O'Keefe Family History & Genealogy

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O'Keefe Last Name History & Origin

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O'Keefe Biographies & Family Trees

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Most Common First Names

  • John 10.3%
  • Michael 5.6%
  • Thomas 5.4%
  • James 5.0%
  • William 4.6%
  • Daniel 4.3%
  • Patrick 3.5%
  • David 2.5%
  • Edward 2.5%
  • Robert 2.1%
  • Dennis 2.0%
  • Richard 1.8%
  • Joseph 1.8%
  • Timothy 1.6%
  • Francis 1.5%
  • Charles 1.4%
  • Donald 1.3%
  • Mary 1.0%
  • George 1.0%
  • Cornelius 1.0%

O'Keefe Death Records & Life Expectancy

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Richard O'Keefe Harry was born in Dublin, Ireland on Sunday, November 12, 1876 to Joseph and Catherine (nee Kearns) O'Keefe. He was baptized on November 20, 1876 in the church of SS. Michael & John in South Dublin with the name Michael after his paternal grandfather, Michael O'Keeffe. Margaret O'Keefe was listed as his sponsor. It was in the same church and by the same priest, Rev. John O'Hanlon, who married his parents. From the very earliest times Harry Michael O'Keefe was his formal name but he always went by Harry. His sister, Elizabeth, was 2 ½ years old. In April 1883, when he was 6 years old, the four of them immigrated to the United States and settled in Cleveland, Ohio. On October 25, 1892, he was naturalized thru his father because he was a minor (15 years old). Harry was listed in the City Directory as an ironworker before enlisting in the U. S. Calvary. Apparently, during most of his adult life he dropped the "O" and went by Harry M. Keefe.

Harry enlisted on September 19, 1898 when he was almost 22 years old and served until January 25, 1899 in "F" Troop, 2nd U.S. Calvary. After basic training and because the Spanish American war ended December 10, 1998, he was discharged in Huntsville, Alabama and returned to Cleveland. However, shortly after The Philippine Insurrection began in February 1999 he re-enlisted in Cleveland on March 13, 1899 in "M' Troop, 4th U.S. Calvary. His enlistment papers show his height as 5' 6½" and 5' 7¼" respectively with brown eyes on one document and blue eyes on the other. It seems they could agree on brown hair and fair complexion. It took six days to travel by train from Cleveland to the Presidio in San Francisco. On June 28, 1899, Harry shipped out on the troop transport "Valencia" which made a short stop in Honolulu on the way to the Philippines. The voyage took 32 days. Harry kept a journal almost daily from March 13, 1899 to May 12, 1900 and again from February 22 to March 13 in 1901. He chronicled what it was like serving during the Philippine Insurrection, which many still referred to as the Spanish-American War in the Philippines. It is very interesting reading. A copy of his journal has been transcribed and is available in computer readable form. His handwriting showed the artist in him and the journal is in excellent shape considering the severe conditions he endured during the war. He contracted malaria, suffered malnutrition and food poisoning while he served in the Philippines. This could explain some of the gaps in his journal. He also served in "G" Troop, 15th U.S. Calvary and after attaining the rank of sergeant was finally discharged on March 18, 1902 in California and then returned to Cleveland.

A little over eighteen months later he married Frances Margaret Seitz on Wednesday, November 11, 1903 in St. Francis Church, Cleveland, Ohio. He was 27 years old. She was 21. Harry and Frances moved in with his parents for about a year when their first child, Gertrude Catherine O'Keefe was born October 19, 1904 and again when Edward Joseph O'Keefe arrived May 11, 1907. Harry's occupation was listed as machinist from 1903 through 1916 except for the year 1907 when he was listed as a fireman. In 1910 they moved to 1460 East 93rd Street, which would be their home until 1926. Bernice Frances O'Keefe was born December 23, 1917. When Bernice was born Frances was 35 and Harry was 41. Gert was 13 and Ed 10 years old. From 1917 until 1922 Harry was a foreman (of machinists).

On September 12, 1918, Harry registered for the draft as required, even though he was two months shy of his 42nd birthday. On August 16, 1922, at the age of 45 Harry started working for the U. S. Government's Veteran's Bureau (later called Veteran's Administration) serving in Dayton, Columbus, Lexington and Toledo before finally being assigned to the Cleveland office. Harry and Frances bought a home that had been built in 1927 at 1251 Irene Road, Lyndhurst Village in what was called the Mayfield Highlands.

The only story Harry's son, Edward, ever told his children about their grandfather was about the time when Harry had to go to a small town in Kentucky or Tennessee and a local who operated a moonshine still fired a rifle at him from across the street, hitting a mail box that he was standing beside. He returned fire with a small .25 caliber automatic pistol that he carried. Apparently neither was hit and it could have well been a warning shot because he was a "government man" even though he had nothing to do with liquor control. His grandson, Richard, now has that pistol that maybe saved Harry's life.

Harry was also an artist. He produced many pen and ink sketches, mostly of western themes. He also painted several pictures, some of which are still displayed in his granddaughter's home.

