Donna Darling Collection – Part 53

Shamokin – Donna appears after “Baby Marie Osborne”

Treasure Chest Thursday

By Don Taylor

Photo of Don Taylor with cat Nasi.For this week’s Treasure Chest Tuesday, I’m looking at a page from the Donna Darling Collection. The page includes two articles, one newspaper banner, and five tiny clips.

The two articles both appear to be from the Shamokin Daily News, Friday, February 10, 1922, but they might be a day apart.



This article talks about “Baby Marie Osborne,” at length, before it begins to talk about Donna or any of the other shows. The section about Donna reads,

“Miss Donna Darling, former musical comedy star, who is appearing on the Keith bill at the Strand the last three days of the week, has one of the most appealing and enjoyable musical and dancing acts seen here this season. Miss Darling is all that her name implies in appearance and ability and is supported by two talented young men, both of whom are gifted dancers and vocalists. The stage settings are among the most elaborate seen here this winter while Miss Darling’s vocal selections appeal to people of all ages.”

The “last three days of the week,” in this case, means February 9th, 10th, and 11th.

A second article,



also talks about Baby Marie Osborne before mentioning Donna. The Donna part reads,

“Another widely known star of the stage appearing on the same program is Miss Donna Darling, former musical comedy star and who is now on the Keith circuit in a high class vaudeville revue I which she is most popular as well as pleasing.”

With Donna at the Strand are

  • Baby Marie Osborne
  • Frank Markey (the “Banjo Boy”)
  • Coogan and Casey (Song act)
  • Crumley and Jones (Comedians)

Along with the two larger articles on the page are five small clippings, some of which are cut off (I use the symbol of “}|” to indicate the place where the image was cut off.)

ELMIRA (First Half) – Jean & White – Hunniford – Donna Darling Co.—Manuel Romaine Co.—At the Party.

ITHACA (Second Half)—Homer Romaine—Peel & Corvan—Donna Darling Co.—Gobson & Price—At the Party.

(First Half)—Crowden’s }|
&Casey—Alf Grant—Don}|

(First Half)—Hunniford—Harr}|
mings—Donna Darling Boys—Co}|
—Murray Kissen Co.

NEW CASTLE (Second Half)—Polli Cassi Co.—Hunniford—Ahern & Peterson{|
Donna Darling Co.


I have long known that Donna played in Elmira the January 28th thru 31st, 1922.

I knew she played in Ithaca on Feb 2nd. The “Second Half” would indicate that she was in Ithaca on February 2nd thru the 4th. That added two new days to my schedule for Donna.

I have known that Donna played in Olean Feb 13-15, which would be the first half of that week.

I have never had a record of Donna playing in Wheeling. The clipping’s placement seems to be between Olean, NY, and New Castle, PA. The first half of the week following Olean would be February 20, 21, & 22. The rest of that week would be 23, 24, and 25, February for her to have been in New Castle, PA.

So, thanks to this page of the Donna Darling Collection, I learned of two new venues for Donna’s schedule.

  • Feb 9-11, 1922 – Shamokin, PA – The Strand – Donna Darling
  • Feb 20-22, 1922 – Wheeling WV – Unknown Theatre – Donna Darling Boys


Donna Darling Collection – Image SCAN0087.

Donna in the News – New July 8th 2019

“Donna in the News” is my reporting of newly found newspapers articles and advertising regarding my grandmother, Madonna Montran (aka Donna Montran and aka Donna Darling). I am always excited when I find a new venue for my grandmother’s exciting show business career of the 1910s and 1920s. 

This week I received a notification from that I had 36 new hits on my alerts – 15 from “Montran,” 15 from “Walter Wills” (which suggests “Chin Chin”), and 6 from “Dona/Donna Darling” from seven different newspapers dated between 3 May 1920 and 5 March 1928.

