Analysis of Surname Distribution, Part 1

This report was originally written in 2016 for the Sorbie Tower restoration initiative.


As part of the Marketing Plan for the Restoration of Sorbie Tower I wanted to get an understanding of absolute numbers of Hannas/Hannahs/Hannays/Hanneys worldwide from various sources to try to draw conclusions as to where the best “opportunities” geographically are for securing donations [to the Sorbie Tower Charity]. I also asked [Membership Secretary] Jacquie to do an analysis of where our current Clan Membership is geographically located across the world by surname; and then try to compare the two. This report details my findings.

Part 1: Analysis of Hanna/Hannah/Hannay/Hanney Surname Distribution Worldwide

I had an old data point. For my “Hanna of the Close” family history book in 2008 I had access to a 1990 genealogical book of telephone directories from around the (western) World called “World Book of Hannas 1990”. Clearly, it was imperfect and there’s no way of cross checking with actual phonebooks of the time, but it’s the best starting point I have. Crucially, it was at a time before mobile phones and the internet when a home telephone was the main source of telecommunication around the world. As such, it is a reasonably good indicator of numbers of Hannas worldwide at the time (when the number of names in the directories could be multiplied by the then average family size). Hence, in 1990 I estimated that there were the following by country worldwide:

  • ~57,000 Hannas in the World
  • Hanna Surname Distribution in 1990:
    • USA 64%
    • Ireland 11%
    • Canada 11%
    • Australia 6%
    • GB 5%
    • NZ 2%

The world population in 1990 was about 5.3 billion people; in 2010 the world population was about 6.9 billion people (a factor of x 1.3). An extrapolation to the end of 2014 yields a number of about 7.2 billion people in the world (a factor of x 1.35). Hence, a first order approximation of the number of people with the Hanna surname in the world at the end of 2014 would yield a number of ~80,000.

A very interesting website has appeared recently on the WWWeb recently called which purports to have sourced 1.6 billion surnames across the world. There is no way of verifying this claim but it’s the best source available as far as I can find. However, if one searches the Hanna surname, one discovers that the website claims it is the 1,945th most common surname in the world. Approximately 282,141 people bear this surname. It is most prevalent in Egypt! The highest surname density can be found in the Bahamas. There is clearly a discrepancy.

The map below (Figure 1) shows a Hanna surname distribution “incidence” plot. The raw data it is derived from is at the end of this report as Appendix 1. What is clear is that (as we know) there is a Middle Eastern Hanna surname unconnected to the Scottish Clan Hannays that is the most prevalent numerically in the world. When I removed all the countries from the surname count that I would not expect to have many Scottish Hanna surnames (eg Arab countries) then the ~282,00 comes down to a more reasonable ~92,000 “Scottish” Hannas in the world in 2014. This is in the same ball park as my 1990 Book of Hanna surname number above when extrapolated to today. Note that I would guess that in the US and Canada we would probably have to allow for under 5% of Hannas being of Arab descent too (which would bring this number down further – but I didn’t account for that in this analysis). Poland and Germany also have a suspiciously high number of Hannas:

Figure 1: Hanna Surname Distribution 2014 (see Appendix 1)

If we also now look at Hannah, Hannay and Hanney Surname distributions we find no Arab surname distortions of the names and the following Figures 2-4 illustrate their global geographic distributions:

Figure 2: Hannah Surname Distribution 2014 (see Appendix 2)

Figure 3: Hannay Surname Distribution 2014 (see Appendix 3)

Figure 4: Hanney Surname Distribution 2014 (see Appendix 4)

One thing I was also interested in for our Restoration Fund efforts was the distribution of some of these surnames in key countries (eg USA, Canada). Figures 5 and 6 show the Hanna Surname distribution by State in the USA and by County. Clearly California and Texas have the highest concentrations:

Figure 5: Hanna Surname Distribution USA by State 2014 (see Appendix 5)

Figure 6: Hanna Surname Distribution USA by County 2014 (see Appendix 5)

Interestingly, the most Hanna Surnames by county in the United States was around Los Angeles and San Diego much to my surprise. The most Hannahs by comparison were based around Chicago (Appendix 6).

In summary, using the 2014 data we can estimate the number of individuals globally (of Scottish descent) holding the four main Clan Surnames as:

  • Hanna Surname has ~92,000 people worldwide
  • Hannay Surname has ~3,000 people worldwide
  • Hannah Surname has ~48,000 people worldwide
  • Hanney Surname has ~3,000 people worldwide

Hence, total potential Clan Membership is ~146,000 WW

What surprised me – apart from the Arab influence on the Hanna surname – was the large number of Hannah surname adherents in the world, especially in North America. But at least now we know how big our target audience is in terms of actual total potential clan members (by clan surname). This number probably needs to be multiplied by a factor of two to take account of people interested in the clan from their maternal family lines (see Membership evidence in Part 2).

Continued in Part 2 (to be published on on 22 Sept, 2020).

Bronze Age Settlement?

From the Clan West Archive – Article originally published in the 1990s. This is part of a series of articles that were initially published by the now-inactive Clan Hannay Society West.  Many thanks to Gigi Hanna, Convenor Emerita.

Note: Packard Harrington was the Clan Archaeologist in the 1990s and early 2000s. Any hyperlinks and images that may have been in the Clan West website version are now lost. Hyperlinks below were added (and references to lost images removed or substituted) when the archived version was reviewed and revised in August, 2020. 

The archeologist who helped the Clan Hannay Society secure several thousand pounds to help conserve Sorbie Tower said he believes the site could date much further back than previously thought.

Packard Harrington, who has worked on ecclesiastic digs less than 10 miles away from Sorbie, said he thinks Sorbie could have been the site of a Bronze Age settlement.  The Bronze Age stretched from 2000 to 1000 B.C.

He’s spent 12 years in Whithorn, Scotland’s earliest Christian site, where he found evidence amongst ruins dating to around 900 A.D. or earlier of Viking buildings.

“We haven’t found the evidence, but that continuum is not going to be inconsistent with what happened at Sorbie”, he said.  “If there happened to be a Viking occupation there it wouldn’t surprise me”.

Harrington said a diary of a relative of the tower’s last occupant, Brigadier General John Stewart, mentions visiting Sorbie and unearthing cremation urns.  The writer speculated that the urns could be third-century Roman, but Harrington is skeptical about the likelihood of a Roman cremation site outside the immediate frontier, at that time.

“It could be that those urns were not Roman at all, but Bronze Age”, he said.  “Perhaps Sorbie was a Bronze Age cemetery”.

Good introductions to Dark Age Britain can be found in:

Arthur’s Britain, by Leslie Alcock

Celtic Britain, by Charles Thomas

Picts, Gaels and Scots“, by Sally Foster

More detailed information on Dark Age Dumfries and Galloway are:

Wild Men and Holy Places, by Daphne Brooke

Whithorn and Saint Ninian, Peter Hill

The Old Place of Sorbie

From the Clan West Archive – Originally published in November of  2011. This is part of a series of articles that were initially published by the now-inactive Clan Hannay Society West.  Many thanks to Gigi Hanna, Convenor Emerita.

Note: The core of this article is excerpted from Vol. I of the Studies in Grey Galloway, a series published by the Galloway Gazette in 1969-1970. Any hyperlinks and images that may have been in the Clan West website version are now lost. Hyperlinks below were added (and references to lost images removed or substituted) when the archived version was reviewed and revised in August, 2020. 


by I. F. MACLEOD, M.A., F.S.A. Scot.