Harry began suffering from cardiac disease and coronary thrombosis in 1933. Harry suffered a heart attack at his home at 1251 Irene Road, Lyndhurst, Ohio on October 8, 1937. He was taken to the U.S. Marine Hospital in Cleveland where he died the next morning on October 9, 1937 at the age of 60. The wake was held at the family home. After a Requiem Mass at St. Gregory the Great Catholic Church, he was buried at Calvary Cemetary section 12 lot 183. Harry and Frances were married 33 years. His wife was buried at his side some 43 years later.
Jul 15, 2003 · Reply
Richard O'Keefe Elizabeth was born in Dublin, Ireland Thursday, May 28, 1874 to Joseph and Catherine (nee Kearns) O'Keefe. He was 20 and she was 18 years old. The baby was named Elizabeth after her maternal grandmother, Elizabeth McGrain. Her brother, Harry, was born when she was 2 ½ years old. In April 1883, when she was almost 9 years old, the four of them immigrated to the United States and somehow settled in Cleveland, Ohio.

On Monday, August 17, 1891 at St. John's Cathedral in Cleveland, Ohio, she married Henry J. Billinghurst, who had come to the United States from Devonshire, England. Rev. W. Thomas Thorpe officiated. She was 17 and Henry was 23. According to church records, Henry was not Catholic at the time of his marriage but he must have converted to Catholicism sometime during his life because he was buried from the Catholic Church.

Elizabeth Billinghurst gave birth to her first child, Harry, October 16, 1893 when she was19. The couple had three more children. George was born December 6, 1895 and Agnes February 7, 1898. Since Elizabeth was married before her father was naturalized, she had to wait until her husband Henry was naturalized on March 23, 1899 to become a U.S. citizen. Before 1920 women were not permitted to apply for US citizenship. According to the 1900 census, Elizabeth had five children but one of them died as an infant. Then Robert arrived March 14, 1900. She was almost 26 years old when she gave birth to Robert. When Robert was born the ages of his siblings were Harry 6 ½, George 4 and Agnes 2. Elizabeth lost another child in infancy according to the 1910 census and then in July 1909, a daughter Marie also called Mary was born. Unfortunately, she died on August 2 of the following year and was buried in Calvary cemetery. All the children were born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio.

Elizabeth worked as a telephone operator during her early years. Elizabeth divorced Henry in 1914, but when he took seriously ill around 1916, Elizabeth took him back and cared for him until May 12, 1918 when Henry died. He was 50 years old and she just 44. Henry was buried in Calvary Cemetery in the same three-grave plot that her father, Joseph O'Keefe, was buried only 4 years earlier. On October 18 of that same year, Elizabeth's daughter Agnes married Guy Walkup, who had just returned from serving in World War I. Agnes was 20 years old at the time.

In 1920 both Harry and George were married. George married (Mary) Coletta Shea. She was the daughter of Michael and Lydia Shea. Lydia had passed away in 1910 and their son, William, had been killed in 1918 in France during the First World War. Then in 1922 Elizabeth and Michael Shea were married. She was 48 and he was 6 years her senior. With the marriage, Michael and Elizabeth became stepparents to George and Coletta respectively in addition to their in-law status. Elizabeth officially went by the name Mrs. Michael J. Shea.

Elizabeth's first grandchild, Bruce Walkup, couldn't say "Granny" and it came out "Dinny". The name stuck and even to this day she is referred to affectionately as "Dinny" by those who knew her and still have wonderful memories of her. Dinny was also known for being a pretty good shot with a gun.

The O'Keefe home on Ferris was host to many lively parties with piano music and dancing, where even Grandma O'Keefe (Catherine) was known to hitch up her skirts and do a jig. On November 27, 1923, Elizabeth's mother, Catherine, died at the age of 66 and was buried next to her husband in Calvary Cemetery. Elizabeth and Michael together with their children who were still living at home moved into the family home at 12413 Ferris Avenue in Cleveland, Ohio. Her youngest son, Robert, was married to Anna Lynch on August 31, 1927. The family gathered frequently at Dinny's house (her grown children, their spouses and her grandchildren, etc.) Even though Dinny was a little woman, she could be a real spitfire when anyone got out of line (including her grown sons and son-in-law) especially if something off-color was said.

Elizabeth's daughter-in-law, Mary Coletta was seriously ill from diabetes during the last few years of her life, so George and his family moved into the "family home" on Ferris Avenue and Elizabeth helped to raise the children. Mary Coletta died October 9, 1932. Their oldest child wasn't quite 10 and the youngest not yet one. During Mary Coletta's illness and after her death, Dinny made tea and toast every evening for the children before they went to bed. George remarried on June 20, 1936 to Grace McKinney (nee Nutting). Grace also had lost her spouse in 1932 and had three young children, Kenneth, Marjorie and Donald. George and Grace had two more children. Jeanne Marie was born October 17, 1937 and Alfred Leroy was born September 6, 1941. He later changed his name to Roy A. Billinghurst.

