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.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Thrifty Thursday - Favorite Blogging Freebies

Here are a few tools I've found handy while blogging. All of them are free with no regisration required!

FastStone Image Viewer - Fantastic free image viewer, converter, and editor. I use this all the time for viewing, cropping and editing photos and converting between formats. There are a lot of nifty tools in here too, including the Image Strip Builder I used to create the strip on the top of my blog.

Online OCR - Converts scanned images of text into a searchable Word, Excel, PDF, text or Html file.

Web2PDF - Converts a web page to a PDF file. This is great for saving something you want to go back and read later. They also offer some services I haven't tried like receiving the PDF file via email and adding a button to allow saving your blog posts to PDF format.

Web Resizer - Quick and easy way to resize photos for your blog. You can do some basic photo editing with it too.

Microsoft Clip Art - All kinds of free clip art, photos, and illustrations, including the one on the top of this post!

What are your favorite freebies?

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Tombstone Tuesday - Katharina M. Hagedorn Gast

Birth: May 7, 1823, Germany
Death: Nov. 11, 1915
Maria Stein
Mercer County
Ohio, USA

Katharina M. Gast was my 3x great-grandmother. She was married to Mathias Gast and was the daughter of Hermann Hagedorn and C. Maria Tebben.  I've also seen her name listed as Mary Anna K. Hagedorn, but it would appear that she went by Katharina. She is buried in the Saint John's Catholic Cemetery in Maria Stein, Ohio. Thanks to Harley Rider for posting the picture on FindAGrave.