John Montran (c. 1874-bef.1911)

52 Ancestors # 14 – John Montran (c1874-bef. 1911)

John Montran is the most mysterious of my ancestors.  My grandmother, Madonna, never spoke of him and I didn’t have the where-with-all to ask her about him before she passed over. I didn’t know his first name until I received a copy of Donna’s application for a Social Security number.

When Madonna was married in 1911, she listed her father as Robert Montran and indicated that he was deceased. So, I’m not really certain if his name was John Robert or Robert John.

When Madonna’s mother married Max Fisher in 1897, she indicated her name as Ida B Montran Barber and she had been married one time before although reading the entry, the clerk may have written Montrani or possibly Montram.
Assuming that Ida married Montran before Madonna was born, Ida and John were probably married in 1892. I also assume that John was a contemporary of Ida, that is to say about the same age, that would put his birth about 1874.
In 1900, Madonna’s step-father was Max Fisher. He was identified as having been born in Wisconsin and Madonna’s father is identified as having been born in Michigan. In 1910, Madonna’s father was again identified as having been born in Michigan. Because her stepfather at that time, Jos Holdsworth, was born in New York, I am fairly sure that John Montran was born in Michigan.  However, the 1920 Census indicates that Madonna’s father was born in Pennsylvania. Madonna was on the road with the show “Chin Chin” at the time so the information was probably given by her grandmother, Sarah Barber, who may or may not have known for certain Madonna’s father’s birthplace.   Madonna was out of the country for the 1930 census so that census adds nothing additional.In searching a bit more for John Montran, I found that he was father of bride for “Mae Donna Montran” who was married on 24 Nov 1915 to Thomas Valentine Rooney in Waltham, MA.  This was a completely unknown marriage. It is interesting to note that it indicates that this was the first marriage for both. I guess Madonna was thinking it was her first US marriage or else she forgot about her 1911 marriage to Chester Fenyvessey in Canada.

John Montran

Born about 1874, probably in Michigan (possibly Pennsylvania).
Married Ida Barber about 1892, probably in Michigan.
Died before 1911, probably before 1897.

Further Research

Montran is an uncommon surname; so, when I do find something about Montran I get excited to investigate more. For example, in the 1920 San Francisco city directory indicates that a Maude Montran was living there and Maude was the widow of John F Montran. I didn’t find Maude in any earlier city directories or elsewhere.  I certainly can do much more research in this area.  As more and more birth, marriage, and death records, as well as newspapers come on-line I hope to find more about John Montran.

Sources

1900 Census, Ancestry.com, 1900; Manistee Ward 6, Manistee, Michigan; Roll: T623_728; Page: 4A; Enumeration District: 36.
1910 Census, Ancestry.com, 1910; Detroit Ward 7, Wayne, Michigan;
Roll: T624_683; Page: 8A; Enumeration District: 0106; FHL microfilm: 1374696. Holdsworth, Ida – Head,
1920 Census, Ancestry.com, Manhattan Assembly District 13, New York, New York; Roll: T625_1209; Page: 24A; Sarah Barber Head
Form SS-5 – Application for an account number.  Donna Montran Kees
Ontario, Canada Marriages, 1801-1928, Ancestry.com, http://www.Ancestry.com.
Massachusetts, Marriages, 1841-1915 (Massachusetts, State Archives, Boston), Family Search, FHL microfilm 2411236, p 650 no 312. https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/N4XD-X3L.
R.L. Polk & Co., City Directory – San Francisco – 1920 (San Francisco, H.S. Crocker Co, 1920), Internet Archives, Page 1157.

Henry Brown (c. 1843- c. 1888)

52 Ancestors # 13 – William Henry Brown (1842-c. 1888)

Henry Brown is one of the most challenging of my ancestors to follow and figure out. Through the years I have confused him with others on several cases, establishing lines that weren’t correct. There are many researchers that have linked him as the son of Benjamin Brown and Eliza Fowler.  I agreed with that assessment for a long time, however, recently I’ve begun to think he was the son of Barney and Mary Brown. I am hoping that by writing this biography I will be able to solidify in my mind key relationships and provide the mechanism to provide proof for some of my assumptions.  

