Hypothesis: Lenora Busbee’s Parents

Howell/Vinson/Busbee Line
By Don Taylor

[Occasionally, I am asked about my process of solving difficult genealogical process and breaking through brick walls. The following describes one of my methods.] 

Lenora Busbee is one of the brick walls I have on my wife’s Howell/Vinson line. Lenora seems to have been called by several names, Eleanor, Ella, Elnora, and Lenora. When I have a brick wall I try to take a logical approach to breaking down the wall. Sort of shake the tree and see what might fall out. My steps include:

  1. Determine what my genealogical question is.
  2. Define what I know.
  3. Define what I surmise and/or what my hypothesis is.
  4. Develop an approach to answer my genealogical questions.

My Question

The simple genealogical question is what are the names of the parents of Lenora Vincent (Née Busbee).

What I think I know:

Lenora went by several name, Elnora, Eleanor, Lenora, and Ella. She was born between 1817 and 1827 in North Carolina and she married John Vincent/Vinson about 1844. All records I have discovered indicate her maiden name was “Busbee.”

What I surmise or hypnotize:

Because she was born in North Carolina and was married in North Carolina, I assume she was in North Carolina during the 1840 Census and she will show in the 1840 Census as a child between 13 and 23.


My approach is to look at the 1840 Census for Busbee/Busby families and analyze which family she is likely to have been a part of and determine if her likely parentage. With some luck, I thought I might even be able to determine which family is hers.


For this type of search, I like to use Ancestry.Com. For search criteria, I used:

  •             Last Name: Busbee (Exact & Similar) and
  •             Location: North Carolina, USA (Exact to the Place)

The search yielded four results showing Busbee/Busby families in North Carolina during the 1840 Census.

Name              County             Females

Jas F Busby     Gates County 1 female under 5
1 female 20-29

James Busbee Wake               1 female 15-19
1 female 40-49

Mary Busbee – Wake              1 female 15-19
1 female 20 to 29
1 female 40-49

Johnson Busber – Wake          1 female 15-19
1 female 20 to 29
1 female 40-49.

(Note: The Mary Busbee household of 1840 also included one male 10 to 14 which I will use below.)


Start LookingJas F. Busby – Unlikely
The only male in the house from 30 to 39 years of age. The 1 female 20 to 29 is most likely his wife.

James Busbee – Possible
The female age 40-49 is likely James’ wife, but the female 15 to 19 might be Lenora.

Mary Busbee – Very possible
It is likely that Mary Busbee is the female 40 to 49. That leaves two females in the household, one 15-19 and one 20 to 29.

Johnson Busber – Possible, but unlikely.
The surname is similar but not the same sound; however, Johnson does have females living with him that could include Lenora.

So, I am going to assume that James Busbee or Mary Busbee is likely Lenora’s parent.

1850 Census

James Busbee shows in the 1850 Census with his apparent wife Elizabeth, and two boys. The female 15 to 19 could still be Lenora.

The only Mary Busbee in the 1850 Census in North Carolina is the 24-year-old Mary living with an apparent husband, Larking Busbee. No help there.

1830 Census – In 1830 I would expect Lenora to be identified as a female aged 3 to 13.

The Alford Busbee family consisted of two females one under 5 and one 20 to 29. Mary Busbee would have been 30 to 40 years old then so Alford is not likely the father.

The Polly Busbee family consisted of one male under 5, one female 5 to 9 and one female 30 to 39. This family has the exact same makeup as the Mary Busbee family of 1840.

The Ransome Busbee family consisted of one male under 5, and two females under 5 and one female 15 to 19.  Again, this could not be the Mary Busbee family of 1840.

Finally, there is a William Busby living in Northampton county, who has two females under 5, one, female 5 to 9 and one female 20 thru 29 living with him.  The female 20 to 29 is unlikely to be the Mary who would be from 30 to 39-years-old.


My look at the potential parents for Lenora are down to only two likely sets.

  1. James & Elizabeth Busbee of Wake County, North Carolina. A well-to-do family consisting of three boys, 2, ages 5-9 and one age 15-19 and one girl age 15 to 19.
  2. Unknown & Mary/Polly Busbee, née unknown of Wake County, North Carolina.
    A modest family consisting of a single mother, one boy, age 10 to 14, and two girls one 15 to 19 and one 20 to 29.

There is one more bit of information which may help. In the 1850 Census, there is an Eliza Beasley living in the John & Lenora Vinson household. I have long thought that she is probably related to either John or Lenora. Beasley is close enough in sound to Busbee that she could be a spinster sister of Lenora. If so, she would have been 5 to 8 years older and would fit the older girl profile in both the 1840 and 1830 census records for Mary/Polly Busbee. The 1840 Census indicates that living in John’s family was a girl who is presumed to be his sister Nancy, so this Eliza is unlikely a sibling of John.

Future Action

  • Determine the names of the children of James and Elizabeth Busbee of Wake County, North Carolina.
  • Determine the names of the children of Mary/Polly Busbee née unknown of Wake County, North Carolina. Mary/Polly appears to have died or remarried before 1850.

I’ll look closely at these families as my next step the next time I research the Howell/Vinson/Busbee line.

————- Disclaimer ————-


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Ancestor Bio – Horace Upton Newcomb (1877-1956)

By Don Taylor

Born in Canada, Horace Photo of Don Taylor with cat Nasi.Newcomb immigrated to the United States as a child. He lived a simple life as a carpenter in Boston and Cumberland County, Maine.

