Beautiful Mother of Mine – By Donna Darling

As I mentioned at Christmas, I was really impressed with the material I found on the Fulton History website.  I’m still not done going through all 60 articles/images, and fully organizing them, but I did find some real gems.  One of the best was a never-before-seen front-on photo of Donna from 1925.  It is amazing how much mom looked like her when she was young.  Anyway, the article indicates that Donna was playing at the Palace in Hamilton, OH as a headliner. 

The other big find was the New York Clipper had a service where you could register your act, song, etc., with them. They did it as a service to the vaudeville community.  I found references to Donna having registered a song with them.  Her name shows in several different issues of the Clipper that she registered a song and was issued a certificate of registration.  

A New York Clipper ad to Register Your Act with them to insure your material against theft.

Interesting…. I wondered what she had registered with them. Was it the song I knew about or was it something entirely different?  What was certificate 1767 issued for?  

I found out that the New York Clipper began in 1854 and was absorbed by Variety in 1924 (1). That is why I quit seeing Clipper articles about Donna and started seeing Variety articles.  I also learned that Variety is still in publication.  

I then began searching for references to the registry. I quickly found that Emerson College has a document, The New York Clipper Vaudeville Registry Collection which listed her certificate and her name and they have the collection.  Amazing. 

Apparently, the Registry was located in two file cabinets at the Variety offices in Los Angeles. An archivist from the Margaret Herrick Library of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences came across the documents that were about to be thrown out.  Although it wasn’t something that fit within their archival scope, they thought it best to save the collection and find a permanent home for it.  They finally found a home for the collection at Emerson College and they were transfered there in 2011.

I understand that four interns went through the material and catalogued that collection. Apparently, the task was complicated because many of the items were “protected” by being wrapped in another layer of paper that was highly acidic.  They published a finding aid about the collection in May 2012.  The collection was saved and, most thankfully, Donna’s submission was there.  
After talking with the director, I was able to get a copy of the music and the forms that Donna Submitted in February 15, 1923.

It is reproduced below.

Hear the song – Performed by Russell, Donna’s Son. 

Thank you to the old New York Clipper for providing the original service, Variety for keeping the material for so many years, the Margaret Herrick Library of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for saving the material from destruction, Emerson College for accepting the material into their collection, and archivist Christina Zamon for making the material available.


Reference Credit:

Box 20, The New York Clipper Registry Collection, Emerson College Archives, Emerson College, Boston, MA.

Fulton History

Fulton History
I recently ran across the Fulton History website. My initial thought was, I don’t really have any family from Fulton, New York.  They have post cards and things, then I realized they have over 20 million New York newspaper pages scanned.  Certainly, the OCR digitization isn’t particularly good, but a search of my grandmother’s stage name yielded 40 pages and my grandmother’s maiden name yielded another 20 pages.  It will take me days to process all of the new information.

A lot of what I found I already knew, however, the newspaper articles provided specific dates and places that I didn’t know before.  I found she performed at Keeney’s Theatre in 1920 and 1921.  The theater had been built in 1915.

I was extremely happy with the site and have added it to my favorite sites.