Resident Tutor in Galloway, Department of Extra-Mural Education, University of Glasgow

Newton Stewart 1969

The tower house in Scotland conforms to a standard type from the middle of the fourteenth century to the end of the sixteenth century, compact, but adaptable to changing requirements. In the earliest towers, the walls were up to 8′ thick, with defense conducted mainly from the wall walk and from projecting timber hoardings; by the sixteenth century defense is mainly from the ground level by hand guns and small arms, and the top level of the tower lends itself to decorative turrets and detail.

The earliest examples are square or oblong, three or four storys high, with access by ladder or an external wooden stairway to the first floor, and a turnpike stair in the wall thickness at one corner to the upper floors. The “L” plan provides additional accommodation in a wing of five to six storys, and perhaps takes the stairway. The walls are a maze of passages and chambers.

The outer defenses are a ditch and stone barmkin or courtyard was, mainly for protecting stock and goods. The tower is not usually free standing, as within the courtyard will be barns and stables and various other buildings.

In most later towers the entrance is on the ground floor, in the re-entrant angle between the projecting wing and the main block where appropriate.

Elaborate Z plan tower houses and the rich north-cast group of castles by the Bell family of master mansions (Crathes, Craigievar, Midmar, Castle Fraser) have no real parallel in Galloway, but otherwise this province has a very comprehensive range of examples of Scottish tower building. The following list of Galloway examples would form an exhaustive list of castles to visit (numbers 1,3,4,6,9,11, and 12 are Ancient Monuments open to the public).

1 Threave Castle, west of Castle-Douglas, on an island in the R. Dee (NX 739623).

2 Corsewall Castle, north-west of Stranraer (NW 992715).

3 Cardoness Castle, west of Gatehouse-of-Fleet (NX 591553).

4 Orchardton Tower, south-east of Castle-Douglas (NX 817551).

5 Garlies Castle, north-east of Newton Stewart (NX 423692).

6 Carsluith Castle, between Creetown and Gatehouse-of-Fleet (NX 495542).

7 Barholm Castle, between Creetown and Gatehouse-of-Fleet (NX 521530).

8 Rusko Castle, north of Gatehouse-of-Fleet (NX 584604).

9 Drumcoltran Tower, north-ease of Dalbeattie (NX 869683).

10 Craigcaffie Tower, north of Stranraer (NX 088642).

11 Castle of Park, west of Glenluce (NX 189571).

12 Maclellan’s Castle, in Kirkcudbight (NX 683551).

13 Isle of Whithorn Castle, in Isle of Whithorn (NX 475366).

14 Castle of St. John, in Stranraer (NX 061608)


The Old Place of Sorbie or Sorbie Tower was built towards the end of the sixteenth century to replace a wooden building on the motte or alternatively another structure within the immediate area. The style of the tower suggests a date in the 1580’s or 1590’s, but a slightly earlier date is certainly possible.

The design of the tower and its construction would be the work of some local family of master masons, perhaps based on the burgh of Wigtown, but unfortunately nothing further is known about this.

The tower, though still a very substantial building, is in poor state of repair, particularly the east wing of the main block, and part of the vault over the kitchen has collapsed. Unlike many Galloway tower houses there is no record of recent occupation, e.g. as accommodation for farm laborers, and the Old Place of Sorbie seems to have stood empty since the middle of the eighteenth century.

The site of the tower, with protection from swamp and water about it, was in itself perhaps an adequate defense against surprise attack. That such security was necessary even a very later date in Galloway is clearly illustrated by the history of the Hannays of Sorbie in the sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries. Patrick Hannay of Sorbie was slain in 1543 by Patrick Maclellan; John Hannay was killed in a quarrel in 1640; a Hannay of Sorbie was involved with other Galloway gentlemen including Fergus McDowall of Freugh, Alexander McDowall of Garthland, and McKie of Mertoune, in an affray in the street of Edingurgh in 1526 in which a prominent Dutchman and several others were killed, and which had a sequel in which Thomas Maclellan of Bombie was killed in a clash with the Gordons; and, lastly, the ruinous series of feuds with their neighbours, the Murrays of Broughtons, in a succession of quarrels involving the Stewarts of Garlies, the Dunbars, and the Kennedys, in the 1590’s and 1600’s, including incidents of fired barns, stolen crops, etc., indeed all the ingredients of a ‘Western” film melodrama.

The tower probably had the additional protection of a water filled ditch, of which perhaps sections can still be traced to the east of the tower and elsewhere, and of a barmkin or enclosing wall round a courtyard, and no doubt relied on defense if necessary with small firearms and handguns from the tower itself.

Nothing remains of buildings and structures associated with the tower, such as barns, stables, additional retainers’ quarters, etc., but the wooded area beyond the fenced section has a number of features, not however necessarily associated with the tower, deserving future examination. In particular, there is a stone lined well south-east of the tower, there are some small stony mounds to the east of the tower, and there is a long narrow mound to the north of the tower which does not seem entirely natural.

The Old Place was an obviously carefully planned L plan tower house, with stone vaulted basement, first floor hall, second and third storys and attic with timber flooring, designed for its period on a spacious scale – basically domestic rather than military architecture. It clearly belongs with, for example, the Castle of Park, and Maclellan’s Castle in Kirkcudbright, and Dunskey Castle at Portpatrick, in the class of castellated buildings where, at least as far as the main building itself is concerned, defensive considerations are no longer predominant. The rubble stonework and present ragged appearance gives no real indication of how colorful and pleasing the original would have looked in the sixteenth century, covered with ‘harl’ or roughcast, and with other associated buildings, and perhaps gardens and a dovecot, nearby.

The entrance is on the ground floor in the re-entrant angle in the east wing of the L plan, and opens on to the bottom of the staircase on the left leading up to the left, right and right again to the first floor hall. The staircase is of generous proportions for a tower house, wide and not steep. Access to the second and third floors and the attic was by the turret stair which was corbelled out over the re-entrant angle, with the corbel termination ending in a grotesque human head.

Above the doorway to the left was a square recess in which the arms of the Hannays would have been displayed, and above the door itself very probably the family motto with the name or initials of the Hannay who built the tower and his wife. A small window to the right of the door, lighting the passageway to the kitchen, would also have provided coverage to the area in front of the door with a hand gun.

The main block is 40′ 3″ by 24′ externally, i.e. outside the walls. The wing projects 25′ 9″ from the main block and is 20′ wide.

The ground floor consists of three cellars and a kitchen. The vaulted passage runs from the south end of the main block by the entrance area to the kitchen at the north end. The vaulted kitchen measures 17′ by 13′ 6″. It has a fine fireplace, 17′ by 5′, in the north gable wall, with a window, possibly for draught for the fire, in the west wall, and a recess for storage in the east wall.

Off this passage are two vaulted cellars, one with one narrow window in the west wall, and the second with windows in the west and south walls. The third cellar is under the main staircase in the east wing, and has a window in the south wall.

The great hall occupies all of the first floor of the main block, and is 27′ by 16′ 6″. The east wing is occupied by the main staircase and the turret stair. The hall would have been a grand and comfortable room, with wooden roof, tapestries on the walls, iron grated windows with glass and wooden shutters, perhaps portraits of members of the Hannay family, collections of books, seats in the in-goes of the windows, and fine tables and chairs. There was a good-sized fireplace in the east wall, and additional heating would have come up from the kitchen fireplace underneath and its chimney in the north gable. The hall was well lighted, with two windows in the west wall, one in the south wall, and one in the east wall. There were three simple rectangular cupboard recesses in the west and south walls, and two mural chambers in the north gable, each with a small window.

