In search of my McCreary-Magee-McGee Codd/Code Ancestors 
in Lanark County, Ontario, Canada









Who was WILLIAM CODD / CODE (b. 1813) who married ANN WILTON?
(an exercise in forensic genaelogy)

William Code was a CODE among COADS. He has greater connections, it would seem to the CODE families who came out later to North Elmsley Township. To access the North Elmsley Codes Page CLICK HERE.

There is nothing remarkable in his life which would distinguish William Code from the other Codds who emigrated to Canada from Ireland except the mystery of his arrival in the first place and his parentage in Ireland. William Code (16 May 1813- 24 Jan. 1891) of Carnew in Wicklow, who married Ann Wilton (b. May 31 1817 in Ireland d. January 1888) on June 30th 1834* in Kitley Township, might have remained an obscure Irish emigrant farmer, had it not been for the keen interest taken among his descendants to trace his origins in Ireland.

* William's marriage record to Ann Wilton lists him as WILLIAM COAD and the witnesses to his marriage as William Holiday and John Dack. The same record lists the following marriage:

Sept. 24 1834 William HOLIDAY to Luana BARBER, by banns. Wit: Edward Burrit, Joel Putnam

Family lore suggests that WILLIAM CODE bought his land in Montague from a man named Holiday (presumably William) who came over on the same ship - a ship and a date which so far eludes detection. William Holliday b. 1806 in England is seen in the 1861 Census  to be living at Con. II  Lot 28 with wife Elizabeth, b. 1813 and several children.  In 1861 (Census) GEORGE HOLLIDAY, b. 1813, also from England, presumably William's brother - also lived at Montague Con. II, Lot 28 (William lived nearby at  Con. II Lot 25 - see map much further below).

A strange and tragic story surrounds the Holiday (or Holliday) family.

According to author Larry D. Cotton (Whiskey and Wickdness: MousePoint 2008) a  William Holliday and his wife, in April 1864 were found dead, apparently of acute alcohol intoxication, on a neighbor's land. In December 1873 a Mrs. Holliday, (husband John Holliday, son of the above William Holliday) who had been drinking heavily in Smiths Falls with her husband  and who set out for home after dark. Mrs. Holliday was found  at home in bed, bruised and cut, near death and unable to speak. When she later died her husband was charged with murder, but acquitted. John Holliday was later sent to penitentiary some years later for a brutal and fatal attack on a man named Pierce. In 1875, his brother, George Holliday brutally assaulted a bailiff who had come to serve him a summons.

It is further interesting that in the early 1850's one THOMAS BOURKE began a brewery and distillery business  "on the Rideau River at the foot of Albert Street ( said to be Montague, Con. III Lot. 28) - a business which had a chequered existence until it was closed by authorities as "unlicenced" in 1867.

William and Ann had 13 children over a span of 24 years - and these children retained the name Code - among virtually all of the Codd family who came to Kitley - most of whom adopted the name Coad about 1850.

William's family, representing thousands of his descendants have travelled to Ireland to Carnew to find more clues, while others have culled records for years to uncover the origins of this obscure man who was said to have come over from Ireland as an orphan with an unnamed uncle in the early days of the nineteenth century. Much of the effort has been to piece together various family stories passed down over 175 years or more, to wade through ancestry resources - which are often inaccurate and repeat the errors of previous generations of researchers - and particularly the internet - where family-generated stories take on the surface appearance of facts because they exist in print. Add to this the errors in transcription of names made by well-meaning but poorly educated clerks who often used phonetic spelling in copying down a name. But in this case there is the added complexity of the sheer size of the Codd family in Ireland and later in Canada and the large numbers of Codd stock who actually came.

All of the difficulties which haunt - then prod deeper research among amateur and even professional genealogists - and some of the breakthroughs which reward persistence are interwoven into the WILLIAM CODE story - which is well worth telling - especially to those who have more recently taken up sleuthing records - and who have encountered the inevitable frustrations along the way.

Let's start with William's stark and simple obituary in the Perth Courier in 1891 -

February 13, 1891 - death

Code - At Montague on the 24th Jan. William Code, aged 77 years, 8 months, and 8 days.

What this precision in recording his age tells us is that William knew well and told others the exact date of his birth. This fact was evidently important to him over and above other things who might have been recorded - an understandable vouchsafing of facts for someone who had left his family in Ireland to travel to Canada with an uncle - at any where between ages 4 and 19, accompanied by a brother James Codd who would not survive the eight weeks before the sail which emigration to Canada entailed.

William also knew that he had come from Carnew in Wicklow County, a village which had been razed to the ground by rebels seeking emancipation from stern British rule during the Rebellion of 1798 just fifteen years before his birth. He also knew that his father was named William Codd - and that when he had left with an "uncle"  some time between 1817 and 1832 - his father - and possibly his mother, Hannah, were still alive. Hannah, in fact, died in 1825 at age 35. It was common to die in childbirth in the 19th century - and perhaps as common to succumb to consumption ( tuberculosis.) William was not an orphan - even though he had been entrusted to an unnamed uncle who would take him to Canada. His father had, it seemed, lived on for some years, perhaps even remarrying, perhaps even siring another son William in 1838. But we must be careful here not to make facts into fiction. We can only guess that the William Codd who sired a son William in Carnew in 1838 was the same William Codd.

