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 on: November 16, 2013, 02:53:44 PM 
Started by Fergus Keyes - Last post by Walsh25607
Thanks for the document, Claude.  It will assist me in my research.

 on: November 14, 2013, 03:18:01 PM 
Started by Fergus Keyes - Last post by claude bourguignon
A notice about Doomsday family from Curé Isidore Forget in : St. Colomban- Ste-Sophie. Notes généalogiques (circa 1905)

 on: November 13, 2013, 10:18:54 AM 
Started by Fergus Keyes - Last post by Fergus Keyes
Here is an e-mail that I received from Carol Brown concerning the Walsh & Gaffney families of St. Columban....

Hello; I am researching my family tree.  Patrick Henry Walsh and Mary Ann Gaffney were my great-grandparents, located in St. Columban, Quebec.   I see that there is a grave marker on your website for this couple.  There were also some Doomsday relatives in there, maybe part of a land grant after the war of 1812.  George Doomsday was registered with the Rifle Brigade in 1820.  From what I can gather, he came from England, fought in Canada, returned to England where he had a daughter, Sarah,  in 1827, and apparently returned to Canada between 1828 and 1829, where it appears he settled in St. Columban.  I would like to gather more information on these individuals, and others in the Walsh family in St. Columban.  I see that there is a book entitled “Saint-Colomban: An Irish Epic in the Foothills of the Laurentians”, by Claude Bourguignon.  Do you know if it chronicles all of the early settler families in the region?  Any information you could provide would be greatly appreciated.



Kind regards,

Carol Brown

Vernon, British Columbia


 on: November 05, 2013, 09:19:42 PM 
Started by Fergus Keyes - Last post by Jeff Legault
A few more photos are uploaded here:

 on: November 05, 2013, 04:11:01 PM 
Started by Fergus Keyes - Last post by Fergus Keyes
Here is the exact wording on the plaque.....

This plaque was made possible through a generous grant from the Irish Government, Dublin, Ireland - Department of Foreign Affairs' Emigrant Support Program (2010).

Cuireadh an leac seo ar fáil ar bhun deontais ó Rialtas na h Éireann faoin gClár Tacaíochta Imircí (2010) de chuid na Roinne Gnóthaí Eachtracha agus Trádála.

La réalisation de cette plaque commémorative a été rendue possible grâce à la généreuse contribution du Département des Affaires étrangères de la République d’Irlande dans le cadre du Emigrant Support Program (2010).


The Irish Settlement of St. Columban

After 1821 Irish immigrants settled on the territory of what is now called, Saint-Colomban. During subsequent years, despite inhospitable conditions, an Irish community thrived and grew under the auspices of Father Richard Jackson. After his departure in 1825, he was replaced by Father Patrick Phelan.

Father Phelan was responsible for the Irish communities of both St. Columban and Montreal. He later rose to prominence in the Church as Curate for Bytown (the future City of Ottawa) and as Bishop of the Kingston diocese.

In 1830, a public meeting was held to decide on the best location for the construction of a chapel which would serve the growing Irish Catholic population of the area. Mgr. Jean-Jacques Lartigue named the new chapel St. Columban, after the celebrated 7th-Century Irish monk who was the founder of many monasteries throughout Europe.

A simple chapel was built in 1831 on a portion of land that is now part of the Church parking lot.

On October 14, 1835, St. Columban acquired its autonomy from Ste-Scholastique and held its first meetings and elections as the self sustaining Parish of St. Columban. On December 28, 1836, John Phelan donated a section of his land to the Church wardens which is now part of the cemetery.

The story of the St. Columban Irish is part of a larger heritage, that of the Irish in Quebec.  Gradually the families in St. Columban left their farms and settled elsewhere, but their Celtic mark remains in the village their ancestors had built. 

De « l’Irish Settlement » à la ville de Saint-Colomban

Dés 1821 des immigrants irlandais s’implantent sur le territoire du futur Saint-Colomban. Les lieux encore inoccupés n’offrent qu’un sol médiocre couvert de forêts. Malgré des conditions inhospitalières, une colonie naîtra au cours des années subséquentes, tout d’abord sous l’auspice du sulpicien Richard Jackson et à partir de 1835, de son remplaçant de la même congrégation, Patrick Phelan, futur évêque de Kingston, Ontario. L’établissement est connu alors sous l*appellation de Rivière du Nord, paroisse Sainte-Scholastique ou encore de « l’Irish settlement ».

En 1830, les habitants se réunissent afin de déterminer le meilleur endroit possible pour l’érection d’une chapelle dont le patronyme Saint-Colomban choisit par Mgr. Jean-Jacques Lartigue, réfère au célèbre moine Irlandais fondateur de plusieurs monastères en Europe. La construction d’un modeste lieu de culte voit le jour l’année suivante.
Le 14 octobre 1835 l’élection de marguilliers marque le début officiel de la paroisse de Saint-Colomban. En date du 28 décembre 1836, John Phelan cède à la Fabrique une partie de sa terre en vu de permettre la mise en place du présent cimetière.

