ISSN 1475-4614

TESKEY NEWSLETTER No 33 December 2002


Ken McDonald
2 Greenfields
Stansted, Essex
CM24 8AH

Telephone: From UK: 01279 813226
International: + 44 1279 813226

Dear Cousin,

In June 2002 I took early retirement from work, expecting to spend much more time on the Teskey cause. For the last year at work I was leading a project to implement a major new computer system, and for the final 6 months I lived and breathed it 7 days a week and at least 12 hours a day. After a successful computer implementation, retirement firstly saw me catching up on all the other things in life that had been so neglected. Only recently have I spent any real time on the Teskey "project". So, I apologise that I have succeeded in producing just this one Newsletter in 2002. I intend to re-establish a pattern of at least two newsletters a year from 2003. As I no longer have access to my employer’s photocopier, this and future Newsletters may have a somewhat different appearance to earlier editions.

I'm slowly picking up the pieces of unanswered e-mails and the mountains of accumulated research material. I sometimes frighten myself by seeing how much I have to do, but then I remind myself that I have the rest of my life to get it all sorted. No problem ! If you have been waiting for weeks or even years for a response from me, your patience may be rewarded in the foreseeable future. And if I am waiting for your input, a reminder may soon be on its way.

It’s always a relief to find someone else who is slow with their correspondence, and I was particularly pleased to receive in the 2001 Christmas mail some photos taken by Walt and Christine Ruckel at the Irish Palatine reunion of 1995. Don’t we look young!

We have had some work done on the house to prepare for our change of lifestyle. Additional shelving in the study should help me get this mountain of paper under control. An extra bookcase in the lounge houses a steadily growing collection of photo albums, and we have upgraded the bathroom to encourage more visitors.

So, what do I plan to do with all this extra time ?

My joint first priorities are to deal with unanswered correspondence, and to update the Teskey family tree with information received from you, my contacts. The tree already contains nearly 8,000 names, and many more will be added as I sift through the accumulated letters and e-mails that have suffered while my focus has been on earning a living. Most of the names are connected, and that major part of the tree features on the Teskey website, Soon, I will ask Tom Upshaw to update it with all the names that have been added over the past year or two.

Secondly, I have lots more information from website downloads and from archives and record offices that Janice and I have visited around the world. I should now have time to follow up this research and absorb it into the family tree.

Thirdly, I have spotted plenty of new leads to additional information sources and also lots of Teskeys on the Internet with whom I have yet to make contact. I will now start following these up.

At some point in the future, I do still intend to write a book, but there is probably a year or two’s work to tidy up existing research before I can realistically even start on such a project.

To some extent, the Teskey website has fulfilled the need for a public record to which family members can refer, and its live and interactive nature provides some advantages over a book. As long as Tom Upshaw remains keen to build and maintain the site, I will keep feeding him material.

Janice and I were delighted when Tom and his partner Guylaine stayed with us for 5 days earlier this year, during a vacation in the UK. During the past year we also managed to spend a few hours with Bob 1946 from Alberta and Carl 1960 and Aynn from Ontario during brief stopovers in the UK between flights.

Janice and I hope to travel and meet more Teskeys next year, spending several weeks exploring areas of Canada that we have not previously visited and where many of my Teskey contacts live.



We hosted the 11th Teskey Reunion at our home on 14 July 2002. A relatively local group of Teskey descendants was joined for a second time by Canadian Genea 1976 Teskey. Her presence allowed us to again claim "international" status for the event.

We certainly do not claim the exclusive right to host Teskey reunions, and we were really pleased that Cathy Garofalo organised a second gathering at her home in New York early this year. This brought together representatives from several families of Teskey descent in the New York area, along with Dianne and Charlotte Teskey who were visiting from England. Cathy’s guests included Tom Upshaw, Laurie Donovan Case and Linda Gier, a newly found 2nd cousin of Laurie and Dianne. Laurie described the experience: "We fall into natural conversation and our evening is filled with fun, fellowship and love. Family stories and photographs ignite memories and the conversation flows freely." Laurie, Dianne and Charlotte stayed overnight with Cathy, who arranged for a private tour guide to show them the highlights of New York. Laurie again, "The most important comes at day’s end. This is the discovery of the John Street Methodist Church. Dianne is beside herself and wide eyed with excitement over her discovery of the church that is rich in history, the place where Methodism arrived in America."

Cathy attended the "Teskeys in Ireland" vacation in 1999. Until then she had not known of the existence of any cousins. Now she has met or made contact with several 1st cousins and their families, and enjoys lasting friendships that flowed from that Irish experience.

I am truly rewarded by the friendships that have blossomed from our various Teskey gatherings. We hope to arrange at least one gathering in Canada next year, but as we plan to be away from home for much of the summer period we do not expect to host a Stansted reunion in 2003.

We repeat our open invitation for Teskey descendants, especially those from outside the UK, to stay with us. We are always pleased to entertain and to offer a base for exploring London or Cambridge. If you do think about including us in your itinerary, please contact us as early as possible, especially as we are now retired and may be away from home more than before.


After such a long break, I am afraid I have more deaths to report than usual.

I am sorry to tell you that KITTY TESKEY died on 25 November 2002. Most of you who have visited Rathkeale will have met Kitty, perhaps with her husband Jackie in their early Palatine home on their farm in Killeheen Lane, Rathkeale. More recently, Kitty attended the 1999 Teskey reunion in Rathkeale. John 1918 Teskey and Kathleen Ruttle were married in 1945. They raised two children, John 1946 and Florence 1950. They were always most welcoming hosts, and I have seen many photos of them with their Teskey visitors from all over the World, going back many years. After Jack died in 1995, Kitty moved in with her son John and his family, and we are pleased to have visited her there in September, shortly before her 93rd birthday. Her passing marks the end of her generation in that branch of the Teskey family. I make no excuse for reprinting this photo of Jackie and Kitty, taken at their front door in 1992 by Don the Dentist (Don 1925 from Toronto).

