St. Columban-Irish Forum

Please login or register.

Login with username, password and session length

Author Topic: Phelan Info from Cynthia Phelan  (Read 1878 times)

Jeff Legault

  • YaBB Administrator
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 49
  • Welcome to St. Colomban-Irish Forums!
    • Jeff Legault
Phelan Info from Cynthia Phelan
« on: September 29, 2013, 08:53:51 PM »

A recent note from Cythia Phelan on her latest research results.

From: Cynthia Phelan
To: Fergus Keyes
Sent: Tuesday, September 24, 2013 2:19 PM
Subject: Phelan Info

Fergus-  how are you doing? I know I have not contacted you for some time now. I have only been back to Canada once since we met up. I had brought my girls there two summers ago to do a french language camp. 

I have been hard at work on genealogy research the past few years - working on Phelans and other Canadian roots, but also several other branches in my family tree. I made it to Ireland this past summer and was able to visit newly discovered cousins there and do additional research. I still am analyzing and transcribing much of what I learned, but I wanted to let you know some of my results. Perhaps you can post some of this on the website? I think the new info I have on the bishop would be the most useful.

I found this biography about Bishop Patrick in a well respected 4 volume text about the history of the church in Kilkenny published around 1900 and written by a Fr Carrigan. I attached a scan of the pertinent pages. He was born in Conahy Rock. This is a townland south of Ballyragget, east of the River Nore. I sent a letter to a Phelan family living there and got a reply during the summer. The family is still there and they seemed to know about the bishop! I do not have all of their info yet. They are supposed to be mailing more information to me. Unfortunately, although I was very close to Conahy when I was there, I had not yet read this material so did not go there.  I did drive through Carrick on Suir.   

The bishop's mother was named Brennan:
Here is some other info about Brennan (The carrigan book also gives the townland for Brennan! Byrnesgrove) - I was trying to find evidence of Brennans in that part of Kilkenny - but never could find the Brennan name.  I then came upon a source that indicated that in this part of Ireland- where so many people were O'Brennan's - they quit using the name Brennan for a while and instead used other identifying names, so census substitute documents (like the tithe applotment) that predate the griffiths evaluation will use the alternate names instead.

Claude found some Brennans listed in St Columban - but I do not have enough info yet to establish if there is any connection or not to the bishops family. I did send a letter to Byrnesgrove this summer, but never got any replies.

While I was in Ireland I met with a Phelan family in Rathbeagh parish - The family there did not have enough information to help me- at least not yet, but  I am working on a hypothesis that this family is the source of the John Phelan in my family tree (the man who married Mary Phelan,the bishop's sister). He also was the brother to Ann Blanchfield and Honora/Eleanora Keyes according to Fr Forget.   

Kathy Lund (do you know her) has shared some of her Blanchfield info with me. She had found at LDS that Ann and Richard Blanchfield  were married in Skinstown (this is a townland near Rathbeagh townland and is part of the Rathbeagh civil parish). LDS also had their children's  baptism records indicate Rathbeagh. (I had a parish priest looking up the records as well when I was there  - they are at the catholic parish of Lisdowney). There is a cemetery in Rathbeagh in the churchyard of the ruins of St Catherine church. There are many Phelans buried there- ( I have not yet found evidence of John Phelan's parents).  I also found a  Blanchfield burial plot there- this included an Oliver Blanchfield who is supposed to be the father of the man who married Ann- and the tombstone there clearly stated that they were from Skinstown. I am not sure if any of this helps me to place the origin of the Phelan family, since I do not know why they were married in one location but had the children baptised in another. But Rathbeagh is the name of both a townland and an electoral division of the civil parish of Ballyragget as well as of a few other parishes - since the lines drawn by the english did not always respect the boundaries of the ancient Irish townlands. When it is used in records it is difficult, from our vantage point, to know to which category they are referring. I have been looking at other sources to see if this is helpful. There are lots of Phelans throughout this region, but Blanchfields are less so. I consulted Griffiths valuation (1850s in Kilkenny). Phelans are in both Rathbeagh and Skinstown but the Blanchfields are only in Skinstown.

I remember that you visited a cemetery when you were in Kilkenny or Laois years ago. Do you recall now where it was? Did you ever find the Keyes or any Phelans associated with Keyes when you were there? Rathbeagh is south of Ballyragget and comes up on google maps if you try to look for it.

I know that there are some different versions of the Phelan family tree around and confusion about who was related to the Bishop and who was not. I have been using the document created by Fr Forget as my guideline.

Claude has this document and sent me the Phelan pages. They are on paper and I will try to scan them soon so I can share them with you. It showed the following: Joseph Phelan and Catherine Brennan:  parents of Patrick (bishop), Mary, Daniel (Captain who I think was involved in the rebellion in Canada and later settled in Cornwall Ontario), and Bridget - I am not sure what happened to her

Michael Phelan and Mary Corcoran are the parents of John Phelan - (who married Mary Phelan, the bishops sister), Ann Phelan who married Blanchfield, Eleanor who married  Keyes,  margaret who married  Brophy, and possibly Cornelius (fate unknown).

I do not know how accurate this is, of course. But I think it is pretty good. I think Claude trusts it. I would think Fr Forget would have obtained  this information from his contemporaries. Sr Mary Phelan, who was the oldest daughter of John and Mary, and presumably a reliable source, would have still been alive around the time this was written in the late 19th/early 20th century. 

I was interested to read your recent facebook posts about the irish rebellion. I saw that you mentioned Capt Daniel Phelan. Can you share with me whatever you may have about him.? I have been trying to learn more about him for several years now. I think he ended up in Cornwall and found him and his family on some old census records- but then cannot find them anywhere else.  Have you heard of any living descendants from that family?

Thanks for all your work on behalf of our st Columban ancestry. I hope my information proves interesting to you.

Hope you are doing well,