The articles related to six shows during her career.  Four of the shows I had previously in my list of Donna’s performances. They were:

  • Lyceum Theatre, Paterson, PA – May 7 -8 1920 – “Chin Chin.”
  • Colonial Theatre, Lancaster, PA – April 17, 18, & 19, 1922 – “Special Easter Show.”
  • Grand Theatre, Saint Louis, MO – July 7-9, 1923 – Donna Darling show.
  • Majestic Concerts – Brooklyn, NY – Mar 5, 1928 – Donna Darling and Somory [sic] Clark in “The Princess and the King.”
Can anyone translate?

Adding more clippings to what I already had is always good.  However, what is particularly cool about the Grand Theatre clipping is that the newspaper that speaks of Donna is written in German. I don’t know what it says.  I tried OCRing the words and transcribing the text to no avail. All I really know is that the article mentions “Donna Darling” and was published during the week Donna was in Saint Louis, Mo.  Hopefully, someone who reads German and German font will help me out.

The other two venues were new to me.

  • Fulton Opera House, Lancaster, PA May 29, 1920 – Chin Chin
  • Keeney’s Theatre – Brooklyn, NY – Aug 1921, Donna Montran.

So, I’ve been able to add two new shows that Donna was a part of. I will add All of these clippings to future venue writeups.

Have a great week.

Ancestor Sketch – William Cameron Bradley

Bradley-Hingston Project
Bradley Line
By Don Taylor

Photo of Don Taylor with cat Nasi.It is often difficult to keep track of individuals with the same name. In the case of William Cameron Bradley, there were two William C. Bradley’s that lived in Philadelphia at the same time and two other William Bradleys that were born the same year as the William Bradley of interest in this research.

One method I use to help keep individuals straight is to use the “Notes” section for a person to remind me of those different people. For example, for my William Cameron Bradley I added the following:

         Do not confuse with William Bradley (b. 1839), father of Harry Bradley of Venango, PA.

         Do Not confuse with William Bradley (b. 1839) who died 11 Apr 1899 in Philadelphia, PA.

As I was researching, the notes remind me of ways to keep focused on the person I am researching.

Bradley-Hingston-2019 – BH #8

List of Grandparents

  • Grandfather: Arthur Wilson Bradley (1887-1938)
  • 1st Great-grandfather: William Cameron Bradley (1839-1901)
  • 2nd Great-grandfather: Joshua Bradley (1809-1874)

William Cameron Bradley (1839-1901)

William Cameron Bradley was born on 26 July 1839, just a few days after the start of the First Anglo-Afghan War when British forces captured the fortress city of Ghazni, Afghanistan. He was the oldest of four known children of Joshua and Margaret (Cameron) Bradley.

During the 1840 Census, he appears to have been living with his parents in Spring Garden, Philadelphia, PA. His father was working in the manufacturing and trades industry.

During the 1850 Census, his father is identified as a “machinist.” Two of his siblings had been born. I note that there is a five-year gap between William and his brother John, so there may be an unknown missing child born in 1841 or 1842. In any event, the family of five was still living in Spring Garden, Philadelphia, PA.

Young adult

During the 1860 Census, he was still living with his parents, three siblings and a woman, Sallie Carr, whose relationship to the Bradley’s is unknown at this time.  Joshua is still working as a machinist. The value of his real estate is about $6,000, and his personal estate is $500. Young William is working as a clerk. His three younger siblings are attending school.

In 1863, when the 23-year-old registered for the Draft (Civil War), he was living at 1323 Mount Vernon Street, and address that would stay with him most of his life.

The 1870 Census finds the 30-year-old living with his two sisters, Margaret and Emma.  He is working as a telegraph operator.  His sister Margaret is “keeping house” and his sister Emma is “without occupation.”


On 6 June 1872, William married Emma Smilley Earle.  The two of them had five children

William Apr 1873
David Cameron Mar 1875
Marian Nov 1877
Walter Cooper Apr 1879
Arthur Wilson May 1887

I note there was an eight-year gap between Walter and Arthur suggesting there may be one or two unknown pregnancies between 1880 and 1886.  However, the 1900 census indicates that Emma had five children and all five were living.


