Keogh / Kehoe Family History

An email to the website this morning from Raymond Keogh of Bray:

I am from Bray in County Wicklow. My (Keogh) family was, according to oral history, from County Wexford. But we were in Dublin from the 1830s, at least.

I have been studying my family history for almost half a century. In all this time I wanted to prove/disprove the Wexford link. But, there was no way I could do so – until recently.

I have undertaken an analysis of my (male) DNA in two laboratories (Oxford Ancestors and Family Tree DNA (FTDNA) which is based in the US). I am part of the Keogh/Kehoe Project in FTDNA. The person who runs the Project is Miles Kehoe and his family was originally from Kilrush parish, though he now lives in the US. He has also tested his family (male) DNA.

Some interesting results are coming out from the Project and relate to the Keoghs of Wexford. Firstly, there is a definite link between my DNA and those who have come from the county. So, at last, I can now claim Wexford as the home of my ancestors!

But, does this mean that Miles Kehoe and I are related? No. We now know that the Keoghs/Kehoes of Wexford are divided into 2 groups, at least. It is not possible to determine the group by the spelling of the name (Kehoe and Keogh are used by both).

Miles’ group have connections with the north of Ireland (O’Neill clan). So far my group seems to be associated with Leinster.

But, which of us represents the ‘original’ tribes of the county? Which of us can claim that we are descended from the bards and scribes of Wexford? Kilrush is not far from Gorey which was the centre of a bardic or poetic MacEochaidh family for centuries. There are still many Keoghs/Kehoes in this area. Which type do they belong to? It is only by testing more Keogh/Kehoe (males) in the area and in the county in general that we will we be able to answer this question.

I would, therefore, like to know if any Keoghs/Kehoes in Kilrush/Askamore, or further afield in Wexford, have undertaken family DNA tests?

I came across your website by accident. This morning I was replying by e-mail to Miles, when I decided, on a whim, to find out the location of his family’s original parish in Kilrush, through Google Earth. I could not believe my luck when I came across your active website with lots of references to local history! I am sure you have great contacts in the locality and, undoubtedly, will know if any Keoghs/Kehoes have undertaken their family (DNA) tests. In any case, I can certainly keep you posted on developments within the FTDNA project, as I assume there would be a lot of local interest.

The possibility also exists of getting one or two people tested (I may even be able to get some support to cover the costs).

If reaction is positive I can send more information that might interest your readers (I hope to bring out an e-book in 2015 that deals with family history and identity, based on the Keoghs). Anyway, that’s for the future.

If you have any information that may be of interest to Raymond, please email the website and we will put you in contact with him.


5 thoughts on “Keogh / Kehoe Family History

  1. I found this site looking for a information of John Kehoe, who died in 1925, aged 62. I found a funeral rememberance card among my fathers documents. My father died in 1968, his name was Richard Ormond of Ballycarney, Wexford. He must have been related to, or a very good friend of Mr Kehoe as he had the card. I am trying to build a family tree of my Irish family ancestors.

  2. My Grandfather was a Keogh from West Wicklow, who had his roots in Wexford. He maintained his original name was Kehoe. Dead a good while now

  3. Hello Raymond
    Its my opinion the Mac Eochaidh didnt start out in Leinster but the North and made their way down the country pehaps after defeating the leinstermen at the battle of Ballyshannon in 733. Where they may have been overseeers for the North attaching themselves to the Byrnes of North Leinster. There is never a mention of how they came to be in leinster but only with the Byrnes. Most of their power was in the North as Kings of Ulster around Down and South Antrim. Its my guess the Mac Eochaidh are named as followers of a horse baised religion in the Iron age. Its a shame there is no historical landmark for us in Leinster unlike the Byrnes. For such a large amount us in leinster we should have our own Dun or Cashel. My People are were Keoghs from Wicklow. I like your website and find the DNA talk very interesting.

    Brendan Keogh
    Brendan Mac Keogh
    Beandan Mac Eochaidh

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