We’re Related – Dick Clark, Meghan Trainor, & Marilyn Monroe

We’re Related – Fourth Look

Famous Friday

Brown Line & Roberts Line
by Don Taylor

My fourth look at possible relatives using the “We’re Related” app showed fewer new cousins than ever before. The famous people I had determined could not be related have fallen off the possible list. The three I’m looking at this time are Dick Clark, Meghan Trainor, and Marilyn Monroe.

Dick Clark (1929-2012)

Photo of Dick Clark

Dick Clark – 1961 – Photo by ABC Television via Wikimedia Commons

Richard Wagstaff Clark was a radio and television personality. He is best known for hosting “American Bandstand” from 1957 until 1987. I remember Dick Clark and his show very well and watched it throughout the 1960s. I also remember him bringing in the new century in a 2000 New Year’s program.

According to “We’re Related,” our relationship follows up the Montran, Barber line through Frank Barber to his mother Orissa A. Champlain. From there it goes back five more generations to Noah Wells being a common ancestor. I have not determined Frank Barbers parents so I was excited to pursue this potential line.

Then I noticed the first discrepancy, “We’re Related” was indicating that Ida Mae Barber’s father was Frank W. Barber and my records indicate Ida’ father was Frank (short for Franklin) A. Barber.

Then I searched Ancestry.Com’s family trees for Orissa A. Champlain and found her. According to a family tree posted on Ancestry, her son, Frank Barber was born in 1841 in New York. My 2nd great-grandfather, Franklin E. Barber, was born in 1836 in Ohio. I’m confident that I am not related to Dick Clark through that path.

Meghan Trainor (1993-)

Meghan Trainor – 2014 – Photo by Ronald Woan CC BY-SA 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons

Meghan Elizabeth Trainor is a Grammy Awarding winning singer and songwriter.

This relationship is said to follow my Brown/Sanford/Parsons/Mabon/Rowley line back to Weeks Rowley. It then suggests that his mother Hannah Phelps, and his grandfather was Nathaniel Phelps, our common ancestor.

I searched Ancestry and found several trees that indicated that Hannah Phelps married Nathaniel Rowley and although I didn’t have Weeks Rowley’s mother, I did have Nathaniel Rowley as Weeks’ father. Assuming the downward tree from Nathaniel Phelps to Meghan Trainor is correct, I think it is very likely that she and I are related as 8th cousins, once removed.

Marilyn Monroe (1926-1962)

Norma Jeane Mortenson (aka Marilyn Monroe) was an actress and model famous for being a popular sex symbol of the 1950s and known for her movies which included “Gentlemen Prefer Blonds,” and “Some Like It Hot.”

Marilyn Monroe – 1952 – Photo by New York Sunday News

“We’re Related” suggests Marilyn and I are related through the Roberts line back through John Calvin Roberts and his mother. My records indicate that John Calvin Roberts’ mother was Rebecca Brashears but “We’re Related” is indicating John Calvin Roberts’ mother is “Private.”  Likewise, “We’re Related” shows John Calvin Roberts’ mother’s father is “Private,” also. My research found that John Calvin Roberts’ mother’s father was Robert Cager Brashears. If I am right and they are right then Robert Brashear’s mother is Charity Dowell.

I find that Marilyn Monroe might by my 9th cousin, but additional research is needed. So, I need to research Robert Brashear’s ancestors and determine if Charity Dowell is his mother.

Chart of Relationships to Famous People

Famous Person Relationship* To CA Comments
Luke Bryan Possible 2 Research Ancestors of Elizabeth Blackwell
Blaine Bettinger Possible 2 Research Ancestors of John Parsons
Meghan Trainor Possible* 2 Research Ancestors of Wicks Weeks Rowley
Blake Lively Possible 3 Research Ancestors of Elizabeth Blackwell
Marilyn Monroe  Possible* 3-5 Research Ancestors of Robert Cager Brashears
John Kerry Possible 4 Research Ancestors of Wicks Weeks Rowley
Johnny Cash

Carrie Fisher

Jimi Hendrix

Possible 4 Research Ancestors of Elizabeth Blackwell
Carl Ross Possible 5 Research Ancestors of Mercy Eliza Taft
Walt Disney Possible 7 Research Ancestors of Mercy Eliza Taft
Dick Clark Unlikely*   Not through Frank W. Barber
Stephen King Unlikely Not through Max Fisher
Randy Seaver Unlikely Not through Henry Mack Brown
Britney Spears Unlikely Not through Sarah J. Gavin


I definitely need to listen to some of Meghan Trainor’s music.  Although the music gene seems to have passed me by, my sister Glennis and my brother Mark appear to have inherited it.

“We’re Related” is fun to look at and see the possibilities. It makes me think about key relationships in my tree and provides clues into further research. Ancestry algorithms may have slipped back as one of the matches is unlikely through the suggested line. However, two of the famous people are possible and require additional research.


Research the mother of Weeks Rowley. She might be Hannah Phelps.

Research Robert Brashear’s ancestors and determine if Charity Dowell is his mother.

*Relationship Table


Posted in Brown, Famous Friday, Roberts | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Margaret Lambe’s Bible

Treasure Chest Thursday

By Don Taylor

My wife and I recently visited her mother. During the visit, our conversations revealed that there was an old Bible that my wife’s great-great-grandmother, Margaret Mary (Lambe) McAllister, was gifted with. The Bible was printed in M.DCCC.LXXIV (1876) and contains both the Old and New Testaments.

