DNA Doesn’t Lie – John Montran

Brown-Montran Line
By Don Taylor

Photo of Don Taylor with cat Nasi.For a few years, I’ve hypothesized that my great-grandfather, John F. Montran and John Foster Montran were the same person.

I have been unable to find a record of John F. Montran and my great-grandmother, Ida Mae Barber marrying in 1892. My grandmother was born in 1893 with the name Donna Montran and when Ida remarried in 1897 to Max Fisher she indicated her surname was Montran and that she was married once before. So, I believe John Montran and Ida were married about 1892.  Donna indicated in 1911 that her father was dead. Certainly, John F. Montran doesn’t seem to exist anytime in the 20th century. I have found no records for John F. Montran after my grandmother’s birth in 1893.

John Foster Montran married Maude Minnie Winter in 1894. I have found no records for John Foster Montran before 1894. He had two children with Maude, Thelma M. Montran and Ruth Grace Montran, in 1895 and 1897 respectively. In the 1900 Census, Maude is listed as a widow and John appears nowhere else.

  • 1892 – John Montran married Ida
  • 1893 – Donna was born.
  • 1894 – John and Ida separate.
  • 1894 – John married Maude Minnie Winter
  • 1895 – Thelma is born.
  • 1897 – Ruth is born.
  • 1898-1900 John dies.
  • 1911 – Donna indicates her father, John Montran, was dead.

All the parts appeared to fit. The locations weren’t too far off. Donna indicated her father was born in Pennsylvania but had lived in Canada. Maude indicated her husband was born in Canada, but Maude and (her) John married in Pennsylvania.

DNA image by Caroline Davis2010 via Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

I figured that DNA testing would prove the two John Montrans were one. I began researching the descendants of John and Maude (Winter) Montran. In 2015, I found a living descendant, I’ll call Sue[i]. I contacted her and asked if she would be interested in doing a DNA Test. The results should prove my hypothesis that the two John’s were the same person. She wasn’t interested in testing then, but maybe sometime.

I continued searching and finally found another descendant of John and Maude (Winter) Montran, I call him James[ii]. I contacted him, and learned he wasn’t interested in testing either.

I continued searching but didn’t find any additional living descendants of John and Maude and I set the project aside for a while.

It had been nearly two years since I had contacted Sue, so I thought I’d follow-up with her and see if she was interested in testing now.  She replied that she had tested with 23 and Me and had her results.  My mother tested with 23 and Me several years ago. My mother and Sue should show as a match. If my hypothesis is correct, they would be half first cousins, once removed. No match on 23 & Me. When you look for matches on 23 & Me, the page says, “Note: your anonymous matches have been opted out of DNA Relatives and are no longer visible within the tool.”  I thought, maybe Sue opted out of DNA Relatives. I asked her to double check her settings. She responded that she opted in to DNA Relatives the day before. She also shared her results with me.  Again, nothing, nada.

Using Blaine Bettenger’s “Shared cM Project 3.0 tool v4,” I could see that half first cousins, once removed (1C1R) should share 226cM of DNA. And that the range seen for half-1C1Rs was from 57 to 530.  I even decreased the match criteria from the usual 7cm segment match required to only 4cM segment match and still no match with Sue.

Of course, it is possible that there was a non-paternal event that caused these DNA results, and it is always good to keep an open mind.  However, these results prove to my satisfaction that my great-grandfather, John F. Montran, and the John Foster Montran who married Maude Minnie Winter were two different people.

Further Actions / Follow-up

  • Separate John F and John Foster in all my records and notional work and indicate that they were definitely different individuals.


————–  Disclaimer  ————–

Endnotes

[i] Surnames are removed from living individuals. First Names used may or may not be the same as the living individual’s name.

[ii] Ibid.

My Male Ancestors – Birth, Death, and Age at Death

Brown/Montran Research
Roberts/Barnes Research

One of the reasons that I enjoy Randy Seaver’s blog, Genea-Musings is that he regularly makes me realize the missing branches I have in my tree leaves have lots more to do on my tree.  His recent “Saturday Night Genealogy Fun” asked folks to look at their tree and determine the age of death for their male ancestors. (He had done a similar thing for female ancestors the week before.)

Using Heredis, it is really simple to generate such a report. I clicked on myself, then clicked on Documents/Ancestor Report and the system generated the data. Then I went to Report Export, I selected Excel from several options.  After the information exported, the Excel spreadsheet opened automatically.

