French Family Association

The Official Website of the Surname French

Tower Remains of the Monivea Castle. Nearby are the remains of the stables, and in the distance is the Mausoleum. I was fortunate to visit the thousands of acres of land several times and will post photos and more data as I have time. Mara

Chart #IREH, ffrenches of Monivea Castle,
Co. Galway, Ireland

Last updated by Mara French on 5/5/09. Numbers in brackets [ ] refer to the bibliography at the end of this chart. An asterisk (*) shows continuation of that line. Send corrections or additions to Mara French. Revised 1989, 2008, 2009.


This is a very extensive ffrench family. There is so much information online about them that I plan to include only a small part here. I am mainly trying to research the connection of the French, ffrench, and de Freyne families born in Ireland who immigrated to America. With this particular line, one family immigrated to Australia in the 19th century, and one family immigrated to Canada in the 20th century.


History and Research

14 Tribes of Galway

Generations 1-5

Generations 6-8

Generations 9-10

Eleventh Generation

Twelfth Generation

The Social and Cultural History of Monivea

Coat of Arms

Trip to Monivea, Ireland, 1997

Peg Moyles, Gatekeeper for the French Property

Origination of the Surnames ffrench and de Freynes

Surname French in Ireland from Counties Wexford, Roscommon, Galway, Cork, Mayo, etc.

Emigration, Irish Charts

Other Ireland Notes on the Surname French


Eleventh Generation

Children of Conrad O’Brien-ffrench, 10.6

11.1 Rollo ffrench, d. in the later 1970s.

11.2 Christina ffrench is the daughter of Conrad’s first wife. Christina ffrench, who used to live in Sweden is now living in Ireland, Bulloughtra, Tulla, County Clare, phone: 353-653-5615.

   Monivea B&B

11.3* John ffrench, lives in Vancouver, British Colombia, Canada, son of Conrad’s second wife. He is a film producer [12]. 87b Avenue 21577, Langley, British Colombia, CANADA V1M 2E6. Phone: 604-513-9111 (no longer in service).  He and his wife, Wendy, now run the Monivea B&B at 420 Fulford Ganges Rd., on Salt Spring Island, Vancouver Island, Canada, 250-537-5856 or 1-888-537-5856. Website: Email:

Twelfth Generation

Children of John ffrench, 11.3

12.1 Megan ffrench, British Columbia

12.2 Lindsay ffrench, British Columbia.

Coat of Arms

Trip to Monivea, Ireland, 1997

My notes on my trip to visit Peg Moyes in July 1997 from Mara French

Peg was sitting up in bed, bright and cheerful. Even at 78, her red hair looked lovely, sort of a dull orange tone but not as curly as before. The entire family looks the same - also with freckles. Four years ago, Peg had a stroke and is not doing very well. She can only be entertained for 1/2 hour and then needs to relax. She's so lovely a person and has done well in maintaining the gatehouse and the ffrench property to the castle which once contained 2,000 acres, but probably now is only 100 acres. Her father, a Mr. O'Meary, was a guard for the castle while her mother helped clean. The two lived above the stables, which at that time must have been a lovely place. Imagine living in a castle with fields of trees and grass around you. Presently a farmer uses the land for his animals and crops the land, but doesn't live at the castle. Peg's son and his daughter, Michelle and her girlfriend gave me a tour. Her son was very funny. He kept telling me about all his wives and other unaccounted for children. He said some wives he let go - he didn't like them anymore, and the kids neither. Then he laughed in such a way that it made everyone else laugh. You couldn't believe a word he said. He told me if I'd been around 20 years ago, I'd have more than one child now. What a card. Because he was such a show-off, he showed me more of the castle than I'd ever seen before. He showed me the stables and feeding bins. It's truly amazing. I hope my photos come out. He says the castle doesn't have a coat of arms on it, but I seem to remember one on the backside of the tower ruins. On the road back to Peg's from the castle, in the woods is the cooler. I say in the woods now, but apparently these woods will be cut down very soon and new trees planted. These are not the same trees as long ago. They were much better trees -- hardwood and much prettier. The trees now are tall and thin -- very tall, I'd say at least 3 stories high and they act like an umbrella when you drive through them. The cooler is where they kept their meat. It is a round stone building full of ivy and prickly bushes, but we made our way to the door. The door, or opening, is about 2 1/2' high, but we crawled in. About 5' inside there is a huge hole about 8' deep and 6' in diameter. It was full of rubbish at the bottom. Her son said he dug around the hole to see if there was a secret passageway to the castle, but he never found one. I doubted there would be. The castle was a very long ways away and it wasn't necessary to have a tunnel. Then going back further toward Peg's house, we turned left to the mausoleum. It was much like I remembered it, but this time I got to go up on the roof. The staircase is built out of solid stone curved in s spiral; likewise is the staircase down to the crypt. The entire building is cut stone, about 2 feet wide, 1 1/2 feet high, and 2 feet deep, all cut perfectly to fit. It looked like the castle in a chess set. The roof was very clean and well taken care of. It has a chimney and a coat of arms of the ffrench family on the front carved in stone. The columns inside stretch from the crypt to the roof. The life-size sculpture of Robert Ffrench on his dying bed is entirely carved of marble, brought over from Italy. He must have been a tall man, because when Peg's son lay down beside him, he was shorter than the sculpture. He's probably 5'9''. The stained glass windows inside (4 of them) each showed the coat of arms of one of the tribes of Galway, including the ffrench family. I hope all my photos come out of this. The crypt is a sight to see. It has a trap door on top for lowering the coffins, although there are only two coffins down there of Robert ffrench and his daughter. His cousin, Ms. Roselin ffrench is buried outside since she was Catholic and the rest of the family was Protestant. The coffins are of lead and welded shut. There are about 3 small rooms in the crypt, each about 8' x 8', with the columns coming down between them. Only a little light shown down through the vented windows. I guessed at where I was taking the photos. Peg's family is supposed to be taking care of the castle, but they're kind of tired about it and do very little. Somehow they seem to have a lot of say in the town and really control what happens to the castle. Afterall, four generations of their family have lived there. Peg's daughter from Galway was there taking care of Peg. Peg’s son returned from next door. He had a new house built where the old gatehouse was. Sad to tear it down, but it had only 2 rooms and was very old. He laid in the bed with his mother and put his arm around her. They looked so much alike. He told her all the crazy jokes he had told me and they laughed and laughed together. I had to laugh again. It's so crazy. At 9:30 p.m. I really had to leave even though they offered to make up a bed for me for the night. The house was just too filled with cigarette smoke -- I needed some real fresh air. It was sad to leave. I gave them a book on Robert Ffrench which was recently published. Hopefully Sharon will read it to her mother who can't read anymore. She can see, but her brain can't connect the meaning. So I left and went as far as Loughrea where I stayed in a bed and breakfast. There the lady had lived in Monivea and knew Peg when she was small. She is 66 now and Peg is 78. Peg was born in 1919. She even knew Peg's parents. This lady's father, Thomas Russell, was in the Guards also and they had much to do with the castle. They even went every month to the mass they held at the mausoleum. Peg's children told me how they manicured the mausoleum before each monthly service. They had to edge the grass and take away all the weeds. Now the place isn't manicured at all, but the building is in fairly good condition. Mara

Peg Moyles, Gatekeeper for the French Property

The following diary is from Peg Moyles, gatekeeper to the Monivea Castle. She gave me this description of her thoughts when caring for Ms. Rosamond ffrench. I assume it was written in about 1985.