GRACE HUFF was the oldest person ever to have been on my Newsletter mailing list. Grace1902 was born Grace Walker Teskey at Vedder Crossing, near Chilliwack, British Columbia, Canada, one of the eleven children of Joseph1865 Teskey and Grace Walker Thorburn. Joseph was the son of Daniel1826 and a grandson of Hugh1788. Grace died in Yakima, Washington State, USA on 29 April 2002, just 7 days after her 100th birthday. Although Grace received the Newsletter for several years, my knowledge of the descendants of Joseph 1865 is quite limited, and I have much still to discover and record.


GORDON 1919 TESKEY died on 30th June 2002 at Oatley, near Sydney, Australia. He was born in Rathkeale, one of three sons of William 1868 and Grace Teskey who ran a shop in Rathkeale High Street. In the 1940s two of the sons, Noel and then Gordon, emigrated to Rhodesia. They both were soon married. Gordon married Kaye, and they had one son, Peter in 1949. After a while, Gordon and Noel started up a supermarket in Salisbury. This grew successfully until it was sold in 1972. Gordon and Kaye spent much of the next ten years exploring Rhodesia and South Africa, towing a caravan. In 1982 they emigrated to Australia, to join their son Peter. Gordon was a keen angler and all-round sportsman for much of his life, accumulating trophies for running in Ireland, golf in Rhodesia and lawn bowls in Australia. He particularly cherished two small trophies for running dated 1937, probably his final year at school in Rathkeale. I wonder who else was in the winning relay team. Perhaps some are in the photo with Gordon on the back page of this Newsletter.

SHIRLEY PENFOLD regularly attended the Teskey Reunions at Stansted with her husband Ian, who is my 1st cousin and son of Kathleen 1912 Teskey. Shirley was born in Malaysia and came to England in 1956. She was a very warm and caring person who always wore elegant, colourful, often oriental clothes that suited her bright, cheerful, bubbly personality. Her death in December 2001 came after a protracted illness. We will miss Shirley’s ray of sunshine.

This photograph was taken on Shirley and Ian’s wedding day, 13 April 1985. The date was also the golden wedding anniversary of Ian’s parents, Kathleen1912 and Reg. Kathleen passed away in 1987, whilst Reg recently celebrated his 94th birthday.

KEITH 1917 TESKEY died on 2nd September 2001. He grew up on the family farm near Wellington, Ontario, the great great grandson of pioneer William 1787. He moved to Niagara Falls in 1940. Keith served with the Royal Canadian Air Force for 5 years during World War II and saw active service in Europe. I took this photo of Keith and his wife Beryl in 1996, when Janice and I enjoyed an evening with them at their home with Keith’s brother Earl 1916.

RONNIE 1932 TESKEY died after a game of golf close to his home in Adare, County Limerick in October 2002. He grew up in Rathkeale and was part of the family building firm, with his father Joseph 1893 and brother Norman 1927. Later, Ronnie and his wife Dorothy lived in Germany and Killarney, before retiring to Adare. They attended the Teskey reunion in Adare in 1995

ANNE TESKEY, widow of Arthur 1917, from Orillia, Ontario, died in May 2002. We enjoyed meeting Anne twice at family gatherings in Canada organized by Arthur’s 1st cousin Ben 1913.

BILL HILL, son of Margaret (Maggie) 1880 Teskey, and another 1st cousin of Arthur and Ben, died on 15 October 2002 at Sault Ste Marie, Ontario at the age of 90. His wife Mary died last year. Arthur, Bill and Ben are all grandsons of Benjamin 1837.

PHOEBE DUGAS TESKEY was the widow of Cornelius 1907 Teskey, the grandson of pioneer John 1832 Teskey. Phoebe Dugas was a lovely young lady who captivated Cornelius Teskey's heart when he was 17. He had left his home in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania to seek his fortune. When he found Phoebe, he returned to Pittsburgh for his dog and a few personal items, and said good-bye to the east. He never returned to Pittsburg, and never saw his father or his brother Walter 1905 again. He went back to work on the Dugas Ranch, located in Mayer, the geographical center of Arizona. In due time they were married, and stayed on the ranch to help her parents run it. They had three children who all live in the area now.

Phoebe, a small, but very robust lady with a wonderful sense of humor, could do anything that any ranch hand could do, and more, from laying out a feast - either in her kitchen or camping out on the range - to caring for some 200 head of cattle, helping with round-up and all that goes with it - branding the new-borns, tagging and shots, and also caring for horses. They lived in what some would call very primitive conditions, with a windmill to pump water into the kitchen, gas lights, a path to the privy, and 8 miles of dirt road to the highway.

She took care of her husband, ill with Parkinson's disease, for many years until his death in 1988, all the while running the ranch with the help of her son Bert, a veterinarian, who spent half the week in Phoenix at his animal hospital. Daughter Trudy and her family would arrive for round-ups from their home in Wyoming, and Fred, the youngest, helped with the ranch until he married and had his own ranch to care for.

One January day in 1997, at the age of 82, Phoebe was riding the range looking for strays, when her horse stepped into a hole and threw her. She was found not long after with severe head injuries and flown to Phoenix for treatment. Even with her injuries, not able to fend for herself, she was still cheerful, smiling and cooperative with all those around her. She lived in a nursing home in Prescott, about 60 miles from the ranch, until her death in September 2001. She is buried on the ranch in the family cemetery.

I am indebted to Carol Moss, Cornelius’s niece, for this account of Phoebe’s life.


