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 on: January 29, 2016, 01:22:46 PM 
Started by Fergus Keyes - Last post by Fergus Keyes
New price for Claude’s Book….

As many of you know, Claude Bourguignon wrote an excellent book on the history of St. Columban. Although the majority of it is in French, it includes some excellent photos, and also some smaller sections in English.
Now Claude is able to offer this book for only $ 28.00 (Canadian $) which includes postage and handling - as well as a small additional gift.

If you have any questions you can e-mail directly to Claude at:

Or if you wish to order a copy of his book, simply send your check and proper mailing address to:
Claude Bourguignon
317 rue Séguin
Saint-Colomban (Qc)
J5K 1W1

 on: January 24, 2016, 02:46:59 PM 
Started by Fergus Keyes - Last post by Fergus Keyes
A recent e-mail question and my reply - FYI...


Ellen Haley sent a message

Hello,  I have an ancestor named Julia Ryan also lived in St. Columban area,   
She eventually came to Dubuque County, Iowa and is buried here.  Her death 
date (1887) and burial place are listed on for Judith Keyes???   
I am looking for more information on Julia Ryan.  She was bon in Ireland in 
1813 and made her way to Canada where she had 7 children.  Looking for her 

My reply.....

Hi Ellen;

Judith (aka Julie) Keyes was married to Patrick Ryan in Ste. Scholastique, Quebec, Canada on November 25th 1830. (Ste. Scolastique is nearby & was the Parish for the Irish of St. Columban until they built their own Church and became their own Parish a few years later).

Julie was the daughter of Patrick Keyes (in some records spelled as Keys or Keays) and Honora (aka Eleanora) Phelan.

She had two sisters – Mary & Elizabeth and one brother – Andrew. All were born in Ireland and my best guess is in or around the town of Balleyraggat, Kilkenny, Ireland.

Her sister Mary married James Madden, also in Ste. Scholastique on June 1st 1835; and her sister Elizabeth married Matthew Power(s) in St. Columban on August 3rd 1840.

I think it was in 1848 that Julie & Patrick Ryan; Mary & James Madden; Elizabeth & Matthew Power – all three (3) sisters and their husbands left St. Columban and moved to Iowa.

(Their brother Andrew, stayed in Canada, took over the farm, and was my g-grandfather)

Some other notes:


1.    From my file:


Judith Keyes was the daughter of Patrick and Honora Keyes, On October 24 1854, Judith is listed as a witness to the baptism of Anne Keyes who was the daughter of Andrew Keyes I (probably her brother) and Catherine O'Connor (his first wife). On June 28 1858, there is a marriage record in the Parish of St. Columban concerning John Ryan, listed as the son of Patrick Ryan and Judith Keyes.


A marriage record for Ste. Scholastique shows that Judith Keay (Keyes) daughter of Patrick Keyes & Eleonor Phelan married Patrick Ryan, son of Jean (John) and Elizabeth Rindell on November 25 1830. It indicates that Judith was a "minor" of age at the time of her marriage. Not sure if minor was younger than 16; 18 or 21 ?? - Patrick Ryan was of "Major" age at the time.


2.    We have a website at WWW.STCOLUMBAN-IRISH.COM with lots of information. As well we have a facebook page at:


3.    Finally I had the following message from another researcher for our family who you might like to contact directly…..:


My name is Rachael Rogers.  My g-g-great grandparents were James and Mary (Keyes) Madden.  Until recently I knew they had been born in Ireland, went to Canada and ended up in Iowa but I did not know where in Canada they had come from.  I found on that they were from St. Columban.  I was pretty excited to find where in Canada they had come from!  I found their marriage record there and the baptismal records for their children.  I found your website which is wonderful.  James' parents were Patrick and Ellen Madden who died at St. Columban.   I found their death records on ancestry.  Mary's parents were Patrick and Honora Keyes.  Your website was very helpful when it came to them.  I saw that you wanted any information on families from St. Columban.  I don't know a lot about James and Mary but I'll give you what I do know.  According to the cemetery records from St. Joseph's Prairie Catholic Cemetery in Dubuque county Iowa James was born in 1807.  Mary was born in 1817.  According to his declaration of intent paper they came to Iowa in June of 1848.  They settled at Table Mound Township in Dubuque county Iowa.  There they farmed.  Mary died August 16, 1880 from acute peritonitis.  James died in 1894.  I don't know if this is the kind of information you are looking for.  If you have any questions please let me know.  Look forward to hearing from you.