It is remarkable that fifty years ago, when I was a child, Monivea Castle was a living place. I remember a cook house maid, still room maid, a scullery maid, in residence. Outside were manager, herd forester and trapper, as well as a yardman and various casual workers – these varied according to the amount of work and the time of year. Of course the yardman doubled as a gardener which in my childhood was a beautiful and bountiful place with a greenhouse, which boasted of a vine. To me it looked at that time, as a vine boasting of a greenhouse but it fruited. And many a sweet grape I ate there. The summer seemed sunnier those times - or is that a sign of my senility. The strawberrys, gooseberrys, raspberry canes, black currants, apples, pears, plums and many other fruits, were to my sister and myself a garden of Eden; but above all this was “the swing”, never will that magic seat leave my memory. Times were very bad and people in those days were so poor the proverbial church mice were rich in comparison, and swings were the last thing us kids saw. But my sister and I being grandchildren and children of the “Gate Lodge Keeper”, we had a standing invitation to go to the swing at any time. Needless to say we went down every moment we could. The swing was erected on the 15th of June every year for Miss Rosemund’s birthday. It didn’t come down again till winter. Miss Rosemund invited both schools to her birthday party on the 15th of June; all children from Ryehill and Monivea school marched in very orderly fashion with our teachers, like the animals on the arc two by two. We got barn brack with jam and tea to eat in the servant hall, the big long tables easily seated us all. I suppose there were at least thirty children there. I never tasted anything like that barn brack; we all eat until we could hardly stand up and we got tea from the biggest teapot we ever saw. It took two girls to lift it. After we had ate and drank our fill, we were all brought to the front lawns to run races, sack, two legged, and all types of races. Our prize was a small bag of can sweets – acid drops or bulls eyes. But they didn’t taste like that then – they were only magic, the flush of victory, and a bag of cheap sweets made us all feel like olympic winners; Dear Miss Rosemund, how she must have loved children. Before the day was over, even the slow snails got sweets, and all went home happy and contented. It was the red letter day of the year! I remember at least ten such happy days. Miss ffrench, was a beautiful lady – just like old Queen Mary, same hair style. And on the day of the party she always managed to have a few English visitors, plus the Blakes, which we knew well. They were her cousins – her mother was a “Blake” but if a child fell or got hurt she would cuddle them to her, and the lovely smell and kindly word made even the worst hurt disappear. Indeed it was nearly worth falling to get near her! As the years go by, her face seems to fade, but never the lovely smell of her – only once in after life did I get it, when I was nursing in England, in the war years. Princess Marina Alexander’s mum came to visit the troops, the wounded ones in our hospital – and her smell lingered for days in the ward. I was in the throes of home sickness at the time, and I can tell you, I got a fair old twinge!! Amid the roar of aircraft allies and foe, the clatter of the ack-acks, and the exploding of bombs all around, my thoughts leap back to the peace and tranquility of Monivea, especially to the castle, whose stout ivyed walls seemed like a haven of protection. Alas, even while I was thinking, the castle itself was no more. The state had pulled down all but the tower, With it went many memories of childhood years. The lands were being divided, yes even the tree that held our magic swing was sold for firewood, the garden ploughed, and all its fruit trees burned and bulldozed away. The flowers, yes even the vine and greenhouse did not escape. When next I saw it, a field of yellow wheat waved gently in the breeze where our Eden was. That was progress, but to me it was the shattering of carefree days and happy times. I seemed to grow up as I looked and casted aside my fancies of youth!

But in the beginning long long before my time, the ffrench estate was a huge place extending to Galway on the west, to Moylough on the North, and Derrydownville on the south. The east and some of the southwest were bog lands, this in olden times helped the owners to defend it well – in later years one Robert ffrench planted most of the bog land and in 1740 received a gold medal for it – over 1000 acres under woodland.

But before I get into the old history, I must tell you about the carriage which took Miss ffrench to Mass every Sunday and indeed everywhere else, until the coachman died or the motor took over. It was times then, so beautiful – we used to stand to watch it going out, shiny black outside and furnished inside in scarlet satin, with those red buttons here and there, with scarlet tassels out of them, which gave the inside, an upholstery effect. Miss Rosemund, was by the way, a convert to R.C., was disowned by her father on that account, she was never allowed to drive in the carriage herself – until her father’s death, then of course she was boss, her mother having predeceased her father and her sister Miss Nina, long gone her own way.

