Sunday, December 29, 2013

Sunday's Obituary - Samuel A. Sparks

This is a transcription from the Centreville Record published on November 18, 1899 in Queen Anne's County, Maryland.

Sparks, Samuel A., of Kent Island, died at his residence in Coxe's Neck Friday morning. He was a life long resident of this county. The deceased was 74 years of age and leaves a widow and two daughters, Mrs. Robert H. Councill and Mrs. John W. Councill, and two sons, Messrs. Charles G. Sparks, of Kent Island, and Daniel Sparks of South Dakota. Interment in Centreville cemetery.

Samuel Sparks and his wife Susan Godwin were my 2x great-grandparents. Their daughter Arianna Sparks and her husband John Wesley Councill were my great-grandparents.

Thanks to George Sparks for posting the picture of Samuel's grave on FindAGrave and for Dee for sending me the newspaper transcription all the way back in 2004!

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories - Christmas Eve

How did you and your family spend Christmas Eve? Did you attend church services, perhaps a children’s service with a pageant? What about food – was there a special meal or did your family hold an open house so friends and family could stop by? Share your memories of Christmas Eves gone by.

We often attended church services on Christmas Eve, although sometimes we went on Christmas morning.  When my sister and I were a little older, we attended Midnight Mass. The mass included singing of traditional favorites like O Holy Night and Ave Maria and the church was beautifully lit with candles. I also remember my sister and I looking out our bedroom window in the hopes of seeing Santa and his reindeer. Somehow, we always fell asleep before he came!

I don't remember a specific meal for Christmas Eve. When we had relatives visiting, we sometimes repeated a Thanksgiving type of meal with turkey and the trimmings. Christmas Eve was usually more of a family affair, while our friends in the neighborhood stopped by on Christmas day or the day after.

The picture above is of a very young me hanging up my stocking. The little Styrofoam tree on the center of the mantel was my parents' first Christmas tree after they were married. It was displayed for many years until it finally fell apart, so it's nice to have the picture.

Wishing everyone a very Merry Christmas!

The Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories (ACCM) allows you to share your family’s holiday history twenty-four different ways during December! 
Learn more at

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories - Christmas Tree Decorations

Do you have unique decorations that you use each Christmas? How did you get them or were they passed down to you from family members? Do you have certain traditions surrounding Christmas decorations such as purchasing one from every state or country you visit? Describe your favorite decorations!

My Mom decided to use a smaller tree a few years ago, so she split some of her ornaments between me and my sister. One of my favorites from the ornaments that she passed on to me is my Florida orange. My sister got the matching Georgia peach. I'm not sure exactly when my Mom bought these, but it was probably in the early 1970s. I have a strange little tradition where this is the first ornament I put on my tree each year.

My best friend and I used to have a tradition where we would choose an ornament from each others tree (with our Moms' permission!) and hang it on our trees. I still have a couple of those in my collection and they remind me of her and her Mom. The gingerbread man shown below was one of the first ornaments I chose. His sequins have lost most of their color, but he's still cute!

The Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories (ACCM) allows you to share your family’s holiday history twenty-four different ways during December! 
Learn more at

Monday, December 2, 2013

Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories - Christmas Cards

Do you still send Christmas cards or has electronic communication taken the place of this tradition? Do you remember sending Christmas cards as a child – making a list, sending out your family’s cards and then checking the mailbox for cards sent to your family? How did your family display the cards?

I still send a few cards, but not nearly as many as I used to. My Mom used to have a list and sent out most of the family's cards. My Dad also sent a few to his family and friends from Ohio. We used to display some of the cards on a buffet cabinet in the dining room.

The card above is the oldest card I have. It was signed by my grandmother, Anna Lee Pulskamp Creeden, but I don't know who it was for or the exact date. My guess is that it's from sometime in the 1930s and may have been for my grandfather or his parents. The ribbon on it is velvet and is actually threaded through the card. I think it's the only signature I have of Anna Lee's, so it's a nice keepsake.

The Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories (ACCM) allows you to share your family’s holiday history twenty-four different ways during December! 
Learn more at

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories - Christmas Trees

What are your memories of your family putting up the Christmas tree? Many of us come from different traditions: some people won’t put up their tree until after Thanksgiving or even on Christmas Eve? Some like live trees and actually go out into the woods to cut their own while others prefer the convenience of an artificial tree. Write about anything related to Christmas trees and your memories of Christmases past.