The 1880 Census indicates William and Emily are living with the four oldest children.  Living with them are two servants, 32-year-old Julia Grandly and 24-year-old Eliza Tagard, both from Ireland. William is a clerk and Emily is keeping house. This census also indicates they were living on Prospect Ave. I speculate this is the house at the corner of Evergreen and Prospect owned by William at the time of his death.

Sometime before 1898 the family moved to 1323 Mt. Vernon.  When Emily’s sister, Kate Earle Bixby died, the funeral services were held at the Mt. Vernon Street home.  Living there must have been frustrating.  In February 1898, people from the house across the street, 1322 Mt. Vernon, were arrested for running a house of ill-repute. William testified in court about the neighbors, but they were acquitted. Shortly after that, they moved to 608 North Seventeenth St.

The 1900 Census indicates that William and Emily were renting at 608 North 17th. William was a clerk in a chemical works and Emily was keeping house. Living with them are their five children (four are adults). Their sons include a mechanical engineer, a physician, and an art student. The fourth son, 13-year-old Arthur, is attending school. Marian is still single and living at home. With the family is a sister, Emma Bradley, and a sister-in-law Martha Earle. Finally, Mary McCrory, a servant of Scottish descent was living with them.

Death & Burial

William Cameron Bradley died on 6 August 1901 at his home at 608 North Seventeenth St. of “angina pectoris.” He was buried at Woodland Cemetery, Section H, Lot 251.

After his death, his estate was probated; his wife, Emily, was the executrix and the sole recipient of the sizable estate. It is interesting to note that he appeared to be renting the home at 608 North Seventeenth St. However, he still owned the property at 1324 Mt. Vernon and the property on the S.E. Corner of Evergreen and Prospect (400 Evergreen).

Events by Location

Philadelphia, PA – All events in William Cameron Bradley’s life took place in Philadelphia.