Once or twice she sent a note to our Mother asking us to wait over and she would take us to Mass. The joy of it, and how grand we felt, and as we passed all the other children on the way, how proud we were. I am sure our noses cocked up two degrees. If you sat with your back to the horse, you felt you were going backways. The horse that pulled the carriage was “Tara” – he was jet black, and seemed to hold his head much higher under the carriage. All the rest of the week he was farm working. But on Sundays, he was gleaming, all a ding dong with plumes and brass plates and his harness creaked – it was so polished. I have still got one of the carriage lamps to remind me of those days of no rush. Miss ffrench was my sister’s godmother, so she was always special, got invited to breakfast in the Castle on the day she made her first communion and confirmation. It was a butterfly in the tummy day. You couldn’t eat much, but we were well tutored by our mother and there was no way we picked up the wrong implement to eat with and so disgrace the family. No way did silver egg cups put any of us out. Everyday for weeks before, my mother would lay out the breakfast, the way it would be on that morning, so she had no doubt of Anne’s ability to know what to do. We were brought up to be as much at home with the castle folk, as we were with our school pals. I often think of Kipling’s “if”. “If you can walk with Kings, yet keep the common touch” we would be men. What were my sister and I? I can tell you, we were certainly able to go up or down, as required so I suppose we were neither fish nor flesh. These and many more are my memories of the ffrench family.

But the first man to occupy the Monivea Estate, was a french man. He was granted vast tracts of land in honour of his bravery in war, which the french were waging in Ireland, and he was allowed as a special honor from “The Dauphin” of french to bear the Dolphin on his coat of arms. He took for hit motto “malo mori quam foedari” which means “death before dishonor.”

The Christian names Robert and Acheson are family names from then to 1938. (Her story ends abuptly here). Peg Moyles died probably in the late 1990s.


[1] Conrad Faulk O’Brien-ffrench, Artist and Spy, by Paul Atkinson. Email: 00brien@kinson.mobl

[2] From A Genealogical and Heraldic Dictionary of the Landed Gentry of Great Britain and Ireland, by Bernard Burke, Published by Harrison, 1858, 1404 pages. Website:

[3] Monivea Castle, website:,
also, also also


[5] Charlotte Plummer Taylor, email:

[6] Anne Heathwood, email:

[7] Ann Burnell, email: Email from Ann to Mara in Feb 2008: I recently stayed with Christina ffrench in Ireland and visited Monivae, the ruins, mausoleum and the icehouse. Christina and I planted an Irish Oak in the new re-afforestation project. I found the experience very moving - to be able to walk where my husbands ancestors had walked. I would have liked to have had more time to visit the area more thoroughly and to walk through the church yards and find the gravestones but I must be grateful for what I had. Christina was most gracious with her time and records. She showed me what you had sent her.


[9] BBC, Edited Guide Entry, website:

[10] Duncan Uniacke, scion on the Ffrench clan

[11] Ian Black, email: (email good in 2006)

[12] Bill Murray is gathering data about this family for a documentary video which he hopes will be later made into a movie. He has been working on this documentary for a long time and is hoping to find a few more photographs. If you can help in this project, write to Bill Murray, 4 Green View House, Circular Rd., Rahoon, Galway, Ireland. Bill does not have email, but if you would like to send something to me, I'll print out everything and send it to him in one package, even if it's just your address indicating you have an interest in this project. Bill is mostly interested in the life of the last ffrench families of Monivea, and especially Rosamund ffrench, and in Conrad O'Brien ffrench, who was friends with Ian Fleming. Year 2000. Below is a letter from Mara French to Bill Murray dated 25 Feb 2000:

I finally found the current address of John O’Brien ffrench and even talked with him on the phone. He is a film producer and is very eager to help furnish you with all his photos and newspaper articles you need. Conrad subscribed to a service that sent him any major article about him from all the major newspapers in Canada and the U.S., and therefore he has piles of articles. John says he’s very proud of his father. John O’Brien ffrench, 87b Avenue 21577, Langley, British Colombia, CANADA V1M 2E6. Phone: 604-513-9111. His half-sister, Christina ffrench, who used to live in Sweden is now living in Ireland, Bulloughtra, Tulla, County Clare, phone: 353-653-5615. A man named Jeffrey O’Connell, is writing a complete history of the ffrench family in Ireland and he lives at Parkmore, Durus, Kinvara, County Galway, IRELAND. Hope this helps you out. I look forward to hearing from you and the results of the documentary. Mara

[13] Hugh Casement, email: did some research on Russian connections. Lives near Munich, Germany. Phone: 08121 437606.

