St. Columban-Irish Forum

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 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

 on: May 21, 2015, 01:44:32 PM 
Started by Fergus Keyes - Last post by Fergus Keyes
Each year, the Ancient Order of Hibernians walk from St. Gabriel’s Church on Centre St. to honor the 6000+ Irish immigrants that died and were buried around the area of the Black Rock which sits in the Montreal side of the Victoria Bridge.  This year the Montreal Irish Monument Park Foundation will join the AOH in the Walk in support of building a Beautiful Cultural Green Space in the area. Details and information about this project can be found at: -

This Walk originally scheduled for May 31st has now been moved to Sunday, June 14th and everyone is invited to join the Walk.

 on: March 03, 2015, 12:54:39 PM 
Started by Fergus Keyes - Last post by TraceyFam
Thank you so much, Fergus, for reposting the article re the Tracey Family books.  I would like to add that these books are not just a family history, but a complete historical fiction novel which follow the experiences of the Tracey family against a backdrop of historical events in the 19th century.  I focused on the founding of the little settlement called St. Colomban and moved onto historical events in Griffintown, an Irish dominated area of Montreal near the Lachine Canal.  Against a backdrop of the 1837 Rebellion in Lower Canada (Quebec) the reader can follow the political events that led to Confederation.
I am close to completing the last part of the trilogy on the Traceys, sketching out John Tracey's trek out West in 1890, including stories of the 1885 Riel Rebellion, the industrial revolution, the development of railways, and finally the lead-up to the First World War.  It's a lot of ground to cover, but I sought to show history from the peoples' perspectives, rather than the dry-as-dust Canadian history books we studied in High School.  I wish everyone happy reading.  (Go to: - and search for Evelyn Cohoon Dreiling).

 on: February 22, 2015, 10:49:11 AM 
Started by Fergus Keyes - Last post by Fergus Keyes
As some of you know, in addition to the St. Columban project, I am also involved as a director with the Montreal Irish Monument Park Foundation.

The objective if this foundation is to have the City of Montreal build a cultural green space in the area of the Black Rock.

The history behind it, is that in 1847, (about 20 years after most of our ancestors arrived in Canada), another wave of Irish immigrants reached Montreal – all were fleeing the Great Hunger and many were suffering from Ship’s Fever (Typhus). At least 6000 died of the fever in Montreal and were buried around the Montreal side of a bridge called the Victoria Bridge that joins the island of Montreal to the mainland. (A few of these 1847 Immigrants did find their way to St. Columban)

In 1859, the workers building this Victoria Bridge discovered some of the bones of the Irish immigrants that and died and were buried on the spot some 12 years earlier. They took a stone from the St. Lawrence River and placed this Black Rock on top of the graves.

We asked a friend Rick Murrin, from the Underground Divas, to write a song about this tragic event and here is his effort. Please do listen; comment and share his haunting effort at

You can follow our effort either on our web page at: /or our facebook page at:

Regardless of where you live, you could also send an e-mail to our Mayor of Montreal telling him that you support this project. His e-mail link can be found at:…



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