I can use some help with some handwriting transcription – if you’d like to bypass the story of the records themselves and dive right into the document, click here. Otherwise… here we go!

While trying some alternative Google searches for my wife’s Cape Breton ancestors, I stumbled upon a reference to her 4th great-grandfather Owen Keegan in the index of the book Erin’s Sons: Irish Arrivals in Atlantic Canada, 1761-1853:

Owen Keegan index entry in Erin's Sons

1823 Owen Keegan, 59, native of Ireland, married with ten children (2930)
[Keegan lived at Sydney. His wife was Elizabeth GRANDY.]

Excited to find something new, I Evernoted the information (is “Evernoted” a verb yet?), but was initially sad to find that Worldcat would have me travel to Andover, Massachusetts or Gatineau, Canada to find a copy. Happily, a local county search found a library not too far off that had all of the volumes of this book in their genealogy collection.

A few weeks later we packed the family up for a library day trip, and while my wife and kids explored and amassed a hernia-inducing pile of books to take out, I quickly worked my way through the various Erin’s Sons volumes for known Nova Scotia surnames. I found several “maybes” to follow up with and, most importantly, found that the Owen Keegan listing was within the Land Grants section of the book.

A few years back I connected with a cousin of my wife who was also researching this line, and along with other generous help told me the Keigans (most common spelling) had a land grant that existed where the current Keltic Lodge in Cape Breton now sits.Over time another researcher was able to share some papers from around 1900 that had to do with several Keigan descendants (including my wife’s 3rd great-grandfather) inheriting the land.
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It seemed a good fit that the land grant in the book index could be for the same location. I learned in Erin’s Sons that the original land papers for this grant were held at the Nova Scotia Archives and Records Management (NSARM) site. A search there revealed a bit more information:

1823 Keegan, Owen
Petition to Kempt: Petitioner, a native of Ireland, age 59, is married and has ten children. He has lived more than twenty years on a lot at Big Pond, and is now forced to give it up to his creditors for the space of three years. He has received no land from the Crown, but now asks a lot on the south side of Ingonish Harbour on the north side of the north Barrichois, at the mouth of a brook. Note: approved.

It wasn’t completely apparent to me how to request copies of the document from NSARM, so I sent them an email on Sunday night. Early Monday morning they responded that it was a two page document and would cost a whopping $4. for them to send it. About a week later it arrived.

I was hoping that the document contained some info on the names of the 10 children described, and even more hopeful that it might hint at where in Ireland Owen Keegan came from – but no luck on those topics. However, it is still a very interesting document that does, in fact, reference the previously mentioned land grant.

Transcriptions of the Original Document

I have been able to transcribe much of the cover and document pages, but could use a hand with a few sections that are eluding me.

Petition of Owen Keegan
– Grant –
Warrant ipred(?) 23 May 1823
One Angle has a warrant
for the lot herein described but
left the S??? Is??? ????
ago — the lot is at the dis-
posal of the C??? – ????
[Signature Illegible]
22 May
iPad Readers: If you see a blank at right, the embed tool uses Flash. You can see the document Land Grant Filing Cover Page here.

Full Document with my transcription below – iPad viewers, See full size Land Grant Document Page here.

Land Grant Record 2930 RG20 “B”
To his Excellency Lieutenant General Sir James Kempt, Knight Grand Cross of the most Honorable Military Order of the Bath, Lieutenant Governor and Commander in Chief in and over the Provinces of Nova Scotia and its Dependencies, etc. etc. L??
The petitioner of Owen Keegan humbly ????,
That your Excellency ? petitioner is a native or Ireland, a fifty nine years of age, married, and has ten children, and has resided more than twenty years upon a lot of one hundred acres on the Big Pond, which he finds himself obliged to give up to his creditors for the space of three years + B?????? that land, which he purchased, petitioning h???? ????? by any to????, nor has he ever received any from the Crown, wherefore he prays your
Excellency to grant him a lot on the (^)S. side of the Harbor of Ingonish, on the Northern side of the northern Barradois at the mouth of the brook which ????s into it, + opposite lands occupied by one(?) Claiborne, which lot had at the disposal(?) of the Cravvas(?), neither stas???d from imperousd(?) except ?as a trafting(?) degree, by our De??ese by who redigs?? [religious?] to the petitioner.
And as is duty bound pe-
titioner will ever f????y do(?)
Owen Keegan (his mark) X

