Monday, April 18, 2011

Military Monday - US Army to Canadian Expeditionary Forces?

Edward Creeden was the sixth child of Mary Ann Matson from Ohio and Timothy Creeden from Ireland. He was born on April 10, 1884, but much of his life is a mystery. His parents bought land in Mercer County, OH in January 1884, but Edward is not listed in the Mercer County Probate Court Birth Records for 1882-1888. I also didn't find him in the Clinton County birth records where Timothy and Mary Ann's first five children were born. I have found no records of a wife or children.

In the 1900 census, he is living at home with his mother and 5 of his siblings in Celina, Mercer County, Ohio. He is 16 years old and working as a clerk at a dry goods store. He did not attend school that year. The census shows that he was born in April 1884 and that he was born in Ohio.

This US Army Register of Enlistments shows that Edward Creeden, enlisted in the US Army on Jan 14, 1904 at Salt Lake City, Utah. He was born in Celina, OH, is 21yrs, 9 months old, occupation is a clerk, he has blue eyes, dark brown hair, fair complexion, and is 5' 11". His regiment was  the 12th infantry D and he was discharged on Jan 13, 07 at Fort Porter, NY. Similar enlistment registers showed that he reenlisted in 1907 and 1912 and was honorably discharged in 1915. According to these registers, his birth year would have been 1883.

There is an Edward Creeden listed on a Return from the Philippines in 1908, but it doesn't give enough personal information to know if this is my Edward. A 1910 Muster Roll of the US Marine Corp lists an Edward Creeden in Puget Sound, WA, but again, it is hard to tell if this is the same Edward. However, in the US Census for 1910, there is an Edward "Creedman" in the Marine Barracks at Puget Sound, WA. He is listed as 28 years old, born in Ohio, with an Irish father and mother born in Ohio. This fits my Edward even though the age is off a bit, but still hard to tell if it's the same Edward.

Here's where it gets really interesting! This record shows an Edward Creeden enlisting in the Canadian Expeditionary Forces on August 31, 1917. He was born on April 10, 1884, which matches my Edward's birth date. It lists his current residence as Minneapolis, Minnesota and his birthplace as Erie, Ontario, Canada. His next of kin is listed as his brother, Charles Creeden. Charles is my great-grandfather and he named his first son Carl Edward. But.... It also gives the residence of Charles as Company D, 9th infantry, US Army. As far as I know Charles never served in the military and his obituary made no mention of it, although he did register in the WWI draft in June, 1917. This record says that Edward has never served in any military forces and his occupation is given as a painter.

The physical description says he is 5' 11", blue eyes, brown hair, dark complexion and is Roman Catholic. I noticed that his complexion changed from fair to ruddy on the US Army Enlistment Registers, so if he was an outdoor painter, it would make sense that his complexion had darkened. Otherwise, the physical description and religion fits. So, is this my Edward? If so, he lied about his former military experience and possibly about his birthplace and his brother Charles' military experience. Very curious!

There is an Edward Creeden, age 35, born in Ohio listed in the 1920 census for Sedgwick, Kansas, with Irish parents. That doesn't quite fit, but could be Edward. The last mention I have of Edward is in his mother Mary Ann's obituaries on her death in 1925. The obituary from Celina, OH says that Edward is living in Briggs, CA and the one from Lima, OH mentions "Edwin" of Kansas City. I have been unable to find any other records on Edward.

I know more information can be ordered on the Canadian records at Library and Archives Canada, but would they shed any light on whether or not this was the correct Edward? I can see that I have more to investigate here! Would love to hear comments or suggestions from anyone with experience with military records.

Updating to add that I just found an interesting record for an Edward Creeden on the National Archives site. There's that 04/10 birthdate again, but 1882! This matches the 1910 census listing Edward Creeden in Puget Sound in the Marine Corps.

Creeden Edward -- [Date of Birth] 04/10/1882, [Service Number] 000041480, [Date of Enlistment] 01/26/1910
ARC Identifier 2250588 / Local Identifier MC20296005
Textual Records from the Department of Defense. Department of the Navy. U.S. Marine Corps. Personnel Management Division. (ca. 1947 - )


  1. Hmm...a conundrum. If Edward had really been to all of these locations he certainly was a rolling stone! It is interesting that he may have been in both the Army and the Marines. It's not to say it doesn't happen, especially when people find the grass really isn't greener on the Army side of things. But he certainly would not have enlisted in the Marines in 1910 if he was already in the Army (as mentioned in paragraph 3). I have two suggestions. The first is to research the units he was assigned to. There is a plethora of information on military units and that may help shed some light on things...and it will help you outline where the units were at any given point to see if the other documentation adds up. If the 12th Regiment was in Timbuktu during one of Edward's enlistments but you have a document showing him somewhere else during that time it is probably a different person. You might check out the U.S. Army Heritage Collection Online ( The search engine is very clumsy, but if you stick with it there are some great unit histories available. Also try the U.S. Center of Military History ( for unit history information.

    My second suggestion is to look at the "Marine" Edward and the "Army" Edward side by side and see if their enlistments overlap. Sorry if this is too much. I'm passionate about military records and research!

  2. Thanks Heather! No, this isn't too much! I'm just starting to learn about military records, so these are great suggestions.

    I suspect that my Edward is the Army one since those records list his birthplace as Celina, OH. Celina is a small town and he was the only Edward Creeden there, especially with that birth date. I'll check out the sites you mentioned and see if they shed some light on the units.

    I also need to track down Edward's birth certificate. He isn't listed in the Mercer County birth records where Celina is, although the family moved there the year he was born. It's possible he was born right before they moved.

    It is a puzzle that the April 10 birth date shows up across the different records, but of course, there could be a second Edward with the same birth date. I'll post a follow up when I have some more information. Thanks again for your help!