My Keating Ancestors

Anne Keating was born November 1802 in the Townland of Ballinavary, Parish of Davidstown, County Wexford, Ireland, according to her obit. I do not yet know her exact day of birth. Anne Keating and Patrick Ward were married 04 Feb 1826, in Ireland. NLI ledger image. Anne's uncle was Dr. James Keating, Roman Catholic Bishop of the Diocese of Ferns from 1819 to his death in 1849. Michael Keating and Margaret Cummins, the Bishop's parents, had several sons, according to research by a cousin, so one of those sons in the father of our Anne Keating. Not sure why information about the bishop's family is so elusive. James Keating, presumably the Bishop, Richard Keating (see 2nd paragraph below) and a "Mrs. Keating" (Margaret Cummins or Richard Keating's wife Eleanor Ennis? Or Anne's mother?), were also listed on that marriage ledger. The issue with Michael Keating & Margaret Cummins is that they would have been aged 61 and 56 then, too old to have been Anne's parents.

An Australian cousin and I were researching the same family, but she was further ahead of the point I had reached by the mid-2000s. I established where two of Anne Keating Ward's sons, James Keating Ward and John Alphonse Ward, had lived and were buried and published it in my RootsWeb Freegages genealogy site. Another Australian cousin found my Keating research when he googled "Rheola Cemetery," where his ancestor, James Keating Ward, and also James' brother John Alphonse, are buried. He sent me an email noting that we are probably related, which led to more information and more rellies!

There's also a Richard Keating named in several of the NLI's Catholic Parish register entries. One is as a witness or sponsor to a marriage in 1816 which also includes someone named Anne Keating. Whether that is our ancestor is unknown. Brian Cantwell's "Memorials for the Dead," an important reference for genealogists, lists a Richard Keating in a cemetery in East Wexford and a wife named Eleanor Ennis. That Richard Keating is the only one I found in Cantwell's Memorials that lived in County Wexford in that time period that could be the same Richard listed in the parish register.

Text of Anne Keating Ward's Obituary:

Perth Courier (Lanark Co., Ontario, Canada). "Mrs. Patrick Ward - oldest resident of Drummond Township, died on Wednesday, 11th Sept, at the age of ninety-eight years and 10 months. Her maiden name was Ann Keating, and she was born in the parish of Ballinavary, county of Wexford, Ireland, in December 1802, coming to Canada in 1826. With her husband, they bought the farm on the first concession of Drummond near town, where they both lived, and died, her husband preceding her to the grave many years. The farm was bought from the late Hon. Roderick Matheson, whose son lived on the adjoining farm until his death. Deceased was a vigorous woman, with a strong constitution, and her death was purely the result of extreme old age. She lived with her two daughters, Ann and Martha, who tenderly cared for their aged parent. She belonged to the Roman Catholic faith, and the funeral took place to St. Johns Cemetery on Friday, 13th Inst, Rev. Father Davis - also a County Wexford man - officiating at the service."

Text of her son, James Keating Ward's Obituary:

Perth Courier (Lanark Co., Ontario, Canada) Dec. 8,1916, states: "Died at Castlemaine [Victoria, Australia], Oct. 4,(his birthday), James Keating Ward, an early arrival on Bendigo gold fields. Born at Perth Can. and was gr. nephew of the late Dr. Keating, Bishop of Ferns, Wexford. Arrived in Victoria in 1852, surveyor. Interment Rheola Cemetery."

Information about Dr. James Keating, Roman Catholic Bisop of the Ferns Diocese, 1819-1849:

Dr. James Keating was born in 1783 at Coolnahorna, parish of Marshalstown, four miles west of Enniscorthy, Co. Wexford, Ireland. During the insurrection of 1798, when he was aged 15 years, he was fired on by a yeoman and sustained a foot injury. He was educated at the Franciscan Academy in Gibson's Lane, Wexford, and in 1804 he entered Maynooth College to study for the priesthood. Four years later, he was ordained to the priesthood by Dr. James Caulfield, Bishop of Ferns.

He was appointed curate in the mensal parish of Camolin, Diocese of Ferns. He was a powerful preacher and when coadjutor Bishop Ryan became ill Fr. Keating accepted and was appointed coadjutor Bishop. Bishop Ryan unexpectedly died and James Keating was consecrated Bishop on 21 March 1819.

His father, Michael Keating, was a Keating of Baldwinstown, south Wexford. This section of the family moved north to Coolnahorna, Enniscorthy, and settled down to farm there. Part of the family moved to Ballinavary, in the parish of Davidstown, some four miles south of Enniscorthy. Some members of the family still reside there.


Bishop Keating information: "The Secular Clergy of Ferns," by Rev. John V. Gahan. That book is not available anywhere online that I have been able to find. It was emailed to me by a fellow genealogist from a book found in a library.

Perth Courier newspaper on microfilm at the Algonquin College Library in Perth, Lanark County, Ontario, Canada.

Microfilm at the National Library of Ireland, Dublin, Ireland, researched by me in October, 2013.

"At Killane, aged 95, Mrs. Margaret Keating, mother of the Right Rev. Dr. Keating, of Wexford." Source: Urban, Sylvanus, The Gentleman's Magazine, Obituary, May 1840, p. 558. Available via Also,


My Australian cousin has speculated that Michael Keating & Margaret Cummins were also parents of other sons besides the Bishop. Also, it would seem likely that Michael had a brother or two in the area.


Your browser will probably report that the following URLs 1 and 2 are not secure, but that's only because there's no "S" on the HTTP part of the URL, meaning it's not on a secure server. I've never had a problem with Robert Keating's site.

  • Origin of the Keating surname
  • The Ancestral Home of the Keating Family
  • Thomas Keating Ward's reported early demise
  • Patrick Ward's Will
  • Other Keatings in County Wexford Ireland (old information)
  • According to this site, the origin of the Keating surname is Welsh-Norman. Use this link for the K through L surnames.
  • Closely Related Surnames: Ward and Hudson.