When I was growing up, we used to put the tree up sometime between Thanksgiving and Christmas and I've kept that tradition. My earliest memories of a Christmas tree are from when we picked out a live tree from a Christmas tree lot in Florida. Then we started getting a special delivery each year from my aunt and uncle in New York. They owned a tree farm and used to send us a beautiful live tree. We eventually switched to an artificial tree for the convenience and also, unfortunately for those of us with allergies. I've always had an artificial tree in my own house for the same reasons.

I remember my parents having different roles in the whole tree decorating scheme. My Dad would set the tree up and do the lights and then my Mom would put garland on the tree. My sister and I helped put the decorations on. There was always much fussing with lights that went out or garland that was crooked!

This is a nighttime picture of my tree in 2009. I have a newer pre-lit one now with clear lights, but I kind of miss the colored lights. Many of the ornaments on my tree were passed down from my Mom when she switched to a smaller tree and some of them were made by me and my sister. It's always fun when I'm getting them out to see the old familiar ornaments again.

The Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories (ACCM) allows you to share your family’s holiday history twenty-four different ways during December! 
Learn more at

Monday, November 25, 2013

Amanuensis Monday - Will of Mary C. Baynard

This is the last will and testament of Mary C. Baynard of Queen Anne's County, Maryland. While the will clearly states a date of 1873, the rest of the estate papers are from 1857. I haven't figured out what the difference in dates means yet. The will and estate papers are available on

From the estate papers, Mary was the daughter of James Baynard, so it appears that she did not marry. She leaves her estate to her nephew, Stephen Jump and her sister Elizabeth Bradley.

   In the name of God amen, I Mary C. Baynard of Queen Anns County in the state of Maryland being in good health of body, and sound disposing mind memory and understanding, considering the certainty of death and the uncertainty of the time thereof, and being desirous to settle my worldly affairs and thereby be the better prepared to leave this world when it shall please God to call me hence, do therefore make and publish this my last will and testament in the manner and form following that is to say--
   Item First: Principally I commit my soul in the hands of Almighty God and my body to the earth to be buried at the discretion of my Executor hereinafter named and after my debts and formal charges are paid, I devise and bequeath as follows:
   Item: Second, I give and bequeath unto my sister Elizabeth Bradley, wife of Stephen J. Bradley, note of hand of Charles E. Bradley with interest due thereon.
   Item Third: I give and bequeath unto my nephew Stephen P. Jump, the balance of my estate both real and personal that may be in my possession at the time of my death provided he pays my debts and burial expenses.
   And lastly: I do hereby constitute and appoint my nephew Stephen P. Jump Executor of this my last will and testament, revoking and annulling all former wills by me heretofore made, ratifying and confirming this and none other to be my last will and testament.

In testimony whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and affixed my seal this Twenty fifth day of September in the year of our Lord one thousand eight-hundred and seventy three.
Signed sealed published and delivered by Mary C. Baynard the above named, testatrix for her last will and testament in the presence of us who at her request, in her presence and in the presence of each other have subscribed our names as witnesses thereto.

Witnesses were Thos W. Hopper and Solomon Pinder.

From the account of her estate, she had quite a bit of real estate, including 292 acres of Hawkins Pharsalia. She also had 300 acres of the Crawford Farm, 286 acres of the Old Farm called Relief, and a wood lot in Caroline County containing 50 acres. The total value of her real estate was $8359.75. Both Hawkins Pharsalia and Relief appear in records for my Councill family, but I don't know if there is a connection between Mary and the Councills yet.

This page of her estate papers names her deceased father, James S. Baynard.

To Do:
  • Investigate the dates. Why are the estate papers dated 1857 while the will states 1873?
  • See if I can find estate papers for her father James Baynard.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Tuesday's Tip - Turning Off the Google+ Auto Enhance Feature

Yesterday, I was trying to add an image to a post and the background color of the image kept changing when it uploaded to Blogger. I was trying to upload this:

But, I kept winding up with this:

What the heck!! I had done this graphic in an Excel spreadsheet, so my first thought was that it was something to do with the background color in there. After several attempts at changing the spreadsheet background color and the graphic background color, I ruled that out as the cause.

Searching for the problem led me to some posts about a change in Google+. According to a Google+ Help Page, "When you add new photos, Auto Enhance makes subtle adjustments (like removing red-eye and improving lighting) to help them look great". The page also said that Auto Enhance is on by default.

To turn the feature off, execute the following steps:

1. Go to your Google+ home page.
2. Hover your mouse over the Home menu in the upper left corner.

3. Select the Settings option.

4. Scroll down to the Photos section and set Auto Enhance to Off. I also unchecked Auto Awesome and checked another box in the Photos section to upload my photos at full size.

