Thursday, 26 July 2007

McKeemans on the move

The origins of the McKeeman name are uncertain. MacLysaght's "The Surnames of Ireland" has Mac Shíomóin. A gaelicized form of Fitzsimon found in Ulster.

The name is relatively rare. I've noted McKeemans in the adjacent townlands of Ballyoglagh and Craignamaddy in 1734 and on the west side of the River Bann: Dunboe, Macosquin, Aghadowey and Garvagh. Rev Mullin's "Families of Ballyrashane" mentions a Gilbert and John McKeeman in Lisnarick in 1779; these McKeemans have disappeared prior to the 1832 Tithe applotment. John Kimin in the 1666 Hearth Money Roll in the parish of Billy might be a McKeeman.

Mary, one of my Ballyoglagh Taggarts, married her next farm neighbour, James McKeeman, in Toberkeigh Presbyterian Church in 1856 and I think James was a very close relation of the David Charles McKeeman of Ballyoglagh who emigrated to the USA circa 1850. David and his wife Margaret (Peggy) McConaghy of Deffrick were married in Croaghmore Presbyterian Church and eventually settled in Indiana.

We've had several McKeeman visitors in North Antrim this year - and there are more to come!! Ed Hotham is from Pennsylvania and his McKeeman roots are in Craignamaddy. The photo was taken at a McKeeman 'gathering' in the Giants Causeway Hotel in June and includes Neal McKeeman of Indiana, a descendant of David and Peggy, some members of his family and folks with links to both the Ballyoglagh and Craignamaddy McKeemans. Bonnie Kelley of South Carolina was touring with other Kelleys; her mother was an Indiana McKeeman from the David and Peggy line. Peter McKeeman is coming over from Scotland in September but his McKeeman roots here have yet be found.

Charmed by County Antrim