————–  Disclaimer  ————–


  • 1840 Census, NARA – Joshua Brady – Spring Garden, Ward 1, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. “United States Census, 1840,” database with images, FamilySearch ( : 8 September 2017). Citing p. 280, NARA microfilm publication M704, (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.), roll 487; FHL microfilm 20,555.
  • 1850 Census, NARA – Joshua Bradley – Spring Garden, Ward 4, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. “United States Census, 1850,” database with images, FamilySearch ( : 12 April 2016). Citing family 475, NARA microfilm publication M432 (Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration).
  • 1860 Census, NARA – Pennsylvania – Philadelphia, Philadelphia – Josh Bradey. “United States Census, 1860”, database with images, FamilySearch ( : 13 December 2017), Wm C Bradley in an entry for Josh Bradley, 1860. Enumerated on 5 July 1860.
  • 1870 Census, NARA – William Bradley – Philadelphia Ward 14 District 41, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Year: 1870; Census Place: Philadelphia Ward 14 District 41, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Roll: M593_1398; Page: 182B; Family History Library Film: 552897 – Source Information
  • 1880 Census, NARA – Wm C. Bradly – Philadelphia, Philadelphia, PA. “United States Census, 1880,” database with images, FamilySearch ( : 21 August 2017), Wm C Bradly, 1880; citing enumeration district ED 458, sheet 527D, NARA microfilm publication T9 (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d), roll 1181; FHL microfilm 1,255,181.
  • 1900 Census – William Bradley – Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. “United States Census, 1900,” database with images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 30 May 2018), William Bradley, Philadelphia city Ward 15, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States; citing enumeration district (ED) 268, sheet 4.
  • 1901-08-25 – Register Admits Wills to Probate. The Philadelphia Inquirer (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania) · 25 Aug 1901, Sun · Page 7 Downloaded on Mar 23, 2019 ., Philadelphia Inquirer, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (
  • Find a Grave Memorial, Find a Grave, William Cameron Bradley – Memorial 157643237- No Image. Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed 22 March 2019), Citing Woodlands Cemetery, Philadelphia, Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania, USA; Maintained by Crypt Tonight (contributor 48494116).
  • Pennsylvania and New Jersey, Church and Town Records, 1669-2013,, Death – William C. Bradley 8 Aug 1901. Historical Society of Pennsylvania; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Historic Pennsylvania Church and Town Records.
  • Pennsylvania, County Marriages, 1885-1950, Family Search, William C Bradley & Emilie S. Earle – 6 Jun 1872 – No Image. “Pennsylvania, County Marriages, 1885-1950,” database with images, FamilySearch ( : 28 November 2018), Wm C Bradley and Emile S Earle, 06 Jun 1872; citing Marriage, Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States, various county courts and registers, Pennsylvania; FHL microfilm 1,765,398.
  • Pennsylvania, Death Certificates, 1906-1966,, Arthur Bradley – Died 5 Jan 1938.
  • Pennsylvania, Philadelphia City Births, 1860-1906, Family Search, Marian Bradley – Birth 27 Nov 1877 – No Image. “Pennsylvania, Philadelphia City Births, 1860-1906,” database with images, FamilySearch ( : 10 March 2018), Emily E. in an entry for Marian Bradley, 27 Nov 1877; citing Birth, Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States, City of Philadelphia, Department of Records, Pennsylvania.
  • Pennsylvania, Philadelphia City Death Certificates, 1803-1915, Family Search, Walter G. Bradley – Death – 13 Feb 1913 – No Image. “Pennsylvania, Philadelphia City Death Certificates, 1803-1915,” database with images, FamilySearch ( : 8 March 2018), William C. Bradley in an entry for Walter G. Bradley, 13 Feb 1913; citing cn 3986, Philadelphia City Archives and Historical Society of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia; FHL microfilm 1,421,367.
  • Pennsylvania, Philadelphia City Death Certificates, 1803-1915, Family Search, William C. Bradley – Death – 6 Aug 1901. “Pennsylvania, Philadelphia City Death Certificates, 1803-1915,” database with images, FamilySearch ( : 8 March 2018), William C. Bradley, 06 Aug 1901; citing 3573, Philadelphia City Archives and Historical Society of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia; FHL microfilm 1,853,175.
  • Pennsylvania, Septennial Census, 1779-1863, Philadelphia Philadelphia Ward 14 1863 – Bradey. Pennsylvania, Septennial Census, 1779-1863 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2012.
  • Pennsylvania, Wills and Probate Records, 1683-1993,, William Cameron Bradley – 16 Aug 1901. Pennsylvania probate record; Probate Place: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
  • Philadelphia Times – 1896-05-06 – page 5 – column 2 – Died – Bixby (Bradley). Via NewspaperArchives.ComPhiladelphia Times, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
  • Philadelphia Times – 1898-02-11 – League Would Not Prosecute – Ref: William C. Bradley. See last paragraph.. NewspaperArchives.Com, Philadelphia Times, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
  • Philadelphia Times – 1901-08-25 – Page 9 – Register of Wills – admitted to probate the will of William C. Bradley. Philadelphia Times, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (NewspaperArchives.Com).
  • Civil War Draft Registrations Records, 1863-1865,, William C Bradley – Age 23. National Archives and Records Administration (NARA); Washington, D.C.; Consolidated Lists of Civil War Draft Registration Records (Provost Marshal General’s Bureau; Consolidated Enrollment Lists, 1863-1865); Record Group: 110, Records of the Provost Marshal General’s Bureau (Civil War); Collection Name: Consolidated Enrollment Lists, 1863-1865 (Civil War Union Draft Records); NAI: 4213514; Archive Volume Number: 1 of 11.

William C Bradley in the Pennsylvania, Wills and Probate Records

Part 1 of 2 – Cover Page & Will Papers

Amanuensis Monday[i]
Project Bradley-Hingston
Transcription by Don Taylor


Probate Record for William C. Bradley – Probate Date 16 Aug 1901, Philadelphia, PA, Case number 1405 – 10 images. Original data: Pennsylvania County, District and Probate Courts.[ii]

Document Image

Cover Page

No. 1405 1901

Estate of William C Bradley

Application for Probate and Letters Testamentary

Filed: Aug 16 A.D. 1901
Jacob Singer, Register

Letters Testamentary  $15.50
Certificate, 2                        1.00
Paid                    16.50

Will Papers

In the Matter of the Probate of the last Will and Testament of William Cameron Bradley Deceased.