It is no longer possible to go beyond the first floor as the stairway in the turret has virtually disappeared. The second and third floors would have provided rooms and sleeping accommodations for the Hannay and their guest, with the attic utilized as room for staff or simply as a dormitory.


The Hannays of Sorbie may have originated in the Anglo-Norman or Flemish settlers in Galloway in the twelfth century, or could possibly represent an earlier Norse element in the area. The existence of West Hanney in Berkshire, Haningtons in Hampshire and Northamptonshire, and Hanwell in Oxfordshire, should be noted, but generally speculation on the matter is not really a profitable exercise. There is no direct evidence to show that the Hannays held the lands of Sorbie until the middle of the fifteenth century, but clearly there was a family with that name in the area long before that time.

It is not possible to conclude that Gilbert de Hannethe and Gilbert de Annethe, listed in the “Ragman’s Roll” of 1296, actually held Sorbie, but they were certainly magnates of importance in Galloway. It is possible that the name actually represent the same person listed twice by a clerical error, and referred to in a 1296 inquest as Gilbert de Hannith. Other members of the family active in Galloway in the fourteenth century were Fynlaus a’hanna (canon of Whithorn in 1390) and Findlay Ahanna (resigned the living at Kirkmaiden. Rhins. In 1393).

The free spelling of Hannay as A’Hannay, A’hanna, Hanna, Ahannay, etc., using the Welsh prefix A or Ap, and the mediaeval version de Hannethe, de Annethe, etc., is a source of confusion, but there is no reason to suppose that these represented different family groups.

The earliest known Hannay at Sorbie seems to have been Ethe Hannay of Sorbie, pre 1460-1485, who was succeeded by Robert Hannay, who acted for his brother-in-law, Quentin Agnew, as sheriff of Wigtownshire in 1498/99, and was certainly a person of considerable importance.

The family was at the height of its power and influence about the middle of the sixteenth century , with wealth accumulated partly from the post-Reformation acquisition of church lands, but perhaps more significantly from territorial aggrandizement in the Machars area, partly through marriage, and perhaps most important of all from active participation in trade and mercantile endeavor in Wigtown and area. Various members of the Hannay family were burgesses and provosts of Wigtown in the sixteenth century, and clearly a residence in the burgh was maintained, e.g. the license, already quoted, to William Hannay, provost of Wigtown in 1550, to build a fortified house within the burgh. Alexander Hannay, his father, acquired the lands of Kirkdale in the Stewartry in 1532, perhaps largely from profits from his business interest in Wigtown.

Alexander Hannay of Sorbie, who took over lands of Sorbie in 1569, and who was dead by 1612/13 may well have built the Old Place of Sorbie. It was, ironically, his feuding and violent disputes with his neighbors which brought about the initial decline of the fortunes of the Hannays of Sorbie. His son, John, who was killed in 1640, revived and continued these quarrels, and much of the Sorbie estates were sold in 1626 to Sir Patrick Agnew of Lochnaw, lands later deeded to the Stewarts of Garlies, who finally took over the Old Place of Sorbie in 1677.

The last resident of the Old Place was Brigadier-General John Stewart, M.P. for Wigtownshire in the British Parliament of 1707, who held the Old Place from 1695 until his death there on 22nd April, 1748, and who is buried in the Old Kirkyard.

Perhaps the most interesting Hannay was Patrick Hannay, court poet, diplomat, and adventurer, possibly the brother of John Hannay of Sorbie and Sir Robert Hannay of Mochrum, or else a Hannay of Kirkdale. He was the author of various pleasant pieces, ‘A Happy Husband or Directions to a Maid to chose her Mate’, 1619; ‘Two elegies on the Death of Queen Anne with Epitaph’, 1619; ‘A wifes behavior before marriage’, 1619; and ‘Philomel or the Nightingale, Shertine and Mariana, Songs and Sonnets’, 1622


The Old Place of Sorbie or Sorbie Tower (Map Reference NX 451471) is situated in the Old Tower Plantation approximately one mile east of Sorbie village. The site is north of the B7052 road which runs east off the A746 (Newton Stewart to Whithorn) from Sorbie to Garlieston.


Map references are recorded on the National Grid Reference System. The first three numbers represent the distance from the left edge of the map and the second three numbers represent the distance from the bottom edge.

The best coverage of the area for most purposes in the Ordnance Survey map NX 44 on the scale of 2″ to 1 mile, or Sheet 80 on the 1″ to 1 mile scale.

Improvements of Late (1977)

From the Clan West Archive – Originally published in 1977 and written by Maj. R.W. Hannay, [then] Chief of the Clan Hannay.
This is part of a series of articles that were initially published by the now-inactive Clan Hannay Society West.  Many thanks to Gigi Hanna, Convenor Emerita.

Note: Any hyperlinks and images that may have been in the original article are now lost. Hyperlinks below were added (and references to lost images removed or substituted) when the archived version was reviewed and revised in August, 2020. 

Sorbie Tower in the ancient province of Galloway in Scotland is the place from which we have all sprung. Although in ruins, there is still a substantial part of it remaining. A grim old place with massive walls its stones whisper stories of the past when every man’s hand was against his neighbour and the Hannays were a force to be reckoned with in those rebellious times. The Tower is included in the published list of Ancient Monuments whose preservation is regarded as of national importance.

In 1965, the owner of the surrounding property, Mrs. Jean Cummings, most generously presented the Tower with an area of ground surrounding to be held in Trust by the Clan. The Trustees are your Convener, Secretary and Treasurer, Ramsay Rainsford-Hannay, Alex Hannah and Donald Hannah respectively.

The Society appointed Andrew Hannah, the only bearer of the name now in Sorbie, general custodian of the Tower and erected fences and gates around the tower as required in the Trust agreement. Andrew kept the surrounding clear of undergrowth and organized the removal of centuries of debris from the interior.

In 1972, the Society acquired a full acre surrounding the Tower and formed a new access, a small car park and fenced the new boundaries.

In 1975, the Society was approached by a charity, the Estate of Hope and Kindness who are interested in restoration work and they cleaned off the ivy overgrowing the Tower and cut down much of the surrounding shrubbery.

In 1976, the Estate obtained a Government Grant and the first real advance in the restoration of the Tower was made. While wages were met by the Grant, equipment and materials were paid for by the Society from the proceeds of an urgent appeal to the membership. An enlarged property consolidated access road and car park were made; a large hut erected with water and electricity supply. The floor of the Tower was cobbled, the stairway from the ground to the first floor rebuilt and a large area of original courtyard at the entrance uncovered.

Altogether the Society has collected and spent over 4,000 pounds in the restoration project and those who know the Tower in the past cannot fail to be impressed with the progress.

The work is by no means completed and the immediate tasks are to restore the dressed stone of the window openings and to repair a large hole in the vaulted floor of the Great Hall. These are skilled operations. But the craftsmen are available if we can provide the funds. Few Clan Societies possess a heritage as impressive as Sorbie Tower and it is our privilege to cherish it in our time for future generations.

Major Ramsay Hannay of Kirkdale and that Ilk

From the Clan West Archive – Originally published in 2004.
This is part of a series of articles that were initially published by the now-inactive Clan Hannay Society West.  Many thanks to Gigi Hanna, Convenor Emerita.

Note: Any hyperlinks and images that may have been in the original article are now lost. Hyperlinks below were added (and references to lost images removed or substituted) when the archived version was reviewed and revised in July, 2020. 

