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KEENAN FAMILY  in Australia

Nancy (Ann) Jane Gamble (1844 - 1926)

Last updated: 15/4/2019


Parents: James Gamble and Jane McKay (married 14 December 1831 at 1st Presbyterian Church, Kilrea, County Derry, Northern Ireland)

James Gamble was the son of Aaron Gamble Snr and Elizabeth Gardiner. James was born about 1810 and died on 12 March 1882. Jane was born in about 1810.{Source: John Kerr, Coleraine, Northern Ireland, 2018].

Born:  17 April 1844, in Lislea, County Derry, Northern Ireland. 

Baptised:   2 May 1844,   1st Presbyterian Church, Kilrea, County Derry, Northern Ireland.

Married:  Henry John Keenan  on 1 October 1863 at 1st Presbyterian Church, Kilrea, County Derry, Northern Ireland.  The marriage certificate (see below) shows that Nancy Jane Gamble's father was James Gamble; Henry John's father was Henry Keenan; and the witnesses were James McKay and Aaron Keenan.

Arrived in Australia:  22 March 1864


       James Keenan (1864 - 1942)

       Aaron Keenan (1865 - 1936)

       Elizabeth Jane Keenan (1867 - 1884) (Registered in 1867 as Nancy J Keenan. Reg No. 16839.)

       Ann Keenan (1869 - 1884)

       Grace Keenan (1871 - ?)  (Registered in 1871. Reg No. 18264 or 18284.)

      John Keenan (1873 - 1957) (Registered in 1873. Reg No. 19542.)

       Mary Keenan (1876 - ?) (Registered in 1876. Reg No. 21127.)

       Henry John Keenan (1878 - 1889) (Registered in 1878. Reg No. 23127.)

       Stewart Gamble Keenan (1880 - 1884) (Registered in 1880 as Stuart Gamble Keenan. Reg No. 25518.)

       Isabella Keenan (1883 - 1884) (Registered in 1883 Reg No. 31038.)

       Stuart Gamble Keenan (1885 - 19?) (Registered in 1885. Reg No. 33555.)

Remarried:  Nancy/Ann married Robert Hopson of Batlow on 14 July 1892.(From the Register General's General Index of Marriages registered in NSW during the year ended 31/12/1892, page 494, number in register 2426.) (The witnesses were her son, Aaron Keenan, and his wife Elizabeth Jane Keenan.) Robert Hopson died on 14 March 1903, aged 65. Reg No. 781. (From NSW deceased estate index item 19/10216). His father's name was James.  (From Index to Deaths, NSW, 1903, number in register 781)  Robert Hopson owned land on Bank Street, Batlow (From map in "Batlow & District in Pictures", page 46.) Land title records suggest he also owned other land.
Children from second marriage:  None

Granny Hopson, not Granny Hobson: In some history books and articles Nancy Jane is referred to, after her second marriage, as "Granny Hobson".  However, this is not accurate, because her actual name was Hopson (i.e. spelt with a "p" not a "b"). The name Ann Jane Hopson appears on her gravestone - see PHOTO taken circa 1944.

7th December 1926 in Sydney, NSW
Buried:    Woronora Cemetery at Sutherland, an outer southern suburb of Sydney, NSW. Location: Presbyterian Monumental; Section: WW; Position: 0040.

Tales:  For stories about Nancy/Ann, see the page with the 1949 newspaper article about the Keenans of Batlow and, at the bottom of that page, an extract from the book "Batlow: The Growing Years From Gold to Apples (1975).

Tribute: On 24 October 1924 this wonderful tribute or prayer was published in The Adelong and Tumut Express and Tumbarumba Post, on news that Nancy/Ann Gamble-Keenan-Hopson was ill:

"Her legion of friend's will regret to learn that Mrs. Hopson ("Granny") is having bad health. This fine old lady, who has been to the mothers of Batlow in the past an angel of strength and sustenance, belongs to an order of beings that is fading fast away. There has been no life more useful, and no two hands more capable than those of "Granny" Hopson, and we sincerely hope that the great courage and strength that carried her thus far through the years, will remain with her when she needs them most." (by "an occasional correspondent")

Photo of Nancy (Ann) Jane Keenan (nee Gamble) circa 1911:

Nancy Jane Keenan Gamble

The original of this photo was found amongst the belongings of my father, Wilfred Walter ("Wis") Keenan (1910-1988). He was a grandson of Nancy Jane Keenan and, when a child, lived near her in Batlow, NSW.

Another copy of the photo is in the possession of JOHN KERR of Coleraine, Northern Ireland. John is a grandson of Elizabeth Kerr (nee Gamble), the sister of Nancy Jane Keenan. I took photos of the front and back of his copy when I visited John in August 2018. Written on the back is his photo is this message from Nancy Jane, known then (August 1916) as Ann Jane Hopson:

"To my dear sister, Lizzie Kerr, from Ann Jane Hopson, Batlow, NSW, Australia, August 16th 1916. This is a photo of me taken a few years ago. A.J.Hopson"

AnnHopson front


See also the family tree in THE GAMBLE FAMILY IN NORTHERN IRELAND.

the following information regarding the marriage in 1831 of nancy Jane's parents comes from  http://www.torrens.org.uk/Genealogy/BannValley/church/KilreaP1/Marriages/1831.html :

the following information regarding nancy Jane's baptism come from





There were several Gambles living in Lislea at around this time.  The Griffiths Valuation of 1848 to 1864 records the following property owners named Gamble in the Townland of Lislea, which is in the Parish of Kilrea in County Derry:

Note: Irelands Valuation office conducted its first survey of property ownership in Ireland from 1848 to 1864. This survey became known as "Griffiths Valuation" after Richard Griffith who was the director of the office at that time. The survey was used to determine the amount of tax each person should pay towards the support of the poor within their poor law union. This involved determining the value of all privately held lands and buildings in rural as well as urban areas to figure the rate at which each unit of property could be rented year after year. The resulting survey was arranged by barony and civil parish with an index to the townlands appearing in each volume. Griffith's Valuation can be used as an excellent census substitute for the years after the Great Famine as censuses prior to 1901 were destroyed.

The Marriage Certificate of Henry John and Nancy Jane Keenan




NOTE: Nancy Jane Gamble signed with her mark. Family historian Anita Arnold says "Granny made her mark on this certificate but in later life her grandchildren taught her to read and write".


The Kilrea First Presbyterian Church:



inside the Kilrea First Presbyterian Church:



MAP OF THE WORONORA CEMETERY, SUTHERLAND, NSW:  Nancy/Ann is buried in the Presbyterian section, WW, position 0040.


woronora cemetery


See also Henry JohnKeenan

See also BatlowPioneers

See also 1949Newspaper Article

See also Photographs