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Author Topic: Keyes / Phelan Family Information  (Read 1761 times)

Fergus Keyes

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Keyes / Phelan Family Information
« on: October 04, 2013, 01:26:01 PM »

    In answer to Cynthia Phelan's post about my trip to Ireland with my sons a few years ago and our visits to various cemeteries. The first cemetery was in Ballyragget. It is a little hard to find and we were only able to locate it with the help of locals. It is off the main road going into to Ballyragget, I think from Kilkenny city. It has a small sign that points down this dirt road, about ¼ mile before you get to Balleyragget, and the sign says “Donaghmore Cemetery”. (Donaghmore was apparently a name for Balleyragget at some time in the past). After you go down this little dirt road, it leads you right to an old cemetery. And in that cemetery were the names that looked like a “who’s who” of St. Columban. There were many Phelan stones, as well as, other names familiar to St. Columban. Unfortunately, the photos I took did not come out very well especially since the stones were very old and faded. There is still a big Phelan presence in the Ballyragget area, included two current elected official – an Ann Phelan and a John Paul Phelan. We also visited the cemetery in Castlecomer, where I think there were more Phelans. But at neither cemetery could we find any Keyes stones, which I will address in my next post.

    While we at the Castlecomer cemetery, one of my sons yelled out that he couldn’t see any Keyes stones, and another local in the cemetery said that if we were looking for Keyes in Kilkenny, the only place we might find them was in a little village called Clogh (pronounced as clock) which is in turn about 12 miles or so from Ballyragget. So there we found a very small town with a very large Church (like you see in Quebec towns) which I think was called St. Patrick’s. There is a cemetery attached to this Church and there we finally found a couple of Keyes stones. Again they were very old and very faded. Interesting the name was written with the extra “e” as in Keyes rather than Keys. Somehow, this little town of Clogh seemed to be the right place, although I have no actual prove that this is where the Keyes family originated. Again, it looked like all the names from  St. Columban in this cemetery including, Ryan; Brophy, Delaney, etc.
 I also received this note from Kieren Keyes from Cork Ireland who outlined the following:
 The records from the Tithe Applotments, taken in 1823 give the following records
 There is one Honora Phelan listed for the entire country. She is located in Cloonaleen, Clogh Co. Kilkenny and is listed as "widowed". She is probably aged around 37 at this stage. Possibly a relative of your Honora Phelan.
There are four Patrick Keys listed for the entire country. One is my ancestor who lived in Chatsworth near Clogh Co. Kilkenny.
 Another Patrick Keys is listed at Cloneen, Clogh, Co. Kilkenny which is the same small village where Honora Phelan was living.
 Clogh village is located about twelve miles away from Ballyraggett Co. Kilkenny that you mention.
In those days the oldest son was invariably named after the paternal grandfather. In your case the oldest boy of Patrick Keys (who emigrated to Canada) was named Andrew. This is a strong clue that Patrick's father was also named Andrew Keys.
 If you look at the 1901 census for Ireland there is a young child listed for Cloneen Clogh Castlecomer as "Andrew Keys"
 This is, of course, not the same Andrew Keys as yours in Canada but you can be sure that there is a connection to you there.
 I would feel very confident that the Keys family of Cloneen, Clogh, Co. Kilkenny are your relatives.
 In the 1911 census of Ireland, Michael Keys (45) was living with his wife Margaret in Cloneen, Clogh, Co. Kilkenny … Their children are listed as Andrew, Mary, Anne, Maggie and Julia. (my note – it is interesting that all of these names are very similar to the names that my Patrick gave his own children, including Andre who was my great grandfather)