Elizabeth's brother Harry passed away October 9, 1937. On August 28, 1941, Michael Shea died at the age of 73 and was buried in Calvary Cemetery next to his first wife Lyda and daughter Colette in section 5 lot 505. Elizabeth and Michael had been married 19 years. She was 67 years old. Elizabeth sold the family home at 12413 Ferris Avenue in 1942 and lived with her daughter Agnes and her family at 17306 Miles Avenue during Elizabeth's later years. Elizabeth lived through the Spanish-American war, in which her brother, Harry, fought plus the First World War, the Great Depression and the Second World War. In fact during the Second World War, Dinny had 5 grandchildren (Bruce and Roy Walkup, Bill Billinghurst, and Ken and Marge McKinney) in military service. She wrote to each of them weekly telling them what was happening at home and what the others in the service were doing. Dinny recorded the births, deaths and marriages of her extended family throughout the years, in the Family Record section of her bible.

In 1944, George moved his family to Avon, Ohio and the previously frequent visits back and forth became very infrequent because of the distance. In fact, Roy Walkup drove Elizabeth out to Avon for her first visit when he came home from the service in 1945. Elizabeth's daughter-in-law Loretta, Harry's wife, preceded her in death by two weeks. Elizabeth died March 9, 1949. The funeral home was Lester J. Gallagher, 9610 Miles Avenue and after a Requiem Mass at St. Timothy's Catholic Church, she was laid to rest in section 24 lot 21 in Calvary Cemetery with her first husband, Henry and her parents. She was 74, the mother of four, grandmother of 12, step-grandmother of two and great-grandmother of four at the time of her death.
Jul 15, 2003 · Reply
Richard O'Keefe Joseph was born in Dublin, Ireland on Sunday, April 2, 1854 to Michael and Catherine (nee Garland) O'Keeffe. Very little is know about his early days other than the fact that his parents survived the potato famine from 1846 to 1851 and that conditions had improved enough to again bring children into this world in Ireland. Dublin, the second largest city in Great Britain, is the capitol of Ireland and in 1854 had a population of approximately 260,000. It is located in County Dublin in the province of Leinster about mid-point near the east coast of Ireland.

Joseph married Catherine Kearns on November 3, 1872 in the Catholic Chapel of SS Michael & John in South Dublin when he was 18 and she was 19. Prior to that Joseph was living at 7 Linnenhall Street in South Dublin's Registrar's District of Mo 2 South City. Rev. John O'Hanlon officiated and Matthew O'Reilly and Mary Dunne were witnesses at the ceremony. Their first child, Elizabeth, was born May 28, 1874 in Dublin when Catherine was 21 years old. Early marriage was fairly common back in those days especially with life expectancy somewhere in the forties.

Their second child, Harry, was born November 12, 1876 in Dublin. Elizabeth was 2 ½ when Harry was born. The next thing we know about them is that the family traveled to Liverpool, England and sailed to America arriving on May 1, 1883. Joseph was 29 and the children were age almost 9 and 6 respectively. Somehow they settled in Cleveland, Ohio. He appeared in the Cleveland City Directory in 1883 and was a carpenter by trade as was his father. Their last name was sometimes spelled with a double f, especially in the early days. He filed his Declaration of Intention (to become a citizen) or First Papers on March 3, 1890 in Common Pleas Court in Cleveland.

On August 17, 1891, Elizabeth married Henry J. Billinghurst who had arrived just two years earlier from Devonshire, England on May 7, 1889. Since she was under age 18 (only 17 at the time), Joseph had to sign for her giving his consent to the marriage. By 1892, Henry was also listed in the City Directory as a carpenter and there's a good probability that Joseph helped his new son-in-law obtain that skill. On October 25, 1892, Joseph filed his Petition for Naturalization or Final Papers in US Federal District Court in Cleveland and received his US citizenship that day. Catherine and Harry automatically became citizens that same day. Joseph's original naturalization document is kept with the family historical documents.

After renting at several different locations in Cleveland, the family lived at 34 Korman from 1896 until 1911. In 1906, streets and/or addresses were changed across Cleveland and 34 Korman became 8010 Korman (just a couple blocks south of St. Clair Avenue and East 80th Street). Joseph probably lived the life of a fairly typical Irish Catholic family man working at a skilled trade.

In 1908, a house was built at 12413 Ferris Avenue and this became the family home by 1914. There is a good chance that Joseph and his son-in-law, Henry Billinghurst were involved with the construction of this house. The location is just over a mile from Calvary Cemetery. According to tax records, Joseph and "Kate" bought the house on January 13, 1914. This house remained "home" for many members of the family until it was sold in 1942.

Joseph died September 30, 1914 from Carcinoma of the stomach from which he suffered under a doctor's care for about a year. His wake was held at the family home and after a Requiem Mass at Holy Name Catholic Church, he was laid to rest in section 24 lot 21, a three grave plot in Calvary Cemetery. He was 60 years old and was married 41 years. His headstone and cemetery records erroneously show his date of birth as 1859.

Postscripts: Joseph's great great grandson, Joseph Ripley McFarland Jr., apparently bears enough likeness to his great great grandfather that his co-workers thought that a photo of Joseph O'Keefe on his desk was actually the younger Joseph dressed in period costume with a handlebar mustache added for good measure.
Jul 15, 2003 · Reply