Ethel Wright Collection – Part 6

Baker, Baldwin, Bangs, Barry, & Bassett

Photo Friday
By Don Taylor

This week for Photo Friday, I look at identifying five more negatives from the Ethel Wight Studio Collection[i]. The names on the envelope are of the individual who paid for the photos, not necessarily of the individual portrayed in the image. As such, it is important to analyze the photo and information to positively identify the photographs.[ii]

Child of Mrs. Leroy Baker
(Probably) Richard Baker (1933-2018)

The envelope this negative was in says, “Mrs. Leroy Baker – 684 Forest Ave., Portland.”

Child of Mrs LeRoy Baker ()

The 1936 Portland City Directory reports Leroy R. (Alice A) Baker living at 684 Forest Ave., Portland.

The 1940 Census reports Leroy R. Baker at the Maine State Prison.

The 1940 Census also reports Alice A. Baker living with her mother, Isabell Boyle, a brother, Lawrence, and Alice’s three children; Richard L., Barbara J., & Isabell R. ages 6, 5, and 2 respectively.

I believe this child is either Richard or Barbara. I believe that because the photo is of a single child it was taken about 1934 of Richard. If it had been taken in 1935/6, I believe the photo would have been taken of the two children together. I see the bonnet and the sweater, however, the dress at that time is not sufficient to persuade me to believe it is a photo of Barbara.

I found a person online (at Ancestry.Com) in who appears is a grandchild of Leroy and Alice. I’ve asked that person if they can identify the apparent uncle/aunt in the photograph.

I created a profile for Richard Baker (1933-2018) on Family Search but have not uploaded the images to that profile, however, I have uploaded them to my Flickr Account – See Photo 1 & Photo 2. I hope that the descendant of LeRoy and Alice can confirm the identity of the child in the photo.

Nancy Baldwin (1934-2012)

The envelope this negative was in says, “Mrs. Wm Baldwin – 51 Morning St, Portland #679”

Nancy Baldwin ca. 1934

The 1937 Portland City Directory shows William G. Baldwin and his wife Gertrude J. residing at 51 Morning in Portland.

The 1940 Census shows William and Gertrude living on Morning with their five-year-old daughter, Nancy.

Family Search suggests this couple is William George Baldwin (1910-1970) and Gertrude J. Quinn (1916-Deceased)

Several Ancestry Trees suggest that Nancy Baldwin is the child of William and Gertrude and that she was born 25 May 1934 and died 7 May 2012. As such, I’ve created a profile on FamilySearch, LYWL-4K3 and uploaded one of the images to that profile.

Mrs. Blanche Bangs

The envelope this negative was in says, Mrs. Blanch Bangs – 92 Vesper St., Portland.”

Mrs. Blanche Bangs

The 1920 Census shows Blanche Bangs, wife of H. John Banks, living at 92 Vesper Street, Portland. Blanche was born circa 1893 in Canada.

The 1930 Census shows Blanche living at 92 Vesper, but she was a widow.

The 1940 Census shows Blanche still living at 92 Vesper, and still a widow.

In 1935, about when this photo was taken, Blanch would have been about 43. The woman in this photo appears to be in her 40s to me, so I believe it to be Blanch.

A quick search for Blanche on Family Search failed to yield a clear result, so I took a closer look.

1930 Census – Blanche Bangs Age 37 Widow, Married at age 27. She was born in Canada. Her father was born in England and her mother was also born in Canada. She came to the states in 1911.

Looking back on the 1920 Census, Blanche’s mother, Roxanna M. Bangs was living with the family. That helps confirm a Record of Marriage that indicates H. John Bangs married Blanch Halstead on 26 November 1919. H. John’s mother was Roxanna Bangs. Blanche’s parents were Joseph Halstead and Julia A. Noble, who were living in Portland at the time.

Blanche Halstead, the daughter of Joseph and Julia (Noble) Halstead, has a profile on FamilySearch, LYL4-KL1.

Alice M. Barry

The envelope this negative was in says, “Miss Alice M Barry – 407 Chapman Bldg, Portland #79.“

Alice M. Berry – ca. 1934

First, the Chapman Building is the original name for the Time and Temperature building in downtown Portland, Maine. It is a fourteen-story building at 477 Congress Street.

The 1940 Census indicated three “Alice M Barry’s” in Cumberland.

  • Alice M. Berry, Age 55, Wife of Edward C. Berry. She lived with her husband at 174 Edwards Street in Portland.
  • Alice M. Barry, Age 38, Daughter of Thomas E. & Nellie T. Barry. She was a clerk typist for the Government in 1940. She lived with her parents at 218 Pine in South Portland.
  • Alice M. Berry, Age 45, wife of Norris J. Berry, lived at 277 Maine Street, Westbrook.

The Portland, Maine, City Directories for 1933 through 1937 complete the identification.  reports

  • 1933 – Alice M Barry – Sten[iii] r 218 Pine SP
  • 1934 – Alice M Barry – Sten 477 Cong Room 407 – R 218 Pine SP.
  • 1935 – Alice M Barry – Sten r 218 Pine SP
  • 1936 – Alice M Barry – Sten 317 Cong r 218 Pine SP

From the city directories, we can be certain the photo was taken in 1934 or 1935. From the directories and the 1940 census record, we can be certain this Alice M Barry is the daughter of Thomas E. & Nellie T. Barry. In 1940, Alice was 38 which suggests she was about 32 in this photo. The woman in the photo seems to be in her early 30s, so I’m confident this is her.

Family Search has an Alice M Barry, born 3 September 1902 to Thomas Edward and Nellie “Ellen” T (O’Donnell) Barry. Her profile on FamilySearch is G9F3-LM4.

Hope Cleone (Bassett) Shedin (or Sheddin)

The envelope this negative was in says, “Miss Hope Bassett – Me Gen Hospital City #318.”

Hope Bassett ca. 1934

A search on Ancestry quickly found a high school yearbook photo of Hope Cleone Bassett in the 1932 Augusta, Maine yearbook. That photo is clearly of the same young woman who was born October 9, 1914.

In 1935 Hope was working in Augusta as a nurse and in 1938 she had moved to Portland where she was a nurse employed at 22 Arsenal which was the Maine General Hospital, the predecessor of the Maine Medical Center.

The 1930 Census indicates that Hope C Bassett, of Augusta, Maine was the daughter of Jacob P. H and Anna E. Bassett.

Hope died on 13 September 1977.

Hope did not have a profile on Family Search, however, her parents did. Because I learned that Hope died, I created a profile for her on Family Search – ID 27VJ-8CT and uploaded the images of her that I have.

Final Note

If any of these photos are of a family member of yours, I would love to hear your reaction. Have you seen the photo before. Do you disagree with my assessment?


[i] The Wight Studio was in Portland, Maine. Many thanks to Ethel Wight’s family for access to and permission to use the collection of their great aunt.

[ii] These images were converted to positives using a lightbox, a Nikon camera, and computer software.

[iii] “Sten” is the abbreviation for Stenographer used in these directories.

Donna Darling Collection – Part 76

The Stroud Theatre

Treasure Chest Thursday
By Don Taylor

For this week’s Treasure Chest Tuesday, I’m looking at another clipping from the Donna Darling Collection

First, we know the show took place during Thanksgiving week at the Stroud.

  • 1919    We know Donna was part of the “Chin Chin” company and played in Salt Lake City during Thanksgiving, so it can’t be 1919.
  • 1920    Donna played as Donna Montran and Her Bathing Beauties, so we know it can’t be 1920.
  • 1921    Donna was playing with Murray Walker and Walter Davis as Donna Montran. By January 1922, her shows all featured “Donna Darling,” never Donna Montran. So it makes sense that “Dona Montrim” could be 1921.
  • 1922 – However, in November 1922, Donna was showing as Donna Darling and Company. It is possible Donna could have done some kind of throwback to using Montrim (Montran) in 1922.
  • 1923 – Thanksgiving Donna was appearing in the Donna Darling Revue during November 1923.
  • 1924 – In 1924, Donna’s show was again a Bathing Beauty show.
  • 1925 – In 1925, Donna was doing the “Little Jewel Revue.”
  • 1926 – Donna was showing with Sammy in 1926.
  • 1927 – Donna appears to have dropped out of show business during the summer of 1927. I have no record of her appearing in 1927 or 1928.

A search for the Stroud Theatre at Cinetreasures found only one Stroud Theatre open during the 1920s. That was in Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania. Likewise, the 1921 The Julius Cahn-Gus Hill Theatrical Guide And Moving Picture Directory. Indicates there was only one Stroud Theatre, and it was in Stroudsburg.

I know very little about Donna’s shows in the fall of 1921. Indeed, she played in New York in October and played in Philadelphia in December, so her playing in Stroudsburg, PA in November 1921 makes sense. On the other hand, Donna played in Elmira, New York, in  November 1922 and Paterson, NJ, in December, so 1922 is possible.

The critical fact that illuminates the date is an accompanying article that mentions the feature “Inside the Cup” adapted from the story of Winston Churchill was also playing. Wikipedia indicates that the film adaptation of Churchill’s book was titled “Inside of the Cup” and was released in January of 1921. As such, I’m confident that the show had to have played at the Stroud Theater in Stroudsburg, PA in 1921.  Thanksgiving in 1921 was November 24th.

Additionally, a Newspapers.Com search for “Dona Montrim” yielded a match to her playing at Reade’s Savoy Theatre in Asbury Park, New Jersey, on October 13th and October 14th. That confirms her playing in the area using that unusual spelling. Thanks to Newspapers.Com, I was able to add another venue to her schedule.

Key features

  • The venue is the Stroud Theatre in Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania.
  • At least two days between November 24th and November 25th, 1921.
  • The show is “Dona Montrim & Co. – Singing and Dancing.”
  • Also, on the bill
    • The Barry Jazzers
    • Three Walceys – Acrobatic Novelty
    • Whynot & Brady – Musical Act
    • Phil Davis – Southern Songster
    • Features: “Inside the Cup”


Another note is her name in the article is “Dora Montrim.” A search for “Dora Montrim” at Newspapers.Com, Genealogy Bank, and Chronicling America did not yield any results. This show should be added to Donna’s Schedule:


  • November 24-25, 1921 – Stroud Theatre – Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania – Dona Montrim & Co. – DDC-76.
  • October 13-14, 1921 – Reade’s Savoy Theatre – Asbury Park, New Jersey – Dona Montrim & Co.

Budgar in the News – Body Found

“Budgar” found a body – 28 April 1959

By Don Taylor

Photo of Don Taylor with cat Nasi.My mom met my stepfather, Edgar (aka “Bud” and “Budgar”) in 1961. He used to tell the story of when he found a body on the railroad tracks down along the river in Minneapolis, only a few hundred yards from where I had a store in the 1990s at St. Anthony Main. He used to say reporting the body was a real regret. The police questioned him for hours and kept him from getting to work. He lost half a day’s pay for doing the right thing. He said if he ever saw a body again, he’d just keep going and swear he didn’t see a thing. It is a sad commentary that doing the right thing can cost the Samaritan.

Anyway, I found the Minneapolis Star article, dated 28 April 1959, thanks to, which describes the story and Budgar’s role in finding the body and reporting the incident.

Body Found on Rail Spur; Gang Violence Feared


The first report of the shooting came shortly after 6 a.m. when Edgar J. Matson, 33, 181 NE. 41st Av., Columbia Heights spotted the body while driving to his St. Paul job.

Matson told police he had first thought the man was either sick or drunk.

The tire tracks….

From the article I learned:

My stepfather lived at 181 NE 41st Ave, Columbia Heights, in 1959.

—– Disclosure —–


Ethel Wight Collection – Part 5

Austin, Axelsen, Axelsen, Baird, & Baker

Photo Friday
By Don Taylor

Photo of Don Taylor with cat Nasi.This week for Photo Friday, I look at identifying more negatives from the Ethel Wight Studio Collection[i]. The names on the envelope are of the individual who paid for the photos, not necessarily of the individual portrayed in the image. As such, it is important to analyze the picture and information to identify the photographs positively.[ii]

Not William L. Austin

Unknown – Probably Not William L. Austin

The envelope this negative was in says, “Mr. William L Austin – 44 Brown St. Portland – #724.”

William Austin does not appear in the 1934 or 1935 Portland City Directories.

The 1936 Portland City Directory indicated William Austin was the householder at 53 Franklin, Apartment 9. Likewise, the 1937 City Directory shows William at 53 Franklin, Apt 9.

The 1938 Portland City Directory indicates William Auston residing at 7 Tolman Place.

The 1940 Census indicates William L Austin living at 7 Tolman Place as a widowed lodger. He was 75 years old.

If the photo were taken about 1935, as the other pictures in this collection were, then William L. Austin would have been about 70 years old. The man in this photo is definitely not near 70 and appears, to me, to be about 50.

So, I have no idea who this person is.  Although the photo was paid for by William L Austin, I do not believe it is of him.

Alfred J. Axelsen

Alfred J. Axelsen circa 1936

The envelope this negative was in says, “Mr. Alfred J Axelsen – 45 Randall Ave, Portland #252”.

The 1935 Portland City Directory indicates Alfred J Axelsen was a painter employed at 228 Sherwood and resided at 45 Randall, which confirms his identity.

The 1930 Census enumerates Alfred J. Axelsen living with his Father Jens Axelsen, apparent mother Maren, and a sister, Laura.

Further research indicated that Alfred Julius Axelsen was born on 8 October 1908, married Margaret Winslow in 1933, and died 5 November 1983. I am confident this photo is of him.

This individual has a profile on FamilySearch, ID GQW1-GCV; I posted two photos of Alfred there.

Mildred Christine (Weston) Axelsen

Mildred Christine (Weston) Axelsen ca. 1937

The envelope this negative was in says, “Mrs. A. M. Axelson – 237 Sherwood Street, Portland #1054.”

The 1937 Portland City Directory is somewhat confusing. It indicates, in part:

  • Axelsen, Alfred J painter 237 Sherwood r 45 Randall
  • August M (Mildred C) painter 1754 Wash av h do
  • August M (Caroline E) mold maker 54 York h 43 Dorset
  • —Niels jr r 237 Sherwood

The 1940 Census places August M. Axelson and his 40-year-old wife, Mildred, at 45 Randall St. It also places August M. Axelson, and his 49-year-old wife, Caroline, at 43 Dorset Street.

The 1930 Census places August M Axelson living at 237 Sherwood Street with his wife, Mildred. August M. Axelson and his wife Caroline are residing at 43 Dorset Street.

So, it is clear Mrs. A. M. Axelsen is Mildred. Mildred was born about 1899, so she would have been about 36 in 1935. The woman in the photo appears to be about that age, so I believe this to be Mildred C. Axelson.

Mildred Christine Weston married August Mienerdt Axelsen on 1 June 1927.

Mildred has a profile on FamilySearch, ID L2JB-L79, and I have uploaded my photos there.

Elsie (McLeon) Baird

Elsie (McLeon) Baird, circa 1936

The envelope this negative was in says, “Mrs. Elsie Baird – 20 Vesper St, Portland #656.”

The 1937 Portland City Directory indicates that Elsie M. Baird was the widow of John H. Baird and lived at 20 Vesper.

Further research indicated that Elsie M Baird (nee McLeon) was born about 1887 in Scotland. She had a daughter, also named Elsie, who was born in 1910. If the photo were taken about 1935, as many of the pictures have been taken, Elsie the mother would have been about 48, and Elsie, the daughter, would have been about 25 years old. The woman in these photos appears to be in her 40s, so I believe it is Elsie, the mother.

Elsie does not appear to have a profile on Family Search; however, she does have a memorial on Find-a-Grave. I uploaded copies of the images to Elsie McLeod Baird – Memorial 152470097.

Eleanor Baker

(Or possibly Beatrice E. Baker)

Possibly Eleanor Baker, possibly Beatrice E. Baker.

