By Don Taylor
Determining my biological father and discovering new half siblings is, by far, the greatest success I’ve had in my genealogical activities. Thanks to Ancestry and AncestryDNA, I have been successful in answering lifelong questions regarding my paternity and my ancestry.
|Don [Matson] Taylor with step-father’s ’64 Olds Dynamic 88
(The car in which I learned how to drive – c.1965)
Note the white sidewall tires — “Budgar” had to have them.
|Hugh Eugene “Gene” Roberts
Photo Courtesy: Tom Roberts
DNA testing results have, for me, always been something of a mixed bag. In most cases it does a fantastic job of confirming relationships that I have been pretty certain existed. For example, it confirmed that my half-sister, who was put up for adoption, is my half-sister. It also can provide for leads in other lines. For example, when a first cousin popped up on my completely unknown paternal line, it provided the clues as to who my biological father was. I am still confirming that line and I expect a definitive answer in a few weeks.
|My feelings of being “Stuck in the Mud”
Front Street, Dawson City, Yukon, 1898
[Public Domain] via Wikipedia Commons
My wife was just plain gobsmacked — a half-sister, totally unknown before this. Her mind was totally blown, so blown she could be in a commercial for Jet.Com. It was fun to watch her wander around the house saying, “Wow.”
[Note: I anticipate Part 2 of this article to be about my finding my half-sister after searching for nearly 50 years. I am still awaiting DNA confirmation.]
Mitochondrial DNA ancestors
Sarah Blackhurst Barber is a particularly special ancestor for me. First, she is my most recent immigrant ancestor. Second, she is a mitochondrial ancestor. That is to say, I carry her mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA). Mitochondrial DNA is passed from mother to child. As such, I received my mtDNA from my mother, who received it from her mother (Madonna Montran), who received it from her mother (Ida Barber), who received it from her mother (Sarah Blackhurst). I have not done a mtDNA Test yet, but I should do one so that I have some experience with the test and its results.
There are very few of us with Sarah’s mtDNA. Sarah had two children, Ida and Eva. Eva died with no children. Ida had one daughter, Madonna. Madonna only had one daughter and a son. Her son is still living and carried her mtDNA but his children, of course, do not. Madonna’s daughter (my mother) had two boys. He and I carry it. She also had two girls; one of them only had boys, they have the same mtDNA, but won’t pass it on to future generations. The other daughter of my mother had two boys and a girl. Again, the two boys have the mtDNA but won’t pass it on. That leaves her daughter, the only descendant of Sarah’s with the potential of passing Sarah’s mitochondrial DNA on to a future generation (she doesn’t have any children yet).
My mtDNA Sources
• My mother (living)
• Madonna Montran
• Ida Barber
• Sarah Blackhurst
• Fanny Taylor
That said, Sarah did have five sisters. I haven’t had a chance to trace any of their descendants. Hopefully, there are other descendants that her mtDNA has been passed along to.
Bio – Sarah H Blackhurst Barber (1847-1929)
52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks – Week 08
Sarah H Blackhurst was born in December 1847 in England, probably Sheffield, Yorkshire, England. She was the seventh child of Stephen and Fanny (Taylor) Blackhurst.
Her older siblings include:
• Ellen (1829-1905)
• Elizabeth (~1831-1910)
• Mary (1833-1900)
• William Stephen (~1835-1917)
• Louisa (1838-1927) 
• Phoebe Anna (~1842-1929)
|Auburn – State St. from Genesee St. c. 1910
Via Wikipedia [Public Domain]
Shortly after her birth, in 1848, her father left for the United States and settled in Auburn, Cayuga County, New York establishing himself as a shoe maker. It was two years later that the family arrived. Ellen was not with them, but the rest of the family was enumerated in Auburn during the 1850 Census. 
The family was together during the New York 1855 Census. I have been unable to find the family in the 1860 Census.
On 8 October 1869, Sarah married Franklin E Barber in Sheridan Township, Calhoun County, Michigan. One very interesting aspect of their marriage is that he marriage occurred before the license was taken out. The date of their license was 22 Jan 1870 and the the date of their marriage was 8 Nov 1969, seventy-five days earlier. None of the other entries on that page in the marriage registration logbook have similar confusing entries. Sarah’s sister “Louisee” (Louisa Sanders) was one of the witnesses. The other witness was James Hickey also of Sheridan Township. (His relationship is unknown.) Officiating the rite was Stephen White, a Justice of the Peace.
In 1874, their first child, Ida, was born.
In December, 1877, their second child, another girl was born. They named her Eva.
In 1880, the young family is living in Albion, Calhoun County, Michigan. Frank was a painter, who had been unemployed four of the previous twelve months. Sarah was keeping house for her two children, Ida, age 6 and Eva, age 2.
In 1900, Sarah and 22-year-old daughter, Eva are living at 250 Fifth, Detroit, Michigan. Husband Frank is living at the Soldier’s Home in Grand Rapids.
|Woodward Avenue, Detroit, MI c.1910
By Detroit Publishing Co. [Public domain],
via Wikimedia Commons
In 1910, the 62-year-old Sarah was living with her older daughter Ida in Detroit. Ida had divorced her third husband, Joseph Holdsworth. Sarah is listed in the 1910 Census as widowed; however, her husband is till living at the Soldier’s home in Grand Rapids. He is also identified as widowed.
1917 was a very bad year. Her husband’s dying on April 7th may have been anti-climatic, but her youngest daughter, Eva, Sarah’s died on November 8th at the age of 33.
In 1920, Sarah was living in New York City at 134 Lawrence Street, Manhattan. This is now 126th Street and appears to be a parking ramp today. The Census indicates that her granddaughter Madonna Montran was living with her. However, in January of 1920, when the Census was taken, Donna was on the road with the “Chin Chin” production. Living with the 70-year-old Sarah is a boarder named Charles Smith. Charles was a 26-year-old German music composer.
Today, 125th Street is perceived to be the heart of Harlem. But in 1920, the black neighborhood started a few blocks north, at 130th Street. There was an IRT station three blocks away at 125th and one at 130th. The IRT (Interborough Rapid Transit) was originally an elevated cable car system but converted to electric in 1903. The line was closed in 1940.
I believe that Sarah died on 6 September 1929, in Brooklyn, Kings County, New York. I have ordered a copy of a death certificate for a person who I believe is our Sarah Barber. When I receive it, it should confirm the death date and provide clues to burial information.
Await receipt of Death Certificate to confirm death date and a clue to her burial location.
Find Blackhurst Family in the 1860 Census. Location unknown (New York to Michigan).
Find the Barber Family in the 1870 Census. They should be in Calhoun County, MI.
Take a mtDNA Test to document Sarah’s mtDNA.
List of Greats
1. Ida May Barber [Montran] [Fisher] [Holdsworth] [Knight]
2. Sarah H Blackhurst [Barber]
3. Fanny Taylor [Blackhurst]
 “Eleazer” in the 1850 Census is believe to be an alternative name for Louisa.
 1920 Census; Sarah Barber Head – Manhattan Assembly District 13, New York, New York; Roll: T625_1209; Page: 24A; Enumeration District: 958; “Arrival 1850”.
 New York, State Census, 1855; Stephen Blackhurst – New York, Cayuga, Sheet 37, Line 21, Note: All family members except for Stephen had been in City or town for 5 years.
 Michigan, Calhoun, Certified Copy of a Marriage Record; Barber-Blackhurst – 1869; Repository: Don Taylor personal files.
 1880 Census; Frank Barber Head – Albion, Calhoun, Michigan, ED 062, Page No 13.
 1900 Census; Sarah Barber Head – Detroit, Michigan, ED 36, Sheet 13B
 1910 Census; Ida Holdsworth Head – Detroit, Wayne, Michigan
 1920 Census; Sarah Barber Head – Manhattan Assembly District 13, New York, New York; Roll: T625_1209; Page: 24A; Enumeration District: 958.
 Internet: Digital Harlem Blog –“Harlem in the 1920s”
 Internet: Wikipedia – “125th Street (IRT Ninth Avenue Line)”
 New York, New York, Death Index, 1862-1948; Sarah Barber
|8 new ancestors thanks to 3rd cousin Dawn.|
|2 new ancestor names
thanks to 3rd cousin Dawn