great aunt Anne, who also emigrated to the USA from Ireland, and that she had married a man named Hanrahan.  I made some notes but did nothing further at the time.

I phoned my aunt Annie Josephine in early 2016, to let her know about her sister in law Peggy’s passing and during the call, I asked her about the Hanrahans, wrongly assuming my aunt had emigrated to meet up with her aunt (my great aunt).  She told me that she had entered the USA via New York, moving to Rhode Island, whereas my great aunt had entered via Boston, living in Massachusetts, originally, before moving to New Hampshire.  She had visited once but felt the family connections were not strong, so did not repeat the trip.

Recently I had my DNA tested through Ancestry and a potential fourth cousin was identified who uses the alias cheshire84.  I have sent a message, but not yet had a response, but as the tree is public, I examined it and discovered that it was linked through my great aunt and the long lost Hanrahans.  As they have family connections in Cheshire County, New Hampshire, USA, I guess the cheshire 84 alias relates to this.  This tree has been well researched and is underpinned by the US censuses from 1930 and 1940, in particular, but there are other supporting documents.  There is one important exception, which is that my grandmother, Kate Finn has been wrongly identified.  The tree shows her dates as 1898-1970 and this did, indeed, match a Kate Finn, which is a common name in Ireland.  However, my grandmother was born on 3rd October 1896 and she died in September 1995, this latter date known to me by personal experience, just short of her 99th birthday.

My great aunt, Anna Josephine Finn was born on 3rd October 1890 in Ballaghaderreen, County Roscommon, Ireland and she died in West Swanzey, Cheshire County, New Hampshire, in October 1972.  She was my grandmother Kate Finn’s older sister.  Anna married James Patrick Hanrahan.  James was a loom fixer in a woolen mill and he was a forces veteran.  He was born in New Hampshire in 1891 and passed away in 1965.  His father was born in Ireland and his mother Katherine C. Hanrahan, was born in New Hampshire in 1853.

James and Anna had four children, the oldest being born in Massachusetts and the other three being born in New Hampshire:

  • James Patrick Edward Hanrahan was born in Lowell, Massachusetts on 5th May 1920 and died on 30th January 2002.  He married Theda Chamberlain on 1st May 1943.  Theda was born in Keene, New Hampshire on 31st March 1920.  They appear to have had two children, whom I have not been able to identify.
  • Robert J Hanrahan was born 0n 21st June 1922 in Swanzey and he died on 1st November 2003 in Amherst.  He married Edith Osborne and they seem to have had three children, one of whom has been identified as Anthony Hanrahan, but the others have not been identified.
  • Kathleen Marie Hanrahan was born on 19th June 1925 and she passed away on 11th March 2000.  She married William Joseph Evans, born 1920 in Keene, on 21st June 1947 and it looks like they had two children, one of whom has been identified as William Evans, but the other has not been identified.
  • John Frederick Hanrahan was born on 16th January 1927 in West Swanzey and he died in Keene on 8th April 2012.  He married Margaret Elizabeth Putnam (1927 Massachusetts – 1998 Keene).  They had four children, two of whom have not been identified.  Maureen Ann Hanrahan (born 9th October 1952 in Keene – died 13th April 2000 in Dartmouth), who was married and had a child, but her husband and child have not yet been identified.  Steven Andrew Hanrahan, who lived his short life in Keene, was born in July 1963 and died in November 1981.

The tree compiled by cheshire84 also identifies my great uncle James Finn, who was born on 27th August 1889 at Tawnaghbeg, County Mayo, Ireland, my grandmother’s and my great aunt’s older brother.  I was aware of him from my mother and that he was killed in the First World War, but the tree gives the date as 11th May 1916 with Flanders being the location.

I have heard my mother talking about her mother’s parents, but the tree confirms their names as Luke Finn (born 1857 in County Mayo) and Bridget Philips (born 1859 in Sligo, Ireland, baptised 13th February 1859 in Kilturra).  They were married in Tobercurry, Ireland, a town I have visited, on 3rd March 1887.  Luke’s father was identified as Michael Finn, born in 1830 in Tawnaghbeg, but no mother was mentioned.  Bridget’s father was given as John Philips born in Kilturra, Ireland and her mother married him on 2nd February 1855 in Sligo.  The tree named her mother as Catherine Rush, born 1840 in Sligo, but one of the supporting documents from parish records, seems to suggest her first name was Judith.  The same document identifies her parents as John Rush and Nelly Rush.  Bridget had two brothers born in Sligo: Patrick Philips born 1862 and Thomas Philips borne 1864.

It should be noted that all of the place names mentioned in Ireland are in close proximity.  The area  is close to the borders of the three counties of Mayo, Roscommon and Sligo.  The research summarised on this page has clearly established the benefits of short-circuiting family tree research by using the results from DNA testing.  As more enthusiasts use DNA testing, I am sure further results will be forthcoming.  I am an enthusiast!