Because the ahnentafel numbers for the individuals are exported, it is easy to select just the male ancestors by deleting all of the odd numbers. I immediately saw that my 3rd great-grandfather, Enoch Mannin, lived the longest – 88 years. The ancestor who died the earliest was my great-grandfather Hugh Ellis Roberts, who died at an extremely young 24 years of age.

Next, I began seeing my gaps.  I have three people with a range of dates for their life.  For example, my great-grandfather John F. Montran was born sometime between 1860 and 1875 and died sometime before 1911. So, he could have died at 35 or died at 51 years or anywhere in between; I don’t know.

Then, I realized I have six ancestors for whom I have no death dates. More work.

Finally, I realized I have nine ancestors in the past five generations that I know nothing about.  No names, let alone birth or death dates. So, Randy’s challenge reminded me of how much more work I still have to do. But the good news is that I have 11 of my male ancestors identified as to their age at death. Even better, I have eight more this year than I would have had last year (all of my Roberts line.).  I even have one more than I would have had last week, So things are definitely looking up.

Chart of Male Ancestors, Dates of Birth and Death

Ahn. #
Surname
Birth Date
Death Date
Age at Death
Father
2
Hugh Eugene  Roberts
° 9/1926
† 27/3/1997
70
Grandfathers
4
Bert Allen  Roberts
° 7/9/1903
† 1/5/1949
45
6
Richard Earl  Brown
° 14/9/1903
† 19/1/1990
86
Great-Grandfathers
8
Hugh Ellis  Roberts
° 2/7/1884
† 30/8/1908
24
10
Joel Clinton Barnes
° 23/6/1857
† 30/6/1921
64
12
Arthur Durwood  Brown
° ~ 1864
† 27/8/1928
~ 64
14
John F  Montran
° <> 1860 & 1875
† < 1911
< 35
2nd Great-Grandfathers
16
Asa Ellis Roberts
° 28/2/1835
† 8/10/1887
52
18
Samuel Vaden Scott
° 1860
† 1931
71
20
Nelson Barnes
° 24/3/1816
† 21/2/1884
67
22
Nimrod Lister
° <> 1824 & 1827
† < 1909
< 82
24
William Henry Brown
° 1842
26
John William  Manning
° ~ 1845
† 25/4/1888
~ 43
28
Unknown (Montran)
30
Franklin E  Barber
° 10/1836
† 7/4/1917
80
Third Great-Grandfathers
32
John Calvin Roberts
° 3/3/1795
† 4/1873
78
34
Unknown Marshall
36
William H. Scott
38
Adrico J. Haley
40
Unknown (Barnes)
42
Unknown
44
Unknown (Lister)
46
Unknown
48
Barney Brown
° ~ 1814
† <> 1860 & 1870
<> 46 & 55
50
William M  Sanford
° ~ 1822
52
Enoch  Mannin
° 1819
† 7/4/1907
88
54
Unknown
56
Unknown (Montran)
58
Unknown
60
Unknown (Barber)
62
Stephen  Blackhurst
° ~ 1804
† 24/12/1869
~ 65
———-  DISCLAIMER  ———-

 

Sarah H Blackhurst Barber (1848-unk) – My Most Recent Immigrant Ancestor

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun

Montran/Barber/Blackhurst

Sarah B Blackhurst is my most recent immigrant ancestor. Sarah was born in England, most likely in Sheffield, Yorkshire, about 1848 (I think Dec 1847). I use the 1900 Census for the basis of birthdates because it indicates the month and year of a person’s birth in addition to his or her age. In Sarah’s case, the Census reports her birth as Dec 1867 but her age as 42, which would place her as born in 1857[i]. Consequently, I only pull the month of her birth from the 1900 Census. I then use the 1850 Census, in which she is two years old, and derive a  birth date of December 1847[ii].

The 1920 Census shows Sarah Blackhurst Barber’s arrival in 1850.
The 1850 Census also indicates that she was born in England and living in Detroit at the age 2 indicating an arrival before June 1850.  Additionally, the 1920 Census indicates the date of her arrival as 1850[iii], so, I’m fairly sure of that she arrived in 1850.  I haven’t found the family arriving in the United States in any immigration documents, so far but will continue searching.
Seventy-year-old Sarah is enumerated in the 1920 Census living in Manhattan, New York, New York[iv]. I have been unsuccessful finding a death record for Sarah thus far.

