Sunday, February 18, 2024

Sunday's Obituary - Susan A. Godwin Sparks

Susan A. Godwin gravestone

This obituary was published in the Centreville Record on November 15, 1902 and was originally transcribed by Trish Surles in her book Obituaries from Maryland Newspapers Queen's Anne County for 1902-1903:

Mrs. Sanuel A. Sparks, wife of the late Samuel A. Sparks, died at the home of her son in law, Mr. J. W. Councill, November 2nd, after a long and lingering illness in the 72nd year of her age. She leaves four children, Charles G. Sparks, of Kent Island, Daniel Sparks, of Ravensdale, Washington, and two daughters, Mrs. R H. Councill, and Mrs. J.W. Councill, of near town.

Susan And Samuel A. Sparks were my 3x great-grandparents. Their daughter Ariana Sparks and son-in-law John Wesley Councill were my great-grandparents. Susan is buried in the Chesterfield Cemetery in Centreville, Queen Anne's County, Maryland next to her husband Samuel A. Sparks. 

Thanks to Corey and Douglas Marshall-Steele for taking the gravestone photo and posting it on Find A Grave.

Friday, January 12, 2024

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks - Origins

The theme for this week is "Origins". Genealogists often get the question, "Where is your family from?". 

I do get asked that question, so I'm using this post to document what I know about my family's origins and what is still a mystery. Most of my maternal ancestors eventually settled in Queen Anne's County, Maryland or nearby counties. The chart below shows some of my maternal immigrant ancestors and my best guess at where they're from. Italics indicate data where I haven't found any supporting records. While some of these lines can be traced down to my ancestors, some of them get a bit murky in the middle and it's presumed that my lines are related to the immigrant ancestors.

The origins of my Chilcutt, Covey, Godwin and Meredith ancestors are unknown and I haven't traced my Councill line back further than Henry Councill. There was a Dennis Councill/Councell in the estate records of a Jacobus Seth in Talbot County, Maryland as early as 1698. It's possible that he is Henry Councill's father or other relation, but I haven't seen any proof of that so far.

Maternal Immigrant Ancestors

The next chart shows the main lines for my paternal immigrant ancestors. Most of them arrived in the US in the 1800s so the relationships are easier to prove than with my maternal side. The exceptions are my Matson and Clevenger lines. John Matson still remains mostly a mystery. He is the ancestor of my great-great-grandmother Mary Ann Matson Creeden. He was married to Nancy Ann Clevenger and they moved from Virginia to Clinton County, Ohio in the early 1800s. Mary is also related to the Clevengers through her mother Dortha Clevenger.

Paternal Immigrant Ancestors

A final note is that these origins match up pretty well with the ethnicity estimates from Ancestry DNA tests for me, my sister and my mother. My estimates show roughly 1/3 England/NW Europe, 1/3 Germanic Europe and 1/3 a  mix from Wales, Scotland, Ireland and Sweden/Denmark. The English and Welsh are from my maternal side, while the Germanic Europe and Sweden/Denmark are paternal. I have Irish and Scottish ancestry on both sides. The Meredith surname originated in Wales, so that's a possibility for the Welsh ancestry.

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

Sunday, March 5, 2023

Sunday's Obituary - Timothy Coakley

Timothy Coakley was born in Ireland and lived in Clinton County, Ohio by 1852. He was one of the oldest Irish residents in the county when he died on October 22, 1912. I found three obituaries for Timothy with different dates and stories on his immigration to the US. Details on the obituaries for Timothy Coakley are below.

Clinton County Democrat, October 24, 1912

From the Clinton County Democrat obituary, Timothy was 83 years old at his death placing his year of birth around 1829. This obituary states that he came to the US with his father Jerry, but it appears that they didn't know exactly when since the year is given as 18--! I don't think I've seen that before, but it's repeated in one of the other obituaries. This obituary mentions Timothy being present at the first mass celebrated in Clinton County and says he is survived by three daughters and two sons.


The Wilmington Journal, October 30, 1912

The Wilmington Journal, October 30, 1912  part 2

The second obituary is from the Wilmington Journal and states that Timothy was 82 years old at the time of his death. This obituary states that he came to Ireland at the age of 18 which would've been around 1848. It gives some details on his work history at Patrick Denver's farm and the railroad. It says he married Catherine Powers on January 3, 1853 and that they had ten children, five that were still living. It also gives Catherine's year of death as 1909 and says that Mrs. John Burke is the only surviving member of the older family. Timothy's sister Mary was married to John Burke. 

An interesting difference between the obituaries is that this one says Timothy's parents and sisters didn't come over until later, but says the family arrived in the early 40s. That doesn't add up with Timothy's age at death and arrival in the US at the age of 18.

The third obituary was published in the Clinton Republican on October 24, 1912 and is available on the Ohio History Connection website. This obituary states that Timothy was 82 when he died at his home in Wilmington. It adds some new details about Timothy being from Cork, Ireland and that "with other of his people he came to this country about the year ----". So, this time the year is a complete blank! A few more facts are added including that he worked in New Orleans for some time before coming to Wilmington and that he was Street Commissioner and a fireman after his work on the railroad ended. This obituary names his surviving children as Mary, John, Timothy and Elizabeth living at home and Mrs. Katherine Murphy of Cincinnati. 

I often can't find even one obituary, so finding three is a bit unusual. They agree roughly on Timothy's age, work history and surviving relatives, although some provided more detail than others. They disagree on when he came to the US and whether or not he came with other family members.

The 1900 census says Timothy's year of immigration was 1860 and the 1910 census says 1836. Nether of those years seem correct based on the other information about Timothy. I wasn't able to find a Timothy Coakley in the 1850 census for Ohio or New Orleans and haven't found Timothy in any passenger lists so far. Based on the information I have, my guess is Timothy came over between 1847-1852.  I know he was in Clinton County by 1852 when the first mass was celebrated and also that he was married in Ohio in 1853.

Sunday's Obituary is a prompt developed by Leslie Ann at Ancestors Live Here.

Sunday, October 23, 2022

Church Record Sunday - Baptism of Patrick William Creedan

Patrick William Creedan was born on May 16, 1864 to parents Patrick and Hannah Hoover Creedan. The family lived in Clinton County, Ohio, but Patrick was baptized in St. Andrew's parish in Milford, Clermont County, Ohio. Construction of the Catholic church in Clinton County wasn't completed until 1868 so the family had children baptized in the nearby parishes before the new church opened.

Baptism record for Patrick William Creedan, May 29, 1864

The image above is the entry for the baptism of Patrick William Creedan. The baptism was recorded in Latin and the year 1864 was written on the top of this page. On the left of the record, the baptism date was given as May 29 and the date of birth as May 16. The entry roughly translates to "I baptized Patrick G. son Patrick Credin and Hannah Hoover, sponsors Timothy Kiefe and Margarita Calahan". The priest's name was abbreviated to J. B. OD.

Patrick's name is given as Patrick William in his father's will in 1883, so I believe the initial G in the baptism record stands for Gulielmus, the Latin version of William.

A transcription of the record was made for the diocese of Cincinnati. The name of the priest is spelled out as J. B. O'Donoghue. The number 23 on the left is the entry number for Patrick's record in the ledger. There are a couple of mistakes in this transcription. Patrick's mother is given as Anna instead of Hannah and Patrick's middle initial is given as J instead of G.

At some point, Patrick started using his middle name William instead of Patrick. Patrick was listed as Patrick in the 1870 census and Patrick W. in the 1880 census for Clinton County, Ohio. His father Patrick's will left a share of the estate to his son Patrick William in 1883. In the distributions from the estate in 1884, Patrick is named as Patrick W. Creeden, minor. In the final account of the estate in 1885, Patrick's name is given as Wm. P. Creeden.

Wm P Creeden named in final account of estate in 1885
In 1885, W. P. Creedan marries Mary C. Snyder in Clinton County, Ohio. Quaker records in Clinton County from 1887 and 1889 mention a John and William Creeden. John's wife and children are listed in the records and they are match for Patrick William's brother John. The William in the records is most likely Patrick William.

In 1886 or 1887, the birth of Minnie Creeden was registered in Greene County, Ohio to parents Wm. Creeden and Mary Snyder. They are living in Bowersville in Greene County. The date of the birth was given as May 11, 1886 and the location of the birth was Sabina, Clinton County, Ohio. Sabina was also the location in the 1870 census for Patrick and Hannah Creedan.


In 1900, John and William Creedan are listed next to each other in the census for Darke County, Ohio along with their wives and children. Note that Williams birth month and year are given as May 1864.

By 1905, William Patrick Creeden and his family were living in Kansas and appeared in the 1905 state census for Kansas. William's age was given as 42 and Mary's as 43. William died in 1909 and is buried in Kansas. His tombstone in Kansas gives his year of birth as 1862. I have a few cases in my family tree where the wrong year appears on a tombstone, so it's possible that a family member gave the wrong information.

My conclusion is that Patrick William and William P. or W. P. Creeden are most likely the same person. Most of the records indicate that he was born in 1864 with the exception of his tombstone. That discrepancy leaves some room for doubt, but all of the other records with a date seem to indicate that he was born after 1862. Mary's tombstone also gives her year of birth as 1862 and this is more consistent with the census records which indicated she was a year or two older than her husband.

A final note is that my sister and I have several DNA matches to descendants of William and Mary Creeden. They are similar in size to our matches from the other children of Patrick and Hannah Hoover Creedan. The matches form a cluster where we are all sharing the same matches, so that indicates there is a relation between the Kansas and Clinton County Creeden families.

Sources: The Roman Catholic baptism registers for the diocese of Cincinnati are available on The Quaker index is available on The other images in this post are available from

Sunday, September 4, 2022

Sunday's Obituary - Opal Mary Creeden Wagner

Opal Mary Creeden Wagner was the daughter of W. P. Creeden and Mary Catherine Snyder. She was born in the Jackson township of Darke County, Ohio in late October or early November 1899. The entry for her birth in the Ohio County Births ledgers for Darke County appears below and gives her date of birth as November 8, 1899. The ledgers are available to browse by county on

I posted the obituary for Opal's father last week. His name was given as W. P. Creeden in his obituary and Wm. Creeden in the birth entry for Opal. In Opal's obituary, his name is given as Patrick Creeden, so that might be a little more evidence that he was Patrick William, the son of Patrick Creedan and Hannah Hoover of Clinton County, Ohio. It's also possible that this was just an error by the newspaper or person that provided the obituary information.

Opal also went by her middle name. In the birth register, her name is given as Mary Opal and she appears in the 1900 census in Darke County as Mary O. After that, the records show her name as Opal or Opal Mary.

Opal's obituary was published in the Hutchinson News in Kansas on Friday, September 7, 1990. The cities referred to in the obituary are in Kansas with the exception of Greenville, Ohio.

Opal was married to James Maurice Wagner in 1947 when Opal was 46 years old. I haven't found any records of the couple having any children.


COLDWATER - Opal Mary Wagner. 90, died Thursday, Sept. 6, 1990, at Comanche County Hospital, Coldwater.

She was born Oct. 28, 1899, at Greenville, Ohio, the daughter of Patrick and Mary Catherine Snyder Creeden. She graduated from Fort Hays State Teachers College, Hays. A former resident of Stafford and Gravette, Ark, she was a homemaker and retired school teacher.

She was a member of the Baptist Church, Ye Olde Tyme Club, Vashti Chapter No. 64 Order of the Eastern Star and the Rebekah Lodge, all at Stafford.

On Aug. 17, 1947, she married James Maurice Wagner at Sublette, he died Jan. 3, 1983.

Survivors include: a sister-in-law and several nieces and nephews.

Funeral service was 2 p.m. Saturday at Peacock-Milton Funeral Chapel, Stafford, with the Rev. Glen O. Morford officiating. Burial was in the Stafford Cemetery.

Sunday's Obituary is a prompt developed by Leslie Ann at Ancestors Live Here.