Saturday, November 5, 2016

Surname Saturday - Sparks from Queen Anne's, MD

This version of my Sparks family tree connects my Sparks family to the original Sparks immigrants in Queen Anne's County, MD.  There are still a lot of gaps to fill in, but I've learned a lot since my original Sparks post in 2011.


My great-grandmother Ariana Sparks was born in Queen Anne's County, MD and later moved to Baltimore, MD with her husband John Councill. Her parents were Samuel Sparks and Susan Godwin. Samuel Sparks is named in land records along with his father Daniel, uncle John, and his siblings and spouses.

The will of James Sparks names sons Daniel, John, and Henson. This is one of the shakier links since I don't have proof that these are the same Daniel and John Sparks named in the land records with Samuel Sparks. The time period and location in Queen Anne's County seem to fit.

The other shaky link is the one from James to William Sparks, Jr. The Sparks Quarterly Issue 124 has an explanation of why James Sparks is the probable son of William Sparks, Jr. According to the Sparks Quarterly, William Sparks  had four sons: William Jr., George, John, and Joseph. Wills and estate settlements of John, George, and Joseph name their children, but none of them are believed to be the James that married Elizabeth Burkhurst.

Sources for the first four levels in the tree are the Sparks Quarterly and the Sparks Family Tree.

Monday, September 19, 2016

Amanuensis Monday - Will of John Meredith, Queen Anne's County, MD

The will of John Meredith leaves his estate to his four children, John Meredith, William Meredith, Thomas Meredith, Sarah Cofton, and a grandson James Meredith. The will was signed on July 14, 1764 and probated in Queen Anne's County, MD.

One of the witnesses to the will was Henry Councell and the will mentions a tract of land called Tom's Fancy Enlarged that was named in land records for my Councill family. This copy of the will comes from MD wills, Vol. 31-32, available on Ancestry.com.

In the name of God Amen. I John Meredith, from Queen Anne County and the province of Maryland...

Item: I give and bequeath to my beloved son, William Meredith, eighty acres of land where he now dwells being part of a parcel of land called Tristram's? Ridge to be taken of said tract square ? to him and his heirs forever.

Item : I give and bequeath unto my beloved son John Meredith my now dwelling plantation being the remainder of any ? track of land called Tristram's Ridge with hundred acres of land thereto adjoining being part of a land called Tom's Fancy Enlarged to him and his heirs forever.

Item: I give and bequeath unto my beloved son Thomas Meredith one Negro named I? and one Negro named Co? to him and his heirs forever.

Item: I give and bequeath unto my beloved daughter, Sarah Cofton, one Negro, named ? and her child named ? to her and her heirs forever. Item I give and bequeath to my beloved grandson James Meredith, son of my son William Meredith one Negro girl named Rose? to him and his heirs forever.

Item: I give and bequeath unto my beloved son John Meredith all my wearing apparel and my sword and pistols.

Item: My will and desire is that should my son John Meredith die without issue? that then and in that case his part of my above named land should be divided up as follows Viz The dwelling ? called Tristram's Ridge to my son William Meredith being the remainder of the tract of land to him before bequeathed to him and his heirs forever, and the above mentioned ? acres of land being part of Tom's Fancy Enlarged to my son Thomas Meredith, him and his heirs forever.

Item: My will and desire is that after my just debts be paid and my funeral charges defrayed that the remainder of my estate to be equally divided between my above named four children Viz. William John Thomas and Sarah, and I do hereby constitute and appoint my beloved son John Meredith my sole executor of this my last will and testament hereby ? all other will and .. 14th day of July in 1764.

John Meredith


My 2x great-grandfather Francis Councill married Mary Ann Meredith, daughter of John Meredith and Elizabeth Hall. Mary's father John was born around 1800, so he is not the one named in this will. I suspect that the John Meredith that wrote the will is connected to my family, but I need to link up another generation or two to make the connection.

Amanuensis Monday is a popular ongoing series created by John Newmark at Transylvanian Dutch.

Monday, July 11, 2016

Amanuensis Monday - Will of James Sparks

The will of James Sparks, signed March 21, 1775 leaves his estate to his wife July Sparks, sons Nathan, Daniel, John, Henson, and step-daughter Sarah Meredith. The will was probated in Queen Anne's County, MD.

From land records in Queen Anne's County, MD I knew that Daniel Sparks was the father of my 2x great-grandfather Samuel Sparks. The land records also name a brother of Daniel as John Sparks. It looks probable that James' sons Daniel and John are the same as the ones named in the land records. This would make James my 4x great -grandfather. I became aware of this will due to some shaky leaves on my Ancestry.com tree, so thanks to those that added it to their trees!

