My Irish Wards

I have added a link above to a new Contact form courtesy of good ol' Google. If you don't want to fill out that short & quick form, just email me at jward52 (at) Please include the surname(s) you are researching. That's not the usual email address - I do this to foil web spiders that collect email addresses for spammers to exploit.

"In Ireland, Wards are prominent in Counties Galway and Donegal and are said to descend from the earliest Bhaird (Bard, as in Poet). The earliest "Macaward" in Ireland appears as Bishop of Clonfert, County Galway, in 1179." The name literally means "Son of the Bard." Irish Ward surname origin.

Initial Research

My Uncle Ed, the late A. Edward Ward Jr., did some genealogical legwork in the 1970s, enough to get me going in the right direction once I became interested in finding my "rellies." I also researched census forms online and made numerous trips to Stanton, MI, to ask questions of my lone remaining relative from that era, Uncle Charles, the late Charles E. Miller, half-brother of my paternal grandmother, Ruth Mary Miller Ward. It wasn't until after the death of Uncle Charles that I really became serious about finding my Ward family's origin.

Census returns stating Canada and Ireland helped things along, as did Uncle Ed's interview of a cousin of his named Inez Strouse. Her answers confirmed Lanark County, Ontario, Canada, as the point where my Wards lived before emigrating to Michigan. My trip to Ireland in October 2013 helped answer several questions but made many more, so the research continues. I still have no idea what ship my great-great-grandparents Patrick Ward and Anne Keating sailed on from Ireland to get to Canada. I don't know when they arrived in Canada after their 04 Feb 1826 marriage in Ireland. What is known is why they made the voyage. Ireland in the 1820s was a miserable place to live, especially for farmers. Although the potato famine hadn't struck yet, there were many hardships, both political and economic.

First Settler in Ontario, Canada

It appears from land records that there was an Edward Ward in Drummond Township, Lanark County, before 1826 and that a Patrick Ward, maybe Edward's son, was a witness to a land transaction. I corresponded with genealogist and author Carol Bennett McCuaig, who was researching information for a book about immigrants to Lanark County, specifically those not part of the Peter Robinson Expedition. That list of settlers had no Wards in it. Ultimately, Carol stated in an email to me that she was sure the Edward Ward mentioned in the land transcation is Patrick's father. UPDATE - See the new information below in "Direct Line."

A second cousin, Albert "Bert" Donovan, who is descended from Thomas Keating Ward through his daughter, Lillias Ward Donovan, was the only Ward descendant still in the Perth, Ontario, Canada area. I just heard from a cousin that he passed away, don't know what year. We hadn't had any contact since we met in late April 2002, during my trip there to research genealogy. He told me a bunch of stories about his family, some of which had a few elements of truth to them. One of his stories was about events leading to the death of Great-great Grandfather Patrick Ward, who passed away in 1849 at the age of 51. Bert said Patrick was involved in a "fracas" with members of The Orange Order while traveling between towns in a wagon. Well, he was correct about the wagon part.

The Perth Courier had this account: "August 10, 1860 - A man named Edward Ward, residing on the 1st Line Drummond, was returning from Smith's Falls in a wagon. Some distance east of Pike Falls, he was overtaken by some men on horseback, between one of whom, named Richard Stephens and Ward, some bantering took place which resulted in Stephens taking hold of one of Ward's horses by the bridle."

"Ward told him to let the horse go which he refused to do and he (Ward) then pulled the horses away from Stephens and, one of them being a young colt, they started forward when Stephens was thrown down and the wagon passed over him. On Monday night Stephens died from the injuries he had received."

Direct Line

  • 3rd Great Grandparents - Edward Ward and Anastasia Molloy. There's some speculation as to the spelling of Ms. Molloy's maiden name. But anyway, we have a DNA match to descendants of Edward & Anastasia's son Jeremiah "Darby' Ward though his son James. Now there appears to be a DNA match to a descendant of Catherine too. Other children are Mary Ellen, Michael, Thomas, Bridget and John. Darby Ward, wife Ellen O'Donnell and family are in the 1861 Canadian Census in Lanark County's Montague Township. Two of Patrick's & Anne's sons were named Thomas & John. Irish naming tradition here?
  • Great-Great Grandparents - Patrick Ward, b. about 1798, and Anne Keating, b. December, 1802, married 04 February 1826 in Ireland. Image here. They immigrated to Canada shortly after their marriage. My great grandfather, their first-born son, Edward, was born in November of that year.
  • Great Grandparents - Edward Ward, b. 17 Nov 1826 in Lanark County, Ontario, Canada, and Mary Hudson Peel, b. 7 Sept 1834 in Perth, Lanark, Ontario, Canada. They married 4 Jan 1872 in Perth.
  • Grandparents - Alphonsus Edward Ward, b. 15 Aug 1875 in Langston, Montcalm, Michigan, and Ruth Mary Miller, b. 2 June 1885 in Stanton, Montcalm, MI. They were married 08 July 1908, in Stanton, Montcalm County, MI.
  • Parents - Robert Hudson Ward, b. 10 June 1921 in Stanton, Montcalm, MI, and Marjorie Jean O'Brien, b. 3 January 1923 in Bellevue, Eaton, MI. They married 31 Aug 1947 in East Lansing, MI.

General Information

For some unknown reason, Great-Grandfather Edward Ward did not marry until the age of 45. Maybe the Drummond Township farm kept him too busy? I have not found any other marriage for him. After about 1852, he and youngest brother Thomas were the only males left to do the farming. His two other brothers, John Alphonse Ward and James Keating Ward, heard the call of Australia's Bendigo gold fields and were gone by 1853. Research by an Australian cousin corroborates that.

Great-Grandmother Mary Hudson Peel's first marriage was to an Irishman named James Peel, by whom she had three children. James died in September 1859, about 5 months after his daughter, Mary Alice, was born. One of Mary's 2 other children, John James Peel, remained in Perth while Mary Alice moved along with her mother and stepfather Edward to MI. Mary Alice later married Elliot Orrison Bellows and had 3 children. One of Mary Alice's children, Inez Bellows (Strouse), wrote that her grandfather had been "killed while blasting rock for the Canadian railroad." That was actually her uncle, John James Peel. Mary's other child with James Peel was Frances "Fanny" Peel, named after her grandmother. Fanny died from cancer in 1870 at the age of 13.

Related Pages


Roman Catholic Parish Records for the Ferns Diocese, stored at the National Library of Ireland, Dublin, Ireland.

Canadian Census - Granny's Genealogy Garden, version 2.

1842, 1851, 1861, 1871 Drummond Township, Lanark County, Ontario, Canada, Census. See previous link.

1884 Pine Township, Montcalm County, Michigan Census

The Stanton (MI) Herald Clipper newspaper (microfilm), May 8, 1900.

Montcalm County, Michigan, Clerk's Office Death Record Ledger.

Coady Catholic Cemetery in Maple Valley Township, Montcalm County, Michigan. "Coady" is the correct spelling.

The genealogical research of my mother, the late Marjorie Jean O'Brien Ward and my Uncle Ed, the late Alphonsus Edward Ward, Jr.