Saturday, 9 April 2011

H is for Hanora

Hanora... Hanora? The usual reaction to that name is: H is for Huh?

If you don’t have Irish connections, you may never have seen or heard the name Hanora. You might think it’s a misspelling. It isn’t. But it is often misspelled. Even by the people who knew and loved Hanoras.

My great-grandmother was Hanora Harnedy. I would like to order her birth certificate to prove that is the spelling of her name. In the 1901 Irish Census, her husband recorded her name as Hanoria. In the 1911


Census, he wrote Nora. When she herself registered her son Con’s birth, she gave her nickname Nanno. When her son James married in Boston, her name was typed up Honora on the register, but that may have been a matter of the typist "correcting" the spelling. And when Con was married the second time, he gave his mother’s name as Julia Harnedy. Julia?! He must have been nervous and gave his paternal grandmother’s name with mother’s maiden name.
I've sometimes wondered if Hanora might have been an Irish version of Hannah.  On the contrary, I have found more than one family in the Irish censuses with daughters named Hannah and Hanora.  In the search I did, in the 1901 Irish Census, there were 5,213 Hanoras across Ireland.  By 1911, there were only 3,436.

My aunt is named after Hanora Harnedy in accord with the standard Irish naming pattern: as first-born daughter, she was named after her paternal grandmother. But she has always gone by the name Nora. Generations back, there was a Hanora Mynehane who was known as Norrie-of-the-Hill.


Recently, I googled “Hanora Moynihan” my great-grandmother’s married name. To my great surprise, I found:
  1. A poem titled “Hanora Moynihan” by Francis Duggan.  Mr. Duggan writes about a spinster named Hanora Moynihan he knew near Millstreet in County Cork. You can find the poem here.
  2. My Aunt Nora’s school assignment from 1936-37 about her townland of Shountullig North. Come back Saturday, April 16 for “N is for Nora” for more on this.
Ever come across a Hanora?

15 comments:

  1. cousin sam johnson9 April 2011 at 21:56

    I always wondered where her name came from...I hope they always call her Hanora.

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  2. I always loved the name Hanora. I thought Hanora Rose would be a beautiful name for a little girl. Sweetie disagreed. So when I heard about Hanora Ruth, I teared up.

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  3. My great grandmother's name was Hanora Gary from Cork.

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  4. I have an ancestor in my tree called Hanora Finn. She came from Galway, emigrated to Melboune in 1859. Married Patrick McCormack in Melbourne in 1862. Had 7 children, on her marriage cert her name is spelt correctly and her signature is also Hanora. On some of the children's marriage certs she is called Nora, but generally Hanora, as she is on her death certs and cemetery records.

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    Replies
    1. Oh, if only more of our ancestors were more consistent with their spelling!

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    2. My mother is from Kerry (b 1929) and had older sisters called Nora (short for Hanorah) b and Hannie (short for Hannah). From her experience even birth certificates aren't that accurate - hers says Connor whereas it should be O'Connor. She says Nora (for Hanora) was a very popular name when she was young.

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  5. My grandmother's name was Mary Hanora but she always went by Nora.Her ancestors were from West Meath Ireland. My aunt and I were bothe named Nora Marie after my grandmother. I went back to the Hanora with my daughter--her middle name is Hanora.

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    Replies
    1. I'm glad to see the name continue to be used.

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  6. My wife was born in Youghal (County Cork) in 1944 and was christened Hanora Philomena Kort (her father was Dutch). The family emigrated to England in 1953 and we live in Cheltenham, right next to the racecourse. Our daughter, Harriet, lives just down the road and has a 6-year-old daughter, also christened Hanora (Keen).

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  7. Great post! My middle name is Hanora - named after my nanny who was from Limerick. Everyone called her Nora, or Babs(!)

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  8. I am a Hanora born in the early 1970s

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  9. My great great great grandmother, Hanora O'Grady, came to Canada in the 1830's as a widow with nine sons. She is responsible for a long line of descendants and I will name my daughter after her.

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  10. I am so glad to hear the world is still full of Hanoras. All the best! ~ Kate

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  11. My name is Hanora, born 1956 in County Waterford and I was also named after my grandmother.

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