Donna Darling and the Boys

Donna Darling Collection – Part 7

Treasure Chest Thursday

By Don Taylor

Photo of Donna Darling with Murray Walker & Jack Finney, circa 1922

Donna Darling with Murray Walker & Jack Finney – 1922

The searching, the hunt to understand a page, a photo from the Donna Darling Collection is always fun. Item #7 of the collection is a photograph of Donna with two men. Accompanying newspaper clippings suggest that the photo is of her with Murray Walker and Jack Finney. Donna did a show with Walker and Finney in 1922 called, “As You Like It” although I have also seen it referred to as “Donna Darling and The Boys.”

With just a little touching up, it provided a great photo of Donna and one showing Murray Walker and Jack Finney. Also, with it is a clipping of an ad showing them as the headliner at the Majestic. Sadly, the ad doesn’t show which Majestic theater it was – and there are several.

So, I searched for shows where Donna where and when this Majestic show might have taken place. I quickly found where Donna and the Boys played the Majestic in Harrisburg, PA on April 6th, 7th, and 8th, 1822. Then I realized the accompanying acts weren’t the same as the clipping from the Donna Collection.  I continued searching but still haven’t found the Majestic and show from Donna’s scrapbook.

Majestic (Keith Vaudeville) ad - Unknown date or locationThe two new venues I did find for Donna and the Boys are:

March 27, 28, 29, 1922 – Pittsburgh, PA – Sheridan Square – Donna Darling assisted by Murray Walker & Jack Finney in “As You Like It.”[i]

April 6, 7, 8, 1922 – Harrisburg, PA – Majestic ([ii]Keith Vaudeville) with Murray Walker & Jack Finney in “As You Like It.”

Also, I found a brief note in the New York Clipper about Donna playing

July 1, 2, 1923- Keokuk, IA – Regent – Donna Darling & Co.[iii]

So, three new venues for Donna and a great photo touched up.  It is a great day.

FOLLOWUP

Search further for the Donna and the Boys show at another Majestic Theater that included the accompanying acts above.

Research the show in March 1922, in Pittsburgh, PA and research the Sheridan Square theater

Research the show in April 1922 in Harrisburg, PA and the Majestic Theater.

Research the show in July 1923 in Keokuk, IA and the Regent Theater.


ENDNOTES

[i] 1922-03-26 – The Pittsburgh Press (Pittsburgh, PA) Page 44 “Sheridan Square.”

[ii] 1922-04-07 – The Evening News (Harrisburg, PA) – Page 22 “Best Show at Majestic.”

[iii] 1923-06-27 – New York Clipper – Page 21 – “Vaudeville Bills Next Week.”

Posted in Donna Montran, Treasure Chest Thursday | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

Amanuensis the Easy Way

Amanuensis Monday
By Don Taylor

Photo of Don Taylor with cat Nasi.A few years ago, I wrote a post about my wife’s 4th great-grandfather, Lewis Bryan (1755-1830) and that he had purchased his land from Robert Bryan. That post received several comments. One included a clue from Gloria Knight who said, “I have found where a “Patent” was issued on 10 Dec 1760 to a Robert Bryan. Source: Halifax County N.C. Land Grants – Secretary of State – Land Grants Record Books 1693-1960. Grant # was 82; File # 14. 520 acres on Conotoe Creek.”

I had meant to find that reference and incorporate it into my information regarding Robert Bryan. I just hadn’t gotten around to it. Her comment/clue reminded me of three significant resources matters.

Networking

So many of us want to be self-sufficient we tend to forget many researchers have been there before and we can and should build upon their work. For example, Gloria’s clue provided enough information that I could easily, and quickly build upon her work. Not just accept what she said but use it as a hint as a beginning point. I know that professional genealogists want every source to be quoted in a fashion identified in Evidence Explained. Sure, that is THE standard for citing sources.  However, rather than getting all twisted around the citation standards, I am most interested in having enough information about the source that I can find it for myself. In this case, a Google search for Gloria’s clue, “Halifax County N.C. Land Grants ” brought me immediately to North Carolina Land Grant Images and Data. Seeing Search Query on the page, I searched for Name: “Bryan” and County: Halifax. Six entries were returned, one the 520 Acres of Robert Bryan.  The page also had a link to an image in Book 14, Pages 114-115. There it was, an image of the original patent book. The key to me is Gloria had provided enough information regarding her source that I was able to find the source in less than a minute myself. To me that is the ultimate reason for citations and building upon or confirming her research is the ultimate purpose of networking.

Wikipedia

I knew from previous research with this family line that Martin County was previously Halifax County.  There are many sites to learn that kind of information. However, I have found that Wikipedia is possibly the best and easiest way to confirm such information. On Wikipedia, just search <NAME> County, <STATE> and you get the appropriate wiki page.  In this case. I entered “Martin County, North Carolina” In the History section of the page returned said,

The county was formed in 1774 from the southeastern part of Halifax County and the western part of Tyrrell County.

I could have just as easily gone to the Halifax County, North Carolina page and learned that,

In 1774 the southeastern part of Halifax County was combined with part of Tyrrell County to form Martin County.

I think every county page on Wikipedia has a “History” section. I find that the County entries in Wikipedia to be a great asset. Besides quick history, there is a Communities section which shows the cities, towns, unincorporated communities, and townships within the county. Great information to have handy when reviewing Census and other records. I can be a real help in understanding that an incorporated community in your genealogy is near town that may have been their post office which may have been in a township.  So, when you see the names change in different documents, you can understand that your ancestors may have been in the same place even though multiple names were used.

