“Chin Chin” plays at the Park Theatre in Youngstown, Ohio on 8 April 1920

Vaudeville – Chin Chin

The Search – The Process

Grandmother Donna’s playing at the Park Theatre in Youngstown, Ohio reminds me that not everything is on the Internet.  It is only by luck and happenstance that I learned of “Chin-Chin” being in Youngstown at all.

Last summer, I was researching for “Donna in New Philadelphia, OH, at the Union Theatre – 10 April 1920” and ran across an article via Newspapers.Com, that “Chin-Chin” had also played in Youngstown at the Park Theater. It was really nice to know of another venue for the show.  I was excited to look at that showing later.

I finally had a chance to research the show’s presentation in Youngstown and I couldn’t find much more. After going through my regular sources, Newspapers.Com, Genealogy Bank, and Ancestry.Com, I only had one small ad. Everything I did find came from the Salem News, in Salem, Ohio, about 25 miles away from Youngstown. Nothing from a Youngstown newspaper.

Through the Julius Cahn-Gus Hill Theatrical Guide and Moving Picture Supplement of 1922, under Youngstown, Ohio, I learned there were two newspapers of note in 1922 – The “Vindicator” and the “Telegram.”[i]

The Ancestor Hunt

Next, I needed to see where those newspapers might be available.  My favorite site to look for newspapers is The Ancestor Hunt. I went there and did a quick search for “Ohio.” The first of the responses to the search (that weren’t ads) was Ohio Online Historical Newspapers Summary – Exactly what I was looking for.

A search for Youngstown yielded three items.

McKinley Memorial Library – Youngstown Telegram – The link didn’t appear to work. After a couple minutes, it finally loaded the page. They had a browse by title button, I clicked it and then learned that the only year they have for the Youngstown Telegram was 1918. No help there.

Next, was a link to Google News. There were many issues of the Youngstown Evening Vindicator before May 1893, but nothing from 1920.

Finally, was another link to Google News. There were many issues of the Youngstown Vindicator available there.  Several papers from March, and April 1920 were available, but many others were missing. I looked at the March 27th image. Page 4 was clearly the Amusements page, but there was nothing there about “Chin Chin” that I could discern.  The next paper available on Google News was April 18th, well after the show.

One of the other great features that The Ancestor Hunt pages has is that it typically provides a link to the paid subscription sites so that you can determine which sites might have the newspapers you need. In my case, the Youngstown newspaper search yielded the following:

  • Ancestry.Com – None – (Confirmation that I didn’t miss anything.)
  • Genealogy Bank – Daily News 2011 to current. (Confirmation that I didn’t miss anything.)
  • Newspapers.Com – None (Confirmation that I didn’t miss anything.)
  • NewspaperArchives.Com – None (I am not currently a subscriber.)

Chronicling America

The Library of Congress Chronicling America site is totally awesome. From their homepage, on the top right is a button to [US Newspaper Directory, 1690-Present].  A search for Youngstown newspapers in 1920 yielded 15 results. Two of particular interest were:

The Chronicling America site then will let you know what locations may have the issues you are looking for. According to them,

The Ohio Historical Society has Microfilm for the Telegram from 1901 to 1936.
The Ohio Historical Society has Microfilm for the Vindicator from 1893 to 1936.

So, I am reminded that not everything is on the Internet and that visits are important. Time for a road trip to Ohio.

“Chin Chin” at Park Theatre, Youngstown, OH

Donna and the cast of “Chin Chin” played at the Faurot Opera House in Lima, Ohio on the 6th of April 1920. We don’t know where Donna played on the 7th, but we now know that she did play the Park Theatre in Youngstown, Ohio, on the 8th.  Lima and Youngstown are about 200 miles apart, so I suspect there was another location they stopped along the way.

"Chin Chin" - Park Theater - Youngstown, OH,
Ad – “Chin Chin” Salem News, Salem, OH; 3 Apr 1920

On April 3rd, The Salem News ran a short article about “Scenes of Arabian Nights in ‘Chin Chin’”

The article mentions that the show will be “one night only.” However, an advertisement for the Park Theatre indicates [erroneously] that it will show “2 Days Only.” It was only there for two shows, not two days. “Chin Chin” played at the Victoria Theatre in Steubenville the following night (April 9th).

