DNA Match leads to 3rd Great’s

Autosomal DNA
Brown/Manning/Fannin Line

By Don Taylor

Photo of Don Taylor with cat Nasi.On 23 and Me, I contacted a cousin I’ll call “JK.” The individual shared 1.34% of his DNA with my mother and .77% of his DNA with me. He also shared .91% of his DNA with my Aunt Barbara.  Because of the match with Aunt Barbara, the match is on my mother’s father’s (Dick Brown) line and the amount of DNA suggested a second to third cousin with my mother.

JK responded to my inquiry after a few months and indicated that he had been adopted and that his mother was Elizabeth Fannin. He also provided a link to his mother’s obituary.  I immediately became excited. My 2nd great grandmother was Eliza Jane Fannin and I don’t know much about her. Fannin is a popular name in Kentucky and because Eliza could easily be Elizabeth, I hadn’t been able to identify Eliza Jane’s parents.  Could I find the common ancestor between JK and me that would lead to new discoveries?

The obituary for Elizabeth Fannin showed her father was Mason Fannin.[i] I was a little concerned because Mason Fannin was born in West Virginia and my Eliza Jane Fannin was born in Kentucky, but I continued on. The 1930 Census confirmed the Mason Fannin family with his wife and several of the children mentioned in the obituary.[ii]  More importantly, Mason’s parents were born in Kentucky.  I appeared to be on the right trail.

Photo of Andrew Jackson "Jack" Fannin

Andrew Jackson “Jack” Fannin

Next, I was able to find Mason Fannin’s parents in West Virginia Births. His parents were Jack Fannin and Susan McKnight.[iii]

Family Search quickly show me that Jack Fannin was Rev. Andrew Jackson Fannin (1863-1952)  (Family Search ID L2DN-DKR). It also showed that Rev. Andrew Jackson Fannin had a sister, Eliza Fannin born 1856. Their (Jack & Eliza) parents were [unknown] Fannin and Cynthia Ann Bare.

 

Chart of relationships

JK Individual
Elizabeth Fannin Parent
Mason Fannin Grandparent
Andrew Jackson Fannin Great-grandparent
[Unknown & Cynthia Ann Bare 2nd Great-grandparents

 

[Unknown] & Cynthia Ann Bare 2nd Great-grandparents
Eliza Jane Fannin Great-grandmother
Mary Elizabeth Manning Grandmother
Richard “Dick” Brown Parent
My mother Individual

So, if [Unknown] and Cynthia Ann (Bare) Fannin are the common ancestors between JK and my mother they would be 3rd cousins. That fits the range of shared expected DNA for both my mother and her half-sister, Aunt Barbara. JK would also be a 3rd cousin once removed to me fitting the shared DNA that JK and I share[iv].

Family Search also indicates that Andrew Jackson and Eliza Jane Fannin had four other siblings, providing a wealth of clues and leads.

Do I know for certain that this Eliza Fannin is my Eliza Jane Fannin?  No, but the evidence is compelling enough to sketch in the relationship and continue researching the family.  If I find something inconsistent with my known history for Eliza Jane I’ll reconsider and relook at the relationship, however, I have confidence that I’ve broken through a small wall and puts Eliza’s parents next in my Brown Research.

Endnotes


[i] News Herald, Files (Personal), Betty J. [Fannin] DeMark  POSTED: 04/13/10, 12:01 AM EDT. http://www.news-herald.com/general-news/20100413/betty-j-demark.
[ii] 1930 Census (NARA), Ancestry.Com, Mason Fannin – West Virginia Fayette Kanawha District 0024. http://search.ancestry.com/search/collections/1930usfedcen/99823152/printer-friendly.
[iii] West Virginia Births, 1853-1930, West Virginia Culture, Delayed Birth Certificate – Mason Fannin – Oct 18, 1885.jpg. FamilySearch : 4 December 2014), Mason Fannin, 18 Oct 1885; citing Caperton, Fayette, West Virginia, United States, county courthouses, West Virginia; FHL microfilm 1,992,467. http://(https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:X55N-NK3.
[iv] I use the DNA Geek’s DNA Detectives Autosomal Statistics Chart to predect relationships.  See: http://thednageek.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/DNA-Detectives-Autosomal-Statistics-Chart.png

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Fannin – Surname Saturday

Photo of Don Taylor with cat Nasi.Name Origin

Fannin is an Irish surname. It is an Anglicized form of the Gaelic name “O Fionnáin” meaning   ‘descendant of Fionnán’, a diminutive of Finn.[i] Forebears suggests it means “Descendant of the little, blond man; grandson of little Fionn (fair).”[ii]

Geographical

According to Ancestry, during the 1880 Census fully 1/3 of all Fannin families lived in Kentucky, which is where my only known Fannin ancestor, Eliza Jane Fannin, was born about 1860.

My Earliest Fannin Ancestors

Eliza Jane Fannin is my only known Fannin. The 1880 Census indicates she was 19 years old indicating birth between June 1860 and May 1861. She was the wife of John William Manning and they had one daughter, Mary, living with them in Pine Grove, Rowan County, Kentucky. According to oral history, she died in December 1882.

Further Fannin Research

I have been unsuccessful finding clear evidence of Eliza Jane Fannin’s ancestors through normal research methods. However, recently a DNA connection has been found who has Fannin ancestors in Kentucky in the 1860s.

My Direct Fannin Ancestors

#27 – Eliza Jane Fannin (1861-1882) – Generation 5

I have no proven Fannin cousins; however, I have encountered DNA evidence of possible Fannin relatives.

My records have 499 direct descendants of Eliza Jane identified over eight generations, which is 19% of my known Brown/Montran family line.

Today (2014) there are some 8,442 individuals with 7,158 in the United States with the Fannin surname.[iii]

Endnotes


[i] Ancestry – Fannin Family History – https://www.ancestry.com/name-origin?surname=Fannin

[ii] Forebears – Fannin Surname Meaning and Statistics – http://forebears.io/surnames/fannin

[iii] Ibid.

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Donna Darling Collection – Part 12

Family Photos #1 – Russell, Donna, & Sammy

Treasure Chest Thursday

by Don Taylor

Photo of Don Taylor with cat Nasi.This week I took a look at ten photos from the Donna Darling Collection. Unfortunately, three of the photos were blurry or otherwise unusable. Of the remaining seven photos, five included uncle Russ as a child. One showed Russell and Donna and one showed Russ with Sammy.  One photo showed all three. There were also two additional photos of Donna but both were family type photos and not part of her vaudeville life.

Some of the photos were badly damaged but I was able to clean them up significantly. For each of the photos, I have:

  • Original scanned image.
  • Original cropped image.
  • Edited PSD (Adobe Photoshop Elements) image
  • Edited JPG image

With each edited version of the photo, I added a caption.  I am certain about the individuals shown, however, the dates are by guess and by golly.

Names:

Sammy, Russell, & Donna at the Beach, circa 1928.

Sammy, Russell, & Donna at the Beach, circa 1928.

Donna was born Madonna Montran. She used Donna Montran in her early vaudeville days. She then used Donna Darling as her stage name. I don’t believe that she ever used the surname Amsterdam.  Sometime after 1935, Donna lived with a man named Russell Kees. Although I don’t believe that Donna and Russell were ever married, Donna and her two children, Russell and Sylvia began using the Kees surname.  Sammy was born Samson Amsterdam. He used the stage name of Sammy Clark for many years. If the names aren’t confusing to you, you are good.

I have uploaded the seven photos to Google Photos. The downloads from Google Photos are generally of sufficient quality to work for most situations.  However, if you need a higher quality image of any of the photos let me know and I’ll send you one.

 

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We’re Related – Fanning, Roosevelt, & Clemmens

We’re Related – A Third Look for my Wife

Famous Friday

by Don Taylor

Photo of Don Taylor with cat Nasi.It had been a while since I tried using “We’re Related,” so I thought I’d take another quick look at my wife’s closest matches. Among the latest matches is my wife’s closest match so far, a 4th cousin 3 times removed – Dakota Fanning.

There are still seven individuals who are supposed to be 9 degrees of separation cousins, but I decided to focus on Theodore Roosevelt (8th cousin once removed) and Samuel Langhorne Clemens (aka Mark Twain) a supposed 6th cousin 3 times removed.

Dakota Fanning

Dakota Fanning – Photo by Anthony Citrano

Hanna Dakota Fanning is an actress and model. She was born February 23, 1994, in Conyers, Georgia. At the age of eight, she was nominated for a Screen Actors Guild award for her work in “I Am Sam.” She is also known for her roles in “Coraline” (2009), “War of the Worlds” (2005) and the role of Jane in “The Twilight Saga” movie series.

The relationship with Dakota Fanning follows my wife’s Howell line:

 

The relationship From Thomas Pankey to Dakota is:

  • Thomas A Pankey (c. 1760 – 1829)
  • Nancy Branch Pankey (1797-1865)
    (I wrote about Nancy Branch Pankey, the sister of Caroline M. A. Pankey, previously)
  • Nancy Jane Pankey (1831-1898)
  • John Alva Covington (1862-1907)
  • Neil Covington (1889-1976) (Note: Neil is a female.)
  • Assumed Living Arrington
  • Rick Arrington (From My Heritage)[i]
  • Heather Joy Arrington (from IMDb)[ii]
  • Dakota Fanning

My previous research indicated that Nancy Jane Panky probably married Joseph L. Covington on 23 April 1861 in Henry Virginia. Readily available on-line resources provided Dakota’s parents and grandparents names. I readily accept the Ancestry trees that make the link from Covington to Arrington and am quite certain that Dakota Fanning is a fourth cousin three times removed to my wife.

Theodore Roosevelt

President Theodore Roosevelt Photo by Pach Brothers

The 26th President of the United States was a driving force for the Progressive Era. Famous for establishing the US Forest Service, he proclaimed 18 national monuments and placed over a quarter of a million acres of land under public protection.

The relationship with Teddy Roosevelt follows my wife’s Darling line:

John Munsell and Lydia Way were identified as ancestors on the way to a common ancestor with Winston Churchill. Both are on my future ancestor research list. However, I am not comfortable with John Munsell being born in 1690. My research found Timothy Munsell’s father John Munsell born in 1702. The Munsell family lived in and around Lyme, New London County Connecticut and there were several John Munsells. That said, I believe the relationship with Theodore Roosevelt is still possible, but with 4 generations of uncertainty, I’m unconvinced.

Mark Twain

Mark Twain – Photo By A.F. Bradley, New York [ [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Samuel Langhorne Clemens is better known by his pen name of Mark Twain. His novels The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, and the Adventures of Huckleberry Finn are among the greatest classics of American fiction.

You may have noticed that one tree suggests that Lydia Way was the mother of Timothy Munsell and the other tree suggests that Lydia Morrill was the mother of Timothy Munsell. There could be one Lydia who had two different surnames before she married a Munsell. However, there could also be two different Lydia’s one the mother of Timothy Munsell, one not

Again, researching the parents of Timothy Munsell is on my research plan. A relationship with Mark Twain is possible, but we are still 4 generations away from certainty. So, I’ll put the relationship with Mark Twain to be possible.

Conclusion

Yes, “We’re Related” is fun and can provide clear direction to famous cousins.  However, it can also provide questionable lineages. Its genealogical pathways should be taken as possible but never true without your own research to follow the tangled webs.


Endnotes

[i] Biographical Summaries of Notable People MyHeritage.com [online database]. Lehi, UT, USA: MyHeritage (USA) Inc. https://www.myheritage.com/research/collection-10182/biographical-summaries-of-notable-people  – Record: Heather Joy Arrington

[ii] IMDb – Entry for Dakota Fanning – http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0266824/bio

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Ancestor Bio – Nimrod Lister (c. 1826-c. 1900)

52 Ancestors – Week 187

By Don Taylor

Photo of Don Taylor with cat Nasi.Nimrod, an Old Testament character who was the great-grandson of Noah, is a fairly unusual name, so I figured I’d be able to follow him easily – No such luck. I found him in the 1860 Census with the surname Lustre, in the 1870 and 1880 Censuses with the surname Lister, but have been unsuccessful finding him in either the 1850 Census or the 1900 Census. Here is what I have found so far.

Roberts-Brown 2017 – Ancestor #22

List of Grandparents

  • Paternal Grandmother: Essie Pansy Barnes
  • 1st Great-Grandmother: Maranda A. Lister
  • 2nd Great-Grandfather: Nimrod Lister
  • 3rd Great-Grandfather: ??William Lister ??

 

Nimrod Lister (c. 1826-c. 1900)

I am sure he was born in Ohio. Every record points to his Ohio birth.  However, every census record I have found him in suggests a different birth year.

  • 1860 Census – Age 34, Ohio – Suggests 1825-1826.
  • 1870 Census – Age 43, Ohio – Suggests 1826-1827.
  • 1880 Census – Age 55, Ohio – Suggests 1824-1825.

I have settled upon “circa 1826” as his birth year.

Childhood

One researcher suggests he is the oldest of four children and his siblings were:

  • Sarah born c. 1831
  • William M. born c. 1836
  • James M. born c. 1840

I have not been successful in confirming any of these individuals as being Nimrod’s siblings.

Marriage

Nimrod’s marriage to Malinda Evans on 17 March 1854 is possibly the key to learning more about Nimrod’s earlier life.  It indicates that both Nimrod and Malinda were from Pickaway County, Ohio.  If we look at Pickaway County during the 1850s there were Lister/Lester families living there. we find a William who married a Leah Adkins. In 1850, 30-year-old Leah is living in the household of Barzilla Adkins with an apparent daughter Elizabeth Lester.  I suspect that sometime before 1850, Nimrod’s father, William, died. The widow, Leah, then moved in with a sibling and her mother.  I also suspect that the rest of the children were farmed out to several locations and may have been reported with different surnames than Lister.  This is still conjecture but fits what I am seeing. I need to do substantial research into the Lister’s of Pickaway County.

Adulthood

I believe Nimrod and Malinda had eight children. Namely:

Child                                      Born                         Where

  • James M Lister                 Bet. 1853-1855        Ohio.
  • Nancy A Lister                 Bet. 1855-1857         Ohio.
  • Charles C Lister               Bet. Dec 1859-May 1860     Indiana.
  • Eliza J Lister                     Abt. 1861                   Indiana.
  • Charlotte Lister               Abt. 1865                   Indiana.
  • Marada A Lister          27 Feb 1867           New Lebanon, Sullivan County, Indiana.
  • William Lemuel Lister   Bet. 1868-1870      Indiana.
  • Sarah F Lister                   Abt 1872                    Indiana

Discover Your Origins With Family Tree DNA
1860 – Nimrod is a farm laborer living in Turman Township, Sullivan County Indiana (Graysville Post Office).  With him is Malinda, and presumably three children of theirs, James, M, Nancy A, and Charles C. ages 6, 4, and 5/12 respectively.[i]

1870 – Nimrod is a farmer with real estate valued at $660.  Malinda is keeping house. Living with them are seven [of their] children. James M., Nancy A., Charles C., and Eliza J., were 15, 13, 10, and 8 respectively; they were all attending school. James is also working the farm. Additionally, Charlotte, Marandy A., and William L are at home and are ages 4, 3, and 1 respectively.[ii] (Sarah is born in 1872.)

1880 – Nimrod is still a farmer. He indicates that his father was born in Maryland and his mother was born in Pennsylvania. Living with him are his wife, two sons, James and William, and two daughters, Miranda and Sarah. 25-year-old James is a huxter who had been unemployed for 4 months. The three younger children all attended school.[iii]

Stories

According to Thomas J. Wolfe, in The History of Sullivan County, Indiana, pages 235 & 236, “Nimrod and Malinda (Evans) Lister, both natives of Ohio, who came to Sullivan county. They were married in Ohio, and came to this county in the autumn of 1859. The father [Nimrod presumably] worked in a woolen mill in his early life, but after moving to this county followed farming.”[iv]

Death

Thomas J. Wolfe also indicates that Nimrod and Malinda had died before his book, The History of Sullivan County, Indiana was published in 1909.[v] Likewise, it appears that Nimrod died in January, 1900, before the 1900 Census was taken but I haven’t been able to confirm it. There was a Nimrod Lester who born in Ohio in 1831, died in February 1900, and is buried in Tippecanoe County, however, none of the other “Lester” surnamed individuals are familiar to my Nimrod Lister. I believe this to be a different Nimrod.

Further Actions / Follow-up

  • Follow-up on all of Nimrod and Melinda’s children to find more about their lives.
  • Do a surname focused study of Lister/Lester/Leister/Lustre in Pickaway County, Ohio.


Endnotes:

[i] 1860 Census (FS) (NARA), Family Search, 1860 Census – Nimrod Lustre [Lister] – Turman Township, Sullivan, Indiana – Page 140, Line 36. https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:M4NV-DFM.
[ii] 1870 Census (FS), Family Search, Nimrod Lister – Indiana, Sullivan, Turman, Page 12, Line 24. https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:MX6Z-4N3.
[iii] 1880 Census (FS), Nimrod Lister – Indiana, Sullivan, Gill Township, ED 329, Page 5, Line 18. https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:MHSF-ZKC.
[iv] Wolfe, Thomas J., History of Sullivan County, Indiana, A, Files (Personal), Pages 234-236. A history of Sullivan County, Indiana, closing of the first century’s history of the county, and showing the growth of its people, institutions, industries and wealth. New York: The Lewis Pub. Co.
[v] Ibid.

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J. D. Howell – Beulaville Minister 1917 & 1918

Howell-Darling Research
Howell Line

“Pete” Howell was born in Limestone Township, Duplin County, North Carolina on 10 Oct 1918. At the time of his birth, we know that his father, James Dallas (J.D.) Howell was a minister in Beulaville. (Beulaville is a town within Limestone township.)  I knew that his father’s tenure at the Baptist Church was short, but I never knew how long it was for sure. We know that Pete’s next older brother Frank Armstrong Howell was born in 1916 in Bladen County, NC, and his sister, Mary Elizabeth was born in 1925 in Onslow County, North Carolina. So, J.D.’s time in Beulaville must have been less than 9 years.

October 9 and 10, 1917

The Minutes of the Annual Sessions of the Eastern Baptist Association provide the answer and, luckily, it is available through Archives.Org[i]. According to the Minutes,

  • In 1916, J. G. Bostic was the pastor at Beulaville.
  • In 1917, J. D. Howell was the pastor at Beulaville.
  • In 1918, J. D. Howell was the pastor at Beulaville.
  • In 1919, Geo. W. White was the pastor at Beulaville.

Beulaville was a self-sustaining congregation. Brother Howell also preached at “Cedar Fork, Hallsville, Springfield, Sharon, and some other stations at school houses.”[ii] During 1916-1917, his church gained 6 individuals by baptism and lost four, three by letter and 1 by death.  Membership was 118, 65 men and 53 women.

James Dallas Howell

James Dallas Howell attended the Seventy-Fourth Annual Session of the Eastern Association, held with the Baptist Church at Piney Grove, Duplin County, N. C. on October 9 and 10, 1917

He is mentioned on several pages of the minutes of the proceedings.

During that first year at the Annual Session, J. D. Howell addressed the Association regarding the Layman’s Movement, the temperance movement and the Report on the Biblical Recorder.[iii] He spoke to the assembly regarding “Time for your best.”[iv]

Church gained 6 individuals by Baptism and lost four, three by letter and 1 by death.  Membership was 118, 65 men and 53 women.

October 29, 1918

J.D. Howell attended the Annual Session a second time in 1918. He had been very busy working on the Laymen’s Movement Committee.[v]  Brother Howell also worked for the Executive Committee for the year 1917-1918. He resigned from that position in 1918[vi]

As Laymen’s Movement Committee Chair, he reported on the Laymen’s Movement.

REPORT ON LAYMEN’S MOVEMENT.

The day has been when the idea generally prevailed that the work of the Sunday Schools and churches was only appropriate for and should be left in the hands of women and children. That was the once prevalent idea with regards Kingdom building for the Master. We are mighty glad to say that that day has passed in many sections. Indeed we are fast coming to realize that Sunday Schools and church work – the work of Kingdom building – is the work of our clear-headed, progressive thinking business men. It is a man-sized job, for the best we have in our midst.
The Laymen’s Movement has possibly done as much or more to bring about that change as any other agency. They have done a great work, but their task is not yet finished. In some places they have scarcely touched the hem of the garment. There is a great deal yet to be done in securing the progressive co-operation of our leading business men, with or without the pastor, for the doing of several things, viz.:

  1. Taking an annual inventory of your assets in the individual churches to see what you have to do business on that year for the Lord, make an every-member canvass.
  2. Instituting systematic giving to all the needs of the Kingdom, (if they are farmers, prepare in Fall so they can give all the year).
  3. Learning for ourselves and teaching others that the tithe is a means of contributing to the Master, and enables us to help in saving the world.

Since these things are vitally essential to the proper growth and development of the Kingdom in our Association, and since I am quite sure the people would be more ready to follow the lead of laymen along these lines; therefore, be it resolved,

That the Association ask the Executive Committee to put on foot as early in this Associational year as practicable a campaign of that nature over the whole Association, utilizing the best material possible among the laymen, both in and outside the Association to successfully carry out this plan.

D. HOWELL.[vii]

During his 1918 tenure, his Beulaville church report showed the church gained seven members by letter, and lost two by exclusion and 1 by death finishing the year with 123 members.  The Pastor’s salary was $300/year.


Endnotes:

[i] The Minutes of the Annual Sessions of the Eastern Baptist Association 1911-1920 via Wake Forest University, The Z. Smith Reynolds Library – Digitized and available online through Archive.Org.  https://archive.org/details/minutesofannuals1120east.
[ii] Ibid. October 9 and 10, 1917 – Page 7.
[iii] Ibid. October 9 and 10, 1917 – Page 9.
[iv] Ibid. October 9 and 10, 1917 – Page 13.
[v] Ibid. October 29, 1918, Page 7.
[vi] Ibid. October 29, 1918 , Page 10.
[vii] Ibid. October 29, 1918 – Page 13.

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Alhambra Theatre – Milwauke

Donna Darling Collection – Part 11

Treasure Chest Thursday

By Don Taylor

For this week’s Treasure Chest Tuesday, I’m looking at two clippings from the Donna Darling Collection, both dealing with her playing at the Alhambra Theatre.

Newspaper Clipping - Alhambra showing Bathing Beauty Revue

Alhambra Clipping – From the Donna Darling Collection

I have cropped, edited, and sized the photos for the web.

Key features:

  • The venue is the Alhambra.
  • The show is the “Bathing Beauty Revue” featuring Donna Darling and Murray Earle.
  • Also on bill
    • Richard Dix in “A Man Must Live”
  • Coming attractions include:
    • Gloria Swanson

Analysis

Cinema Treasures indicates there were over 100 theaters named Alhambra in the United States.[i]

Newspaper Clipping of Alhambra Theatre showing Richard Dix movie & the Bathing Beauty Revue

Clipping – Alhambra

“A Man Must Live” was released on 19 January 1925.[ii]

A search of Newspapers.Com yielded no articles or advertisements that showed an Alhambra Theatre showing “A Man Must Live” with a bathing beauty revue. However, a search of Genealogy Bank was successful in finding such an article that published on 21 January 1925 in the Milwaukee Journal.[iii] The article mentions speaks at length about the movie, “A Man Must Live” and ends with the following:

            “In addition, there’s the Bathing Beauty revue which may or may not amuse you.”

Milwaukee Alhambra Theatre Logo - 1925

Milwaukee Alhambra Theatre Logo – 1925

A further search of the Milwaukee Journal found an advertisement of the Milwaukee Alhambra Theatre using the very distinctive logo which was used in the advertisements that Donna had in her collection. (Larger first and last A’s in the logo.)  The January 21st was a Wednesday and Donna’s scrapbook ad indicates that Gloria Swanson was coming on Saturday, so I believe she probably played at Alhambra 21, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday (January 12, 22, and 23, 1925.

Conclusion

January 21-23, 1925 – The Bathing Beauty Revue featuring Donna Darling (Mack Sennett’s Prize Winner) and Murray Earle (From Geo. White’s Scandals) as well as “her 10 bathing beauties from the Hollywood Studios” played at the Alhambra Theatre in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

Actions

Standard: Research the Milwaukee Alhambra Theatre and write about Donna’s show there.

Sources

[i] Cinema Treasures – Search for theaters named Alhambra http://cinematreasures.org/theaters/united-states?q=Alhambra&status=all NOTE: There is a problem with the search function on Cinema Treasures. When searching “All Theaters” it only searches Open and Closed theaters. It does not include “Demolished” which must be searched separately.

[ii] IMDB “A Man Must Live” (1925) http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0016073/

[iii] The Milwaukee Journal (Milwaukee, WI) 21 Jan 1925, Page 13, Column 6, A Man Must Live – Via Genealogy Bank.

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Ancestor Bio – Dee Rittenberry

By Don Taylor

Photo of Don Taylor with cat Nasi.I was really excited when one of my grandchildren indicated that she was interested in her family history. In particular, she wondered about her paternal grandmother’s family, the Rittenberrys. I knew very little about them, so I jumped at the chance to research some her ancestor’s history.  To bypass living individuals, I thought I’d start with her grandmother’s grandfather, William Dee Ester Rittenberry.

Through the many records the surname takes many forms, Ritenberry, Writtenberry, and Ritenburg. I have settled on Rittenberry both as the most common spelling and as the modern spelling used as the maiden name by her grandmother.  Also, for ahnentafel numbering, I begin with her living grandmother as person #1, making her grandmother’s grandfather Ancestor #4.

 

Rittenberry Project 2017 – Ancestor #4

List of Grandparents

  • Grandmother: Living
  • 1st Great-grandfather: L. B. Rittenberry
  • 2nd Great-grandfather: William Dee Ester Rittenberry
  • 3rd Great-grandfather: James Henry Rittenberry

 

  • William Dee Ester Rittenberry (1882-1961)

William Dee Ester Rittenberry, known as “Dee,” was born on 28 Oct 1882 in Buffalo Valley, Putnam County, Tennessee. Buffalo Valley is an unincorporated community in Putnam County, Tennessee. It is exit 268 on Interstate 40.

He was the oldest child of James Henry Rittenberry and Martha Taylor and had five younger siblings, namely:

  • Della Jared Rittenberry,
  • Lourency M. Rittenberry,
  • Frances Rittenberry,
  • Belle Rittenberry,
  • Agness Rittenberry.

Marriage

When he was 19, Dee married Dora Effie Jane Chism, known as Effie. She was the daughter of Charlotte (Chism), on 15 Oct 1902 in Putnam County, Tennessee. I am not sure about Effie’s father’s name and need to do more research regarding this family.

William Dee Ester Rittenberry and Dora Effie Jane Chism had the following children:

  1. Ethel Lee Rittenberry was born in 1904 in Tennessee. She died before Jan 2001.
  2. Evelyn M Rittenberry was born on 29 Apr 1907 in Putnam County. She died on 03 Jan 2001 in Cookeville, Tennessee at the Masters Health Care Center. She married a man surnamed Stone.
  3. Cecil Rose Rittenberry was born on 07 Dec 1909 in Algood, Tennessee (See Article). She died on 08 Jun 1945 in Cookeville, TN.
  4. John D Rittenberry was born in 1913; he died before Jan 2001.
  5. T J Rittenberry was born on 16 Jun 1917 in Putnam County; he died on 08 Jun 195715 in Nashville, Davidson, Tennessee at Saint Thomas Hospital.
  6. L B Rittenberry4 was born on 28 Apr 1920 in Tennessee. He died on 07 Dec 1976 in Goodletsville, Davidson County, Tennessee. He married Ruby Jean Shoemaker sometime before 01 Apr 1940.
  7. William D Rittenberry, Jr. was born about 1924.
  8. Lucile Rittenberry was born about 1925.

Adult

1900 – William Dee Ester Rittenberry lived in Civil District 19, Putnam, Tennessee on 01 Jun 1900. He was a Laborer at the Sparta Spoke Factory.  The Sparta Spoke Factory was established in 1896 on the Calfkiller River and became the world’s largest producer of wooden spokes. As the demand for wooden spokes decreased, the company changed over to custom furniture and furniture components. Today the company is known as Sparta WoodWorks.

1910 – Cookeville and Ganesborrow Road Cookeville, Putnam, Tennessee. He was a farmer, farming a rented farm with his wife, and three children, Ethel, Every, and Mary (Cecil). Living with them was his mother-in-law, Charlotte Chism.

1918 – He registered for the draft on 12 Sep 1918 in Crawford, Overton County, Tennessee. He was described as medium height, medium build, Blue eyes, and light hair. Occupation: Coal Digging with Brice Hill. Dee never served.

1920 – Dee is living in Crawford, Overton County, Tennessee. He is working as a coal miner. Living with him are his wife, three daughters, two sons and his uncle, Carnie (possibly Carrie), Rittenberry.

1930 – The depression was tough on coal mines and Dee appears to have been impacted by it. The 1930 Census shows him working as a laborer in a public works project. It also shows Dee had moved back to Putnam County, TN, and was living with his wife and kids. Also, living with him is a granddaughter, Juanita Harris.

1951 – It appears that he retired on 15 Feb 1951 and went on social security. He lived in Cookeville until his death in 1961.

Death

Marker - W. Dee Rittenberry (1882-1961) - Photo by imagal49 (#47223808) via Find a Grave

Marker – W. Dee Rittenberry (1882-1961) Photo by imagal49 (#47223808) via Find a Grave

 

William Dee Rittenberry died on 24 May 1961 at the Putnam County Poor Home in Cookeville, TN, at the age of 78.  He was buried at the Shipley Cemetery in Cookeville, Putnam County, Tennessee. Per Find-a-Grave, There are 14 Rittenberrys buried at Shipley Cemetery.

Conclusion

It is clear from the census records that family was important to Dee Rittenberry. Although they were poor and had little during the depression, it is clear they took on family members that needed support and helped all they could.

Further Actions / Follow-up

  • Find William Dee Rittenberry in the 1940 Census.

Sources:

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Twins or Not Twins, that is the question

Cecil and Mary Rose Rittenberry

Rittenberry Project 2017

By Don Taylor

Cecil Rittenberry Birth Record

Mary Rose Rittenberry

At first, I thought they were twins.  Two children, Cecil Rittenberry and Mary Rose Rittenberry, born on the same date, December 7, 1909, to the same parents, Dee and Effie Rittenberry. The two records were entered by the same clerk one week apart seven months after the children’s births. Cecil was a boy and Mary Rose was a girl. It seemed clear to me. Then I started to get confused.

The 1910 Census shows Dee and Effie “Writtenberry” with their daughter “Merry” and no son. I thought ‘aww’ – The son, Cecil, must have died as an infant.

The 1920 Census really adds to the confusion as it doesn’t show Mary, but rather it shows Cecil as the correct age but as a daughter.

1910 Census – Rittenberry

1920 Census – Rittenberry

Other records follow Cecil through her marriage to Berry Willoughby her early death in 1945. In every record other than the birth record Cecil is always a female.  Likewise, other than the birth record and the 1910 Census Mary has no other records.

I think the key to the facts in the case is in the 1910 Census.  It shows that Effie had had three children and three were living. The three were Ethyl Lee, Evelyn M, and Mary Rose/Cecil Rose.

What I think happened

With a healthy dose of speculation, I believe the child of Dee and Effie born on December 7, 1909, was registered with the County Clerk’s office initially as Mary Rose. After the registration, someone went back to the County and registered the same child as Cecil and the clerk got the sex wrong but everything else correct, including the surname.  Whoever responded to the 1910 Census was the family member who called the child “Mary.”  By 1920, when the child was 10 years old, everyone knew the child as “Cecil” and that name stuck the rest of her life.

This is the first time I’ve encountered two birth records for the same individual recording different names and different sexes. As I said, I initially thought Cecil and Mary were twins. Now, I’m fairly sure that they are one individual. I’ll hold that view unless I find some compelling reason to believe otherwise. I am reminded to hold all records with some level of skepticism.

 

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Al Ringling Theatre – Bathing Beauty Revue

Donna Darling Collection – Part 10

Treasure Chest Thursday

By Don Taylor

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

Newspaper Clipping of Bathing Beauty Revue - Al Ringling Theatre

This image was cropped, edited, and resized for the web.

Bathing Beauty Revue
Al Ringling Theatre

Key features:

  • The venue is the Al Ringling Theatre. It is “America’s Prettiest Playhouse.”
  • The show is the “Bathing Beauty Revue” staring Donna Darling and Murry Earl.
  • Also on bill
    • Poli Negri in “Forbidden Paradise”
  • Coming attractions include:
    • Bebe Daniels in “Dangerous Money”
    • “The Signal Tower”
    • “The City that Never Sleeps”

Analysis

It appears that the only theatre known as “America’s Prettiest Playhouse” is the Al Ringling Theatre. It was built in Baraboo, Wisconsin in 1915 and is in use today.

“Forbidden Paradise” was released on 30 November 1924.[i] The other three movies were released before “Forbidden Paradise.[ii][iii][iv] indicating that the Bathing Beauty Review occurred after that. Probably in December of 1924.

Donna’s known schedule indicates that she played three other Wisconsin venues in November and December of 1924, so she was definitely in Wisconsin at the time.

Finally, a review of the newspapers of the time yielded none currently available online. A search at Chronicling America indicated two newspapers published in Baraboo during 1924.

  1. The Baraboo daily republic. : (Baraboo, Wis.) 1892-1929 – Current Holdings do not indicate any holdings from 1924.[v]
  2. Baraboo daily news. : (Baraboo, Wis.) 1913-1929 – Current holdings indicate that the Wisconsin Historical Society, Newspaper Project in Madison, Wisconsin may hold issues from that period.[vi]

Conclusion

December (XX) 1924 – The Bathing Beauty Review featuring Donna Darling and Murry Earle played at the Al Ringling Theatre in Baraboo, Wisconsin.

Actions

  • Visit the Wisconsin Historical Society in Madison to view their Newspaper Project holdings, particularly the Baraboo Daily News from December 1924 and January 1925 looking for what played at the Al Ringling Theatre.
  • Research the Al Ringling Theatre and write about Donna’s show there.

Sources

[i] IMDB Forbidden Paradise (1924) http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0014925

[ii] IMDB Dangerous Money (1924) http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0014825

[iii] IMDB The Signal Tower (1924)  http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0015331

[iv] IMDB The City That Never Sleeps (1924) http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0014777

[v] Chronicling America – About Baraboo Daily Republic – Holdings –   http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn85041148/holdings/

[vi] Chronicling America – About Baraboo Daily News – Holdings –  http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn87082039/holdings/

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