The bible is inscribed to:

Inscription gifting Bible to Margaret Lamb.

Inscription gifting Bible to Margaret Lamb.

Margaret Lamb,

With the best wishes of

The Rev. Wm Cassidi.

April 30th 1877

– – – – – – –


I have some difficulty making out some of the words and have tried my best. I’m not confident of Mr. McCassidi’s first name nor of the word below the line.

Margaret Lamb was born on 28 April 1860, so, in 1877 she would have just turned 17 and was being let loose into the world. Margaret married Peter McAllister over a year later, on 22 August 1878, so it appears to have been a “coming out” type of gift.  I don’t know who Mr. McCassidi is but I would expect him to be a relative or a close family friend.

On a second inscription page, it shows the book went to

Inscription gifting Bible to Elizabeth Darling Kemon. (page cropped)

Elizabeth Darling Kemon
Born March 22, 1906
granddaughter of
Margaret Lamb

Elizabeth had no children, so she passed it on to her oldest niece, my mother-in-law. A third inscription records that transfer and provides name, birthdate, and relationship to Elizabeth Kemon.


Holy Bible Cover Page

Besides being a valuable family heirloom, old bibles often provide important genealogical information. Even though this small, pocket-sized bible didn’t have a set of center pages for family history details, the inscriptions provided important information. In this case, a clue to a possible relative or family friend and the birthdate for Elizabeth (Darling) Kemon and their relationships.

Posted in Darling, Treasure Chest Thursday | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

DNA – Glennis’ Paternal Search – Part 8

Following Morgan/Morgan/May

By Don Taylor

My half-sister Glennis is a DNA match on Ancestry.Com with several individuals who have common ancestors with Francis and Fannie (McGregor) Morgan. In the search to determine Glennis’ biological father, I am continuing to develop a tree of the descendants of Francis and Fannie (McGregor) Morgan of Pleasants County, West Virginia. This time I look at Rosa Virginia Morgan who married Floyd Marvin May on 9 May 1896 in Pleasants County, West Virginia. She is the fourth of twelve children to be examined.

Francis and Fannie (McGregor) Morgan’s 12 children


Children Notes/comments
Clara M Morgan Gail Hemsworth
Naomi Hemsworth
Married Everett Luzader

Married Earl Deem

Henry Clifford Morgan None. Died at age 15.
Lewis V. P. Morgan Lula Edna Morgan
Opal Jean Morgan
Died at age 2.

Married William Davis

Rosa Virginia Morgan Carrie Vernice May

Clara Bernice May

Mary Fannie May

Edna Marie May

Roy Harold May

Married Pearl W. Dutton

Married Hezekiah Martin Morrison

Married Floyd T. Williamson

Married Clarence Gorell

Married Della Olive Hooper

Dora D. Morgan Awaiting Research
Ephraim Stokeley Morgan Awaiting Research
Nathan Spencer Morgan  Awaiting Research
John A. Morgan  Awaiting Research
Sarah D Morgan  Awaiting Research
Unnamed Morgan  Awaiting Research
Orien E. Morgan  Awaiting Research
James Cyrus Morgan Awaiting Research


Carrie B. May – Born 3 May 1897 – twin with Clara U.  See: LTY9-F4B

Married Pearl W. Dutton 12 Jul 1913.

Francis Marion Dutton, born 19 Apr 1915 – Not a candidate.

Clara V. May – Born 3 May 1897 – twin with Carrie B. See: LTY9-LWF

Married Hezakiah Morrison 11 Oct 1913.

            Richard J. Morrison, Born 1918 – Not a candidate.

Mary Fannie May – Born 10 Aug 1899 See: LRHW-H9H

Married Floyd T Williamson 3 June 1916 – Meadville, WV.

Floyd J Williamson – Born 8 January 1919 – Not a candidate.

Edna Marie May – Born 12 Jun 1905 See: LTY9-KKP

Married Clarence Gorrell 19 Apr 1924

Son: David C Gorrell born 1940 – Not a candidate.

 Roy Harold May – Born 1910. See: LTY9-GY6

Married Delila Hooper 12 Oct 1927.

Robert Harold May born 1929. Possible but unlikely.

Doria M May born 1932 – Not considered.

Francis Carol May born 1940 – Not considered.


“Candidates” are males born between 1925 and 1935.

“Not considered” are females who are unlikely to have had a male child between 1925 and 1935.

“Possible but unlikely” are males born between 1925 and 1935, but are not named Paul or Phil, which is the likely name of Glennis’ biological father, or otherwise don’t appear to fit the likely candidate who would have been in Minnesota or Michigan in 1953. I will revisit these possibilities later of this project fails to find a potential candidate.




WVCulture.Org – Vital Research Records Search for Birth, Marriages, & Deaths

Posted in DNA, Peterson Paternity | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

DNA – Glennis’ Paternal Search – Part 7

Following Morgan/Morgan/Morgan/Davis

By Don Taylor

In the search to find the biological father of my sister Glennis, I am continuing to develop a tree of the descendants of Francis and Fannie (McGregor) Morgan of Pleasants County, West Virginia.

Francis and Fannie had 12 children

Child Children Notes/comments
Clara M Morgan Gail Hemsworth
Naomi Hemsworth
Married Everett Luzader

Married Earl Deem

Henry Clifford Morgan None. Died at age 15.
Lewis V. P. Morgan Lula Edna Morgan
Opal Jean Morgan
Died at age 2.