OK, so here's the really crazy thing. I was not a member of Google+! In order to change these settings and return Blogger image uploading to normal, I had to enable my Google profile for Google+. After doing this, I went back to the Settings menu, selected Profiles and Privacy and locked down everything I could.

There is an option at the very bottom of the Settings page to disable Google+, but I'm not sure what effect that would have on the settings I changed. I decided to leave it for now, but I'm not at all happy with the way Google forced these new settings and services on us. It would be much more user friendly to default new features to "Off" rather than make users spend a lot of time trying to figure out what changed.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Amanuensis Monday - Estate of Rachel Baynard Todd

The Queen Anne's County Land Commissions record involving the estate of Rachel Baynard Todd contains an unusual amount of information about her family. The land involved is part of Relief and Hawkins Pharsalia in Queen Anne's County, Maryland. I've found several transactions for my Councill family involving Hawkins Pharsalia and I think my 2x great-grandfather Francis Councill may be the son of John Councill and Ann Baynard. I thought this particular record was interesting due to the large number of heirs that are mentioned.

Page 350/Image 357 Book JB 1 Queen Anne's County Land Commissions
The following is from the Queen Anne County Land Commissions, Book JB 1, 1810-1834, images 357-362. The images are available from the site.

Queen Anns County, to wit, Be it remembered that in the second day of November in the year of our Lord, 1827, Thomas B. Cook and Thomas B. Turpin of the said County proffered to the Court here their petition in the following words viz
   To the Honorable the Judges of Queen Anns County Court. We Tho. H. Cook and Tho. B. Turpin represent to your Honours that about the year 1733 Thomas Baynard departed this life leaving the following children his ?, John, George, Thomas, Nathan, Deborah, Rachel & Esther, that his son George departed this life in the year 1758 leaving George & Rachel his legitimate children, to whom he devises certain real estate, that his son George died intestate leaving no child or children & insolvent, that his daughter Rachel intermarried with a certain William Todd of the state of New Jersey whom the said Rachel survived, but died in March 1826 intestate and without heirs & in possession of certain real estate part of Relief & part of Hawkins Pharsalia containing one hundred & eighty five acres which is as devised to her by her father George the son of Thomas. We being one of us a child of a descendant of Nathan the brother of George the elder & the other a descendant of Thomas the brother of George the elder, are of the opinion that we with a number of others are the legal heirs to the said land lying in Tully's Neck in Q.Anns County: the following are a number of persons supposed to be the heirs with ?, Sarah Hardcastle, Mary Hardcastle, Elizabeth Casson, Robert C. Baynard, John Baynard, Nathan Harden, White Turpin and others. We therefore pray your honor to take the subject into consideration and issue a commission to certain persons to have the lands surveyed & report to the Court their proceedings in order that one of the heirs may take the land at their valuation or that it may be sold for the benefit of all concerned.   Nov. 2. 1827

Solomon Scott is appointed guardian to the minors mentioned in the petition. Too bad it doesn't say which ones those are!

The petition is repeated again, but with a longer list of heirs: Sarah Hardcastle, Mary Hardcastle, Elizabeth Casson, Robert C. Baynard, John Baynard, Sarah Baynard, Margaret Baynard, Thomas H. Baynard, Ann Baynard, Ferdinand Baynard, Nathan Harden, White Turpin and others.

The Land Commission is formed and oaths are taken in March 1828. The commission reports back on June 17 1828 that "the said lands could not be divided without loss to all the parties interested for the following reason to wit: that there is not sufficient quantity to divide amongst so many heirs claiming and we did further adjudge and determine the real value of the said lands with the improvements to be seven dollars per acre." It goes on to say that Joseph B. Sparks surveyed the land and his findings were certified. The map below shows his survey of the tract of land.

On May 14, 1829, the "Commissioners proceed to expose to public sale the real estate of the said Rachel Todd having first given twenty days notice in the Centreville times and other public places in the County.  Terms were that $100 be paid on the day of sale and one half of the residue in twelve months thereafter and the balance in two years with interest from the day of sale the purchaser giving bond or notes with approved security."

Solomon Scott was the highest bidder at $4 an acre for a total of $712 on August 11, 1829. Seems like he got a bargain since it was appraised at $7 an acre. Interesting too that he was named the guardian of the minors involved.

Then comes the full list of heirs! Most received $20.40 with a few splitting that amount between them. There is an Ann Baynard in the list, but mine would have been married to John Councill by this date. Some of these are pretty hard to read, but here are my best guesses.

