A visit to Glasnevin Cemetery

A few days after visiting all the places my Hannon clan lived, it was time to meet them at their final address: Glasnevin Cemetery.

Last year, I was fortunate enough to have a photo request picked up by an amazing volunteer at Find-A-Grave. He did an A+ job and even helped search for records. Amazing! I will be borrowing some of his photos for this post.

I don’t think showing these in chronological order makes sense, so I will show them how I found them.

This all started in May of last year. You can read all about that in this post. Long story short, I hired a pro-genealogist to help me track down a missing Hannon grand-uncle. Other than my grandfather, who died in Queens, NY, all of the rest of the family had been accounted for in the main plot at Glasnevin. With what the pro turned up and a little snooping through the Glasnevin web site records, I found my man…and his grand-uncle! This sparked a week-long, trans-Atlantic genealogy frenzy. Now I was finally in Dublin, so it was time for me to have a look for myself and meet my ancestors.

Armed with a map, supplied by the kind folks at Glasnevin, I knew roughly where to look. Glasnevin map I wanted to meet the bulk of the family first, so I headed for #2 on the map. Now, while I was growing up, we always had a picture of a HANNAN headstone hanging by the front door with a bunch of other old photos. It wasn’t until I became interested in genealogy that this picture meant anything to me. Prior to leaving for Dublin, I had the picture enlarged and printed and I brought it with me.1942 Catherine Hannan Headstone It took a bit longer than expected to locate this monument, but I found it by looking at the other stones around it in the photo. When I finally found it, it was one of the strangest experiences of my life. I’ve never been one for talking to rocks, but I rambled on like a nutjob as I read the names on the stone. I said hello to each of them, explained who I was and, after researching them for so long, talked to them about their lives. I even placed a stone from the ground on the monument. I am not entirely sure why I did this, but it seemed the right thing to do. Then I looked around for someone to take my picture.Reconnecting with my ancestors

While in the area, I started looking for #4 from the map. This would be my man from above and his grand-uncle (and his wife). It turns out, this stone was just across the lane. I lined up the edge of the base of this monument with the little white stone across the lane and directly beyond this white stone was the above monument, so they are close together. From the grand-uncle My Find-A-Grave volunteer used a chalk technique to make the carvings readable. I am sure this is heavily frowned upon. Grand-uncle Patrick I find it interesting that Patrick is listed as both HannAn and HannOn. But, poor William was buried here because the main plot would not be purchased until his mother died in 1942. I thanked William for the excellent chase (I chased him for a long time before breaking down and hiring a pro to track him) and I also thanked Patrick for being a wonderful grand-uncle to my grand-uncle. I am now a grand-uncle, too. Again, I placed a stone on the monument.

The next stop was #3 on the map. This is the resting place of Patrick Joseph, who was born 20 Aug 1876 and died 4 Sep 1876. He was lost to the world until I turned him up in the baptismal records while researching the rest of the family. He is in an unmarked grave with several other people. When I discovered Patrick, my wife was still pregnant with our now 4.5-year-old son. The thought of losing a child just breaks my heart, but this was Dublin 1876 we are talking about. There was better than average odds that every child would die, but this family only lost the one. It is still sad and I cried over this grave while singing a small lullaby that I wrote, as Gaeilge, for my son.Patrick Joseph Hannon, aged 2 weeks

I then wandered off to find the father of all of these grand-aunts and grand-uncles, Michael Hannon. He is at #1 on the map at the very far back of the cemetery. Glasnevin is a fairly substantial bit of land. I knew that Michael died when the family was still struggling, but this section of the cemetery just lays that bare.Michael Hannon, died 1901 He’s there, just to the right of the toppled headstone in the foreground, in another unmarked grave. I stayed and talked with him for a while. He has been my brickwall since I started looking at family trees way back in 7th grade (1980 or 1981). 7th Grade TreeThat is him up at the top right, the farmer/sheepskinner. I still have no idea who his parents were or where he was born…or married. I asked him to please help me uncover that info. My pro-genealogist was unable to do any better than me. I do now have his uncle, who lived and worked in Cabra, and was able to find that the uncle had a brother who was a farmer in Kimmage, so there is at least something here. I suspect there was another brother and it was this missing guy who was my great-grandfather’s father. I just can’t find him. Maybe now that I’ve met the fam, they will be willing to help me out. As I said goodbye, I instinctively called him “Great-grandpa”.

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2 Responses to A visit to Glasnevin Cemetery

  1. Liz Hannan Kading says:

    Amazing work, Matt. I love seeing your 7th grade family tree!

  2. Carol McMenemy says:

    Well done, Matt I too started in 1979/1980 on this amazing journey. I am planning on a trip to Glasnevin in June (hopefully someone from the family will come with me).
    Hoping too to say hi to the ancestors that have their last address there too. I got goosebumps reading about the unmarked graves (we found we have many in them too).

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