Further Action:

Find Sarah and family in immigration documents.

Endnotes

[i] 1900 Census (National Archives and Records Administration), Ancestry, http://www.Ancestry.com, Year: 1900; Census Place: Detroit Ward 4, Wayne, Michigan; Roll: T623_748; Page: 13B; Enumeration District: 36.
[ii] 1850 United States Federal Census, Family Search, Stephen Blackhurst – Auburn county, ward 4, Cayuga, New York, United States; citing family 1389, NARA microfilm publication M432 (Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.). Accessed 24 November 2015. https://beta.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:MCT2-GRX.
[iii] 1920 Census, Ancestry, http://www.Ancestry.com, Manhattan Assembly District 13, New York, New York; Roll: T625_1209; Page: 24A; Enumeration District: 958;
[iv] 1920 Census, Ancestry, http://www.Ancestry.com, Manhattan Assembly District 13, New York, New York; Roll: T625_1209; Page: 24A; Enumeration District: 958; Image:.
Randall J. Seaver, in his blog Genea-Musings, suggested this topic.

————-  DISCLAIMER  ————-

Road Trip & [Clifford] Dick Brown in Corozal, Canal Zone, Panama.

I have never been on a genealogical research trip.  Certainly, I’ve had a desire to go to the
Family History Center in Salt Lake City, the Allen County Public Library in Fort Wayne, Indiana, and the
National Archives in Washington DC, but until now, I’ve never had a compelling reason for such a
trip.
It all started with a photo.  When my great aunt passed away, my 1st
cousin, once removed, (Beverly) received a large number of photos that my great
grandmother had. Within that set of photos was one of my grandfather as a young
man, part of a basketball team.  A photo I had never seen, nor had my cousin until she received the package.
1928 Corozal (Panama Canal Zone) Basketball Champions
Source: Family photos from either Dick Brown or Mary Manning Brown.  
It is clearly a military basketball team and Grandpa Dick was part of that team — The Corozal 1928 Champions. That begged the question where was Corozal.  A Google search found several Corozals;
however, the one in the Canal Zone, Panama was the obvious location.  First of all, there was an Army post there and
second, family history and other research indicated that my grandparents, Donna
& Dick, had met in Panama City, Panama.  I’ve always wondered if Dick and Donna got together after his military service or if Donna took another trip to Panama that I don’t know of. (She is known to have been in Panama in 1930 but my mother was conceived in 1931.)
I tried to find Dick’s military records before and
learned they were, apparently, lost in the disastrous 1973 fire at the National
Personnel Records Center. Legends about my grandfather Dick abound regarding
him possibly being in Military Intelligence, about his changing his name while
in the service because of his being some kind of spy and that his surname of
Durand came from that time. There are also stories that his first name change came from his military service, but I don’t believe that to be the case.  In either event, I thought
that without his service record we’d probably never know the truth.
It looks like I may be wrong.  The National Archives has “RECORDS OF U.S.
ARMY COMMANDS IN PANAMA 
1915-40” and 49 linear feet of those
records.  Now I expect that the vast majority
of the records are General correspondence, Reports, bulletins, circulars, and
information about the Canal, however, there is one part of the records that
contains General correspondence and orders of Corozal, 1917-39.  Maybe I’ll learn what years Dick was in Panama. 
Wow!  I now know my
grandfather was in Panama in 1928 and in 1931 and that he was, at least, in
Corozal in 1928 and probably there for the entire three years and there are
many records regarding orders and information about the command. I just need to
get to the National Archives to fill in lots of the details of his life there.
Photo of the National Archives II, College Park, MD, By National Archives and Records Administration (The National Archives at College Park, Maryland) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
National Archives, College Park, MD
The National Archives in College Park, MD appears to be the
repository for 1,188 still pictures. Maybe there are photos of his basketball team
from other years.  I know my grandfather
played baseball in later years and was, or so they say, really good.  Maybe there are team photos of him as well.
I’m excited. I just can’t believe there won’t be something in the over 3,500
cubic feet of information at the Archives (Washington & College Park) that
will shed light upon this time in his life and upon his military service. 
I’m excited to plan a trip. 
I can go to the National Archives I can spend the day, maybe two or three (taking the shuttle to College Park one of those days) and my
wife can spend her time at the National Gallery only a block away.  