Google

Finally, I wanted to transcribe the patent information from the document. I’ll admit, I don’t like transcribing 18th century handwriting very much. I mean, I can do it, I just don’t like doing it. In this case, I could easily read the document started out “Robert Bryan Five hundred and twenty acres.” A Google search of those exact words led to one result. A quick review of the result showed it was a transcript of the document I wanted to transcribe. Dated the 10th day of December 1760.  Then, rather than transcribe the original text, all I needed to do is to read the transcription and see if I agreed with the transcription.  Much faster – much easier. Then, I added the transcript to my source documents identifying it:

Transcription by <Unknown>  found on site, BMGEN.COM
“Genealogy data relating to the Brian and Mitchell families.”

So, I have my copy of the original image, and I have my source for that image documented. I also have a transcription of the information, confirmed and reviewed by me. I am good with that and can move on to the next project.

Transcription

Transcription by <Unknown> found on site, BMGEN.COM

ROBERT BRYAN five hundred and twenty acres of land in Halifax County.

Beginning at a Pine, his corner on Conneto Swamp running thence up said swamp to a Maple at the mouth of Wild Cat Branch; then up said branch to a Poplar in said branch; then W 62 poles to a Red Oak; then S 160 poles to a Pine; then W 40 poles to two Sweet Gums in a branch; then S 280 poles to a Pine; then W 88 poles to a pine in MOSES HORN’s line; then along his line S 23 E 174 poles to a White Oak, his corner on Conneto Creek; then down said creek to a Pine, JOHN HORN’s corner on said creek; then along his line N 17 E 142 poles to a Pine, his corner in said BRYAN’s line; then along his line W 16 poles to a Pine, his corner; then along his line N 270 poles to a Pine, his corner on a branch; then down the branch, his line, to the first station.

Dated 10th day of December, 1760

Conclusion

  1. Pay attention to hints from anywhere – check them out for yourself.
  2. The North Carolina Land Grant site is an awesome resource. Be sure to include it in your resources.
  3. Don’t forget Wikipedia County searches can be helpful.
  4. Check Google (or Bing or Yahoo) to see if the words you want transcribed  have already been transcribed.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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DNA – Glennis’ Paternal Search – Part 6

Following Morgan/Morgan/Hemsworth/Luzader & Deem

By Don Taylor

Photo of Don Taylor with cat Nasi.The scope of the project exploded last time, when I learned that there was apparently a pedigree collapse in my notional Morgan-Hemsworth research to attempt to learn Glennis’ father’s identity. I knew the project had gotten bigger; however, I didn’t realize how much bigger.  Nathan Smith Morgan and Belinda Odell Morgan probably had a dozen children. Their oldest, Francis Marion Morgan married Fannie R. McGregor in 1862 and they had a dozen children also. With so many large families, it is possible I have several hundred more individuals to research.

Morgan/Morgan/Hemsworth

The oldest child of Francis & Fannie Morgan was Clara. Clara married Gilbert Hemsworth in 1882. (This is probably another point for pedigree collapse as Clara’s Aunt Mary married James Hemsworth. So, I’ll bet Gilbert was somehow related to James.) It appears that Clara and Gilbert only had had two children.  The two children were both girls, Gail and Naomi Hemsworth.

Morgan/Morgan/Hemsworth/Luzader

Gail married Everett Ainsley Luzader about 1914. Following them through the 1920, 1930, and 1940 censuses, it appears that they only had four children.

  1. Brooks Luzader – Born 1915.
  2. Morgan Luzader – Born 1916
  3. Ralph Eugend Luzader – Born 1919
  4. Beatrice Joe Luzader – Born 1925-1926.

All four children appear to be too young to have had a child that could be a candidate to be Glennis’ biological father.  Likewise, I believe all three boys are too old to be a candidate to be the “baby daddy.” It is my belief that Glennis’s biological father was born between 1922 and 1935. (Ten years older to three years younger than her mother.)

Morgan/Morgan/Hemsworth/Deem

Next, I looked at Gilbert and Clara’s younger daughter, Naomi.  Naomi married Earl Sanford Deem.

They had seven children. Four were daughters and would be too young to have had sons that could be considered as candidates. Three were boys; Earl (Junior) and two others who may still be living. All three are possible candidates and should be investigated as potential candidates. A quick look at their lives indicated no immediately discernable evidence that any of them migrated to Minnesota or Michigan, so I consider them very low potential candidates and will investigate further as required.

Morgan/Morgan 2

Clara’s oldest brother was Henry Clifford Morgan. Henry was born in 1869 and died in 1884 at the age of 15. I presume he died without issue.

GEDMatch Update

I looked at Glennis’ results on GEDCOM. There was a new match.  This time with someone with the surname JC.  There was a tree associated with JC and that led back to a common ancestor with my notional tree.  Now I have three people related genetically with my half sister, all of whom go back to a common ancestor of Nathan and Belinda (Odell) Morgan. I’m sure I’m on the right track. I just wish I had a closer match to chase down.

Conclusion

Following the descendants of Nathan and Belinda (Odell) Morgan is a tiresome task. I can really appreciate the genealogists of old and their creating decadency charts and tables.

Next time, I’ll investigate the descendants of Lewis V. P. Morgan (1871-1953).


Descendants of Nathan and Belinda (Odell) Morgan
I am researching.

