Ward Surname

"In Ireland, Wards are prominent in Galway and Donegal and are said to descend from the earliest Bhaird. The earliest "Macaward" in Ireland appears as bishop of Clonfert, County Galway, in 1179." The name literally means "Son of the Bard," or as I like to note humorously, "SOB." 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

It appears from land records that there was an Edward Ward in Drummond Township before 1826 and that a Patrick Ward, maybe his 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. Sure, the proof is lacking but the fact that Patrick's first born son was named Edward helps somewhat. We may never know the whole story.


I learned enough about html and used Microsoft's FrontPage to start publishing my reserch on RootsWeb. Once I had found the names of great-granfather Edward Ward's siblings and other bits of information, finding his two brothers in Australia didn't take too long. A descendant of one of those brothers saw my research, emailed me, then introduced me to another cousin who was farther ahead in the family research than I was. I have since met two of my Australian "rellies" and want to see their beautiful nation sometime soon.

Direct Line

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 3rd cousin corraborates that.

Great-Grandmother Mary Hudson Peel's first marriage was to an Irishman named James Peel, by whom she had two (three?) children. James had died by 1871 when the Canadian census was taken. One of Mary's 2 known children, John James Peel, remained in Perth while Mary's other known child, Mary Alice Peel, moved along with her mother and stepfather Edward to MI. Mary Alice later married Elliot O. Bellows and had 3 children.

Related pages


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

Canadian Census - Granny's Genealogy Garden

1842, 1851, 1861, 1871 Drummond Township, Lanark, Ontario, Canada, Census.

1884 Pine Township, Montcalm County, Michigan Census

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

Montcalm County Clerk's Office Death Record Ledger.

Cody/Coady Catholic Cemetery in Maple Valley Township, Montcalm County, Michigan.

The genealogical research of my Uncle Ed, the late Alphonsus Edward Ward, Jr.