Seeking Ancestors

Seeking Hanrahans of Monaleen (April 2016)

I received this email recently from Australia and have made local enquiries, but have not been able to trace any Hanrahans that have lived in Monaleen for generations – but maybe somebody out there can help? If you think you know the family, please email me ( and I will give you Brian’s contact details. Thank you!

“Dear Editor

As I have reached a dead-end in trying to find information about our ancestor, Bridget Hanrahan, this is a last desperate attempt. While I recognise that the parish has experienced much growth in recent years and probably now has many Hanrahans, I are looking for a Hanrahan family which has been in the parish for a very long period.

In the parish registers held by the National Library of Ireland, there are five Hanrahan marriages in St Patrick’ parish in the period up to 1860.
These are:

  • 1818 Catherine Hanrahan and Pat McGrath; sponsors John Noonan and Mary Walsh.
  • 1824 Denis Hanrahan and Mary Bourke; sponsors John Hanrahan and John Bourke.
  • 1825 John Hanrahan and Mary Belson; sponsors Denis Hanrahan and James Belson.
  • 1827 Bridget Hanrahan and John Bourke; sponsors Michael Callopy and Patrick Mahony.
  • 1846 Margaret Hanrahan and Patrick Gorman; sponsors Denis Hanrahan and Margaret Hanrahan.

We have found records of Denis Hanrahan, John Hanrahan, James Belson and John Bourke as farmers in the Killonan townland.

We believe Denis Hanrahan and John Hanrahan were brothers. John Hanrahan took his family to the United States in 1852 and settled in Wisconsin. After John Bourke died, Bridget Hanrahan and her five grown children moved to Australia between 1857 and 1862. All their immigration records have Monaleen as their place of origin.

I realise this is a “long shot” and you probably have many similar requests, but if you are able to help in any way, we would greatly appreciate it.

Kind regards

Brian Williams (great great grandson of Bridget Hanrahan)”

Update to “Seeking Hanrahans of Monaleen” (March 2018)

Please click on the image above to read the booklet.

Ian Hanrahan in the US emailed me in 2017 after reading the article above. Ian is a descendent of John Hanrahan and Mary Belson who emigrated to Canada in 1852 and then moved to Wisconsin two years later. They are one of the couples that Brian Williams mentions above. They left Ireland with their five adult children, one of whom was married with a child.

Ian has very kindly offered to share the story of (his branch) of the Hanrahan family with the current residents of Monaleen. He was given a booklet by his grandmother, written in 1988 by Marcella Hanrahan Hoeft, telling the entire story – from the family roots in Monaleen, their emigration journey in 1852 and settling as pioneers in Wisconsin – right up to 1988. I have abridged the text (with the approval of Ian), omitting much of the more recent family history. The abridged booklet is the story of the original Hanrahan family members from Killonan and not their descendants.

The booklet starts by describing the history and geography of Monaleen and the conditions in which the family lived (post famine) in Killonan. It continues with the story of the 7 week voyage on the ship across the Atlantic (on which the child died en route) and then describes their settlement in the New World. They initially lived in the town of Erin in Wisconsin, where the parish church was St. Patrick’s. Some family members subsequently lived in Neenah – all familiar names from home. It is a fascinating story from both a historical and a human interest point of view. I hope you enjoy reading the story as much as I did.


[Unfortunately this is not the branch of the family that Brian Wilson is still trying to trace – they may be related, but no proof has turned up just yet. So if anyone has any information about Bridget Hanrahan and John Bourke, please get in touch and I will give you Brian’s contact details.
Ann Heffernan, March 2018]