Ramsay W R

Past Chief of
Clan Hannay

1911 – 2004

The only child born to Colonel Frederick and Mrs. Rainsford Hannay of Kirkdale, Wigtownshire, Scotland in India on the 15th day of June, 1911.

Educated at Winchester College and Trinity College Cambridge then called to the English Bar in 1932.

Married to Margaret Wiseman in 1936 and then joined the Legal Department of the Board of Trade (now the Department of Trade & Industry) in 1937.

Commissioned into the Highland Light Infantry in 1939. Served mainly in Europe during World War II and demobilized with rank of Major in 1945 and returned to the Board of Trade until his retirement in 1964. Upon retirement, he has since administered his family Estate in Scotland.

Formally gazetted by the Lord Lyon King at Arms as Chief of the Hannay Clan with the title “Ramsay W R Hannay of Kirkdale and that Ilk” in 1982.

His family consists of a daughter, Mrs. Jessica Russell and her husband, Colin; a son, Professor David Hannay, MRCGP and his wife, Janet, two grandsons and their wives, Mark and Fiona, Neil and Kirsten, and grandson Stephen.

Mrs. Margaret Hannay died in October. 1994.

Passed away peacefully on January 10th, 2004. He was 92 years of age.

Ted Hanney (1889-1964)

by Robert Keith Hanna, Clan Hannay Genealogist

originally published in the 2016 Clan Hannay Newsletter

Olympic Gold Medalist and Somme Veteran, Ted Hanney (1889-1964)

In a year that celebrates both the Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro and the centenary of the Battle of the Somme in World War I, it is good to reflect on the life and career of Ted Hanney, Olympic Gold Medalist in 1912 for GB, and a veteran of the Somme battlefield. Terence Percival (“Ted”) Hanney (1889-1964) was born on 19 January 1889 in Reading, Berkshire, the youngest of three children born to John Hanney, the Quartermaster Sergeant of the Royal Berks Regiment, and his wife Henrietta. Hanney spent his early years at Reading’s Brock Barracks before moving to the Duke of York’s Royal Military Asylum in Chelsea aged 11 for his education. He then enlisted in his father’s regiment as a boy solider and would go on to serve eight years before leaving the Army in 1911 as a corporal to become a footballer.

He was a tall, dashing defender – tough, but also quick and skillful. After a number of England amateur caps, he was selected for the 1912 British Olympic squad for Sweden and played in Great Britain’s pivotal 7-0 win over Hungary. Sadly, he sustained an injury and was forced to watch from the sidelines as his team won gold versus Denmark (4-2) and he never received a medal despite his participation to that point.

1912 Great Britain Gold Medal-Winning Football Team: Back, f. l. t. r. Horace Littlewort, Dr. Ronald Brebner, Arthur Berry, Harold Walden, Vivian Woodward, Gordon Hoare, Ivan Sharp, Arthur Knight; Front, f. l. t. r. James Dines, Thomas Burn, Edward Hanney.

On returning to England in 1912 he signed professional forms for Reading FC and shortly afterwards was sold to Manchester City for a huge fee for the time, £1,250. Soon, though, the First World War came for Ted and all four of his brothers. From the prestige of a big money move to Manchester City, Ted enlisted in 1915 and found himself a world away at the battle of the Somme in northern France at a place called Delville Wood, nicknamed “Devil’s Wood” by fellow soldiers, where he had risen to the rank of sergeant. Delville Wood was a central point of the battle of the Somme that saw an unprecedented 60,000 British casualties on the first day of fighting alone, July 1st 1916.

Hanney was part of the British 2nd Division that was held back until the 27th July. With nine shells per second raining down and the stench of weeks-old bodies rotting in the French summer sun, Ted first survived a nearby grenade explosion which killed a fellow soldier but only left him dazed. He carried on regardless, but a shell then badly wounded him with shrapnel in the thigh, face and neck at 10.30pm on 28th July 1916. He had to remain out in the trenches without proper medical attention until 8.30am the next morning to avoid gunfire. Despite his injuries, Ted later said;

“The Germans counter attacked three times that night, and as I felt quite alright, I stopped and gave them a few extra rounds of ammunition. By gum, I saw some fights I shall never forget.”

In August he was sent back to England to recover, and after undergoing surgery to remove shrapnel from his face he was discharged from hospital in September and sent to the Eastern Command Depot at Shoreham, Sussex. In January 1917 Hanney was posted to Chatham, Kent where he remained for the duration of the war. He was finally discharged from the British Army on 25th March 1919. During active service he had suffered facial scarring, damage to the right shoulder and, most significantly for his footballing career, a torn adductor muscle in his right leg. He played for a time with Coventry City and then for Reading again before retiring in 1922.

Incredibly, a few years after his retirement, he coached in Germany with VfB Stuttgart, whom he led to the Württemberg-Baden regional championship in 1927, and FC Wacker München, where he also found some success. Hanney returned to Reading before the Second World War, during which he ran coaching sessions at his former club. He ended his days as the landlord of the Russell Arms public house, 2-4 Bedford Road, Reading, Berkshire (now renamed The Royal pub) and died on his way to hospital after collapsing at Reading’s Salisbury Club on the 30th November 1964. He never married.

Thomas Peat’s Painting

by Robert Keith Hanna, Clan Hannay Genealogist

This article originally dates from June of 2011.  The chief, Dr. David Hannay, subsequently raised doubts as to whether this painting is indeed of his ancestor, as some of the dates mentioned by Mr. Wood in his research do not match family records held by the Kirkdale branch of the Hannays.  Further study into this matter continues as of June, 2020.

Artist: Thomas Peat
fl.1791 – 1831

Portrait of an officer with his dark bay charger, here identified as Sir Samuel Hannay of the 2nd Life Guards outside Kirkdale House


Oil painting on canvas 28 x 36 inches and contained in a carved giltwood frame

Signed lower left “T. Peat” and dated “179(0 ?). It has been suggested that the final digit has been somewhat abraded and was originally an “8”

Thomas Peat was a London-based portraitist (he lived at 290 Holborn, near Great Turnstile and subsequently at 16, Rathbone Place), the majority of whose work is in miniature, both painted and enamel. He shared a house with his sister, who also painted portraits and sent them to the Royal Academy. Few biographical details remain about them, though a doggerel poem survives which praises:

In striking likenesses, those talents rare,
With the ingenious Peat few can compare;

Peat exhibited at the Academy until 1805 from his London houses, but seems to have been peripatetic, his work being recorded in Bath, Leamington Spa and Bristol.