Hope that this helps. Please send me whatever information you can on your family that I can add to my records.




Fergus Keyes


 on: December 07, 2015, 10:39:20 AM 
Started by Charles.Phelan - Last post by Charles.Phelan
I feel as if Ive shown up late for the party.  I began my search this summer on, armed with many family stories, and places lived.  Genealogy seems  like a never ending series of connect the dots. 

I went to the St-Columban cemetery this weekend and found my Great Great Great Grandparents Ellen Molloy and Richard Murphy. Two of Ellen and Richard's Children, Catherine and Bridget married two Phelan Brothers,  my Great, Great Grandfather James Phelan and his brother Thomas.  I found the marriage records for James and Catherine in Coteau-du-lac as well as baptismal records for their children, as well taking notes of the Godparents.  I came across Ann Blanchfield, and a Martin Brennan but I'm having difficulty placing how they fit into the family tree.  I had also heard through family history that James and Catherine settled in Coteau-du-Lac, and worked building canals,  but was listed a farmer in the Canadian Census of 1861.   

I went to Gross-Isle a year ago and wondered if any of the Phelan's that perished there belonged to our family.  My own father, also a Daniel Phelan, always mentioned that our branch of the Phelan's came after the Famine of 1847 though still no luck in tracking down that information.

Knowing the Phelan's were an important family in St-Columban was an interesting revelation but its difficult to track down anything before 1850,  as well as when they came to  Canada.  The microfiche records seem like they were scanned in the 50's and are not always clearly visible, there are misspellings, and this leads to a certain interpretation of the records.  I'd love to see the original registers.  Its interesting though,  I work at McGill University in IT and the libraries have invested a lot of equipment for digitizing books.  Re-scanning these old registers seems like a monumental task but the technology for scanning has improved so much since the 50's.

I'd appreciate any help with leads.  Was Daniel Phelan related to Joseph Phelan and Catherine Brennan, and Father Patrick Phelan?

Charles Phelan

 on: December 07, 2015, 09:22:00 AM 
Started by Fergus Keyes - Last post by Charles.Phelan
Should have started a new post.  Was too excited about the prospect of hearing about my ancestors on TV

 on: November 23, 2015, 03:35:47 PM 
Started by Fergus Keyes - Last post by Charles.Phelan
Hello Peter,

This a bit of a long shot.  I found a 2006 entry from looking for information about Daniel Phelan for Ancestors in the attic.  I’m a descendent of James Phelan, son of Daniel Phelan and Honora Rafter from county Kilkenny that is confirmed in the marriage records for James, and his brothers Thomas, Patrick, Joseph, and  Daniel (jr).  Through  I’ve squinted and some made sense of the hand written baptismal and marriage records to connect the dots as best I can.  What I have confirmed is that James and Thomas,  married sisters Catherine and Bridget Murphy (respectively)  from St-Colomban.  Looking for other Phelan Ancestors in St-Colomban hasn’t given any new leads, though I’m still looking. 

I’m still trying to track down Irish records for Daniel and Honora Rafter, as well as when they came to Canada.  The only record  that comes close is a Record of Honora Rafter and Edward Phelan. 

My aunt Mary had done some genealogical research and recently sent me  written memories of my great aunt Vera.  While the conversation is mostly family history, my aunt Vera mentioned that the phelan’s were from Tipperary, unfortunately I can’t confirm this. 

Did this episode you worked on for Erin Phelan get aired eventually?   If you have any information on Daniel Phelan and Honora Rafter I would be extremely grateful. 

Charles Phelan

 on: August 27, 2015, 12:09:53 PM 
Started by Fergus Keyes - Last post by Fergus Keyes
FYI - A note about our site...

Hi there,

I wanted to send you a quick 'thank you' for your webpage ( I am a mentor for a group of students at a summer school program, and we've been using your page to learn more about genealogy to help them research their own family histories. Thank you for all of your helpful information!

One of my students (Kelly) found another great resource that I thought would fit in well with your information. The article is "Getting Started With Genealogy on the Web" -

Would you mind including the article on your page for me? Kelly would be happy to see that you liked her idea and that it could he be helpful to others! Let us know if you get the chance to update, and thanks again for your great information!

