DNA Doesn’t Lie – John Montran

Brown-Montran Line
By Don Taylor

Photo of Don Taylor with cat Nasi.For a few years, I’ve hypothesized that my great-grandfather, John F. Montran and John Foster Montran were the same person.

I have been unable to find a record of John F. Montran and my great-grandmother, Ida Mae Barber marrying in 1892. My grandmother was born in 1893 with the name Donna Montran and when Ida remarried in 1897 to Max Fisher she indicated her surname was Montran and that she was married once before. So, I believe John Montran and Ida were married about 1892.  Donna indicated in 1911 that her father was dead. Certainly, John F. Montran doesn’t seem to exist anytime in the 20th century. I have found no records for John F. Montran after my grandmother’s birth in 1893.

John Foster Montran married Maude Minnie Winter in 1894. I have found no records for John Foster Montran before 1894. He had two children with Maude, Thelma M. Montran and Ruth Grace Montran, in 1895 and 1897 respectively. In the 1900 Census, Maude is listed as a widow and John appears nowhere else.

  • 1892 – John Montran married Ida
  • 1893 – Donna was born.
  • 1894 – John and Ida separate.
  • 1894 – John married Maude Minnie Winter
  • 1895 – Thelma is born.
  • 1897 – Ruth is born.
  • 1898-1900 John dies.
  • 1911 – Donna indicates her father, John Montran, was dead.

All the parts appeared to fit. The locations weren’t too far off. Donna indicated her father was born in Pennsylvania but had lived in Canada. Maude indicated her husband was born in Canada, but Maude and (her) John married in Pennsylvania.

DNA image by Caroline Davis2010 via Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

I figured that DNA testing would prove the two John Montrans were one. I began researching the descendants of John and Maude (Winter) Montran. In 2015, I found a living descendant, I’ll call Sue[i]. I contacted her and asked if she would be interested in doing a DNA Test. The results should prove my hypothesis that the two John’s were the same person. She wasn’t interested in testing then, but maybe sometime.

I continued searching and finally found another descendant of John and Maude (Winter) Montran, I call him James[ii]. I contacted him, and learned he wasn’t interested in testing either.

I continued searching but didn’t find any additional living descendants of John and Maude and I set the project aside for a while.

It had been nearly two years since I had contacted Sue, so I thought I’d follow-up with her and see if she was interested in testing now.  She replied that she had tested with 23 and Me and had her results.  My mother tested with 23 and Me several years ago. My mother and Sue should show as a match. If my hypothesis is correct, they would be half first cousins, once removed. No match on 23 & Me. When you look for matches on 23 & Me, the page says, “Note: your anonymous matches have been opted out of DNA Relatives and are no longer visible within the tool.”  I thought, maybe Sue opted out of DNA Relatives. I asked her to double check her settings. She responded that she opted in to DNA Relatives the day before. She also shared her results with me.  Again, nothing, nada.

Using Blaine Bettenger’s “Shared cM Project 3.0 tool v4,” I could see that half first cousins, once removed (1C1R) should share 226cM of DNA. And that the range seen for half-1C1Rs was from 57 to 530.  I even decreased the match criteria from the usual 7cm segment match required to only 4cM segment match and still no match with Sue.

Of course, it is possible that there was a non-paternal event that caused these DNA results, and it is always good to keep an open mind.  However, these results prove to my satisfaction that my great-grandfather, John F. Montran, and the John Foster Montran who married Maude Minnie Winter were two different people.

Further Actions / Follow-up

  • Separate John F and John Foster in all my records and notional work and indicate that they were definitely different individuals.


————–  Disclaimer  ————–

Endnotes

[i] Surnames are removed from living individuals. First Names used may or may not be the same as the living individual’s name.

[ii] Ibid.

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