The following is a research report prepared by Stephen Wood MA FSA about the identity of the sitter in the painting:

“The uniform details of the sitter positively identify him as an officer of 2nd Life Guards during the period from the creation of the regiment in 1788 to approximately 1806. The defining factors of the uniform are the black and red plume on his cocked hat and the goat-skin covers to his saddle holsters: this was a combination, together with the rest of the uniform depicted, unique to 2nd Life Guards in the 1790s.[i] The sitter appears to be wearing an oval badge suspended from an orange ribbon below his shirt ruffle and hanging between the fifth and sixth button of his coatee: this is almost certainly the badge of a Baronet of Nova Scotia – which was of that size and shape and worn suspended around the neck from an orange, or ‘tawny’ ribbon.[ii] In the period 1788-c.1806, only one Baronet of Nova Scotia served in 2nd Life Guards: this was Sir Samuel Hannay, 4th Baronet of Mochrum and Kirkdale.[iii] It is thus very probable indeed that the sitter in this portrait is Sir Samuel Hannay, who was born on 12th August 1772. He was the eldest surviving son of Sir Samuel Hannay, Bart. MP (c.1742-90) by his wife Mary Meade (d. 1800).[iv]

The elder Samuel Hannay was descended from the Hannays of Kirkdale in Kirkcudbrightshire and made his fortune in the City of London as a chemist and druggist. With two of his brothers and in partnership with other Scots, he also invested and speculated successfully in the East India Company’s trade with India and China. Having made a fortune, Hannay spent lavishly on the appurtenances of wealth and social position: he lived at 31 Bedford Square 1783-89 before moving to Portland Place, he commissioned portraits of two of his children, Samuel and Mary, from George Romney in 1786 and 1790 and in 1786 he commissioned drawings from Robert and James Adam for a villa on Putney Heath that, in the event, was never built. In 1783, he successfully laid claim to the dormant baronetcy of Hannay of Mochrum and was created the 3rd baronet of that title. In 1784, he obtained a parliamentary seat, Camelford in Cornwall, and sat as one of the two members for that borough – the other member being one of his business partners, James Macpherson – until his death on 11th December 1790. A notable member of the ‘Bengal Squad’ in the House of Commons, Hannay voted with the government until the Regency crisis of 1788, when he went into opposition – a move for which he was much criticised and, indeed, mocked: his background as a chemist was ridiculed by his opponents, who made much of the fact that the medicine for which he was most well-known – Sir Samuel Hannay’s Original, Genuine and Only Infallible Preventative of a Certain Disease – was supposedly a protection against venereal disease. On Sir Samuel Hannay’s death, he was found to be immensely in debt, a position that may in part have resulted from his commissioning a mansion – Kirkdale House – from Robert and John Adam in 1787 but was probably also due to his reputedly heavy gambling. Although, under Scottish laws of inheritance, his widow was not left destitute – being allowed to retain one-third of his estate and its income – the remainder of his estate, including the house and contents in Portland Place, had to be sold to satisfy his numerous creditors. Thus, while the younger Samuel Hannay inherited his father’s title in 1790, becoming the 4th Baronet of Mochrum, he did not inherit anything else until he came of age on 12th August 1793.[v]

[i]     Lawson.

[ii]    Jocelyn. Only baronets of Scotland (called baronets of Nova Scotia) wore badges prior to 1929, when baronets of Great Britain were allowed to wear badges signifying their rank.

[iii]   Printed Army Lists of the period noted.

[iv]    Burke.

[v]     Byrne; Christie; Clarke; Gifford; Namier & Brooke; Philips; Rowan; Thorne; Ward & Roberts.

No details have been traced of the education of Sir Samuel Hannay, believed to be the sitter in this portrait: he does not appear to have attended any English public school or any British university of the period. Given his inheritance, it may be that a military career was one of the few open to him and so, the cost of living being lower in Ireland than in Britain at that time, it is not surprising that he was first commissioned in a regiment stationed in Ireland. He became ensign in 38th Regiment of Foot on 30th July 1791 but exchanged to another Ireland-based regiment, 5th Dragoon Guards, later the same year – becoming a cornet in that regiment on 31st October 1791. He clearly did not spend all his time in Ireland since he is recorded as attending the Prince of Wales’s levée at Carlton House on 27th February 1792: perhaps the prince remembered the tacit support given him by the young officer’s father at the time of the Regency crisis four years earlier. On 31st March 1793, Hannay was promoted lieutenant in 5th Dragoon Guards and remained in the regiment until the last day of 1796, when he exchanged with a lieutenant in 61st (South Gloucestershire) Regiment of Foot. It is unlikely that this exchange resulted in Hannay joining his new regiment, which was serving in the West Indies at the time, but it probably brought him back to Britain where, now that he had inherited his estate, he would have been able to preside over the sale of the most of the remaining lands, buildings and farms at Kirkdale which took place in January 1797.[vii]

The income resulting from the sale of the Kirkdale estate may have enabled Sir Samuel to increase his social status within the army since, on 24th August 1797, he sold his lieutenancy in the unfashionable 61st Foot and bought the rank of cornet and sub-lieutenant in 2nd Life Guards, a regiment of which his fellow-Scot, Lord Cathcart, had recently become colonel. On 17th January 1799, he purchased promotion to lieutenant and adjutant and acquired command of a troop, in the rank of captain and without purchase, on 3rd June 1801. During the short-lived ‘Peace of Amiens’, on 25th March 1802, Hannay exchanged from 2nd Life Guards into the relatively newly raised Queen’s German Regiment but, probably sometime in the following six months, went to Altona, near Hamburg, to fight a duel. As The Times reported, on 11th September 1802,

‘On Wednesday morning, Capt. MURRAY arrived in town from Hamburgh, accompanied by Major BLAIR and Colonel CALLAND. Capt. MURRAY went over to the Continent for the purpose of fighting Sir SAMUEL HANNAY, in consequence of some blows which passed some time ago at Steevens’s, in Bond-street.

The meeting took place at Altona. The parties fired a case of pistols each. Capt. MURRAY’s last shot was fired in the air, and put an end to the dispute. Sir SAMUEL HANNAY is not yet returned. It is said that he quits Lord CATHCART’s Regiment in consequence of this unfortunate affray.’

Since the date of the duel is not known, it is not possible to substantiate the suggestion that Hannay had to leave 2nd Life Guards as a result of it. Given the discrepancy in dates between The Times report and Hannay’s transfer out of 2nd Life Guards, as well as the fact that The Times incorrectly reported the ranks of Blair and Calland – who were both regimental captains, although Calland was a brevet major – it is conceivable that the gossip, as reported, was inaccurate. Since his antagonist, Captain The Hon. George Murray, and both of his supporters, were all officers in 2nd Life Guards at the time, the reason for the blows exchanged at Stevens’s Hotel in Bond Street may have been a regimental matter or, since all those named by The Times were Scots, some question of ancestry or birth.[viii]

It seems probable that Hannay remained on the European continent for some time after the duel since he appears to have been there when war with France resumed on 15th May 1803. He is recorded, together with his sister and brother-in-law, Mr and Mrs Thomas Rainsford, as being a prisoner-of-war in France after 1803. Given Napoleon’s reluctance to allow British prisoners-of-war to be exchanged, it is possible that Hannay – and the Rainsfords – remained as prisoners in France until 1814.[ix] Certainly, Hannay retired from the Army by sale of his captain’s commission in Queen’s German Regiment on 18th October 1803: this was an act that would have released some funds needed to make his imprisonment less unpleasant.[x]

Little more is known after 1803 of Sir Samuel Hannay. In the 1830s he is said to have been ‘in the service of the Emperor of Austria’ with ‘an official post at Vienna’ but no further details are available from printed British sources.[xi] He died of tuberculosis (‘Lungensucht’) in Vienna on 1st December 1841, as the Wiener Zeitung announced, 

‘Verstorbene zu Wien. … Den 1. December. Der hochwohlgeborne Sir Baronet Samuel Hannay of Mochrum, königl. Grossbritannischer Ober Lieutenant, alt 69 J., in der Plankengasse Nr. 1064, an der Lungensucht.’

Death notices subsequently appeared in the Annual Register and Gentleman’s Magazine.[xii] Although he neither married nor left legitimate offspring, he may not have spent his declining years alone since, in 1839, he settled his estate upon the dowager Baroness Schaffalitsky with remainder to his elder sister Mary Hastings Hannay – who had been painted by Romney in 1790[xiii]. The baroness dying soon after Hannay, the estate was then inherited by Mary, who died in 1850 and left it to her nephew, William Henry Rainsford Hannay.