Petitioner took the oath of
allegiance, ???? to this
????? of this above at
Sydney, C.B. 29 April 1823
le E Leonard W???? (Name/Signature)

I’m not sure how those embedded documents will appear on mobile devices, so sorry if they are wonky for now. I’ve noticed that Box has changed it’s embed viewer a few times in the years since I’ve posted this and have tried to keep it up to date. If you don’t see any embedded Box images, they changed it again on me! The direct links will bring you to the full size versions in any case.

If anyone has ideas on things I couldn’t decipher or corrections, I’d love any help I can get! (Please leave comments below.)


  • avatar

    Comment by Elizabeth H — March 27, 2013 @ 6:47 pm

    To get you started, I see the following in the initial document:
    Warrant issued 23 May 1823
    [I think this is a name, not “One Angle” – possibly “Boyle”?] had a warrant for the Lot herein described but left the island several years ago – the land is at the disposal of the Crown.

    That seems to make sense – Owen Keegan is now hoping to claim the specified lot.

    And no, the embedded documents don’t appear on an iPhone.

  • avatar

    Comment by John — March 27, 2013 @ 9:02 pm

    Elizabeth, Thank you! That looks like a good match –

    I was doing well with some parts of these documents, then I just got completely stuck in spots.

  • avatar

    Comment by Greg M. — November 24, 2019 @ 11:44 am

    The name would almost surely would be “Doyle”. The Doyle name was very prominent in this area in the 1800’s.

  • avatar

    Comment by John — November 25, 2019 @ 8:52 am

    Hi Greg, Thanks for your comment!
    It has been some years since I’ve looked at this document – do you mean where I entered “Angle” in the cover section that I transcribed as “One Angle has a warrant for the lot” ?

    I appreciate the help!

  • avatar

    Comment by Lyda Smith — February 21, 2024 @ 7:59 pm

    Don’t know if you recall but we exchanged family info years ago
    Can’t give up, unfortunately.
    I was rechecked the Keegons, Keigans and came across your. Com
    My Keigans were m. Into the Conways. Question. If Owen and his 10 children arrived in 1823 where were they coming from. IRELAND or NEWFOUNDLAND. Some folks on my side think Nfd. But all records seem to have children born in CB.???
    Hope you have had years of rewarding searching. Lyda McCann ???????? by the way Erin’s records 4 children for Elizabeth and 10 for Owen
    ?? Oops made an error no children for Elizabeth. Read the line below

  • avatar

    Comment by John — April 17, 2024 @ 12:00 pm

    Hi Lyda, Sorry, I didn’t see your comment until today!

    It has been awhile since I’ve gone over my research and the info shared with me from other cousins and NS folks, but off the top of my head: I believe the 1823 land grand was not the year Owen Keigan first arrived in Nova Scotia – this was a land grand request essentially saying “I had another grant but had to sell it because I owed people money. Can I have another?” 😉

    There is a marriage record for Owen and Elizabeth Grandy in 1799 in the St. George Anglican Church in Sydney, so he was there at least as early as that.

    From stories from another cousin researcher of my wife they believe he came from Ireland, and the land grant itself says he is “a native of Ireland.” I’ve not found any other records in Ireland (1700s are difficult) – and can’t say whether there was a stop in Newfoundland before the marriage. I’ve gotten nowhere with the Grandy connection, but one person seemed to have info and a possible connection for Elizabeth Grandy there. I need to get back to tracking her origins down if possible. When I read the Erin’s Sons record I take it as the 10 children are both his and Elizabeth.

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