Blanchard Project 2017 – Ancestor #10

List of Grandparents:

  • Grandmother: Priscilla May Newcomb (1905-1984)
  • 1st Great-grandfather: Horace Upton Newcomb (1877-1956)
  • 2nd Great-grandfather: Alexander Newcomb (1850-1929)

Horace Upton Newcomb (1877-1956)

Horace Upton Newcomb was born on 7 September 1877 in Parrsboro, Nova Scotia, Canada, the fourth child of Alexander and Amelia Jane (Allen) Newcomb. There are several records which indicate he was born in Cumberland County, Maine, however, Parrsboro is in Cumberland County, Nova Scotia.  His naturalization papers are very clear regarding his birthplace. Horace was the fourth of 11 children. His siblings were

  • Mary Ellen Born 1875
  • Wealthy Jane Born 1874
  • Hugh Olsen Born 1875
  • Theodore Hill Born 1879
  • Ruby Stella Born 1882
  • Bertha Josephine Born 1886
  • Edith Mabel Born 1887
  • Willis L Born 1891
  • Martha Elfriede Born 1893
  • Carlos Alonzo Born 1895

All of the children, except for Ruby Stella, who died in 1899 at the age of 17, lived to adulthood.

In July 1880, Horace and family immigrated from Saint John, New Brunswick, Canada aboard a steamer arriving in Portland, Maine.

It appears that in 1900 he is living in Boston as a lodger in the house of James B. Peppard and working as a deckhand.

On September 7, 1903, Horace married Ethel May Carr in Somerville, Massachusetts. The ceremony was performed by George Whitaker, Minister of the Gospel, who lived at 160 Cambridge St. Cambridge, Mass.

Horace and Ethel had four children:

  • Horace Arthur (1903-1988) Born in Roxbury, Boston, MA.
  • Priscilla May (1905-1984) Born in Hingham, MA
  • Theodore H. (1907-1986) Born in Hingham, MA
  • Hugh Earl (1909-1960) Born in Hingham, MA

In 1910, Horace and Ethel were living on Cross Street in Hingham, Plymouth County, MA. Horace was a laborer working for a contractor.
Search Military Records - Fold3

Sometime between 1910 and 1917, the family moved to Portland, Cumberland County, Maine and lived on North Street.  His WW I draft registration indicates he lived at 14 North Street, but the 1920 Census indicates he lived at 144 North Street. Either address is possible. Also, it is possible that the street was renumbered. Again, in 1920, Horace is listed as a carpenter and an alien. All four children are living with him and his wife.

I have been completely unsuccessful finding any of the family in the 1930 Census. However, by 1935, the family moved out to Peaks Island (in Casco Bay), Portland, Maine and lived on Island Street. Although Horace filed his first papers much earlier, he didn’t take the oath to become an American citizen until 5 January 1937.

The 1940 Census indicates that the children had all left home and Horace and Ethel were living together on Peaks Island. Horace was still a carpenter; however, he hadn’t work worked in the previous 39 weeks before the census was taken in April 1940.

Horace died on 11 April 1956. He was buried in Brooklawn Memorial Park in Portland. Section E, Lot 344, Grave D1.


  • 1900 Census (A), Ancestry, Horace Newcomb (lodger) Boston, Suffolk, Massachusetts.
  • 1910 Census (NARA), Family Search, Horace Newcomb – Hingham, Plymouth, Massachusetts. “United States Census, 1910,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:M2K8-RN7 : accessed 13 October 2017), Horace Newcomb, Hingham, Plymouth, Massachusetts, United States; citing enumeration district (ED) ED 1217, sheet 18A, family 427, NARA microfilm publication T624 (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 1982), roll 612; FHL microfilm 1,374,625.
  • 1920 Census (NARA), Family Search, Horace W Newcomb – Portland, Cumberland, Maine, United States. “United States Census, 1920,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:MFZ8-CSZ : accessed 13 October 2017), Horace W Newcomb, Portland Ward 1, Cumberland, Maine, United States; citing ED 28, sheet 3A, line 40, family 57, NARA microfilm publication T625 (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 1992), roll 639; FHL microfilm 1,820,639.
  • 1940 Census (NARA ), Family Search, 1940 – Horace V Newcomb – Peak’s Island, Cumberland, Maine. “United States Census, 1940,” database with images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 16 December 2017), Horace V Newcomb, Island Ward 2, Ward 1, Portland, Portland City, Cumberland, Maine, United States; citing enumeration district (ED) 3-42, sheet 3B, line 71, family 69, Sixteenth Census of the United States, 1940, NARA digital publication T627.  Records of the Bureau of the Census, 1790 – 2007, RG 29. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 2012, roll 1475. https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:KMMW-5Q9.
  • Find a Grave, Find A Grave, Horace Upton Newcomb – Memorial #132641945. https://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=132641945.
  • Maine, Federal Naturalization Records, 1787-1952, Ancestry, Horace Upton Newcomb – Oath – National Archives at Boston; Waltham, Massachusetts; ARC Title: Petitions and Records of Naturalization, 1790 – 11/1945; Record Group Title: Records of District Courts of the United States, 1685-2009; Record Group Number: RG 21. https://search.ancestry.com/cgi-bin/sse.dll?viewrecord=1&r=an&db=MENaturalizationRecordsOrigs&indiv=try&h=1081569.
  • Maine, Federal Naturalization Records, 1787-1952, Ancestry, Horace Upton Newcomb – Petition. Source Citation
  • National Archives at Boston; Waltham, Massachusetts; ARC Title: Petitions and Records of Naturalization, 1790 – 11/1945; Record Group Title: Records of District Courts of the United States, 1685-2009; Record Group Number: RG 21. https://search.ancestry.com/cgi-bin/sse.dll?viewrecord=1&r=an&db=MENaturalizationRecordsOrigs&indiv=try&h=1081569.
  • Maine, World War I Draft Registration Index, 1917-1919, Family Search, Horace M Newcomb – Portland, Cumberland, Maine.
  • Massachusetts Marriages, 1841-1915, Family Search, Horace Newcomb & Ethel May Carr. “Massachusetts Marriages, 1841-1915,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:N44B-531 : 30 July 2017), Horace Allen Newcomb and Ethel May Carr, 07 Sep 1903; citing, Somerville, Massachusetts, United States, State Archives, Boston; FHL microfilm 2,057,588.
  • Massachusetts, Town Clerk, Vital and Town Records,1626-2001, Family Search, Marriage – Horace Newcomb & Ethel Carr.
  • U. S. City Directories, 1822-1995, Ancestry, Portland, Maine – 1957 – Page 520 – Newcomb – Original data: Original sources vary according to the directory. The title of the specific directory being viewed is listed at the top of the image viewer page. Check the directory title page image for full title and publication information. https://search.ancestry.com/cgi-bin/sse.dll?viewrecord=1&r=an&db=USDirectories&indiv=try&h=901185029.
  • United States World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918, Family Search, Horace Upton Newcomb – Portland, Cumberland, Maine. https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:KZFY-G9Z.
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Ancestor Bio – Emily C Galella (1915-2000