Biography – William Henry Brown (c. 1843- c. 1888)

With a name as common as Henry Brown, finding the right Henry Brown has always been a challenge.  
W. H. Brown (Henry) and his wife Marion are in the 1885 Census in Jamestown, Stutsman county, Dakota Territories. Their youngest son, Edward, was born in Dakota Territory about 1884  and their youngest daughter, Ada, was born in Michigan about 1882, so it appears they located to Dakota Territory about 1883.  I have been unsuccessful finding anything about Henry or Marion after 1885.  By 1900 their children appear to be scattered throughout the upper midwest with Arthur in Crow Wing county Minnesota, Charles in Montana, Clifford in Wisconsin, Clyde in Wells, ND, and Edward in Kidder county, ND. Tracking their other children may yield further results.  Henry & Marion don’t seem to appear in Find-a-Grave or any of the ND newspapers I’ve been able to search.  They just sort of vanish.
Property that Henry Brown probably rented.
Map courtesy of University of Michigan,
Digital Library Production Services 
The 1880 census shows Henry in Saline, Washtenaw county, Michigan. He was a 37 year-old farmer. With him is Marian and eight of his children, Arthur, Charles, Mary, Ahmond, Clifford, William, Clyde, & Addison. Of interest, his oldest, Nettie, does not appear with them in the 1880 Census, however, she does in the 1885 Dakota Census.  Frederick who shows in the 1885 census shows in the 1880 census as Addison. The 1880 census also indicates that his parents were both from New York.  Also, based upon the 1880 census and the neighbors and the 1870 census and his neighbors then, it appears that he was farming land owned by either Ezra Sanford (uncle of Marion) or possibly property of J. Perry (unknown relationship) as shown in an 1874 map of the Saline Village and area. You can also see that Chester Parson, Marian’s grandfather, owns a lot of the land in the area.
The 1870 census shows Henry in Saline with wife Marian and children Nettie and Arthur, as we would expect. Henry is 25 years old and his wife is 23.  Son Arthur is 7 months old, which confirms the December 1869 birth (Census was taken 2 Aug 1870). Neighbors included William Sanford (Marian’s father) and Peter Trim (P.E. Trim’s Est on the map). 
The 1860 census has long been problematic for me. For a long time I had believed that Henry was with his father Benjamin and mother Eliza (Fowler) in Vernon, Shiawassee county about 60 miles away from Saline.  I often wondered how Henry and Marian could have met — 60 miles is a long ways – but not impossible.  
After more research, I found another candidate for Henry in the 1860 Census in Saline.  17 year-old Henry W Brown shows up in the 1860 census living with Daney  and Mary E Brown. The age and place are right but the parents were born in the wrong states. As I mentioned  before the 1880 census indicates his parents were born in New York.  This 1860 census indicates his father born in New Hampshire and mother in New Jersey. Hummm — Not good. I had initially dismissed this family unit out of hand.  The conflict is mitigated in the 1850 census and find “Daney” as “Barney” and mother Mary born in New York instead of New Jersey. Also, the name of the child Henry W. changes to William H., which puts Henry’s name into the proper order and the W. H. Brown of the 1885 census makes sense. The 1870 Census doen’t show Barney/Daney, however, there is a Mary Brown (born in New York) of the right age living alone. So I think Barney/Daney passed between 1860 and 1970. 
If Henry was the child of Barney/Daney and Marion he would have several siblings, apparently a brother Myron O, sister Alice C, and brother David V.  His paternal grandmother would have been Jane.   
If Henry’s parentage was Barney/Daney and Mary instead of Benjamin and Eliza, he would have been born between July 5th and September 6th, 1842 (He was 8 on 6 Sep 1850 and 17 on 5 Jul 1960.) In 1870 he was 25 and in 1880 census he was 37 in 1885 and those dates I’m sure of.
Returning to the previously assumed Benjamin & Eliza parentage, we would find Henry as 7 years old in 1850 and 16 years old in 1860.  Again this doesn’t reconcile itself with his being 25 and 35 in 1870 and 1880. If correct that would put his birthdate between 15 June and 8 August 1843. 
Now the 1870 enumeration date was 2 August says Henry was 25 and the 1880 enumeration was 9 June and finds Henry as 37. 
So, If I consider the 1870 census incorrect, then the Henry whose childhood was in Saline fits and is the most likely.  
I’d love to hear from anyone who has more information or can otherwise can help me untangle these conflicts. Please feel free to comment below.