Over the past year, two Canadian Teskeys have regularly been in the news, whilst some others have also enjoyed their "15 minutes of fame".

Laureen 1963 Teskey has been stealing headlines as the wife of Stephen Harper. In March 2002 he was chosen as national leader of the Canadian Alliance party. At that time he did not have a seat in Parliament, but subsequently won a by-election. In May, Stephen took his seat as Leader of the Opposition. The Canadian press gave Laureen due credit for the success of her husband. I sent a message of congratulation, to which Laureen replied with a suggestion that we might hold a Teskey family reunion in Ottawa at the official residence of the Leader of the Opposition. I hope she did not think me too ungracious when I responded with the challenge that we would prefer to hold it in the residence of the Prime Minister!

Bob 1946 Teskey continues to appear regularly in the press as the spokesman for the group who were cured of diabetes in a pioneering experiment in his home city of Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. He continues to enjoy a "normal" life, apart from media attention and regular medical checks.

Susan Teskey has recently been appointed producer of Canada’s CBC television current affairs programme, "Disclosure". She won acclaim in 2001 for directing an episode called "The Crucible" within the television series "Canada: A People’s History". Unfortunately, I do not know where Susan fits into the family. Can anyone help me?

The Fall 2001 edition of the University of New Brunswick "Alumni News" featured David 1975 Teskey on the cover. He became the University Alumni’s 50,000th member when he graduated. David is descended from Hugh 1788, and is the brother of Genea 1976.

Mary 1894, better known as Dr Isobel Teskey Ayer, was a well known physician in Toronto, and also a keen genealogist, whose work has helped me build the Teskey family tree. Three of her grandchildren have made their mark recently: Karen Alison, who attended the Toronto Teskey Reunion in 2001, has published a book, "How to stay healthy and still eat chocolate"; her sister Adrienne Alison completed a sculpture of C.W.Jeffrys in Hogs Hollow Park, Toronto; and their cousin George Ayer designs public fountains around the World.

I am grateful to several correspondents who keep me updated with newspaper clippings or references from unusual sources. My "spies" are everywhere, and no stone is left unturned. On a recent vacation to the USA, we visited a department store. Janice was intrigued by the computer screen that allowed customers to select a wedding gift from a list submitted by the couple. Naturally, Janice tested it by tapping in "Teskey", to find the announcement of the planned marriage in Dewey, Arizona on 15 September 2001 of Allen 1975 Teskey, a grandson of Cornelius 1907 and Phoebe, to Sarah Young. I have assumed the happy event took place, and Sarah’s name has been added to the family tree.

Most of my contacts who have visited Rathkeale will have met Norman 1927 and Maureen. They celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary in June 2002. Between them, they have a fantastic pedigree of Irish Palatine names. Norman’s ancestors include Teskey, Shier, Shire and Legear, whilst Maureen can claim Sparling, Fitzell and Ruttle.


In September 2002, England’s BBC Radio broadcast a half hour programme recounting the story of the arrival of the refugees from the German Palatinate in London in 1709. This edition of the "Long View" series focused on the similarities between this newsworthy item of 300 years ago and more recent waves of migrants into the UK during the last half century. The causes, mixture of public feelings, government responses and the options for resolution all seem to have been repeated with surprising regularity.

It is possible to listen to a recording of this broadcast through the internet by accessing the following web page:


JAMES 1851, my great grandfather, left Rathkeale around 1870 to come to England, where he married Eliza Nunn. This summer we visited their grave in Chingford, North London. Although this is only four miles from where I grew up, I believe it was my first visit. This large cemetery and its records were well maintained. A helpful attendant soon found the entry confirming that the family grave contained James, Eliza and their daughter Pollie. With the aid of a map we found the gravestone. The stone does not show Pollie’s name, but does include her brother John 1882. They had been a very upright and religious family, and might be somewhat horrified to know that their final resting place was now within 100 yards of the vicious London gangster family, the Krays, who spent much of their lives behind bars. It is rather perverse that the Teskey grave is somewhat neglected and rarely visited nowadays, whilst that of the notorious Kray twins attracts a regular flow of tourists. We felt that there was some justice in that the Teskeys were on somewhat higher ground, so could look down on the Krays.


My research focus is almost entirely on the Teskey name, and I have little knowledge even of my other ancestors of Palatine origin – Legear, Stark and Ruttle. However, I regularly cross the path of fellow Irish Palatine researchers, many of whom are kind enough to tell me when they find a Teskey reference. I try to reciprocate, without getting too embroiled in other names. Because the Irish Palatine settlers kept very much to themselves for several generations, the family names are exceedingly intertwined.

During our 2002 vacation, close to New Orleans, Louisiana, we stumbled across the German-American Cultural Center in Gretna. This centre told how German refugees came from the Rhine region around 1720, founded the town of Gretna, remained fairly isolated, retaining language and customs for many years, and earned a reputation for hard work - a remarkable parallel to our own Irish Palatine museum in Rathkeale.

Other similar German Palatine settlements can be found in the USA, including the Mohawk Valley in New York State.


I am always pleased to learn when someone else discovers something new about the Teskey family history. John 1934 Teskey, from Portland, Oregon, found some interesting clues on the internet and then followed them up with visits to cemeteries in Ontario. As a result we now know the final resting place of Hugh1788 and his wife Catherine (nee Supple). Many of their known 1,070 descendants receive this Newsletter. I must apologize in advance that the rest of this story may not make easy reading!

We now know that Hugh1788 is buried in St Charles Anglican Cemetery near Tillsonburg, Ontario (around 30 miles South East of London). His gravestone reads "Hugh husband of Catherine Teskey died February 28 1854 aged 64 years". Nearby, two grave markers bear the words "Catherine Teskey died Dec 18 1886 age 82 years" and "Thomas H Teskey died 19th June 1855 aged 26 years".

