Walking the path of my ancestors

I am recently back from a trip to Dublin, in which I took part in the Centenary celebrations of the 1916 Easter Rising. I will cover that in a different post. For this post, I am more concerned with sharing my experience in tracing my Hanno/an ancestors. For most of these people, I was able to follow them, no lie, from birth to death. In some cases, I will be relying on Google Maps to provide the images. The sun was beaming bright that morning and sometimes right in my lens. Other times it just didn’t seem appropriate to be taking pictures of the houses, as the people currently living there were at home and about.

In late December 1874, my great grand-uncle, Christopher Stephen Hannon was born at 31 Usher’s Quay in Dublin. This is Dublin City Center, so he was a Dub from the word “go”. I have not been able to identify where or when his parents were married, who their parents were or where they themselves were born. With that in mind, this really is as far back as I have been able to trace the family.
1874_31UshersQuay
Obviously, this is new construction and does not resemble what stood here in 1874. I need to do some more research on this area. I do not think it was particularly yummy at the time. One thing that I noticed as I wandered the city, this is about the most eastern border where you can smell the malt from Guinness Brewery. From smell alone, I was able to tell that I was near to “home”, my hotel being a very short walk from here.

On 20 Aug 1876, Patrick Joseph Hannon was born at 14 Usher’s Island, one block over from where Christopher was born. He was followed by sister Mary Elizabeth on 18 Aug 1877. What is interesting is that it seems to be the address of The Mendicity Institute, which was in existence at the time and provided charity to the poor. Google Maps seems to indicate that #14 is the western gate (right side in picture as we are looking south), but remember, Google Maps is not always right.

Medicity Institute

Medicity Institute

Keep an eye on those houses to the right.
Here are the same addresses today:
Usher's Island
I say that Google Maps is not always right because this is #15 Usher’s Island:
The Dead

The Dead

Not all of the doors have numbers on them. My hope would be that #14 (and #13 that we are coming to next) were to the right of the James Joyce House. Sure, it was probably still a slum tenement, but it wasn’t the Mendo!

The family go missing in 1878, but on 25 Aug 1879, John Joseph is born at #13 Usher’s Island. That makes five solid years that they lived in this neighborhood. They vanish again for a couple of years, but reappear on 12 Feb 1882 living at 59 Watling Street, which is around the corner and probably on the same block. Here was born my father’s father, James, and his twin sister, Anne. Again, this is all modern construction since 1882, but this will give you an idea of the area. Watling St Watling Street is a nothing of a street now, but it has been in existence since before the Vikings ruled Dublin. At one point it was the location of the western wall that surrounded the city. In fact, the large gate at the corner of South Circular Road and Kilmainham Lane, up by Kilmainham Gaol, was actually moved there from Watling Street. Watling Street Gate I need to look up the date that this was moved, but I want to say it has been since the Free State, so it very well may have stood on Watling Street when James and Anne were born.

Now, the father of all of these kids, Michael Hannon, was a sheep-skinner by trade. It makes sense that they lived in this neighborhood with that in mind. There were two primary industries on Watling Street at the time. One was beer brewing, but the more ancient industry was leather tanning, which has been found by archeology to have been taking place since prior to the Vikings. At the start of the 20th Century, the Guinness Brewery overran the whole area, engulfing several competing breweries, tanning businesses and entire lanes of houses. There is a small facade of a building still remaining and embedded in the wall of Guinness that harkens to this age-old trade. It is my belief that this may very well have been where Michael Hannon worked.Central Hide and Skin, Co. The family lived at 59 Watling Street until at least 6 Apr 1884, when Michael T. Hannon was born.

I do not know where they were in 1885, but by 4 Jun 1886, when Frances Rose was born, they were living at 4 Cooke’s Lane, which was a lane just off Watling Street that has since been plowed under by Guinness. I was able to locate Cookes Lane on a 1798 map of Dublin. 1798 Cooks Lane You can see this awesome map in its entirety here.
I thought that Cooke’s Lane may have been located where the sidewalk is a different color: Possible location of Cooke's Lane
But, this gate location is also a strong possibility. I think it would have made more financial sense to gate the existing lane than to wall over it and punch a hole in a wall and build the gate just up the way from the lane. Another possibility for Cooke's Lane Also born on Cooke’s Lane were Kathleen Mary (29 Aug 1888), William Joseph (15 Jun 1891) and Edward (2 Nov 1894). The records go dark again until we find the baby of the family, Elizabeth Mary, born “abt 1898”. I have not discovered where or exactly when. The year is estimated from the 1901 Census, which lists her as three years old.

