Georgia Property Tax Digests

For those of you who use Ancestry.Com.  They recently updated their Georgia Property Tax Digests. http://search.ancestry.com/search/db.aspx?dbid=1729  You can narrow your search by location, i.e. Robert Jones in Cobb County.  You can also browse the records. For Cobb County they have the following years:
1848
1849
1851
1873-1877
1878-1880
1890

Madonna’s Birth – 20 Feb 1893

Madonna’s Birth

There is an adage about always considering sources closest to an event as more accurate than others.  The age of my grandmother, Madonna/Donna is a perfect case of that policy.  
Donna was born 20 Feb 1893 in Albion, Calhoun County, Michigan, to John F and Ida Montran [Montrau]. The 1900 (Madonna used a step father’s name) and 1910 censuses are consistent with that birth year. 
Donna went into show business. In the 1920 census her occupation was “actress” and her age was 23, although she would have been 26. During the next seven years Donna only aged three years being only 26 years old when her son was born in 1927.
Donna doesn’t show up in the 1930 census, due to travel during the census. However, she does show up in an April 1930 Passenger List, returning from Panama, as only 25 years old.  She kept that 1905 birthdate through her daughter’s birth in 1932. Sadly she kept to the 1905 birth year when she applied for a Social Security Number in 1937, a mistake which cost her in later life (twelve years of benefits).
In the 1940 Census she reported that she was only 36, although she was 47, aging 11 years in the ten years between censuses.  I’ll be very interested in seeing what she reported when the 1950 census comes out.
Year    Birth 
1893    1893
1900    1893
1910    1893
1920    1897
1927    1901
1930    1905
1932    1905
1937    1905
1940    1904
1976    1893

I should note that in all records the date, February 20th, was always the same, only the age or year changed. As Donna’s life shows, records closest to the event are typically the most accurate.

23 & Me – Blackhurst line exploration


My 23 & Me DNA results put me (and my mother) into contact with a couple people with whom the only surname we shared was Blackhurst.  One of them suggested that their ancestor, William Stephen Blackhurst had a sister who was twelve years younger named Sarah Blackhurst.  He also indicated that their parents were Stephen and Fanny (Taylor) Blackhurst.  He provided several sources which provided a place for me to look much more closely at my Sarah and his suggestions.
I dove in and found lots of new information regarding Sarah that I didn’t know before. 
I learned that Sarah’s husband was Franklin (I had Frank) Barber. They were married in Calhoun County, Michigan. Sarah’s father came to the states about 1848, then Sarah’s mother and kids came to the States two years later (1850).  They settled in Auburn, Cayuga, New York, USA.   Somewhere between 1855 and 1860, they moved to Sheridan Township, Michigan (near to Albion). Sarah and Franklin were married in Albion (I’m ordering their marriage certificate) and their two children, Ida and Eva were born in Albion, which I knew previously. 
Stephen and Fanny are buried in Albion as well.  All the pieces connect and I’m certain of the relationship.  
So, the 23 & Me connection provided the impetus and the clue that opened up a family line I knew nothing about previously.  I am definitely looking forward to what additional connections the 23 & Me results will provide.  I’ll be writing more about the Blackhurst line after I finish a deep dive into those ancestors.
[Disclaimer:  The links to 23 & Me are connected to an affiliate program which provides a small reward to me if you purchase a DNA kit from them.  Although I receive a reward from them for a referral, my comments regarding 23 & Me are based solely upon my experiences with 23 & Me.]

Donna Darling – 1925 – Alton, Illinois

Alton Evening
Telegraph
26 & 28 Sep 1925
(Thanks to
Newspaper Archive)

On September 26th 1925, The Alton Evening Telegraph advertised a Vaudeville show at the Grand Opera House (Grand Theatre), “Donna Darling and Girls: Singing and Dancing Review.”
In the paper on the 28th, they reported,

“The new vaudeville act at the Grand which opened yesterday is one of the best and was received with great appreciation.

“Donna Darling and Girls” have an offering of song and dance also giving a display of bathing beauties from the year 1860 to 1925 also showing the designs of the French, German, American Hawaiian and other bathing girls and suits.”

Also on the bill was the movie “The Knockout” with Milton Sills and other vaudeville shows including Dippy Diers and Bennett in “Inimitable rantominists” and Lew Rose & Brownie in “Gloom Destroyers”.

The Grand Theatre (Opera House) was built in 1920, so it was only five years old when Donna played there. The theater closed in 1977.

The Grand Theatre
year unknown
Thanks to The Telegraph, Alton, IL 

Henry Brown search uncovers 8 additional ancestors

The next task I had on my Brown/Montran list was to confirm data on Henry Brown and try to find the marriage date for him and Marion Sanford.  As I did some poking around I found that somehow the birth and death dates I had for Henry Brown were ascribed to him in error and belonged to another Henry Brown. I found several different sources with a Henry Brown with the same birth and death dates and a different spouse and parents than I had for my Henry Brown. 
I believe it is important to revisit what you know every once and a while and confirm that what you know is really true.  In my case, there were inconsistencies in what I had and what my sources were telling me.  I did a lot of searching but couldn’t find anything that would give a birth, death, or marriage date for Henry.  
I decided to take a closer look at the 1870 and 1880 census for Henry and who his neighbors were.
In 1870 they were Watson and Boellger on one side and Sanford and Trim on the other side.
In 1880 they were Sitchard and Bluminann on one side and Brillevale and Sanford on the other side. Could the Sanfords in both censuses be related to Marion?  I then looked for any plat maps of the area to see what the land relationships might be like. I found one for Saline, Washtanaw County from 1874.  Sure enough, there was a Boettger, two Sanford properties, and a Trim property along a road. I then began looking in earnest for information about a Wm Sanford of Saline, Washtenaw County Michigan. 
One of my favorite search places is Google Books.  I searched for William Sanford Washtenaw.  An hit included a 1881 book, History of Washtenaw County, Michigan and a paragraph regarding William Sanford.  In the text was a line about his children, including “Marion A., wife of Henry Brown.” Yea, a book that confirms that my Marion was related to William Sanford. 
Lots of new information.  Including Marion’s mother’s name, Mary E. Parsons (a new name for me).  Elsewhere in the book it spoke of Mary’s parents, Chester Parsons and Deborah B. Maben (two more names), their parents John & Mary Wolcot Parsons along with Robert and Electa Maben (four more new names).  In the many pages there were names, dates, stories, about the Parsons, Mabens, and Sanfords.  I was able to add eight new direct ancestors and dozens of aunts, uncles, and cousins.  An amazing find.  Probably most amazing was a drawing of Chester Parsons, (my 4th great-granfather) probably from when he was about 60 or so, his beard is white but his hair is still dark. (A description elsewhere in the book indicates that in 1881, his hair is white.) 
Sadly, I still haven’t determined Henry Brown’s birth, death, or marriage dates, but that’s okay. The other finds make up for missing facts.
Don’t forget Google Books in your research.  It can be an amazing resource.