This discovery added some important additional information to our knowledge, but it also blew away the conclusions that I had reached regarding the ancestry of what I tend to refer to as the Rocky Mountain House Teskeys. This branch is descended from Thomas Hugh Teskey 1859 – 1932 (Thomas1859). I had previously believed that Thomas1859’s father was also a Thomas Hugh, and I had taken him to be the one whose birth was recorded in Ireland in 1828 (Thomas1828), the son of Hugh1788. John’s discovery that Thomas1828 died in 1855 shattered that theory. However, all is not lost, for Thomas1859 had two parents, and according to oral family history, his mother Sarah was also born a Teskey, the 1st cousin of her husband. I had never previously worked out who Sarah might be. Thomas1828 had an older sister Sarah1819, and I now believe that Thomas1859’s mother was Sarah1819, rather than his father being Thomas1828. Thus, the Rocky Mountain House Teskeys are still descended from Hugh1788, but via Sarah, rather than Thomas.

However, that conclusion now leaves another question – who was Sarah1819’s husband?

Fortunately, I believe I have the answer! Hugh1788 had an older brother, George1786. George farmed in Adare, County Limerick, and is buried there with his wife Catherine (nee Legear). Many of their children emigrated, and one of these was Hugh, christened on 18 July 1822 in Adare. I believe that HUGH1822, the 1st cousin of Sarah 1819, was also her husband. If this is correct, the Rocky Mountain House Teskeys can now claim descent from not just one, but two Teskey pioneers, Hugh1788 and Hugh1822.

On the Canadian censuses for 1861, 1871 and 1881, Sarah’s husband always appears as "Hugh". I had previously assumed that Thomas Hugh 1828 had simply dropped the use of his first name, as so often happens. I now have no need for that explanation. On his recent journey of discovery, John 1934 also found the graves of Hugh and Sarah. They are buried in Kincardine, Ontario, on the coast of Lake Huron, 100 miles North of Tillsonburg. Hugh’s tombstone reveals that he died on September 3 1881 aged 61 years, whilst Sarah’s marker shows that she was born in 1818 and died in 1902. There is inconsistency around both Hugh and Sarah’s recorded years of birth, both on censuses and gravestones, but this is not at all unusual.

Let me tell you a little about Hugh1822’s family . . .


Hugh 1822’s parents, George 1786 and Catherine, altogether had 15 children, of whom three emigrated to Canada and three to Australia. I have made mention of some of them in earlier newsletters. Not long ago I made contact with Janet Daniels, the wife of a great great grandson of George 1786, living in England. Some years ago she had seen a document written by George 1786’s wife Catherine. Sadly, that document appears to have been subsequently destroyed by accident. In this document, listing her children, Catherine wrote that her first son Henry1818 "left his Father’s house 28th May 1847" and that her second son Hugh1822 followed his brother Henry to the USA on 27th March 1849. We can only begin to imagine a mother’s feelings when her offspring left for America, never to be seen again. In fact, they seem to have travelled to Canada, as also did a third son, Richard1831. Three other children, Francis1828, Mary1834 and Maria1836, emigrated to Australia.


Several of George1786’s fifteen children stayed in Ireland, including the youngest son, George1841. During a recent visit to Ireland, we met his only grandson, George Fitzgerald, pictured here. George kept up the family tradition of farming near Adare until his retirement ten years ago. Since then he has devoted much of his life to the creation of a large, spectacular and beautiful garden around his home. We enjoyed our tour of his work of love, and spent several hours clarifying aspects of his own and related families.

Like so many folks of Irish Palatine descent, George Fitzgerald has a wonderful grasp of the complex family inter-relationships, going back several generations. His Mother was Annie Florence Teskey (1894 – 1977) and his pedigree includes other Irish Palatine names: Ruttle, Legear, Fitzell and Shier.

George Fitzgerald put me in touch with John Harwood, a descendant of George1841’s sister Charlotte1837. I must thank John for kindly providing me with an account of Charlotte’s 300 descendants - and yet another good excuse for avoiding any decorating this winter!

Of George1786’s children, five boys survived childhood, yet today it seems that the only descendants still carrying the Teskey name are those from Hugh1822 that I call the Rocky Mountain House branch.

There is however just a chance that we may one day find some descendants from Henry1818. He, who "left his father’s house . . .", married Caroline. They lived in Kincardine, close to his brother Hugh1822. They had two sons, George 1857 and Francis 1865, both of whom married in Kincardine in the 1880’s. There, the trail goes cold – at least for now.


My great great grandfather Adam 1823 Teskey married Mary Legear in Rathkeale in 1848 when Mary was just 15 years and 4 months old. I had always thought this was rather strange. Recently, I learned that the minimum legal age for marriage across Great Britain, which then included Ireland, was 14 for boys and 12 for girls, subject to parental consent. The limit was raised to age 16 in the UK in 1929, but 14 and 12 apparently still applied in Ireland as recently as 1974.


One of my Irish Palatine contacts, Harriette Speiren, drew my attention to the 1876 marriage in Mariposa, Ontario of William Teskey, farmer, age 33, son of Michael and Jane, to Kate McDonald, 34. As far as I know, the only other Teskey - McDonald marriage was that of my own parents. The arrival of this particular new piece of the jigsaw puzzle helped me to identify the roots of a recent contact and to establish another migrant from Ireland to Canada.


Lorna Selby, from Maryland, USA left a message on the Teskey website Guestbook, giving what details she knew. It transpired that Kate McDonald was the second bride of William1843, following the death of his first wife, Sarah Carscadden. William and Sarah were Lorna’s great grandparents. Further exchanges with Lorna allowed me to expand her section of the family tree, and we now have quite a batch of descendants from William 1843’s father Michael1811.