Married William Davis

Rosa Virginia Morgan
Dora D. Morgan
Ephraim Stokeley Morgan
Nathan Spencer Morgan
John A. Morgan
Sarah D Morgan
Unnamed Morgan
Orien E. Morgan
James Cyrus Morgan

Lewis V. P. Morgan was born 30 December 1871 in Lafayette, West Virginia.  He was the third child of Francis Marion and Fannie R. (McGregor) Morgan.

He married Maude L. Lamp in 1899 in Tyler County, West Virginia. They had two children.

  1. Lula Edna Morgan, was born in 1900 & died in 1902 at the age of 2 due to a fire.
  2. Opal Jean Morgan, was born in 1902 in Pleasants County, West Virginia. Opal married William Henry Davis in 1920. They had two girls and appear to have had no sons.

Lewis’s wife died in 1908 and he never remarried.

  • During the 1910 Census Lewis was living with his sister Rosa and her husband, F. M. May.
  • During the 1920 Census, Lewis was living with his mother-in-law, Sarah L Lany.
  • During the 1930 Census, Lewis was living with his uncle, Elie H. Morgan.

It does not appear that the descendants of Lewis V.P. Morgan could be potential candidates for Glennis’ biological father.


1910 Census (FS), Family Search, F M May (Lewis Morgan) – Lafayette, Pleasants, West Virginia. https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:MPF5-6Y6.

1920 Census (FS), Family Search, Sarah L Lany – Meade, Tyler, West Virginia. https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:MN2Q-ZP3.

1930 Census (FS), Family Search, Elie H Morgan – Saint Marys, Pleasants, West Virginia. https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:XMHY-2T1.

Find a Grave, Find a Grave, Lewis V. P. Morgan – Memorial# 34028908. https://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=34028908.

West Virginia Births, 1853-1930, Family Search, Lewis V P Morgan – 30 Dec 1871. https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:NM7W-26D.

West Virginia Marriages, 1780-1970, Family Search, Lewis Morgan & Maud Lamp – 1899. https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:FYYS-VXT.

Posted in DNA, Peterson Paternity | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Schools I’ve Attended – 3rd, 4th, and 5th Grade

My Life
Those Places Thursday

By Don Taylor

Parkview Elementary, Fridley, Anoka County, Minnesota

Photo of 5852 NE 2nd St., Fridley, MN

Fridley House, circa 1958

In August 1958, we moved from Anoka to Fridley into a tiny little house on NE 2nd Street. At the time the address was 5853, however, sometime during the ensuing years, the address has changed to 5881. Zillow says that the house was built in 1948 and is a 480-square-foot one bedroom home. My grandmother and my mother had the bedroom. I had the bedroom closet as my bedroom. It was a large closet for such a small house but was really small as a bedroom. As I recall, it was only inches longer than my bed. My clothes dresser blocked the side of my bed by my feet. Boxes under the bed contained most of my clothes and my boy things. I had model airplanes hanging from the ceiling. The Fridley house is the first house I lived in that is still standing. There are still houses that I lived in that were built before the Fridley House, but none of the places I lived before I lived in Fridley are still standing.

Photo of Sylvia Larson by side door of Fridley House.

Sylvia [Larson] in nurse uniform c. 1958 –     Patty Hopkin’s house in distance.

My mother was still working at Anoka State Hospital when we were living there. I have a photo of her in her nurse’s uniform on the steps to the house.

My grandmother’s ledger (From the Donna Darling Digital Collection) says we paid $55/month in rent. I remember life in Fridley as idyllic. A short block away was a huge open field that I played in. Later that field was where I trapped gophers (See “My First ‘Job’ – Trapper.” Down the street was “Melody Manor,” a new development. There was a park where I joined “Little League” and learned to play baseball. I was pretty much a bench warmer and only remember batting once or twice when our team was many runs ahead.

My best friend was a girl, Patty Hopkins, who lived on Main street. (I wonder what ever happened to her.) Her house was across a vacant lot (now Skyline Park) to a house no longer there. A few houses down 2nd Street was where Mark and Rodney Sabo(?) lived. If I was going to get into trouble, it would be with them. There were a couple derelict houses between where we lived that were a source of fun – mostly things like knocking down hornet’s nests and yellow-jacket nests. The derelicts are long gone and a 2-1/2 story apartment is there today.  Also, about a half a mile away was the Mississippi River and Chase Island. There was usually a tree down bridging the distance from shore to the island. Lots of fun playing there. Of course, I wasn’t supposed to go there to play – it was across both a busy highway (without any lights) and across multiple railroad tracks. Sometimes, I’m amazed that I lived through my youth.

My Mom and I with American flag at Fridley house

We lived in the Fridley house for two and a half years, by far the longest I had lived anywhere up to that point in my life. As I recall, we painted that house, fenced it, put on awnings, put up a flagpole, and did many other improvements to the house, yard, and property even though we were renters. My grandmother planted moss roses along the side by the side door – they are still one of my favorite flowers. I love how they open-up to full bloom every morning and close every night.

Parkview Elementary

Parkview Elementary was about six long-blocks away (nine long-blocks in a mile) and I walked. I don’t remember much about third grade. I know the school was new.  In fourth grade, I had Mrs. Peterson as my teacher. She, as I recall, was older and she saw something in me that she encouraged. Fourth grade was the year I shifted from “getting by” to one of the smart kids. She became an “Ancestor of Spirit” for me that year. She helped make me the person I am, today. Maybe it was also because it was the first school I attended two years in a row.  In any event, I excelled that year and carried on into the following year.