Have a great day,

 on: August 23, 2015, 08:02:02 PM 
Started by Donnelly - Last post by Donnelly
On behalf of the Irish Society of the National Capital Region in Ottawa, Canada, and the Ottawa Branch of the Ontario Genealogical Society, I would welcome an opportunity to provide more information to any participant in the St Columban-Irish Form about our project entitled "These Old Walls - The Homes of Our Ottawa Valley Great-Grandparents". The ‘Old Walls’ project creates a web-based archival database of the remains (or ruins) of the homes of the early settlers, and aboriginal inhabitants where applicable, in the counties of the Ottawa Valley on the Ontario and Quebec sides of the Ottawa River, and ultimately in other countries, with Ireland ( :) and St. Columban-Irish Forum) being the initial targets for expansion.
The objective of the overall ‘Old Walls’ project is to enable genealogists, family historians, archeologists, social historians, and anybody sharing some of these interests, to record the memories of ‘These Old Walls – The Homes of Our Great-Grandparents’ because this is the record of our country’s history. The technology base for the project is a database, a website, and an app for the android smartphones. Teams of students at Algonquin College in Ottawa have been engaged to design and develop the technology, which is currently in a preliminary test phase.

The descendants of the Irish settlers of St. Columban's may be interested in recording the memories of the homes where their ancestors lived and raised their families. Why settle for an inscription on a tombstone in the cemetery? Supplement that record of the death and the burial with stories about the old home - even if it is in ruins today.

An embryonic version of the website is at To use the website for a search of data in the database , the mandatory search field is the country - i.e. Canada or Ireland, at this time. The database has only a few entries for Canada and Ireland at present. The goal now is to start populating that database. St. Columban' ancestral homes may offer some interesting possibilities!
A copy of our Newsletter for July 2015 is attached.
I welcome your comments, advice, questions - either by reply to this posting or by email to Phil Donnelly at

 on: August 08, 2015, 02:16:16 AM 
Started by HallFam - Last post by HallFam
My maternal grandmother was Alice E Hall, born in St Columban in 1902 (younger sister of Justice Emmett M Hall). I've just recently started researching our family history and would love to hear from anyone who has information on the family(s). On the Hall side, it would be James Hall (m Alice Shea), son of John Hall and Anne McKenna, John son of James Hall and Alice O'Donnell. Her mother, Alice Shea, was the daughter of Matthew Shea and Diana O'Rourke (from St Scholastique, it seems), Matthew son of James Shea and Elizabeth Conroy. Diana was daughter of John O'Rourke and Bridget Plunkett. I believe there were Mooneys married into the Shea family.

Thanks for your time!

 on: July 29, 2015, 12:39:07 PM 
Started by Fergus Keyes - Last post by Fergus Keyes
The very 1st Irish Heritage Day at Saint-Colomban is just about a month away (Saturday, August 29th 2015).

Everyone is welcome and we hope you can join us. In the meantime, here is an updated program (in French). As well as the new update brochure in both English and French.

Remember – you do not have to be a descendant of Saint Colomban or even Irish to come out to this family fun event that is only about a 45 minute car ride from Montreal.

We also have an event page at:

 on: May 21, 2015, 01:48:45 PM 
Started by Fergus Keyes - Last post by Fergus Keyes

Today there are few Irish in Saint-Colomban and it is generally French speaking. However, the town has always been fiercely proud of its original Irish Heritage. Of course, as you all know, a few years ago, some of us descendants of the original Irish settlers restored the old Irish cemetery.

Now on August 29th 2015, the entire town of Saint-Colomban will be celebrating their Irish roots with the 1st ever “Irish Heritage Day of Saint-Colomban” and everyone is invited – you don’t have to be a descendant; or even Irish, to attend this fun filled outdoor event.

Dr Ray Bassett, the Irish Ambassador to Canada has confirmed his attendance; the GAA will be demonstrating Hurling; the Town will provide live Irish Music and a whole lot of other activities are planned.

So mark your calendars for August 29th and come out and enjoy the day.

We do have a FaceBook event site, where you could register your attendance at:

We will update this information as we get closer to the date and If you require any additional information, please contact me (Fergus Keyes) at

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