Joseph Hansard was born in Tipperary in 1835, the son of Lewis Hansard, an accountant. Hansard's grandfather was married in Tipperary in 1798 to a daughter of Joseph Lamphier. His aunt, Jane Hansard was married there in 1828 to Charles Frederick Anderson, architect, of Lower Glanmire Road, Cork. Hansard's son wrote about him in 1924: 'Owing to circumstances my father when very young went to a relative who had the Clonmel Cronicle to learn the printing'.
Hansard is thought to have arrived in Dungarvan around 1860 and set up a printing office in Main Street. Hansard was printing by March 1861 when he received a cheque for printing from the Town Commissioners. On 3 August 1862 he married Mary, daughter of Robert Jones - (d. 9 April 1871 aged 82) a cabinet maker of Main Street. Hansard and his wife Mary had two daughters born in Dungarvan, Margaret Maria, born 5 May 1864 and Mary Josephine on 14 September 1868. In 1869 he designed an illuminated address which was presented to Queen Victoria's son, Prince Arthur Patrick, on his visit to Lismore Castle. In 1870 he printed his best known work: - 'The History, Topography & Antiquities etc., of the County and City of Waterford, including The Towns, Parishes, Villages, Manors & Seats' the book is dedicated to John Henry De La Poer Beresford, 5th Marquis of Waterford.
In December 1871 he published the first issue of the Dungarvan Gazette & County Waterford Advertiser. This was a weekly newspaper of four pages and cost two pence. A complete issue of the newspaper is held at Waterford County Museum. It is issue number 4 dated Saturday 13 January 1872. The final issue appeared in 1875.
In 1879 Hansard left Dungarvan and settled in Killarney. He opened a book shop in High Street and seems to have given up printing. Hansard died in 1909. The Munster Express of 27 November 1909 carried an article on the death of Hansard in Killarney. It states that he 'was a gentleman of very wide resources, highly cultural and intellectual and possessed an inexhaustible fund of general as well as historical information'.
Author: William Fraher