In the picture of Carnew Church of Ireland we see two structures - the tower on the left being the remains of the Church destroyed during the Rebellion. Carnew had been drawn into the Rebellion in large measure when, on May 25th 1798, the British garrison summarily executed between 23 and 35 rebels they had rounded up - and later suffered the retribution of the rebels - who burned the town to ashes.

The destruction of Carnew Church of Ireland (Anglican) has left future record-searchers without known church records earlier than 1811, so the history of the Codd family and the Twamley family (with whom the Codds had intermarried) in Carnew before that time is left to conjecture. But conjecturing is a valid interim step towards the truth.

The Codds of Carnew - And the Codds of Aghold

The records of Carnew Church between 1811 and 1840 reveal a relatively small number of Codds  in Carnew at this time when compared with the more numerical branches of the family who were at Aghold, about ten miles away.

While the two commmunities, one at Coolkenno and the other to the south of Carnew at Ballingate Townland - where the Codds resided - were at a distance of at least ten miles, frequently a Codd from an Aghold family married a Codd from Carnew and vice versa.

From the records we see seven Codd families:

Note: William's birth date probably 1786 rather than 1796.

Of course, we are delighted to find William Codd here with the right birth date. But we  also know that a Thomas Codd of Ballingate, said to be the father of Joseph Codd of Ballingate died at an advanced age in 1840. We also know from other church records that William and Henrietta Codd of Ballingate had a son Thomas christened at Aghold October 1st 1809. If one conjectures that these families were not unrelated, the above families could be grouped as follows:

Note: William's birth date probably (according to family) 1786 rather than 1796.

What is the logic here? First, Joseph Codd of Carnew/Ballingate has definitely been linked to Thomas Codd of Ballingate - and his second son is named Thomas. William Codd (Mary Watchorn) has a Thomas as his first son. Ellen Codd is simply the right age to be their sister - as are Rachel and Sarah and for that matter James. This is a weak connection - but the only known senior Codd at Carnew was Thomas Codd. The identity of these Codds - other than William (Mary Watchorn) is peripheral and incidental to the search for the parents of William Codd, and need not be linked to the search. If one has to choose bwtween which William was Thomas Codd's son, this William married to Mary Watchorn is the most likely by far.

Besides William (b. 1786) named his first son William (b. 1813) making it likely that his father was William as well.

But there is also a number of John Codds born around this time. Joseph Codd of Aghold has a (first) son John in 1812, Joseph and Rachel (of Aghold) have a first son John in 1823, and James has a first son John in 1823 as well.

This comes into play later, as the Joseph Codd-Rachel Codd family moved to North Elmsley Township (Lanark County) in the early 1850's - were linked closely to William (1813) and Ann Wilton -  and John, their first son, married Sarah Code, daughter of George Code (Jane Morris) of Beckwith Twp., who was likely (by the Irish Naming Pattern and other linkages) the son of one of two John Codes (b. 1769 or 1774) of Aghold.

For a further exploration of the CODD/CODE families of North Elmsley click HERE.

The predominance of the name John in Carnew, in turn, makes it likely that Rachel Codd (b. 1796) of Aghold was the daughter of this John Code, that George (b. 1796-7) of Beckwith was her brother, and that John Code and Sarah Code who married in Canada in 1861, and who lived in Smiths Falls were first cousins. It may very well be that the predonimance of the name John in Carnew is another reflection of their family connection to John Codd of Aghold.

Joseph and Rachel's family also has an Elizabeth as the first (and second) daughter. This may help identify Thomas of Ballingate - if his wife was Elizabeth. Thomas Codd (b. 1751, son of James and Ann, the original Codd family of Aghold from the 1720's) married Elizabeth Twamley. There were also several Twamleys at Carnew.

Back to William CODE (Ann Wilton)

All of the above is background information which suggests, at the least, that there was one Codd family in Carnew and not several - and that they were congregated around Ballingate. Ballingate is actually closer to the Town of Bunclody - and there were Codds here, some of whom came from Ballingate.

Hannah Codd
, William's wife is buried there.

Coincidentally (perhaps) we also see in the Bunclody records the marriage of Thomas Codd and Elizabeth Bailey (18th April 1808) and the birth of their son John in 1810. This family emigrated to Drummond Township earlier than most of the Codds.

William Code b. 1840 is the second son in this family. Normally and almost universally, the third son is named after the father - unless of course the grandfather is also of the same name - i.e. William. While we don't know for sure the names of Ann Wilton's parents* it is likely (see below) that Thomas Montague b. 1836 was named after her father and the Township in which they lived - otherwise the name William would occupy the first son position.

William b. 1786 or 1796 (Hannah) also named his first son William, suggesting that his father was William. His second son was James - and it is generally acknowledged that he was the same William who later married Jane ________ and had a son William with her - who could have been named after his father.