Photo of Parkview Elementary c. 1957.

Parkview Elementary – Fridley, MN c. 1957

I wrote about my 5th-grade memories previously. They are at Fifth Grade – Parkview & Spring Lake Park Elementary.

Today, Parkview Elementary is the Fridley Community Center and supports a senior center, adult education, and a youth hang-out center called “The Zone.”


Search Military Records - Fold3


Posted in My History, Those Places | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Ancestor Bio – Thelma M. Montran Babcock – Poet

Montran Project
52 Ancestors – Week 192
By Don Taylor

Photo of Don Taylor with cat Nasi.Now, I go off on a speculative tangent. It is my assertion that my great grandfather, John Montran who married Ida Mae Barber is the same individual as John Foster Montran, who married Maude Minnie Winter. Both John’s were probably born in France, both lived for a time in Pennsylvania, both were traveling agents, and both died before 1911. Finally, John Montran is a fairly unique name; I have only found two lived contemporary to my grandmother’s birth – John and John Foster. Anyway, I suspect my John and John Foster are the same person. I have searched and have been unable to find any time or place where both can be seen at the same time.  John pops into existence about 1892 and marries my great-grandmother, Ida, has my grandmother, then vanishes. A John Foster Montran married Maude Minnie Winter about 1894 and had two children. Then he vanishes about 1897. Ida remarried in 1897 and Maude claimed to be widowed by the 1900 census. My speculation is that John Foster Montran is my Great Grandfather and that the two John Montran’s are one person.

DNA testing would answer the question clearly if I am able to find a descendant of John Foster Montran and if that descendant agreed to test. With that in mind, I have begun researching the descendants of John Foster Montran to see if I can find a direct descendant. John Foster Montran had two children with Maude Minnie Winter. They are Thelma M. Montran and Ruth Grace Montran.


John Montran Project 2017 – John’s Daughter Thelma

Great-grandfather: John Foster Montran (Potential)

His Wife: Maude Minnie Winter

Daughter: Thelma M. Montran
Daughter: Ruth Grace Montran

His Wife: Ida Mae Barber (My great-grandmother)

Daughter: Madonna Mae Montran (My grandmother)

Thelma M. Montran Babcock (1895-1974)

Generally, I like to use the census closest to the birth of the individual to identify the birth year. However, in the case of Thelma, the 1900 census indicates that she was six years old, and was born in June 1894. However, every other record I can find about Thelma, census records, newspaper articles, and Social Security records all indicate or support that she was born on 23 June 1895 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, to John Foster and Maude Minnie (Winter) Montran.

The 1900 census finds Thelma, and her younger sister Ruth, living in Waterloo, New York, with her aunt, Jerusha; uncle, Penrose Brown; and their grandmother, Maryann Winter. Their mother was living 50 miles away in Rochester, New York working as a live-in nurse.

The 1910 census finds the two girls living with Jerusha and Penrose, but were identified as adopted daughters. They lived in Shamokin, Pennsylvania and their mother lived 120 miles away in Philadelphia.


About 1915, Thelma married Minor Howard Babcock and moved to Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan where their first child, Olga Ruth, was born in February 1916 and the family appears in the 1916 Canadian Census.

Children of Minor Howard and Thelma M (Montran) Babcock

  Birth Death
Olga Ruth Babcock Feb 1916 (in Canada) 4 May 2001
Montran Benson Babcock 11 June 1922 June 1972


The 1920 census finds Thelma had moved back to the United States and was living with her husband and daughter in San Francisco.

The 1930 census finds Thelma living at 534 W. Nectarine St. in Inglewood, California. Minor is an accountant and their two children are with them. Also, in the household is Thelma’s mother, Maude Montran.

In 1935 the family is still living on Nectarine Street, however, Thelma is running a Confectioner business at 211 E. Queen. Her daughter, Olga, is working as a clerk for her.

The 1940 census indicates that Thelma and Minor had become divorced. Thelma was working as the proprietor of a guest house with many lodgers. With her are her two children, Olga and Montran.


A 1944 newspaper article indicated that Thelma was “widely known as a poet,” she owned a 20-acre apple-tree ranch near Lake Gregory and owned a hotel in the San Bernardino Mountains.


Thelma died on 7 May 1974 in Los Angeles County, California.  I have not determined Thelma’s final resting place.


Family Tree Maker 2017 indicates that Thelma is the “daughter of my Great-Grandfather.” By my reckoning, she is my grandmother’s half-sister, thus my grand-aunt. Thelma’s children would be my mother’s 1st cousins and my 1st cousins once removed. Finally, Olga and Monty’s children would be my 2nd cousins. A DNA test of any of them would prove conclusively if my speculation that John Montran and John Foster Montran are the same person. If you are a descendant of Thelma Montran Babcock, I would love to hear from you.  We might be cousins.


1900 Census (FS), Family Search, Penrose Brown – Waterloo, Seneca, New York. https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:MSGZ-6PP

1910 Census, Other, Penrose Brown – Shamokin, Northumberland, Pennsylvania;. Family Search.

1916 Canada Census, Ancestry.com and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, , Other, 1916 Canada Census. Year: 1916; Census Place: Saskatchewan, Moose Jaw, 17I; Roll: T-21931;.

1920 Census (FS), Family Search, Miner [Minor] H Babcock – San Francisco, San Francisco, California. https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:MH4H-8MD.