Unfortunately, I have found no documentary evidence during the 60 years between the birth of Michael Teskey in Rathkeale in 1811 and the marriages of his four children in Ontario in the 1870s. In an ideal world I would like to see records of his marriage to Jane Medcalf and the birth of their children. The lack of evidence of Michael 1811’s marriage or death in Ireland suggests that he may have emigrated. Records are sparse for the 1830s to 1850s in rural Canada, where survival was the over-riding priority. It is during that period that subsequent records suggest Michael 1811 and Jane were married and bore children. Those subsequent records include Jane’s death in 1901 and marriages or deaths of four children that name their parent or parents and confirm their Irish origins. All these events occurred within the adjoining Ontario counties of Brock, Ops and Lindsay. Given the rarity of the name Michael Teskey, I feel comfortable in linking these two building blocks, one from Ireland and one from Canada.

Now, Michael1811 was born in Rathkeale, one of seven children of Michael and Ann Teskey. Unfortunately, I have not established where this older Michael fits within the overall early Teskey family.

Carscadden (or Carscallen), the name of William1843’s first wife, appears regularly in a book entitled "To Their Heirs Forever" by Eula Lapp. The book tells the story of Barbara Heck and other families that settled in Brock County after leaving the United States, following American independence in 1776. I have left Lorna Selby to follow up that side of her family.


Quite a few of my correspondents are waiting patiently for me to complete their ancestral links. The difficulty in finding links is most often due to the sparsity or incompleteness of records during the mid 1800s, when our ancestors were pre-occupied with escaping the Irish Famine and then fighting for survival in the wilds of Ontario. A specific major handicap was created when most of the Irish Censuses were destroyed by a fire in 1922. The solution to the missing link often relies on circumstantial evidence, and of course the finding, recording, analysis and piecing together of that evidence. That is the real fun of genealogical research. I often spend hours going over pieces of evidence that either support or contradict theories around a particular question. Then sometimes, new evidence or correspondence will provide the key to the solution.

I’m afraid the answer is sometimes lying somewhere within my accumulated correspondence or within the evidence that has not yet been entered onto my database. Hopefully, retirement will give me time to close out more mysteries. Earlier this year, a fresh look at information gleaned from the Canadian Archives in 1999 generated the long-awaited answer for three of my contacts in Alberta, Canada, namely Marian 1942 (now Evans), John 1945 Teskey and Cathy Wieliczko.

I concluded that their great grandfather was Christopher1834, born in Killeheen, Rathkeale. There appears to be no other Christopher Teskey born in Ireland between 1816 and 1850, and there is no record of Christopher 1834’s death in Ireland. I am therefore pretty confident that he is the same person who subsequently appears in Canadian records. The 1871 Census for Brock, Ontario gives his age as 32, and the record of his death in Elderslie in 1885 gives his age as 45. Both of these suggest he was born around 1839, but I have chosen to treat these ages with my usual mistrust of ages quoted on censuses, gravestones and death notices. I have assumed the references are all to Christopher 1834. Other records refer to his wife Minda Malinda McKey and their six children. One of these was William1875, the Grandfather of my three correspondents in Alberta.

Irish records show that Christopher 1834 was the son of Garrett1801, which makes Marian, John and Cathy, for example, 2nd cousin one removed to Edna Gibbs in Australia and 3rd cousins to John 1946 in Ireland, Dianne Teskey & Muriel Persse in England, and Laurie Case & Linda Gier in the USA. These multinational relationships have come about because Garrett 1801’s children or grandchildren left Ireland and scattered all over the globe.


Rev. Dudley Levistone Cooney was the Methodist minister at Adare and Ballingrane in the 1990s, and he is now an Irish Palatine Association committee member. His excellent 50 page booklet, "The Irish Palatines", with text in both English and German, has recently been followed by "This Plain, Artless, Serious People". This is a history of the County Limerick Methodist Church, but is also very much about its membership, drawn largely from the Irish Palatines. It therefore contains many references to Teskey families. It is available from the Irish Palatine Association.

Many of you will be familiar with the work of Hank Jones, and I know some of you have one or more of his books on German Palatine settlement in Ireland and America. He has just published a three volume, 2600 page opus entitled "Even more Palatine families." The majority of the data relates to migrants who reached America, but it does include a full listing of the Rotterdam Embarkation Lists of 1709 and an index to a total of 125,000 names. This is clearly for the serious researcher. If you would like to buy a copy, you can do so through Hank’s website, Hank tells me that he still has our founder Jacob 1659 Teske(y) on his hit list during his ongoing research of German archives. Perhaps one day we will find quite where he came from in the Pfalz.


The steady appearance of new Teskey names demonstrates that I still have far to go to trace them all. Sadly, some appear too late for me to make contact. The following deaths were recorded either on the US Social Security Death Index or in a newspaper obituary of which I have only limited details. I hope that someone out there might be able to tell me something about one of the following North American Teskeys. This is all I know about them:



During our first faltering steps of Teskey exploration in North America, we had the pleasure of meeting Steve 1955 Teskey and his young family at their home in California. Since then, they have delighted us each Christmas with a card that included a photo of their children. Last year’s card also included Mum and Dad, so I take this opportunity to share with you this photo of yet another good-looking bunch of Teskeys. From the left, they are Courtney 1992, Steve 1955, Susan, Garrett 1989 and Brandon 1985. Steve is a 4-greats grandson of Appleton pioneer John 1769. The kids have certainly grown up since they last appeared in a Teskey Newsletter, in August 1994.