Given that the sitter in this portrait is most probably Sir Samuel Hannay, 4th Baronet of Mochrum and Kirkdale, the house depicted in the background is most probably intended to represent Kirkdale House, designed by Robert and James Adam in 1787 and built between 1787 and 1789. It is not a scrupulously accurate representation of the house, which may not have been visited by the artist in any case, but its position adjacent to a body of water replicates the position of Kirkdale House close by the shore of Wigtown Bay. The artist may have worked on his depiction either from a sketch by Sir Samuel Hannay, who commissioned the house from the Adams, or from one of a series of plans for different versions of the house that the Adams produced for the third baronet around 1786-87, or from a sketch provided by the fourth baronet, the probable sitter in the portrait.

Since the date ‘1790’ cannot refer to the sitter in that year – since he did not join the Army until 1791 or wear the uniform shown before 1797 – it may be a retrospective use of the date indicating when the sitter inherited his title and became heir presumptive to the house and lands depicted in the background. The small gold key depicted on his shirt ruffle may be one of two things: a contemporary reference to his position as a military member of the British Royal Household – as an officer of 2nd Life Guards 1797-1802, or a later addition perhaps reflecting the position that he is said to have held – perhaps that of a Gentleman of the Bedchamber – at the Imperial Court in Vienna. “

[vii]     The London Gazette, passim, and The Times, passim; the Army List.

[viii]    Ibid..

[ix]   Bulloch et al. Thomas Rainsford had married Hannay’s sister Jane and served in 2nd Life Guards from 1791, retiring in 1799. Their son, William Henry Rainsford-Hannay, inherited the Kirkdale Estate in 1850.

[x]    The London Gazette 15632, 18th October 1803, p. 1437.

[xi]     Burke.

[xii]    Wiener Zeitung 2505, 5th December 1841; Annual Register, 1843, p. 241 and Gentleman’s Magazine, 1842, p. 425. Both the AR and GM death notices confuse him with his father of the same name

[xiii]   The Scottish Jurist 1852, pp. 221-222 (case 128 of 6th February 1852).

Mr Wood was formerly the director of the Scottish United Services Museum in Edinburgh and is now an independent military historian.

27th June 2011.

CSM Robert Hill Hanna, V.C.

by Robert Keith Hanna, Clan Hannay Genealogist

The Victoria Cross is the highest award for bravery “in the face of the enemy” that a British or Commonwealth/Empire soldier can receive. It was inaugurated in 1856 after the Crimean War and only 1,357 have ever been awarded, and a mere 16 since World War II. Two people with the surname Hannay/Hannah/Hanna have received such an award over the years, and the earliest recipient was Company Sergeant Major Robert Hill Hanna in 1917. He was born on his father’s farm in Aughnahoory Townland, near Hanna’s Close, Kilkeel, County Down in the north of Ireland on August 6th 1887, the second of 11 children born to Robert Hill Hanna Snr and his wife Sarah Hanna. Educated at Ballinran School in the Kingdom of Mourne, he left school at 14 and worked on the family farm until age 18 when he decided to emigrate to British Columbia in Canada. There he became a lumberjack and after an apprenticeship started his own prosperous Lumber Business prior to World War 1.

At the start of the War, this diminutive lumberman (a mere 5 foot 5 ¾ inches high and 140 lbs in weight) enlisted as a private on November 7th 1914 just after Canada declared war into the 29th (Vancouver) Battalion, 2nd Division of the Canadian Expeditionary Force. After extensive training for 6 months, the Battalion was shipped to England on May 20th 1915. They arrived for service in northern France on the 17th September 1915. By the middle of 1916 he had been promoted to Corporal having seen action on the Somme, and he had also served at Ypes, Arras and Paschendale having gone “over the top” 22 times in total prior to Vimy Ridge in 1917.  By December 20th 1916 he had become a Sergeant and by August 1917 this veteran volunteer soldier had become Company Sergeant Major just before his 30th birthday.

As the War was coming to its denouement, and during a bitter 10-day struggle around Vimy Ridge — from August 15th -25th, 1917— the Canadian Corps overran a much-contested treeless hillock on the north side of the French mining centre of Lens called “Hill 70” (so called because it was 70m above sea level). On August 21st, during the start of the second phase of the fighting for Hill 70, both the Canadians and Prussian Guards had decided to attack each other on the same day at almost the same pre-dawn time such that desperate bayonet fighting ensued in No-Man’s Land. The Canadian 29th Battalion’s right hand company (B) pushed forward to meet its objective suffering crippling losses at it crossed the open fields. All the officers were killed or wounded, whereupon the company-sergeant-major, Robert Hanna, assumed command of the remnants of the force and determined to take the German strongpoint that three assaults had failed to seize. It was a stub German trench with parapet machine gun and it was flanking the Canadian Battalion’s attack with the potential to destroy the whole of the 29th Battalion. Hanna coolly collected a party of men and then led them against the position amid a hail of rifle and machine-gun fire. He personally forced his way through barbed wire, used a grenade to silence the gun and then killed the four remaining German gun crew with his bayonet and rifle. He then advanced down the trench and destroyed two dug-outs with German stick grenades he found in the trench after his own ammunition had run out. He was joined by the rest of his Company at this stage and they consolidated their position by hastily building a fortification block, because Germans from the town below had regrouped after dawn to counter attack in force. However, Hanna and his party bravely held on against repeated assaults by the Prussians until they were relieved later in the day. For his initiative, act of leadership and personal courage Hanna was recognised with the award of the Victoria Cross at Buckingham Palace later that year. He was also promoted to Lieutenant and served for the remainder of the War as an officer before being demobilised on the 24th May 1919.

(L: Victoria Cross recipients Private Michael James O’Rourke of the 7th (1st British Columbia) Battalion and Company Sergeant Major Robert Hill Hanna of the 29th (Vancouver) Battalion stand united in front of Buckingham Palace after the Victoria Cross awards ceremony conducted by King George V on the 5th December, 1917.)

After the war Hanna continued to run his logging camp before taking up his original vocation of farming near Mount Lehman outside Vancouver, returning home several times to Ireland to visit family and friends over the years. He married and had two sons, one of whom, John, died in infancy.

Robert Hill Hanna died on 15th June 1967 and is buried in the Masonic Cemetery at Burnaby, British Columbia. His Victoria Cross is still in the possession of his son Robert who was born in 1940 and served in the RCAF and as a civil pilot with Canadian Airlines before his retirement.

The Canadian Connection (Clan West Archive)

From the Clan West Archive – Originally published January 13, 2011.  This is part of a series of articles that were initially published by the now-inactive Clan Hannay Society West.  Many thanks to Gigi Hanna, Convenor Emerita.

Note: Any hyperlinks and images that may have been in the original article are now lost. Hyperlinks below were added (and references to lost images removed) when the archived version was reviewed and revised in June, 2020. The author — Dr. Richard Hannah — refers to specific relatives (e.g. Grandad, Ernie) of his who are not further identified.

The Canadian Connection is the work of Dr Richard S. Hannah, Professor, Department of Anatomy, Faculty of Medicine, University of Calgary, Calgary, Alberta T2N 4N1 – Dr Hannah is an active supporter of the Hanna, Hannah, Hannay Clan.

The family arrived in [Montréal,] Québec from Donegal sometime in 1848. The reason I assume Montréal is based on the immigration patterns of the mid-nineteenth century. Most Irish immigrants headed for Upper Canada would disembark at Montréal to avoid the Lachine rapids. Then go either overland via stage or re-board a lake-bound sailing vessel above the rapids. This begs the question, how many of the family came together and why did they choose to settle in rural Durham Co. in then Upper Canada? We know they arrived in 1848 from family records and the fact that Richard was born on the boat during the transit from Ireland. Family history suggests that Richard was named after the captain of the vessel who supposedly offered £1000 to adopt him.