1930 Census (NARA), Ancestry.Com, Minor Babcock – Inglewood, Los Angeles, CA [Maude Montran]. https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:XCJJ-G73.

1940 Census, Ancestry.Com, 1940 – Thelma (Montran) Babcock – Inglewood, Los Angeles, California; Roll:.

California Death Index, 1940-1997, Family Search, Thelma M Pretz (Montran/Babcock).

California, County Marriages, 1850-1952, Family Search, James R Hinds & Olga R Babcock. https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:K8VW-2MM.

Los Angeles Times (Los Angeles, CA, ), Newspapers.Com, 1944-12-30, Page 4 – Thelma Montran Babcock.

U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995, Ancestry.Com, Inglewood, California, City Directory, 1935 – Page 30 – Babcock. http://search.ancestry.com/cgi-bin/sse.dll?viewrecord=1&r=an&db=USDirectories&indiv=try&h=1379164103.

U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995, Ancestry.Com, Inglewood, Hawthorne and Lennox, City Directory, 1933 – Page 35 – Babcock. http://search.ancestry.com/cgi-bin/sse.dll?viewrecord=1&r=an&db=USDirectories&indiv=try&h=1400093271.

United States Social Security Death Index, Family Search, SSDI – Thelma Pretz (Montran/Babcock).



Posted in Montran Project | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Darling – Surname Saturday

Surname Saturday
By Don Taylor

Photo of Don Taylor with cat Nasi.According to Forebears, dyrling was an “Old English term used to denote the young noble of a house, perhaps exclusively the eldest son, on whom all expectations rested.” Later it became a family name[i].  Ancestry reports that the name is English and Scottish and derives from deorling meaning “beloved one” or as a derivative form of deor (dear)[ii]. In either case, it became a surname before 1500.


The Darling surname is most common in the United States and England with nearly half of all people with the Darling surname living in the United States. In terms of frequency, it is most common in Canada with 1 in 13,078 people in Canada having the surname.[iii]

The 1920 census indicates that the greatest number of families with the Darling surname were New York, Michigan, and Massachusetts. During the 1880 Census, the greatest number of Darling families were in New York and Massachusetts. Finally, the 1840 Census indicated most of the Darling families lived in New York[iv].

Ancestor Migration

That pattern follows my wife’s ancestors nicely. Her Darling ancestors came to the Colonies in the mid-1600s and settled in Mendon, Massachusetts. They relocated to Eastern New York (Dutchess County) about 1740. They continued west and settled in Oneida County, in western New York about 1800. They lived in Monroe County, NY, in far western New York, for a short time as well. They moved further west again to settle in Kalamazoo, Michigan about 1845.

Other Darling family members located in Missouri and some continued out west to California. Whenever I hear about the migrations west, I think about my wife’s Darling family being clear representatives of the time.

It is not clear when Mary-Alice’s earliest known Darling ancestor came to the Colonies.

But, her 7th great-grandfather, Dennis Darling married Hannah Francis in Braintree, MA in 1662.[v] By 1678 they had moved 40 miles west to Mendon, MA.[vi] His son Benjamin was born and died in Mendon, but his son, Ebenezer, migrated to the Beekman Patent land in New York before 1740. His son, Abner, moved west to Oneida County about 1800. Abner’s son, also named Abner, moved further west to Monroe county, NY about 1830. His son, Rufus Holton, moved on to Kalamazoo, Michigan, about 1844. Rufus’ son, also named Rufus, was born and died in Kalamazoo.

Rufus Harry was a railroad man. Besides Kalamazoo, he lived in Chicago, Kansas City, and Pittsburgh; his son Robert was born when Rufus was in the Pittsburgh area. Robert died in Michigan.

Map of Ancestral Darling Migrations

Ancestral Darling migration. 1660-1900 from the east to the west.

Direct Darling Ancestors

# 006 – G Robert Harry Darling (1905-1969)
# 012 – GG Rufus Harry Darling (1857-1917)
# 024 – 2nd GG Rufus Holton Darling (1815-1857)
# 048 – 3rd GG Abner Darling (Jr.) (1780-1839)
# 096 – 4th GG Abner Darling (Sr.) (1747-1800)
# 192 – 5th GG Ebenezer Darling (1718-1790)
# 384 – 6th GG Benjamin Darling (1687-1772)
# 768 – 7th GG Dennis Darling (1640-1717)

Known relatives.

My records have 233 direct-line descendants of Dennis Darling identified in my family tree, which is about 8% of my total Howell/Darling ancestors.


[i] Internet: Forebears website – Darling Surname. See: http://forebears.io/surnames/darling

[ii] Internet: Ancestry website – Darling Family History. See: https://www.ancestry.com/name-origin?surname=Darling

[iii] See note i above.

[iv] See note ii above.

[v] Clemens, William M., Darling Family in America, The (1913), Archive.Org, Page 5 & 6 – Dennis Darling of Braintree, Mass.

[vi] Doherty, Frank J., Darling Family, The – Settlers of the Beekman Patent, The, Files, 0 – Introduction – Dennis Darling (c. 1640-1717).

Posted in Darling, Surname Saturday | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Donna Darling Collection – Part 13

Treasure Chest Thursday

By Don Taylor

For this week’s Treasure Chest Thursday, I’m looking at a clipping from the Donna Darling Collection

News clipping of Donna Montran's name in lights at the Allegheny Theater - September 1920.

I have cropped, edited, and sized the newspaper clipping for the web. – From the Donna Darling Digital Collection

Key features:

The venue is the Allegheny Theatre in Philadelphia, PA.

The show is “Donna Montran and her Bathing Beauties”

Also on bill

“The Idol Dancer”

Photo Caption:

Featuring in Lights

Donna Montran 

(The Prima Donna With the Million Dollar Personality)

And Her Bathing Beauties

Bringing herself into Everyone’s Heart

Watch for her Return to New York

It is not clear where this clipping came from, probably from a promotional item in something like Variety, as it doesn’t mention her playing in Philadelphia. Rather, it reminds readers to “Watch for Her Return to New York.” (Which she doesn’t appear to do for several months.)

Donna in Philadelphia, PA, at the Allegheny Theatre – Sep 27, 1920

Allegheny Theater Program from 1927 showing the California Bathing Girls with Donna Montran

Program – Allegheny Theatre – September 27, 1920.

Of particular interest is a program of the show the week of September 27th, 1920. For the Allegheny Theatre.  It shows us that the Allegheny claimed to be “The largest Vaudeville Theatre in the World.”  It also provided a list of the acts. A musical overture started the show followed by a “review of current events.”  I’m sure that was really important as in 1920 America so many people didn’t read and write. Current Events was followed by four different Vaudeville acts before the main live act. Tom Rooney presents “The California Bathing Girls and Donna Montran in ‘A Beach Promenade’ in 6 gasps and 3 shocks. Conceived and staged under the personal direction of Earl Lindsay.”  The show was followed by “The Idle Dancer”[sic] directed by D. W. Griffith. It was a 1 hour, 44-minute silent film “The Idol Dancer.” Following the film was an “Exit March” performed by the orchestra.

A musical overture started the show followed by a “review of current events.”  I’m sure that was really important as in 1920 America so many people didn’t read and write, so learning the Current Events of the Day was a great feature.

Current Events was followed by four  Vaudeville acts before the main live act. They were:

  • Rose Revue
  • Alexander and Mack
  • Una Clayton & Co.
  • Tappen and Armstrong

Then the main show:

Tom Rooney presents “The California Bathing Girls and Donna Montran in ‘A Beach Promenade’ in 6 gasps and 3 shocks. Conceived and staged under the personal direction of Earl Lindsay.”

The live show was followed by “The Idle Dancer”[sic] directed by D. W. Griffith. It was a 1 hour, 44-minute silent film “The Idol Dancer.” Following the film was an “Exit March” performed by the orchestra.

Clipping Allegheny Theater - - Philadelphia, PA Sep 27 1920An advertising clipping relating to Donna’s Allegheny Theatre appearance. It let us know that her California Bathing Beauties show included a cast of 12. The ad also mentioned that “You were taken in the movies last week, see yourself in the picture this week.” According to an article in the “Philadelphia Inquirer” (Sep. 26, 1920) pictures taken at the theatre the previous week including many residents entire audience. Those photos were going to be shown on the screen this week.  How fun. A great promotion for the theatre.

B. F. Keith’s Allegheny Theatre

  • Allegheny Theatre by Anthony F. Dumas, 1920.

    Allegheny Theatre by Anthony F. Dumas, 1920.

    F. Keith’s Allegheny Theatre was located at 3139-3149 Frankford Avenue, Philadelphia, PA

  • F. Keith’s Allegheny Theatre was designed by the firm of Magaziner & Potter; it opened in 1912.
  • In 1926, it was remodeled by the firm of Hoffman-Henon Co.
  • By 1941, the theater became part of Warner Bros. Circuit Management Corp.
  • In 1942, the theater underwent renovation by Golder Construction, Co.
  • The theatre lasted until 1956 and has since been torn down.

Theater size

B. F. Keith’s Allegheny Theatre size is confusing. Certainly, in 1920 it billed itself as “the largest vaudeville theater in the world.” Also in 1920, Anthony F. Dumas did an architectural drawing of B.F. Keith’s Allegheny theater and his drawing indicated it was the “World Largest Vaudeville Theater seating 4000.”

Discover you family history through historical newspapers at Newspapers.com
However, people on Cinema Treasures indicate the theater seated 2,858 in 1936. Likewise, Joel Frykholm, in his essay, “Framing the Feature Film,” found B. F. Keith’s Allegheny theater to seat 2,855 individuals in 1914.

Sadly, the theatre is not listed in the Julius Cahn Theatrical Guide for 1913-1914, (the edition I have and use) as it must have been too new for inclusion. Also, the 1921 Guide doesn’t list the Allegheny Theatre either, but it does list the B. F. Keith Theatre which had a seating capacity of 2,300.

How the theater could have gone from 2,855 in 1914 to 4,000 in 1920 and back to 2,858 in 1936 is beyond.  I suspect the 4,000 number to be in error.

Today the site is the location of “Friendly Plaza” the home of a Family Dollar Store and Friendly Wholesalers Inc. Furniture store. See Google Map.


It is clear that B. F. Keith’s Allegheny Theatre was new in 1920, being about eight years old. It was also one of the largest theaters of its time. Donna played there for a week, but she and the California Bathing Beauties played several other Philadelphia theaters during the fall of 1920.  I’ll write more about them later.


It will take some additional research to determine the actual seating of B. F. Keith’s Allegheny Theatre in 1920 while Donna was there.


