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est. 1997
Basil Kealey
Journey in Genealogy

The latest Journey in Genealogy comes from Basil Kealey. Basil recently contacted me because he found some Kealy Connections that looked like branches of his family tree. He had recently completed a trip to Ireland to research his family history and gained information he wanted to share. The following is his recent Journey in Genealogy saved and published with hopes towards making further connections.

If you'd like to contact Basil directly, he can be emailed at

Spring 2009

As we were flying at 32000 feet from Toronto,Ontario,Canada, I could not help but wonder about the lives of our forefathers who left Ireland in the first quarter of the nineteenth century under very difficult times and circumstances what with famine, religious persecution,the fight for independence and the like. My sister Marilyn and I were making our first flight back to the land of Jeremiah {Darby}Kealey who was born in 1792 in Queen's County.{Now Laois County} We both were quite excited about our holiday and especially taking a day to travel through Laois County and search for Darby's people and places.

We were told that Darby Kealey's father or uncle was buried in Wolfhill Cemetery. After much searching in the St. Mary's R.C. Cemetery,we found the large tombstone belonging to John Kealy of Kylenabehy who died on the 17th May 1847. It was difficult to decipher some of the wording and dates because the stone inscriptions were worn from the weather and time. John Kealy's family are inscribed on the tombstone as well. We also found three other old Kealy tombstones that could not be deciphered, as well two newer Kealy headstones.

We then drove west to Swan, a short distance away and met a John Kealy who invited us into his home. We told him about our Kealey history and Darby Kealey descendents and he informed us that he didn't think the John Kealey and Family that are buried in the Wolfhill Cemetery are related to our Kealey Family. He also drove us to St. Abbans R.C. Church and Cemetery and showed us where his parents, brothers and sisters are buried. John Kealy did, however, say that he had heard about another Cemetery up in the mountains where the coal mines were located and that he thought Kealey's with that spelling were buried.

We then drove south-west to Clogh and St. Patrick's R.C. Church and Cemetery We spent some time looking around the Cemetery, however could not locate any Kealey headstones. As we were about to leave two fellas who were cleaning the steps asked us who we were looking for; we said Kealey's. Nobody around here with that spelling, however a lady with a Kealy maiden name was inside the church cleaning the vestry. We entered the church and introduced ourselves as being from Canada. She was taken aback and quite excited. Her family was buried up in the Wolfhill Cemetery, however was never able to find the tombstones. We were possible cousins. She promised to e-mail, through her son, the family relationships and descendents.

Darby Kealey immigrated to Canada to a City that would be known as Bytown after 1850; incorporated as Ottawa in 1855 and chosen as Canada's Capital in 1857. There is convincing evidence that he was in the Area before 1820 and he was one of the earliest settlers to this area. It should be noted that his given name is used interchangeably with 'Jeremiah'; both are ways of anglicizing the Irish name 'Diarmada'; thus he sometimes appears as Jeremiah and other times as Darby Kealey. His family name sometimes is spelled 'Kealy' and 'Keally.' It is thought that Darby may have arrived from Ireland with his brothers or cousins Martin and James and perhaps one other relative or friend and probably sailed from Cork, Ireland.

Darby Kealey lived out his life in the present day Ottawa Area and raised eleven children. Nine of his children, along with their spouses homesteaded up the Gatineau in the Venosta/Low/Martindale, Quebec, area in the Township of Low. Darby was first married to Abigail Mulligan of Ireland. She was born before 1809 and died before 1835. His second wife was thought to be Abigail's sister Elizabeth Mulligan. The sisters were the daughter's of Thomas Mulligan and Dorothy Leathem of Ireland. Elizabeth was born in 1811 in Ireland and died in July,1874.

Darby Kealey died on the 2nd March 1872 in Ottawa, Ontario. My line extends through James, then John 'Mill Jack' and then my father Patrick [Paddy] and then to Marilyn and I. The descendents of Darby Kealey are in the thousands and some three-hundred pages are required to list all of Darby Kealey's descendents. Four people in particular have spent a great deal of time and effort in keeping the descendent lines up-to-date. They are Laurel Doucette of Newfoundland, Bryan McLaughlin , Gatineau, Bruce Cowen, Edmonton, Alberta, and Ron Kealy, Frostburg, Maryland, U.S.A. They deserve to be commended.

An interesting quirk occurred when one of Darby's grandson's William who was born in Venosta, Quebec,and immigrated to Eveleth, Minnesota, 1901 with his wife Bridget and two sons. Two brothers Michael [Mick] and Patrick [Pat] also moved to Minnesota around the same time. William later opened a blacksmith shop in Chisholm, Minnesota and is given the credit for changing the spelling of the Family name from Kealey to Kealy when a sign was made for his shop with the second "e" in the Kealey name was left off. From that time on the Minnesota Kealey's [Will.Pat,and Mick] were Kealy's including all their descendents since. So there you have it; we've gone full circle - Kealey or Kealy.

We wish we had more time to spend in Laois County to search out the homeland and family of the elusive Darby Kealey err' Kealy. However, we'll leave that to the next time we visit the beautiful Country of Ireland. We continued our journey on to the Cashel area and the 'Rock of Cashel', kissed the Blarney Stone. visited Cobh where over three million people immigrated from, toured the Ring of Kerry, The Dingle Peninsula, The Cliffs of Moher, The Galway area and to where my favorite movie "The Quiet Man"was filmed in 1951 and listened to the fiddles with a "pint" in Doolin.

They say the Irish are the "friendliest people in the world".- I agree and can't wait to go back.

Basil Kealey

Photos from Basil's Journey

Headstone of John Kealy

John Kealy's headstone in St.Mary's Cemetery in Wolfhill,Ireland



Kissing the Blarney Stone


Cliffs of Moher

Cliffs of Moher

Gus O'Connor Pub


Basil and Friends

Basil flanked by Famous Irish Fiddler, Frankie Gavin and Robbie Wood of The Rolling Stones

Quiet Man Bridge

The "Quiet Man Bridge" at Leam-north-west of Oughterard, Co. Galway.

Kylemore Castle

Kylemore Castle



My mom, Christine Kealy's site
for Doula Care in New York City
My sister, Courtney's Online Profile
My brother, Sean's Online Profile