Hugh Keenan 1837-1912

My family tree is on the Ancestry website. Those who have used the site will know that, when a name is added Ancestry offers hints to further records relating to that person. Sometimes these hints are useful, often they are not. I take a look and assess their relevance before either deleting or adding the information to my tree.

Hugh Keenan, my great, great grandfather Patrick Keenan’s brother, was added to my tree with just his name and birth details. Hugh was born in Clonallon, County Down in September or October 1837. I don’t know the exact birth date but I know he was baptised in the parish on 3 October. His parents Hugh Keenan and Hannah McCarten were already recorded on my family tree.

There were (at least) ten siblings in the Keenan family all baptised in Clonallon. For some of them the baptismal record is the only record I can find. I know that at least one died as a child as a second Michael Keenan is recorded. Others died here in Scotland. The Ancestry hint I got for Hugh, however, showed that he died in Pennsylvania, USA.

In the above record we have a Hugh Keenan born in Ireland with parents Hugh Keenan and Hannah McCarty. Mum’s name is not exactly the same and Keenan is fairly common. I added to the tree with a note that it was unconfirmed and required further investigation. The name McCarty didn’t necessarily put me off as there are loads of versions of the name on different records that I know for sure belong to the family. So I decided to dig further into the life of this Hugh Keenan.

When my great, great, great granny Hannah died in Mossend, Lanarkshire in 1869 it was her son Hugh who registered the death so I know that he definitely came to Scotland from Ireland and spent some time here.

The Pennsylvania Hugh married in 1880 according to the 1900 census. This census is a great source of information as there were a lot of boxes to fill! It also records that Hugh had been living in the United States since 1874 and was working as a day labourer. He was living in rented accommodation in Washington County with his wife Mary and three children; Margaret, James and Rachel.

The 1890 census doesn’t give me a marriage year and I haven’t found a marriage record. I do know that Mary had been married before and had two sons.

It was when I started looking at the children that I was able to confirm my connection to this Hugh Keenan. It wasn’t through records but through DNA matches. A number of Hugh’s descendants have taken DNA tests and are listed as cousins. It is the exact proof I needed.

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