The Elusive Fireman

Brothers Henry and Warcup CROSHER/CROSIER both called their second–born children Mary Maria. While Warcup settled in Filey, Thomas moved to Kilham, near Driffield, where he married Bessy ASHBY and brought three children into the world. Around 1870 the family journeyed on to Hull, where it almost tripled in size.

Early in 1890, Mary Maria “CROSHAW” married Paul Alexis HERONNEAU and their first child Louis Paul arrived a year later.  Mother and child are living at census time with widow Bessy and four of Mary Maria’s siblings. The enumerator wrongly identified three of these as “Herroneau”, making five in the household bearing that name. Absent, though, is Paul Alexis, and I failed to find him anywhere else in the city, or beyond.

It isn’t strange to find people in a large British port with somewhat exotic family names but I was surprised to find that PAUL HERONNEAU was genealogical kin to a Googlewhack.

In 1901, Mary heads a household in Merrick Street, Hull, comprising just her married self and four sons. At the baptism of the eldest boy, Thomas Alexis, his father was described as a Fireman. Whether he lit fires and kept them burning or attempted to put them out wasn’t specified.

All attempts to find Paul have failed to uncover vital details about him, but someone showed up later that year to provide the genetic material to make Ida and, in 1904, Leonard.

If the Heronneau family had not lived in the city of my birth I may not have pursued them any further but I was attracted by the name, and the cropping up in sources of places familiar to me.

Thomas Alexis and George Henry Heronneau served in the First World War. Both came home, though Thomas was wounded in 1915.

1915_HERONNEAUgunner

I didn’t Find Thomas in the 1939 Register but George Henry was a Packer in the Flour Mills, almost certainly one of the factories I passed several times a week as a child. George Henry’s son, also George, went to the same grammar school as I did – Malet Lambert – winning a Third Form prize in 1939. Young George’s first cousin Roy, son of Alfred Heronneau and Ruth Agnes née GUTHERLESS, won a Special Place at Riley High in 1944.

There were surprisingly few manglings of “Heronneau” in the sources so the family readily presented a coherent pedigree, with all of them descended from the mysterious Fireman. Find Paul Alexis. Someone out there must know where he came from.

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