This week, I learned of two new venues, specific dates for a previously known show, and one venue confirmed by another newspaper. I made these new discoveries using Genealogy Bank. A Search for Donna Montran found four new articles. One article confirmed a venue I wrote about before—Pacy’s Garden Theatre on September 14-17, 1920. The Baltimore American dated Sep 14, 1920, on page 5 said:
Bathing Girls at Garden.
Nine bathing girls, grouped as “The California Bathing Girls” and headed by Donna Montran are presenting “A Beach Promenade,” a musical comedy, at the Garden Theatre this week. The offering differs from the usual bathing-girl act in that it is not a series of tableaux, but is an ambitious musical comedy offering with six beach scenes and a number of tuneful melodies.
The Bijou – New Haven, Connecticut – 19-22 December 1920.
The Connecticut Labor Press (New Haven, CT) for Dec 18, 1920, said that:
George Walsh in “The Plunger,” and “The Dragon’s Net” will remain for the first half of the week in conjunction with a remarkable bill of all-star vaudeville headed by Donna Montran and her Bathing Beauties.
From the Donna Darling Collection, (DDC-8) I had known that Donna played at the Bijou in New Haven sometime in November or December of 1920. An ad on this page showed it was Sunday, Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday (19-22 December).
State Theatre – Trenton, New Jersey – 3-5 March 1921
The latter part of Donna’s 1920-1921 Bathing Beauty Show has always been a mystery. I knew she played the Keeney Theatre in Brooklyn at the end of January and that she closed the show in May or June for the summer, but I knew nothing of February, March, April, or May. Thanks to the Trenton Evening Times, dated March 3, 1921, on page 16 I learned that she played the State Theatre, in Trenton, New Jersey in “Tom Rooney’s and Earl Lindsay’s California Bathing Girls.”
Garden Theatre – Baltimore, Maryland – 20 March 1921
The Baltimore Sun ran an advertisement for “The California Bathing Girls with Donna Montran in “A Beach Promenade” on March 20, 1921. This was a return to the Garden Theatre for Donna with the same show six months after her earlier show. Still not sure how many days she was there, but further research should provide the answer.
According to Forebears, the surname “Beardsley” is a derivation of “Bardsley,” which was derived from being from a place, ‘of Bardsley.’ Bardsley is a parish between Ashton and Oldham, near Manchester. The American Bardsleys, and all the North English Bardsleys, and perhaps all the Beardsleys, hail from the Lancashire parish[i].
Ancestry suggests the name may be based upon an unidentified place, possibly in Nottinghamshire, where the surname is particularly common[ii].
Of course, I need to see things in order to understand the relationships of locations in England. Using Google Maps, I learned that Forebears puts the Beardsleys up near Manchester and Ancestry suggests a location 60 miles southeast of Manchester. Oddly enouth, my Beardsley are from Ilkeston and Stratford-upon-Avon (50 and 90 miles from Manchester).
Locations of Beardsleys based on Forebears and Ancestry are in Gray and the locations of my wife’s Beardsley ancestors births.
It seems odd to me that William and his son were born so far apart. It makes me wonder if my data regarding their birthplaces is incorrect. Additionally, I’m relying mostly upon the research of others for those specific locations (sources I’ve found only say they were born in England). In any event, I haven’t had a chance to research these individuals in depth yet. However, the Interregnum may explain the relocation.
Worldwide there are approximately 12,390 people who bear the Beardsley surname.
It is most prevalent in the United State where over three-quarters of the people with the Beardsley surname live. Little Montserrat (a small island in the Lesser Antilles has the highest density of Beardsleys with 1 in 1,220 people having the surname.
Earliest Beardsley Ancestors
My wife’s ninth-great-grandfather, William Beardsley was born about 1604 in Stratford-on-Avon, Warwickshire, England. I, of course, like to imagine that young William Beardsley was named for William Shakespheare, a contemporary of the town of Stratford on Avon. Likewise, little William was about 12-years-old when Shakespeare died, so I speculate that William had seen, or at least knew of Shakespeare. William moved to Ilkeston, Darbyshire, England sometime before 1630 where he married Marie Harvie.
There, he had a son, Joseph Beardsley, who was born in Ilkeston, Darbyshire, England in 1635.
It was sometime before 1665 that William, Marie, and Joseph located to the Colonies and settled in Stratford, Fairfield County, Connecticut.
The Interregnum of England took place from 1649 to 1660. (The between the execution of Charles I and the arrival of Charles II and the start of the Restoration[iii]. It was the time of Oliver Cromwell. More research is needed to know if they arrived in the Colonies before during, or after the Interregnum. In any event, it was a time of great upheaval in England and that chaos might have been the cause for leaving England for the new world.
So, both William and Joseph were immigrant ancestors from England.
Joseph married Abigail Phebe Dayton in Connecticut in 1665. They had a daughter, Hannah Beardsley, who is my wife’s seventh-great-grandmother.