1-    Nathan Smith Morgan – Belinda Odell

1.1  Francis Marion Morgan – Fannie R. McGregor

1.1.1      Clara Morgan – Gilbert M. Hemsworth

1.1.1.1  Gail Hemsworth – Everett Ainsley Luzader

1.1.1.1.1      Brooks Luzader                 Unlikely – Too old.

1.1.1.1.2      Morgan Luzader                Unlikely – Too old.

1.1.1.1.3      Ralph Eugene Luzader      Unlikely – Too old.

1.1.1.1.4      Living Female Luzader      Female

1.1.1.2  Naomi Hemsworth – Earl S. Deem

1.1.1.2.1      Living Female Deem         Female

1.1.1.2.2      Earl Deem, Jr.                   b. 1924 – Low – Further Research?

1.1.1.2.3      Living Male Deem             b. 1925 – Low – Further Research?

1.1.1.2.4      Betty Lu Deem                  Female

1.1.1.2.5      Living Male Deem             b. 1929 – Low – Further Research?

1.1.1.2.6      Alice Frances Deem          Female

1.1.1.2.7      Noretta Naomi Deem       Female

1.1.2      Henry Clifford Morgan                        Without Issue.

1.1.3      Lewis V. P Morgan

1.1.4      Rosa Virginia Morgan

1.1.5      Dora D. Morgan

1.1.6      Ephraim Stokeley Morgan

1.1.7      Nathan Spencer Morgan

1.1.8      John A. Morgan

1.1.9      Sarah D. Morgan

1.1.10   Unnamed Morgan

1.1.11   Orien E Morgan

1.1.12   Jame Cyrus Morgan

1.2  Samson

1.3  Asceneth

1.4  Jacob

1.5  Elizabeth

1.6  Eli

1.7  Mary D Morgan – James Luther Hemsworth

1.7.1      Stella Belinda Hemsworth – Joseph Franklin Stewart

1.7.1.1  Naomi Stewart – John Clifford Huber

1.7.1.1.1      Living Male Huber b. 1930 – Medium – In Mich 1940 & 1988.

1.7.1.1.2      Roy L. Huber          b. 1932 – Medium – In Mich 1940 & 1958.

1.7.1.2  Ivan Willard Stewart – Mary Eloise [unknown]

1.7.1.2.1      Alice Ann Stewart

1.7.1.2.2      Stella Stewart

1.7.1.2.3      Ivan W Stewart

1.7.1.3  Harry Stewart – (No Known Issue)

1.7.1.4  Franklin James Stewart – (No Known Issue)        Unlikely.

1.7.1.5  Donald Dean Stewart – Joanne Ruark – m. 1959 Low – Unlikely but possible.

1.7.1.6  Ronald Eugene Stewart (No Known Issue)          Low – Unlikely but possible.

1.7.2      Alma Lovelia Hemsworth

1.7.3      M. C. Hemsworth

1.7.4      Olive D. Hemsworth

1.7.5      Iza Alberta Hemsworth

1.7.6      [Baby girl] Hemsworth

1.8  Isiah

1.9  John

1.10                 Jane

1.11                 Sarah

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Donna in a Roland West sketch at Keeney’s

February, March, and April, 1919.

Records about Donna’s early vaudeville years are sparse. For example, I know that the January 31,, 1919, issue of Variety, under New Acts mentions, “Donna Montran and Trixie Bressler in a new sketch by Roland West.”[i] We also see an ad for them in the same issue of “Variety.” From that issue of Variety, we have no idea what the show was about, where it played, nor who Trixie Bressler and Roland West are.

Crop of Montran and Bressler ad.

Variety Weekly, Jan 31, 1919, Page 59

In the February 28th issue, we learn that Donna and Trixie are “Two Girls with a Single Thought: TO ENTERTAIN YOU. [ii]

Crop of Montran and Bressler ad.

Variety Magazine, Feb 28, 1919, Page 67

Two weeks later, we learn that Trixie appears to have been replaced. Donna Montran and Jessie Kennison are now the “Two Girls with a Single Thought: To ENTERTAIN YOU.” We also learn the show is playing at Keeney’s, Newark, and Keeney’s Brooklyn for the week beginning March 17th.[iii]

Crop of Montran and Kennison ad

Variety Magazine, March 14, 1919

A month later, things seem confusing because Trixie is back. They are still playing at Keeney’s Newark but only doing four shows.[iv]  Was Trixie gone for a couple weeks or was the ad showing Jessie Kennison a mistake.

Crop of ad Montran and Bressler

Variety Magazine, April 14, 1919

Finally, a week later, on April 21, Variety runs one final ad for Donna Montran and Trixie Bressler that doesn’t have any dates or places for the two.

Roland West

Roland West became known as a Hollywood director. Born in 1885, he began acting in vaudeville productions as a teenager. In his early 20s, he was writing and directing Vaudeville productions. He went to California and in 1925 he directed the classic silent film, The Monster, with Lon Chaney, Sr.[v] He also directed the 1929 film Alibi which was nominated for three Academy Awards.[vi]

Trixie Bressler

I know very little about Trixie. I do know that she was a young dancer. In May 1918, she presented a dance revue at the Ithaca Star[vii]. Trixie was probably either 19 or 20 years old. Omaha Marriages indicates that Trixie Bressler married George D. Schwartz on 20 Jul 1919. [viii] and that Trixie was 20 when they married. Trixie’s vaudeville career appears to end with her marriage.

Jessie Kennison

I have been unsuccessful learning anything about Jessie Kennison.

Further Research

Find Trixie Bressler Schwartz’s descendants and see if they have any memorabilia from Trixie’s vaudeville days.

Find advertisements and write-ups about the shows at Keeney’s Newark and Keeney’s Brooklyn and determine if I can learn more about the “Roland West” show with Donna and Trixie.

Learn more about Jessie Kennison.


