52 Ancestors – Week 192
By Don Taylor
Now, I go off on a speculative tangent. It is my assertion that my great grandfather, John Montran who married Ida Mae Barber is the same individual as John Foster Montran, who married Maude Minnie Winter. Both John’s were probably born in France, both lived for a time in Pennsylvania, both were traveling agents, and both died before 1911. Finally, John Montran is a fairly unique name; I have only found two lived contemporary to my grandmother’s birth – John and John Foster. Anyway, I suspect my John and John Foster are the same person. I have searched and have been unable to find any time or place where both can be seen at the same time. John pops into existence about 1892 and marries my great-grandmother, Ida, has my grandmother, then vanishes. A John Foster Montran married Maude Minnie Winter about 1894 and had two children. Then he vanishes about 1897. Ida remarried in 1897 and Maude claimed to be widowed by the 1900 census. My speculation is that John Foster Montran is my Great Grandfather and that the two John Montran’s are one person.
DNA testing would answer the question clearly if I am able to find a descendant of John Foster Montran and if that descendant agreed to test. With that in mind, I have begun researching the descendants of John Foster Montran to see if I can find a direct descendant. John Foster Montran had two children with Maude Minnie Winter. They are Thelma M. Montran and Ruth Grace Montran.
John Montran Project 2017 – John’s Daughter Thelma
Great-grandfather: John Foster Montran (Potential)
His Wife: Maude Minnie Winter
Daughter: Thelma M. Montran
Daughter: Ruth Grace Montran
His Wife: Ida Mae Barber (My great-grandmother)
Daughter: Madonna Mae Montran (My grandmother)
Thelma M. Montran Babcock (1895-1974)
Generally, I like to use the census closest to the birth of the individual to identify the birth year. However, in the case of Thelma, the 1900 census indicates that she was six years old, and was born in June 1894. However, every other record I can find about Thelma, census records, newspaper articles, and Social Security records all indicate or support that she was born on 23 June 1895 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, to John Foster and Maude Minnie (Winter) Montran.
The 1900 census finds Thelma, and her younger sister Ruth, living in Waterloo, New York, with her aunt, Jerusha; uncle, Penrose Brown; and their grandmother, Maryann Winter. Their mother was living 50 miles away in Rochester, New York working as a live-in nurse.
The 1910 census finds the two girls living with Jerusha and Penrose, but were identified as adopted daughters. They lived in Shamokin, Pennsylvania and their mother lived 120 miles away in Philadelphia.
About 1915, Thelma married Minor Howard Babcock and moved to Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan where their first child, Olga Ruth, was born in February 1916 and the family appears in the 1916 Canadian Census.
Children of Minor Howard and Thelma M (Montran) Babcock
|Olga Ruth Babcock
||Feb 1916 (in Canada)
||4 May 2001
|Montran Benson Babcock
||11 June 1922
The 1920 census finds Thelma had moved back to the United States and was living with her husband and daughter in San Francisco.
The 1930 census finds Thelma living at 534 W. Nectarine St. in Inglewood, California. Minor is an accountant and their two children are with them. Also, in the household is Thelma’s mother, Maude Montran.
In 1935 the family is still living on Nectarine Street, however, Thelma is running a Confectioner business at 211 E. Queen. Her daughter, Olga, is working as a clerk for her.
The 1940 census indicates that Thelma and Minor had become divorced. Thelma was working as the proprietor of a guest house with many lodgers. With her are her two children, Olga and Montran.
A 1944 newspaper article indicated that Thelma was “widely known as a poet,” she owned a 20-acre apple-tree ranch near Lake Gregory and owned a hotel in the San Bernardino Mountains.
Thelma died on 7 May 1974 in Los Angeles County, California. I have not determined Thelma’s final resting place.
Family Tree Maker 2017 indicates that Thelma is the “daughter of my Great-Grandfather.” By my reckoning, she is my grandmother’s half-sister, thus my grand-aunt. Thelma’s children would be my mother’s 1st cousins and my 1st cousins once removed. Finally, Olga and Monty’s children would be my 2nd cousins. A DNA test of any of them would prove conclusively if my speculation that John Montran and John Foster Montran are the same person. If you are a descendant of Thelma Montran Babcock, I would love to hear from you. We might be cousins.
1900 Census (FS), Family Search, Penrose Brown – Waterloo, Seneca, New York. https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:MSGZ-6PP
1910 Census, Other, Penrose Brown – Shamokin, Northumberland, Pennsylvania;. Family Search.
1916 Canada Census, Ancestry.com and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, , Other, 1916 Canada Census. Year: 1916; Census Place: Saskatchewan, Moose Jaw, 17I; Roll: T-21931;.
1920 Census (FS), Family Search, Miner [Minor] H Babcock – San Francisco, San Francisco, California. https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:MH4H-8MD.
1930 Census (NARA), Ancestry.Com, Minor Babcock – Inglewood, Los Angeles, CA [Maude Montran]. https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:XCJJ-G73.
1940 Census, Ancestry.Com, 1940 – Thelma (Montran) Babcock – Inglewood, Los Angeles, California; Roll:.
California Death Index, 1940-1997, Family Search, Thelma M Pretz (Montran/Babcock).
California, County Marriages, 1850-1952, Family Search, James R Hinds & Olga R Babcock. https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:K8VW-2MM.
Los Angeles Times (Los Angeles, CA, ), Newspapers.Com, 1944-12-30, Page 4 – Thelma Montran Babcock.
U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995, Ancestry.Com, Inglewood, California, City Directory, 1935 – Page 30 – Babcock. http://search.ancestry.com/cgi-bin/sse.dll?viewrecord=1&r=an&db=USDirectories&indiv=try&h=1379164103.
U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995, Ancestry.Com, Inglewood, Hawthorne and Lennox, City Directory, 1933 – Page 35 – Babcock. http://search.ancestry.com/cgi-bin/sse.dll?viewrecord=1&r=an&db=USDirectories&indiv=try&h=1400093271.
United States Social Security Death Index, Family Search, SSDI – Thelma Pretz (Montran/Babcock).