Monthly Archives: June 2009

The Keeley Motor and the Keeley Cure

Keeley “cousins” — frauds or visionaries???

It’s nearly impossible to research the Keely/Keeley surname for any length of time without coming across articles and information on John W. Keely and his infamous motor and Dr. Leslie Keeley and his nearly equally infamous gold cure for alcohol addiction. Both of these gentlemen and their dubious “inventions” garnered a lot of press in the late 1800s. I am certainly finding this to be the case with Historical Newspaper collection on Genealogybank. Luckily the search options provide an excluded words field, so by excluding motor and cure, a lot of these articles can be omitted from the results!

Just for the record, at this point, neither of these gentlemen appear to connect to my line of German Keely/Keeleys. I have found one tree on WorldConnect that says the father of Leslie Keeley was a Thomas Keeley who was born in Ireland and apparently immigrated to Canada sometime in the mid-1830s. My German Keely/Keelys came to Pennsylvania about 100 years before that. I do have some evidence to suggest that they may have been one of Palatinate families who first relocated to Ireland before coming to America, so I suppose there is a possible connection way back. That, however, is beyond the scope of what I am currently working on.

The ancestry of John W. Keeley, of motor fame, has been much harder to pin down. He was from the Philadelphia area. Supposedly his parents died when he was young and he was raised by his grandparents. Census data from 1880 shows that both his parents were born in PA. There is probably a pretty good chance he is related to my line, but I haven’t yet been able to make a connection. Possibly due to the dubious (some may say fraudulent) nature of his motor, articles and obituaries written about other Keeleys and Keelys who were his contemporaries do not claim him as a relative. And so the search continues!!


Several months back, I wrote on this blog about how I had decided not to renew my membership to Well, with the money I’m saving from that, I decided to subscribe to genealogybank. Genealogybank is a collection of scanned historical newspapers, recent obituaries, and some other content. I was particularly interested in the historical newspapers and the obituaries. I was familiar with genealogybank and actually had access to some of the historical newspaper content through my Godfrey Scholar subscription a few years ago. I also had access to genealogybank when they made their content free for a few days as a promotion a while back. And so I was very anxious to plug in a few of the surnames I research and see what I could find.

First off, I was able to find a very good account of the execution of William Henry Howe. Continue reading

More Records added to Findagrave

I had not meant to let this blog sit idle for so long, but life sometimes just gets really hectic. So until the last couple of weeks, my genealogy research and postings had go to on hold. Recently, I started to try to ease back into it. I posted a lot more photos and memorials on findagrave.
These were mostly the backlog of photos that I had for a while, but hadn’t gotten around to putting online. I haven’t been the only one adding to the southeast PA cemeteries. If you’re researching people in this area, check it out and see if your ancestors have been added!

Anyway, this is just a quick update — will try to post again soon.