1  Sarah Hardcastle wife of Robert
2  Mary Hardcastle
3  Elizabeth Casson
4  Robert C. Baynard
5  John Baynard
6  Sarah Baynard
7  Margaret Baynard
8  Thomas H. Baynard
9  Ann Baynard
10 White Turpin
11 Ferdinand Baynard
12 Ruth Flanday
13 Nathan Hardin
14 Ann Hodson wife of Stephen Hodson
15 James Glourding
16 Joseph Cook
17 Thomas B Cook
18 Thomas B Turpin
19 Miers? Cassons
20 Elizabeth Wheatley wife of Wm Wheatley
21 Henry Whiteley
22 Elizabeth Thompson
23 Benj A Whiteley
24 John Martin
25 Ann Martin
26 Mary Emmonds
27 Margaret White
28 Thurman?
29-36 Mary Holland and several other Hollands
37 William Davis
38 John Davis
39 Carline Fermington? wife of James Termington

From the information in the land record, I came up with this partial tree for the Baynards:

The land record also tell us that Thomas B. Cook and Thomas B. Turpin are descendants of Nathan and Thomas Baynard. That's quite a lot of information in one record!

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Census Sunday - Finding a Nun in the Census Records

In the 1860 census for Patrick Creedan's family, there was an 18 year old female named Julia Creedan living in Clinton County, Ohio. I wondered if she was the daughter of Patrick and possibly the older sister of my 2x great-grandfather Timothy. Julia didn't appear with the family or anywhere in Clinton County, Ohio after 1860, so I didn't know what happened to her.

I finally had a breakthrough when I found Patrick's will from 1883. It stated that Julia was a "religious" in the Sisters of Charity. I contacted the Sisters of Charity in Cincinnati and discovered that Julia had taken the name Sister Mary Felix when she took her vows. They also said that she had worked as a nurse in Colorado and New Mexico. With that information, I had some success locating her in the census and also located her death certificate which said she died in 1918.

In 1870, she was at the Sisters of Charity Motherhouse in Dephi Township, Hamilton County, Ohio. Her name was listed as Creeden Felix.

In 1900, she was working as a nurse at St. Mary's Hospital in Pueblo, Colorado.  I think Julia's birth date was July 1, 1842, while this says Feb 1843. The name, location, and occupation are correct for her, but the year of immigration says 1873 and it says that she had been in the US for 27 years. Timothy's daughter Julia settled in Pueblo and I wonder if her Aunt Julia had any influence on that.

In 1910, she was working as a sewing teacher at a parochial school in Albuquerque, New Mexico. This census gave her year of immigration as unknown. She was 67 by then, so I'm guessing maybe nursing had become too strenuous. As far as I know, she is the first career woman in my Creeden family. Her grand-niece Mary Mae Creeden McNamee was a devout Catholic and a nurse, but may not have even known about Julia.

There were some curious codes in the last column of the 1910 census which made no sense. The last columns are for Farm Schedule, Survivor of the Civil War, blind, and deaf and dumb.

I found an explanation for the codes on Steve Morse's site. It turns out that the last columns were often used for occupation codes and the ones for Julia matched the occupation for a teacher.

I still haven't found Julia in the 1880 census. In some census records, I found that they only listed the first names for the nuns, so there are lots of entries for Sister Mary! Knowing Julia's religious name was key to finding her in the other census records.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Mappy Monday - Following the Trail of Hawkins Pharsalia

I've posted a few times now about a tract of land in Queen Anne's County, Maryland called Hawkins Pharsalia. The land was mentioned in several wills and land transactions involving my Councill family. By following how the land was passed down, I've been able to come up with possible ancestors for my 2x great-grandfather Francis Councill.

A Queen Anne's County Land Commission formed in 1810 determined how the land would be distributed after Edward Carey Council died. The results were recorded in Queen Anne's County Court book JB 1, pages 7 to 9 and the images are available on the site.

The land was surveyed and found to contain 114 acres worth $7.50 an acre in 1810. The Land Commission would not allow the land to be divided and the eldest son John took the land and agreed to pay for the shares owed to the other heirs.

In 1811, several Councells were involved in selling and buying the land. From Book STW 9, pages 447-449 on the Maryland Land Records site (

Book STW 9, Page 447

John Councell Senior, son of John Councell, Thomas Councell of Talbot, William Councell, Elijah Councell, and John Councell Jnr, sons of Edward C. Councell of Caroline County, all of the one part and Henry Councell of Caroline of the other part were involved in the transaction.  Where John Councell the Elder left Hawkins Pharsalia to his son Edward Carey Councell for his natural life, Henry Councell is buying the land with the other named Councell's consent. John Councell the Elder's will of 1795 is referenced, so he was the son of the senior Henry Councell. John Councell Senior is the son of John Councell the Elder and John Councell Jnr is the son of Edward Carey Councell.