By Don Taylor

Photo of Don Taylor with cat Nasi.I find it important to look at all ancestors using my regular process, even if I know quite a bit about the individual from the start. That process includes finding the individual in all of the census records possible. It also includes finding birth, marriage, and death information. That information can then be used to search newspapers and other sources by both the individual’s name and their known addresses. The process also typically provides basic information about the individual’s parents, siblings, spouses, and other vital records regarding their life.

Crutchfield Project 2017 – Ancestor #3

Emily C. (Galella) Crutchfield

Emily C. Galella was born on 7 February 1915 in Illinois. She was the sixth of the ten children of Danato Mario and Anna Maria (Santore) Galella. Danato, also known as Dan, was an Italian immigrant, but Emily’s mother, Anna, was born in Illinois, as were all of her siblings.

The 1920 Census finds five-year-old Emily living with her parents and six of her siblings at 750 Forquer Street, Chicago, IL. In the 1940s Forquer Street was renamed Arthington and 750 Arthington would be where Interstate 90 is today only a couple blocks from the Jane Adams Hull-House Museum in the University Village/Little Italy neighborhood. The 1920 household included Parents Dan & Mary (Maria) as well as seven children

  • William Age 13
  • Josie    Age 11
  • John    Age 10
  • Katie    Age  8
  • Tony    Age  7
  • Emily   Age  5
  • Mike    Age  1

The 1930 Census finds the family had moved to the Englewood area of Chicago to 5813 S Carpenter Street. According to Realtor dot Com, the home was built in 1885 and exists today as a multi-family home.  Dan was a laborer in the building construction trade and owned his home there valued at $6,000.  Living with Dan and Mary in 1930 were six children, John, Catherine (Katie) Emily, Anna (age 10), Susie (age 7) and Peggy (age 6). All the children were attending school.


It appears that Emily married Ralph Crutchfield sometime in 1935 or 1936.


Photo of 3312 Hoyne Avenue, Chicago

3312 Hoyne Ave.

In 1940 the family was living at 3312 Hoyne Avenue, in the McKinley Park neighborhood of Chicago. According to Realtor dot Com, today this is a small, 959 square-foot home, which was built in 1880. In 1940, Ralph rented the home for $32/month. Today, the home would rent for nearly 45 times more, or about $1,437/month, according to Realtor dot Com’s “Rental Estimate.” Ralph was a soda fountain manager at a retail drug store.

About 1985, the couple moved to 2115 W Farwell Ave, Apt. 507 in the West Ridge neighborhood of Chicago. Today it is a condominium.  Emily continued living in the West Ridge / Lincolnwood area until her death on 1 April 2000.



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Donna Darling Collection – Part 20

Treasure Chest Thursday

By Don Taylor

Photo of Don Taylor with cat Nasi.For this week’s Treasure Chest Tuesday, I am looking at three clippings from the Donna Darling Collection that indicate she played at three different Broadway Theaters; B.S. Moss’ Broadway theater in New York, The Broadway theater in Butte, (MT?), and the Broadway theater in Long Branch, NJ. None of the clippings have dates.

B.S. Moss’ Broadway Theater, New York, NY

The first clipping is a rare playbill for The California Bathing Girls and Donna Montran in “A Beach Promenade.” Previous research found that this show ran over a month, from July 26 to August 29, 1920 at B.S. Moss’ Broadway Theater.

The playbill provides much new information about the show. One of the most exciting things is that it provides names for the cast.

Besides Donna Montran, the Bathing Beauties included Alice Dean, Alice Eldridge, Dorothy Smith, Lola St. Clair, Helen Travisand, and Marie Thompson. I was surprised to see what appears to be two men in the cast, Adrian Wally and Bobby Tremaine. Also, credit is given to Behrens for costumes, Shoes by Miller, One Piece Bathing suits by Asbury Mills and the scenery was painted by Jack Klein. Tom Rooney and Earl Lindsay were the producers and the show was conceived and staged under the personal direction of Earl Lindsay.