James Lane Video – Amanuensis Monday

James LANE Video – Amanuensis by Don Taylor.
[In the 1970’s the Howells (Clarence, Shirley, Mary, Peter,
Martha, Jerome, Libby, Elizabeth) & the Darlings (James & +Jane Darling) met
with James Lane at the Pittsburgh airport. That meeting was video taped by an
unknown person.  The video tape has been
converted to DVD.  Copies are with Don
Taylor and Jane Darling. The first part of the video includes background music
and family videos of Jane, James, and their father Robert Harry and their
mother Florence (Drexl) Darling.  This
part of the video has no voices.  The
second part of the video is the Howells and Darlings meeting James Lane. The
quality of the audio is extremely poor at the recording was done with the built
in mike while at a busy airport. 
Initially the meeting and everyone 
meets. Virtually none of those meetings are discernable. Then Gray Beard
(Clarence Howell) talks with James about a bit of his family history.  He speaks of Roanoke Island and of Frank
Armstrong.   Then James Lane talks with
Jane & James Darling  about his past
with their father Robert Harry Darling . Everyone leaves but the video
continues on with James Land talking about important places in Pittsburgh where
the family lived. He speaks while at each of the locations. 2800 Burg, 2700 Pleasant,
and Arlington Ave.  Transcript of the
video is below. My comments are identified by brackets in the below text.]
At the Airport
Gray Beard Speaking.
[His Father was] First pastor on the eastern coast at a
place called Roanoke island.
One Sunday morning there were six of his congregation that
were normally at the service but were missing one Sunday Morning.  Later that that day he ran into Allen Bigit  [?] and  asked where they were.   They said they went across the sound over to
Nag’s Head and helped those crazy kids from Dayton launch that contraption
they’ve got over there.
I remember as a child going back, my parents were born in
other parts of the state, were Springport, 
Telegraph agent that sent the telegraph.   – That happened before I was born. They were
the stories my father told. … They were.
I also have another family connection with [???] My first
cousin was Frank Armstrong. My middle son is named after him.  He was in the Army Air Corps…  and the Army Air Corp took over and flew the
airmail. My cousin Frank had Denver and flew to the coast. 
He went on and made a career in the Army Air Corps  which became the Air Force. I don’t know if
you remember during the movie Twelve O’clock high. That movie character was
based upon him.  He flew the first B17
raid.  The last the [B}24 raid over Tokyo.  He survived the war and after the war he was
in commander general of the 4th. 
of northwest and Alaska.  He &
Byrd Balkin [?] did the first flight over the North Pole.  [Note: Frank Armstrong flew in the first
daylight bombings over Germany and the last conventional bombing over Japan.]
[James Darling asked:]
My dad said something about learning how to fly or flying –
did you teach him.
[James Lane:] No- I missed him on
Open cockpit – two seater or something
Yeah. He was around
How old were you when you started.
      18-19- How
      It all started
with a moter boat with
[There is an exchange between Jerome & Libby with James
Lane wherein he mentions something about machining candlesticks that they have.
[James Lane]
I’ve been in Pittsburgh all my life, except when I was in
school in Cleveland for five years in Cleveland.  Most of my family was here though.  Many years we lived in the same place. 
[James Lane] – I’m the last yet.  Even some of the next generation is gone
now.  Born in 1910 –
[Jane Darling  – Dad
(Robert Harry Darling) died in 1969.
[James Lane} – I remember that.
[Jane Darling – He died of leukemia.  It a lot of years ago.
[James Lane] I remember it like it was yesterday. 
[Jane Darling]- He didn’t live in Pittsburgh very long did
[James Lane] – In his early life all of it. Was he was
married in Pittsburgh. Yea. He was just a year or two older than me. We used to
hang out – ice skate. Together. All kinds of things. 
  [Jane & James
Darling leave to catch a plane. Video shifts to outdoors]
On the Street
James Lane Speaking.

2800 Burg Ave.  The
place where Peter McAllister brought his family from Catasauqua, PA.  Catasauqua on the Lehigh Canal. Lehigh University
is right handy to Catasauqua.  He built
this place a date I don’t know for sure but it can easily be figured out.  Somewhere in the 90’s I imagine.   This place just over the knoll leads down to
the river to the Jones and Laughlin Steel mill. 
This place at one time had a stable in the back. In the late 90s or
early zeros.
Location was up over the hill and then down the other side
to the Mill.
[The mill is] absolutely dead. But not town down yet.
2700 Pleasant Street [??] . McAllister & Family move
there 1900 . James born in that house in 1910. Plenty of rooms. Double house
exploded in the middle there.
From there Grandmother went to East Liberty.  East end part of Pittsburg.  She had a store there.
In the meantime, Hanna or Anna died.  While grandmother still had the store and was
buried there  Shortly after Anna died,
grandmother McAllister took Anna’s two children Elizabeth and Harry [to
Arlington Ave. Grandma’s last store.  Elizabeth and Harry went to school from this
Mount Oliver school Elizabeth went to business school and Harry
went to business school from here. Grandma came here after her wartime trip to
England. Across the water and back during the war.
The store has been abandoned for 20 or 30 years,
That apron in the front was the last place I saw Peter
McAllister, my Grandfather. Last time I saw Peter was hat this location. In the
20’s or yep or early 30’s at the latest.  [Note: Peter returned to England in 1921.]

Review: Heredis 2.1.0 (Mac)

Software Review

Heredis 2.1.0 (Mac Version)

My first, quick, look at Heredis for the Mac was awesome. The free trial
version allows tracking of 50 individuals in your tree but otherwise is full
featured. I downloaded their sample tree, of forty-six individuals and was
impressed. The integration of photos, sources, and places with the people is
extremely slick. The interface was incredibly user friendly and followed Mac
methodology. Data is well organized into four major areas: 