Book STW 9, Page 448
So, at that point, the land had passed out of hands of the heirs of Edward Carey Councell. I don't know how the buyer, Henry Councell fits into the Councell tree yet, but he may have been the brother of Edward.

In 1816, a John Councell buys a section of Hawkins Pharsalia that Henry Councell bought in 1729.

Book TM 5, Page 185
This may be how some of the land went back into the hands of John Councell, son of Edward Carey Councell, but I can't be sure. In comparing the survey from John Councell's estate, it is a larger tract of land than the one from Edward Carey Councell's estate. However, Edward only inherited a portion of the land, while his brothers Samuel and James also inherited sections.

Queen Anne's County Land Commission Book IT 1, page 96
John Councill's estate was divided between his widow Ann and sons Francis, William, John, James, and Thomas. After Ann died, a land commission sold the land in 1838 and the proceeds were divided between the brothers. The information in Land Commission Book IT 1 named Elijah Councell as the guardian of the minor brothers and gave the dates when the minor brothers would reach the age of 21 and be paid their inheritance. With that information, I was able to fill in a few dates on my tree. The maiden names for Elizabeth Banroche and Sarah Carey came from trees on, but I haven't seen any proof for them. This is my best guess at this point, based on information in the land, estate, and church records.

Thanks again to Heather of Leaves for Trees for her tip on using Excel for ancestor graphics.  

Mappy Monday is a GeneaBloggers prompt where you can post map images and how they relate to your research or discuss other aspects of land ownership and your ancestor.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Sunday's Obituary - James N. Councell

  COUNCELL. -- At the residence of Wm. C. Callahan, in the Chapel District, on the 15th last, James N. Councell, aged about 56 years.

This death notice was published in the Easton Gazette of Talbot County, Maryland on May 20, 1871. From his age at death, James would have been born around 1815. He may be the brother of my 2x great-grandfather, Francis Councill.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Mappy Monday - Hawkins Pharsalia, Queen Anne's County, Maryland

I've been working my way through land and probate records for my Councill family and a tract of land called Hawkin's Pharsalia keeps coming up. It was part of the estate of John Council sold for his five sons by a Land Commission when John died without a will. It was also part of the estate of Henry Counsil passed down to his son John. John then passed his share on to his sons Edward Carey, Samuel, and James Council.

I was curious about where this section of land was located and the history behind it. The Maryland Inventory of Historic Properties has a nice document on the house that was located in Queen Anne's County on Hawkins Pharsalia. Thanks to Karen S. for reminding me about this! This is an excerpt from document QA-92:

According to the document, the original tract of land was 2500 acres and was patented by John Hawkins. That explains half of the name! Interesting too, that the house was owned by the Baynards at one point since I think they may be linked to my Councill family.

The document also included a map of the house's location in Queen Anne's County:

Just above the property location, there is a Council Road. This land is to the east of the land my Francis Councill owned, but I believe he may have been one of John Council's five sons that sold their share of Hawkins Pharsalia.

The Republican Star of Easton, MD had a notice of part of the property for sale in 1802. The owner's name wasn't given, but the tenant was Isaac Baggs. One of Henry Counsil's daughters was Martha Baggs, but I don't know if that was her husband.

The Republican Star also had a notice of property taxes that were past due in 1811. The notice included taxes due by Edward Council's heirs for Hawkin's Pharsalia from 1807-1810. Of course, this has me wondering who Edward Council's heirs were, so I'm adding that to my list to investigate. This may be the same Edward that inherited part of the tract owned by John Council, the son of Henry.

One final thing I had to look up... What does Pharsalia mean?  According to Wikipedia, The Pharsalia is a Roman epic poem by the poet Lucan, telling of the civil war between Julius Caesar and the forces of the Roman Senate led by Pompey the Great. The poem's title is a reference to the Battle of Pharsalus, which occurred in 48 BC, near Pharsalus, Thessaly, in northern Greece.

Monday, September 30, 2013

Amanuensis Monday - Estate of John Council of Queen Anne's County, Maryland

I've been searching for the parents of my 2x great-grandfather Francis Councill in the Maryland, Register of Wills Books on While I was able to rule out some of the Councills based on their wills and estate records, I hadn't found any mention of Francis yet.

I finally found a possibility in the Queen Anne's County Land Records on the Maryland Land Records site. It involves the estate of a John Council that died without a will and left several minor children, including a son named Francis. John died sometime in the 1820s and by the time of this land record, his wife had also died.