For more information about the show see Moss’ Broadway at 41st – California Bathing Girls in “A Beach Promenade” and The Donna Darling Collection – Part 2

Broadway Theater, Butte, MT

The second clipping is an advertisement showing “An Outstanding Vaudeville Feature Act – DONNA DARLING REVUE With Sammy Clark and Company.

Showing with the Donna Darling Revue was a silent film, “Fig Leaves” starring George O’Brien and Olive Borden. According to IMDB, that film was released on 22 August 1926, so the show had to occur after that. Also, through other research I have found that the Donna Darling Review played on 27 November 1926. Butte and Helena are only 80 miles apart. With the schedule the show had, I’m sure that the Butte performance would have been within a day or two of the Helena performance.

This clipping allowed me to add another venue for Donna’s performances with an approximate date.

Broadway Theater, Long Branch, NJ

The final clipping that I am looking at this week relates to Donna and Sammy playing at the Broadway Theater in Long Branch, NJ. The program indicates that the “Darling Clark Revue” played Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, May 3-4-5. Donna and Sammy got together about 1925 and separated about 1930.  The only year on which May 3rd, 4th, and 5th, was on a Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday was 1926.

It is interesting to see the show called “Terpsichore Personified” and “A Novel Dance Melange.” My memory of Donna is that she had an incredible vocabulary. My mom used to say that Donna could cut you down with words and you’d never know you had been cut. I have to admit I needed to look up “Terpsichore.” Terpsichore is one of the nine Greek Muses and is the goddess of dance and chorus. That is a description that I’m sure Donna liked. I suspect she probably wrote the portrayal.

This is another new venue and date for Donna’s career. I will add it to my projects.


  • Research The Donna Darling Revue at the Broadway Theater, Butte, MT, between 24 and 30 November 1926.
  • Research “Darling Clark Revue” at the Broadway Theater, Long Branch, NJ, on 3, 4, & 5 May 1926.
  • Research Alice Dean, Alice Eldridge, Dorothy Smith, Lola St. Clair, Helen Travisand, Marie Thompson, Adrian Wally, Bobby Tremaine, Tom Rooney, and Earl Lindsay.
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2nd Great-Grandaunt – Deidamia Darling (1813-?)

Following the children sometimes is the key.

By Don Taylor

This week I looked at the life of Deidamia Darling. She is the daughter of Abner Darling (1780-1839) and Sally Ann Munsell (1784-?). Through researching Deidamia, I learned that Sally Ann (Munsell) Darling didn’t vanish after the death of Abner. Instead, she was living with Deidamia and Lawrence Limbocker in 1870. By following the life of Deidamia, a 2nd great-grandaunt, I learned more about 3rd great-grandmother Sally Ann. I find following the descendants of an individual much more difficult than researching ancestors from the more recent to the further back than. But, through doing so I am able to discover new information.

Howell-Darling 2017 Research

List of Grandparents

Bio – Deidamia Darling (1813-?)

Deidamia Darling was born between 1812 and 1814. Probably 1813[i]. It is possible she was born on the Beekman Patent in Dutchess County, New York, but I believe she was more likely born in Paris, Oneida County, New York to Abner and Sally Ann (Munsell) Darling.

Deidamia grew up with seven siblings. They were

Abner moved his family west, first to Paris, Oneida County New York (before 1820) and again to Clarkson, Monroe County, New York.

About 1833, Deidamia married Lawrence G Limbocker[ii] It isn’t clear if they were married in New York or Michigan. Lawrence and Deidamia appear to have had three children. [iii].

Child Name Born Married Death
Abner D. Limbocker 1834 18xx – Amretta Quayle Unknown
Appolus F. Limbocker 1837 Mar 1870 – Almena Rose Boylson Unknown
Sarah Ann Limbocker 1838 2 Oct 1857 – Thomas J Foster Unknown

By 1934, Lawrence and Deidamia moved west to Michigan where their first son was born.

In 1837, Lawrence purchased 40 acres of land began farming it. The legal description of the property is Michigan, MICHIGAN-TOLEDO STRIP, Range 001E, Township 0035, Section 3, NW1⁄4SE1⁄4.

The 1840 Census finds Lawrence Limbocker living in Leoni Township, Jackson County, Michigan with 2 males & 1 female under 5 and 1 female 20 to 29.[iv] This fits the known family perfectly. Leoni is just east of Jackson, MI and about 30 miles west of Ann Arbor, MI.

The 1850 Census portrays a household consisting of Lawrence (L.B.), apparent wife “Drodana,” and three children, Abner, Apollos and Sarah A. Lawrence is farming the land and the three children are attending school.[v]

The 1860 Census show Lawrence and Deidamia living in Batavia, Branch County, Michigan. Their two sons are still living with them.[vi] Also living with them is Betsey Darling, age 70, born in New York. Who Betsey was is unknown. With the same surname as Deidamia, I presume Betsey is an unknown aunt of Deidamia.

In March of 1870, Lawrence and Deidamia’s son Apollos married Almena Rose Boylson. They were living with Lawrence and Deidamia during the 1870 census taken in June. Also living there was son Abner, who was working as a farm laborer. There is a 13-year-old girl, Dora Willie residing with them. I suspect she is Rose’s child from another marriage. Finally, there is Sally A Darling the 85-year-old mother of Deidamia living with them.[vii]

The last record I have found for Deidamia is 1880 Census which shows Lawrence and Deidamia living together in Batavia, Branch County, Michigan.[viii]

I have not discovered a record of Deidamia’s death. Nor have I found any evidence of her in the 1900 Census, I suspect Deidamia may have died between 1880 and 1900.

