Monday, January 10, 2011

Madness Monday - My Irish Brick Wall

All I know about my Irish ancestor Timothy Creeden's origins is that he is from Country Cork and every record I've managed to obtain on him just says Ireland. I've also been unable to find anything out about his parents or siblings.

Here's a few things I've tried with no luck so far:
  • Obituary - A volunteer with the genealogy society where he is buried in Ohio went through the newspapers around his date of death (December 1899), but could only locate a short note of thanks from the family.
  • Will - Everything left to his wife and children in Ohio.
  • Cemetery - There is a large monument for Timothy and Mary Creeden and his age is listed down to the year, month, day. Who bought this monument and are there any records? From the church office: No records exist! (I found that hard to believe, but it was confirmed by a couple of other family history buffs who have been there.)
  • Death certificate - Even though he is buried in Mercer County, OH where he lived, there is no death certificate listed for him. The note of thanks mentioned his illness, so perhaps he died in a hospital in a neighboring county or in nearby Indiana. No luck with that so far.
  • Death record from the Catholic Church - Records for December 1899 were destroyed by fire!
  • Marriage record from the Catholic Church - They have it, but it has faded to the point of being completely illegible. They provided me a copy anyway and it looks like a blank piece of paper!
  • Civil War records - My Dad was sure that his grandfather talked about Timothy serving in the Civil War, but no luck with searches on any of the online databases. Also, no luck finding his wife Mary in the widow's pension records. There are a couple of Timothy Creeden records that come up, but they are the wrong age and place.
  • Ship passenger lists - I've only found one record with the right age. The record lists a Timothy Creedon, age 20, arriving in the US from Ireland in 1866. There are no other Creedons in the passenger manifest though, so no clues to other family members.
  • Other records I've found that just say Ireland or no location: 1870 and 1880 census, will, land purchase, tombstone, courthouse marriage record.
  • Message boards - I've made some great contacts, but nobody knows anything about Timothy
  • Other relations in Clinton County, OH - This is where I first found Timothy in the US. There are other Creedon families there, but so far I've been unable to find a link to Timothy.
  • One promising new site is at - No luck so far, but worth checking back. The site is adding new baptism, marriage, and death certificates periodically and it's free!
  • Lots of other online sites: ancestry, familysearch (and their beta site), World Vital Records, etc. No luck with anything other than census and marriage date.
  • Ordered the closest record to Timothy's birth date from the Irish Family History Foundation. The father was William which is not a name used in my Timothy tree, but hard to tell anything further without knowing where Timothy was born.
Well, that's more than a few things, so I'll stop here before I do go mad!


  1. Hi, Kathryn, I can sympathise with yiour Irish brick wall and enjoyed reading your posting. I am in s similar situation with my grandmother - I just cannot trace a birth certiifcate. Sheer frustration - see my January article "Making of a Wedding Dress". Good luck - I hope you eventually climb over the wall!

  2. Hello Kathryn,

    I enjoyed reading your post, and just thought I would suggest a site you may not have tried. Since Timothy hailed from Cork, John Hayes' site Fáilte Romhat at might be worth a look. It’s a personal site, but is searchable, and he has a fair bit of genealogical information from various sources, so you never know.

    Also a note on the naming convention. Sometimes it was modified when the resulting name would mean that three living people in one family would have the same name. For some families superstition held that this meant one of the three would die, so an alternate was chosen.

    Best of luck to you in tearing down this brick wall.


  3. Thanks Jennifer and ScotSue! Glad you enjoyed my post.

    A lot of Creedons came up on the Fáilte Romhat site, so I'll have to spend some time on there.

    Also, thanks for the tip on the naming conventions. Very interesting!