In the late spring of 2017, in the middle of my research into the Keenan family history, I visited my cousin Martha in Falmouth Forsythe, Maine. Martha, I knew, possessed the original Civil War letters handed down through the family that were written by James Nicholas Keenan, our great-great grandfather. Martha had always had a keen interest and appreciation of our family history and in the course of our talk she mentioned the existence of a Fay family Bible.
Martha’s younger brother, Matthew had married Cecelia Clare Fitzgerald in 1996. As it turned out Celia and Matt shared the same great- grandfather – William Joseph Fay. At their wedding the Fay Family Bible, which was in the firm possession of Celia’s Aunt Joan, was brought out so that their names could be added to the Marriage page, after which it quickly disappeared again.
This revelation was startling to me for a couple of reasons. My father had never talked about the Fay side of the family. I don’t think I ever heard him even mention his father’s name. Once, when I asked him, he told me his grandfather Fay ran a cigar store up in Mt. Kisco, New York, and that he thought he had some cousins up there.
Equally as startling was the fact that there might actually still exist a traditional family Bible in which the births, deaths, and marriages of family members had been recorded. This is a genealogist’s dream come true.
And so began the start of my quest to learn more about my Fay lineage. Martha contacted Joan , Celia’s eldest sister, and with her help I was able to obtain photos of the Bible from her cousin Jim Fitzgerald, who now possesses the heirloom.
The bible was published in 1862 and the first handwritten entry records the marriage of Michael Fay to Rose Kilene on the 4th of May, 1862.