{edit}Confirmed from 1874 Thom’s Directory map. Cooke’s Lane was at the gate.
Confirmed Cooke's Lane Location

At the time of this census, a couple of things have happened. First, the family has moved out of the neighborhood that has been their home since 1874. This is about 27 years. Second, the father, Michael, died of hepatitis on 18 Mar 1901. I know that he moved with the family to the new location, as his name appears in the electoral rolls and street directories for a few years to follow. The new home was in an up and coming neighborhood. The address was 11 Lower Clanbrassil St. At the time, new houses were being built here to deal with the increasing number of Jews moving to the city from eastern Europe. While I have not yet read “Ulysses”, I believe that there is mention of this in there. It took me about 10 or 15 minutes to walk to #11 from Watling Street. This brought me through The Liberties and The Coombe. These are both working class neighborhoods and most of the houses are still row cottages. This is an example from The Liberties. The Liberties

As I arrived at 11 Lower Clanbrassil, the present occupant was just coming out the door on his way to work. Also, the sun had just come up over the back of the house and was shining straight into the lens of my camera, so for this one I am borrowing from Google Maps again. 11 Lower Clanbrassil Street
#11 would be the grey door on the left. The family was here from about 1901 until 1904 at least. They vanish again until 1908, when they pop up a few doors down at #25 Lower Clanbrassil. 25 Lower Clanbrassil Street They were starting to make their way up the ladder.

From 1910 to 1912, they lived to 27 Arnott St. This was a sunny, friendly, quiet neighborhood. It was so peaceful that I was able to pet a cat that was out for a stroll. As I found #27, the present owner was out on the stoop taking in the morning sun. She found me curious and was only too happy to talk to me when I finally asked if she would. I explained that I was a Yank looking for his roots and that they grew through her house. She was delighted, and about six months pregnant. When I told her that 12 or 13 adults lived in the house, she was stunned. She and her husband, who was on a conference call otherwise she would have invited me in, were finding it a bit cramped just with the expected arrival of their first child. They had been living there for about a year, after moving from Washington, D.C. 27 Arnott Street The family had definitely arrived, but they weren’t done climbing yet.

From 1913 to 1915, they lived at 42 Victoria Street. 42 Victoria Street The houses in this neighborhood were a bit bigger and the neighborhood a bit nicer. How’s this for a door? 42 Victoria Street, door

At some point, my grandfather decided enough was enough with living with all of his siblings, so he took an apartment at 25 South Richmond St, which was less than five minutes away by foot. This is the address that he would give on his paperwork to enter the US. 25 South Richmond St

In 1916, at Easter, there was an armed Rising of radical republicans within the city. All records go dark at this point. As Ireland was engaged in a brutal war of independence against the UK, there was no 1921 Census taken. I am unsure if the new Free State had its act together enough to even take a census in 1931. The next record I have for the family is 1937 and they were living at 14 Grantham Street. By this point in my walk, my feet were starting to kill and my stomach was starting to growl. And, truth be told, with the span of missing years (rows) on my spreadsheet being so many, I missed the address by not scrolling down enough. Oops! Again, thanks Google Maps. 14 Grantham St They would live here until 1957, at least. Interestingly, there was a John and Annie Hannon living across the street from them at #16. These two disappear in 1942/1943. I am not 100% sure who they were, but I have seen the name John Hannon appear on other records as a witness, etc. I suspect he was an uncle. Also, this is the house in which the family started making their final moves to Glasnevin Cemetery.

I have two more addresses to visit, but they are outside the city. From 1961 until 1976, there is 267 Howth Rd, on the north side of the city. I need to recheck if this was Dublin or Killester, as there are two 267 Howth Roads. The final address was 37 Butterfield Ave, Rathfarnham, which is dead south of the city. This is the house that my father was willed. Google Maps is telling me that it is the right side of the structure.

on the right

on the right

And I know that my sister is currently groaning. Not wanting to be a trans-Atlantic, absentee landlord (this was a rental property owned by the family), my father sold the place. It probably was the right move, but boy-oh-boy, would that have been nice!37ButterfieldAve1

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1 Response to Walking the path of my ancestors

  1. Liz Hannan Kading says:

    Oh, man, I’m crying over the loss of that house in Howth! GAH!!!!!!! If we could only have that house and the house on 50th St. in Woodside back…. Ah well. Excellent work, Matt! Wow!!! It is amazing that so many of those buildings are still standing. Also…I feel like I hadn’t known before that our grandfather had a twin sister! Very interesting! Thanks so much for all your amazing work!

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