Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Death Certificate of Michael Hennigan

Michael Hennigan was one of my 3xgreat-grandfathers. I wrote previously about him and his family. One hindrance to this line of research is that his last name can be (mis)spelled in many ways including Hennigan, Hannigan, Henigan, Hanigan, Hennighan, Hannighan, Hennigon etc.

In this entry I am showing a copy of Michael’s death certificate. This was kindly provided to me by Mrs K. Moreton a couple of years ago, but I have just got round to looking at some more of my Hennigan ancestry.

(click to enlarge)

Michael Hennigan was born somewhere in Ireland between 1832-1834. I believe his father’s name was Charles Hennigan. The family moved to England in the 1840s or early 1850s and Michael married Catherine Grogan (b1840), daughter of Thomas Grogan, on 14th Oct 1860 at St. Peter’s Chapel, Birmingham (this information is from their marriage certificate though I have yet to get a copy myself).

He died on 5th January 1885, at the Weston Road Workhouse, Birmingham. His name is spelled “Michael Hannigan” and he is 51 years old. His occupation is described as “labourer of Birmingham” which is quite general. The cause of death is given as “Chronic Bronchitis Dilated Heart” – though it’s not hard to imagine that he was likely in terrible physical condition. He was born in Ireland before coming over to England during the worst of the potato famine and ended up living in quite awful poverty.

The first census record that Michael appeared in is the 1861 English census (clicking the link will take you to a copy of the image). I cannot find him in the 1851 census suggesting he move to England after this date.. In 1861, he is living in one room of a house on Tindal St., Birmingham and is working as a paper maker. In 1871 Michael is working as a bricklayer’s labourer living in one room on Windmill St Birmingham. Things got worse for Michael as by 1881 he had moved to the Marston Green Cottage homes which were actually part of the Birmingham workhouse. Sadly, he is living here with his four youngest children – Margaret, Ellen, James and Michael.

The informant of the death in 1885 was his wife Catherine Hennigan who was apparently in attendance at the death. Her residence was 10 Beak Street. She was living on the same street four years previously in 1881 (the time when Michael was in the workhouse) when she described herself as a ‘laundress’. She also said that she was a widow on this census. Her older children John, Jane and Catherine are living with her as is Jane’s illegitimate son John Curley. Jane went on to marry my 2xgreat-grandfather Thomas Curley.

I do not know how long Catherine went on to live for. I cannot find her in the 1911 census or find her death certificate. I do know that she lived until at least 1901 as she appears in this census living on Beak St. She is unemployed and living with her unmarried daughter Mary Ann (b1860-2) who is a spoon polisher. They are living two doors away from one of the sisters who in 1881 was forced to live in the workhouse – Ellen Hennigan (b1875) and her husband Thomas Moore.

Mary Ann Hennigan can be found in 1911 living with Thomas and Ellen Moore (Ellen had had 9 children by this time but only 5 had survived). Mary Ann is still a spoon polisher. Mary Ann Hennigan possibly died in Apr-Jun 1930 according to the death register indexes, though I’d need to get the certificate to confirm this.

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