A Genealogist’s Nightmare or a Census Taker’s Confusion?

Four Mary Stoeger’s in the 1900 Census.

It was hard for me to tell if I was looking at an ‘80s sitcom or if the 1900 Census was true. I kept thinking, “Hi, I’m John Stoeger, and this is my wife Mary, and this is my daughter Mary, and this is my other daughter, Mary. Oh, by the way, this is my other daughter, Mary.  Yes, the 1900 Census shows that John’s wife and three of his daughters are all named “Mary.” Either the census taker got it all mixed up or there are several stories to uncover suggested by this census record. I needed to figure out which.

John Stoeger is my wife’s half-aunt’s grandfather.  Not a direct ancestor to my wife, but still a person of interest.  I wanted to see if I John really had three daughters named Mary.

Other records indicate that John’s children immigrated about 1885, so they aren’t going to be in the 1880 Census (and they weren’t).  The Minnesota 1895 census does show John, but that census shows no information about his children.  I couldn’t find in him the 1910 Census so, I thought that I might be at a wall of some sort.  Then I found him, Johann Stoeger in a 1908 wills and probate records on Ancestry. Sure enough, this Johan had a daughter Hattie Drexel (Hedwig Drexl) and the ages of the other children all fit my 1900 John Stoeger family.

The first “Mary” was Barbara.

The second “Mary” was Marie.

The third “Mary” is still unknown but appears to have died between 1900 and 1908.  That is because in 1900 Mary, the mother, had eleven children, six of whom were living. The 1908 probate records show five of the six children living.

I was a little but surprised to see that John (Johann) and three of his children had all moved to Stillwater. So, I wondered if I had the wrong John Stoeger; however, I became certain that It was the right John Stoeger when I saw that the estate included property on Water Street in Saint Paul, where he lived during the 1900 Census and one of his daughters was Hattie Drexl. Everything fit into place.

Finally, that third Mary child, I suspect was actually John Stoeger, Jr.  I haven’t proven it to my satisfaction, yet, but I’m pretty sure I am right. I need to do a little more research on John Jr. to prove it. I think the Census taker was a bit confused.


Sources:

  • 1900 Census (A), John Hoeger [Stoeger] – Saint Paul, Ramsey, Minnesota, Ward 6, ED 0105, Page 15B.
  • Minnesota, Wills and Probate Records, 1801-1925, Ancestry.com, Johann (John) Stoeger – Page 1517

 

 

 

 

 

Donna Darling and Earle

Donna Darling Collection – Part 3

We know that Donna had a show advertised as “Donna Darling and Earle in a Song and Dance Romance” in 1924. The Standiford Studio in Louisville, Kentucky took this photo entitled, “Donna Darling and Earle.”

Photo of Donna Darling & Murray Earle c. 1924
Donna Darling & Murray Earle c. 1924

Donna and Earl played in Oakland California in June 1924, and at the Melba Theatre in Dallas, TX in July 1924.  Seemingly like an easterly movement, I extrapolate they could have been in Louisville in August 1924.  Of course,  I could be entirely wrong.  As a matter of fact, I would expect a photo like this to be taken towards the beginning of a tour rather than the end. In either event, the photograph is likely taken in 1924.

Follow-up

Continue research and find dates when Donna and Earle played in Louisville, KY.

 

 

 

Ancestor Biography – Nelson Barnes (1816-1884)

Roberts/Barnes Line
By Don Taylor

Photo of Don Taylor with cat Nasi.It is usually the birth record, and how comfortable I am with that record, that defines how comfortable I am with my feeling that I know an ancestor.  Nelson Barnes’ birth records, parents, and childhood records do not give me a warm fuzzy feeling.  I have no sense of the cat purring behind my ear.  But, here is what I think I know.

Roberts-Brown 2017 – Ancestor #20

List of Grandparents

  • Grand Parent: Essie Pansy Barnes
  • 1st Great: Joel Clinton Barnes
  • 2nd Great: Nelson Barnes
  • 3rd Great: (Possibly Joel Barnes)

Nelson Barnes (1816-1884)

Birth

Thomas Wolfe, in A History of Sullivan County, Indiana,[i] indicates that Nelson Barnes was born in New York on 24 March 1816. It is very clear; however, Nelson Barnes’ Find a Grave Memorial [ii] indicates he was born on 6 December 1816. The photo on the memorial is too pixelated to be able to determine what it might say. So, I have submitted a Find-a-Grave photo request to try to get a higher quality image to look at.