Endnotes

[i] 1919-01-31 – Variety Weekly, New York, NY, Vol 53-Page 20.jpg

[ii] 1919-03-14 – Variety, Motion Pictures, Vaudeville, Theater, Film Industry, Trade Magazine, New York, NY, March 14, 1919.

[iii] 1919-03-14 – Variety, Motion Pictures, Vaudeville, Theater, Film Industry, Trade Magazine, New York, NY, 1919, March 14, 1919.

[iv] 1919-04-14 – Variety Magazine (New York, NY) Page 75.

[v] Wikipedia – Roland West entry – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roland_West

[vi] Wikipedia – Alibi (1929 Film) entry – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alibi_(1929_film)

[vii] Ithaca Journal (Ithaca, NY) 4 May 1918, Page Six, Advertising Bottom right of page – via Newspapers.com. https://www.newspapers.com/image/254416940

[viii] Omaha Area Marriages – Schm-Sci – https://omahamarriages.wordpress.com/schm-sci/ – SCHWARTZ, George D.

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It’s Another First Cousin

Roberts DNA
By Don Taylor

Photo of Don Taylor with cat Nasi.One of the benefits of using Ancestry DNA for Genetic Testing is their vast database.  Because there are so many people in their system, you are much more likely to have a DNA match. Sure enough, it happened again. This time, a previously unknown person, Debra contacted me via Ancestry Messages with the simple message, “My DNA results says that you are my 1st cousin.”

Oh my, here we go again.

I clicked on View the Match, then clicked on the little “Info icon” to see how much DNA we shared. Debra and I share 621 centimorgans across 25 segments. According to the chart I use, that amount of shared DNA put us in an overlapping range of first cousin and first cousin one removed. I then clicked on “Shared Matches” and saw that she also matched with my Roberts half-siblings. Because I can view my half-sister’s matches, I looked at her results and saw that she and Debra share 893 centimorgans of DNA across 37 segments. Solidly in the first cousin range. For sure, Debra is a first cousin and now I knew that we share a common grandparent on my paternal side.

My grandparents, Bert Allen Roberts and Essie Pansy Barnes, had five children. The amount of DNA shared was not enough for Debra to be my half-sibling, so that ruled out my biological father, Hugh Eugene Roberts, from being involved. In subsequent messages, she indicated she knew who her mother was, so that eliminated Pansy and Helen, leaving only two potential sources for her to be a first cousin – Uncle Bert and Uncle John. Between the two, Uncle Bert was, by far, the likely candidate.

Photo of Bert Allen Roberts, Jr with two (unknown) women.

Bert Allen Roberts, Jr. and two unknown women, c. 1947.

Then, Debra let us know that her sister told her that her father’s name was Bert, but never knew his last name. Debra also sent a photo of Bert, her supposed father, from the late 1940s. My half-brother Tom knew Bert and was able to identify Uncle Bert from the picture.  Mystery solved!

So, welcome cousin Debra Edwards to the growing Roberts clan. I am so pleased you were able to identify who your father is after so many years.

So far, DNA test results have led to my learning about:


Note: I wish Family Tree Maker had a better way to indicate offspring producing relationships.  Creating a “spouse” and then set the relationship set to “Friend” or set to “Other” is cumbersome at best but doesn’t describe the relationship. Sigh….

 

 

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Vinson/Vincent line of Halifax, NN

Researching the Vinson/Vincent line of Halifax, North Carolina

Howell-Darling-2017 Research
Howell/Vinson/Vincent Line
By Don Taylor

Photo of Don Taylor with cat Nasi.

Getting to know ancestors that lived before 1850 is always difficult. The census records before 1880 do not include relationships and census records before 1850 only include the name of the head of the household. Because of that, it is really difficult to know all the names and to learn all the relationships. It isn’t a wall, but certainly researching families before 1850 can feel like a closed road.  For me, my wife’s third great-grandfather, Burkett Vinson is such a person.  He shows up once in the 1840 Census with a small household of five individuals. After a frustrating time trying to find more about him, I decided to do a name/location study regarding his surname in his location. Such a study can help associate people into relationships and can help reduce errors.

Using Family Search, I searched the 1850 Census for surname Vinson in Halifax, North Carolina. The system returned six results from two families. Both were new to my research:

  • Littleberry Vinson, Age 34, his apparent wife, an apparent daughter, Laura, and an apparent son Robert.[i]
  • Robert Vinson, Age 30, and his apparent wife, Martha.[ii]

Next, I enter the information into my software, (I currently use Family Tree Maker 3.1.) documenting my sources very carefully.

Besides the obvious family units I’ve discovered, it was also interesting to learn many of the little nuances of the individual’s lives. For example, Littleberry Vinson distinguished himself in testing at Brinkleyville Academy in 1831[iii]. He became a lawyer. Then, in 1840, he toasted vice presidential candidate John Tyler for devotion to Republican principals and support of the Constitution. That article’s use of “Esqr.” confirms that Littleberry was a lawyer. His toast suggests his political affiliation indicating that Littleberry Vinson was likely a Whig.[iv] (Harrison and Tyler ran on a Whig party ticket. Also, today’s Republican Party wasn’t established until 1854.)

Unfortunately, my experience researching this family is that Vincent and Vinson were used interchangeably depending upon the ear of the person hearing the name. Sadly, a search for “Vincent” yielded another 13 results and three new previously unknown households.