This record is from Book JT 6, Pages 12-14 of MSA CE 143-42. It's tough to read in parts, but I can make out the names involved.

Page 12 of Book JT 6

Queen Anne's County Court, be it remembered that on the twenty-fourth day of January 1849 the following deed was brought to be recorded ?.

? made this twenty-second day of January 1849 between John B. Thomas and James S. Baynard of QA County, MD, Commissioners as hereafter mentioned of the one part and Cornelius Sherwood of Talbot County and state aforesaid of the other part. Whereas hertofore ? of the May term of Queen Anne County Court, in the year 1834, William Council ? his petition to the judges of Queen Anne's County Court, settingh forth and alleging that John Council, his father, died ?  the year 1828? (or 1820. ?) in fee? of a parcel of lands lying and being in Queen Anne's County aforesaid, without will to pass real estate, leaving as his heirs at law the following named children: William, James, Francis, John, and Thomas Council; that he also left a widow who was then dead?, that your petioner was desirous that a division of said land should be had if it could be done to the parties interested?, but in asmuch as James, Francis, John, and Thomas were infants? under the age of twenty-one years, a division could not be had without the sanction of said court, and prayed the court, that a Commission might ? according? to the acquisition of the ? of assembly in such case made and provided. And whereas, on the twelfh day of June, in His year 1834, a Commision was ? by order of said court.

Page 13 contains a lot of legalese about the Land Commission, which I'll skip for now. The important parts are that John B. Thomas, James S. Baynard, James Roe, ? Wright, and Joseph R. Turpin were named to the Commission and Joseph B. Sparks was commissioned to survey and plot the land.

Page 13 of Book JT 6
Page 14 describes the land, the acreage, and amount of the sale. As best I can make out, the Commision granted the right to sell the land at a public auction in 1837 and Cornelius Sherwood was the highest bidder. He paid "ten dollars and fifty cents per acre, making the sum of seven hundred and thirty three dollars and fifty cents for the said one hundred and sixty three acres". The sale was approved and finalized in 1838.

Page 14 of Book JT 6
Finally! They name the land being sold: "...assigns forever, all ? tract, part of a tract or parcel of land hereinafter mentioned and ? described, that is to say, all the land assignable on the surveyed plot and certificate ? as aforesaid, as follows, viz: All that part of a tract of land called "Hawkins Pharsalia". Beginning at a stone..." It then goes into a detailed description of the land, followed by the usual legalese of the sale between Cornelius and William, James, John, Francis, and Thomas Council.

Hawkins Pharsalia was also the name of the land owned by Henry Counsil in the will I transcribed last week. Henry's son John died in 1796 and my Francis was born around 1817. John also had a son named John that inherited part of Hawkins Pharsalia, but he left a will in 1831 that named children John and Eleanor. His estate mentioned a third child named Edward, but there was no mention of minor children in the estate paperwork. John, Eleanor, and Edward sold their land, so it wasn't passed down to their heirs.

Henry's son Joseph had a son named John (didn't they all!), so that might be another possibility. Joseph didn't inherit any of Hawkins Pharsalia from Henry's estate, but it's certainly possible that his son John bought some of it or acquired it from other relatives.

Updating to add an entry from the Queen Anne's County, MD Accounts Book, 1832-1842, volumes 4-6, image 364 for John Councell's estate in 1836. The book is available on This list of distributions names John's wife Ann and the same children listed in the land records. This is looking even more like a match for my Francis!

Queen Anne's County, MD: Accounts Book, 1832-1842

The foregoing balance distributed according to Law will give to each heir and representative as follows:
To Ann Councell, widow of the deceased 1/3 thereof             | 80.31 3/4
To John Councell, son of decd. 1/5 of 2/3 thereof                  | 32.12 3/4
To Thomas Henry Councell, Son of decd. 1/5 of 2/3 thereof  | 32.12 3/4
To James Councell, Son of decd. 1/5 of 2/3 thereof               | 32.12 3/4
To William Councell, Son of decd. 1/5 of 2/3 thereof              | 32.12 3/4
To Francis Councell, Son of decd. 1/5 of 2/3 thereof             | 32.12 3/4         240 95
Signed by EEF Tho C Earle Reg. Wills

Queen Anne's County Orphans Courty, The foregoing balance and distribution
May 10 Anno Domini 1836 was duly examined by the Court and the Same ordered to be recd. filed & recorded. 

So, is this John Council the father of my Francis? It certainly would explain a lot! The dates fit and Francis would have been a minor until around 1838. It's also interesting that there was a Baynard involved in the Land Commission since one possibility for Francis' mother is Ann Baynard. I'm hoping to find more records about the land and estate to figure out where this John fits in with the other Councills.                               