Short Bio – William Henry Brown (1842- c 1888)

William Henry Brown (Henry) was born between July 5th and September 6th, 1842 of Barney/Daney and Mary Brown in Saline, Washtenaw county, Michigan; He was the oldest of at least four children. 
By First Presbyterian Church (Saline, Mich.),
Nehemiah P. Stanton [Public domain],
via Wikimedia Commons
He married Marian Sanford about 1866.  They lived in Saline, having at least 10 children there. 
About 1883 they moved to North Dakota and had one more child there. Both he and his wife probably died before 1900. It is unknown where they are buried.

Future Research

Switch William Henry Brown to indicate different/parents in all my records. 
Flesh out the Barney/Daney Brown family unit.
Do a “deep dive” into William Henry Brown.
Sources: 
1850 Census – Barney Brown.
1850 Census – Benjamin Brown.
1860 Census – Daney Brown.
1860 Census – Benjamin Brown.
1870 Census – Saline, Washtenaw, Michigan – Henry Brown.
1880 Census – Saline, Washtenaw, Michigan – Henry Brown.
1885 Census – Dakota Territory, NDSU Archives, Page 44-018. Brown, W. H., et al.
Minnesota, Death Certificate #2215, Arthur D Brown.
University of Michigan’s Digital Library Production Services. – Pictorial History of Ann Arbor – Map of Saline Township. T.P. No. 4 S. Range No. 5 E [plat]; 1874

Bio – Mary Lillian Hobbs (Howell) (1885 – bef 1964)

52 Ancestors # 12 – Mary Lillian Hobbs (Howell) (1885-1964)

Sometimes one simple fact, one vital fact, can be incredibly difficult to trace down. This is the case for the death of Mary Lillian Hobbs Howell. From her husband’s death certificate I’ve learned that she preceded him in death but I have been unable to find her in any of the death records or indexes. I’m not seeing her death on Ancestry, Family Search, Mocavo, Vital Records, Genealogy Bank, or Newspapers.com. Family recollection indicates that died in the Washington, DC area (Virginia, Maryland, or the District).  I’ve contacted several relatives and received several “don’t know” responses. Several others that I’ve attempted to contact have been completely silent (non-responsive to my emails). And sadly enough, when I tried to contact several others that I thought would definitely know for certain, in the process of trying to contact them I learned of their passing.

I recall seeing something once but figured I’d find it again. That perceived missed opportunity has prompted me to use Evernote to help organize and track such findings. I use Chrome as my browser for genealogical work for several reasons. One of them is the very handy plugin, Evernote Web Clipper, which allows you to capture a web page into Evernote with just a couple clicks. Click the button, decide which format you want to save the item in – Usually simplified web for me, but article text, full page, and highlighted text are also options. Decide which folder to put it in and apply any tags to the file as appropriate. I usually put it into my “Action Genea” folder and tag the file with the individual’s name. I can then later go through my “Action Genea” folder, process the information into my Ancestry Family Tree for Mac tree, and then file the record into an appropriate Research folder, in this case it would have been my “Howell-Hobbs” folder.

Using Evernote as the foundation of collecting and organizing my research has revolutionized my work process. If you haven’t tried Evernote, give it a try.

Bio – Mary Lillian Hobs (Howell)

Mary Hobbs
Thanks to Debby Ziegler & Flickr

Mary Lillian Hobbs was born 28 March, 1885 in Hamilton, Martin County, North Carolina. She was the youngest of 10 children born to James Ashley Hobbs and Ann Debora Long.

She grew up in Hamilton and in 1898 her father was elected clerk of court for Martin County so the family moved to the county seat, Williamston. The 1900 census reports living in a house with her father, mother, older brother James Floyd Hobbs and attending school. The 1910 census shows her still at home with her father and mother.

She married James Dallas Howell on April 27th, 1910, in Williamston.

Her mother lived long enough to see her youngest daughter have her first child, James Dallas Howell, Jr. on December 31st, 1911. Her mother died in May 1913. In September, 1913, she gave birth to a second son, Ashley Long.