Col. Alexander de Kindiakoff: Ikonnikov, Nicolas (editor): La Noblesse de Russie (Bureau Généalogique de l'Union de la Noblesse Russe, Paris, 2nd edition 1957-66), volume G part 1. Kindiakov, Alexander L'vovich; b. 1805, d. 18 Nov. 1884.  Lt-Col. 1867-70.  In 1860 he had 218 serfs on 1350 hectares at Kindiakova etc. and a further 407 serfs on 5700 hectares at Golovino, Syzran. The first name of his son is unrecorded, but of course he had the patronymic Alexandrovich.  He was also a Lt-Col. His wife was Emilia Alexandrovna, surname unrecorded, who was a widow in 1865 (so he evidently d. quite young).  They appear to have had only one child: Sophia Alexandrovna, † Simbirsk 14.7.1902.  Mariée ą Maximilian Percy-French.  Leur fille Ekaterina Maximilianovna Percy-French avait en 1900 969 hectares ą Kindiakova d. Simbirsk, 5172 hectares ą Kamychevo d. Novoouzensk, et 3815 hectares ą Epifanova d. Senguilei. If she had the middle name Alexandrovna then presumably her father was Alexander like his father (Aleksandr would be a more accurate transliteration).  However, I'm not at all sure about Max Percy-French!  Anglo-Irish sources call him Robert Percy ffrench and his dau. Kathleen Emily Sophie Alexandra (not Catherine = Ekaterina).  Anyway, she evidently did inherit large estates.  I think the "d." means district of, or perhaps they're equivalent to counties. I found the following places:

Novouzensk 50°28'N, 48°08'E
Sengiley   53°58'N, 48°46'E
Saratov    51°34'N, 46°02'E
Simbirsk   54°20'N, 48°24'E
Syzran'    53°09'N, 48°27'E

so it seems their properties were widely scattered (at any rate by western European standards).  Simbirsk is shown on modern maps as Ulyanovsk. Novouzensk is near the border with Kasakhstan, the others on or near the Volga. There is another book on Russian "nobility" (more equivalent to landed gentry, I think), by a member of the Lobanov-Rostovsky family who were also related by marriage to the Kindiakovs, so he should be an authority on the subject.  Unfortunately it was away being photocopied or rebound when I was in the Eastern Europe & Orient section of the Bavarian State Library.  Probably back in its place by now, but I don't often get a chance to get into town on a weekday.  And then there's the slight problem that the book is in Russian.

Hugh Casement’s line is, working backward:
Roger Casement (1850-1928) m. Susie Beatty (1852-1915)
Sarah Jane Burke (1823-1888) m. James Beatty (1820-1856)
The Rev. Henry Anthony Burke (1795-1872)
. Julia Frances Blake (ca 1794 -1870)
Michael Burke (d. 1838) m. Sarah Morgan (d. 1813)
John Morgan m. 1758 Sarah Ormsby
Francis Ormsby (ca 1695 -1751) m. 1716 Mary French
Col. John French (ca 1660 -1734), 'an Tiarna Mór'
and also in the Blake line from Julia Frances:
Valentine Blake (d. ca 1798) m. Anna Maria Roper (1770-1810)
Mark Blake m. 1731 Joan French
Ignatius French of Carrowrea
Valentine French

[14] Wendy Dixon in Ontario, Canada. Email: a Blake descendant and interested in ffrench-Blake.

[15] Walford’s County Families, 1909.

[16] Bob French, Email: (email good in 2005).