ACTA UNIVERSITATIS STOCKHOLMIENSIS – Stockholm Cinema Studies 9 – “Framing the Feature Film: Multi-Reel Feature Film and American Film Culture in the 1910s” by Joel Frykholm citing: Advertisement for B. F. Keith’s Allegheny Theatre, Inquirer, March 1, 1914:17; and “Allegheny,” In Vaudeville’s Realm, Inquirer, March 1, 1914:16. http://manualzz.com/doc/17494960/stockholm-cinema-studies-9.

Cinema Treasures: Allegheny Theatre. 3139-3149 Frankford Avenue, Philadelphia, PA 19134. See: http://cinematreasures.org/theaters/9065

Don Taylor: Donna Darling Digital Collection – Contact Author.

Genealogy Bank – Philadelphia Inquirer (Philadelphia, PA) – September 26, 1920, (Volume 183, Issue 88) Section Feature, Page 1 – Changes in Vaudeville – Allegheny.

Historical Society of Pennsylvania: Digital Library, Frank McGlinn collection, Record Number 14401. Item: Anthony F. Dumas architectural drawing of Allegheny Theatre, 1921. http://digitallibrary.hsp.org/index.php/Detail/Object/Show/object_id/13982

Hathi Trust Digital Library – The Julius Cahn-Gus Hill Theatrical Guide And Moving Picture Directory. New York, N.Y.: Julius Cahn-Gus Hill, 1921. Page 61 – https://catalog.hathitrust.org/Record/009794580

Newspapers.com – The Philadelphia Inquirer (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania) – Sunday, Feb 8, 1942, Page 60, Column 5, Bottom “Will Improve Theatre.” https://www.newspapers.com/image/172126197


Posted in California Bathing Girls (1925), Treasure Chest Thursday, Vaudeville | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Ancestor Bio – Elishaba Smith

52 Ancestors – Week 191
By Don Taylor

Photo of Don Taylor with cat Nasi.Elishaba Smith was born, lived her entire life, and died in New London County, Connecticut. What makes that statement so odd and what provided such a source for learning for me was that I learned that there is no county government nor county seat for New London County.  There isn’t a county government in any of Connecticut’s eight counties. In Connecticut, the towns are responsible for all local government. Although some neighboring towns might share resources, water, gas, the county is a mapping convention and has no government.

Darling-Huber 2017 – Ancestor #99

List of Grandparents

  • Grandfather: Robert Harry Darling
  • 1st Great-grandfather: Rufus Harry Darling
  • 2nd Great-grandfather: Rufus Holton Darling
  • 3rd Great-grandmother: Sally Ann Munsell
  • 4th Great-grandmother: Elishaba Smith
  • 5th Great-grandfather: Hezekiah Smith


Elishaba Smith (1748-1803)

Elishaba Smith was born on either 15 or 16 February 1747 in Lyme, New London. She was the child of Hezekiah and Sarah (Chadwick) Smith.


Connecticut was an up-and-coming place in the mid 1700s. In 1758 the New London Summary was founded by Timothy Green. The newspaper was discontinued when Timothy Green died in 1763. However, the paper was immediately replaced by Timothy Green’s nephew, also named Timothy Green, with the New London Gazette.


Elishaba married Timothy Munsell in Lyme on 11 Feb 1768.

They had seven children.

Children of Timothy and Elishaba (Smith) Munsell

Child Born Died
William Wescott Munsell 24 Jan 1770 20 Jan 1867
James Munsell 28 Jun 1773
Anna Munsell 07 Sep 1775 18 Jun 1777
Timothy Munsell 16 Apr 1778
Thomas Munsell Abt. 1784 1849
James Andross Munsell 09 Jul 1781 Abt. 1845
Sally Ann Munsell Abt. 1786 Unknown


Leaf1790 Census shows the Timothy Munsell family living in New London. It indicates three males living there under the age of 16.  Timothy (Age 12), James Andross (Age 9), and Thomas (Age 6) would have been the correct ages to fit the family.  William Wescott was born in 1770 and would have been 20 at the time so he must have lived elsewhere.

The census record also shows two females in the household. Elishaba (age 43) and Sally Ann (age 10)

1798 – Timothy Munsell died leaving Elishaba a widow.

1800 Census show Elishaba Munsell as the head of household. Living with her is one female between 10 and 16 years of age who is presumed to be Sally Ann who was born between 1784 and 1786.


Elishaba Munsell died on 16 Sep 1803. Her burial location is unknown.





Posted in Darling | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Ancestor Bio – Minnie Mable Bodge (1872-1948)

52 Ancestors – Week 191

By Don Taylor

Photo of Don Taylor with cat Nasi.I consider successful ancestor research if I can learn and document the vital records (birth, marriage, and death), follow the individual through all the Census records during their life, and learn the names, births, and deaths of all of their children.  In the case of Minnie Mable Bodge, I was successful in all except I have not been able to find her in the 1880 Census. Hopefully, I will be able to find her when I do a more research into her parents, Albert S and Mary Elizabeth (Mayberry) Bodge.

Blanchard 2017 – Ancestor #9

List of Grandparents

  • Grandfather: Edward Everett Blanchard
  • 1st Great-grandmother: Minnie Mabel Bodge
  • 2nd Great-grandfather: Albert S Bodge


Minnie Mable Bodge (1872-1948)

Minnie Mable Bodge was born on 22 March 1872 in Lewiston, Androscoggin County, Maine to Albert S. and Mary Elizabeth (Mayberry) Bodge.

Marriage & Children

Minnie was living in Westbrook when she married Frederick W. Blanchard on 14 December 1886. She was only fourteen-years-old.  Frederick was twenty-years-old and living in Deering (today Portland) at the time.

