My Wife’s Closest Famous Relatives

 “We’re Related” – Part 4

Famous Friday
Howell-Darling 2017
by Don Taylor

Photo of Don Taylor with cat Nasi.So, my wife says to me, “I thought you were going to look at my family also in “We’re Related.” I had mentioned in my first article, “We’re Related – My Possible Relatives – First Look,” that I was looking forward to seeing how well the app did looking at her family.

Switching user trees in “We’re Related” is cumbersome. You need to add another tree, identify yourself in that tree, then remove your old tree from being used.  Also, the app uses your name from somewhere and not the tree and person you are saying you are. In any event, the app uses my photo instead of my wife’s even though it uses her name in some places and my name in other locations. It is frustrating, but nothing you can’t think your way around. It just tells me that the app was intended only for one person and one tree.

I researched my wife’s tree before and learned Patrick Swayze was my wife’s ninth cousin.  I also read that John Cameron Swayze (Timex – takes a licking and keeps on ticking) was related to Patrick, so must be related to my wife also but I didn’t trace the relationship. I figured one or both of them would show up in “We’re Related.” I was wrong. Neither of them are in the first potential cousins suggested. “We’re Related suggested the following relationships:

  • Michelle Obama       8th Cousin, 2x Removed      8 Generations to the common ancestor
  • Elon Musk                 8th Cousin, 2x Removed      8          “
  • Miley Cyrus               7th Cousin, 1x Removed       7          “
  • Britney Spears          8th Cousin, 2x Removed      8          “
  • Johnny Depp            7th Cousin, 3x Removed       7          “
  • Christina Aguilera   8th Cousin, 2x Removed      8          “

“We’re Related” extends family trees to a common ancestor, I figured the shorter the line, the more likely it would be that I could confirm a relationship. Miley Cyrus and Johnny Depp were the closest famous people suggested by the app with only seven generations before the common ancestor. Of individuals with eight individuals before the common ancestor, I thought she’s like the idea that Michelle Obama was related, so I selected her from the “eights.”

Miley Ray Cyrus

Photo of Miley Cyrus at Jimmy Fallon
Miley Cyrus – 7th Cousin 1x Removed?

Born Destiny Hope Cyrus in 1992, Miley Cyrus is a singer, songwriter, and actress. She is known for her role as Penny in the animated movie “Bolt,” where she not only starred but was nominated for a Golden Globe award for the original song, “I Thought I Lost You.”  She and my wife are supposedly 7th cousins, 1x removed. The relationship follows the Howell/Hobbs line:

 

I have looked carefully at Mary Hobbs, Annie Long, Martha Bryan, and Cherry Price’s lives and written about them (as noted above). I agree that Cherry Price’s mother appears to be Mary Brown. I suspect Hardy Brown is Mary Brown’s father, but I haven’t confirmed that yet. I have no knowledge of William Brown nor a clue regarding Hardy Brown’s parents. My wife’s relationship with Miley Cyrus is very possible.

Johnny Depp

Photo of Johnny Depp
Johnny Depp – 7th Cousin 3x Removed?

John Christopher Depp, II, is a famous actor, producer, and musician. He is best known for his roles in “Edward Scissorhands,” “Sweeney Todd,” and “Pirates of the Caribbean.” He was born in 1963 in Kentucky. He and my wife are supposedly 7th cousins, 3x removed. The relationship follows the Howell/Pankey line:

I have looked carefully at Howell/Pankey line through Thomas A. Pankey, and I agree that Thomas’s father was likely Samuel Pankey. I have no knowledge of Stephen Pankey being Thomas Pankey’s father nor have I seen anything suggesting the Panetier surname. My wife’s relationship with Johnny Depp is possible.

 

Michelle Obama

Official Photo of Michelle Obama
Michelle Obama – 8th Cousin 2x Removed

Michelle LaVaughn Robinson was born in Chicago, IL, in 1964 and married Barack Obama in 1992. She campaigned for her husband in 2008 and became First Lady of the United States with his inauguration on January 20, 2009. Michelle and my wife are supposedly 8th cousins, 2x removed. The relationship follows the Darling line exclusively on my wife’s side.