Park Theatre

According to the Julius Cahn-Gus Hill Theatrical Guide and Moving Picture Supplement (1922), Youngstown was a city of 132,358 (a number directly from the 1920 Census data).[ii] The Park Theatre was a large theater, with a seating capacity of 1,527 and did plays, pictures, legitimate and burlesque. The stage was 36 x 36 feet.[iii]

History of the Park Theatre

Park Theater, Youngstown. OH
Park Theater, Youngstown. OH

The Park Theater was opened in 1901 at 23 S. Champion Street. By 1914 it was operating as a mixed venue having added moving pictures. In 1920, when Donna played there, it was still a mixed venue showing both live shows and moving pictures. In 1948 the theater was purchased by the people of the Grand across the street and converted to a burlesque house. By the 1950’s, it was running X-rated movies.[iv] It finally closed in the 1960’s.[v]

Today, the site is the location of the Youngstown campus of the Eastern Gateway Community College.

Nearby Info

Nearby hotels suggested by 1922 Julius Cahn-Gus Hill guide included the Tod House, Colonial Hotel, Salon Hotel, and the Vanier Hotel. The railroads serving the city were the B. & O. and the Erie, Penn.

Further Research

  • Visit the Ohio Historical Society and review their microfilm for the Youngstown Vindicator and the Youngstown Telegram for April 8th, 1920 plus 14 days before and two days after for information, articles, advertisements, and reviews of “Chin-Chin.” Note: Mahoning Valley Info Forums indicated that the Main Branch of the Youngstown Library also has the Vindicator microfilm. Need to confirm before going.




William M Sanford – Pioneer

Roberts-Brown-2016 Research
Brown/Sanford Line

By Don Taylor

Map of places where William Sanford lived.My third great-grandfather, William M. Sanford was a pioneer. He is the first ancestor that I have encountered that was identified as a pioneer in two different books relating the history of two very different places. He came with his father and brother from New York to near Saline, Washtenaw County, Michigan, in the 1830s to settle that area. Following his father’s model, he helped settle Wells County, North Dakota with two of his sons. Much like when his father settled Washtenaw County other family members also settled in North Dakota when he relocated there. He was a successful farmer in both locations and was known to have both cattle and sheep when he settled North Dakota.

Roberts-Brown 2016 – Ancestor #50

List of Grandparents

  • 6 – Grandfather: Richard Earl Brown (aka Clifford Durwood Brown, Richard Earl Durand)
  • 12 – 1st Great-grandfather: Arthur Durwood Brown
  • 25 – 2nd Great-grandmother: Marian Sanford
  • 50 – 3rd Great-grandfather: William M. Sanford

If you are descended from William M. Sanford or any of my other grandparents, please contact me.  I’d love to how you fit into the family and I’d love to share notes, documents, photos, etc. Please use the contact form below.

Biography – William M. Sanford (1823-1915)

William M. Sanford was born on 30 March 1823 in Genesee County, New York, the second of nine children of Ezra and Almira (Chamberlin) Sanford.

The year of William’s birth is somewhat in question. Assuming his birth was 30 March the following sources give the following ages and assumed year of birth:

Source Age Year of Birth
1850 Census[1] 27 1823
1860 Census 36 1824
1863 Civil War Registration 41 1822
1870 Census 46 1824
1880 Census 57 1823
1881 – History of Washtenaw Co…[2] 1823 (30 Mar)
1885 – No. Dak. Census 63 1822
1900 Census 76 1824 (Mar)
1910 Census
1915 – Death Certificate 92 1823 (30 Mar)

From all of these possible dates, none of them are compelling sources. Because the earliest record I have, the 1850 Census, suggests an 1823 birth year, I am going with that. That year is also confirmed by the History of Washtenaw County.

Rome City, Indiana CC BY-SA 3.0
Rome City, Indiana CC BY-SA 3.0

In 1836, when William was about 13 years old, William’s father, Ezra, his brother, Ezra, and he emigrated from and left his two New York to Michigan. They looked at several different counties, stopping in Calhoun County, but did not remain there long. They moved on to Noble County, Indiana, where Mr. Sanford bought lots near Rome City, Indiana (not to be confused with Rome, Indiana). The two boys (Ezra was about 19 old at the time) stayed in Indiana while Ezra senior returned to New York.  The following spring, Ezra (senior) purchased 200 acres on Section 21 in Washtenaw County, Michigan.[3]

Marriage and Children

On 18 June 1844, William married Mary Electa Parsons in Benton, Washtenaw County, Michigan.  William and Mary had seven children.[4]

  • Marion Sanford – born c. 1846. Marion married William Henry Brown about 1866; her death occurred sometime after 1885.
  • Unknown Sanford – born April 1850 and died before 1860.
  • Elva P Sanford – born c. 1852. She married William Wright on 27 April 1871; her death was sometime after 1929.
  • Almon C. Sanford – born in October 1855; he died 3 April 1922.
  • William A. Sanford – born c. 1858; his death was after 1880.
  • George P. Sanford – born 7 October 1865; died 5 October 1932.
  • Unknown Sanford – birth unknown; he or she died before 1881.

