Schools I’ve Attended – Anoka-Ramsey Community College


My Life
Those Places Thursday

By Don Taylor

Photo of Don Taylor with cat Nasi.

I applied to and was accepted at Anoka-Ramsey Community College (ARCC). ARCC was close to home, only 3 miles away so it was easy to work days, come home and eat, then go off to school for evening classes and the occasional Saturday class. I also received a nice stipend from the government based upon my ½ time class load. All my classwork with Chapman College and Chaminade College transferred, so I was nearly a year ahead of the game.

I was able to take some fun classes at Anoka-Ramsey.  I needed another science course for my degree requirements and was able to take Meteorology at Anoka-Ramsey.  What could be better than taking Marine Biology and Oceanography in Hawaii, and Meteorology in Minnesota? It was cool. Freshman English Comp was a drain on my time and resources, but I got through it. I understand it was much more personalized at a Community College than it might be at many larger universities, something I am grateful for or I may never have gotten through.

Apple II – Photo by Rama & Musée Bolo [CeCILL or CC BY-SA 2.0 fr ], via Wikimedia Commons

Computers were relatively new in 1981-2; I had a Psychology professor that utilized the new technology to its greatest.  He gave his students all the questions and all the answers for his mid-term and the final. When we took the actual tests, the questions were a subset of what he gave us and the answers were jumbled up. The professor thought Psych 101 was all about learning and knowing the terms and his method helped assure that students knew them. It seemed strange at the time but makes a lot of sense now.

I wasn’t involved in any sports or extra-curricular activities at ARCC; I was too busy working and providing for my wife and my step-daughter. I was also involved with my community and a commissioner on the city’s Economic Development Commission. I had aspirations to run for City Council and took three courses in real estate at ARCC so I’d know more about the processes of Zoning, Planning, and Real Estate transactions.

Anoka-Ramsey Community College - 2017 Aspen Prize Top 10 Finalist
2017 Aspen Prize Top 10 Finalist

Since I attended, Anoka Ramsey has added another campus in Cambridge, Minnesota. It is a well-known and well-respected community college in the area. It was a top 10 finalist for the 2017 Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence, the nation’s preeminent recognition of high achievement and performance in America’s community colleges.

I went Anoka-Ramsey (half-time) for nearly two years and received an Associate of Arts from them in December 1982.

Surname Study – Vinson – Halifax County, NC – Part 3

Surname Saturday
By Don Taylor

During Part 2 of this study, I examined the Vinson family of Halifax County, North Carolina during the 1860 Census. I determined 3 Vinson lines were of interest.

  1. Unknown and Elizabeth Vinson (b. 1784-1785)
  2. Robert (b. 1824-1830) and Martha Vinson
  3. Littleberry (b. 1815-1816) and Fanny Vinson

1850 Census

A search for Vinson surname during the 1850 Census located two families with the surname.

Littleberry Vinson

Littleberry Vinson and family consisted of Littleberry, Fanny, and two children.

  • Littleberry Vinson, age 32
  • Fanny Vinson, age 29
    • Laura Vinson, age 5
    • Robert Vinson, age 2

This family coincides with my known Littleberry Vinson (b. 1815-1816) and his two children Laura and Robert.  However, Fanny Vinson, age 29 (b. 1820-1821) does not coincide with Elizabeth [Vinson] (b. 1815-1816]. I attribute this to Littleberry Marrying twice. Once to Fanny with whom he had two children, Laura and Robert, and again to Elizabeth. Because the gap between Robert and Littleberry (Jr.) is ten years, I suspect that Fanny is the mother of the first two children and Elizabeth is the mother of the second two children.

Robert Vinson

The other Vinson family in Halifax County during the 1850 Census is Robert and Martha Vinson. Robert is 20 and Martha is 21. This is the same Robert and Martha as identified previously before they had any children.  Robert’s being 20 suggests a birth in 1829-1930. As such, I’ll adjust his birth entry as between 1824 and 1830.

John Vincent

The John Vincent family is consistent with my findings for the John Vinson family. It describes that:

  • John is 33       (b. 1816-1817) – Consistent
  • Leonora is 32 (b. 1817-1818) – 8 years younger.
    • Virginia 5       (b. 1844-1845) – 1 year younger.
    • Elizabeth 3     (b. 1846-1847) – Consistent
    • Susan 1           (b. 1848-1849) – 1 year older.