My wife’s direct Beardsley ancestors:
Grandfather: Robert Harry Darling (1905-1969)
Great-grandfather: Rufus Harry Darling (1857-1917)
3nd Great-grandmother: Elizabeth Jane Swayze (1818-1896)
Probate records are wonderful when you can find them as they provide so much detail and texture about an individual’s life. I just loved learning that Timothy Munsell‘s family spent a dollar (6 shillings) for “Spirits.” I also learned the things he had that were of importance. Apparently, no horse but he did have two hogs.
Ancestry.Com is a great resource for Wills and Probate Records. These images come from “Connecticut, Wills and Probate Records, 1609-1999” original data from “Connecticut County, District and Probate Courts.” For all the images and higher quality images see Ancestry.Com. (You must have Ancestry account or be using a library account to access.)
I have often wonder how money worked in the post-colonial period. I know originally there were 20 shillings in a pound, but the old pounds and shillings worked in comparison with dollars. I’ve read many descriptions that read like a technical journal – “how many grains or grams were in something….” I knew that the early Americans had to have a simple system for day-to-day conversion, but it eluded me until I looked at the probate record of Timothy Munsell. In the records, there was a list of expenses done in pounds, shillings, and pence and the receipts for payment were done in dollars. Building the casket cost 2 dollars, but was entered as 12 shillings in the ledger. Likewise, digging the grave cost one dollar, but was entered as 6 shillings in the ledger. Simple. No more confusion on my part. It is clear, from looking at the ledger, that a pound is 20 shillings and 12 pence makes a shilling. Again simple.
However, with genealogy, when one thing becomes clear, often something else leaps up and confuses me. In this case, there was an expense for “spirits.” I just don’t understand enough about 18th-century burial practices to know what this really means. Was this the cost of the process to clean and wrap the body and prepare the spirit for its journey? Or was this payment for the booze for a spirited party following the burial? Either seems possible, but I suspect it was the latter. However, a dollar (6 shillings) doesn’t seem like that much of a party, even in 1798 money. I would love to hear from anyone that had a definitive source for my understanding this conflict.
The Munsell surname is also spelled Munsill, Monsell, and, sometimes, Maunsell. Regardless of record, I have standardized on the Munsell spelling.
Timothy Munsell was born on 24 Nov 1745 to John and Mary (unknown) Munsell.[i]
Nothing is known of Timothy’s childhood.
Timothy married Eleshiba Smith on 11 Feb 1768 in Lyme, New London, Connecticut Colony.[ii]
There is some confusion regarding the children of Timothy and Eleshiba, their number and their birthdates. I have settled upon the following:
NAME Birth Comments
William Wescott Munsell 24 Jan 1770
James Munsell 28 Jun 1773
Anna Munsell 07 Sep 1775
Timothy Munsell 16 Apr 1778
Sally Ann Munsell 1780 3rd Great Grandmother
James Andross Munsell 09 Jul 1781
Thomas Munsell 1784 “Supposed son”
I suspect that James (b. 1773) probably died before 1781 thus freeing up the given name of James for James Andross in 1781. James Andross was also known as Andress, Andrus, and Andrew Munsell so it may be that James for James Andross was a confusion in some records. Further investigation is needed to clear up that question.
Some records indicate that Timothy Munsell may have served during the Revolutionary War as a private for Connecticut. However, The Daughters of the American Revolution have provided notice for ancestor #A082980 which states: THIS LINE MAY NOT BE USED FOR MEMBERSHIP IN THE DAR. It appears there were two Timothy Munsells in Lyme, CT, during the revolutionary war. One was born in 1735 and appears to have served while our Timothy Munsell was born in 1748 and did not serve.
Timothy Munsell died on 26 Oct 1798 in Lyme, New London County, Connecticut.
He was buried before 12 November 1798 in Lyme, New London County, Connecticut.[iii]
His burial cost $2 for the casket, $1 to dig the grave, and $1 for the spirits. [iv]
His land was appraised at £3. His personal property was valued at £12. His wearing apparel was the most valuable, worth £2 12s. His bed and bedding, valued at £2 10s, and a hogg, valued at £1, 17s, 6p, were the top valued items of personal property.[v]
I currently have 23 individuals with the surname Munsell identified and 69 known direct descendants of Timothy and Eleshiba (Smith) Munsell.
Looking at Ancestry DNA, I viewed Shirley’s closest DNA Matches that have trees with the Munsell surname and found the following cousins.
W1 – Shares 61 cM – Common Ancestor Abner and Sally Anne (Munsell) Darling.
M0 – Shares 31 cM – Common Ancestor – Unknown ancestor of William J Munsell?
GS – Shares 25 cM – Common Ancestor Abner and Sally Anne (Munsell) Darling.
SM – Shares 24 cM – Conflict. Sally Ann Munsel with the spouse of Warren Darling.
(Note: For privacy concerns, I only use initials of individuals matched.
Further Actions / Follow-up
Follow-up on children of Timothy Munsell. Did he have two children named James? If so, did the first James died before the second James was born?
Learn why Timothy Munsell is no longer accepted as Revolutionary War Ancestor. It appears to relate somehow to John Munsell b. 7-16-1735 Lyme, CT, d. 7-17-1819.[vi]
Follow and document the Ancestry DNA descendant lines resolve any conflicts and add linkage into William J. Munsell’s ancestry.