  • John Vincent, Age 32, with his apparent wife, Leonora, and three daughters, Virginia, Elizabeth, and Susan. Also in the household is a 30-year-ood Eliza Beasley. (These were my wife’s ancestor family. John is my wife’s 2nd great-grandfather and Susan is her great-grandmother.) [v]
  • Elizabeth Vincent, Age 64 with a 25-year-old Nancy Vincent in the household.  (This would be the wife and daughter of the deceased Burkett Vinson.)[vi]

New Households:

  • Michael Vincent, age 27, his apparent wife and an apparent son, Walter.[vii]
  • James Vincent, Age 19 & John Vincent, Age 16[viii]
  • Phil Vincent in the household of James Snow.[ix]

Of course, all the “apparent” relationships above are guesses. I’ll add that, because of the ages, I’ll guess that James and John (ages 19 & 16) were brothers.

Next, I need to expand upon these Vincent families and understand how they fit into the larger picture.


Endnotes

[i] 1850 Census (FS), 1850 Census – Littleberry Vinson – Halifax, North Carolina. See: 1850 Census – Lettleberry Vinson – Halifax, North Carolina.pdf. https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:M4BC-343.

[ii] 1850 Census (FS), 1850 Census – Robert Vinson – Halifax, North Carolina. https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:M4BC-XH3.

[iii] Roanoke Advocate (Halifax, NC) · 1831-11-24 · Page 2 – Various Vinsons achieve honors (Newspapers.com)

[iv] Roanoke Advocate and States Rights Banner  ((Halifax, NC), ), Newspapers.Com, 1840-07-29 · Page 4 – Volunteer Toasts – Littleberry Vinson

[v] 1850 Census (FS), 1850 Census – John Vincent – Halifax, North Carolina. https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:M4BC-QTG.

[vi] 1850 Census (FS), 1850 Census – Elizabeth Vincent – Halifax, North Carolina. https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:M4BC-QTB.

[vii] 1850 Census (FS), 1850 Census – Michael Vincent – Halifax, North Carolina. https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:M4BH-BDY.

[viii] 1850 Census (FS), 1850 Census – James Vincent – Halifax, North Carolina. https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:M4BC-QZ7.

[ix] 1850 Census (FS), 1850 Census – Phil Vincent – Halifax, North Carolina. https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:M4BC-NTY.

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Harvey Nelson and the USS Mongolia

By Don Taylor

Photo of Don Taylor with cat Nasi.I always enjoy a fresh, new, project. Jumping in and documenting a new tree getting to know new ancestors is my idea of fun. My client knew very little about her maternal line, so I began looking closely at her grandfather.  Certainly, I have more research to do for Harvey Nelson, however, this is a good start. Harvey was a wandering soul. Born in Wisconsin to Danish immigrants, he moved and bounced around quite a bit in his youth.  Finally, he settled down in Southern California, but still moved throughout the area living in Los Angeles, Orange, and San Diego counties.

Cassel Project 2017 – Ancestor #6

List of Grandparents

  • Grandfather: Harvey Nelson
  • 1st Great-grandfather: Lars Nelson

Harvey Nelson (1891-1974)

Harvey (NMN) Nelson was born on 19 April 1891 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin[i].  We know he had at least five older siblings — four brothers and a sister. His parents were Lars P. Nelson and Nicoline “Lena” Larsen. Lars and Lena were born in Denmark, married in 1872, and immigrated to the United States in 1873.

  • Chris born in 1874 in Pennsylvania.
  • Ann Elizabeth born in 1878 in Wisconsin.
  • Theodore “Ted” born in 1882 in Wisconsin.
  • Emil (or Amiel) born in 1884 in Wisconsin.
  • Arthur born in 1887 in Wisconsin.
  • He certainly had another sibling whose birth and death occurred before 1900.
  • It is unclear if he had one or two more siblings. He may have had a sister, Hortense and possibly brother, R.C Nelson.

Sometime between 1891 and 1900, the family relocated to Hastings, Adams County, Nebraska. They lived at 321 Kansas Ave.[ii]  Today, Realtor.com indicates the house at that address was built in 1920 so there does not appear to be a photo of the family homestead in Nebraska.

I am not sure where Harvey Nelson was during the 1910 Census. There are several Harvey Nelsons who were living in boarding houses around the country, but there are none that are clearly Harvey.

The Great War

When the Great War draft occurred in June 1917, Harvey was living at 1732 ½ Derby, Portland, Oregon. He was single, 5 feet, 9 inches tall, medium build, slightly bald, light hair, and had blue eyes[iii].

Library of Congress photo of the USS Mongolia

U.S.S. Mongolia covered with soldiers

Harvey enlisted in the Navy on 10 Oct 1917[iv] and served aboard the U.S.S. Mongolia. The S.S. Mongolia was launched on 25 July 1903 as a 616 foot, 13,369 ton, passenger/cargo liner. In March 1917, the Mongolia was chartered as an Army transport and received a self-defense armament of three 6-inch/40 caliber (150 mm) guns which were manned by U.S. Navy gun crews. It was the first American vessel to encounter, and drive off, German submarines after the US’s entry into World War I.

On 27 April 1918, the US Navy requisitioned the vessel, reconfigured her for greater troop capacity, and commissioned her on 8 May as USS Mongolia (ID-1615). She completed twelve turnarounds at an average duration of 34 days and transporting over 33,000 passengers, before being decommissioned on 11 Sept 1919.  Harvey Nelson was on board during this time.

Photo of U.S.S. Mongolia

U.S.S Mongolia – First American ship to sink a German U-Boat after the US entered the war.

