Saturday, March 17, 2018

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks - Week 11 - Lucky - Happy St. Patrick's Day!

The 52 Ancestors prompt for this week is "Lucky". Do you have an ancestor who was lucky at something? Lucky to be alive? Lucky at cards? Lucky in love? Maybe you have an ancestor with a name that reminds you of luck or fortune. There's always "luck of the Irish." Maybe you have a story of how luck played a role in finding an ancestor. Write about that this week. 

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Luck of the Irish is what comes to mind for me for this prompt and the lucky person was me! I've had the good fortune to visit Ireland three times (so far!) and two of the trips were as a contest winner. The first trip was with my parents and two aunts and uncles. We were celebrating my father's retirement and he had always wanted to see Ireland. He took this shot looking away from the Cliffs of Moher.

Looking away from the Cliffs of Moher
When we went through the town of Macroom, my father remembered his grandfather mentioning that name and sure enough, we saw quite a bit of the Creedon name there. Years later, I finally found records to prove that our Creeden family came from Clondrohid, just a few miles away from Macroom.

My uncle in front of Macroom Castle
In 2001, my sister and I won a trip to Ireland through a contest on the Guinness website. The trip included airfare, hotel, and daily tours. We were able to add my brother-in-law for a very small fee and they gave us two hotel rooms at the 5 star Fitzwilliam Hotel in Dublin. One of the highlights was a VIP tour and dinner at the Guinness brewery at St. Jame's Gate. Another site we toured was Malahide Castle, located north of Dublin. We had one free day and decided to take a trip to the beautiful Wicklow Mountains south of Dublin. On the way out of town, we passed the Windmill Lane studio where U2 recorded their early albums and went past Bono's and Enya's houses in Killiney.

Malahide Castle
In 2009, I got an email saying I'd won a trip to Ireland through Diageo. I almost deleted it thinking it was spam, but as I read it, I realized it looked legit. It turned out Diageo was now the owner of Guinness, so I had somehow managed to win a Guinness contest again! This trip was in celebration of the 250th anniversary of St. Jame's Gate and included a pass for the bus tours of Dublin and tickets to the 250th anniversary celebration with headliner Tom Jones.

Actors from The Tudors outside Christ's Church Cathedral, Dublin
We used the free bus pass to see St. Patrick's Cathedral, Merrion Square with a beautiful park and the famous Georgian doors, and we saw remnants of a Creedon harp at the Ireland National Museum of Decorative Arts and History. We also had the luck to see the actors for The Tudors series outside of Christ's Church Cathedral where they were filming an episode.

Merrion Square Park
All three trips were fantastic and I hope to have the good fortune to visit Ireland again.

#52Ancestors is a series of weekly family history prompts developed by Amy Johnson Crow.

Sunday, March 11, 2018

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks - Week 10 - Strong Woman

The 52 Ancestors prompt for this week is "Strong Woman". What female in your family tree has shown remarkable strength (either physical or emotional)? Tell her story. 

My great-great-grandmother Mary Ann Matson was born in Clinton County, Ohio on Sept. 11, 1851. She was the youngest of the 13 children of Asa Matson and Dorothy “Dolly” Clevenger. Mary's parents were born in Virginia and migrated to Clinton County, Ohio in the early 1800's. Four of Mary's brothers served in the Civil War and two died in the war while another was wounded.

On December 10, 1868, Mary was married to Timothy Creeden in Clinton County. She was 17 and Timothy was 22. Timothy was an Irish immigrant, born in 1846 in County Cork. Mary and Timothy had ten children, but two of them died young. Their first child Patrick died in Clinton County in 1872 at the age of 3. Their next son James died in Mercer County at the age of 17.
Mary Ann Matson Creeden (left) at her boarding house in Celina, OH
Mary was widowed in 1899 at the age of 48 and still had six children at home. She mortgaged part of the family farmland and bought a house in town in Celina, OH to run as a boarding house. The 1900 census showed that 2 of the grown children worked while the younger ones went to school. Mary made money by renting out rooms in the house. Renters were provided room and board including meals and laundry. The sign on the house above Mary's head says Ice, 7c a day, so it looks like she was resourceful on finding ways to make extra money.

From 1910 US Census for Mercer County, Ohio
In 1910, Mary was still running the boarding house. In the 1910 census, she had three boarders and three of her children were living at home. By that time, the three children were old enough to work, although her youngest son Joshua was only 16. Joshua and the three boarders all worked at the Mersman furniture factory. Her daughter Julia worked as a servant in a private home and her daughter Ida Belle was a dressmaker. By 1920, Mary had retired and was still living with her son Joshua in the same house.

Mary died at her home in 1925 at the age of 74. Her obituary contained this line: "Mrs. Creeden has been suffering with a complication of diseases for the past year, but bearing her suffering with great fortitude, never wishing to alarm her family at any time." While I don't know too much about her personality, she must have been a strong woman to run a business and raise six children on her own.

 #52Ancestors is a series of weekly family history prompts developed by Amy Johnson Crow.

Sunday, March 4, 2018

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks - Week 9 - Where There's a Will

The 52 Ancestors prompt for this week is "Where There's a Will". Use this prompt however you are inspired to. Maybe you've come across an interesting will. Explain it like you would to a non-genealogist. What story does it reveal? You could write about an ancestor who was determined to do something. (Or maybe you have an ancestor named Will!) 

Wills often contain valuable clues for tracing your ancestors. If you're lucky, they'll list the children's names and sometimes even grandchildren. If the inheritance involves land, they may give details on the name and location of the property. You may find additional probate records with the will that pinpoint the date of death and other details about the estate.

I'm choosing Patrick Creedan's will for this prompt for the unique clues it provided. I originally transcribed the will in 2012 when I found it in the Clinton County, Ohio Probate Records on  It's really important to note a lot of the probate records on FamilySearch are not indexed and don't show up when you search their records! I have a post here with tips on finding these records. In this case, the record has since been indexed at, but there are still many records that are not searchable.

Patrick Creedan's Will, Clinton County, Ohio, 1883
Patrick Creedan's will was executed after Patrick's death in June 1883 in Clinton County, Ohio. The will designates $200 for funeral expenses and masses for Patrick and his daughter Phoebe Catherine. After the funeral expenses were paid, the estate was to be divided into eight equal portions with the recipients as follows:

1. Patrick's son Timothy
2. Patrick's daughter Julia - This share actually goes to Timothy on account of Julia being a "religious" in the Sisters of Charity. Timothy is named as Julia's "full brother".
3. Patrick's son John
4. Patrick's daughter Hanna Jane
5. Patrick's son Patrick William
6 and 7. Patrick's daughter Rosanna receives two shares due to her "feeble mental condition"
8. Patrick's grandson Elija Bernard the son Patrick's deceased daughter Johanna

The witnesses to the will were Bridget Keefe and Michael O'Donaghue. The executor was Timothy Keefe.

So, what story does it reveal without looking at any other records?

Patrick Creedan, a resident of Clinton County, Ohio, died in June 1883. His daughters Phoebe and Johanna preceded him in death. Masses were to be held for him and his deceased family members.

Patrick was survived by his children Timothy, Julia, John, Hanna Jane, Patrick William, Rosanna, and a grandson Elija Bernard. Elija was the son of Patrick's daughter Johanna. Timothy and Julia are called out as "full" siblings, so the other children probably had a different mother and Patrick probably had at least two wives. The wives aren't mentioned in the will, so probably died before 1883.

Patrick's daughter Rosanna needs additional care to be provided for by receiving an extra share of his estate. Patrick was most likely a Catholic since he designates some of his estate to be used to pay for masses for him and his deceased family and his daughter Julia is in the Sisters of Charity. Patrick is acquainted with the Keefe family and Michael O'Donaghue.

Further research on the clues in the will led to the following discoveries:

Patrick's son Timothy became guardian of Rosanna. Guardianship bonds showed that Rosanna moved with Timothy's family to Mercer County, Ohio. This was important in helping to establish that the Timothy Creeden in Mercer County was the same person as the one in Clinton County.

The Sisters of Charity in Cincinnati, Ohio had records for Julia that showed she entered their convent in Cincinnati in 1870. She took her vows in 1872 and received the name of Sister Mary Felix. With that information, I was able to find her death certificate which named her parents as Patrick Creedon and Mary Coakley. That led to her baptism record in Ireland which gave her address as Carrigapooka in Clondrohid, County Cork, Ireland. Since the will stated Timothy was her full brother, I finally had names for my 2x great-grandfather Timothy's parents and a specific location in Ireland!

Timothy Keefe's mother was Johanna Creedon. The Keefes were from the same area of County Cork and an article about Julia Creedon states that she was related to the Keefe family of Clinton County. I haven't found any records showing the relationship of Johanna to Patrick, but it does look like they were related.

Michael  O'Donaghue was the priest at St. Columbkill church in Clinton County from 1882-1905/1906. According to a newspaper article Patrick Creedan was at the first mass held in Clinton County in 1852, along with members of the Keefe and Coakley families.

This will really helped me break down my brick wall on Timothy Creeden! For the full transcription, see my original post on Patrick Creedan's will.

#52Ancestors is a series of weekly family history prompts developed by Amy Johnson Crow.

Sunday, February 25, 2018

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks - Week 8 - Heirloom

The 52 Ancestors prompt for this week is "Heirloom". Is there a special item that's been passed down in your family?

We don't really have any heirlooms that have been passed down for generations, but we do have some more recent things from my grandparents that will be passed down. I'm also very fortunate to have some photographs on both sides of the family dating back to the 1800s.

One of my more recent finds is a portion of a ledger kept by my great-grandfather George Pulskamp. I was contacted by someone that used to live in the house George lived in on Walnut St. in Celina, OH. In the 1970s, she found a couple of ledger pages up in the attic that had George's name on them and she saved them just because she thought they were cool. She found me through my blog and offered to send the pages to me. It was a lovely gesture and I'm thrilled to have something of George's in our family!

The page above is from a ledger George was keeping to track his expenses in 1895. He went on to become a newspaper publisher and printer, so it looks like he was a natural businessman. The page pictured is dated June 1895 and shows that he received $35 from B. Pulskamp at the start of the month. The entry might be referring to Beatrice Pulskamp.

The rest of the lines show his expenses for the month and his signature at the bottom. The interesting thing about the entries is that they detail a trip from South Bend, Indiana back to Maria Stein, Ohio. George was attending Notre Dame University during that time, so this was most likely a trip home for the summer.

George spent quite a bit of his budget on clothes, including $15 on June 3, plus a collar and something for baseball that I can't quite make out. I wonder if he had a summer job waiting for him at home.

On June 4, he bought a Jubilee book for $1 and a Jubilee medal for 50 cents. Notre Dame's Golden Jubilee celebration was on June 11-13 of 1895, so he probably attended some of the celebrations before heading home.

On June 6, he spent 15 cents for strawberries, cake, and milk at a farmhouse. I bet that was delicious!

It looks like he started his trip home on the 13th of June. There were expenses for a trunk transfer and supper in South Bend. His biggest expense was his railroad fare which cost $4.20. There was another trunk transfer on the 14th and then a railroad fare of 65 cents to Maria Stein. It's such an interesting glimpse into George's life during his college years. This is indeed a very cool thing to have and to pass down in the family! Much thanks to Brenda S. for taking the time to research someone connected to George and to send the ledger pages to me.

I wrote about some other heirlooms in previous posts:

My great-grandmother Anna Niehaus Creeden and her paintings
Charles Creeden's Mercer County, Ohio Sheriff's Badge
A few trinkets from my Councill family
Space Program Souvenirs

#52Ancestors is a series of weekly family history prompts developed by Amy Johnson Crow.

Sunday, February 18, 2018

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks - Week 7 - Valentine

This week's 52 Ancestors prompt  is "Valentine". Is there a love story in your family tree? Maybe a couple was married on Valentine's Day or you have a valentine that one ancestor gave to another. Maybe you have an ancestor named Valentine. 

I wish I knew the stories behind some of my ancestors' marriages, but I don't have any love stories or Valentines that have been passed down. Nobody named Valentine either! I found one Valentine's Day marriage in my family tree and it's for Bertha Rose Niehaus and Joseph Frederick. Bertha was the sister of my great-grandmother Anna Niehaus Creeden.

This newspaper article about their wedding was published in the Celina Democrat on February 17, 1911. I noticed that my great-grandmother isn't mentioned in the article. She gave birth to my grandfather 2 days before the wedding, so was probably recovering from the birth. 

There was a lot of information in this article. The wedding took place in the Catholic Church of Celina (Immaculate Conception) at 6:30am and was celebrated by the Rev. Fr. Ernest Hefele. The bride was attended by a younger sister, Miss Carrie Niehaus and the best man was a brother of the groom, Clarence Frederick. A wedding breakfast was served at the home of the groom's parents after the ceremony.

The groom was the son of Mr. and Mrs. Frank Frederick and worked at the furniture factory. He was a pitcher for the local baseball club. The bride was the third daughter of the Infirmary Director and Mrs. Henry Niehaus. She was a graduate of both the Parochial and Public High Schools and taught school in the county,. She resigned her position in West Jefferson the month before the wedding. They lived in a home purchased by the groom on Lisle street.

Several years of the Celina Democrat are available on the Chronicling America site. They always listed their marriage notices under "Cupid's Victims" which is a tad quirky, but makes them easy to search for!

#52Ancestors is a series of weekly family history prompts developed by Amy Johnson Crow.