The 7-year gap between John’s wife between the 1850 Census where Lenora is 32 and the 1860 Census where Ellenor is 35 suggests they are two different individuals. If that is the case, the four-year gap between Susan and James would sensibly be the place where one wife died, and he remarried. Also, during the 1850 Census, living with John and Leonora is 30-year-old Eliza Beasley. I have previously accepted that Eliza is Leonora’s sister.

Elizabeth Vinson

Elizabeth shows in the 1850 Census as Elizabeth Vincent, age 64. Living with her is Nancy Vincent, age 25. They are living next door to John.  I believe Nancy to be John’s sister.

Other Vincents

The 1850 Census also enumerated six other Vincents. One is family consisting of Michael, Rebecca, and Walter. They were born in Northampton County, North Carolina and appear to be transitory to Halifax County.  Likewise, James and John Vincent were born in Northampton County and seem to be briefly in Halifax County. Finally, a Phil Vincent is living in a home with several people surnamed Snow. The entry for Phil does not give a birth location. I guess that he is also transitory in Halifax County.


The 1850 Census provided information regarding a first wife for John Vinson and a first wife for Littleberry Vinson. It also suggests Elizabeth had another child, Nancy. The 1850 Census is the earliest census which provides the names of all household members. The 1840 Census only provides the name of the head of the household and numbers of household members in various age groups.

Vinson Families in Halifax County 1850 thru 1880.

  • Elizabeth Vinson       (b. 1784-1785)
  • John Vinson                (b. 1816-1817)
  • + Lenora [Vinson]   (b. 1817-1818)
    • Virginia Vinson          (b. 1844-1846)
    • Elizabeth Vinson       (b. 1846-1847)
    • Susan Vinson             (b. 1847-1849)
  • + Ellenor [Vinson]    (b. 1824-1825)
    • James W. Vinson        (b. 1851-1852)
    • Benjamin I. Vinson    (b. 1854-1855)
    • Joseph Burkhead Vinson       (b. 1857-1858)
    • Ellen B. Vinson           (B. 1860-1861)
  • Nancy Vinson                       (b. 1824-1825)


  •  Robert Vinson (b. 1824-1830)
  • + Martha, [Vinson] (b. 1828-1829)
    • John H. Vinson           (b. 1850-1851)
    • Thomas L Vinson       (b. 1853-1854)
    • Albert L. Vinson         (b. 1855-1856)
    • Turner Vinson           (b. 1858-1859)
    • Laura E “Lizzie” Vinson (b. 1865-1866)


  • Littleberry Vinson      (b. 1815-1816)
  • + Fannie [Vinson]     (b. 1820-1821)
    • Laura Vinson (b. 1845-1846)
    • J. Robert Vinson (b. 1847-1848)
    • + L. N. Vinson (b. 1853-1854)
      • C.R. Vinson, (b. 1871-1872)
      • Fannie Vinson, (b. 1872-1873)
      • B. H. Vinson, (b. 1873-1874)
      • Emmett Vinson, (b. 1876-1877)
  • + Elizabeth [Vinson]   (b. 1815-1816)
    • Littleberry Vinson (b. 1857-1858)
    • William Vinson (b. 1859)

Abner Darling in the 1800 Census.

Darling Line
By Don Taylor

Photo of Don Taylor with cat Nasi.I’ve felt pretty solid that Abner Darling (b. 1780)’s father was Abner Darling (b. 1747). A little less so that his father was Ebenezer. On the other side of the tree, I am confident that Benjamin and Mehitable Darling had a son, Ebenezer.[i] But I’m not so confident that Ebenezer, the father of Abner, is the same person as Ebenezer, the son of Benjamin and Mehitable. This relationship is one of those times where I don’t know what is wrong, but something just doesn’t feel right.

Again, I’m confident that 24.  Rufus Holton Darling’s (1816-1857) father is #48.  Abner Darling (b. 1780-1839). And I’m convinced that 192. Ebenezer Darling (1718-1790) and 193. Mary Hakes had a son #96 Abner Darling (1747-c. 1800).Where I’m not confident is that Abner Darling’s (b. 1780-1839) father was 96. Abner Darling (1747-c. 1800) and not another Abner Darling.  That probably sounds confusing, and it is, but the bottom line is I need to go back and do more research on Abner Darling  (1780-1839) and confirm everything and make sure the connection between #48 and #96 is correct.

As I began researching, the first thing I noticed is that it was not my Abner Darling who lived Whitestown, Oneida County, New York during the 1800 Census[ii] and died sometime after that.  That record indicated:

Abner Darling  —  3  1  0  1  0  ||  2  0  0  1  0

The adults fit with what I think is the family unit at that time, but none of the children fit. My Abner’s children were born between 1779 and 1789 so none of them would be under 10 in the 1800 census.

Searching further, I found a Hannah Darling who was the head of a household in Bethlehem, Albany County, New York in the 1800 Census.[iii] In census records before 1850, I try to ascribe all of the family members to census record entries and see if it makes sense. If something is inconsistent, I seek a likely scenario that would make the record fit. In this case:

Detail of 1800 Census Record for Hannah Darling
1800 Census – Hannah Darling – — 0  1  3  1  0  ||  0 1 3  0  1


Under 10            0
10-16                1          Alanson, Age 13.
16-26                3          Thomas, 25; Abner, 20; Reid, 17
26-45                1          First name unknown Darling, Age 28.
Over 45’ –           0

Note: The first boy named Thomas died in 1776.


Under 10            0
10-16                1          Hannah or Deidame, ages 11 and 13. One is missing.
16-26                3          Luana, Age 15, Lucinda, Age 15, Esther, 22.
26-45                0
Over 45’            1          Hannah, Age 53

Hannah and her children line up very nicely to this 1800 Census record.

Sylvia age 27, Lucy age 29, and Mary age 30 all appear to be missing in this record as I would expect. I will need to follow their marriage information or death information to confirm this.

That Luana and Lucinda were identified as being 16 when they were only 15 is easy for me to accept. I believe this is the correct family unit. For Hannah to have been enumerated in the 1800 census as the head of household, her husband Abner must have passed (or vanished) before the enumeration date of 4 August 1800. That shifts my death date for Abner from after 4 Aug 1800 to before 4 Aug 1800.

I suspect that either Hannah, the younger, or Deidame had died before 1800 leaving only one daughter in the 10 to 16 age range.

Future Actions:

  • Find record for Abner’s death between 1790 and 1800.
  • Find a record for Hannah’s death, marriage, or census enumeration from 1800 to 1810.
  • Trace what happened to Abner & Hannah’s other children.


[i] Massachusetts Births and Christenings, 1639-1915, Family Search, Ebenezer Darling – 1718. “Massachusetts Births and Christenings, 1639-1915,” database, FamilySearch (; 4 December 2014), Ebenezer Darling, 25 Aug 1718; citing Mendon, Worcester, Massachusetts, 56; FHL microfilm 855,377.

[ii] “United States Census, 1800,” database with images, FamilySearch (; accessed 3 November 2017), Abner Darling, Whitestown, Oneida, New York, United States; citing p. 172, NARA microfilm publication M32, (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.), roll 23; FHL microfilm 193,711.

[iii] “United States Census, 1800,” database with images, FamilySearch (; accessed 5 November 2017), Hannah Darling, Bethlehem, Albany, New York, United States; citing p. 107, NARA microfilm publication M32, (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.), roll 22; FHL microfilm 193,710.


2015: Year in Review

2015: My Genealogical Year-in-Review

This year has been amazing for my genealogical research, my genealogical connections, and my telling my family history. My most popular blog post from this year, in terms of pageviews, was “My Response to Ancestry’s Business Decisions,” which is my rant regarding Ancestry’s decision to drop Family Tree Maker. It is also, by far, the blog posting that have received the most comments regarding. My most popular post of all time remains my 2013 review of Family Tree Maker Mac 3. In light of Ancestry’s decision to drop Family Tree Maker from its product line, it is also my most embarrassing post.


I was blessed by guest blogger Jenne M., whose incredibly interesting articles I began posting. I thank Jenne for her work and for sharing her family’s history with us.
I also continued my research into the life of my grandmother Madonna Montran and her vaudeville days. In particular, I followed her “Chin Chin” experiences through several articles.
Jacob & Bertha (Trümpi) Huber
Regarding my Howell/Darling research, I posted several biographies and documented my brick wall regarding Jacob Huber.


In February, I wrote an unpopular post regarding my great-grandmother, Mary Elizabeth Manning Brown. It was “unpopular” because I laid out why I believe she was born in 1878 and not 1876, thus her family jumped the gun when they celebrated her 100th birthday in 1976.


My social networking activities resulted in a treasure trove of photos from a newly found cousin. The photos included definitive proof that my grandfather was in Panama about the time my grandmother was also in Panama, thus confirming family oral history. There were also hundreds of scanned imaged included in a disk from my cousin as well as some original poems written by my grandfather. The photo images I received included dozens of my direct ancestors that I had never seen before. It was an amazing sharing of information. Thank you so much to my cousin Beverly.
Arthur & Mary (Manning) Brown


Again, thanks to social networking I was able to share memories of a cousin, this time from my late cousin, Sharon Huffman. Sharon wrote about her grandparents, my great-grandparents, Arthur and Mary Brown. Much of what she wrote I have verified in independent research, such as great-grandfather Arthur dying of cancer. But more importantly, her shared memories provide texture to the lives of Arthur and Mary and insights into their personalities. Thanks again to Tim and Julia for sharing the stories with me.


Besides expanding upon my grandmother Donna’s time in Panama as a “Cabaret Girl,” I wrote an extensive post regarding searching newspapers and the process I use for using them in my research.


I was able to take the time to volunteer for Find-a-Grave by going to an old cemetery in nearby Gorham, Maine, and take photos of several markers that weren’t on the site already. It can provide a great way to help the genealogy community and get outside.


I put the final changes on a presentation, Social Networking for Genealogy. It was the first genealogical presentation I’ve given since moving to Maine. I gave the presentation at the August 1st meeting of the Greater Portland Chapter of the Maine Genealogical Society. I will be giving the presentation again to the Scarborough Historical Society on January 6th, 2016.
My research also uncovered what I believe to be a new cousin on the Montran line. I am pretty certain that her ancestor, John F Montran, and my great-grandfather, John F Montran, are the same person. I exchanged several emails with her but seem to have lost contact since an original flurry of correspondences. I hope she is okay.


I continued my research regarding the Montran line with articles about John Montran and Ruth Grace Montran.


I attended the Maine Genealogical Society’s annual conference in Brewer, Maine. It was an excellent experience
Another guest blogger, Melody Pettus, wrote about her second great-grandfather, Shadrick. I give my thanks to Melody for sharing her research and some of her family’s story.
I attended the Scarborough Historical Society’s September presentation about yearbooks. It revolutionized my thinking about yearbooks and some of the not so obvious things you can learn from them, so I posted about both the presentation and what I learned.


Ancestry.Com added “Wills and Probate Records” to their multitude of databases. Using the database, I was able to learn much more about my wife’s great-grandmother, Annie D (Long) Hobbs. It is one of the most significant databases that Ancestry has provided access to in quite a while.  
I was also able to discover new details about my grandmother’s biplane flights. She was an incredible woman.


Randy Seaver’s blog, Genea-Musings, often suggests topics for consideration. He often inspires me to think about my research and some of the fun facts you can learn. One such topic included my most recent immigrant ancestor. I hadn’t thought about whom it might be until after I read his blog.


Crumbling Brick Wall” by John Schneider
(CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
The biggest genealogical breakthrough I had this year was figuring out who my biological father probably is. Through a combination of both Y-DNA and atDNA tests and analysis, I feel about 75% certain that I have the name of my biological father. It isn’t a “slam-dunk,” but it is the best lead I have ever had. I really opened a completely new area of research for me.
The above is only a sampling of the 103 blog articles (including this one) I wrote this year – nearly two a week. I have written about my three major research areas, Brown-Montran (my maternal line), Darling-Huber (my wife’s maternal line), and Howell-Hobbs (my wife’s paternal line). I have had a “Roberts Notional” project for several years; however, now I’m almost ready to change it to a new, Roberts-Barnes, research area. I also have two secondary research areas, Donna Montran – her show-business life is fascinating, and DNA Research, which augments all my research areas and several of my projects.
For other projects, I have several. They include Adair, Angley, Burlison, Middleton, Mowbray, Rode, Schlotterbeck, and Whitten. In addition, I am encouraging others in their research that has resulted in guest blogger postings. I also review books and software and write general genealogical interest articles. So, I am keeping busy.

My Goals for 2016

Brown-Montran – Prove the connection between my grandmother and a potential a half-sister.
     Determine the biological father of my half-sister, Glennis.
Darling-Huber – Determine the connections and family unit for the Bernhead Trümpi household.
Howell-Hobbs – Determine who “M,” George Hobbs’ wife was.
     Determine who Peter M. Howell’s father is.
Roberts-Barnes – Prove the connection to a paternal ancestor.
Donna Montran – Continue research and detail at least 12 of her vaudeville shows.
DNA Research – Continue using DNA in my research for all my research area and my Adair and Angley projects.
Continue supporting the Scarborough Historical Society and the Scarborough Museum.
Continue supporting the Greater Portland Chapter of the Maine Genealogical Society.
Take at least 104 hours of genealogical training (2 hours every week). I could do even more.
Finally, I want to post at least 121 blog articles (one every three days) in 2016. I expect 2016 to be a busy and fruitful year.

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