Sunday, December 30, 2018

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks - Week 52 - Resolution

The 52 Ancestors prompt for this week is "Resolution". It's the time of year when many people look ahead and make resolutions. Is there an ancestor you plan to concentrate on researching next year? (Maybe that brick wall ancestor?) 

It's hard to believe we're on the last week of 2018! First of all, much thanks to Amy Johnson Crow for the 52 Ancestors prompts. I didn't have as much time as I'd like to spend on the blog this year and they helped keep me going.

I've posted previously on my 2x great-grandparents and where I'm at with research on each of them. I have more mysteries to solve on my maternal side, so plan to concentrate on that next year. Most of them are from Queen Anne's County, MD and the surrounding counties.
2x great-grandparents for my Councill and Sparks families
For my Councill and Sparks lines, I plan to concentrate on the Meredith and Godwin families. I have some DNA matches that might help with these lines, so plan to delve into that a bit more.
2x great-grandparents for my Willis and Chilcutt families
For the Willis and Chilcutt lines, I plan to concentrate on George Chilcutt. My brick wall for most of my Queen Anne's County lines is finding the evidence to link my direct ancestors with the research others have done on these families.

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

Sunday, September 23, 2018

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks - Week 38 - Unusual Source - Sisters of Charity Email

The 52 Ancestors prompt for this week is "Unusual Source". The prompt had the following questions:

What is the most unusual source you've ever used? An email from a nun working at the Sisters of Charity Archives in Mount St. Joseph, Ohio.

What did it tell you? The email told me that Julia Creedan entered the Sisters of Charity convent in Cincinnati in 1870. She took her vows in 1872 and received the name of Sister Mary Felix. The email also gave some of Julia's work history with the Sisters and gave her date of death as February 18, 1918. A big surprise was that the email included a picture of Julia. It's the only picture of her that I've seen and she showed a resemblance to her brother Timothy, my 2x great-grandfather.

What question were you trying to answer when you found it? I was trying to find the names of Timothy and Julia Creedan's parents and where they came from in Ireland. Timothy was one of my biggest brick walls and I'd been unable to find any records for him that showed his parents' nsmes or his place of birth in Ireland.

With Julia's new name, I was able to find Julia's Ohio death certificate which named her parents as Patrick Creedon and Mary Coakley. That led to her baptism record in Ireland which gave her address as Carrigapooka in Clondrohid, County Cork, Ireland. Since Patrick Creedan's will stated Timothy was her full brother, I finally had names for my 2x great-grandfather Timothy's parents and a specific location in Ireland!

Timeline for Julia Creedan/Sister Mary Felix

Before receiving the information from the Sister, my only information on Julia was from the 1860 census and a clue in her father Patrick's will stating that she was a "religious" in the Sisters of Charity. With the Sister's information, I was able to fill in the timeline above. (Click on the image for a larger picture.) Since then, I've located Timothy's obituary which told the story of their mother dying in Ireland and their immigration to the Port of New Orleans sometime between 1849-1850.

I thought this was a long shot when I sent the email to the Sisters requesting information on Julia and I'm still amazed that it unlocked so much information!

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

Sunday, August 26, 2018

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks - Week 34 - Non-Population Schedules

The 52 Ancestors prompt for this week is "Non-Population".

The federal census that we use in the US is sometimes comprised of more than one schedule. The one that we usually use is called the "population schedule." However, there are some censuses that have addtional schedules, such as:
- 1850-1880 Agricultural schedules
- 1850-1880 Industry and Manufactures schedules
- 1880 Defective, Dependent, and Delinquent Classes
- 1890 Schedule of Union Veterans and Widows

Have you found your ancestor on one of these schedules? What did you find?

I've found quite a lot of information in the non-population schedules. Here are a few of my previous posts about them:

Timothy Creeden - Down on the Farm - The 1880 Agricultural schedule was one of my favorite finds since it gave me so much insight into the farming life of my 2x great-grandparents Timothy and Mary Creeden in Clinton County, Ohio. I'd pictured fields of single crops like corn or wheat, but they had so much more going on!

Hannah Hoover Creedan - 1880 Mortality Schedule - This schedule lists information about people that died in the year before the 1880 census was taken. It links the deceased to their family in the 1880 census and gives some additional information such as cause of death and length of residence in the county. Hannah lived in Clinton County, Ohio and was the second wife of my 3x great-grandfather Patrick Creedan.

