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.