Further Actions / Follow-up

  • Determine Sally Ann’s death information. (high)
  • Determine Sally Ann’s location in 1860. (medium)
  • Determine who Betsey Darling (1790-?) is in relation to Deidamia.
  • Determine Deidamia’s death date and burial (low)

 Endnotes & Additional Sources

[i] The 1850 and 1860 Censuses indicate the was 36 and 46 respectively, and the 1870 and 1880 Census indicate she was 57 and 67 respectively. Because of the cultural stigma regarding the age of women, I believe the older age suggested is more likely. Thus, I believe she was born in 1812 or 1813.

[ii] Cross Index to Wills of Monroe County, New York, Monroe County Library, Page 54 of 98. Limbocker, Lawrence; Mich, wife, Diadema heir of Abner Darling, Clarkson. http://www.libraryweb.org/~digitized/books/Cross_index_to_wills_of_Monroe_County_1821-1863_Vol._1B.pdf.

[iii] In various records the Limbocker name is spelled different ways—Limbocker, Limbacker, and Lemboekor. I have standardized on Limbocker.

[iv] 1840 Census (A), Ancestry, Lowrence Limbocker (Lawrence Limbocker). Year: 1840; Census Place: Leoni, Jackson, Michigan; Roll: 206; Page: 160; Family History Library Film: 001479. https://search.ancestry.com/collections/8057/records/3579923.

[v] 1850 Census (A) (NARA), Ancestry, L G Limbacker (Limbocker) – Giard, Branch, Michigan. 1850; Census Place: Girard, Branch, Michigan; Roll: M432_347; Page: 300B; Image: 66

[vi] 1860 Census (A), Ancestry, Lawrence Limbocker – Batavia, Branch, Michigan. Source Citation Year: 1860; Census Place: Batavia, Branch, Michigan; Roll: M653_538; Page: 734; Family History Library Film: 803538

[vii] 1870 Census (A), Ancestry, 1870 Census – Lawrence Limbocker – Batavia, Branch, Michigan.

[viii] 1880 Census (A), Lawrence Limbocker – Batavia, Branch, Michigan. Year: 1880; Census Place: Batavia, Branch, Michigan; Roll: 573; Family History Film: 1254573; Page: 462B; Enumeration District: 024

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Howell – Surname Saturday

By Don Taylor


According to the Ancestry.Com, there are two main sources for the Howell surname. The first one is Welsh, coming from the Welsh personal name “Hywel” meaning ‘eminent.’ The second one is that Howell is an English habitational name coming from an Old English ‘hugol’ meaning ‘mound’ or ‘hillock.’ In particular, it has come to be a habitational name from Howell, Linconshire.[i]

Forebears indicates that it probably derives from an old Welsh word, hoew meaning ‘alert’ or ‘sprightly.’[ii]  The most famous historical bearer of this name was a 10th century Welsh prince, Howell Da.

I have not been successful in determining an immigrant ancestor in the Howell line to confirm the likely origin of this line, however, family oral history indicated they are of Welsh descent.


The United States has the most incidents of the Howell surname. There are over 123,000 incidences of the surname in the United States, and only 172,000 worldwide or to say it another way, about 72% of the individuals named Howell live in the United States. The highest frequency of Howell’s in any country is Jamaica, with 1 in 989 having the Howell surname.

The 1920 Census indicates that the greatest number of Howells lived in New York. Likewise the largest number Howells lived in New York during the 1880 and 1840 censuses.[iii]

Howell Ancestors

Peter M. Howell

My wife’s Howell ancestors were in Virginia in the late 1700s. In the mid-1800s they located to North Carolina and in the mid-1900s her branch moved to Maine.

My wife’s earliest known Howell ancestor is probably James Howell. I’m not confident that he was Peter M Howell’s father, but he was in the right place at the right time and died about 1817 when Peter M Howell’s father died. If correct, James Howell would be my wife’s third great-grandfather.

Peter M. Howell is my wife’s 2nd great-grandfather.  He was born in Buckingham County, Virginia.  He married in Cumberland County, Virginia, and died in North Carolina. He was an itinerate preacher. He published a book, The Life and Travels of Peter Howell, in the 1840s that chronicled his life. The book had an illustration of Peter Howell, which is the earliest image that I have of any ancestor.

Peter Fletcher Howell

Peter Fletcher Howell is my wife’s great-grandfather. He was born in Buckingham County, Virginia, but lived most of his life in Halifax County, North Carolina. He was a civil war veteran (CSA). He fought at “The Crater” and many other battles.

James Dallis Howell was my wife’s grandfather. He was born in Halifax County, North Carolina. He too was a preacher and lived most of his life in North Carolina, although he died in Maryland.

My wife’s father, Clarence Fletcher “Pete” Howell, was also born and raised in North Carolina. He attended the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and became an engineer. He located to Washington, DC in 1939 and lived there until the 1950s. In the 1960s he moved to Maine where he started several businesses that continue to this day. Pete passed in 1999.


