Monday, July 6, 2015

Mystery Monday - Meredith or Godwin?

I've posted about this census record before, but I'm taking another look at it in light of some new information.

1850 US Census, 3rd District, Queen Anne's County, MD
In the 1850 census for Queen Anne's County, MD, there are several people with different surnames living in the same household. Samuel and Susan Sparks are my 2x great-grandparents and they have a newborn named Martha Ann. Every tree I've ever seen for the family has Samuel and Ann Godwin as the parents of Susan Godwin, and Susan Godwin as the wife of Samuel Sparks.

There are a couple of marriage records to support this. From the marriage records for Queen Anne's County available on the Maryland State Archives site, Samuel Godwin married Ann Davis on March 23, 1824 and Samuel Sparks married Susan Godwin on July 16, 1849. There is a Rebecca Davis living with the family who is 6 years younger than Ann Godwin, so that indicates there could be a relation to the Davis family. There are also two Meridith children living in the household.

The new to me information is from the death certificate for my great-grandmother Arianna Sparks. I knew that Arianna was the daughter of Samuel and Susan Sparks and had thought that Susan's maiden name was Godwin. The death certificate says that Arianna's parents are Samuel Sparks and Susan Meredith! It's interesting that one of the Meridith children living in the Godwin household is also named Arianna, so it does seem like there is a relationship between the families.

 I can think of several possibilities for the difference in last names for Susan:
  • The death certificate could be wrong. The informant was Arianna's daughter Ruby and perhaps she got the name confused with her other grandmother, Mary Ann Meredith, wife of Francis Councill.
  • The death certificate could be correct and Susan's maiden name really was Meredith. That raises the question of why the Sparks and Merediths were living with the Godwins? I couldn't find any Queen Anne's marriage records for a Susan Meredith
  • Susan could've remarried to a Meredith after Samuel Sparks died. This can be ruled out since Samuel died in 1899 and Susan's estate was filed in 1902 under the name Susan A. Sparks.
  • Susan Meredith could've married a Godwin before her marriage to Samuel Sparks. I couldn't find any evidence to support this in the Queen Anne's marriage records.
For now, I'm leaning towards a mistake on the death certificate, although it's possible there was a marriage for Susan in another county. Investigating the Meredith children might shed some light on the relationship to the Meredith family, so I'll follow up on that in a future post.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Census Sunday - Francis and Mary A. Councill in Queen Anne's County, Maryland

Tracing my 2x great-grandparents Francis and Mary Ann Meredith Councill through the census has been a bit confusing. The names and ages of the children changed from census to census, but it looks like they may have used nicknames or middle names. All of the census records listed below were for District 3 of Queen Anne's County, MD.

1850 US Census, District 3, Queen Anne's County, MD
The 1850 census record has the family listed as Counall. The following individuals are listed in the household. I've added an estimated year of birth based on their ages.

Francis 35, 1815
Mary Ann 23, 1827
Mary 8, 1842
Frances 5, 1845
Sarah M 3, 1847
Richard James 2/12 months, 1850

This is the only census record where a Sarah is listed, although a Maria of about the same age is listed in 1860 and 1870. There is no mention of a Sarah or Maria in Francis Councill's will of 1886.

1860 US Census, District 3, Queen Anne's County, MD
This appears to be the same family in the 1860 census, although some of the names and birth years change. Both the 1850 and 1860 censuses were taken in July, so that doesn't explain the discrepancy in ages. The following individuals are listed:

Francis Council 40, 1820
Mary 32, 1828
Marietta 17, 1843
Frances 16, 1844
Maria 12, 1848 (maybe Sarah M. from 1850?)
Richard 10, 1850
Robert 8, 1852
John 6, 1854
Frank 1, 1859
1870 US Census, District 3, Queen Anne's County, MD
In 1870, the household has the following members:

Francis Council 55, 1815
Mary 45, 1825
Maria A. 19, 1851
Ric'd 20, 1850
Robert 17, 1853
John 13, 1857
Mary A. 10, 1860

Marietta, Frances, and Frank aren't listed here. Marietta got married in 1862 and I suspect that Frances was also married by 1870. Frank would've been too young to be married, so may have died young. Another child, Mary A. is added to the household.

1880 US Census, District 3, Queen Anne's County, MD
In the 1880 census, Francis and Mary are living with their grandsons, Fran. and W. Jas Booker. Their daughter Marietta married James Booker on December 18, 1862, so they are most likely her children. Marietta married Charles J. Weaver on December 28, 1878, so I don't know why the children are with their grandparents.

Francis Council 62, 1818
Mary 54, 1826
Fran. Booker, 12 1868
W. Jas Booker, 9 1871

The will of Francis was filed in December 1887 and the estate of Mary was probated in 1889. Their children Marietta Weaver, Frances Bramble, Richard, Robert, John, and Annie Dodd were left land and money in the will of Francis and the estate of Mary. Annie doesn't appear in any of the census records, so she may have been the Mary A. or Maria A listed in the 1870 census.


  • 1850 United States Federal Census [database on-line], Image 35. Year: 1850; Census Place: District 3, Queen Anne's, Maryland; Roll: M432_296; Page: 198A; Image: 158
  • 1860 United States Federal Census [database on-line], Image 2.Year: 1860; Census Place: District 3, Queen Annes, Maryland; Roll: M653_479; Page: 34; Image: 34; Family History Library Film: 803479
  • 1870 United States Federal Census [database on-line], Image 124. Year: 1870; Census Place: District 3, Queen Annes, Maryland; Roll: M593_593; Page: 433B; Image: 312; Family History Library Film: 552092.
  • 1880 United States Federal Census [database on-line], Image 3. Year: 1880; Census Place: Centerville, Queen Anne's, Maryland; Roll: 514; Family History Film: 1254514; Page: 402B; Enumeration District: 061; Image: 0425. Note: Census image says District 3.
  • QUEEN ANNE'S COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT (Marriage Licenses) 1817-1906 CE277, Maryland State Archives

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Wedding Wednesday - Francis Councill and Mary Ann Meredith

The Maryland State Archives has digital copies of marriage licenses granted by the Queen Anne's County Circuit Court from 1817-1906. Click on the Link next to each set of years to open a PDF file with scans of the books. The records provide the names of the bride, groom, and officiant and the date of the marriage. There are gaps in the years available.

Francis Councill and Mary Ann Meredith, Maryland State Archives msa_ce277-1, Page 225
This entry is for the marriage of  my 2x great-grandparents, Francis Councill and Mary Ann Meredith. They were married in Queen Anne's County on July 8, 1840 by Rev. W. Larkins. The record also indicates that they paid $4.50 for the marriage license.

Transcriptions for the years 1817-1858 and 1865-1908 are available on Sandy's File Cabinet.

Monday, May 25, 2015

Military Monday on Memorial Day - Exploring Arlington National Cemetery with the ANC Explorer App

Memorial Day is a day to remember and honor the men and women who gave their lives while serving in the US Armed Forces. In honor of Memorial Day, Family Tree Magazine's genealogy insider blog recently listed 11 free sites that can be used to research Americans who've died in military service.

One of the sites listed is Arlington National Cemetery's ANC Explorer. The website allows you to locate gravesites, view photos of headstones, and take a virtual tour of the cemetery. Both a mobile app and web browser application are provided. This app wasn't available last time I looked at the Arlington website, so I decided to give it a try on my home PC.

My great-uncle Julius Councill was killed in action on August 12, 1918 in a battle in Fismette, France during WWI. Searching for Julius Councill on the ANC Explorer page brought up a display of a map of Arlington with a marker showing the location of Julius' grave site. Selecting the marker brought up details on Julius' grave and a small photo of his headstone.

ANC Explorer details on Julius K. Councill
The Details button brought up larger photos of the front and back of the headstone and the option to download the photos shown below.

The Directions button brought up the path to Julius' grave on the map and a detailed set of directions starting from the Welcome Center. There was a choice between the quickest and easiest route. In this case, both routes were about 1 1/4 miles from the Welcome Center.

Zooming in on the map showed that the Argonne Cross is not too far from Julius' grave.

I went back to the main page, selected "Browse Points of Interest", "Monuments and Memorials", and selected the Argonne Cross. Details about the Argonne Cross were displayed as well as front and back photos.

Argonne Cross Details from ANC Explorer app

This explained why Julius was buried in Arlington three years after his death. His burial case file included several forms filled out by Julius' mother Arianna Councill requesting that his remains be moved from France to Arlington Cemetery. I had no idea so many servicemen were moved to Arlington during that time.

Photo of the Argonne Cross from ANC Explorer app
If you have family buried at Arlington or are planning a visit there, I'd definitely recommend giving the ANC Explorer app a try. One thing to note is that the site says the tool is still under development and not all graves are included yet.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Sunday's Obituary - Catherine Desch Gast and grandsons in Celina, Ohio 1918

The Gast family of Celina, Ohio suffered the tragic loss of four family members to the Spanish influenza epidemic of 1918. Two sons of Mr. and Mrs. John Gast died on December 8 and December 11, 1918. That was followed by the death of John's mother Catherine Desch Gast on December 12, 1918. John's sister Antoinette "Mattie" Gast Ockuly died on December 23, 1918. It's hard to imagine losing so many in the family that quickly.

The following obituaries appeared in the Celina Democrat on December 13, December 20,  and December 27, 1918. I found them online at Chronicling America. The site has the weekly Celina Democrat available online for the years 1910 to 1918.

Celina Democrat, December 13, 1918
  Carl and Eugene Gast, ages 17 and 18, respectively, sons of Mr. and Mrs. John Gast, of North Cherry street, are both dead as the result of the dread Spanish influenza.
  Both were ill but a few days. Carl, the youngest of the two boys, passed away Sunday. Eugene's death occurred Wednesday. Medical science failed to stay the hand of the relentless reaper.
  Both boys were the pride and hope of their parents, were favorite among their fellows, and enjoyed the confidence and esteem of all whom they came in contact.

Celina Democrat, December 20, 1918
  Mrs. John Gast, sr. (nee Desch), aged 64 years, one of the best known women of this city, died a week ago last night, after a week's illness of influenza. She had been at the home of her son John nursing the two grandsons,whose deaths were chronicled last week, until a few days preceding her death. Grief over the loss of her grandchildren and the absence of her youngest son Leo at Camp Merritt no doubt broke her spirit and hastened the death of the good woman. 

  The deceased was a daughter of the late Mr. and Mrs. Ferdinand Desch, and was born at St. Johns, April 23, 1854. She was married to Mr. Gast in 1871. Five years later they came to Celina. where they since resided. The deceased is survived by her husband and eight children—John. jr., Andrew, Leo. Matilda, Sister Margaret, Mrs. Geo. Pulskamp, Mrs. P. A. Ockuly and Mrs, Alex Miller, of Ottawa.
  Funeral services were held Monday evening and the remains deposited in the mausoleum to await the arrival of her son Leo before her interment. 

Celina Democrat, December 27, 1918
  Mrs. P. A. Ockuly (nee Gast), aged 32 years, died at the home of her father, John Gast, sr., last Monday night. Mrs. Ockuly had been ill for three weeks or more from an attack of influenza, and the deaths of her two nephews, followed closely by that of her mother, no doubt had a very depressing effect upon her and contributed much to her final dissolution. 
  The deceased for many years was employed at the Bote office, and was highly esteemed by a large circle of acquaintances. She was wedded to Mr. Ockuly only last April. Funeral services were held at the Catholic church yesterday.

Catherine Desch Gast was my 3x great-grandmother. Her daughter Mary married my 2x great-grandfather George F. Pulskamp in 1899. George Pulskamp was the publisher of the German Bote newspaper mentioned in the obituary of Mrs. P. Ockuly.