Les aléas de l’Histoire firent en sorte de voir l’ethnie fondatrice disparaître graduellement au fil des décennies, mais le territoire conserve bien présent, les traces tangibles et immatérielles de leur apport ethno-historique celtique.

In the spring of 2010, three monument walls were constructed. Mounted onto these walls were the broken headstones (some dating back to the early 1800’s ) that were found in the area.  These monument walls are dedicated to over 700 Irish immigrants and their descendants who were laid to rest in the St. Columban cemetery. Over the years their burial markers disappeared.

On July 3rd a procession was held from the church to the cemetery. It was led by Father Mike McKenna. The walls were then consecrated in an emotional and heart-lifting ceremony.

Depuis le printemps 2010, trois structures de briques intégrant les pierres tombales brisées du cimetière de Saint-Colomban, ornent le centre de la partie initiale de l’espace consacré.  Elles commémorent les quelques 700 personnes d’origine irlandaise inhumées dans le cimetière de la paroisse de Saint-Colomban sans aucun monument funéraire.

Le 3 juillet de la même année, une cérémonie inaugure l’ouvrage, fruit d’un partenariat fructueux entre les membres du Comité de mise en valeur des pierres tombales brisées et divers intervenants dont:

Tiomanta don bhreis is 700 deoraí, de shliocht Éireannach, a deir na croinicí a cuireadh sa reilig seo gan leac gan cuimhne.

This project came to fruition because of the dedication, hard work and donations of the Irish descendants and friends of St. Columban including:

The St. Patrick's Society of Montreal

La  Fabrique de St-Colomban

La ville de St-Colomban

Le comité responsable pour la conception et la réalisation de monument ce compose des personnes suivantes:

The Committee responsible for the conception, design and construction of this project are:

Claude Bourguignon
Fergus V. Keyes
Jeff Legault
Anne McLaughlin
Kenneth Neil
Audrey O’Rourke-Gossage
Kelley O'Rourke-Thomassin

 on: November 05, 2013, 11:05:18 AM 
Started by Jeff Legault - Last post by Jeff Legault
The 1921 Census of Canada is the most recent census available to the public and its records cover Canada's peak immigration period, the rise of aboriginal and women's rights and the formation of this country's modern identity.

You can search the records of the entire collection for FREE now via the link below!

 on: November 05, 2013, 10:48:09 AM 
Started by Fergus Keyes - Last post by Fergus Keyes
So almost entirely thanks to the organization skills of our Ken Neil, who did a great job, I am pleased to report that the plaque, which we have mentioned in the past, has now been installed in the cemetery. It is located just to the left of the main entrance. Clause Bourguignon took some photos that I will include. It would now seem that almost exactly after 8 years since we started this effort the majority of the project that we envisioned back in 2005 has now been completed. Congratulations to everyone involved and to all the individuals and organizations that offered both encouragement and financial aid over the years as our plan became a reality.

 on: October 04, 2013, 01:26:01 PM 
Started by Fergus Keyes - Last post by Fergus Keyes
    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)

 on: September 29, 2013, 08:53:51 PM 
Started by Jeff Legault - Last post by Jeff Legault
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,

 on: September 21, 2013, 07:57:46 PM 
Started by TraceyFam - Last post by TraceyFam
Vous avez absolument raison, M. Bourguigon.  C'est vrai que le Docteur Daniel Tracey est arrrivé de l'Irlande avec son jeune frère John et sa soeur Ann en 1825, et son histoire continue.
Ce qu'est arrivé c'est que je suis venue à la même conclusion mais - quand j'ai retracé mon Daniel Tracey, c'était clairement évident que c'était un autre Daniel Tracey.  Alors, comment résoudre le problème ?  J'aimais bien l'histoire du Docteur, alors j'ai arrangé mon plot de façon que les deux Daniel Tracey se sont rencontrés par hasard, et sont devenus de bons amis.
Mon Daniel Tracey s'est marié avec Frances Manning - vous avez bien raison - et son fils, Michael, a marié Mary McCarthy.  Ensuite, un de leurs enfants, Elizabeth Tracey, a marié Joseph Trudeau.  Un de leurs enfants, Marguerite Trudeau a marié Edouard Larin, et elle est ma grand-mère.
Je vois juste un problème avec vos faits: le Docteur Daniel ne s'est jamais marié d'après l'annonce nécrologique qui a paru dans le journal The Vindicator em 1837, écrit par le Dr. Callaghan, qui a continué de publier ce journal après son décès.  Ce n'est pas lui qui était marié avec Frances Mangan.
Oui, c'est bien mélangeant.
Le manque d'information pour les immigrants Irlandais et leurs lieux de naissance, etc., n'aide pas.  Je n'étais pas au courant du fait que l'Archevêque Forget avais tout cela dans des notes généalogiques.  Très intéressant.
Merci de vos commentaires.

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