James Dallas Howell

In hopes of a breakthrough in the Howell ancestor research, Jerome Howell has taken a Y-DNA test. His nearest Y-DNA matches are surnamed “Howle,” but no link between the families has been discovered. It appears that the common ancestor between them is more than five generations ago and, apparently, before a Howell/Howle surname split. The Howle line ancestors were in South Carolina in the 1780s while the Howell line ancestors were in Virginia at that time.

Known relatives.

My records have 138 direct-line descendants of James Howell identified over eight generations. This is about 5% of my Howell-Darling research.


[i] Ancestry.Com – Howell Family History – Source: Dictionary of American Family Names ©2013, Oxford University Press. See: https://www.ancestry.com/name-origin?surname=Howell

[ii] Forebears – Howell surname and meaning – Source: Surnames of the United Kingdom (1912) by Henry Harrison – See: http://forebears.io/surnames/howell

[iii] Ancestry.Com – Howell Family History – Source: Dictionary of American Family Names ©2013, Oxford University Press. See: https://www.ancestry.com/name-origin?surname=Howell

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Donna Darling Collection – Part 19

The Bijou Theaters

Treasure Chest Thursday

By Don Taylor

Photo of Don Taylor with cat Nasi. For this week’s Treasure Chest Tuesday, I’m looking at clippings from the Donna Darling Collection that relate to the Bijou Theater. The problem is, of course, there are many theaters named Bijou and none of the clippings indicate both location and date. What I do have is:

  1. Ad clipping – Bijou – Mon – Tues – Wed – California Bathing Girls (0065)
  2. Ad, Article, and Photo – Bijou – Thur, Fri, Sat Donia Darling & Co. “Modern Vaudeville Frolics – Savannah (0155)
  3. Ad – Bijou – Hollywood Revue Motion Picture Bathing Beauties (1403)
  4. Ad – Dacatur’s Favorite – The Bijou – Donna Darling and Sammy Clare Revue – “A Modern Vaudeville Frolic” (1428) (Might be June 24, 25, 26)
  5. Ad – 5 Days – Bijou – Hollywood Motion Picture Bathing Beauties – (1504 – two parts)

Cinema Treasurers indicates there are 204 theaters in the United States named “Bijou.” Twenty-two of them are still open and 182 are now closed.[i] Consequently, determining which of the many Bijou theatres Donna played at and when will be a challenge, but here goes.

DDC Bijou Image 1 (0065)

  • Bijou Monday, Tuesday, & Wednesday – California Bathing Girls.
  • Write-up Donna Montran and Her Bathing Beauties – in a Beach Promenade in Six Gasps and Three Shocks.
  • Also playing was Geo. Walsh in The Plunger.
  • Also on stage, Billy Bowman, Ca?pas Brothers,
  • Bo-peep and Jack Horner – Harry Sykes.


I recalled seeing Donna Playing with “The Plunger” previously. I wrote about it in “Donna at the Bijou – New Haven, CT – Donna Darling Collection – Part 8. She played there sometime in November or December 1920.

I searched the James Blackstone Memorial Library for New Haven newspapers for Bijou and was not successful finding a match.

DDC Bijou Image 2 (0155)

The page includes an ad, an article, and a photo. The ad says:

Coming – Thur.—Fri. – Sat.
Donia [sic] Darling & Company – Modern Vaudeville Frolics
5 big acts direct from the Broadway Theaters.

Also playing at the time is “Baldwin & Blair – A Real Comedy Skit.”

Photo of Donna for Savannah Show.Also, there is a great newspaper photo of Donna with a small “Savannah Morning” pasted to the front. Below the photo the caption reads, “Donna Darling of the Donna Darling Revue, coming to the Bijou Theater Thursday, Friday, and Saturday.”

Another headline says “[F]ive Clever Acts at Bijou… Week’s beginning – [Da]rling revue is Feature of Second Half.

In so far as Darling beans beloved, a pet and a favorite, the attractive young person called Donna Darling has been well named. She has been a beloved favorite of theater-goers in musical comedy ??? in vaudeville, and well she sl?????? Be as she has all of those things which go to make a theatrical popularity. She is pretty to the extreme that not long ago she won first prize in a beauty contest. She has ability which is proven by the fact that she was the prima donna in the spectacular production “Chin Chin” and one of the Vitagraph screen Stars.

Image of Article about Donna Darlings show in SavannahMiss Darling believes in be timely and so for her present sojourn in vaudeville she presents a revue – The Donna Darling Revue. This is described as a Dazzling Fantasy. Featured in the company is Sammy Clark, a juvenile comedian of repute. The company, including Miss Darling, is a trio—three clever versatile artists who work with unction to put over this new act of hers and they succeed in making it everything this type of entertainment is supposed to be.

Key features:

  • The venue is the Bijou Theatre.
  • The show is the “Donna Darling Revue” with Sammy Clark.
  • The location is Savannah—probably Savannah, GA.
  • The show ran Thursday, Friday, and Saturday.
  • Also on bill
    • Baldwin & Blair in “A Real Comedy Skit”

Cinema Treasures confirmed there was a Bijou theater in Savannah Georgia. Chronicling America (LOC) also confirms that Savannah has a morning paper called the “Savannah Morning News.”

The Donna Darling Revue with Sammy Clark was one of the last shows that she did. We know she was doing “Donna Darling and Girls” in September 1925 and was doing the Donna Darling Revue in 1926.  By June 1927, she was doing Modern Vaudeville Frolics. From that, I surmise that this show was sometime between September 1925 and June 1927.