Maryland Wills, vol 40-41, 1774-1777, Image 156
Item, I leave unto my loving wife, July Sparks the use of my house and fifty acres of land on His Lordship's Manor that is under lease, during her natural life or widowhood, or the lease holds good.

Item, I give and bequeath to my loving son John Sparks one featherbed with a buckram tick and what furniture belonging to it.

Item, I give and bequeath to my loving son Daniel one featherbed with a plain linen tick and all its furniture there belonging.

Item, I give and bequeath to my son, Henson Sparks, one middle sized pewter dish and six pewter plates.

Item, I give unto my wife Juley Sparks one iron pot holding about six gallons. I also give to my loving wife Juley Sparks six yoes and lambs.

Item, I give and bequeath to Sarah Marydith daughter of Juley Sparks an equal part of the rest of my personal estate that is to be divided amongst all the rest of my children.

And lastly, I leave my loving wife, Juley Sparks and my loving son Nathan Sparks my whole and sole executors of this my last will and testament. In witness whereof I have fixed my hand and seal this 21st day of March Anno Domini, 1775.


The entire will is transcribed in the Sparks Quarterly, along with an explanation of why James is most likely he son of William Sparks Jr. and Margaret Hamilton.

Source for will: Ancestry.com. Maryland, Wills and Probate Records, 1604-1998 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2015.

Amanuensis Monday is a popular ongoing series created by John Newmark at Transylvanian Dutch.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Wedding Wednesday - Ann Baynard and John Councel

The Maryland State Archives has many books of marriage licenses available online. This entry is for Ann Baynard and John Councel, dated August 15, 1808 in Caroline County, Maryland. The date is for the marriage license and not the marriage itself.


I've been trying to figure out if John and Ann are the parents of my 2x great-grandfather Francis Councill. John and Ann were residing in Queen Anne's County in 1821 when they sold their share of an inheritance from Levin Baynard's estate. I know that Francis and his brothers were born after 1808 and inherited land from their father John in Queen Anne's County. The estate papers of their father John Councell mention his wife Ann, but don't mention her maiden name.

Wedding Wednesday is a Geneabloggers daily blogging prompt.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Sunday's Obituary - Mary Catherine Hagedorn Gast

This obituary for Mary Catherine (Hagedorn) Gast was published in the Celina Democrat on November 12, 1915.  Mary Catherine was my 3x great-grandmother and was married to Mathias Gast. She was the daughter of Hermann Hagedorn and C. Maria Tebben.


  Mrs. Mary Catherine Gast, aged 92 years, the venerable mother of John Gast, sr., of this city, died suddenly early Saturday morning at her home at Maria Stein. as the result of a stroke of paralysis sustained u few hours previous. 
  Deceased was a native of Germany, but immigrated to this country when it young girl and hid spent the greater part of her life in this county. She is survived by five children—John H. Gast, of this city; Mrs. Henry Schaefer, of St. Bernard,. Henry Gast and Mrs. Henry Feldhake of Lima; and Mat Gast, of Maria Stein. 
  One of her daughters, Mrs. Schaefer and her husband celebrated their golden wedding anniversary last Sunday at St. Bernard, and while the venerable mother was not able to be present, a portion of the wedding cake was sent her and she enjoyed eating it on the day previous to her death. 
  Funeral services will be held at the St. John Catholic church near Marla Stein, Monday morning.


The above article on the funeral was published in the Celina Democrat on November 19, 1915:

  The funeral of Mrs. Catharine Gast, the venerable mother of John H. Gast, of this city, who died on the 11th inst., was held at St. John's Catholic Church at Maria Stein last Monday morning and was attended by a large following of relatives and friends. Among those present were:
  Mr. and Mrs. J. H. Gast, daughters Jennie and Nettie and son Andy, Barney Gast, Nora Gast, Henry Tubben, Mrs. Holkman and Ferd Woesta, of Celina; Wm. Harting and family, of Desatur; Mr. and Mrs. John Schaeper, of Norword; Miss Cecelia Schaeper, of St. Bernard; Mr. and Mrs. Henry Feldhake, Mr. and Mrs. Henry Gast and family, of LIma; Mr. and Mrs. Woeste, John Holkman, of Coldwater; Frank Harting, of St. Henry; and Miss Armelia Roeckner, of Chickasaw.

Images of the Celina Democrat are from the Chronicling America site.