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Church Record Sunday - Councills in Diocese of Wilmington, DE

I decided to do a little more research on the parish of St. Peter's in Queenstown, MD and was surprised to find out that it was in the Diocese of Wilmington, DE. I was even more surprised to find that records for the diocese are available online on the 19th Century Immigrant Roots site!

I found the same entry in the Wilmington Diocese records as I had found in the St. Peter's records. Francis was baptized in 1818 to parents John and Anne Councell, but the record was attributed to the parish of St. Joseph in Cordova, MD instead of St. Peter's. I believe this is due to the same priests traveling around to the various parishes. I don't have enough info yet to know which parish is correct for my Francis.

I also found additional records that match some of the children of my Francis Councell, so it is looking more likely that this record is for my Francis. So far, I've found two possibilities for an Ann married to a John Councell in the right time and location to be Francis' mother. One is Ann Maria Browning and the other is Ann Baynard. I'll follow up on them in future posts.

On October 10, 1844 Margritta and Francis Louisa Counsel were baptized and their parents were Francis and Mary Counsel. The priest was George Villiger and a sponsor was Mary Counsel, but no additional dates were given for their date of birth. The 1850 census for Queen Anne's County, MD showed that Francis and Mary had daughters Mary, age 8, and Frances, age 5, so these look like a match.

1850 Census, Queen Anne's County, MD

On July 29, 1860, William Frank Council was baptized at the age of 10 months and John Council at the age of 4 years. Their father was Frank Council and sponsors were Bridget Innis for William and Mary Ellen Calahan for John. John Wesley Councill was my great-grandfather, so this could be him. Unfortunately, the mother's name was not recorded on several of these records.

On November 6, 1864, Maria Councell was baptized at the age of 16, placing her year of birth around 1848. Her father was Frank Councell and a sponsor was Mrs. Cath. Golsbourough. This one is a bit curious since I wonder why they would have waited to baptize Maria when they baptized other children in 1860! This could be the Sarah M. Councell listed on the second page of the 1850 census.

1850 Census, Queen Anne's County, MD

The 1860 census shows matches for all of the children listed in the baptismal records. I think William Frank is the young Frank in the census. The Maria listed in 1860 is close in age to the Sarah M. listed in 1850.

1860 Census, Queen Anne's County, MD

I didn't find baptism records for Richard or Robert, but searches by year for the 1850s showed that many of the records were incomplete and had missing names.

The 19th Century Immigrant Roots site is a great resource for the Diocese of Wilmington records through 1900. In addition to those records, they also have some Delaware census records, Irish records, and passenger lists. A record inventory is available here.

The coat of arms for the Diocese of Wilmington pictured at the top of this post is from Wikipedia.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Amanuensis Monday - Henry Counsil's Will

I've been working my way through the Maryland, Register of Wills Books on to try and find any mentions of my 2x great-grandfather, Francis Councill. A possible baptism record for Francis showed that his parents were John and Ann Councill. This will is for Henry Counsil, who lived in Queen Anne's County, Maryland in the 1700s. Francis also lived in Queen Anne's, although I don't know for sure if he was born there or in one of the neighboring counties. The spelling of the name Councill varies a lot even in the same records and is sometimes spelled Councell.

From the Queen Anne's County, Maryland Wills 1751-1761, Liber W.H.N, No. 1, images 113-114:

In the name of God Amen, I Henry Counsil of Queen Ann's County, in the province of Maryland, being sick and weak in Body, but of sound and perfect mind and memory thanks go to God for the same Do make and ordain this my last Will and Testament in manner and form following--

?. I give and bequeath unto my well beloved son John Counsil my ? dwelling plantation, and all the Land and premises hereunto belonging, being part of a Tract of Land called Hawkins Pharsalia containing one hundred and sixty acres more or less to him and his heirs, on condition that the aboved named John Counsil or his heirs shall make over unto Joseph Counsill or his heirs one hundred acres of land called Hogpen Ridge lieing in Choptank Forrest by a good sufficient deed or pay unto the aforesaid Joseph Counsil or his heirs fifty pounds current money, and if my son John Counsil don't think fit to do so then my will is that my son Joseph Counsil and his heirs should have all the land and premises ? above named and pay unto my son John Counsil or his heirs fifty pounds current money. My will also is that my loving wife Elisabeth Counsil, shall have the use of my land and plantation above named, during her widowhood and no longer, and also to possess and enjoy all my personal estate after the legasies and debts are paid during her widowhood, and after her decease to equally divided amongst my children.

