Sunday, July 22, 2018

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks - Week 29 - Music - Silent Film Pianist

The 52 Ancestors prompt for this week is "Music". This should be a fun prompt. Do you know of a musical relative? (According to my dad, my great-uncle Pete could play anything that had strings.) If not, what about an ancestor with a musical name? Place names can be musical as well. Any ancestors from New Harmony, Indiana or Trumpet Island, Maine? (Or take inspiration from classic rock: Chicago, Boston, Kansas... What was it in the '70s with naming bands after places?) I can't wait to see what you come up with!

Carrie Niehaus Myers was the sister of my great-grandmother Anna Niehaus Creeden. According to family stories, Carrie was a fantastic pianist and one of her jobs was playing piano at a theater during the silent film era. The 1910 census for Mercer County, Ohio shows Carrie was playing piano at a theater as early as age 17.

I was hoping to find some information on where she played, but haven't had any luck so far. Three theaters are mentioned in an article published in The Celina Democrat on September 4, 1914: The Rex and Bijou motion picture houses and The Eagle Theater. I would guess she played at one of them.

The Celina Democrat, September 4, 1914
By 1920, Carrie was busy as a wife and mother. She was married to Charley Myers and they had a 5 year old daughter named Marjorie. While she was no longer employed as a pianist, she continued to entertain family and friends for many years.

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

Sunday, July 15, 2018

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks - Week 28 - Travel

The 52 Ancestors prompt for this week is "Travel". Travel is a part of many of our ancestors' lives. Traveling across an ocean or a continent for life in a new land. Traveling to a different state to elope. Traveling for work, either as a salesman or working the railroads or canals. Traveling for vacation. What ancestral travel tales have you found?

When I first started researching my 2x great-uncle Edward Creeden, I found military records from several places in the US, Canada, Europe and the Philippines. The records were from the US Army, US Marines, and the Canadian Expeditionary Forces. At first, I didn't think they could all be for the same person, but I was able to find Edward's birthplace of Celina, OH in most of the records. 

I volunteered to do some beta testing for when it first came online and I entered Edward's data in their story format to try out their map features.  The map below from HistoryLines indicates Edward's destinations with a red dot and I've bolded each of his destinations in the text that follows.

Edward was thought to have been born in April 1884 in Celina, OH. His military records support this date and place, but I haven't located a birth record for him. Edward joined his sisters Mary Elizabeth and Julia in Pueblo, CO around 1903. In 1904, he enlisted in the US Army in Salt Lake City, Utah

Edward was discharged from the 12th Infantry Company D in 1907 in Fort Porter, NY with this note in the return from service record: Service honest, faithful Character Excellent. He next enlisted in Columbus, OH on January 18, 1907. His description was given as: Born in Celina, OH, 24yrs, 9mths, Soldier, Blue eyes, Drk Brn hair, Fair complexion. This time he was in the 30th Infantry, Company L.

Edward served as a Corporal in Regiment 30, Company L in the Philippines. His date of arrival at the post was 7/1/1908 and the location was given as Camp Gregg, Pangasinan, Philippine Islands. He was on "topographical duty", and returned to his company on Aug 14, 1908. He was discharged from the Army on 1/17/1910.

After his discharge from the Army, Edward enlisted in the US Marines from San Francisco, CA. His rank was Private and his enlistment date was 1/27/1910. Edward transferred from the Cal Recruiting District to the Navy Yard in Puget Sound, Washington.according to Marine Muster Rolls for 1910.

In October 1911, Edward mysteriously disappeared from his post at the Navy Yard in Puget Sound, Washington. A reward was put out for his return, but no further paperwork was in his file. The next place he shows up is at Vancouver Barracks, Washington where he reenlisted in the Army! He seemed to have an uneventful stint in the Army and was honorably discharged on January 15, 1915.

Edward enlisted in the Canadian Expeditionary Forces in 1917 and gave his current residence as Minneapolis,MN. In September 1917 he was transferred to the #1 British American Division and traveled via ship from Halifax to Liverpool, England. He arrived in France on February, 8, 1918.

On April 9, 1918, Edward was wounded in battle in Arras, France and spent 10 days in Etaples at a French War Hospital where his right leg was amputated. He spent two months recovering at the Horton War Hospital in Epsom, Surrey, England and was then sent back to the Granville Canadian Special Hospital. He also spent time at the
Whitby Military Hospital in Ontario, Canada

A letter to his brother Joshua published in the Celina Democrat on July 26, 1918 says that Edward also was stationed in Honolulu and the Mexican border.

