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KEENAN FAMILY in Australia


Last updated 9 September 2020


Henry keenan 1808 tree


Henry Keenan (b.1808) died on 24 December 1881. The Northern Ireland, Will Calendar, Index, 1839 -1943, records this as the date of death and says Henry was "late of Glenone, County Londonderry, Labourer". It also says that Letters of Administration "were granted at Londonderry to John Keenan of Glenone aforesaid Gardener the Brother". Henry's effects were valued at 112 pounds 4 shillings. The Letters were granted on 18 April 1882.  To search the Wills Calendar Index go to www.proni.gov.uk/index/search_the_archives/will_calendars.htm

Other views: Some non-government genealogy websites claim that Henry Keenan (b.1808) was Henry John Keenan who died in Tyanee, County Derry, in 1875. This appears to me to be wrong, particularly in light of the Will Calendar evidence mentioned above. A descendent of Stewart Keenan, son of Henry, says that her information is that Henry's wife's name was Nancy Gamble, "daughter of John Gamble and Mary Williamson born 1/9/1811"; and that Henry was christened on 21 December 1802 and died 9 September 1869 in Ballymena. This too appears to me to be wrong. It is also contradicted by the death certificate of David Keenan of New Zealend (see below).  There were a lot of Keenans and Gambles living in County Derry in the 1800s.

Robert Keenan emigrated to Western Australia.  Edward Keenan of WA has written: " Robert, the second son born 1836, came to Western Australia and Electoral Rolls indicate that he was a farmer at Broadwater, Vasse, between 1870 and 1885.  A heap of limestone and a fig tree on the property of E. Packard mark the site of his cottage.  In the rich river flat not far from his front door he grew potatoes.  Visits between Robert and the Stewart Keenans were recorded and livestock were bought or exchanged.  He never married and something must have gone very wrong in the latter years of his life.  He died at the age of 54 in the Fremantle Lunatic Asylum."  (See his book "the Keenans of "Glenone".) HERE

Aaron Keenan emigrated to Western Australia.  Edward Keenan has written: "Aaron, the fourth son of Henry Keenan of "Glenone" was born in 1844 and arrived in Western Australia on June 12 1864 aboard the "Strathmore". He took up land south-west of Busselton, and the block is still known as "Keenans". The well he chiselled through solid ironstone ant the scattered bricks that mark the site of his dwelling still remain.  From 1865 to 1871 he employed eight ticket-of-leave men at Jarrahwood, probably in the timber industry.  It is understood that by the underhanded action of an unscrupulous shyster Aaron was cheated out of his block of land.  In failing health he was admitted destitute to the Mount Eliza Depot, where he died on Christmas Day, 1896, at the age of 52 years. He was buried at Fremantle. "  (See his book "the Keenans of "Glenone".) HERE

David Keenan emigrated to New Zealand in about 1879 after spending 4 years in Scotland.  It appears David fell out with the rest of the family when he obtained a loan of 15 pounds by  mortgaging the Glenone property. About 20 years later his NZ address was found: it was Dry River station Martinborough, Wairarapa. New Zealand. A family friend gave it to the Keenans in WA:  See the letter from John Ballantine HERE  EXTRA NOTE 27/7/2016: A death certificate I obtained from the New Zealand Department of Internal Affairs in September 2013 shows that David Keenan (labourer) died on 26 March 1920 in Greytown, New Zealand, at the age of 74 (which means he was born in 1846). He was buried in Greytown. It says he lived for 44 years in New Zealand and was Presbyterian. His father was Henry Keenan and his mother Mary Ann Keenan (nee Gamble). The causes of his death were pleurisy and pneumonia and heart failure.

In 1882 James Keenan (b.1847) of Glenone, Portgleneone, mentioned Elizabeth (Lizzie) Keenan in a letter to Stewart Keenan of WA: "My sister Lizzie is Well. They are still in the old place. There are 2 boys and 2 girls of them and we think that if you could do something for us at once as you now know the circumstances in which we are placed we could stay and hold the place. If not we will have to let it go and as the rent is now due it and the foregoing must be settled about the new year. So we would like to hear from you soon. I may say the executors of my uncle have refused too act or take any part in the execution of his will leaving her full power to do as she likes."  The married name of this Elizabeth Keenan is Elizabeth Kyle. EXTRA NOTE 2/9/2017: The Public Records Office of Northern Ireland shows that James Keenan died on 12 June 1906; "probate of the Will of James Keenan late of Glenone County Londonderry Farmer who died 12 June 1906 granted at Londonderry to William J. Browne and William Gamble Farmers"; probate was granted on 26 September 1907; and his effects were valued at 127pounds 5s.

In 1895 Elizabeth Kyle (not shown on this tree), daughter of Elizabeth Kyle (nee Keenan), wrote to relatives in Western Australia. Amongst other things, she said her mother was still alive.


GENERAL NOTE (which might mean something!) 3/9/2013: According to the Griffith's Valuations carried out in Ireland between 1848 and 1864 (a survey of property ownership), there were three Keenans with property at the Townland of Glenone.  They were Henry, Jane and James. Perhaps Henry (b1808) had a brother, James. Jane Keenan may have been a sister.  Search at http://www.failteromhat.com/griffiths.php.

GENERAL NOTES 3/9/2013:  Searches on the websites of  Emerald Ancestors and Roots Ireland have revealed the following information which might mean something:

A death is recorded of a Henry Keenan of County Derry in 1881.  A search of Henry John Keenan does not return any cases.

Only two persons named Elizabeth Keenan are recorded as being born in County Derry, and that is in 1845 and 1847.

A David Keenan of County Derry is recorded as baptised in 1845. (No other births of a David Keenan are recorded.)

There is no Mary Ann Gamble recorded as having been born before 1822 (except one in 1687).

A Nancy Gamble is recorded as being baptised in 1809.  (Their are none before or after, except from 1843 onwards.)

A Mary Ann Gamble of County Derry was married in 1831, but she married a William McIlwain of Culmore. (That Mary is also of Culmore.)

A Mary Gamble of County Derry married in 1833.  There is no record of a Henry Keenan marrying then (or before 1863). A full (paid) search of this wedding in 1833 might be enlightening. Search done Sept 2020: information is of no use, as marriage is to a John Davidson.

SO ... all of the information under this heading might enable some of the gaps to be filled in as follows:

(a) ....

(b) Perhaps David Keenan was born about 1845. (He went to New Zealand.)

(c) Perhaps Elizabeth Keenan was born about 1847.

GENERAL NOTE 29/8/2017:  More on whether Henry Keenan (1808-1881) had a brother named James ... A marriage record for the Tamlaght O'Crilly Lower Church shows that Mary Keenan of Glenone, daughter of James Keenan (farmer), married Henry Boyd of Glenone, son of John Boyd, on 7 April 1864. (See http://www.magheragenealogy.org/tamlaght-ocrilly-lower-marriages/.) The dates and townland suggest a possibility that this James Keenan could be a brother of Henry. But obviously further research is required. Incidentally, a graveyard website for Tamlaght O'Crilly Lower records that Henry Boyd died 13/8/1904 and Mary Boyd (nee Keenan) died 16/2/1927. (See http://genealogy.torrens.org/BannValley/church/TamlaghtLCOI/Graveyard.html.)