Country: Canada

Region (County/State/Province): Newfoundland, Bonavista Bay Region

Website: None

Contact: Tessa Keough

Study Description 

Introduction: My Plate Cove East OPS came about in an effort to determine which Keoughs in the community of Plate Cove East were my Keoughs and what other families we might be related to. My grandfather was born and raised in Plate Cove East, the third generation of Keoughs who made their home along the Bonavista peninsula, home to several isolated small bays and coves that were some of the earliest settled parts of Newfoundland. Settlers from Carlow, Waterford and Wexford, Ireland arrived first in Bonavista and King’s Cove and then proceeded to settle in Plate Cove and surrounding communities where they engaged in farming, timber and fishing.

Location/Description: Plate Cove East encompasses an area of 60.87km² and is located on the east coast of Newfoundland just off NL-235 (Bonavista Bay Highway – a two lane road) 19.4 km off of NL-230 which connects to the Trans-Canada Highway (Plate Cove East is a 263 km drive from the capital of Newfoundland, St. John’s).

Plate Cove East is located near and shares a common history with the communities of Plate Cove West (2.9 km SW or 1.8 miles), Open Hall (6.1 km NW or 3.8 miles), Tickle Cove (11.0 km NW or 6.8 miles), and King’s Cove (12.5 km NE 7.8 miles).

The name Plate Cove (East & West being the two sides of the cove) supposedly comes from the look and incline of the land and harbor which has the appearance of a dish or soup plate. Plate Cove East is a unique name and I have not found it used anywhere else.

About the Community: The censuses, directories, church, tax, fishing and voter records taken in the 1820-1940 time-frame indicate that eight families settled in Plate Cove – Dooley, Driscoll, Furlong, Keough, Moss, Murphy, Philpot (or Philpott), Russell, and Tracey. Although originally known as Plate Cove, in certain records distinctions began to be made for Plate Cove East and Plate Cove West and, in fact, all voting registers and censuses after 1900 make this distinction. By 1850 a minor but important road was built between Kings Cove and Plate Cove so that the people could more easily attend church, visit and trade. A school for the area children was built in Open Hall around 1850 (approximately 6 miles from Plate Cove East). In the mid-1960s the road was improved to better link the various small communities, electricity was provided in 1964 and a telephone system was installed (although there was only one phone to serve the needs of the community until individual phones were in stalled in 1968). Plate Cove East is and has always been primarily Roman Catholic and Irish. Due to its relative isolation, the dialect of Plate Cove East’s residents and their cultural traditions (music, songs, dance, and customs) remained pure Southeast Irish until the 1980s.

My Study: I was able to begin my research online with the assistance of the Grand Banks’ website and am grateful to the amazing volunteers who transcribe records, monitor the newspapers and organize volunteer projects for those of us who want to continue to study the small communities and towns that make up much of Newfoundland. In fact the website was my first introduction to many extended relatives and affiliated families who consider Plate Cove East home.

I made a trip to Newfoundland in 2009 to perform research and meet extended family members and residents of Plate Cove East. Since that trip, and as time permits, I work through the records and information I acquired. My one-place study is currently an off-line project. I am in contact with several current and former residents of Plate Cove East through the Community Facebook page (always an excellent source for photos, learning of possible connections and getting my pesky questions answered). I am in the process of transcribing and abstracting records, preparing spreadsheets of data, and organizing photos taken of the area, grave markers and memorials (a definite work in progress) and hope to have my OPS website/blog “live” in the near future. I encourage anyone with an interest in Plate Cove East to join in this study and share their family history, knowledge of the local history, photographs and memories.


None specified


The population in 1835 was 73 people

The population in 1901 was 236 people

The population in 1935 was 262 people

The population in 1981 was 172 people

The population in 2005 was 72 people

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