Under Persons are four tabs, 

Immediate Family, grandparents, parents, spouse,
and children, are displayed. There is a great feature where you can link
variants of a surname together. In my family tree, I have Manning, Mannin,
Mannon, and Mannen, which spellings used changes constantly.
Personal Data, which includes key info on the
individual, (names, notes, etc.) events, (birth, marriage, death, etc.) and a
family section. One cool thing about the section is what they call “sundry
links” which is a place you can link an individual to another based upon a
non-direct relationship. For example, when a niece is living with a family and
you don’t know who the parent is or even which side of the family the to whom
the niece is related. Events allow you enter many different event types. A
marriage event does not show who the marriage was to. You have to display the
families tab and the events tab simultaneously and figure out which is the
correct one. Adding a new marriage event is cumbersome, as the input screen does
not display all the info for the marriage. They also put unusual emphasis upon
people’s occupation and even have a separate index for that. The software seems
to put too much importance on a child’s status (illegitimate, natural, etc.)
and if a person can sign their name (verses uses an “X”). It is rare that I
have cared about status and have never paid attention to a person’s signature
Family Group Data provides easy access to key
information on parents, partners, and children. The display is cluttered, trying
to put too much on the screen.
Ancestors tab gives a quick pedigree chart,
which is easily selectable as four, five, or six generations.
The Places section is likewise very clean. It uses little icons
to indicate if you have a picture of a place or if it has notes. Accessing
Places via the “Tools” menu gives access to you to see which individuals have
an entry to a particular place. Locations link to “Open Street Map.” I had
never seen them before and really like their maps.  I may use them for other things in the future. 
The Sources section is more flexible than some other
programs I have seen. You can add images and notes. The notes have complete formatting
capabilities, font, font size, bold, italic, etc. 
The Media section links photographs to the individuals and
is very clear and concise in its use.
The Reports are standard and what one might expect. It will
create a biographical report for an individual and then launch your preferred
word processor for you to finish it off. I thought that was very cool. Throughout
the reports you have the option to include private data or not.
There are Heredis iPad and iPhone applications (free) that can allow you to sync your desktop to your iPad or iPhone and take it with you.  Also, the sync function allows you to sync to remote computers, external hard drives (cloud), and USB Flash Drives.  
I thought, “Wow,
I can’t wait to see how it does with my tree.”
I encountered my first disappointment. It only imports
GEDCOM and Heredis files. It would be nice if it imported some of the other
popular genealogical software. I imported a GED file knowing that GED imports do
not support media. I would have to reconnect my media to my sources. A time consuming process.
Then I found the showstopper. I noticed that the import
stripped off the name if I had more than one name for an individual. I then
found there is no way for an individual to have more than one name. (Their support forum confirmed this problem.)  I have
several ancestors who changed their name for no apparent reason and there is no
way to accommodate those different names in the software. 
There are several other issues, for example no web
publishing capability, although their website says they are working on it;
however, most of the other problems are minor and can be worked around.
At $59.90, normal retail price, the cost is in the same
range as other genealogy programs for the Mac such as Family Tree Maker,
Reunion, and MacFamily Tree. Heredis’ use of indexes and their search
capability are second to none and really a plus. If they fix their names issue,
simplify some of the screens that try to show too much data, and improve their
import file format capability, I think it will be a desirable product. In its
current form, I do not recommend it.

Smyrna Historic Preservation?

Last October there was a pair of wonderful presentations regarding
historic preservation.  First was Leigh Burns,
Preservation Planner, at the Georgia Department of Natural Resources.  Mandy Elliott, who is a Historic Preservation
Planner for Cobb County, followed her. 
I knew very little about historic preservation and the meanings of “historic districts” and how they can fulfill an important
role in protecting our heritage.  I was very pleased to learn about the
differences  between a National Register District and a Local Historic
District.  I also learned the benefits
of Smyrna becoming a Certified Local Government (CLG) Program.  We are not one now and becoming one is quite
involved, but, it would benefit the city immensely to provide the framework for
protection of our historic past.  Cobb
County is a CLG and supports historic preservation in unincorporated Cobb
County; however, Smyrna is behind.  Other
area cities such as Kennesaw, which is a CLG, and Marietta and Acworth, who
have Historic Preservation Ordinances, have taken the initiative and have
committed themselves to historic preservation. 
As such, I encourage our city council and mayor to pursue the process of
becoming a CLG.
Leigh provided a one-page flyer about the key personnel
involved in the Historic Preservation Division. 
A more detailed version of the information is in the Staff Directory on the Georgia DNR, Historic Preservation Division website.
We learned a lot about the CLG Program. There is a great flyer about the CLG program on line.
We were enlightened regarding what the differences in
capabilities and authority are between a National Register Historic District
and a Local Historic District. (See
The Georgia DNR – Historic Preservation Division provides a
roadmap to success at
It starts with public education.  I encourage everyone to learn
about the process, understand what the benefits are, and see how the actions affect
property owners. It is not as impactful on property owners as you might expect.  For example, I
learned the program does nothing about the insides of the building or a building’s use.

Next, the city needs to draft a Historic PreservationOrdinance.  The Georgia DNR-HPD has a model Historic Preservation Ordinance for entites to use.  They also have other information that shows the
basis for preservation ordinances
 and Public
relations tips

In the second presentation, Mandy Elliott talked about
various projects of historic preservation that have occurred in unincorporated
Cobb County and there are a lot of them. 
She also mentioned driving tours of Cobb County; there are three
of them.  She had flyers for them after the meeting; however, route maps and information are
available at the Cobb County Community Development Agency webpages,  
I can’t wait for the next free “top down” day
to begin my historical driving tour of the county. 
Again, I think Smyrna should pursue becoming a Certified Local Government.  The process will help the city define more sites that are truly historic and might even bump up our number of historic sites on the driving tour from a paltry three locations.