Sympathy Saturday: Johanna Walsh Hanley

My maternal Great Grandmother Johanna Walsh/Welch Hanley was born on the beautiful Dingle peninsula in Ireland. She was born 12 June 1859 and her baptism on that same date is recorded in the parish of Ballyferriter. She arrived in the U.S. by September 1889 as on 3 September 1889 in Winona, Winona County, Minnesota, she married widower Michael Hanley. Michael and his first wife Margaret had six children who were left motherless when Margaret died on 14 March 1888 in Winona.

Michael and Johanna then had six children and I descend from their son Maurice Michael Hanley. Johanna raised a whole household of kids by herself after her husband died in 1905.

I never knew Johanna. She died 11 April 1937. The only story I ever heard about her was from my mother, Patricia Margaret Hanley Stuart, and it explained a lot about why my mother avoided funerals. As a child and as a teenager it was rare that I even heard of family funerals. I did go to a couple funerals and as I got older I wondered why we never went to them for other relatives and family friends. It took my getting bitten by the genealogy bug to learn why. My mom didn’t share a lot of family info with me, but she did tell a story about when her Grandmother Hanley died. My mom remembered being forced to go to the casket at age 10 and kiss her dead grandmother. It traumatized her and unfortunately she passed that on to her own children.

© 2011 – 2014, Paula Stuart-Warren. All rights reserved.

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