In Ireland, by the 1840′s perhaps a third of the population of 8.5 million existed in a subsistence economy, depending for their diet almost exclusively on the vulnerable potato crop. The famine began in earnest in 1845 and lasted for six years. It was the famine which caused an unparalleled exodus with as many as 2.5 million people leaving over the decade from 1846-56. Untold numbers boarded the “coffin ships” on which thousands died en route to Québec. Our family was either extremely lucky or had the funds to travel in better quarters than the majority of their countrymen. So great were the numbers attempting to escape to Canada that in 1848, the Canadians raised the port taxes to stem the flow of ships carrying the poor and diseased Famine Irish. The evidence from 19th century Canada suggests that a sizable portion of the immigrants (about 2/3 Protestant) became well-adjusted and successful rural dwellers. Given the so-called “chain” migration of young emigrants from Ireland, the concentration of Irish from particular areas at home in particular localities in their “New World” are not surprising.

The letters home, containing information about the opportunities and even more vital, the fare, led new emigrants to seek out relatives and friends. This was certainly the case in Manvers during this time. The 1851 census lists pages and pages of “born in Ireland” and “Church of England”. Protestants and Catholics did not mix! Although our family, i.e. Francis and all but one brother (John), left Manvers, the Census records in subsequent years reveal a number of Hannahs emigrating from Ireland into the Manvers area. Since Hannah is an uncommon name in Canada and they are only found around Manvers, the new Hannahs were probably relatives of ours. For example, there was an Andrew Hannah and family who arrived sometime between 1851 and 1861 and lived close to John. Since one of Francis’ and John’s brothers was called Andrew, perchance he was a cousin.

The first official signs of the Hannah family are found in the 1851 Census of Upper Canada. Four families appear in Manvers Township, Durham County. They were listed as follows:

1. Francis (31)

  • Catherine (31)
  • Catherine (8)
  • Jane (6)
  • Richard (4)
  • David (2)
  • Andrew (26) (probably an unmarried brother)

2. Edward (43)

  • Anne (44) Died just before census
  • Jane (25)
  • Eliza (18)
  • Elva (17)
  • Robert (11)
  • Mary Anne (9)
  • Edward (5)
  • Sarah (3)

3. John (36)

  • Ellen (28)
  • Margaret (8)
  • Robert (6)
  • William (4)

4. Jane (58) Widow

  • John (28)
  • Jane (19)

Since there are no birth/death or marriage records before the late 1860s, we will never know if one family arrived first or if they all arrived together. A check of the 1851 census in townships adjacent to Manvers does not reveal any other Hannahs and these three families lived within a few houses of each other.

The census records show that Francis lived in a log cabin while all of the other families lived in log shanties. All of the brothers are listed as labourers. One could speculate that the widow Jane aged 58 and her two children had arrived first and were the reason that Francis and his brothers went to Manvers in the first place. It appears as if Francis and family remained in Manvers until at least 1856. This assumption is based on marriage records for Francis’ sons, Robert and John where they record Manvers as their birth place. So in their 8 to 10 year stay in Manvers, Francis and Catherine increase the size of their family to seven with two more to come. Only Francis’ brother John is still in Manvers in 1861 according to the census of that year.

You are probably wondering where Manvers Township is. Manvers is in Durham County just south of Lindsay, Ontario. In a detailed map of Manvers Twp. from 1876, you can find the property of Robert Hannah and like all the Hannahs of that generation he has donated part of his land for the Orange Lodge. The Hannahs in North Dakota did the same thing, but more on that later. There exists a drawing of Robert’s farm circa 1876. I do not know the relationship of Robert to our family, but he was probably a cousin. Whoever he was it is obvious from the farm “Maple Grove” that he much better off than our family!

So what do we know about Manvers Township during this time period? The following account is from Smiths’ Canadian Gazetteer of Canada West in 1846, which is only two years before the clan arrived:

“A township in the Newcastle District. In Manvers, 21,281 acres are taken up, 3,800 of which are settled within about 25 years by Canadians, Pennsylvanian Dutch, Germans, Americans, Irish and a few English and Scotch. Population about 300. Professions and Trades include one physician, woolen factory, five stores, one brewery, one tannery, two taverns, four blacksmiths, five wagon makers, four shoe makers, one foundry and one tinsmith.”

In the 1861 census the only brother that I can find is John who is still comfortably ensconced in Manvers Twp. Where the other three brothers went is still a mystery. Unless one has a hint of a location, looking in the census is an impossible task. I only found the Hannahs in Manvers because on David’s (son of Francis) marriage certificate he lists Manvers as his birthplace.

However, then comes 1871, thank goodness, because the entire Ontario census of 1871 has been indexed and is not only on a computer database but is also on the Internet. Much to my surprise Francis and Catherine are listed twice. In April they are residing in Derby Twp Grey Co. (near Owen Sound) and again in August in Assiginack Twp. on Manitoulin Is. An interesting observation is that Francis lists his age as 50 in April and only 49 in August. Ten years later he is only 58!! This obviously was the beginning of the Hannah tradition of obfuscating their ages from the government. Ernie comes to mind right away. I digress. So sometime between 1856 and 1871, Francis and Catherine plus brood along with brother Andrew and his family, closed up shop in Manvers and moved to the Owen Sound area. Until more of the censuses become indexed by name on computer databases, where they were during this time span will remain a mystery. Since they moved to the Manitoulin in 1871, I think it is safe to assume that they were in the Owen Sound area for a number of years, so the missing time is probably in the nature of five or six years. I was hoping that Francis and Catherine’s two youngest boys (James and Edward) would state on their marriage certificates where they were born but alas, one lists Ontario and the other really narrows it down by listing place of birth as Canada. Unfortunately, births were not registered by the government until the mid 1870s.

So here is what we know. Until April of 1871, Francis and Catherine were farming in Derby Twp., Grey Co. Frances’ brother Andrew and his family and Francis and Catherine’s eldest daughter Catherine and her husband Arron Box are living in Arran Twp. Bruce Co. Also present in Derby Twp. was Richard Hannah and family (not our Richard but perhaps Francis’ brother) who came from Donegal and whose descendants eventually ended up in the Killarney and Brandon area. Some of you may have met Eldon Hannah (a grandson of this Richard). I am still not 100% sure of the relationship to our family but given the predilection of Hannahs to live together, they were brothers or else cousins.

Manitoulin Island was the traditional home of the Chippawa and Ottawa tribes. In 1836, the then Lieut. Governor Sir Francis Head decided to consolidate “all of the wandering Bands of the North Shore and also the tribes settled in all parts of Upper Canada” on Manitoulin Is. The scheme ended in failure because very few Indians could be convinced to resettle. Since that did not work, in 1870 the government of Canada decided to move the native population unto reserves on the Island and move in the White settlers.

By the fall of 1871 Francis and Catherine have moved to Assiginack Twp, near the town of Manitowaning, on Manitoulin Island. Sons Richard, Robert and Edward are not listed, so I assume that they remained in Derby Twp. for a time to work or were away visiting relatives when the Census Takers came by. Ellen Jane (Francis and Catherine’s second daughter) has married Alpheus Adams, and they are also in Assiginack. Either living with, or just visiting with, the Adams are Sarah and Robert Hannah, who are the daughter and son of Francis’ brother Edward.