*Ann Wilton's Parents

The Montague Census for 1861 shows the following Wiltons:

Surname      Born      Religion     Age      Employment
Harvey            USA     WM              51     Harness Maker

James               Ont         CE              33     Lumber Sawyer
Jane                   Ire          CE              30      
Alonzo              Ont         CE                6      
Alison               Ont         CE                4      
Edgar                Ont         CE                2      

Martha               Ire          CE             60     Widow: C 5 L 27
Martha                Ont         CE             22      
Thomas               Ont         CE             20     Labourer

John                     Ire         CE             68     Farmer: C 3 L 27
Mary                     Ire         CE             60      
Thomas                Ont        CE             25     Labourer

John                     Ire          CE             30      Farmer: C 5  L 27
Susannah              Ont         CE             20      
Samuel                  Ont        CE               2      
Edward A.  ??       Ont        CE       4 mon

From the Census - there were two brothers, John b. 1793 and possibly Thomas b. 1801 who came to Montague from Ireland. Either could be Ann (b. 1821)'s father but Mary A. Wilton b. 1801 and her son Thomas were living in Smiths Falls, one or two houses away from William and Ann in the 1881 Census, so John and Mary were very likely Ann's parents.

Martha Wilton,  living at Con. 5 Lot 27 and her late husband appear to be the parents of Jane Wilton who married Thomas Codd, b.c. 1827 who may have come from Aghold with brothers William and Joseph. See North Elmsley Codds for details.

So, we are searching for an older William Codd who could have been the father  of William (b. 1786 or 1796 m.  Hannah). There are two main candidates among others (who could also have been the same person) who could be William's father.

1.  William (Henrietta) of Ballingate -  son Thomas christened at Aghold in 1808.
2.  William (b. 1765 m. Catherine) - daughter Mary christened at Aghold in 1795.
     (This William was the son of John Codd, b. 1728 and Mary __________.)

The viewer might also like to look through the known Codds of Aghold born in the 1700's for a likely candidate. Click HERE to see them.

Having made this conjecture, I will leave it to the researchers of William's family to take this to the next level.

Who was William's Uncle Who brought him to Canada?

There are three candidates - Codd's who came to Kitley Twp. between the time of James' bith in 1816, and the presumed date of the last codd arrival in this wave:

1. George Codd/Coad b. 1783-d. 1853 (Mary Blackburn). Reports of differing arrival times, include a ship's record for the Brock in 1820 * and a later census which gives the date 1832. Since George had a son Thomas in Aghold in 1824 - the latter date is likely. William is listed in some records as being a son of George - but it was a Dack and a Holliday who were witnesses to William and Ann's wedding - and William never adopted the name COAD. George (Mary) could be the son of George  b. 1767 and Rachel ______ b. 1769, brother of Jane Codd Dack who married William Dack, and who arrived in 1817 on the Mary and Bell. He was said to be "closely related" to Jane (Wm. Dack). Henrietta Codd, listed by some as a daughter of George and Mary according to some researchers, met John Flinn on the Brock - and they were married in Perth in 1823. Researchers of this family state that Henrietta listed George and Mary as her parents - but I have mnot seen this record. Room for research?

* Mary Blackburn, wife of George Codd, was said to have been born in Dublin. Arriving on The Brock in 1820, were both a John McLellan and a John McLellan.  A John McClelland b. Armagh 1817 married Margaret Blackburn (b. 1819) in Kitley, daughter of George Blackburn and Jane Groves of Wicklow. The Groves and Codd families - both adherents of St. Michael's Church of Ireland intermarried in Aghold.

2. Joseph Codd/Coad also came out to Kitley Twp. between 1821 and 1824 , with his wife Mary (also believed to be a Codd). He bought land from John Flinn when he came. Joseph was the son of Abraham Codd and Mary Twamley. Abraham, in turn was the brother of George Codd, the father of Jane Codd Dack.  His children were George, Abraham and  Joseph. Since we know Joseph's father was Abraham, by the Irish Naming Pattern, the father of Mary Codd would have been George Codd. Hmmmm! Definitely a candidate for "uncle."

3. William Dack b. 1760 married Jane Codd b. 1765, daughter of George and Rachel (Twamley) Codd. Between them they had (at least) ten children, coming to Canada on the Mary and Bell in 1817. It's possible that their son, David was already in Kitley Twp.  and William petitioned to be located next to his son in Kitley. William and Jane lived, we think, in Carnew before leaving. William conveyed property to William and included him in his Will. He is also a good candidate to be William's uncle.

On the weight of known evidence, I lean towards William Dack (Jane Codd) as the "uncle" who brought William to Canada - with the second most likely candidate being George - but each of the three candidates were what people in this period considered to be an "uncle." The term "uncle" was used more broadly than just one's father's or mother's brother. It could include any related person in the previous generation . None of the above had, as far as is known, a brother named William, so each remains a candidate until proven otherwise.

If you have additional evidence or evidence which contradicts anything I have stated above, please let me know immediately. This will allow this page to become more and more accurate.