100 Years Ago – Ida Mae Barber Knight – (1873-1953)


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23 December 1914 – Ida Mae Barber Knight

Ida Mae Barber Knight

One hundred years ago Ida Mae Barber (Montran) (Fisher) (Holdsworth) Knight was living with her husband, Harvey Watson Knight, in their new home on Lawndale Avenue in Detroit, Michigan. At the time it was 628 Lawndale[1]. In 1923, Ida’s daughter Madonna (Donna), registered a song “Beautiful Mother of Mine” and indicted her home address as 1456 Lawndale. At first I thought this was very confusing, that Harvey and Ida would move eight blocks away on the same street. Then, when I looked at their neighbors, I saw that many of the neighbors also moved the eight blocks with them[2]. That made me realize that the street was renumbered sometime between Feb 1920 (Census Date which said 628 Lawndale) and Feb 1923 (Donna’s song registration which said 1456 Lawndale.)

The Knight household in 1914 consisted of Ida and her husband Harvey. Ida’s daughter from a previous marriage(?), Madonna (aka Donna), was in California working in the movies and working as a Mack Sennett bathing beauty. Ida’s father, Franklin, had died previously. Harvey’s parents are believed to still be in Chatham, Kent, Ontario, Canada. (There is no evidence that I have found that puts them anywhere else.) Ida’s Mother, Sarah H Blackhurst (Barber) had been living at 1419 Clay Avenue in 1910 with Ida, Madonna, and “Boarder” Harvey Knight. According to the 1920 Census, Sarah was living in Manhattan with Madonna who was on the road in a Vaudeville act. So in 1914, it is possible that Sarah was living eight miles away from Ida on Clay Ave or possibly living with Ida and Harvey on Lawndale. Ida’s sister, Eva Louisa Barber Goff, was probably living with her husband and daughter, about three and a half miles away on 15th Street.

Harvey Watson Knight’s
WWI Draft Registration
Thanks to Ancestry.Com and the
National Archives and Records Administration.

It doesn’t appear that the 40-year-old Ida worked outside of the home and is presumed to have been a housewife. Her husband, Harvey, was an engineer. In 1914 he probably worked for Ireland Matthews at Beard & Chatfield Aves., which is about 1 mile away. (He was working there in 1917 for certain – See WWI Draft Registration.) Today, that site is the location of the Roberto Clemente Academy a Pre-K to 5th grade which was built in 2001[3].

Of course the international news of the day was about the war in Europe. On this date, 23 December 1914, was the beginning of the now famous “Christmas Truce.” A German soldier, Karl Aldag, reported that both sides had been heard singing hymns in the trenches. German troops coming into the lines bring Christmas trees. Some men begin to place them on the parapets of the fire trenches. Local truce on the front of 23rd Brigade.[4]

Nationally, the country was still talking about the Boston Braves. A newspaper article in the New York Tribune on December 20th described how mid-season trades made by Boston Braves manager George Stallings helped the team move from last place to first place. According to Wikipedia, the 1914 Braves are the only team to have been in last place on the 4th of July and go on to win the pennant. The Braves continued on to be the first team to sweep the modern World Series. In 1953 the Boston Braves moved to Milwaukee.

Detroit Front” by W. G. MacFarlane – Postcard.
W.G. MacFarlane, Publisher, Buffalo, N.Y. Toronto.
Scanned Postcard, dated 1914.
Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons.

The Detroit Tigers finished 4th in the American League in 1914; however, their famous outfielder, Tyrus Raymond “Ty” Cobb, took the batting title with a .368 season. Movie goers were anticipating the release of Mary Pickford’s “Cinderella” The Campus Martius Park was opened. See Photo on right.

Also in 1914 Detroit the “inter urban” cars of the Detroit, Almont, Northern R. R., which linked Detroit with Almont, about 50 miles to the north began service.

Endnotes
[1] 1920 Census, Ancestry.com, 1920; Detroit Ward 20, Wayne, Michigan; Roll: T625_812; Page: 19B; Enumeration
District: 613; Image:. Harvey Knight

[2] 1930
Census, Ancestry.com, Year: 1930; Census Place:
Detroit, Wayne, Michigan; Roll: 1061; Page: 11A; Enumeration District: 0716;
Image: 77.0; FHL microfilm: 2340796.
[3] See
it to believe it Detroit Public Schools http://detroitk12.org/schools/clemente/
.
[4] “The
Christmas Truce of 1914” – http://www.1914-1918.net/truce.htm

————Disclaimer ————-