[17] Excerpt from The Connaught Journal, Thursday, November 20, 1823. "On Monday week a good substantial dinner, consisting of the best beef, mutton, strong beer, &c, was given to the tenantry on the estate of Monivea, to the number of 500, by the family of Robert Ffrench, Esq., in their return from the Continent. The poor people enjoyed themselves in the merry dance to a late hour in the evening; and the families of distinction for miles round the festive scene, participated of the rural sports. The utmost harmony prevailed. The good people poured fourth blessings on the head of their paternal Landlord and his family, who, not only on that, but on all occasions, seemed to live but for their sakes.- Nay, even toasts were proposed and drank- not, perhaps, with a preparatory display of eloquent coldness; but certainly with as much sincerity as ever prevailed on a similar occasion. Conciliation too (that word which is so detestable in the eyes of the Orange Faction) was cultivated and cherished by them. They drank to the health of their Priest and Minister, in gratitude to both for their sacred co-operation in feeding the poor people during last year's famine. The King, the Landlord, and "good-will amongst all creeds and denominations," were toasted at this fete champetre, which, in our humble judgments, has set a blessed example of harmony to the rest of Ireland, and gives a happy and cheering picture of the state of things here, and the melancholy reverse which the aspect of other districts presents. What a pleasing sight to see the men of stake and rank in the land identifying their own with the happiness of their tenantry; and what feelings must the perusal of these few lines excite in the breast of that man whose whole life has been spent in extracting from the pockets of his wretched fellow-beings every mite that could contribute to their happiness. In the South, the gentry are flying, or have already fled, from their estates. In Galway, the landed proprietors are returning to the bosoms of their tenantry and mingling with them as with their children. In one district in this unfortunate country the Landed Proprietors cannot travel without escorts of Dragoons, &c., here they are defended by the hearts and love of their Tenantry. And after all this, and with those things before their eyes, people will assert that the Irish are an untameable set of Savages. Yes, they are ferocious (and it is not to be wondered at) when the potato is wrested from their own and their childrens' lips. They are untameable, when the Bible is forced into their mouths at the moment when they are seeking for some food to sustain exhausted nature. They are a savage race, when they are goaded and ground down to the earth- far below the level of brutes- by the combined wickedness of luxurious and extravagant Absentee Landlords, tyrannical petit maitre Agents,  and ignorant and avaricious Tithe Proctors and Middlemen. THERE IS NOT SUCH AN UNFORTUNATE RACE OF MEN ON THE FACE OF THE EARTH." Transcribed by Cathy Joynt Labath in Abstracts from Irish Newspapers.

[18] Jim and Lillian Dickinson, Email: (good in 2008).

[19] The Peerage, Darryl Lundy, 41 Woodland Street, Sherborn, MA 01770 and 128 Heke Street, Wellington, New Zealand.  and Email

[20] Tuam Herald, 18 Aug 1928, Some Former Families of French in Co. Galway -- Pedigree of French of Rahasane -- Ultimate Fate of Rahasane House, by Martin J. Blake.

[21] My notes on my trip to visit Peg Moyes in July 1997. See above.

[22] Lisa Edwards, Email: (email good in 2006).


[24] Lineage and Birth, Conrad Faulk O’Brien-ffrench. Artist and Spy. Website:

[25] Tuam Herald, 18 Aug 1928, Some Former Families of French in Co. Galway -- Pedigree of French of Rahasane -- Ultimate Fate of Rahasane House, by Martin J. Blake.

[26] Monica Murray,

[27] Hamilton, a Western District History, published by Hargreen Publishing Company, 1984, by Don Garden. Acheson French of Moniver Castle, Galway, Ireland, and his decendants who immigrated to Hamilton, Australia. Book has 278 pages, of which 28 are about Acheson. Maximillian de French, (Chart #127). Contributed by Alison Anderson.

[28] Stirnet (need to register), website:

[29] Marianne Eastgate, Email: (email good in 2001)

[30] Booklet on Monivae written by Ian Black in 1996, sent to me by Ian Black in 1999 from the Hamilton History Center Inc., Mechanics Institute, 43 Gray Street, Hamilton, Vic 3300, P.O. Box 816, Hamilton, Vic. 3300, who lives next door to Monivae in Hamilton, email and other Hamilton websites: and Mr. Ian Black works at the center as the Treasurer.

[31] Catholic Who's Who and Yearbook, 1930 edition.


[33] Estates of the French family, website:

[34] Dromoland Castle, website:

[35] John and Wendy ffrench, Monivea B&B at 420 Fulford Ganges Rd., on Salt Spring Island, Vancouver Island, Canada, 250-537-5856 or 1-888-537-5856. Website: Email: