Tombstone Tuesday: Hannan family in Girvan

In Girvan, on the west coast of Scotland, there are two tombstones for members of the Hannan family. They are made of sandstone, and relatively small compared with the surrounding tombstones.

The one on the left is the family of Thomas Hannan (c1830-1890) and his wife Janet McCartney (c1830-1915), my great great grandparents. I first saw it in May 1967, when my mother, Ella Hayes, and I visited her cousin Willie Hannan in Glasgow, and Willie took us to Girvan in Ayrshire, and showed us where the earlier generations of the family had lived. He said that they had had 9 children and the only one who didn’t die young was his and my mother’s grandfather, William Hannan (1856-1928). The names of the children who had died young were inscribed around the sides of the stone.

Thirty-eight years later we visited it again, and this time having a digital camera took more pictures of it.

Hannan tombstone in Girvan Cemetery

The children who died young were:

  • Jane (1847-1847)
  • James (1848-1849)
  • William (1852-1854)
  • John (1854-1855)
  • Thomas (1859-1866)
  • Samuel (1860-1864)
  • James (1864-1887)

But we quite recently discovered that there were actually two children who survived to adulthood and had children of their own. There was a second Jane (1850-1917). She married Samuel Kay, and they had nine children. Janet Ewing of New Zealand wrote to us in 2008 and said

I have been looking through some old e-mails and have
found that you and I have a relation in common. My gt
grandmother was a Jane Hannan. She married Samuel Kay
6 September 1872 at Girvan Ayrshire. She was 22. He
was 20. Her parents were Thomas Hanan (could have
been transcribed as Heenan) and Janet McCartney. Her
surname on the marriage certificate could have been
transcribed as Keenan. This has all been most
confusing in the past. However her death Certificate
(d 19 February 1917) shows that her parents were
Thomas Hannan and Janet McCartney. Does all this fit
into your tree? Janet

So there are a whole lot more cousins on the Hannan side that we didn’t know about.

The second tombstone is larger, and a generation later:

Stanley Livingstone Hannan (1891-1917)

There are several interesting things about this. One is that Tom Hannan, Stanley Hannan’s older brother, was jailed as a conscientious objector during the First World War. For more on this see this earlier entry, and also the Hannan family pages on Wikispaces.

The Hannan family

My grandmother was Janet McCartney Growdon, born Hannan (1882-1946). She died a couple of days before my 5th birthday, so I have only a few childhood memories of her, and of going to visit her and my grandfather at McKenzie Road in Durban, where they lived. In their back garden was a big avocado pear tree. Their house was near the Stamford Hill aerodrome, long since removed further north to Virginia, and replaced by sports stadiums – Kingsmead, Kings Park, and a new one being built for the 2010 Soccer World Cup.

When we were in Durban a couple of months ago we visited my grandparents’ grave in Stellawood Cemetery, where they are buried with my uncle Willie Growdon, whom I never met — he was killed in a motorbike accident before I was born.

Three years ago, however, we visited some other graves — of my grandmother’s grandmother, after whom she was named — Janet Hannan, born McCartney, and her husband Thomas Hannan. Their graves are in Girvan cemetery, in Ayrshire, on the west coast of Scotland.

Gravestone of Thomas and Janet Hannan in Girvan

Gravestone of Thomas and Janet Hannan in Girvan

For much of the 19th century the Hannan family lived in Girvan. Janet McCartney came from Maybole, not far away, and they were married there. But most of their children died young, and their names are inscribed around the gravestone.

The eldest son, William Hannan (1856-1928), went to Glasgow, where he met and married Ellen McFarlane. He was a carpenter and joiner. One of their sons, Stanley Livingstone Hannan, was killed in action in the First World War, and his memorial is next to that of his grandparents in Girvan Cemetery.

Memorial to Stanley Livingstone Hannan, and his father William Hannan

Memorial to Stanley Livingstone Hannan, and his father William Hannan

William and Ellen Hannan’s eldest son Tom Hannan (1879-1941) married Hannah Carson and lived in Glasgow. He was a life-long socialist, and was jailed as a conscientious objector in the First World War. His youngest sister Maria (Ria) married Jack Cochrane, and we know nothing about what happened to them. If anyone knows, please let us know!

The other children of William and Ellen Hannan came to southern Africa. Janet McCartney Hannan met George Growdon in Waterval Boven, Transvaal, where he worked as an engine driver for Central South African Railways, and they were married there on 2 June 1909. My mother Ella Growdon was born in Pretoria exactly a year later, and a couple of years after that they moved to Durban permanently.

Emily Livingstone Hannan married first Charlie Mould, and then Arthur Sharp, and lived in Berea in Johannesburg.

David McFarlane Hannan went to Northern Rhodesia (now Zambia), and died at Ndola in 1951. Their children lived in Zambia and Zimbabwe.

Duncan MacFarlane Hannan (1894-1957) married Margaret Helen Bain, and was a butcher in Durban.

If anyone reading this is related to this Hannan family, please visit our family Wikispace, and have a look at the Hannan family pages there. You can goin Wikispaces and add to the family stories there.

Davi

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