Harvey wrote a letter to his sister, Mrs. William Binderup of 6320 East 44th Street, Portland, OR in July of 1918 and said:

“The new German submarine is 318 feet long and has eight-inch guns. They don’t travel alone anymore, but go in squads. They get a range on a ship then they take a chance on getting hit. It is hell when you see a bunch of four or five of them come up and you don’t know from one minute to the next how long you can float. But, we made the trip fine and dandy and are still floating. We have good gun crews, the best in the navy. We had target practice going over and every gun got four shots out of five good square hits. We worked like a lot of Trojans going over, had 4000 men and they all got sick and had a rotten time of it for a while. They were mostly drafted men. Coming back, however, we had it fine.[v]

U.S.S. Mongolia 10 April 1919

Harvey was released from Military duty on 20 August 1919. Three months later (Nov 1919), he applied for a marriage license to marry Florence Hanson.

Marriage:

It wasn’t until 17 March 1920 that Harvey and Florence (or Flora) Hansen tied the knot. Both were living in Long Beach, California. Harvey worked as a steelworker.

The young couple lived throughout southern California for the rest of their lives. Laguna Beach in 1930[vi], Los Angeles in 1940[vii], Corona Del Mar in 1942[viii], San Diego in 1960[ix], and Encino in 1974.  Harvey worked as a painter through much of his adult life.

Harvey Nelson died on 22 December, 1974 in San Diego, California. I have not been successful in finding funeral information regarding Harvey, so far.

Endnotes


[i] Los Angeles, California, Ralph Thomas Cassel – Rosalie Elizabeth Nelson – 18 Sep 1942. “California, County Marriages, 1850­1952,” database with images,: 28 November 2014), FHL microfilm 2,114,963. https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:K8VT-K9C.; Family
[ii] 1900 Census, Family Search, Lars P Nelson – Hastings, Adams, Nebraska – ED 12, Sheet 2A. Line 1 – Accessed 2 June 2-17. https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:M3BN-DGD.
[iii] U.S., World War I Dra  Registration Cards, 1917-1918, Ancestry.Com, Harvey Nelson – Birthdate: 19 Apr 1891. See:  U.S., World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918 – Harvey Nelson.pdf. http://Ancestry.com.
[iv] U.S., Department of Veterans Affairs BIRLS Death File, 1850-2010, Ancestry.Com, Harvey Nelson – Birthdate 19 Apr 1891 – No Image. http://Ancestry.com.
[v] Oregon Daily Journal (Portland, OR), 1918-07-09 – Page 5 – Harvey Nelson. Story at bottom of 1st column. http://Newspapers.com.
[vi] 1930 Census (FS), Family Search, Harvey Nelson – Laguna Beach, Orange, California – ED 30-47, Sheet 6B. https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:XCDK-CWL.
[vii] 1940 Census (FS), Family Search, 1940 Census – Harvey Nelson – Los Angeles, California. https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:K9HL-VR1.
[viii] U.S., World War II Draft Registration Cards, 1942, Ancestry.Com, Harvey Nelson. Residence 1942 – Corona Del Mar, California. http://Ancestry.com.
[ix] 1960-08-25- Ann Elizabeth (Nelson) Powers – Obit.pdf., Press Democrat, Santa Rosa, California (Newspapers.Com).

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We’re Related – Churchill, Gates, Disney

We’re Related – Second Look for my Wife

Famous Friday
by Don Taylor

There are new people every week using “We’re Related” so I thought I’d take another look at the three of my wife’s new matches.  My wife’s two closest matches were Winston Churchill and Bill Gates, both supposed 8th cousins. At 9th cousins, there were several matches that I had seen before when was looking at my famous cousins. It was exciting to see my wife had similar relatives to me. If my wife and I share the same cousin then she and I must also be related. I had looked at my relationship with Stephen King before and determined my relationship to him was unlikely, so I decided to look at my wife’s relationship with Walt Disney, whom I had determined was at least possible before.

 

Winston Churchill

Photo of Winston Churchill

Winston Churchill

Sir Winston Leonard Spencer-Churchill is certainly one of the best-known politicians of the last century. He was Prime Minister of Great Britain from 1940 to 1945 and again Prime Minister from 1951 until 1955. He is also, potentially my wife’s 7th cousin, once removed.

The relationship follows her Darling line:

I have confirmed Sally Ann Munsell as an ancestor, and I concur that Timothy and John are likely Sally Ann’s father and grandfather respectively.  I haven’t found any information about John Munsell’s parents yet. However, I suspect that the relationship is likely.

Bill Gates

Photo of Bill Gates

Bill Gates

William Henry Gates III, is, according to Wikipedia, the richest man in the world, worth about $87 Billion. “We’re Related” suggests that he is my wife’s 7th cousin, once removed. Again, this relationship follows the Darling line.

I have confirmed Abner Darling (Sr.) as an ancestor, and I concur that his mother was Mary Hakes and his grandmother was Anna Billings. I haven’t found information about Anna Billings’ parents yet. However, I suspect that the relationship is very likely.

Walt Disney

Walt Disney - 8th CousinWalter Elias Disney is a great film producer and fun maker. His creations of Disneyland and Disney World are the template for theme parks.

According to “We’re Related,” the relationship of my wife to Walt Disney is an 8th cousin, once removed. The relationship follows her Darling line:

I have confirmed Sally Ann Munsell as an ancestor, and I concur that her mother was Elisheba Smith. However, I haven’t found information about a Chadwick line for Elisheba. I judge that the relationship to be Possible.

Don Taylor

Photo of Don Taylor with cat Nasi.According to “We’re Related,” my lineage to (8th cousin, twice removed) Walt Disney follows a Roberts/Blackwell/Harris/Brown line to the supposed common ancestor of Benjamin Brown. I’d be a lot more comfortable that my wife and I are related if we ended up at the same supposed common ancestor, or at least see a common surname. With us coming from two entirely different directions I suspect that one (or both) of the supposed lines to Walt Disney is incorrect. As such, I judge the relationship of my connection to my wife through a common ancestor of Walt Disney to be possible but improbable.