Source ages and places of birth for Nelson Barnes

Document Age Supports Birth in
1850 Census 35 – Pennsylvania December 1816
1860 Census 44 – New York March 1816
1870 Census 54 – New York March 1816
1880 Census 64 – New York March 1816
1884 Find-a-Grave If age 68 in January 1884, then December 1816
1884 Find-a-Grave New York 6 December 1816
1909 (Wolf book) New York 24 March 1816
Photo of marker for Mercy Eliza Taft Barnes and Nelson Barns.
Marker for Mercy Eliza Taft Barnes and Nelson Barns. Photo by Wabash Valley Genealogy Society Cemetery Committee via Find a Grave

Normally, I like to use the document closest to the event. However, in this case, three of the four census records and the Wolf book indicate a different birth date makes me uncomfortable accepting the December 1816 birthdate. I’ve decided to ignore the Pennsylvania birthplace states in the 1850 Census as just wrong. His marker might indicate his age at death as 68 years and 29 days. If so, that would put his birth in December 1816 also.  So, I’ve requested an updated find-a-grave image of his marker. Hopefully, the bottom line will be more readable. An improved image might clear his birth month up for me.

Childhood

I have not found any documents, so far, that clearly identify Nelson Barnes’ parents. That said, there are 11 family trees on Ancestry that share Nelson Barnes as an ancestor.  All 11 of those trees indicate that Nelson Barnes’ parents were Joel and Lucy Wilson (Taft) Barnes. None of these researchers appear to have identified any siblings for Nelson nor have are any siblings identified on the Family Search family tree (ID: M1PY-5V8). Finally, the idea that Nelson married a Taft and that his father also married a Taft makes me uncomfortable.  Are the identities confused by the researchers or did it really happen this way? Having Nelson’s father named Joel would explain one of his sons being named Joel. In the future, I will research Joel Barnes (the elder) and see if I can connect him to Nelson, but in the meantime, the relationship of Nelson to Joel and Lucy is very tentative.

Marriage

Nelson Barnes and Mercy Eliza Taft were united in marriage in New York on October 21, 1839.[iii]

Adult

Their first child, a daughter, has one of the most unusual names I’ve encountered – Tryphenia.  Tryphenia (or Tryphena) was born in in 1841 in New York.  Records seem to conflict about if she was born in Broome County (Binghamton area) or King’s County (Manhattan).

Likewise, their second child, also a daughter – was born in 1844, also in New York.

The family then located to Sullivan County, Indiana where Nelson and Mercy had seven more children, all in Sullivan County.  They were:

  • Theodore              1847
  • Susan                    1849
  • Abraham              1852
  • Cyrus                     1855
  • Joel                        1857
  • Lucy                       1860
  • Martha                  1863

Nelson was a farmer and attended Methodist Episcopal church. The 1850, 1860, 1870, and 1880 census records all clearly show him living in Sullivan County.  Although some researchers indicate that Nelson served in the Civil War, I do not agree and believe the 45-year-old father of 8 remained out of the war. See “Nelson Barnes – Civil War Veteran?” for details.

Stories

In February 1879, Nelson and Mercy’s son Cyrus died at the age of 24.

Death & Burial

Nelson died on 21 January 1884 and is buried in Drake Cemetery, Fairbanks, Sullivan County, Indiana.[iv]

Further Actions / Follow-up

  • Research potential ancestors, Joel and Lucy Wilson (Taft) Barnes, and see if there is a descendant path to Nelson Barnes.

Endnotes and Sources

[i] Citation:  Wolfe, Thomas J. 1909. 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. Page 235.

[ii] Find A Grave Memorial# 37229135 – Nelson Barnes (1816 – 1884). Accessed 27 Mar 2017. https://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=37229135

[iii] Wolfe, Thomas J., History of Sullivan County, Indiana, A, Files (Personal),  See Item i above.

[iv] Find a Grave, Find a Grave, Nelson Barnes (1816 – 1884). See Above. See item ii above.

Nelson Barnes – Veteran?

Roberts/Barnes Line
By Don Taylor

As I researched Nelson Barnes I realized that many people are ascribing many Civil War records to Nelson indicating his service. Ancestry hints were indicating many different potential records that were all being ascribed to Nelson by various other researchers. I needed a way to help differentiate my Nelson from other Nelsons.

Map of Indiana showing location of Sullivan County
Sullivan County, Indiana

My Nelson Barnes was born in New York in 1816. According to Thomas Wolfe, Nelson and his wife located to Sullivan County, Indiana in the 1840s.[i] He was in Turman, Sullivan County, Indiana for the 1850, 1860, 1870, and 1880 censuses. Turman township is on the Indiana-Illinois boarder so it is possible that he enlisted in Illinois.  Kentucky is about 100 miles away and there are many other places he could have enlisted if the 47 year-old, father of 8 desired to do so.

Looking at the 1860 Census, I eliminated any Nelson Barnes that was born before 1800 as being too old to serve in the Civil War.  I also eliminated anyone born after 1850 as being too young to serve. That left 19 individuals including my Nelson Barnes reported in the 1860 Census.

1860 Census – Birth and residence for individuals named “Nelson Barnes.”

# Birth Birth Place Residence in 1860
NB01 1809 Connecticut Roxbury, CT
NB02 1812 Rhode Island Johnston, RI
NB03 1814 New York Jasper, NY
NB04 1815 Kentucky Madison Co., KY
NB05 1815 New York Vienna, IL
NB06 1816 New York Turman, IN
NB07 1818 New York Franklin, NY
NB08 1818 England Hamilton, NJ
NB09 1826 New York Afton, NY
NB10 1831 New York Medina, MI
NB11 1832 New Hampshire Boscawen, NH
NB12 1832 New York Quincy, MI
NB13 1835 Connecticut Litchfield, CT
NB14 1835 Vermont Chicago, IL
NB15 1839 New York Sennett, NY
NB16 1839 Rhode Island Smithfield, RI
NB17 1839 Indiana Washington, IN
NB18 1840 New York Brutus, NY
NB19 1840 Illinois Richland, IL

With a list of potential Nelson Barnes’ who could have potentially served in the Civil War, I need to look at each Nelson Barnes record and see if they fit my Nelson, another Nelson, or are not determinable from the record.

Map of Indiana showing location of Randolph County.
Randolph County, Indiana

There was a Nelson Barnes who served with the 8th Regiment, Indiana Infantry (3 months, 1861). This unit organized on 21 April 1861. The unit mustered in on 25 April, 1861 and mustered out on August 2, 1861. This fits the service of the Nelson Barnes who was from Randolph County who enlisted on 24 April 1861.

There was a Nelson Barnes who served with the 5th Regiment, Indiana Cavalry (90th Regiment, Indiana Volunteers). This regiment mustered in during August, September, and October of 1862. This fits the Nelson Barnes from Lynn, Indiana who enlisted on 13 Aug 1862. Lynn is a town in Randolph county close to the Ohio border.

All of the other civil war records that I am finding for “Nelson Barnes” appear to relate to one of the many other Nelson Barnes’s identified in the table above or the Nelson Barnes from Lynn, Randolph County, Indiana.

Additionally, the 1870 Census shows a Nelson Barnes living in Washington, Randolph County, Indiana. Meanwhile, our Nelson Barnes was living in Turman Township, Sullivan County, Indiana.

Finally, Lynn is a town in Washington Township in Randolph County.  I have no doubt that all of the Nelson Barnes records in Indiana relate to that Nelson (NB17 above).

I don’t believe that Nelson Barnes who lived near Graysville in Turman Township, Sullivan County, Indiana served in the Civil War.


ENDNOTES & SOURCES

[i] Wolfe, Thomas J., History of Sullivan County, Indiana, A, Files (Personal), Page 235. 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.

 

The Donna Darling Collection – Part 2

 

Donna Montran

Vaudeville
By Don Taylor

The first newspaper clipping in the collection is one that screams in big print, “DONNA MONTRAN.”

Newspaper ad promoting Donna Montran
Scanned image from the Donna Darling Collection. Originally: From August 20, 1920, edition of “Variety,” New York City, page 40 (back cover) via the Donna Darling Collection.

It then speaks of her as “BROADWAY’S NEWEST FIND – Under Personal Direction of Tom Rooney.” The advertising also acknowledges her vocal instructor, Louis Howard Croxson, and her dancing master Alexis Kosloff.  The clipping also shows that she is playing at B. S. Moss’ Broadway Theatre.  Knowing that made it easier to find the paper and issue that the item ran in. (Emphasis mine.)

The clipping is a paid advertisement she took out promoting herself. I was able to find it in “Variety” newspaper, dated August 20, 1920, it was a half-page ad on the back cover of the trade newspaper. The ad also includes a collection of quotes about Donna that we will see many more times.

The Quotes:

VARIETY, July 30

“Donna Montran ha an undeniable million dollar smile, oodles of personality and an elastic voice that hits the high registers smoothly and effectively—wood make ideal $4 musical comedy stuff.”

Abel

“MORNING TELEGRAPH”

“Donna Montran is here. Take leading part well in beach promenade.”

“EVE. WORLD”

“Donna Montran was the bathing girl prima donna and had as pleasing a voice as any girl should need.”

“N. Y. CLIPPER”

“The music was tuneful and the song, “India, My Own,’ with words and music written by Donna Montran, was sung by the author with good effect. Miss Montran is pretty, possessed of a fine figure and has a smile and personality that count.”

“EVE. MAIL” (July 26)

“There is the pretty, dainty Donna Montran, whose swimming hasn’t destroyed her voice.”

“EVE. SUN”

“Donna Montran. A blo/??
young lady who contributes /??
explanatory singing, manage /???
part well and exhibited some /????
pretty costumes.”[i]

The People

Thomas Rooney

Donna married Thomas Rooney on November 24, 1915, in Waltham, MA. So, it is clear that she and Tom were together for quite a few years. I am a little surprised that the very independent Donna would go for the phrase, “Under Personal Direction of Tom Rooney.”  (I definitely need to do more research about him.)

Lewis Howard Croxson

Louis Howard Croxson was a vocal teacher who had a studio in the Metropolitan Opera House building. Apparently, he was well known in New York stage circles. Among those he had instructed were Miss Tossa Kosta of “The Chocolate Soldier,” Miss Dorothy South of the “Wild Cat,” Miss Patricia Ryan, Carl Hayden, the Australian concert singer, Misses Irene Castle, Josie Colline and Bertha Shalek, his sister in law.[ii]  Through this ad we learn he also instructed vaudeville star, Donna Montran.[iii]

Alexis Kosloff

Photo of Alexis Kosloff 1917.
Alexis Kosloff c. 1917

Alexis Kosloff taught Russian Ballot and was very well known in New York. He danced in the imperial Russian Ballet before coming to America and was a writer, choreographer, and dance instructor. His book, Russian ballet technique, as taught by Alexis Kosloff: Method of practising foundation steps, potpourri of exercises, suite of dances, with descriptions and music, is a classic. He taught Donna how to dance. No wonder reviews of her shows often praised her dance ability. She was trained by the best and she gave him credit in this advertisement.

Conclusion

Clearly, it was important for Donna to promote herself. During a time when women were typically demure, she stood up and promoted herself. Showing herself as being personally managed by Tom Rooney, taught voice by Louis Howard Croxson, and taught Dance by Alexis Kosloff was her way of saying she was the “real deal.” Advertising in “Variety” was a way to gain prestige exposure with theater agents and others who could book her act.


Follow-up / Future Research

Thomas Valentine Rooney, Donna’s 2nd husband.

Endnotes & Sources

[i] The Donna Montran Collection news-clipping is torn and the last words on each line of this quote are missing.  Unfortunately, the Archives.Org image of that paper also is cut off on the right causing the words on the right to be missing.
[ii] The New York herald. (New York, N.Y.), 14 Dec. 1921. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress. <http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn83045774/1921-12-14/ed-1/seq-11/>
[iii] Variety (New York, N. Y.), 20 Aug. 1920, Page 40 (Back page), Internet Archive: <https://archive.org/details/variety59-1920-08>