It must have been a difficult time as her husband was a Baptist minister which caused her to move many times. In 1916, her third son, Frank Armstrong Howell, was born in Brown Marsh, Bladen County. A fourth son, Clarence Fletcher Howell, was born in 1918 in Beulaville, Duplin County.

The 1920 Census reports Mary living in Plymouth, Washington county with her husband and her four sons. Her father died later in the year at Hobgood, Martin county.

Finally, in 1925, while living in Onslow county, she gave birth to a daughter, Mary Elizabeth Howell.

The 1930 Census shows the entire family together, Mary, her Baptist preacher husband, her four sons and one daughter renting a house in Ansonville, Anson County,

Mary Lillian Howell

In the 1940 Census, her husband J. D., as he was often called, was still preaching and their two youngest children, Clarence and Mary Elizabeth were still living with them.

I don’t know when, or even where, Mary Lillian died. It was was before her husband died in 1964. I have been unable to find her in any death indexes not a record of her burial.

This week is the 129th anniversary of her birth; we remember Mary Lillian Hobbs Howell and her life…

Further Research
Determine Mary’s death date and place.
Research more of James Dallas Howell ministry and see if there are any mentions of her in church bulletins, etc.

Sources:
Ancestry.Com – 1900, 1910, 1920, 1930, and 1940 Censuses.
Martin County Heritage published 1980 by The Martin County Historical Society http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/7138421
Maryland, Dept. of Health, Death Certificate, James Dallas Howell – 2 Sep 1979 – 18 Dec 1964
North Carolina, Marriages, 1759-1979, Family Search, J. D. Howell & Mary Lillian Hobbs – Accessed 2013-12-07.

Jane Valentine (1724-1763)

52 Ancestors: #3 – Jane Valentine 

Sometimes a person in your tree exemplifies what you don’t know about someone. The basics just aren’t enough to understand that person’s life.  My sixth great-grandmother Jane Valentine is such a person for me.  I know vitals but very little more about her or her life.
She was born on the 27th of January 1724, probably in Yonkers, Westchester County, New York, although she may have been born in Yorktown Heights, also in Westchester County.  Her parents were Matthias and Anna (Ryche) Valentine. 
Queen Anne Flag
First “national flag” of the colonies
Courtesy: Flags Unlimited

In 1742 she married Reuben Fowler in Scarsdale, Westchester County, New York. 

Various other people’s trees indicate all kinds of things, one person’s tree says she had 17 children, one after she died. Another says she had 21, but there are clearly duplicates of children with the same name and overlapping lives. So I really don’t know how many children she had. I am sure of two, Phoebe and Reuben.  Reuben (Junior) was born to Jane in 1753 at Yorktown, Westchester County, New York, and is my fifth great-grandfather.  
She died in 1763, apparently in Eastchester, Bronx, New York, which is today a neighborhood in northeast Bronx, not to be confused with Eastchester town in Westchester County.  Although, I suspect she may have died Eastchester town and my source got the wrong place as everything else about her life was in Westchester County.  
So, I have the vitals, born 1724, married 1742, Died 1763, but not much else. Her life is clearly one that I need to do much more research on.

I honor and remember Jane Valentine on this, the 289th anniversary of her birth. 

52 Ancestors: #2 – Henry Wolcott

Biography – Henry Wolcott (1611-1680)
The earliest immigrant I’ve been able to find in my family is my 10th great-grandfather, Henry Wolcott. Now, I  know that I have 512 10th great-grandfathers and that Henry is only one of them, but I can’t imagine an ancestor any more illustrious life than Henry.  

Henry was born on January 21, 1610/11.[1] When I learned the date, I wondered why the date seemed unsure. Was it 1610 or 1611. I had seen some other dates like that and had wondered, but with Henry, I had to understand.
I thought about it and recalled my American history and knew that something was weird with the calendar.  For example, I know that George Washington was born on Feb 11, 1731 but we celebrate his birthday as February 22, 1732.[2]
The reason why is that in 1752, England changed from the Julian calendar to the Gregorian calendar. Because they hadn’t been doing leap years correctly the calendar jumped 11 days. So, the day after September 2nd, 1752 was September 14th, 1752.[3]  I’m sure the intent was to further confound genealogists today, the years were shifted as well. I’m not sure I get all the nuances in shifting the dates and years, but the bottom line is that when Henry Wolcott was born the Julian Calendar was in use and the year was 1610, looking back on his life, we users of the Gregorian Calendar would say his was born in 1611.
It is so awesome to find a book about an ancestor’s life. Chandler Wolcott, published a book about Henry’s life in 1875 which is available on Amazon.Com.  Much of the information I have about Henry’s life came from that book.
   