John Matson in 1890 Schedule of Union Veterans and Widows - This schedule provided more insight into John Matson's service and included the reason for his disability which was "wounded hand".

This last one is a bit of a mystery. I was surprised to find a Mary A. Matson in the 1880 Agricultural schedule for the Hopewell township of Mercer County, Ohio. According to the schedule, she was renting the farm land for a fixed amount of money. The rest of the information on the schedule is blank for Mary, so maybe she wasn't actively farming the land.

I would guess this was the same Mary Matson listed in the 1870 census for Mercer County. If so, she was born in Virginia in 1833. This is intriguing since my Matson family came from Virginia to Clinton County, Ohio. It appears that some of the Matsons went to Mercer County instead, so I'll have to see if I can figure out her relationship to my Matsons.

One thing to be aware of is that the non-population schedules are only available online for certain states. This is the information for the schedules available on "This database contains U.S. federal non-population schedules from 1850-1880 for the following states: California, Georgia, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Nebraska, New York, North Carolina, South Carolina, Texas, Virginia, and Washington Territory. Additional states will be added in the future. Non-population schedules contained in this database include: agriculture, industry/manufacturers, social statistics, and supplemental schedules".

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

Sunday, August 19, 2018

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks - Week 33 Family Legend - A Bible and a Gun

The 52 Ancestors prompt for this week is "Family Legend". It isn't unusual for a family to have some sort of legend. Maybe it's a legend surrounding the family's arrival in a country or that there's an ancestral castle waiting to be claimed. Maybe it's a story about how you're supposedly related to someone famous. You could explore how you proved or disproved the story. Then there are the "tall tales" that seem to get taller at every telling!

My father told me quite a few stories about his grandfather's adventures as county sheriff during the 1920s. Charles Creeden was the County Sheriff of Mercer County, OH from 1923-1927. One legend I've been able to prove during Charles' time as sheriff involved a skirmish at the opening of the Mercer County courthouse where Charles turned the fire hoses on an unruly mob. I was also able to find an article about the arrests of farmers for having stills (or hootch!) on their farms during prohibition.

Another of my father's stories involved a gunfight that broke out when Charles and his deputies tried to serve papers on a local pastor. They approached the person in question on his way to church and he pulled a gun out from under his bible and shot at them! A bullet grazed Charles in the head and left a scar. The sheriffs shot back and the shooter was arrested.

I've searched for a newspaper article on this story before with no luck, but this time I had some success.

The above article was published in the News-Journal in Mansfield, OH on March 24, 1925 and is available on It seems to confirm most of the story. It's interesting that it doesn't mention Charles being shot, but I'm guessing the injury was fairly minor. It also doesn't mention the details about a pastor or pulling the gun out from under a bible, so hard to say if that is true or if my great-grandfather was just adding a bit of color to the story! Given that Hein was on his way to church, it certainly seems possible.

One final thing I wondered about was the levy of execution mentioned in the article. According to, this is a court order authorizing a levy on (or seizure) of property or other asset to satisfy a creditor. No wonder Mr. Hein didn't want to answer the door when the sheriffs came to his house!

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

Sunday, August 5, 2018

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks - Week 31 - Oldest - Photo from the 1860s?

The 52 Ancestors prompt for this week is "Oldest". How are you going to interpret "oldest"? The oldest child in one of your ancestral families? The oldest photo you have? The oldest document you've ever found? The oldest ancestor you ever met?

This prompt reminded me that I have a mystery photo that I'm still curious about. I first posted about this in 2012, but wanted to see if I could find some new information. 

My grandmother gave this photograph to my mother, but the identity of the woman in the portrait is a mystery. My mother's family was from Queen Anne's County, Maryland and the surrounding areas. Some of the surnames in my grandmother's family are Willis, Chilcutt, Adams, and Covey, so it's possible that the woman is from one of these families.

The photograph is in a hinged case which opens up and has a plush velvet-like material on the left side. From everything I could find online, the style of dress looks like it could be from the 1860s. Her jewelry looks like it might have been enhanced in the photograph. The photograph is behind a glass plate which is very reflective and a bit tricky to capture with my camera. I think the photo is most likely an ambrotype.