Item. I give unto my daughter Cathron Counsill, one feather bed called hers, and furniture belonging to it and also one loom and half the gears.

Item. I give to my daughter Martha Bags, one cow and calf.

Item. I give unto my daughter Mary Wright one feather bed and furniture belonging to it, and one loom and gears and one cow and calf

Item. I give unto my daughter Anna Stashey
(Anastasia?), one ? bed and furniture belonging to it.

Item. I give unto my friend John Materfod ten pounds if he stay on with my wife Elisabeth Counsil til comes to the age of twenty one years, or to her death.

Item. I give to my friend Nathan Kyzoan ten pounds if he stays where I order him til he is twenty one years of age.

And lastly, I constitute and apoint my well beloved wife Elisabeth Counsil to be my Executrix of this my last Will and Testament revoking and making void all former will or wills by me made and holding this and no other to be my last Will and Testament. In witness whereof, I have hearunto set my hand and fixed my seal this nineteenth Day of March, one thousand and seven hundred and sixty.

Signed, sealed Published and Declared to be the last Will and Testament of Henry Counsel in the presence of us

Peter Covington Thomas Rogers Richard Hyuson

Signed by Henry Counsil

After the witnesses confirm that this was Henry's last will and testament, there is a final note:

Elizabeth Counnsill, the Executrix appointed by the will refused to administer, alledging the children are of age and ? debts to pay or receive.

Several trees on have Henry and his wife Elizabeth as being born in England and Elizabeth's maiden name as Banroche. From the wills of the sons, Joseph and John, it appears that John retained the land in Hawkins Pharsalia and Joseph retained Hogpen Ridge. Henry's son John died in 1796, so that couldn't be Francis' father since he was born around 1817. Both Joseph and John had sons named John, so that's where it starts to get complicated! I'll look at their wills in future posts.

Amanuensis Monday is a daily blogging theme which encourages the family historian to transcribe family letters, journals, audiotapes, and other historical artifacts.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Wordless Wednesday - Boy in a Birdbath

Tim Creeden and his step-mother Hilda in the 1930s

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Church Record Sunday - Councills in St. Peter's Church, Queenstown, Maryland Records

St. Peter's photo from Wikipedia
The following records were transcribed from The origins and history of St. Peter's Church, Queenstown, Maryland, 1637-1976 by Edward B. Carley, published in 1976. The original records were created by the priests of the church.

May 5, 1768 Christened Henry Counsil

January 27, 1783 Christened Thomas Counsil

May 6, 1784 Marry'd John Counsill and Rebecca Gray

1784 (no date) Bury'd Luticia Counsil at ye families graveyard

January 13, 1790 I married John Councill, Jr. and Nancy Browning

February 14, 1796 Buried John Councell, Sr. (at Tully's Neck)

February 24, 1799 Buried a child of Henry Counsell's at Counsell's

Councell, John Carey, Born February 11, 1804, Baptized February 20, 1804, Parents Elijah and Martha Councell, Queen Anne's County

Councell, Samuel, Born March 25, 1806, Baptized June 15, 1806, Parents Elijah and Margaret Councell, Queen Anne's County

Councell, Francis. About 9 months old; Baptized May 21, 1818. Son of John and Anne Councell. Sponsors: Joseph and Polly Councell

Councell, George W. Born May 17, 1818; Baptized July 20, 1818. Son of Elijah and Martha Councell. Sponsors: James and Mary Councell

Councell, Robert H, 3 years old
Councell, Joel Franklin, 1 year old. Baptized May 14, 1823. Both children of Elijah and Martha Councell of Queen Anne's County.

These are just a few of the Councill records in this book. I suspect that the Francis Councell baptized on May 21, 1818 is my 2x great-grandfather, but I need more proof. I've seen the Councell spelling in earlier records for the family and the dates and location fit. I don't have any evidence either way on whether or not Francis was Catholic. I didn't find the marriage of Francis or any children for him, but there are quite a few gaps in the records.

I noticed that there is a John Councell, Jr. married to a Nancy Browning in 1790, so they might be the parents of Francis. The mother's name was given as Anne, so hard to say if that could be Nancy or not. I've seen several trees on that have the father of Francis as John Councell, Sr. even though he died in 1796! I think maybe John Jr. and John Sr. have been mixed up in some of the online trees.

This is a great resource for early church records in Queen Anne's County, Maryland. Thanks to Cindy S. for posting about them on the Upper Eastern Shore of Maryland Genealogy group. The book is out of print, but available in some libraries. There is a nice bit of history about the church here.