The Petition of Emily S. Bradley respectfully showeth that she is the Executrix named in the last Will and Testament of William Cameron Bradley dated 19th day of July A. D. 1887. That said William Cameron Bradley was a resident of Philadelphia County, State of Pennsylvania, and departed this life at number 608 North 17th Street, Philadelphia in the County of Philadelphia and the State of Pennsylvania on Tuesday the 6th day of August A. D. 1901 at 5 o’clock A.M.

The said testator was possessed of personal property to the value of $1992.00 and of real estate (less incumbrance) to the value of $8000.00 as near as can be ascertained, situated as follows: House and lot, S.E. corner Evergreen and Prospect Avenues, Chestnut Hill, Philadelphia, Penn, and house and lot at 1323 Mt. Vernon Street, Philadelphia, Penn.

Therefore, the said Emily S Bradley respectfully applies for Probate of the said last Will and Testament and for Letters Testamentary thereon.

Dated August 16th A. D. 1901.

[s/] Emily S. Bradley


This document confirms several other documents, including the date and place of death for William C. Bradley. It also indicates that William owned two properties at the time of his death.  The house at 1323 Mt. Vernon Street is no longer in existence. The current building at that address was built in 1965[iii].

However, the house at the S.E. Corner of Evergreen and Prospect Avenues in Chestnut Hill Philadelphia is still there. Its current address is 400 Evergreen and according to Trulia, it was built in 1860[iv]. Today it looks like:

The 1900 Census indicated he lived at 608 North Seventeenth. At that time, he lived in an extended family consisting of him, his wife, five children, a sister, a sister-in-law, and a servant.


[i] John Newmark started the “Amanuensis Monday” category in 2009 on his Blog,  Transylvanian Dutch and many bloggers have followed suit using the tag. Google provides the following meaning for amanuensis: “A literary or artistic assistant, in particular ,one who takes dictation or copies manuscripts.”

[ii] Pennsylvania, Wills and Probate Records, 1683-1993 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2015.




Interview with Melissa A. Johnson, CG®

As an “official blogger” at the New England Regional Genealogical Conference (NERGC 2019), I had the opportunity to interview one of the conference speakers.  I plan to attend two of Melissa Johnson’s lectures, and thought it would be nice to know more about her and some of her thoughts about genealogy.

Melissa Johnson, CG®

Melissa is a professional genealogist specializing in New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania research, using DNA test results, genealogical writing, forensic genealogy, and lineage society applications. Her presentations at NERGC 2019 include:

F-104: Demystifying Genealogical Terminology (Beginner)
F-117: Go Paperless! Organizing Your Genealogical Research (All Levels)
S-121 Writing Your Family History (Workshop, Intermediate)


Don:    Your website indicates that you specialize in lineage society applications. What do you think are the most significant benefits of becoming a member of a lineage society?

Melissa:           I am not a member of any lineage societies, so I can only speak to the reasons why my clients want to join them. Most of my clients want to become involved in society. Whether it’s the DAR, SAR, Descendants of the Founders of New Jersey, or another group, there are volunteer positions and different types of events that people can become involved in. Some of my other clients want to document their ancestral lines and the people who qualify them for membership in the society, So, in terms of the benefits, it really depends on the person. If I were ever to join a lineage society, I would do it mostly to have my lineage on record for future generations.

Don:    Your bio mentions that you specialize in “forensic genealogy.” What exactly is forensic genealogy?

Melissa:           Forensic Genealogy is genealogy as it pertains to the law. For example, if someone dies without a will, researching to identify their next of kin, would fall under forensic genealogy. So would any type of genealogical research that is part of a civil or criminal case. Also, research to move forward with a process that changes your legal status, such as dual citizenship, is categorized as forensic genealogy. Obtaining dual citizenship makes you a citizen of another country because it changes your legal status. Another example is a person who is applying to become a member of a federally-recognized Native American tribe. That process changes a person’s race (and thus, their legal status).  All those types of research fall under forensic genealogy. The use of DNA in genealogy can also fall under forensic genealogy—for example, if an individual seeks to identify their biological parents after an adoption (a legal process) took place.