“We’re Related” is fun and I enjoy looking at possibilities. It makes me think about key relationships in my tree and provides clues for further research.  Ancestry appears to have improved its algorithms as none of the matches this time were unlikely or impossible. I enjoy the application.

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Franklin Elementary, Anoka, MN – 1958

My Life
Those Places Thursday

By Don Taylor

Sylvia and Donald Larson

Mom and I on the roof of the bakery; the Rum River is in background

There was probably no place we ever lived that was a cool as our place in Anoka.  First of all, it was upstairs of a bakery, so we woke up most mornings (6 days a week) to the smell of freshly baking bread. Our apartment was smaller than the bakery downstairs so we a large flat roof area we could go out on and be outside when we wanted to. Also, out back was parking. Today, the building is gone and is a parking area for “Walker on the River” apartments.

Next door to our apartment was a vacant lot and next to it was a bar. (Today, it is Atlas Staffing.) We didn’t have a television, but my grandmother used to bring me along to the bar which did have one.  I remember the awe of seeing the Tournament of Roses Parade in color at the bar.  My recollection is that it was the first nationally televised, live, color television program. The bar was packed in anticipation of the Rose Bowl also being telecast.

Next door to us on the other side was a small, neighborhood drug store.  I don’t have a lot of regrets in my life, but probably my biggest regret did start in Anoka at that drug store. In those days, both my mother and grandmother smoked (though my mom didn’t inhale).  It was common for an adult to write a note allowing a kid to purchase cigarettes for them.  Mom and Grandma wrote notes so often that the Drugstore didn’t question me if I asked to buy cigarettes without a note and just said it was for my mom or my grandma. As long as I bought Winston, they didn’t think anything of it.  Sadly, that is when I began smoking. I then smoked most of the time for the next forty years. (Although as Mark Twain said, “Giving up smoking is the easiest thing in the world. I know because I’ve done it thousands of times.”) I quit for about ten years then started up again and smoked for another eight years.  I quit smoking again last August (2016) but I still really miss it.

Photo of Stone structure in Rum River in Anoka, MN

Stone “fort” in Rum River

It was only a few hundred feet to the Rum River. The river was a great place for a 7-year old to play (albeit dangerous). There were these old stone buildings that acted as forts. I wasn’t allowed to play amongst them by myself, and I was supposed to always have a buddy with me, but…  They were so much fun to play in and around. I stayed away from the river side and didn’t hang out there when the river was up. It appears that only one of them remains today. The internet suggests that the stone buildings were part of a house, but I always thought they were footings for the first bridge across the Rum River. In either event, they were a lot of fun.

One of the worst experiences in my life also occurred in Anoka. Things were always financially tight in our house. But my mother somehow found the where-with-all to buy me a brand-new bicycle for my 8th birthday. Of course, I rode it all over – around town and down to the Mississippi River, about a half a mile away. Then, after having the bike for only ten days, I failed to follow my mother’s directions; I didn’t lock it up.  Sure enough, it was stolen. I was devastated; my mom was so disappointed in me. The bike theft was reported to the police, and we went to the police station a couple times to see if it was in their recovered items, but it was never seen. I don’t believe I have ever had another brand-new bicycle.

Franklin Elementary c. 1958

Another great feature of living in Anoka was school. Franklin Elementary School was about two blocks along Main Street from where we lived. Although Franklin Elementary was an old school, it had a modern addition that was only five years old, or so, when I attended. So, it seemed like a new school to me. My classroom and the gym were in the new section.

I’m not sure why we moved from Anoka to Fridley.  I know that my mother worked as a “nurse’s aide” at the Anoka State Hospital both when we lived in Anoka and after we moved to Fridley in August 1958. The Anoka State Hospital was a huge facility and deeply disturbing. My mother never talked with me about her time working at the hospital. Years later, she did speak with my wife somewhat about her experiences. Apparently, there were several babies with extreme brain abnormalities. My mother used to hold them and cuddle them to give them peace during her off time. My mom told my wife that sometimes she felt guilty that she didn’t come home right away to take care of me, but she knew that these babies needed her so much more than I did.  This story reminds me of what a wonderful, caring person my mother is and that she never spoke of it speaks volumes about her humility.

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Biography: Frank Xaver Drexl (1856-1929)

By Don Taylor

Absent other sources, I usually trust the 1900 Census as being the most accurate for the date because it provides both a month/year and age for the individual. In the case of Frank Xaver Drexl the 1900 Census record shows his birth as Dec 1857 and his age as 42.

screen shot of Frank Drexl's Birth information i- 1900 Census

Frank Drexl’s Birth information i- 1900 Census

A very close look at his age suggests that it once said his age was 43 and was “corrected” to read 42. I set his birth year as 1857 based upon this record. However, all the other census records I found were inconsistent with that date. In the 1910 Census he was 53; in the 1920 Census, he was reported as 63. Even the 1885 Census suggested the birth year of 1856. After finding every other record I could find for him indicated his birth in 1856, I decided to change my records to indicate an 1856 birth.

Reminder to self: Don’t become so attached to a bit of information and be unwilling to change something when presented with alternate evidence.

Darling/Drexl Project  2017 – Ancestor #12

List of Grandparents

  • Grandfather: Nicholas Edward Drexl
  • 1st Great-grandfather: Frank Xaver Drexl
  • 2nd Great-grandfather: Matthias Drexl[i]

Frank Xaver Drexl (1856-1929)

Birth

Frank Xaver Drexl was probably born on 3 December 1856 in Dünzelbach, a municipality in the district of Moorenweis in the Bavarian county of Fürstenfeldbruck.[ii] The 1910 and 1920 Census records both confirm his birth in Bavaria in 1856.

Marriage

Some researchers indicate that Frank Xaver Drexl married Ursula Eggert on 25 Oct 1881 in Petzenhausen, Bavaria. I think an 1879 or 1880 marriage is just as likely. Their eldest known son, Nicholas Edward Drexl was born in November 1881 only a month after the other researcher’s suggested date.  Also, the 1900 and 1910 Census records indicate the couple had been married for 20 and 30 years respectively suggesting an 1879 or 1880 marriage date.

Adulthood

The 1900 Census shows the heartbreak the family had to have experienced. According to the Census, Ursula had had 12 children, only 8 of whom were still living and the 1910 Census indicated 13 children with nine still living.

We know of the following children:

Children: Sex Birth Age Gap
Nicholas Edward Drexl M Nov 1881 Germany Eldest
Christina Drexl F Apr 1882 – Germany 5 Months – Impossible **
Francis T Drexl F Aug 1886 – Illinois 4 years, 4 months *
Katherine Drexl F Oct 1888 – Kansas 2 years, 2 months
Marie Drexl F Nov 1890 – Kansas 2 years, 1 month
Joseph Peter Drexl M 22 Jan 1893 – Minnesota 2 years, 2 months
Charles Mathias Drexl M 30 Nov 1894 – Minnesota 1 year, 7 months
Frank J Drexl M 16 Sep 1899 – Minnesota 4 years, 10 months *
Anthony John Drexl M 18 Apr 1902 – Minnesota 2 years, 7 months
1st Unknown Drexl ? (Probably about 1884) Bef. 01 Jun 1900
2nd Unknown Drexl ? (Probably about 1896) MN Bef. 01 Jun 1900
3rd Unknown Drexl ? Bef. 1900
4th unknown Drexl ? Bef. 1900

* The age gap between Christina and Francis suggests that one of the missing children was probably born about 1884 about the time of their immigration to the United States. Another gap between Charles and Anthony suggests that another of the missing children was probably born about 1896. The other two would be pure speculation as to possible birth dates.

** The 1900 Census indicates that Nicholas was born in 1881, however, the 1895 Minnesota Census indicates that Nicholas was likely born in 1880. If so that would put the cap between him and Christina 1 year 5 months.

Immigration

The family came to the United States from Germany in 1884 and located in Illinois where Francis was born.[iii]

Move to Kansas

By 1888, they had relocated to Kansas where Kate and Mary were born.[iv]

Another Move – This time to Minnesota

By 1892 the family located to Minnesota.[v] Where they lived until his death in 1929.[vi]

Wright DeCoster Ad

The 1895 Census indicates Frank with Ursula and five children living at 258 Custer Street in Saint Paul’s 6th District, Ramsey County, Minnesota.[vii] This location appears to have been renamed because there is no longer a Custer Street in Saint Paul. However, Frank was working as a Cabinetmaker at De Coster & Clark which was at 375-379 Jackson Street, Saint Paul. Frank worked for them, and Wright De Coster until at least 1926 and probably until his death.

The 1900 Census and 1900 city directory show the family still on Custer Street.[viii]

By 1910 the family had located to 46 East Robie.[ix] Again, that location appears to be gone. It is probably now a baseball field that is part of El Rio Vista Recreational Center.

 

35 Isabel, Saint Paul, MN

By 1920, Frank had purchased a house at 35 West Isabel, Saint Paul.[x] Both Realtor and Zillow dot com indicate the house at 35 West Isabel was built in 2001. However, it appears to be a house much earlier than that.  The 1910s seems quite possible based on the architecture.

Frank Xaver Drexl died on 04 Nov 1929 in Saint Paul, Ramsey County, Minnesota.  I have not been successful in finding a burial location for him.

Further Actions / Follow-up

  • Find Frank Xaver Drexl’s immigration record.
  • Find Frank Xaver Drexl’s Naturalization record.
  • Research Frank Xaver Drexl’s death records.

Endnotes

[i] Based entirely upon other individual’s public trees. See: Ancestry Family Trees, Ancestry.com, M A Heintz Family Tree – Owner: mavendegna. https://www.ancestry.com/family-tree/person/tree/30918613/person/430043963958/facts.

[ii] Ibid.

[iii] 1900 Census (FS), Family Search, Frank Drexl – Saint Paul, Ramsey, Minnesota – Sheet 8. Accessed: 26 July 2016. https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:M93F-NM2.

[iv] Ibid.

[v] Minnesota State Census, 1895, Family Search, Drexl, Frank – St. Paul, Ramsey, Minnesota. Accessed: 27 July 2016.

[vi] Minnesota Death Index, 1908­-2002, Family Search, Frank K. Drexl – 4 Nov 1929. Accessed 18 May 2017. https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:V4H-V­45.

[vii] Minnesota State Census, 1895, Family Search, Drexl, Frank – St. Paul, Ramsey, Minnesota. Accessed: 27 July 2016.

[viii] 1900 Census (FS), Family Search, Frank Drexl – Saint Paul, Ramsey, Minnesota – Sheet 8. Accessed: 26 July 2016. https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:M93F-NM2.

[ix] 1910 Census (FS) (NARA), Family Search, Frank Drexl – St Paul Ward 6, Ramsey, Minnesota, ED 84, Sheet 2B, Line 70. Accessed 18 May 2017. https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:M2PC-18Z.

[x] 1920 Census (FS), Frank Drexel (Drexl) – Saint Paul, Ramsey, Minnesota. Accessed 18 May 2017. https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:MW19-J77.

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