[size=14]We received the following request for Phelan information from Peter Gombos. I did send a quick reply to Peter but if any of you have any additional information that you can share with him, please either e-mail it directly to him and/or send to to me
From: "Peter Gombos"
Sent: Tuesday, August 01, 2006 2:43 PM
Subject: Ancestors in the Attic - search for Daniel Phelan
> Hello Jeff and Fergus,
> I found your names on the list of St. Columban Researchers on
and wondered if you might be able to help
> with some genealogical research on some PHELAN family genealogy.
> I am a researcher on an upcoming documentary television series about
> genealogy called Ancestors in the Attic, to be on History Television some
> time in November.
> On behalf of a woman named Erin Phelan (who hails originally from
> I am researching her Phelan genealogy in Montreal, possibly St Columban,
> I have hopes to search back in Kilkenny before the family emigrated. (I
> will look in the Griffith's Valuation record.)
> So far I've found family members in Montreal City Directories from 1850,
> many listed in the transcribed marriage records in Drouin. I've also
> found her g-grandfather's James Phelan's marriage registry in Coteau du
> in 1854, and his brother Thomas' marriage in St Patrick's Basilica records
> from 1859. Both marriage records say they were from County Kilkenny.
> (James was born June 18, 1835, Thomas was born in 1836.)
> I think this family arrived around 1849 and ended up in Montreal -- I
> if the family may have started out in St Columban and then moved to
> (I am basing this on the Coteau du Lac wedding and other experience).
> In particular I am looking for Daniel Phalen (father of James and Thomas),
> husband of Honora Rafter, in St Columban in or near to 1849. (He
> from records around 1854) Could you help me find him?
> If you have might be willing to help me search (for a fee) or can suggest
> other genealogical contact to find Phelan ancestors, please let me know as
> soon as possible.
> Thank you very much.
> Peter Gombos
> Ancestors in the Attic
> On History Television
> Toronto, ON
> T: (416) 964-9223 ext 240
> E: firstname.lastname@example.org
> About the show:
> Ancestors in the Attic takes viewers on a road trip across Canada and on a
> worldwide search for their ancestors. Part personal drama, part forensic
> investigation and part historical revelation, the series will reveal to
> Canadians in an intimate and dramatic way not only their roots, but also
> diverse stories that make up their country.
Here is a copy of a quick reply that I sent
Thanks for your note about the Phelan family.
Unfortunately I will be out of town from this Thursday for a week and will
not have time to do any in depth research but I will provide you with other
possible contacts at the end of this e-mail.
I can tell you that the Phelan family was a major family in St. Columban.
St. Columban was really founded by a Father Patrick Phelan and a Gerald
Phelan was the postmaster (as was his aunt and grandfather back to the
beginning) until the late 60's. So from the mid 1820's until at least 1960,
Phelans were in St. Columban.
To confuse matters a little, one of the first Phelan's we have in St.
Columban was a John Phelan born about 1790 likely related to Father Patrick
Phelan. (Father Phelan, by the way became a Bishop of Ottawa & Kingston and
was born in Balleyragget, Kilkenny, Ireland on Feb 1 1795 - in our records
his parents were Joseph Phelan & Catherine Brennan). This John Phelan died
in St. Columban on April 9 1862 at 72 years old. The problem is that he was
married to Mary Phelan (That's right it has been confirmed that she had the
same last name as her husband).Mary Phelan, also born in Ireland and died in
St. Columban on July 26 1874 at 76 years old which would have made her birth
I do have one Daniel Phelan in my records who may have been a brother of
Father (later Bishop) Patrick Phlean.
There seems to have been at least two distinct Phelan families in St.
Columban and it is hard to match the families from some of the records.
You might also note that records prior to about 1836 when St. Columban
became it's own parish, the info. for settlers in St. Columban was recorded
in Ste. Scholastique. So the birth of both your James and Thomas could have
been recorded in Ste. Scholastique.
In this reply to you, in addition to Jeff, I have copied both Claude
Bourguignon and Kelley O'Rourke. Claude is the real historian of St.
Columban and has many, many documents related to the village. And Kelley,
for the past year or so has been researching St. Columban deaths etc. as
part of our project to restore the old cemetery in St. Columban.
So, perhaps one, or all of them, can add to this quick info. that I am
sending you and, of course, after August 10th I would be pleased to check
other Phelan documents that I might have.