Monday, October 11, 2010

Family History Month - KINSHIP - Remembering My Grandfather - Andrew Francis Keough

~Today's prompt is brought to you by the letter K ~

Kinship is defined as "a relationship between any entities that share a genealogical origin, through either biological, cultural or historical descent." (Wikipedia)   Family History Month honors the collective history that binds family together ~ a group, a clan, a tribe ~ one's relatives or family, one's kin.  Today  on the anniversary of my grandfather's birth I would like to share with you his story ~ one of the group of Plate Cove, the clan of Keoughs, and the tribe of the Irish.  Today why not share a story of your kinship.

Although I was quite young when my grandfather died, I have fond memories of going to his home for family events and playing with my many cousins in the backyard or at the grade school across the street.  As a child I knew that my grandfather immigrated to the United States but until I became interested in genealogy I could not have told you much about Newfoundland or its history.  I thought on the anniversary of my grandfather's birth I would share his story as told through the paper trail. 

Andrew Francis Keough
(11 Oct 1892 - 7 Jun 1963)

My grandfather was born on October 11, 1892 in Plate Cove East, Bonavista Bay, Newfoundland, the fourth child of Patrick Kehoe and Mary Driscoll.  He was one of 11 children (7 boys and 4 girls) but as was often the case in those days 3 of those children died in in early childhood. Andrew's great grandfather (also named Andrew Kough) had immigrated to Newfoundland from County Carlow, Ireland between 1814- 1816.  My grandfather's birth certificate and baptism register entry both list his surname as Kehoe.  I recently learned that the spelling of surnames was at best an inexact science and, in fact, oftentimes reflected the registrar's or priest's choice of spelling.  One archivist told me that he could identify where a parish priest was from based on his choice of spelling the name Keough with its variations of Kehoe, Keogh or Kough. 

My grandfather came to the United States on December 9, 1916 as evidenced by his certificate of arrival issued in Northgate, Burke County, North Dakota.  He arrived via the Great Northern Railway from Sydney, Nova Scotia (a rather common starting point for many Newfoundland emigrants).  Following the paper trail led me to his World War I military registration card dated Jun 5 1917 and filled out in Silver Bow, Butte County, Montana where he was working as a structural iron worker employed by ACM Company at its mines.  On the card he stated that he provided support for his family back in Plate Cove, Newfoundland. 

The 1920 Federal census found him (together with his good friend and fellow Newfoundland transplant Richard Tracey) as a lodger in Seattle, King County, Washington.  He was employed at the Shipyards.  

On Jul 9 1925 he married Dora Josephine Murphy at St. Joseph's Catholic Church in Cordova, Alaska.  

The 1930 Federal census found my grandparents and their two children settled in the Ballard neighborhood of Seattle, King County, Washington where he was employed as an ironworker. 

In December, 1933 my grandfather filed his declaration of intention to become a citizen of the United States.  His declaration notes that he made a previous declaration of intention on August 14, 1914 in the federal court of Boston, Massachusetts and references "lawful entry" to the United States two and one-half years later through North Dakota.  In January, 1936 he filed his Petition and in April, 1936 my grandfather became a citizen of the United States.  He stated in his oath that he was born in Plate Cove, Newfoundland and that his race was Irish. 

Andrew Francis Keough
Photograph attached to US Citizenship Petition/Certificate

My grandparents went on to have a total of six children and were married for 28 years until my grandmother's death in July, 1953.  My grandfather died on Jun 7, 1963 at the age of 70.  His obituary, published in The Seattle Daily Times, stated that he was a member of the Holy Names Society of St. Alphonsus Church and the Third Order of St. Francis.  He was a member of Eagles Aerie No. 1 and the Society of Ironworkers' Union. He was survived by his 6 children, 17 grandchildren, and his sister, Margaret Keough Tracey of Newfoundland.

While the paper trail is just a small part of my grandfather's story, it provides a wealth of information I otherwise would not have known.  His military registration contained a physical description (at the age of 24) as well as his signature; his certificate of citizenship included a photograph (at the age of 43); the censuses contained the names and ages of family members and street addresses where he lived in Seattle, King County, Washington; his marriage certificate and citizenship paperwork contained the names and addresses of witnesses to his marriage and his character; his obituary provided his membership in religious and occupational societies, as well as information about his rosary, funeral and burial. 

Each of the organizations listed still exists and they have websites, enabling me to learn something about my grandfather's interests.  I realize that I have only scratched the surface as far as a paper trail and I look forward to finding out more about my grandfather.  The beauty of the Internet is that, from the comfort of our own homes, we can learn a bit about our past. 

I had the great good fortune last summer to go to Plate Cove East, Newfoundland and visit the place where my grandfather was born and raised.  I went to the church in King's Cove where his great grandparents and grandparents were married.  I visited the cemeteries in Open Hall and Plate Cove East where various Keoughs were buried.  I met Keoughs and affiliated families in Plate Cove East and in St. John's who could not have been more welcoming or generous with their time and memories.  I went to the Folklore Archives and the Maritime Archives and read student papers that told the stories (in words and drawings) of various families of Plate Cove and Open Hall.    Although it was a long time coming, I truly felt like I was taking the trip home for my grandfather who had not been able to go home again.  In Newfoundland I experienced the same feeling I had the first time I went to Ireland ~ everything was familiar and I recognized, in the faces of the people, my tribe.

So today, on the anniversary of his birth a toast to my much-loved grandfather Andrew Francis Keough, "Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam uasal." 

A Wordle Summary
(made at - Thanks)


  1. Great Blog Teresa! I look forward to reading all of your posts! Meagan

  2. Super cool blog! It confirmed a lot of the information about Andrew I found online! I'll never forget the first time I saw his picture. That was the only picture I ever saw of grandma's dad. (Doreen) I liked the way you wrote it as a biography. You did so much research! I hope I can visit NF someday. Well and Ireland. :)

    Kristin Hoffmann (dau. Karl)

  3. Hello, my name is Derek Keough. I live in Ontario, Canada and have traced some of the Keough's on my side, to the Ferryland area of Nfld. I was in Ireland in 2001 and was on a replica immigrant ship (sponsored by the Kennedy foundation) and found a Catherine Keough had immigrated to NY in 1840's. Poss to Ellis Island. A relative, Capt. Miles Keough was the last to be killed at the Battle of Little Big Horn (Sitting Bull era). He was of Irish decent from the Boston area and originally from Ireland


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