Don:    Interesting. It makes me wonder if all genealogists shouldn’t endeavor to treat their research as a forensic genealogist, in that they should approach their research as if they have no personal interest in the results or the findings.

Melissa:    That can be a good approach. It is always good to go into a research project without any bias, but it’s often hard to do that when it’s our own family and when we think we know something about an ancestor we’ve heard it so many times before. It’s also good to treat all of your research as seriously as a forensic genealogist would. Our reports, affidavits, and exhibits are often brought before a court, so you always want them to be your absolute best work. All researchers should make sure that they are meeting the Genealogical Proof Standard.

Don:    DNA testing for genealogical purposes is now very popular in the genealogy field. There is much discussion about DNA testing; my question is, when should a person not test?

Melissa:    DNA test results can be very difficult to understand for a beginner, and can sometimes include surprising results. It is essential to understand what a DNA test can and can’t tell you. That involves knowing and understanding that a DNA test can reveal previously unknown relatives. There have been many cases where a person who took a DNA test found out that they were adopted, or that the man who raised them was not their biological father. Likewise, there may have been individuals adopted out of a person’s biological family. Those individuals might take a DNA test and show up in your results; they might not know about you, and you might not know about them. There are always going to be surprises, so it’s good to understand this before deciding to take the test. Also, everyone should be very clear about what the testing company does (and doesn’t) do with DNA test results. Everyone should read the “terms and conditions” or “terms of use” for each website or third party tool to make sure that they fully understand where their DNA information is going and how the company is going to use it. So, to answer the question about when a person should not test,” I would say it is when they don’t fully understand what information a DNA test will provide, don’t want to know about any unexpected relationships, or are uncomfortable with the terms and conditions of a particular testing company.

Don:    I am the illegitimate son of an illegitimate daughter of an illegitimate daughter. As such, I firmly believe that the truth is always better than lies or confusion. I know many people say they don’t want to know the truth if it disagrees with their current world view. Today, many genealogical ethicists seem to promote only sharing findings if they don’t “hurt” anyone. What are your thoughts about that issue?

Melissa:    Many people are being provided with new information, especially as a result of DNA testing. Some of the surprises I mentioned, such as finding out that one or both parents is not biologically related, could surprise many parties—the child, the parent, the parent’s spouse, the parent’s other children—for example.  Each scenario is different and there are many viewpoints and feelings to consider, and if there isn’t a cut-and-dry sort of answer in terms of making these findings public information. It depends on the situation. It’s always good for a researcher to take a step back, look at all the parties involved, and think about how the news might impact everyone. There are lots of ways to share new findings—publicly and privately within a family, published formally or informally, or published with pieces of information redacted. The impacts on all living people should be considered.

Don:     What do you think is the best, or most desirable, way to preserve genealogical work for future generations?

Melissa:    Writing up your research is definitely the best way. This can be done in many different ways. Some people have blogs with tons of information about their family. Blogs are great because they’re searchable, and someone who is searching for their great-great-grandfather can find that distant cousin’s blog and connect with them. You can also write up your research more formally—some genealogists have written several volumes of books on specific families. There are also other options—researchers can write a short article about an ancestor or an interesting problem for a genealogy magazine. Writing also doesn’t have to be formally published—it can be placed in a file in your local historical society. Writing is the way to go, no matter the format you choose. recommend that everyone writes up some part of their research for future generations. On Saturday at NERGC, I’ll be teaching a workshop that talks about options for how to write up your research.

Don:    Excellent. I’m looking forward to it. Your workshop is on my list of things to attend at the conference. I appreciate your participating in this interview. Thank you so much.

Melissa A. Johnson, CG® is a professional genealogist and can be reached through her websites: and