Frederick and Minnie had eleven children, seven boys, and four girls, as follows:

Child Birth Death
Harriet May Blanchard 1888 1896
Gracie C Blanchard Jan 1890 1923
Harry Frederick Blanchard 03 Jan 1892 26 May 1969
Leon W Blanchard 1894 22 Feb 1894
Albert F Blanchard 1895 1895
Charles Albion Blanchard Oct 1897 Apr 1982
Edward Everett Blanchard 07 Jul 1900 24 Nov 1971
Lizzie M Blanchard 1902 07 Sep 1902
Sadie B Blanchard 21 Feb 1903 18 Apr 1920
Willard A Blanchard 1907 1977
Alanson S Blanchard 1911 27 Dec 2000

Sadly, Minnie saw the deaths of over half of her children; Harriet, Gracie, Leon, Albert, Lizzie, and Sadie all died before 1948.


1900 Census – Minnie and Frederick are renting a house on Front Street in South Portland. Gracie, Harry, and Charles are living with them. The census reports that Minnie had 6 children and that three were living which confirms that Harriet, Leon, and Albert had died as children. Frederick is a plasterer and Gracie and Harry are attending school.

Zillow photograph of 131 Stanford, South Portland as it is today.

131 Stanford, South Portland, ME – Today – Source Zillow

1910 Census – Minnie and Frederick own the home at 131 Stanford in South Portland. The house was built in 1900, so it is likely that Frederick and Minnie were the first owners.  Living with them are Harry, who is working as an inside plasterer, Charles, Edward, and Sadie are attending school, and little Willis, age three is home. The census reports that Minnie had 10 children, six of whom were living. The sixth living child was Grace who would have been 20 years old. Their fourth child to die as an infant was Lizzie who was born and died in 1902.

1917 – Tragedy struck the family on 15 July 1917 as Frederick died as the result of an automobile accident leaving Minnie a widow. The 44-year-old Minnie would have had four children at home, Edward, 17; Sadie, 14; Willard, 10; and Alanson, 6.

1920 Census – It appears that after Frederick’s death Minnie and the family could no longer afford the house at 131 Stanford. During the 1920 Census, Minnie and family were living at 69 Chestnut Street in Portland, ME. (Today it is the site of the Chestnut and Lancaster Parking Garage.) Minnie wasn’t working; however, son Charles was a laborer at a stove foundry and her son Edward was a salesman at an auto supplier.  Her 16-year-old daughter, Sadie, was not attending school nor working. She died a month later at the age of 17 of acute peritonitis due to acute appendicitis. Sons Willis and Alanson were living with their mother and were attending school.

Search Military Records - Fold31930 Census – The Widow Blanchard was a housekeeper of a boarding house at 3 Elmwood Place. There doesn’t appear to be and Elmwood in today’s Portland, but the other street on the census page is Cumberland Avenue, which would place Elmwood Place near Elm Street today where there are several new buildings today. Living with Minnie are her two youngest sons, Willard (Willis) and Alanson. Willard is a laborer at a bakery and Alanson is a clerk at a retail grocery store.  Living with them is a nephew Walter G. Blanchard.  Walter is 30 years old and divorced. This is confusing because Frederick Blanchard only had one known brother, Charles A. F. Blanchard who died in 1887 in Deering making it impossible for him to be the father of Walter G. Blanchard. I clearly have something incorrect. Either Charles didn’t die in 1887 or Albion and Mary S (Washburn) Blanchard had another child I don’t know about.

1940 Census – The 68-year-old Widow Blanchard was living alone at 335 Congress Street, Portland, ME. It must have been small apartments as there were 9 heads of households with people living alone or with one other person at 335 Congress Street. Today 335 Congress Street is a parking lot. Minnie was not working but the Census indicates that she did have additional sources of income.


Minnie Mable (Bodge) Blanchard died on 10 February 1948, presumably in Portland, Maine. She is buried with her husband, Frederick W. Blanchard, at Forest City Cemetery, South Portland, Maine.

Further Actions / Follow-up

  • Research the parentage of Walter G. Blanchard and learn how he was a nephew to Minnie Blanchard.


1900 Census (A), Ancestry, Frederick Blanchard – South Portland, Cumberland, Maine – District 79, Line 43.

1910 Census (A), Ancestry, Frederick W. Blanchard – South Portland, Cumberland, Maine – Ward 2, District 103, Sheet 2B, Line 80, Family 42.

1920 Census (NARA), Family Search, Maine, Cumberland, Portland Ward 4, District 39, Page 11B, Line 80, (Family 321).

1930 Census (NARA), Family Search, 1930 Census – Minnie M Blanchard – Portland, Cumberland, Maine. https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:XM8L-PDQ.

1940 Census (NARA ), Family Search, 1940 – Minnie Blanchard – Portland, Cumberland, Maine. https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:KMM4-QNP.

Find a Grave, Find A Grave, Minnie M [Bodge] Blanchard (1872 – 1948) – Find A Grave Memorial #142749169. https://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=142749169.

Maine Vital Records, 1670-­1921, Family Search, Birth – Minnie M Bodge – 24 Mar 1972. https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:2HVQ-8PJ.

Maine Vital Records, 1670-­1921, Family Search, Marriage – Fred W Blanchard & Minnie M Bodge – INTENTION: 14 Dec 1886. https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:2HKC-5PR.


Posted in Blanchard | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment