Saturday, February 25, 2012

Surname Saturday - A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames

I recently ran across A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames With Special American Instances, written by Charles Wareing Bardsley while searching for information on my English surnames. I found the book on, but the full text is available on Google books at A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames.

I've looked at several books with surname derivations, but this one adds some interesting records and commentary to many of the surnames. The book was published in 1901 after the author's death, so captures research done during the 1800s. This collection represents a lifetime of compiling and collecting information by the author. I can only imagine doing something on this scale before computers!

Here are a few examples from the book for some of my surnames. The numbers at the end of each entry are a count of each surname variation found in city directories such as London and New York.

Variations on my Chilcutt surname

My family spelled this name Councill, although I have seen Counsell and Councell in some of the earlier records. Council with one "l" is also common. I wish he had put his guesses here! This is one of those names that can be especially hard to search for since it has many variations and instances of the word council come up.

Family lore says that we have some Welsh ancestry, so perhaps it is through our Meredith line. I don't know too much about them yet. My ancestor Francis Councill married Mary Ann Meredith in Queen Anne's County, Maryland on July 8, 1840.

My family spelled this name as Sparks, but it's interesting to see that the name may have originated from Sparrowhawk. The earliest records I have on my Sparks family are from Queen Anne's County, Maryland.

I looked Creed up to see if it made any references to my Creedon/Creeden surname. The Irish Creedon surname was sometimes abbreviated to Creed, but I believe it has different origins than the English Creed. Bardsley's book did not include any references to Creedon.

Genealogy Libraries - 52 Weeks of Abundant Genealogy Week #8

Week #8 – Genealogy Libraries: Genealogy libraries (and dedicated departments in regular libraries) are true treasures in the family history community.  Tell us about your favorite genealogy library. What or who makes it special?

If I had to choose a favorite library for genealogy, it would be my local Orange County, FL public library. They have a large genealogy section in their downtown branch, but what I've made the most use of is the at home access to Heritage Quest. Heritage Quest has the US Census, PERSI, and a large collection of online family history books. I've made some discoveries in the Heritage Quest census that didn't turn up in other online searches, so it's proved to be a valuable resource.

I am a long distance from the areas where my ancestors lived, so I can't say that I have a favorite genealogy library to visit in person. Whenever I encounter a new location, I search for a local library website to see what resources they might have online. Many libraries have searchable databases that are specific to that region and I've been able to request copies of obituaries and newspaper articles for a small fee. A recent example is the Northern Kentucky Newspaper Index, made available through the Kenton County Public Library in Kentucky.

52 Weeks of Abundant Genealogy by Amy Coffin is a series of weekly blogging prompts (one for each week of 2012) that invite genealogists and others to discuss resources in the genealogy community including websites, applications, libraries, archives, genealogical societies and more.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Week 7 – Historical Documents - 52 Weeks of Abundant Genealogy Week #7

Week 7 – Historical Documents: Which historical document in your possession are you happy to have? How did you acquire this item? What does it reveal about your ancestors?

This question made me realize just how many documents I've acquired over the years. They include records for birth, marriage, death, baptism, land deeds, Social Security applications, census records and wills. More recently, I've traced a couple of ancestors through their military records. I've acquired some directly from the county courthouses and others from genealogy societies and cousins that live in the local areas. Some of them have revealed a new surname or date and some have revealed more personal information.

One of my favorite documents is the will of my great-great-grandfather, Timothy Creeden. I know so little about him and this document gives a little insight into his life. He names his wife and children as heirs and also leaves money for a new Catholic church to be built in Celina, Ohio. There are some interesting tidbits on money owed by a daughter and the restriction of only $35 being given to one son. The Mercer County Genealogy Society sent me the application for probate of the will filed by Timothy's wife Mary. That document listed the file number of the will in the courthouse and I was very fortunate to have a cousin who visited Celina and copied the will for me.

Transcription of the will is here.

52 Weeks of Abundant Genealogy by Amy Coffin is a series of weekly blogging prompts (one for each week of 2012) that invite genealogists and others to discuss resources in the genealogy community including websites, applications, libraries, archives, genealogical societies and more.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Timothy Creeden - Sunday's Obituary

This was published in The Evening Herald in Shenandoah, PA on Jan. 14, 1899. I don't believe this family is related to mine, but it caught my eye since my Timothy Creeden also died in 1899.

Timothy Creeden, an aged and respected resident of town, died last night at his home on East Centre street, from general disability. The deceased leaves several children one of whom, Jeremiah, is an engineer on the Bound Brook division of the Penn. R.R., and another, Janett, who has a barber shop at Mahanoy City.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Military Monday - The 28th Division: Pennsylvania's Guard in WWI

I posted earlier about searching for records for my great-uncle Julius Councill. Julius lost his life in WWI and I was able to find some information about him through NARA and his Burial Case Files. I still hadn't been able to find a picture of Julius, but received an email pointing me to The 28th Division: Pennsylvania's Guard in World War 1, available at The book contains unit histories and rosters for the 28th Division, including names and pictures. Thanks to the email from Kathy S., I was finally able to find a picture of Julius!

Corporal Julius King Councill

Page listing Julius Councill, 111th Infantry, Company B

Pictures of some of the Company B soldiers

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Week 6 – Family Heirlooms - 52 Weeks of Abundant Genealogy Week #6

Week #6 – Family Heirlooms: For which family heirloom are you most thankful? How did you acquire this treasure and what does it mean to you and your family?

We're fortunate to have a few heirlooms in my family, including a necklace and ring from my step-grandmother, my great-grandfather's sheriff badge, a few trinkets from my maternal grandmother, and an oil painting that one of my great-grandmothers painted. If I had to choose one treasure though, it would be the photos we have from both of my parents' collections.

My father acquired most of his older photos from his grandmother. She labeled many of the photos which has been a great help in figuring out who's who. My father was an avid photographer, so my sister and I also have a large collection of the slides and movies he took throughout his life. I would guess my mother was given her photos by her mother.

My sister and I have been gradually getting my father's slides scanned in and I was thrilled to discover a photo of my great-grandmother Anna Creeden with a few of her paintings! My sister has the blue painting with the boats pictured on the right and I think that is the only one of her paintings to survive.

52 Weeks of Abundant Genealogy by Amy Coffin is a series of weekly blogging prompts (one for each week of 2012) that invite genealogists and others to discuss resources in the genealogy community including websites, applications, libraries, archives, genealogical societies and more.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Edward Creeden - Sunday's Obituary

Edward Creeden was born on April 10, 1884 in Celina, OH and was the brother of my great-grandfather Charles Creeden. He had a colorful military career and served in the US Army, Marines, and the Canadian Expeditionary Forces. He was an expert sharpshooter in the Army and Marines. He was wounded in France in WWI and was discharged from the military in 1919. I found a possible census entry for Edward in Wichita, KS in 1920, but his life after that is a mystery. The following articles were published in the Kentucky Post on February 16 and 17, 1937. Edward died on February 14, 1937 in Newport, KY. His death certificate said he was 54 which would have been his correct age. He is buried in the Evergreen Cemetery in Newport, KY.


  Charles Creeden, Athens, O. will arrive in Newport today and attempt to identify as a relative Edward Creeden, 60 year old World War veteran found dead yesterday in his room at the Newport Hotel, 17 W. Sixth street.
  Coroner August M. Helmbold said he will continue his investigation. Death was due to apoplexy, he said.
  Attaches of the Muehlenkamp, Costigan & Roll funeral home, where the body of Creeden was taken, said today they had received a long-distance telephone call from Athens last night. Creeden was not known locally, officials said. He was identified tentatively by papers in his possession.

  Charles Creeden, postmaster at Celina, O., today identified the body of a man found Monday at the Newport Hotel as his brother, Edward Creeden, 60, a Canadian war veteran.
  Mr. Creeden had not seen his brother for 35 years, he said.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Week 5 – Life Experiences - 52 Weeks of Abundant Genealogy Week #5

Week 5 – Life Experiences: Sometimes the challenges in life provide the best learning experiences. Can you find an example of this in your own family tree? Which brick wall ancestor are you most thankful for, and how did that person shape your family history experience?

The brick wall ancestor that has taught me the most would have to be my great-great-grandfather Timothy Creeden from County Cork, Ireland. One of my uncles had gotten interested in genealogy in the 1990s and was telling me and my father how much more was becoming available online. My father asked me to see what I could find out about Timothy and that got me started on researching my family tree. While I still haven't found much on Timothy himself, the search has led to so many other discoveries.

One of my first posts on this blog was about Timothy and My Irish Brick Wall. While it seems like I've made little headway with Timothy, I can see from my post that I have learned a few things over the past year. One idea I had was to try and find obituaries for each of his children. So far, they haven't shed any light on Timothy, but they have been an adventure in themselves.

My search for Timothy has led to getting in touch with others researching the same trees and a wonderful visit from an Irish Creedon. We don't know if our families are related, but he does have a missing Timothy that's about the same age as mine. Even if I never find the exact link back to Ireland, it's been a lot of fun!

52 Weeks of Abundant Genealogy by Amy Coffin is a series of weekly blogging prompts (one for each week of 2012) that invite genealogists and others to discuss resources in the genealogy community including websites, applications, libraries, archives, genealogical societies and more.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Happy Groundhog Day!

They say we are in for 6 more weeks of winter, but the local forecast says it will reach 80 degrees here today! These pics are from my personal encounter with a groundhog when I was on vacation in the Smoky Mountains in 2010. He was much more interested in getting to the strawberries someone had left on the ground than he was in seeing his shadow. Not sure who left the strawberries there, but we had a good laugh watching him waddle around!