This is the first “We’re Related” suggested famous person relationship wherein their suggestion of a common ancestor is an ancestor known to me and one with I agree. I have confirmed that Dennis Darling (1640-1717) had at least ten children. One was my wife’s ancestor Benjamin; one was Michelle’s supposed ancestor, John. Although I don’t have their names, I am fairly sure that John had at least 13 children, one of whom could easily have been Martha Darling. I suspect that the genealogical research for the famous people, like Michelle Obama, is pretty solid, so I’m am fairly confident that the relationship of Michelle Obama being my wife’s 8th cousin twice removed, is very probable.

Friends

“We’re Related” has not suggested any of our friends are related to my wife yet.

Relationships to Famous People

I have expanded my chart, Relationships to Famous People and have moved it to a Google Spreadsheet.

Conclusion

“We’re Related” is a fun little app to look at possibilities.  It pleases me to think that Michelle Obama and my wife are related. But more importantly, “We’re Related” helps me think about key relationships in my tree and has the potential of providing clues into further research. Ancestry has clearly improved its algorithms and appears to use feedback from researchers so that matches aren’t presented that are unlikely or impossible.

Cambridge Elementary School – 1957

My Life
Those Places Thursday
By Don Taylor

I attended Cambridge Elementary School for about half of my second-grade school year.

1928 photo of the Cambridge State Hospital.
My mom worked at the Cambridge State Hospital in 1957. Photo c. 1928 courtesy Minnesota Historical Society

We moved to Cambridge during the summer of 1957. My mother had gotten a job at the Cambridge State Hospital. We lived several miles outside of town in a place almost ideal for a seven-year-old boy.  It was an old farmhouse, about a quarter of a mile off the road. There was fallow farmland surrounding the house and woods, with a creek, behind the house, maybe an eighth of a mile away. I would go down to the creek and play with the turtles and other critters I found there. We had an electric pump for water indoors, an eight-party telephone line where our ring was two longs, a short, and a long, and an outhouse. An old hand pump was still there for a backup, but we didn’t use it much. We did keep a jug of water to prime it just in case.  We had yellow-jackets in the attic; luckily, they didn’t seem to come into the house too much.

I didn’t have any friends to play with there.  I remember there were a couple of kids who lived in a farmhouse about a mile or so away. So, Cambridge was a place where I learned to play by myself. My mom went to work to bring home a paycheck, and my grandmother did the housekeeping.

Photo of Cambridge Elementary School
Cambridge Elementary School – Photo Credit: Cambridge Isanti Schools

After a summer of being mostly along, I was excited to meet other kids at Cambridge Elementary School. I remember walking a couple hundred feet to the farm parameter road then down to the school bus stop at the paved highway. The school was an old brick building.  I recall it had a huge school-yard for kids to play in.  While there, we were playing tag and some kid tagged me too hard; I fell, hitting my shoulder and breaking my collarbone. The collarbone didn’t heal properly and was growing wrong. As I recall, they said in another few weeks the bone would grow out of the skin. Anyway, a month or so after the initial break I went into the hospital, had the bone rebroken and then set surgically. I think I spent most of my time at Cambridge Elementary in a sling.

That fall, my grandmother, Donna, was sitting in the outhouse when a snake came crawling out from down below.  She freaked out totally.  The yellow-jackets in the attic were bad, but snakes in the outhouse were just too much (even if it was only a garter snake). My mother got a job at Anoka State Hospital, and we moved to Anoka. Thanks to a journal found in the Donna Darling Collection, I learned that we were definitely in Cambridge by June 1957, so I know we spent the entire summer of ’57 there. I also learned that the house rent was $35/month.

 

Ancestor Biography – Hannah Carpenter (1847-?)

Howell-Darling-2017 Research
Darling/Carpenter Line
52 Ancestors

By Don Taylor

Photo of Don Taylor with cat Nasi.Sometimes searching for an ancestor is a grueling process.  My researching my wife’s 4th great-grandmother, Hannah (Carpenter) Darling looks to be one such project. My goal is to determine her death date and her parents.

My initial searches for Hannah on Ancestry.Com, Family Search, and Google found nothing that clearly related to Hannah. When challenged by a complicated research project I like to regroup and make sure that I know what I think I know.  Sadly, what I think I know came from only two sources. And neither of them were primary sources. They are:

  1. Frank J. Doherty, in The Settlers of the Beekman Patent, indicated that Abner Darling’s wife was named Hannah (possibly Hannah Reed) and she was born on 16 Feb 1747.[i]
  2. The Revolutionary War Pension file of Daniel Fenton indicates that his wife’s parents were Abner Darling and Hannah Carpenter, and they were married on 23 December 1768.[ii]

Any additional facts regarding Hannah’s life are facts regarding Abner and by association apply to Hannah.

Photo of tree across footpath.
Blockage on the footpath – Photo Credit Nigel Chadwick [CC BY-SA 2.0]
One way to try to break through the research blockage is to look at the trees of other people researching the same person and see if they have any sources/citations that they have associated with Hannah with which I agree.

I noticed that one researcher indicated that Hannah and Abner were married in Pittstown, NY and Ancestry reported it was an “Unsourced Citation.” I know that sometimes the old Ancestry sync process didn’t handle citations well, so I messaged the individual through Ancestry to see if he or she had a source for that location for the marriage.

1800 Census – Bethlehem, Albany, New York – Hannah Darling

  •             1 Male 10 to 15           Hannah had one son in this age range.
  •             1 Female under 10       Hannah had no known daughters in this age range.
  •             3 females 10 to 15       Hannah had three daughters in this age range.
  •             1 female 26 to 44         Hannah would have been 53, not under 45.

For this 1800 Census to be correct, Abner had to have died before 1800 and Hannah left the Beekman Patent area. Both are possible, however, I don’t believe this is the correct Hannah (Carpenter) Darling. Further research is needed to clarify this possible fact.

1850 Census – Schenectady, NY, – Hanna Carpenter – Wrong.

I don’t believe Hannah would have changed her name back to Carpenter.

1888 Directory – Oswego, New York – Wrong

Our Hannah would have been 141 years old.

American Genealogical-Biographical Index (AGBI)

Hannah Darling b. 1750, New York, Volume 40, Page 52.
Hannah Darling b. 1750, New York, Volume 25, Page 194.

The index doesn’t provide enough information to determine if it I referring to my Hannah, so I’ll need to view these at a family history library (FHS).  I’m not currently scheduled to go the Maine State Archives, which is an FHS affiliate, until June.  But I think I’ll plan to go to my closest FHS next week or so.

So, my search of Ancestry, Family Search, the Internet (via Genealogy in Time), and Archive.Org books on Carpenter Family searching for Darling yielded nothing new.  Because of the lack of detail I have found concerning Hannah (Carpenter) Darling, I believe I will need to do a FAN study of her.

  • First: I will look at all 14 of her children, see what happened to them.
  • Second: Look at all Carpenters in the places where Hannah lived for potential relatives.

Ancestor #97

List of Grandparents

Hannah Carpenter (1747-?)

Birth

1847 Bowen Map of North America

Hannah was born on 16 Feb 1747.[iii]

Marriage

Marriage Hannah married Abner Darling on 23 December 1768.[iv]

Adulthood

In 1779 the family lived in the King’s District, Albany County, New York.[v]

In 1790 the family lived in Hoosick, Albany County, New York.[vi]

Children:

Abner and Hannah appear to have had 14 children. They are:

Children: Sex Birth Death
Mary Darling F 16 Jan 1770
Lucy Darling F Feb 1771
Unknown Darling M 1772
Sylvia Darling F 03 Feb 1773 08 May 1838
Thomas Darling M 08 Feb 1775 Bef. Oct 1776
Thomas Darling M 02 Oct 1776
Esther Darling F 22 Oct 1778
Abner Darling M 20 Dec 1780 11 Jan 1839
Reid Darling M 19 Jan 1783
Lucinda Darling F 29 Jan 1785
Luana Darling F 29 Jan 1785
Alanson Darling M 14 Jan 1787
Deidama Darling F 14 Jan 1787
Hannah Darling F 03 Feb 1789

Hannah’s death and burial are unknown.

Further Actions / Follow-up

  • View at a Family History Library:
    • American Genealogical-Biographical Index (AGBI)
      • Hannah Darling b. 1750, New York, Volume 40, Page 52.
      • Hannah Darling b. 1750, New York, Volume 25, Page 194.
    • Research each of the children (Except Abner who I examined previously).
    • Research Mary Darling and her husband’s Revolutionary War Pension files.
    • Research Carpenters in the area where Abner and Hannah lived.

Endnotes

[i] Doherty, Frank J., Darling Family, The – Settlers of the Beekman Patent, The, Files, 6. – Abner Darling (1747-c.1805). See File: Darling.doc.

[ii] NARA, Revolutionary War Pension and Bounty-Land Warrant Application Files, Fold3, Daniel Felton – W 19259 – Page 4. https://www.fold3.com/image/17868586.

[iii] See endnote i above.

[iv] See endnote ii above.

[v] See endnote i above.

[vi] Ibid.

 

Carlisle Opera House, 23 April 1920

Donna Montran and “Chin Chin” play the Carlisle Opera House on 23 April 1920 

Finishing their one-night show On April 22nd at the Frederick City Opera House, the cast and crew of “Chin Chin” packed up and rolled the 65 miles north to Carlisle, PA for the show the next night at the Carlisle Opera House.

Photo of Cast of Chin Chin on stage - Carlisle Opera House
Cast of “Chin Chin” – Carlisle Opera House – 23 April 1920

Pre-show advertising on April 17th indicates, “there is no leading lady in this organization, although a number of beautiful women, principals and otherwise, song birds and actresses are in the cast. It appears that she who is to enjoy the place of honor as first favorite is left to the choice of the public.”[i]

However, two days later there was an advertising article which called out Donna specifically – “Miss Donna Montran as the goddess of the lamp sings some pleasing songs and has a very attractive personality.”[ii]

The show appears to have gone on without a hitch, and the show packed up and headed east to Reading for a show the next night.

Carlisle Opera House

photo of Carlisle Opera House - Decorated for Jim Thorpe's homecoming in 1912
Carlisle Opera House – Decorated for Jim Thorpe’s homecoming in 1912 (Courtesy: Ohio History Connection)

Carlisle is the county seat of Cumberland County, Pennsylvania. Currently a small town of about 20,000, in 1920 the borough’s population was about 11,000. The theatre is said to have seated over 1000 people; however, the stage size was relatively small.  The proscenium opening was only 26 feet wide and 20 feet high.[iii]

It is unclear to me when the Carlisle Opera House was built; however, it was certainly in operation before 1888, when the Dickenson College Glee Club sang there.[iv]

In 1898, the Carlisle Opera House building in Carlisle housed a barber shop, billiard room. and bowling alley on the ground level, with the opera house on the second floor, and Masonic meeting rooms on the third floor.”[v]

It appears to have been closed sometime between 1955 and 1959 as it was opened on May 9, 1959, for a presentation of “Hansel and Gretel” put on by the students of Dickinson College.[vi]

The building was destroyed by fire in August 1972 in a fire that killed two people.[vii]


Endnotes

[i] Carlisle Evening Herald (Carlisle, Pennsylvania) – Sat, Apr 17, 1920 – page 5 – “The Musical Melange of Chin Chin.”
[ii] Carlisle Evening Herald (Carlisle, Pennsylvania) · Mon, Apr 19, 1920, · Page 7 – “CHIN CHIN”. Newspapers.com https://www.newspapers.com/image/269958879.
[iii] The Julius Cahn – Gus Hill Theatrical Guide – 1910, Page 679, Carlisle.
[iv] “The Dickinsonian – Dickinson College, Carlisle, PA, March 1888, Page 10, THE COLLEGE GLEE CLUB CONCERT – http://deila.dickinson.edu/cdm/ref/collection/dickinsonia/id/28932.
[v] Condee, William Faricy – Coal and Culture: Opera Houses in Appalachia – Ohio University Press, Athens, Ohio 45701 (c) 2005 – Pages 54 & 55.
[vi] “The Dickinsonian” – Dickinson College, Carlisle, PA, Friday, May 1, 1959, Page 3, ‘BUCKET’ OPENS FOR DICKINSON PRESENTATION. http://deila.dickinson.edu/cdm/ref/collection/dickinsonia/id/18415.
[vii] Cinema Treasurers – The Strand Theatre – http://cinematreasures.org/theaters/23000

William Freeman – Patriot

Sometimes I’m reminded that when I’m away from home, I need to be extra careful to document my work so as to be able to cite my sources properly.  Sadly I can’t do that with today’s treasure.

Back in March of 2013, I went to the Family History Center in Powder Springs, GA.  While there I found some fascinating things and I failed to document where I got them. One of the most interesting items was a letter to Mrs. E. B. Freeman, in response to a letter from her. I don’t know if the reply came from NARA, the War Department, or where but was signed by A. D. Hiller, Assistant to Administrator.  Anyway, it provides details about William Freeman, a Revolutionary War patriot, his service and his family. As such it is a treasure to have found.  I only wish I had properly documented my source for the document.


WASHINGTON               October 5, 1931

Mrs. E. B. Freeman
826 Bellevue Avenue
Dublin, Georgia

Dear Madam:

Reference is made to your letter of September 19th, relative to William Freeman, a soldier of the Revolution.

The data furnished herein are obtained from papers on file in the Revolutionary War pension claim, W. 10042, based on the military service of William Freeman.

He was born October 26, 1759, in Bertie County, North Carolina.

While a resident of Bertie or Martin Co., he enlisted and served as private with the North Carolina troops as follows: in 1776, three months in Captain Andrew Oliver’s Company in Colonel Hogun’s Regiment; from July 20, 1778, nine months in Captain Child’s Company in Colonel Hart’s Regiment; in 1781, three months in Captain Taylor’s Company in Colonel Eaton’s Regiment and was in the battles of Guilford and Camden.

He was allowed pension on his application executed July 23, 1832, at which time he was a resident of Burke County, North Carolina.

He died January 27 or 28, 1838, in Greene County, Missouri, where he had moved in 1835.

While a resident of Martin County, North Carolina, William Freeman married in that county about 1786 Mary Bryan, the daughter of Robert Bryan.

Said Mary died November 5, 1845.

————— Page 2 ———————

In 1850 reference was made to the following children of William and Mary Freeman:

Reddick Freeman, aged about fifty-six years and a resident of Caldwell County, North Carolina.

John Freeman, aged fifty-four years.

Larry, aged about fifty-two years and resident of Owen County, Indiana

Lemuel H. Freeman, Aged forty-nine years.

Elizabeth and James (Twins) aged about forty-seven years; she was wife of Isaac Smith and a resident of Caldwell County, North Carolina, and he, James Freeman, was resident of Owen County, Indiana.

Nancy, aged about forty-five years and the wife of Greene Austin.

Frances, aged about forty-one years and the wife of Jacob Painter.

Rachel, the daughter of William and Mary Freeman, married John Austin and they had a daughter, Asenath.

        Very truly yours,

A. D. Hiller

                             Assistant to Administrator


William Freeman was the son-in-law of my wife’s fifth-great-grandfather Robert Bryan. (Husband of my wife’s fourth-great-grand-aunt.)