DDC Bijou Image 3 (1403)

This is a small ad showing Donna Darling, a Mack Sennett Prize Winner, in a tidal wave of unique dancing, blue singing, clean comedy. Everything about this ad indicates it is a smaller version of DDC Bijou Image 5.  I will address this image with image 5 below.

DCC Bijou Image 4 (1428)

Image - Bijou - Vaudeville - Donna Darling & Sammy Clark RevueDecatur’s Favorite – The Bijou
3 Vaudeville Acts
Donna Darling and Sammy Clare [sic] Revue “A Modern Vaudeville Frolic”
Paul & Darling “Two Broadway Rounders”
Billy De Armo – Comedy Novelty.


Event found – Need to document – See below.


DCC Bijou Image 5 (1504)

Ad - Bathing Beauties at BijouThis is a great ad that shows a photo of Donna but also lists many of the other individuals in the show including

  • Al Ross – Christie Comedies – Eccentric Dancing Life Guards
  • Alyce Louyse – Hawaiian Dancer and Bather from Mars.
  • Betty Bryant of Ziegfeld’s “Miss America”
  • Clarice Allyn – Petite Toe Dancer
  • May Walker – Blue Singer and Beach Flirt
  • Mildred O’Brian – Sennett Bather – Palm Beach Bather
  • Murray Earle – George White Scandals – Eccentric Dancing Life Guards
  • Rose Lasgo – Christie Comedies Acrobatic Dancer


Again, the Donna Darling Collection provided insights into Donna’s vaudeville career. With the Bijou pages, I gained additional information regarding three of her venues. I also learned of a show she did in Savannah that was heretofore unknown.


  1. Future Article: Donna at the Bijou in New Haven, CT, Nov/Dec 1920 – California Bathing Girls.
  2. Research later. Donna at Bijou in Savannah, GA, between Sep 1925 and June 1927 – Donia [sic] Darling & Company – Modern Vaudeville Frolics
  3. .No further Action. (See 5 below)
  4. Future Article: Donna at Bijou in Decatur, IL on July 25, 1925- Donna Darling and Sammy Clare [sic] Revue “A Modern Vaudeville Frolic”
  5. Future Article – Donna at the Bijou in Decatur, IL on January 25, 1925 – California Bathing Beauties – Donna Darling.


[i] Cinema Treasurers – Theaters Search – http://cinematreasures.org/theaters/united-states?q=Bijou


Posted in California Bathing Girls (1925), Donna Darling & Co., Donna Darling and Sammy Clark Revue, Donna Montran, Hollywood Motion Picture Bathing Beauties, Modern Vaudeville Frolics, Treasure Chest Thursday | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Cousin Bio – Olga Ruth Babcock (1916-2001)

By Don Taylor


The John Montran Project is a personal project to explore the hypothesis that my great-grandfather, John Montran married twice. Once to Ida May Barber and once to Maude Minnie Winter. He had one daughter with Ida (Donna) and had two daughters with Maude. I hope to be able to confirm or refute that the two John Montrans were the same individual. In this article, I look at John Foster Montran’s granddaughter Olga Ruth Babcock. If my great-grandfather Montran is the same person as Olga’s grandfather, she and I would be 1st cousins, once removed.

Roberts-Brown 2017 – Montran Project

List of Grandparents

  • Grandfather: John Foster Montran

Olga Ruth Babcock Hinds Buchanan (1916-2001)

Olga Ruth Babcock was born on 18 May 1916, in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, Canada. She was the first child of Minor Howard Babcock and Thelma M (Montran) Babcock.

In 1917, when Olga was a one-year-old, her family immigrated to the United States. In 1920  the young family is living in San Francisco where Olga’s father is a bookkeeper for an Auto Sales company.

In 1922, Ruth’s brother, Montran Howard Babcock was born.

In 1926, Ruth’s father became a naturalized citizen. Because Ruth was a minor, she also became a citizen as part of her father becoming a citizen.

In 1930, Olga’s parents had migrated to Inglewood, California. Minor was an accountant and her mother was apparently keeping house. Birth, Marriage & Death Collection

Olga married James R. Hinds on 24 September 1938. Apparently, the marriage didn’t go well because James filed for divorce in Reno, Nevada on 14 October 1940.

Sometime between 1935 and 1940 Olga’s father died. Olga’s mother was the proprietor of a guest house that included 11 lodgers as well as Thelma, Olga, and Montran.

On 15 August 1941, Olga married Chester White Buchanan. Chester died in 1963 and is buried at Inglewood Park Cemetery, in Inglewood.

Olga’s brother, Montran, died in 1972 and her mother, Thelma, died in 1974.

Olga lived until 2001. I have not been successful in finding any information regarding burial or another memorial.

In all my research, I have found no evidence that Olga had any children.  As such, this lime may be a dead end.  I will look at Montran’s life next.


Minor Howard Babcock born 17 Nov 1891 Hartington, Ontario, Canada
Thelma M. born 23 June 1895, Philadelphia
Olga R born May 18, 1916 Moose Jaw Canada
Montran B. born June 11, 1922, Inglewood, CA
Naturalized: Sep 17, 1926. http://search.ancestry.com/cgi-bin/sse.dll?viewrecord=1&r=an&db=USnaturalizationOriginals&indiv=try&h=4172998.