I haven’t had a chance to thoroughly research when Henry came to America, but it was before April, 1634. We know that because, on April 1st, 1634, Henry was “admitted a freeman” by the General Court at Boston (Suffolk County, Massachusetts).  A “freeman” at that time was a person who was given the right to vote because they were over 21, had property worth a certain amount, and fulfilled some other requirements including being adjudged such by the court. When Henry was adjudged a freeman, he was a member of the Dorchester Church. The family, didn’t stay in Dorchester long and in 1636 the family moved to Windsor, Hartford County, Connecticut along with the Congregationalists to get away from the puritans. 
On 18 November 1641 Henry married Sarah Newberry. After 14 months, their first child, Henry, was born. Their third child, Samuel Wolcott, was born in 1647 and died only seven months later, on May 10th. 
In the spring of 1654, it appears that Henry returned to England for business.  
On 30 May, 1655, Henry’s father Henry (senior) died. His mother, Elizabeth Saunders Wolcott died 6 weeks later on 7 July, 1655.  Henry was the oldest living son and received the family land in England as well as Henry senior’s two “Books of Martyrs.”[4]  Henry was also the overseer of the will.
Following the sadness of 1655, my 9th great-grandfather, Samuel was born. Samuel was the first boy child born to the Wolcotts after the death of their other son Samuel and was given his name. Another son, Josiah, was born after that.
Henry entered politics. In 1660, Henry was elected to the House of Delegates. 
Courtesy: Bauman Rare Books
In 1662, Connecticut received a charter from His Majesty, King Charles, II. The document was more than a just charter, it was a constitution. It was the first constitution in the colonies and gave the colonists many rights including the right to hold popular elections.  It also provided for checks and balances of the government. Another action was forcing the New Haven colony to become part of the Connecticut colony.  Had that not occurred, who knows, there might be a state of New Haven today – Possibly three little states in a line, Connecticut, New Haven and Rhode Island.  In that original charter document Henry Wilcox is one of the nineteen people identified  as one of the appointed founders of the colony. 
The 1662 Charter of Connecticut is an extremely important document, so much so that Connecticut is know as the “Constitution State.” So, when ever I see a Connecticut license plate that says “Constitution State” I will think of my 10th Great-grandfather, Henry Wilcox and remember our family was a big part of Connecticut history.
Henry Wilcox served Connecticut in the House of Magistrates from its founding in 1662 until his death, 12 July, 1680.
I haven’t had time to check or verify other ancestors of the Wolcott family.  I have seen on the Internet that Sir. John Wolcott was mayor of London in 1403 is an ancestor and that another Sir John Wolcott, of Wales in the 11th century may be our earliest known ancestor.
Because of our family’s relationship to Henry Wilcox, there are several lineage societies that we may be eligible to join including:

Daughters of the American Colonists (Females only)
Order of First Families in Connecticut 
Society of the Descendants of the Founders of Hartford (Probably not. I think this is for Hartford only and not Hartford County.)

I have much more research to do on Henry Wolcott and the Wolcott line. His life alone could be the subject of a complete book. 

Our Great Lineage:

Arthur Durwood Brown’s mother was
Marion Sanford, whose mother was
Mary E. Parsons, whose father was 
Chester Parsons, whose mother was 
Mary Wolcott, whose father was 
Samuel Wolcott, whose father was also
Samuel Wolcott, whose father was also
Samuel Wolcott, whose father was also 
Samuel Wolcott, (yup, four of them in a row) whose father was
Henry Wilcott 

Footnotes:

[1] The Family of HENRY WOLCOTT by Chandler Wolcott  is available on Amazon.
[2] Confirmed on the National Archives website, http://www.archives.gov/legislative/features/washington/
[4] The Book of Martyrs: A History of the Lives, Sufferings, and Deaths of the Early Christian and Protestant Martyrs by John Foxe was an extremely important book in its day.  It is still a classic and highly recommended for Protestants who wish to know about early Christian and Protestant history.