Whilst on a boating vacation in France, Barbara Pittam, nee Teskey, came across this advertisement for a firm of builders. Oh no !!

Ginger Sedlarova, nee Teskey, is Canadian, but now lives in the Czech Republic. She suggests that the Czech word TEZKE, pronounced "tjezh-key" might possibly be the origin of our name. It means "heavy" or "difficult" – but surely that’s not us !

Jon Teske contacted me from Maryland, USA. His family, which pronounces their name "TESS–key", came to Wisconsin in 1864 from Pomerania near Stettin, which is present day Szeczin in Poland. He recalls a German reference book "Unser Famillienomen" from around 1935 that explained the origin of various German names. It claimed that Teske was a Slavic diminutive based on either the name Mathis (the Apostle) or Matheus (the Evangelist), both of which are translated in English to Matthew. This became Mateuski in Polish, then Matesky in Czech, and was truncated to Teske in Northern Germany. A nickname for Matheus is Thies, which may explain the disappearance of the original "M" sound.

Ken Teskie contacted me from Edmonton, Alberta. He recounted what he knew of his family history, starting with the immigration of his great grandparents, Gottlieb and Mary Teske around 1900. They settled in Bruderheim, Alberta, Canada, having come probably from Prussia. One son, Alfred, changed his name to Teskie whilst another, William (1895 – 1949) changed his to Teskey. William had no children and the other siblings retained the Teske spelling.

Because of the world-wide availability of the Teskey website, I have received two separate e-mail contacts from Teske descendants living in Brazil. These were a little more challenging than usual, being in Portuguese! I hope Luciana França Teske and Walter Arthur Teske understood my replies.

I hear quite regularly from people who are researching their Teske family history. This was the spelling that first appeared for Jacob 1659, the first known ancestor of most people now called Teskey. However, my research has usually excluded anyone called Teske, partly because there are more Teskes than Teskeys. Generally, people called Teske today either live in Germany or had ancestors who left Germany relatively recently (in the last 150 years). Whilst we may all be related if we could trace our lines back to Germany in the 1600s and earlier, I have chosen not to pursue that possibility. So, when I hear from a Teske, I try to explain this. However, I do keep a note of any such correspondence, in case in future I may be able to put someone in touch with another with similar origins. As yet I have not managed to "match" any of these occasional Teske contacts.


My understanding is that we each have a unique DNA "fingerprint". Within their genetic make up only men have the "Y" chromosome, and this is passed, unchanged, from father to son, rather like a surname. Within each man’s individual DNA code are 10 digits that describe the "Y" chromosome. The theory is that all male descendants from Jacob 1659 Teskey who still bear the Teskey surname should have the same DNA code for their "Y" chromosome. Now, I am looking for volunteers!

If any male Teskey has established his DNA code, would they like to tell me their "Y" chromosome element? I believe a number of organisations offer DNA testing for a fee – they simply analyse a swab from the inside of your cheek.

It would be really neat to confirm that some of our Teskey men really do have the same "Y" chromosome as each other, and indeed as Jacob 1659. But what if they were not the same? That would suggest that somewhere along one of their lines of descent the official father was not the real father, or worse, my tree might be wrong! On the other hand, comparison with some men called Teske might just show up some common ancestry before Jacob 1659.

So, are there any volunteers?


One of the latest features on the Teskey family website,, is a section entitled Meet the Ancestors. You can now look at over 50 old photos of our ancestors. These have been given to me over the years, and it’s great to now have a method for displaying them to interested parties. I am sure I have other pictures that will come to light as I gradually turn my "junkroom" into a study. We would like to add further pictures to the website, and I am also keen to include new photos in the Teskey Newsletter. If you have any that you would be willing to share, could you please send a copy to me – either an actual photo or a scanned image. Please send any scanned image in high quality jpeg format. Ideally, photos should be clear, with a focus on deceased ancestors.

Tom chose one of the 50 photos as a new front page for the website and, without realising it, picked one that included my own Mother. She is one of several nieces and nephews surrounding Aunt Pollie (Hannah1874), and is seated bottom left. Mum would have been "tickled pink". The photo reminds me that I get so carried away with North American Teskeys that I tend to neglect those in my own back yard. I have still not made contact with any descendants from four of my Mother’s 21 first cousins: Alec King, Will Chamberlain, George Aked and Margarite Aked. Can someone kindly suggest a lead to any of these? Margarite, who was known as Rita, appears in the website front page photo, at the back on the right.

The exposure of family photos to a wider audience has brought a number of new contacts, and has also generated a couple of disputes. I am still trying to satisfy everyone regarding the ancestors in two photos that may have been wrongly identified. It is really satisfying that I can’t get away with anything!

Updating of the photo archive, like the family tree, takes time, so please be patient if your additional information or correction has not yet appeared.


It was good to learn that Jacob Teskey from Michigan, USA was able to use material from the Teskey website to support a school project on his genealogy. Jacob 1986 follows a great family naming tradition that goes back at least as far as his 7-greats grandfather Jacob 1659. His line of descent is down through HUGH1788.



The number of people who have access to E-mail and the Internet continues to grow. At the last count, 65% of the recipients of this Newsletter have e-mail. From time to time I make contact with that group as a whole. Therefore, if you have e-mail but don’t hear from me, please send me a message asking to be added to my e-address book.

Tom Upshaw continues to improve and expand If you have not looked for a while, please check out the latest goodies, especially the "Meet the Ancestors" section. These photos have delighted a number of viewers, and have brought several new contacts.

Tom has very kindly responded to the need for an online depository for other related families, and the site content now also includes a massive Sparling family tree, which itself incorporates many links with Teskeys.