The next window we have on the lives of the clan is the 1881 census. Over the intervening 10 years Richard, David, Robert and Francis (Frank) have all married and are living in the same neighbourhood around Manitowaning. The exception is Frank and his new bride Eliza who move north of Manitowaning a few miles to Bidwell Twp. Since Frank was the youngest of the married brothers, he most likely had to go further afield to find land to farm, or it could be related to the fact that Andrew (Francis’ brother) and family have moved to the same area from where we last saw them around Owen Sound.

So what were they up to in the Manitoulin? A scan of the Manitoulin Expositor published in Manitowaning, reveals a few references to the family:

9 Aug 1879. One day last week Mrs. F. Hannah of lot 5 con 1, Bidwell, went down to a field about dusk to feed some pigs. While in the field she suddenly discovered a bear about four rods away. She called to her husband who was about 200 yards from her and picked up her little boy and ran, the bear following her. The cries brought her husband, S. Carr and John McCauley to her assistance and they chased the animal with dogs but on account of darkness and thick swamp they found it impossible to capture him. Had it not been for the men being so near it is quite likely Mrs. Hannah would have lost her life as the bear followed close after her till frightened away. (This is Francis Jr. and Eliza Hannah)

11 Oct 1879. Assiginack Fall Fair. The annual Fall Fair of the Assiginack Agricultural Society was held in this village on Friday Oct 3rd. The total number of entries was 848 and the number of visitors is estimated at about 1000; quite a number of these came from the north side of the Island.

Class Poultry

    • 1st place- pair of Buff Cochins F. Hannah
    • 1st place- pair Turkeys F. Hannah

Class Common Sheep

    • 1st place- Shearing Ram F. Hannah

Class Grain and Seeds

    • 2nd place- half peck white beans A. Adams

Class Vegetables and Fruit

    • 1st place- 1 doz. crab apples F. Hannah
    • 1st place- 12 large tomatoes A. Adams
    • 2nd place- 12 small tomatoes A. Adams

Class Dairy Products

    • 3rd place- 50 lbs. butter in tub Hannah
    • 1st place- 1 loaf light bread A. Adams
    • 1st place- 1 doz. buns A. Adams

1 Nov. 1879. “New Buildings- A new home is being erected for Mrs. R. Hannah on the South Bay Road, near the corner of J.H. Tinkis’ park lots” (The reference is to our Richard and Anne)

6 Dec. 1879. School Reports- The teacher would be very much pleased if some of the ratepayers would allow their children to attend more regularly: make an effort to encourage both teacher and pupils.

No. 1 Assiginack Second class

      • 1st Anna Hannah
      • 3rd Albert Hannah

The Expositor can do much good for our future fathers and mothers by publishing these reports. It has already engendered a spirit of generous emulation amongst the youth, and the spirit may yet reach the parents and stimulate them to give their children some chance of education. (These are the children of Robert and Sophia Hannah. Edward’s son Francis’ children and grandchildren did not avail themselves of much education since all but a few are listed as illiterate on the census).

20 Dec. 1879. On a motion of D.L. Clark, seconded by R. McDonald, an order was drawn on the treasurer in favour of Francis Hannah for the sum of $6, being payment in full for road job to be done by him before 1st June, Hannah N.D.

On the move again, the peripatetic Hannah clan heads for the prairies. In 1882 Alpheus and Ellen Jane Adams arrive in Cartwright, Manitoba in search of land less severe for farming than available in the Manitoulin. In the fall of 1883, they squatted on a piece of land just south (2 km.) of the international boundary in the then Dakota Territories. Anecdotal family history leads us to believe that they were unaware of the fact that they were in the U.S. On November 24th 1884, a farm Post Office was established on Alpheus and Ellen Jane’s farm. Alpheus named the Post Office for Francis. A year later it moved a mile east to Francis’ farm which is now the town site of Hannah.

According to the U.S. census (1900), Francis and Catherine, their children and their families, (Richard, David, John and Edward) arrived on site between 1884 and 1885 and staked out claims (see fig. 7). Catherine Jr. married Arron Box and I lose track of them in Bruce Co. Ontario. Francis Jr. and Eliza (of bear fame) arrived in Hannah, 11 years later in 1896. Unfortunately the other two sons died young and did not move to Hannah. Robert was a hotel keeper in Manitoulin and died in June of 1879 at the age of 26. Robert’s widow Sarah (nee Laybourne) and family never moved to Hannah (see complete story later). James farmed in Manitoulin and died in February of 1900 at the age of 38.

So besides farming what did the clan do in Hannah?

John Hannah was Postmaster from Sept. 20 1890 until Jan. 1898.

Alpheus and Ellen Jane Adams established the Methodist Church by holding services in their home. In 1898, Alpheus along with others formally established the First Methodist Episcopal Church of Hannah. Ellen Jane was the first president of the Ladies Aid Society.

David and Mary Hannah were charter members of Hannah Presbyterian Church.

John Hannah (1897) was a charter member of the Independent Order of Foresters and was the first Treasurer.

Then there was the Loyal Orange Lodge. John Hannah built the hall and donated it to the lodge. The chapter went by the name “The Chosen Few” and all of the Hannah males were charter members. Since the “Orange” was a decidedly anti-Catholic organization brought from Ireland, it is not surprising to see the Irish Protestant settlers embrace the tenets of the Lodge.

The Masonic Lodge began the Hannah cemetery, and Alpheus Adams was on the fist Board of Directors. In a visit to the cemetery in 1996, I found a marker for Catherine but no sign of Francis. After checking the existing records with June Dickson (the secretary/treasurer) it became evident that he is probably buried there but there is no record of where. It certainly is odd that Catherine predeceased Francis by eight years yet she has a marker. It is possible that he was buried next to Catherine and no one got around to adding his name to the marker.

Robert Henry Hannah (Granddad) ran a Barber Shop.

In 1897, John Hannah ran a Feed and Livery Stable:

“He also ran a stage carrying passengers and baggage for the purpose of making connections between the Great Northern at Hannah and the Canadian Pacific at Snowflake, Manitoba each Friday and Monday. One day John Hannah was met at the Snowflake depot by a Canadian Customs collector and informed that he was at liberty to bring passengers from Yankeedom, he must not take any more back or his team would be confiscated.” (Hannah 100 years, 1996).

David Hannah Jr. was also in the Hardware business for a brief time.

A Blithe Historic Cavalcade (Clan West Archive)

From the Clan West Archive – Originally published January 29, 2012.  This is part of a series of articles that were initially published by the now-inactive Clan Hannay Society West.  Many thanks to Gigi Hanna, Convenor Emerita.

Note: The Clan West USA image is now lost.  A new version was scanned for this archive article from a photolithographic print of the original illustration. The artist, the late Pat Hanna, was one of the founders of the Clan Hannay Society. Pat drew this image circa 1960 as a promotional piece for the newly-formed society.  The Clan West image originally had an interactive index (now lost) with rollover descriptions for each numbered image.



The Family or Clan of Hannay Hannah Hanna is of very ancient origin and all who bear the name can undoubtedly be traced to the Border clan whose chiefs were the Lairds of Sorbie Castle in Galloway, Scotland. According to the two leading authorities – Sir Bernard Bourke and O’Hart.

(click to enlarge)

I have rough sketched this cavalcade of Hannay Hannah Hanna History dedicated to our Clansmen and women all, wheresoever scattered. Greetings, “Per Ardua Ad Alta”.

Pat Hanna,
N.Z. and Australia.