Abbreviated Sketch –Thomas Valentine Rooney (1887-1960)

007-H(2) – The 2nd Husband of Madonna Mae Montran

Brown-Montran Line
Montran Married Roone
By Don Taylor

Photo of Don Taylor with cat Nasi.My research into my grandmother’s life has been filled with surprises. None so much as learning of her many marriages. She was married twice before she married my uncle’s father, Sammy Amsterdam. First, she married Chester Fenyvessey in 1911. Then she married Thomas Valentine in 1915. Neither marriage were known about by either my mother or my uncle. After her time with Chester in Rochester, New York, she headed to California to be one of Mack Sennett’s Bathing Beauties. In 1914 Donna was in the silent movie “Birth of a Nation,” which was filmed in California. After “Birth,” she located to Boston, Massachusetts, where she promoted the film through a Biplane Flight over Revere in July 1915. On 24 November 1915, Donna married Thomas Valentine Rooney in a ceremony performed by T. Brosnahaw in Waltham, Massachusetts.

The “Husbands” of Madonna Mae Montran

1st Husband – Chester Fenyvessey (1911)
2nd Husband – Thomas Valentine Rooney (1915)
3rd Husband – Samson Clark Amsterdam (1926) – Russell’s father.
1st Significant Other Clifford Brown (1931)- Sylvia’s father.
2nd Significant Other– Russell Harrison Kees (1936)
3rd Significant Other – Henry Rossburg (c. 1950)

Thomas Valentine Rooney (1887-1960)



Thomas Valentine Rooney was born on 29 January 1887 in Boston, Suffolk County, Massachusetts, the second child of Neil H and Mary E (Fahey) Rooney.

Marriage 1

Thomas’ first marriage was to my Grandmother, Madonna Mae Montran, on 24 November 1915. They were married at St. Mary’s Church in Waltham, Middlesex County, Massachusetts, by T. Brosnashaw, a priest. Witnesses were James Downey and Hazel McCary.

Cropped image of Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Boston Records, 1789-1920 - St. Mary (Waltham) Marriages, 1891-1920 showing the marriage of Thomas Rooney & Donna Montran.

Source: American Ancestors (NEHGS) – St. Mary (Waltham) Marriages, 1891-1920, Page 354. Thomas Valentine Rooney & Mae Donna Montran 24 Nov 1915.

The marriage record for Thomas and Madonna includes an entry I don’t quite understand. I’ve previously seen Catholic marriages with a Dispensatio: mixta religio (mixed religion dispensation) entries. In this case, there is a date entered of 1915-39. Thomas and Madonna were married in 1915. Does the 39 mean the mixed marriage dispensation lasted until 1939, suggesting the church recognized the marriage until then? Donna married Sammy in 1926, and Thomas married Daisy in 1928. Neither subsequent marriage was in the Catholic Church, so I suspect that Thomas and Donna weren’t formally divorced, and the Catholic Church still recognized their marriage until 1939. Very Interesting. I’d love to hear from you if you have a different interpretation of the record.

Marriage 2

Thomas’ second marriage was to Daisy Elizabeth Ford on 12 April 1928 in Manhattan, New York City, New York. Daisy was an actress, and Thomas was a theatrical manager. Although they were married at the Municipal Chapel at the City Clerk’s office, they planned to have a religious ceremony by Father Leonard of St. Malachy’s Church in Rochester, New York.


Thomas died on 29 April 1960 of an aortic aneurysm. He was preceded in death by his wife, Daisy. His death certificate indicates he was buried at the San Fernando Mission Ceremony; however, he does not appear in the memorials at Find-a-Grave for that cemetery.


1900 Census

13-year-old Thomas lived with his parents, Neil & Mary, his paternal grandmother, Annie Rooney, his three brothers (John, Neil & James), and his sister, Mary.

1910 Census

22-year-old Thomas lived with his widowed mother, Mary, his three brothers (John, Neil & James), his sister-in-law, Mary (Neil’s wife), and his nephew, Joseph (Neil’s son). Thomas was a commercial traveler in the root beer industry.

1920 & 1930 Censuses

I have not found Thomas in the 1920 or 1930 Censuses. On January 1st, 1920, Donna was with the “Chin Chin” show playing in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. I doubt he and Donna made the tour together.

1940 Census

Thomas and Daisy were living at 22 Crescent Heights Blvd, Los Angeles. Thomas was a theatrical talent manager. Daisy was a motion picture actress.

1950 Census

Photo of 7515 De Longpal, Los Angeles Today

7515 De Longpal, Los Angeles – Today

Thomas and Daisy were living at 7515 De Longpal, Los Angeles. Thomas was an actor’s agent for motion pictures. Daisy doesn’t have an occupation listed.


It does not appear that Thomas had any children with either Donna or Daisy.

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