Donna Darling Collection – Part 14

Treasure Chest Thursday

By Don Taylor

For this week’s Treasure Chest Tuesday, I’m looking at three clippings from the Donna Darling Collection that relate to her playing at the American Theatre in San Jose, California.

Donna Darling Revue – American Theatre, San Jose, CA – Oct 23-25, 1926.

Newspaper Clipping for American Theatre – Donna Darling Revue.

The first clipping is nondescript clipping indicating that Count Berni Vici is completing his run and that five acts of vaudeville, featuring the Donna Darling Revue, is coming Saturday for three days only. It does mention that on the screen is “Fascinating Youth” a 1926 film, which confirms the year of her show. It takes the second clipping to confirm what American Theatre she played. Thanks to a handwritten note, Donna indicates that the clipping came from San Jose, Calif and the three days she was there were October 23, 24, and 25. That is such a great help. I have not been successful in finding any San Jose newspapers available on line from 1926, so I would not have known of this venue without her clippings.

The final clipping is from her last day at the American Theatre. It shows the Donna Darling Revue with Sammy Clark is finishing and being followed by Frank Silver and his famous Jazz Band; Frank Silver is known as the writer of “Yes We Have No Bananas.”

The American Theatre

American Theatre – Courtesy of elmorovivo via Cinema Treasures

The Hippodrome Theatre was constructed in 1919 at 261 South First Street, San Jose in a Spanish Gothic hybrid design. With more than 1,600 seats, it was the largest theater in San Jose at the time. In 1922, the theatre was renamed Beatty’s American Theater. It became the State Theatre in 1938; in 1951 was renamed the United Artists Theatre.  It was demolished in 1976. Today the site is a municipal parking lot.


I am sure there are many more venues that Donna played on the West Coast during 1926. I know she was in Alton, Illinois in September and came west to California. I now know that she played in San Jose on October 23-25. I also know she played in Modesto on October 30th. It looks like she continued to Oregon and played in Portland in November, so, most of her 1926 west coast tour is still unknown.


Not my third great grandmother

Several weeks ago, I came across another person’s tree that excited me.  They indicated the parents of my second great-grandmother, Eliza Jane Fannin, were David Fannin and Cynthia Ann Bare. They even provided a sibling for Eliza, Andrew Jackson Fannin. I have long been searching for Eliza’s people. Could this be the break I was looking for? I don’t use other people’s trees for much other than hints and sources, but it was great to have a new area for research.

Sadly, the suggestion was not, in my opinion, correct. I found Cintha married to Thomas Ellia in the 1880 Census. Thomas’ two stepchildren were living with him, Jane Fannin and Andrew Jackson Fannin.

The Thomas Ellia [Ellis?] family in the 1880 Census – Precinct 8, Carter County, Kentucky.[i]

Household         Role      Sex       Age       Birthplace

Thomas Ellia       Self       M          55         England – Works in Coal mine –

Cintha Ellia         Wife      F          60         Kentucky – Father born VA, Mother born Tenn.

Jane Fannin       Stepdaughter F   27         Kentucky – Keeping House – Father born in VA,

Jackson Fannin  Stepson M          17         Kentucky – Works in Coal mine – [Father VA, mother KY]

1880 Census Records

Thomas Ellis with stepdaughter Jane

John Mannin with wife Jane

I had already found my Eliza Jane in an 1880 census living with her husband, John William Mannin and daughter, Elizabeth. My Eliza Jane’s father was born in Kentucky, not Virginia. This Jane was quite a bit older than my Eliza Jane, so, this can’t be my long sought after Fannin family .

I annotated my records, “Do not confuse with Jane Fannin, daughter of Cintha (UnkMN) Fannin Ellis,” and moved on.


[i] 1880 Census – Thomas Ellia – Precinct 8, Carter, Kentucky.


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


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.

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