Those of you who are descended from the Appleton Teskeys (and there are no less than 25 households on this mailing list) may like to view the photos of gravestones on the following site:

Carol Moss was surprised to find a photo of her late Father, Walter 1905 Teskey on a Smithsonian Institute website. The 1948 photo at shows him handling a model of an electricity substation that could be mounted onto a railroad car. He made the model in his spare time in response to an appeal by Westinghouse Electric Corporation to assist in the design and engineering of the real thing. By profession, Walter was a Pittsburg podiatrist / chiropodist, but he was also a railroad enthusiast and keen model builder. Coincidentally, I made contact about a year ago with another Teskey model builder. Richard 1958, from Toronto and the Orillia branch of the family, makes fibreglass submarines for a hobby. is a popular website in the UK for tracing old school and work colleagues. Naturally, I have looked for any Teskeys. I didn’t expect to find anybody brand new, for there are really very few Teskey families in the UK, but I did find four Teskeys born in the 1960’s and with whom I have had no direct contact. Now I must write to this next generation, the children of those I contacted in my early research days, already 13 years ago. Time marches on!

Whilst the internet is a fantastic medium for the dissemination of information, it also offers a platform for the dissemination of misleading information. Furthermore, it is easy to take information from one website and use it on another. I have seen extracts from my writings that have been reproduced without reference to their source and without my knowledge. I don’t object too much if this spreads the word, and spreads it accurately, although it does mean that a reader with a comment or question cannot get back to the source. I recently came across a quite misleading extract from the Teskey website. A photo taken around 1915 of my great aunt Lillian 1875 Teskey appeared for many months on the front page of a Teske website with the caption "Lillian Teske . . circa 1875". So, beware – what you read in a newspaper or see on the Internet is not always correct.

On the positive side, the Internet and e-mail have made the World a much smaller place. I was really pleased to learn that Michael 1971 Teskey in Ottawa, Canada and Michael 1980 Teskey in Melbourne, Australia have become e-mail pen pals. If anyone else would like an e-pal relative somewhere else in the World, please let me know. This can be a great learning experience, especially for kids.


Janice and I find it difficult to resist the magnetic attraction of Rathkeale. In September 2002 we enjoyed our 8th visit, and on this occasion added even more magic by staying in one of the very early Irish Palatine cottages in Killeheen Lane. This 3 roomed, stone dwelling dates from the 1700’s and was once the home of the Piper family. It has been renovated by Austin Bovenizer, who now lets it as a holiday cottage. It was wonderful to enjoy modern comforts, yet live in the tranquil lane that once thronged with our ancestors and their cattle. The only "thronging" on this occasion occurred when Rae and Adam 1989 Teskey walked their dog from their home at the far end of the lane to visit us.

I hear quite often from folk who have been to Rathkeale and have somehow managed to meet either Adam or his Dad, John 1946 Teskey. Two quite separate travellers told me how this summer they stopped to ask directions from a farmer who turned out to be John. He’s a great ambassador and, true to the Irish culture, he always has time for a chat, especially if it’s about his roots and the friends he now has all over the World..

Here are the Rathkeale ambassadors of Killeheen Lane, Adam 1989, John 1946 and Rae.


During our stay we met up with several other good friends, attended a Committee meeting of the Irish Palatine Association and manned their Museum for a day. We had some interesting visitors, including the President of the Methodist Church of Ireland.

Our visit coincided with one from Tom Upshaw’s uncle, Dick Presnell and his wife Sandy from Wisconsin, USA. They seemed to be touring half of Europe in three weeks, wisely letting the train take the strain wherever possible. Our visits to Rathkeale just happened to coincide, and it was a pleasure to show them some of the local sights. Here we are outside the Museum – Dick and Sandy on the left, and Janice and me on the right.

Dick and Tom seem a long way down the tree from Dick’s great grandmother, Gertrude Ellen Teskey, 1837 to 1890, but fortunately they are both enthusiastic about all branches of their family history.


Tom Upshaw and I have been working together to set up a new website for the Irish Palatine Association at From here, you can download a membership or patron application form, see what books they have for sale, or check Museum opening times, etc. I know that many readers of this Newsletter are already members of the IPA, and I encourage others to join and support the valuable work they do to preserve our heritage. You will also receive an annual journal filled with interesting, authoritative articles about the Irish Palatines.

If you don’t have internet access, you can write to Irish Palatine Association, Rathkeale, Co Limerick, Ireland. That’s all – there are no postal codes or zip codes in Ireland.


2nd January 2002 should have been a landmark date for British genealogists. On that day, the UK census for 1901 became available for the first time, and it was made available online to anyone in the world. In the context of this Census, UK excluded all of Ireland. Naturally, I was in there on the first day, but so too were a million others. The computers just could not cope and soon ground to a halt. Almost a year later, this valuable information, relating to some 30million people, is at last available on

There appear to have been only three Teskey family households in the UK at this time. They were as follows:

95 Manor Road, Leyton, London was the home of my great grandfather James 1851, foreman at a paper warehouse, his wife Eliza, their three youngest children, Hannah (known as Pollie), Frank (known as Peter) and Florance (known as Miriam), and also two young grandchildren. The grandchildren, Violet E Thompson and Archibald R Akers, were, respectively, the children of Lillian 1875 and Naomi 1877. Archie’s surname should have been recorded as Aked. He died at the age of 23 from tuberculosis, after being gassed in World War I.

One of James’s sons, John 1882, appears in the census for Cowley Military Barracks, Oxfordshire, a private in the Infantry and just one of 335 names that were recorded at this institution on the day of the census. John was killed in action in France in 1915 during World War I. His widow Rose was left with three children under the age of 5.

17 New Street, Westminster, London was the home of widow Jane Teskey, her sons William and James, both "correspondence clerks", and five male boarders. Jane’s husband, James 1831 Teskey had died in 1894, but the family continued to live at this address in central London for over 50 years. Son William was killed in World War I, and his name is inscribed on the famous Menin Gate war memorial at Ypres in Belgium.

Before I started reviewing the Census returns, I had not realized what a tragic tale they would tell. Three Teskey households, each with a young man who would die as a result of World War I. Bringing history down to the personal level brings home the terrible waste of war. We cannot begin to imagine how these and millions of other families suffered.

The 1901 UK Census also revealed two single, apparently unrelated, Tuskeys. Sarah E, aged 25, was a servant in London, whilst William, 24, lived in Tynemouth. Each claimed to be born in England. I wonder if they will ever link up with the following . . .


I have made some progress in pulling together a group of American Tuskeys, and the section of the tree descending from James 1821 Tuskey now has 80 names. This branch of the family left Ireland around 1860 and settled in Germantown, Susquehanna, Pennsylvania. The tree has been developed from data extracted from the American censuses of 1880 and 1900 and information supplied by 3 American contacts: Larry and Bobby Tuskey and Robin Janawsky. Unfortunately, I am still not sure how James 1821 links into the main Teskey tree. The four possibilities I have listed previously are all still in the frame.

There is now a Tuskey website, This is the work of Bobby Tuskey, who lives in Georgia, USA. He was adopted by Richard and Lillian Tuskey soon after he was born in 1964. Bobby’s website includes a photo of the Susquehanna Schools Football Team of 1919. Seated next to each other are Larry and Bobby’s grandfather Robert 1897 Tuskey and Robin’s Grandfather Elmer Teskey. The two footballers were 1st cousins. Elmer’s Father, Henry 1861 had changed his name from Tuskey to Teskey "because that was the original spelling".

I have accumulated a host of postal and e-mail addresses of current Tuskeys, and when I am feeling brave I shall contact them all, like I once did the Teskeys, hoping to identify those that have German / Irish roots. It seems that I may need to extend my mission to include all folks named Tuskey, as well as Teskey, for most seem to be related, separated only by a minor spelling "error".



A couple of months ago, I obtained a set of CDs containing the 1881 Census of Canada. This does not show original documents, but transcripts, with quite a number of errors. I am gradually working my way through around 40 Teskey households, including those which have been wrongly transcribed as Tesky, Terkey, Tiskey, Tuskey, Tusky, Leskey and Lesky. What fun! I will probably have more to say about this exercise in the next newsletter.



It has been a great pleasure to meet so many Teskeys from all walks of life. I gather everyone’s place and date of birth, occupation, etc, but these bare facts often give no clue to the person’s character or real interests in life. One such is Glen 1947 Teskey, a descendant of Hugh1788. His home is Amherstburg, Ontario, but his job as a long distance truck driver means that he probably spends more nights in his cab than at home. One of his hobbies is reading, learning and reciting poetry, and he has an enormous repertoire. During his travels he likes to stop and recite poetry, particularly at schools.

Glen attended the 2001 Teskey Reunion in Toronto, and was keen to record the addresses of other guests in case he could visit them during his travels. I have since heard from a few of those guests that they have indeed enjoyed a visit from Glen and his giant truck. Jackie Powell told me that Glen dropped by her school and recited poetry (from memory) to several classes. He had quite an affect on staff and students, and has inspired them to try memorising poetry and seeing new value in it. Perhaps the moral of this story is - don’t judge a person by the size of his rig!



Whenever I find a new source of information, I naturally look for any possible reference to Teskey. Most enquiries draw a blank, so I was surprised when my request to someone offering look-ups in old records for the Tower of London brought forth a positive result.

The wedding of Robert Teskey to Alice Moore was recorded there on 2nd February 1845. I already had a copy of their marriage certificate, but had not realized that the venue for their wedding, the Chapel of St Peter at Vincula, is within the Tower of London.

Robert 1814, born in Adare, was a sergeant in the Grenadier Guards, based in Winchester. His bride was the daughter of "John Moore, Steward", and her address is given as "Tower Liberty", which I now know was the district that comprised mainly the Tower of London. So, presumably Alice’s father was a steward at the Tower, and she thereby qualified to be married there.

Unfortunately, Alice died childless only 14 years later at the age of 48, and there are no direct descendants to enjoy this snippet.


In 2003, Janice and I plan to spend a while in Germany, laying the groundwork for 2004, when we have agreed to take the lead in the organisation of an Irish Palatine Association trip to the German Pfalz, home of our earliest-known forefathers. I have started German language evening classes, as we feel that should be of some benefit.

In 2003 we also hope to spend some weeks travelling in Canada, especially in the western provinces. We hope to meet many new Teskeys and to extend the list of over 600 who we have already met around the World.

In 2009, the tercentenary of the Palatine migration from Germany to Ireland, there will almost certainly be a major venture led by the Irish Palatine Association. Many names have already been registered for this adventure, including Canada’s Leader of the Opposition. We wish Stephen Harper well in his attempts to lead his nation, but we hope he will still be able to spare the time to join us in 2009.

Finally, here is a wonderful photo of the children of Rathkeale No 2 School, taken around 1931. I am pleased to say that three of the children will receive this Newsletter, along with the children of several others. From the left, the names are as follows. If Teskey, their year of birth is shown:

Back row: Jack Modler, Bella 1917, Vera Sparling, Vera 1919, Evely Sparling, Noel 1920

Front: Frank 1920, Ruth Parker, David 1924, Norman 1927, Sheila 1924, Walter Modler, Gordon 1919



In future, you can look forward to more regular Newsletters, more prompt and regular correspondence, and indeed lots more questions and answers.

Be good,

Ken McDonald

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