The Daguerreian Society has some good information on the history of daguerreotype and ambrotype photographs and their cases. The outer case for this photograph looks like a Union Case which dates it to sometime from 1855-1865. A Union Case was a mixture (or union) of shellac and wood fibers that were pressed into a steel mold. has some examples of women's clothing that also leads me to believe the photo is from this time period.

I wondered if the design on the case could shed any light as to its origins or time period. I found a match for the case on's forum where they were discussing the meaning of the six-sided star. It was mentioned there that the US Army Eighth Corps adopted the six-sided star as their insignia in the summer of 1864.

From Wikipedia, the Union Army VIII Corps badge looked like this:
A short history of the VIII Corps states that they were based in Maryland, so that at least matches the location of my mother's family. Of course, I don't even know for sure that the picture is of one of her ancestors! I can't really draw any conclusions from any of this, but it was interesting to find a match for the case. I don't know of anyone from her mother's family that served in the Civil War, but I don't have a lot of details on some of them. If anyone has suggestions on finding more out about this photograph, I'd love to hear from you!

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

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.

Sunday, March 11, 2018

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks - Week 10 - Strong Woman

The 52 Ancestors prompt for this week is "Strong Woman". What female in your family tree has shown remarkable strength (either physical or emotional)? Tell her story. 

My great-great-grandmother Mary Ann Matson was born in Clinton County, Ohio on Sept. 11, 1851. She was the youngest of the 13 children of Asa Matson and Dorothy “Dolly” Clevenger. Mary's parents were born in Virginia and migrated to Clinton County, Ohio in the early 1800's. Four of Mary's brothers served in the Civil War and two died in the war while another was wounded.

On December 10, 1868, Mary was married to Timothy Creeden in Clinton County. She was 17 and Timothy was 22. Timothy was an Irish immigrant, born in 1846 in County Cork. Mary and Timothy had ten children, but two of them died young. Their first child Patrick died in Clinton County in 1872 at the age of 3. Their next son James died in Mercer County at the age of 17.
Mary Ann Matson Creeden (left) at her boarding house in Celina, OH
Mary was widowed in 1899 at the age of 48 and still had six children at home. She mortgaged part of the family farmland and bought a house in town in Celina, OH to run as a boarding house. The 1900 census showed that 2 of the grown children worked while the younger ones went to school. Mary made money by renting out rooms in the house. Renters were provided room and board including meals and laundry. The sign on the house above Mary's head says Ice, 7c a day, so it looks like she was resourceful on finding ways to make extra money.

From 1910 US Census for Mercer County, Ohio
In 1910, Mary was still running the boarding house. In the 1910 census, she had three boarders and three of her children were living at home. By that time, the three children were old enough to work, although her youngest son Joshua was only 16. Joshua and the three boarders all worked at the Mersman furniture factory. Her daughter Julia worked as a servant in a private home and her daughter Ida Belle was a dressmaker. By 1920, Mary had retired and was still living with her son Joshua in the same house.

Mary died at her home in 1925 at the age of 74. Her obituary contained this line: "Mrs. Creeden has been suffering with a complication of diseases for the past year, but bearing her suffering with great fortitude, never wishing to alarm her family at any time." While I don't know too much about her personality, she must have been a strong woman to run a business and raise six children on her own.

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

Sunday, March 4, 2018

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks - Week 9 - Where There's a Will

The 52 Ancestors prompt for this week is "Where There's a Will". Use this prompt however you are inspired to. Maybe you've come across an interesting will. Explain it like you would to a non-genealogist. What story does it reveal? You could write about an ancestor who was determined to do something. (Or maybe you have an ancestor named Will!) 

Wills often contain valuable clues for tracing your ancestors. If you're lucky, they'll list the children's names and sometimes even grandchildren. If the inheritance involves land, they may give details on the name and location of the property. You may find additional probate records with the will that pinpoint the date of death and other details about the estate.

I'm choosing Patrick Creedan's will for this prompt for the unique clues it provided. I originally transcribed the will in 2012 when I found it in the Clinton County, Ohio Probate Records on  It's really important to note a lot of the probate records on FamilySearch are not indexed and don't show up when you search their records! I have a post here with tips on finding these records. In this case, the record has since been indexed at, but there are still many records that are not searchable.

Patrick Creedan's Will, Clinton County, Ohio, 1883
Patrick Creedan's will was executed after Patrick's death in June 1883 in Clinton County, Ohio. The will designates $200 for funeral expenses and masses for Patrick and his daughter Phoebe Catherine. After the funeral expenses were paid, the estate was to be divided into eight equal portions with the recipients as follows:

1. Patrick's son Timothy
2. Patrick's daughter Julia - This share actually goes to Timothy on account of Julia being a "religious" in the Sisters of Charity. Timothy is named as Julia's "full brother".
3. Patrick's son John
4. Patrick's daughter Hanna Jane
5. Patrick's son Patrick William
6 and 7. Patrick's daughter Rosanna receives two shares due to her "feeble mental condition"
8. Patrick's grandson Elija Bernard the son Patrick's deceased daughter Johanna

The witnesses to the will were Bridget Keefe and Michael O'Donaghue. The executor was Timothy Keefe.

So, what story does it reveal without looking at any other records?

Patrick Creedan, a resident of Clinton County, Ohio, died in June 1883. His daughters Phoebe and Johanna preceded him in death. Masses were to be held for him and his deceased family members.

Patrick was survived by his children Timothy, Julia, John, Hanna Jane, Patrick William, Rosanna, and a grandson Elija Bernard. Elija was the son of Patrick's daughter Johanna. Timothy and Julia are called out as "full" siblings, so the other children probably had a different mother and Patrick probably had at least two wives. The wives aren't mentioned in the will, so probably died before 1883.

Patrick's daughter Rosanna needs additional care to be provided for by receiving an extra share of his estate. Patrick was most likely a Catholic since he designates some of his estate to be used to pay for masses for him and his deceased family and his daughter Julia is in the Sisters of Charity. Patrick is acquainted with the Keefe family and Michael O'Donaghue.

Further research on the clues in the will led to the following discoveries:

Patrick's son Timothy became guardian of Rosanna. Guardianship bonds showed that Rosanna moved with Timothy's family to Mercer County, Ohio. This was important in helping to establish that the Timothy Creeden in Mercer County was the same person as the one in Clinton County.

The Sisters of Charity in Cincinnati, Ohio had records for Julia that showed she entered their convent in Cincinnati in 1870. She took her vows in 1872 and received the name of Sister Mary Felix. With that information, I was able to find her death certificate which named her parents as Patrick Creedon and Mary Coakley. That led to her baptism record in Ireland which gave her address as Carrigapooka in Clondrohid, County Cork, Ireland. Since the will stated Timothy was her full brother, I finally had names for my 2x great-grandfather Timothy's parents and a specific location in Ireland!

Timothy Keefe's mother was Johanna Creedon. The Keefes were from the same area of County Cork and an article about Julia Creedon states that she was related to the Keefe family of Clinton County. I haven't found any records showing the relationship of Johanna to Patrick, but it does look like they were related.

Michael  O'Donaghue was the priest at St. Columbkill church in Clinton County from 1882-1905/1906. According to a newspaper article Patrick Creedan was at the first mass held in Clinton County in 1852, along with members of the Keefe and Coakley families.

This will really helped me break down my brick wall on Timothy Creeden! For the full transcription, see my original post on Patrick Creedan's will.

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

Sunday, February 25, 2018

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks - Week 8 - Heirloom

The 52 Ancestors prompt for this week is "Heirloom". Is there a special item that's been passed down in your family?

We don't really have any heirlooms that have been passed down for generations, but we do have some more recent things from my grandparents that will be passed down. I'm also very fortunate to have some photographs on both sides of the family dating back to the 1800s.

One of my more recent finds is a portion of a ledger kept by my great-grandfather George Pulskamp. I was contacted by someone that used to live in the house George lived in on Walnut St. in Celina, OH. In the 1970s, she found a couple of ledger pages up in the attic that had George's name on them and she saved them just because she thought they were cool. She found me through my blog and offered to send the pages to me. It was a lovely gesture and I'm thrilled to have something of George's in our family!

The page above is from a ledger George was keeping to track his expenses in 1895. He went on to become a newspaper publisher and printer, so it looks like he was a natural businessman. The page pictured is dated June 1895 and shows that he received $35 from B. Pulskamp at the start of the month. The entry might be referring to Beatrice Pulskamp.

The rest of the lines show his expenses for the month and his signature at the bottom. The interesting thing about the entries is that they detail a trip from South Bend, Indiana back to Maria Stein, Ohio. George was attending Notre Dame University during that time, so this was most likely a trip home for the summer.

George spent quite a bit of his budget on clothes, including $15 on June 3, plus a collar and something for baseball that I can't quite make out. I wonder if he had a summer job waiting for him at home.

On June 4, he bought a Jubilee book for $1 and a Jubilee medal for 50 cents. Notre Dame's Golden Jubilee celebration was on June 11-13 of 1895, so he probably attended some of the celebrations before heading home.

On June 6, he spent 15 cents for strawberries, cake, and milk at a farmhouse. I bet that was delicious!

It looks like he started his trip home on the 13th of June. There were expenses for a trunk transfer and supper in South Bend. His biggest expense was his railroad fare which cost $4.20. There was another trunk transfer on the 14th and then a railroad fare of 65 cents to Maria Stein. It's such an interesting glimpse into George's life during his college years. This is indeed a very cool thing to have and to pass down in the family! Much thanks to Brenda S. for taking the time to research someone connected to George and to send the ledger pages to me.

I wrote about some other heirlooms in previous posts:

My great-grandmother Anna Niehaus Creeden and her paintings
Charles Creeden's Mercer County, Ohio Sheriff's Badge
A few trinkets from my Councill family
Space Program Souvenirs

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

Sunday, February 18, 2018

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks - Week 7 - Valentine

This week's 52 Ancestors prompt  is "Valentine". Is there a love story in your family tree? Maybe a couple was married on Valentine's Day or you have a valentine that one ancestor gave to another. Maybe you have an ancestor named Valentine. 

I wish I knew the stories behind some of my ancestors' marriages, but I don't have any love stories or Valentines that have been passed down. Nobody named Valentine either! I found one Valentine's Day marriage in my family tree and it's for Bertha Rose Niehaus and Joseph Frederick. Bertha was the sister of my great-grandmother Anna Niehaus Creeden.

This newspaper article about their wedding was published in the Celina Democrat on February 17, 1911. I noticed that my great-grandmother isn't mentioned in the article. She gave birth to my grandfather 2 days before the wedding, so was probably recovering from the birth. 

There was a lot of information in this article. The wedding took place in the Catholic Church of Celina (Immaculate Conception) at 6:30am and was celebrated by the Rev. Fr. Ernest Hefele. The bride was attended by a younger sister, Miss Carrie Niehaus and the best man was a brother of the groom, Clarence Frederick. A wedding breakfast was served at the home of the groom's parents after the ceremony.

The groom was the son of Mr. and Mrs. Frank Frederick and worked at the furniture factory. He was a pitcher for the local baseball club. The bride was the third daughter of the Infirmary Director and Mrs. Henry Niehaus. She was a graduate of both the Parochial and Public High Schools and taught school in the county,. She resigned her position in West Jefferson the month before the wedding. They lived in a home purchased by the groom on Lisle street.

Several years of the Celina Democrat are available on the Chronicling America site. They always listed their marriage notices under "Cupid's Victims" which is a tad quirky, but makes them easy to search for!

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

Sunday, February 11, 2018

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks - Week 6 - Favorite Name

This week's 52 Ancestors prompt  is "Favorite Name". Favorite name could be a name of an ancestor that makes you smile. Perhaps it's an unusual name.

Hornor family crest from Colonial Families of the USA
I don't really have a favorite name, but one that's always intrigued me is Deliverance Horner. That's definitely not a name you hear now! Deliverance's parents were Joshua and Mary Hornor of Burlington County, New Jersey. They were most likely Quakers from England. Deliverance married George Clevenger on July 19, 1737 and they were the parents of my ancestor Nancy Ann Clevenger Matson.

Joshua Hornor entry from Colonial Families of the USA
Joshua Hornor was born in in Tadcaster, England according to Colonial Families of the USA on Tadcaster is a town and parish in North Yorkshire.

Deliverance Horner, child of Joshua and Mary in Colonial Families of the USA
The list of Joshua and Mary Hornor's children in Colonial Families of the USA includes Deliverance and gives the date of her marriage to George Clevenger as July 19, 1737. The American Genealogical-Biographical Index (AGBI) gives Deliverance's birth year as 1710, although I see December 18, 1708 on several trees. Her year of death is given as 1756 in Frederick County, VA on several trees, but I haven't found a source for that. It does match up with my Clevenger family coming from Virginia.

I was surprised to find two more Deliverance Horners. One was born in 1685 and married Thomas Stokes. They also lived in Burlington County, New Jersey. Another was married to Baley Babb in 1785 in Frederick County, VA, so there's another reference to Frederick County. I would guess they're all related somehow, so probably worth doing a bit more research.

The use of Deliverance seemed to fall off quite a bit in the US after the 1850s. There were 122 entries for Deliverance in the 1850 census as compared to 79 in the 1860 census. There were only 12 matches for Deliverance in the 1940 census. The name hasn't disappeared entirely, but is very rare now. There are 22 entries for Deliverance in the Social Security Death Index, with the most recent one born in 1981.

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

Sunday, February 4, 2018

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks - Week 5 - In the Census

This week's 52 Ancestors prompt  is "In the Census." What intriguing find have you made in a census? What has a series of census records shown you? Do you have an ancestor who constantly ages only 7 years between censuses? 

The census is usually the first set of records I use when starting research on a surname. Sometimes I easily find a wealth of information on a family and other times it can be confounding due to incorrect information and spellings that aren't even close! Following are a few of my favorite census records. For a complete list of my posts involving the census, you can check out my census link under the Labels on the right side of the blog page.

The most intriguing find I've made in the census was when I found an entry for a Timothy Creeden in the US 1860 census for Clinton County, Ohio.

1860 Census for Patrick Creedan family in Clinton County, Ohio
My family thought our Timothy Creeden was the first in his line to come to America and we assumed he came over as an adult. I knew Timothy was in Clinton County, Ohio by sometime in the 1860s since he was married there in 1868. This census entry raised the possibility that he came over much earlier than we thought and that he had other family members in Ohio. The only problem was his age was wrong and this entry said he was born in Ohio! Every other source I had said Timothy was born in 1846 in Ireland.

I took a look at the same family in the 1870 census and found that Joanette/Joannah was now said to be born in 1851 instead of 1846. Could the census taker have switched the ages for Timothy and Joanette in 1860? Timothy isn't shown in this 1870 entry since he was now married and running his own farm nearby. After much more research, I was able to determine that this was Timothy's family. Several years later I finally found an obituary for Timothy and it confirmed he came over with his sister Julia when he was only 3 years old. The census entries were key in making the connection, although the incorrect information threw me off for a long time.

1870 Census for Patrick Creden family in Clinton County, Ohio
I've found it useful to look at a series of census entries for a given surname in a county. I've found many connections between individual families that way. Sometimes you can recognize a pattern like the same first names being used in different families. A couple of examples of series by county are my posts for Matson Families in Hopewell Township, Mercer County, Ohio and Coakley Families in Clinton County, Ohio.

One of my favorite census entries shows several of my family names in the 1850 census for Queen Anne's County, Maryland. Members of the Godwin, Sparks, Meredith, and Davis families are living in one household. An intriguing thing in this entry is Samuel Godwin's occupation as a sailor. So far, I haven't been able to find any information about his job as a sailor.

1850 Census for Queen Anne's County, MD
The 1880 Agricultural census might not give you new information on family names, but it totally changed my impression of Timothy Creeden's farm. I'd pictured one crop like wheat or corn like the farms I'd seen when traveling through the mid-west.  It turns out Timothy and his wife Mary had a lot going on on their 42 acres! They sold butter, eggs, and livestock in addition to having crops of corn, oats, wheat, apples and even half an acre of Irish potatoes.

Timothy Creeden in the 1880 Agricultural census for Clinton County, OH
When the 1940 census came out, I looked up both of my parents and found that my dad managed to get included in two entries! He was raised by his grandparents Charles and Anna Creeden, but was also listed in the entry for his father Robert Creeden. We'll never know for sure how that happened, but my guess is the census taker asked if they had any children and my dad's stepmother answered yes.

Robert Jr. with his grandparents in the 1940 Mercer County, OH census
Robert Jr. with his father and stepmother in the 1940 Mercer County, OH census
#52Ancestors is a series of weekly family history prompts developed by Amy Johnson Crow.