Note: I have written a summary of John’s early years based on evidence collected. If you are interested in viewing the evidence, please click the “More” tag.
John Joseph Keating – The Early Years
John J. Keating was born in April of either 1867, 1868, or 1869 in Camden, New Jersey, in the county of Camden. Census records given various information, and my copy of the death certificate was barely legible. Likely, he was born in April of 1868 but no further information has been located.
He appears to be the youngest son of Martin and Mary (nee Daley) Keating, both of whom who were born in Ireland and emigrated sometime between 1865-1867. They had six children: James (Dec 1858), Maggie (1860), Ella/Ellen (1863), Hannah (1865), and John (1868). Alll but the last two children are reported to have been born in Ireland. According to parish records, James Keating, son of Martin Keating and Mary Daly) was christened in Dec 1858 in County Clare, Ireland in the parish of Kilmurry Ibrickane.
Martin and Mary emigrated to Ireland sometime in the mid to late 1860s and moved to Camden. For the decade in which I could locate them, they lived in South Camden, near the waterfront. The neighborhood in Camden where the family lived was redeveloped after World War II and none of the houses still exist. Martin and Mary both worked as laborers, though Mary appeared to stay at home with the children for a few years. John’s home life appeared to be relatively stable for the period as his family remained at the same address for more than six years. When they did move, they remained in the same neighborhood.
Mary Keating, John’s mother, disappears from records after 1874, and Martin’s last known official listing is the 1880 census where he lives alone with his youngest children. I think Mary died in 1878 because I’ve found a death record for Mary Keating in that year and much of the information matches, but I have nothing specifically tying her to this family.
I located an article in the The Morning Post on January 22, 1881 that described a girl committing suicide in Brooklyn, New York. She was using the name Alice Somers, but her real name appeared to be Ella Keating. In this article, it suggests that after the death of their mother, the father returned to Europe, leaving the family destitute. There was an inquest in New York City where Maggie Keating testified that “Alice” was her sister and that they were from Camden (information from a Brookyn Daily Eagle issue). I’ll be writing an article about Ella Keating’s death that will link to these articles.
The only Ella and Maggie Keating that appeared as sisters in Camden that I’ve located belong to this family, so I’m reasonably sure that this describes John Keating’s childhood. His mother died when he was young, and his siblings scattered. John would have been around 13 when this happened and young enough to go to work.
At some point, he began working at John H Dialogue Shipyards as a riveter and was living with his brother at the time of his marriage. He was admitted to the hospital in April 8, 1890, according to the Camden Morning Post, for a puncture wound he received at work. The John H Dialogue Shipyards was also known as Dialogue & Company on the Camden Waterfront. It closed just before World War I broke out.