The 1850 Census shows the young couple with two children, one unnamed infant.  Living with them is J. W. Sanford, a 79-year-old farmer whose relationship is not known (by me).  Also living with them is 11-year-old Charles Sanford. Again, I do not have a clear idea who these two individuals are.[5]

From the 1860 Census, the family located to Aurora, Indiana.  Their fourth child Almon was born in Michigan in 1855, but their fifth child, William A, was born in Indiana about 1859. So, it appears that the family located to Indiana sometime between 1855 and 1959. In any event, the 1860 Census indicates the family consisted of William and Mary with four children, Mary (Marion), Elva, Elmon (Almon), and Willee (William).[6] (The unknown second child is not mentioned in the census.)

Map of Saline Village showing Sanford farm, 1874
Map of Saline Village showing Sanford farm, 1874

By 1863 the family had returned to Saline, Michigan, where William registered for the Civil War Draft. He was in “Class II,” which was everyone not in Class I.  (Class I were those aged 20-35 and those 36-45 and unmarried.) William indicated he was 41 and married making him Class II.[7]

By 1870, Marion had married William Henry Brown and was out of the house leaving Elva, Alma (Almon), Willie (William) and George. Also living with William and Mary were four-day laborers. James Roach, George Coats, Gabriel Reeves, and Wilson Hoag.[8]

According to the 1880 Census, living with William and Mary in Saline, Michigan are three of their boys. Uhnond (Almon), William, and George. Also living with them are two “Servants,” Henry Morris and Joseph Evans.[9]

North Dakota

In 1883, the family relocated again and moved west. William Sanford with his sons A.C. (Almon C) and George located to Section 6, in northwestern Sykeston Township. We know that other of his family members located to North Dakota about that time, including his daughters, Marion and Eva and his brother, C. A. Sanford who was the donor of the Sanford Dormitory at Jamestown College. William had a successful farm, which included the first herd of cattle in the county, a thrashing machine, pedigreed stallions, and a large flock of sheep.[10]

Area of Sanford Homestead, Section 6, Sykeston Twnsp, Wells Co., ND

Dakota Territory held a census in 1885.  That census showed William and Mary living with their two sons, A.C. (Almon) and George. Also, living with them were two servants, George Huber and John Sager.  It is interesting to note that William’s daughter, Elva, and her husband William Wright, show on the same Census page.[11]

In 1888, after 43 years of marriage, William’s wife, Mary, died.[12]

Five years later, in 1893, married Harriet Kent a 59-year-old widow.[13] It appears that she died before 1900, because in the 1900 Census, the widower William is living with his son George (and George’s wife and son) in Township 146, Wells County, North Dakota.[14]

William married once again, on 26 February 1901, this time to Phila Geer Frisby.[15]


Sanford Marker at Lake View Cemetery, Cathay, North Dakota
Sanford Marker – Photo by Cemetery Scavenger via Find a Grave; used by permission.

William died on 5 June 1915 in Charlotte, Michigan, at the age of 92. His death was preceded by a fall where he broke his hip. He was then removed to Cathay, Wells County, North Dakota for burial.[16]  William was buried with his first wife, Mary Electa (Parsons) Sanford at Lake View Cemetery, in Cathay, ND.[17]

Further Actions / Follow-up

  • Follow-up on lives of all of William’s children.
  • Continue research on William.


Once again, if you are descended from William M. Sanford please let me know how you are connected. I’d love to hear from you.

———– DISCLAIMER ———–



  • [1] Family Search; 1850 Census; (William Sanford) Michigan, Washtenaw, Saline, Sheet 737, Line 41 & following sheet.
  • [2] Google Books; History of Washtenaw County.  Michigan:  Together with Sketches of Its Cities, Villages, and Townships…. 1881. http://books.google.com/books?id=2z0XAQAAMAAJ.
  • [3] Google Books; History of Washtenaw County.  Michigan:  Together with Sketches of Its Cities, Villages, and Townships…. 1881. http://books.google.com/books?id=2z0XAQAAMAAJ. Page 1409.
  • [4] Ibid.
  • [5] Family Search; 1850 Census; (William Sanford) Michigan, Washtenaw, Saline, Sheet 737, Line 41 and following sheet.
  • [6] Family Search; 1860 Census; (William Sanford) Indiana, Dearborn, Aurora Center, Image 424.
  • [7] Ancestry.Com; U.S., Civil War Draft Registrations Records, 1863-1865; William Sanford.
  • [8] Family Search; 1870 Census; (William Sanford) Michigan, Washtenaw County, Saline, Page 17, Line 22.
  • [9] Family Search; 1880 Census; (William Sanford) Michigan, Washtenaw, Saline, ED 237, Page 22 B, Line 16
  • [10] Spokesfield, Walter E.; The History of WELLS COUNTY NORTH DAKOTA AND ITS PIONEERS:  With a Sketch of North Dakota History and the Origin [sic] of the place names.  Valley City, N. D.:  Publisher: Not Identified, Published in 1929.
  • [11]  North Dakota State University; 1885 Census Index – Dakota Territory – (Wm Sanford) Page 35W-005; https://library.ndsu.edu/db/census/family?ed=35W-005-27
  • [12] Find a Grave – Mary E Sanford – Memorial# 142980426.
  • [13] Family Search; Michigan Marriages, 1868-1925; William Sanford – Harriet Kent.
  • [14] Family Search; 1900 Census; (George Sanford) – North Dakota, Wells, Township 146, Range 69, ED 212, Sheet 12A
  • [15] Family Search; Michigan Marriages, 1868-1925; William Sanford & Phila Geer Frisby
  • [16] Seeking Michigan; Michigan Death Certificate – William Sanford – Michigan, Eaton County, Charlotte.
  • [17] Find a Grave – William Sanford – Memorial# 142980536

Ancestry Hints and Timothy Munsell

Darling Research
Treasure Chest Thursday

Email saying I have 7 new hints on Darling-HuberI love those Ancestry hints.  I received another message that I had hints in my Darling-Huber research. This time regarding my wife’s 4th great-grandfather, Timothy Munsell.  Because it was a direct ancestor, I jumped at the chance to investigate and see what they had. (See Three approaches to Ancestry Hints for why.)

1790 Census

Because of the 1790 Census,

1790 Census Timothy Munsell - 1 3-2
1790 Census
Timothy Munsell

Timothy Munsell  – 1  3  2

Free White Persons – Males – 16 and over: 1
Free White Persons – Males – Under 16:  3
Free White Persons – Females: 2

I was fairly sure that:

The one male 16 and over was clearly Timothy.

I was fairly certain the two females identified were his wife, Eleshiba, and his 10-year-old daughter Sally Ann.

That left three males under 16 (born between 1773 and 1790) that I didn’t know who they were. I had entered them into my system as sundry relations, “unknown” with a note they were possibly sons of Timothy Munsell.

Timothy and Eleshiba had another son that I knew about, William, but he was born in January of 1770 and thus would have been 20 during 1790 census. I just figured he wasn’t at home any longer.

Ancestry Hint

The Ancestry Hint brought me to “Connecticut Town Birth Records, pre-1870 (Barbour Collection) – Lyme Vital Records 1667-1852” – Pages 172 and 173 provided names and birthdates for the children:

All entries are per Vol 1, Page 150 – Items bolded were new bits of information for me.

Anna, d. Timothy & Elishaba, b. Sept 7, 1775; d. June 18, 1777
James, s. Timothy & Elishabe, b. June 28, 1773
John Andross, s. Timothy & Elishaba, b. July 9, 1781
Sally Ann, d. Timothy & Elishabe, b. Oct 23, 1784
Timothy, s. Timothy & Elishabe, b. Apr/ 16, 1778
William, s. Timothy & Elishaba. b. Jan 24, 1770, at New London

So, I learned the names and birthdates of the three previously unknown children and confirmed they were the children of Timothy and Elishabe. I also learned of a sixth child, Anna, that died when only two years old.

One more thing, I also learned that Timothy’s parents were John and Mary (I knew his father was John before this). And now know he was born Nov. 24, 1745. (Before, I had he was born “before 1752.”

Timothy, s. John & Mary, b. Nov. 24, 1745            L-6      156

Treasure Chest This Ancestry hint provided new information; it confirmed other information regarding a direct ancestor, and it identified two new ancestors. That is what I cal a real genealogical Treasure Chest.

Follow-up Actions

Get copies of registration pages and not rely upon printed transcription in the book.

———- DISCLAIMER ———-


Three approaches to Ancestry Hints

By Don Taylor

We all get them, at least we do if we subscribe to Ancestry.Com and we have a tree on Ancestry. Yes, I’m talking about hints – the beautiful little leaves that let you know that Ancestry thinks it has information that will be of interest to you.  And they are right, I am interested in all those leaves that provide hints to sources and records that probably relate to people in my tree. The problem is I just don’t have enough time to follow all those hints and verify if they really relate to people in my tree that I care about.

I’ll admit, I have a lot of people in my tree I don’t care much about. The first husband of the second wife of my ancestor is such a person.  In my Howell/Darling tree, I have over 4500 hints and in my Roberts/Brown tree; I have over 13,000 hints. There is no way I can look at them all, so I needed to come up with a reasonable plan to relate to Ancestry Hints.

First of all, I recognize that they are Bright Shiny Objects that will take up my time. If I am not careful, they will sap my energy from researching the people that are important to me. So, I fundamentally ignore them. Unless there is a hint regarding an individual that I am currently researching, I ignore Ancestry hints as a matter of normal activity.

screen-shot-2016-10-08-at-3-58-41-pmscreen-shot-2016-10-08-at-3-58-50-pmI do subscribe to receiving alerts about new hints via email.  It is the default setting to receive alerts for new hints, but if you aren’t receiving them, In the upper right-hand corner of your Ancestry account, click on your name, then on Your Alerts. You will then see all the family trees you have access to.  Click “change delivery options” I select to receive New Hints monthly.

Next, in my email program (I use Outlook), I have created a rule that says if the message came from ancestry@ancestry.com and it has the following text in the message, “New Hints in Darling-Huber,” move the message to a Darling-Huber folder in my email system.

When I have a chance to work on my Darling-Huber tree, I go to that Howell-Darling folder and see what I have in the folder. Then I look at the individuals that the emails indicate Ancestry has hints for. As an example, recently it indicated:

John Henry Gensler (1876-1956)

1 new hint

U.S., Social Security Applications and Claims Index, 1936-2007

Then I go to my Genealogical Program, open up my Darling-Huber tree and search for all individuals named Gensler. Are any of the Genslers in my tree a direct ancestor of my root person? Many genealogical programs use a different icon for individuals that are direct line ancestors and descendants of the root person, so it is easy to see. In this case, none of the Genslers in my Darling-Huber research are directly related so I can ignore the email. (In this case, John Henry Gensler is the father-in-law of the nephew of one of my wife’s great-grandmothers.) I haven’t ignored the hint on Ancestry, that is still there if I need to research John Henry Gensler further in the future but it is no longer in my email.

The next hint is about Sally Munsell. Again, a quick search for persons with the surname Munsell lists Sally Ann Munsell – One of my wife’s 3rd great-grandmothers.  Definitely, a person I want to glean the facts from any appropriate hints and someone I would follow the hints immediately.

Finally, another hint I received was about Samuel Swayze. I have many Swayze’s identified in my wife’s family tree – including my wife’s 5th great-grandfather, Amos Swayze. I do not have this particular Samuel Swayze connected to anyone in my tree. However, this Samuel lived in the same place as other relations at the same time; however, I haven’t proven the connection yet. I know he isn’t a direct ancestor, but he is likely a close relative to a direct ancestor.  This would be a person I would want to research more thoroughly in the future.  As such, I would add a task to my research tasks to:

Investigate Ancestry Hints regarding Samuel Swayze (1653-1738) (The dates are to differentiate him from several other Samuel Swayze’s in my tree.) I’ll get to researching these hints, but probably not today. So, they are in my queue.

My Three Approaches.

  1. Investigate hints for known direct-line ancestors.
  2. Queue hints about potential bloodline relatives with direct-line surnames.
  3. Ignore hints about lines that are not direct line surnames.

———- DISCLAIMER ———-


Military Discharge of Asa E. Roberts

Amanuensis Monday

Military Discharge of Asa E. Roberts
Military Discharge of Asa E. Roberts


To all whom it may concern:

Know Ye, that Asa Roberts a Private of Captain ??mon’s Company (I) 31st thirty-first Regiment of Illinois Vols who was enrolled on the 15th fifteenth day of August one thousand eight hundred and sixty one to serve three years, is hereby Discharged from the service of the United States this 26th twenty sixth day of July 1862 at Cairo, Illinois by reason of Chronic peritonitis and he is perfectly unfit for service.

Said Asa Roberts was born in Roane in the state of Tennessee is 26 twenty six years of age, five feet eight inches high fair complexion grey eyes dark hair and by occupation when enlisted a farmer.

Given at Cairo this 26 day of July 1862.

Wm K Strong

Brig Genl ??? Dist of Cairo.


  • Asa Roberts enlisted 15 Aug 1861 for 3 years into Company I, 31st Regiment, Illinois Volunteers.
  • He was discharged 26 July 1862 at Cairo Illinois due to Chronic Peritonitis.
  • Born in Roane, Tennessee about 1836
  • Description: 5’8”, fair complexion, Grey eyes, dark hair.
  • Occupation before enlistment: Farmer