Edward was dismissed from the Canadian Forces in Toronto, Ontario, Canada due to being medically unfit. His proposed residence was St. Louis, MO. I haven't found any definite records for him there, but in 1920, a census record matching Edward shows he was possibly living in Sedgwick, KS

A 1930 census record shows that Edward might have been living near Detroit, MI where his brother Joshua was living. Edward died when he was 52 years old in Newport, Campbell, Kentucky, United States. He is by far the most well traveled person I've found in my family tree!

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

Sunday, April 29, 2018

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks - Week 17 - Cemetery

The 52 Ancestors prompt for this week is "Cemetery". Do you have a favorite tombstone of one of your ancestors? Maybe you could share how you found where an ancestor is buried or a clue that you got from a tombstone or cemetery records.

I live far away from the cemeteries where my ancestors are buried and haven't visited any of them. A few years ago, the Genealogy Society of Mercer County, Ohio offered to take tombstone photos for a $5 donation, so I took them up on getting a photo of Timothy Creeden's tombstone. Timothy is my 2x great-grandfather was was the first ancestor that I researched.

My family got a big surprise when we saw the size of the monument. My father had never seen it even though he grew up and attended the church there. I thought maybe one of Timothy's children had put up the monument, but later found probate records showing that his wife Mary purchased it.

The grave is located in St. Mary's Catholic Cemetery in Celina, OH and has the following inscription:

Dec 14, 1899
53Y 8M 19D
Mary A.
1851 - 1925

The inscription helped to confirm Timothy's date of birth in 1846 and the date of his death in 1899. Timothy's wife Mary Ann Matson is also buried there.

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

Sunday, April 15, 2018

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks - Week 15 - Taxes

The 52 Ancestors prompt for this week is "Taxes". It's that time of year here in the U.S. -- tax season. There are many ways you could approach this theme: An ancestor you discovered using tax records, an ancestor who was a tax collector, or maybe an ancestor who kept running from the tax collector! You could explore an ancestor who has been taxing to research.

I haven't made any huge discoveries through tax records, but they can help with locating ancestors in between census records. I ran across an interesting newspaper article on taxes due in Queen Anne's County, Maryland in 1811. The article mentioned several surnames that run in my family and the plot of land called Hawkins' Pharsalia.  I've posted a few times about Hawkins' Pharsalia as parts of it were owned and inherited by my Councill family.

The information below is from the newspaper article published on the 12th of Februrary, 1811 in the Republican Star of Easton, MD. I've transcribed the article and pulled out the references to Hawkins' Pharsalia and a few others with surnames that run in my family.

                                                            A LIST OF LANDS

LYING and being in Queen-Ann's county, belonging to sundry persons, subject to the payment of County Taxes, whereon no Personal Property is found liable to the payment thereof: viz.

The person or persons holding or claiming any part of the above mentioned Lands, are hereby notified, that unless the above Taxes are paid (with the proportion of costs arising thereon, for advertising, & c.) within thirty days after the insertion hereof in the public newspapers--the same, or a part thereof, (as the case may be) will be sold under the direction of the Commissioners o the Tax of said county, for the purpose of satisfying said claims, under the Act of Assembly. 
Per order, WILLIAM H. BLAKE, CLK. of the Commissioners of Tax for Q.A. County. January 12th, (22) 1811 

After Edward Carey Councill's death, a Queen Anne's County Land Commission was formed in 1810 to determine how his land would be distributed.  The land was surveyed and found to contain 114 acres worth $7.50 an acre in 1810. The Land Commission denied Edward Councill's heirs' request to split up the land in 1811. At that point, Henry Councell bought it with the approval of Edward's sons and then sold it back to John Councill (son of Edward) in 1813. It's not surprising that taxes were overdue in early 1811 since the estate was still being settled.

After John Councill's death, his estate was divided between his widow Ann and sons Francis, William, John, James, and Thomas. When Ann died, a land commission sold the land in 1838 and the proceeds were divided between the brothers.

The article on tax records provided some nice extra documentation on the land owners in Queen Anne's County, in 1811, at least for the ones that still owed taxes! The full article is available on

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

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.