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We’re Related – Johnny Depp – OMG

Famous Friday
Roberts Line & Howell Line
by Don Taylor

Photo of Don Taylor with cat Nasi.My fifth look at possible relatives using the “We’re Related” showed Johnny Depp as a potential cousin. I immediately thought, “Oh – My – Gawd.”  I had looked at my wife’s relationship with Johnny Depp last spring. If she is a 7th cousin three times removed to Johnny Depp, and I am an 8th cousin twice removed to Johnny Dep, then it would suggest that my wife and I are 10th cousins.  Could it be?

“We’re Related” suggests that John Pinkard (1647-1690) is a common ancestor of Johnny Depp and myself. The lineage goes up my paternal (Roberts) line:

  • Hugh Eugene Roberts (1926-1997)
  • Bert Allen Roberts(1903-1949)
  • Hugh Ellis Roberts(1882-1908)
  • Asa Ellis Roberts(1835-1887)
  • Elizabeth Blackwell (1796-1867)
  • David Blackwell (1755-1841) *
  • Elizabeth Steptoe (1713-1761) *
  • <Private> Apparently Elizabeth Eustace Pinkard. *
  • John Pinkard (1647-1690) *
Photo of Johnny Depp

Johnny Depp – Cousin?

My wife and Johnny Depp supposedly share a common ancestor Jean Panetier with a lineage of:

I did a brief look at the descendants of John Pinkard (1647-1690) and didn’t find any children named Jean nor did I find any daughters who married a Panetier or Pankey.

Even though I haven’t found anything, so far, to support the “We’re related” suggestion that my wife and I are related I haven’t seen anything that disproves it either.  In both cases, I need to do much more research into the Pinkard, Pankey, and Panetire families. It is possible my wife and I are related through this connection.

Panetier is similar enough to Pankey that Pankey could be a derivative. Likewise, Pinkard could be another derivative name. So, I have seven or eight individuals I need to research further to confirm both of us are related to Johnny Depp, and each other. This research could be fascinating and fun to do.

Once again, “We’re Related” proves to be an interesting application that causes me to ask new questions and suggests new areas for research.


[* = Italic entries are “We’re Related suggestions that are unknown to my research.]


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Donna & “Chin Chin” play Franklin Opera House – 12 Mar 1920

Donna Montran and “Chin Chin” play at the Franklin Opera House in Franklin, Pennsylvania on March 12, 1920

Ad for Franklin Opera House, showing "Chin Chin" is coming, Friday Mar. 12th 1920

Franklin Opera House, Friday Mar. 12th – “Chin Chin”

“Chin Chin” came to the Franklin Opera House for a show on March 12th, 1920. It had played at the Lyceum Theater in Rochester, NY, sometime during the week of March 5th. I am not sure where the show was during the week between Rochester, NY, and Franklin, PA.

Ad showing Walter Wills, Roy Bender, & key cast members of "Chin Chin"

Preshow advertising begins with a standard “Chin Chin” ad and a photo of the famous Tom Brown clown band, three days before the show.[i]  Additional ads ran on the 10th and the 11th. Finally, on show day (March 12) there were several ads and illustrations printed in the paper[ii] –  Page 2 had a photo showing key cast members and page 7 had a normal ad.


Interestingly enough, I was unable to find a pre-production story about the show nor a post-production review of the show


Franklin, PA was one of the smaller towns that the show played at. The 1920 Census indicated that the population was just under 10,000.[iii] The “Julius Cahn – Gus Hill Theatrical Guide for 1913-1914” indicates that the Franklin Opera House seating capacity was 925 people, 401 on the lower floor, 200 in the balcony, 300 in the gallery, and 24 boxes. The stage was 28×22 feet with a 6-foot apron.[iv]

Image of parade of the Grand Old Army, Franklin, PA, Aug 1887.

The Franklin Opera House is the second building from left (with 2nd-floor awnings. SOURCE: Facebook-Venango County Historical Society – GAR Parade – Franklin, PA – Aug 1887.

I have not been able to find a good, clear photo of the theater, however, the photo of the Grand Army of the Republic in Aug 1887 parading does show the theater. In that photo, the building on the left is the town hall, next to it is a building with awnings on the second-floor windows. Looking closely, you can see it says “Opera House” across the building.

The Opera House opened in 1866 and provided theater presentations and speakers for many years. In 1883 the city hall was built next door on the Corner of Thirteenth and Buffalo Streets. The opera house was on the Thirteenth side of city hall. I have not found any evidence that the Opera House ever make the switch to movies, nor have I found evidence of exactly when the theater closed or was demolished. However, it was clearly gone by the time the old city offices, were demolished and the new city hall was built during the 1960s.[v]

In 1864, John Wilkes Booth formed an oil company in Franklin and resided in Franklin when he performed at the Franklin Opera House.[vi] Besides theater productions, the Opera House provided a venue for famous speakers such as Samuel Clemens and Susan B. Anthony.[vii]

Today, the site is the location of the Franklin City Hall.


[i] The News-Herald (Franklin, PA) March 9, 1920 – Page 2 – Tom Brown Band image, column 6&7. Newspapers.com

[ii] The News-Herald (Franklin, PA) March 12, 1920 – Page 2 – Cast image, Column 3. Bottom. Newspapers.com

[iii] Wikipedia – Franklin, Pennsylvania – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Franklin%2C_Pennsylvania

[iv] The Cahn-Leighton official theatrical guide. (1913). New York, N.Y: Publication Office, New Amsterdam Theatre Building.

[v] Internet:  City of Franklin, PA – Old City Hall and Opera House. https://www.franklinpa.gov/files/part4.pdf

[vi] See Endnote i above.

[vii] See Endnote iii above.

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