This negative envelope says, “Miss Eleanor Baker – 130 Highland St Portland #986.“

The Portland City Directory for 1936 shows an Eleanor residing at John Decker Ocean House Rd, CE, p o SP

Eleanor does not appear in the 1935 Portland City Directory; however, a Beatrice E. Baker does appear living at 130 Highland in the Directory. The Directory suggests a family consisting of:

  • Beatrice E. Baker, Stenographer at 289 Forest Ave. Residing rear of 130 Highland.
  • Elmer S. (Ruby A) Painter emp 362 Cumberland av householder 130 Highland.
  • Harold F (Florence V) Carpenter householder rear 130 Highland.

Beatrice E. Baker married Wilton J. Rosenblad on 23 August 1935, explaining why she doesn’t appear in any subsequent city directories.

A review of many individual trees revealed no individuals name Eleanor in the families. That aside, I believe that “Eleanor Baker” of the photo is Beatrice E Baker, born 12 May 1913. The image had to have been taken before 23 August 1935, so her age in the picture had to be about 22 years old.

Beatrice E Baker is in 9 public trees on Ancestry.Com and if any of them know of Beatrice’s middle name or can identify her in the photo, I will have confirmed her identity.

Final Note

If any of these photos are of a family member or clarify my identification, I would love to hear from you.

There are additional photos on my Flickr Site. See



[i] The Wight Studio was in Portland, Maine. Many thanks to Ethel Wight’s family for access to and permission to use the collection of their great aunt.

[ii] These images were converted to positives using a lightbox, a Nikon camera, and computer software. Individuals may use these photos in their genealogical endeavors.

My Top Free Genealogy Websites – Part 3

Education, Wiki’s, and Blogs

Tuesday’s Tips
Don Taylor

Photo of Don Taylor with cat Nasi.I consider free genealogy websites in three different categories. First are sites that have data that are sources for facts. The second are sites that provide links to sites that have the data. Third are education, general information websites, and Blogs. All three are essential but used differently.

I have a regular task in my genealogy activities that tells me to do an hour of training or education every week. I keep up with it, and if I miss a week, I’ll do two hours the following week. Certainly, I have done some paid training. I’ve taken the Genealogy course from Great Courses and few courses from the National Institute for Genealogical Studies. But, the vast majority of my regular genealogical training/education is via online website videos.


  1. Roots Tech – Due to Covid-19, the 2021 RootsTech conference will be free and electronic. If you haven’t registered yet, do so. It is a fantastic set of presentations and training. They also have a video archive of past sessions. These presentations are from the top genealogists in the country and provide top-quality information.  Watch the past videos in anticipation of the 2021 conference in February.
  2. Legacy Family Tree Webinars – Legacy Family Tree Webinars is a paid site. However, the Webinar Library contains the last couple webinars and are typically free. Additionally, the “Upcoming Live Webinars” are excellent, and you may register to see them for free. If you miss the live presentation, it will be available in the previous webinars list for a short time. If you find the free webinars aren’t enough, you can subscribe to all the Legacy webinars.
  3. Ancestry Academy – These are typically 3 to 6-minute presentations focusing on a particular topic. For example, the “Newspapers.Com” set includes 11 videos about using Newspapers.Com (owned by Ancestry). There are also video sets about the U.S. Censuses, Population Schedules, and a host of other topics.
  4. YouTube – Of course, YouTube has some excellent material and you can learn about just about anything on YouTube. In your search, include “Genealogy” and then any topic you are interested in learning more about. My search for “Genealogy X-Chromosome DNA” yielded dozens of fascinating and potentially useful videos about the topic using Family Finder, GEDMatch, and 23 & Me.
  5. Library of Congress – There is an amazing number of films and videos available through the Library of Congress. A search for “Genealogy” yielded 114 items available online. Some were things like “Shakespeare’s Genealogies,” but the majority were items about our kind of genealogy, including an excellent presentation on “Family History in the U.S. Church Records.”

Don’t forget to look for videos that may be available through the local historical society, county society, or state library in the area your ancestors lived. As an example, I’ve posted nearly two dozen videos for the Scarborough Historical Society to YouTube on topics such as “Barns in Maine,” “Tide Mills,” and “Scarborough’s Black Point; a Century of Conflict.”


  1. Wikipedia – Not specifically genealogical, but filled with encyclopedic information. A search for “1820 Census” quickly reminds me the census was conducted on 7 August. An article for a place like Scarborough, Maine, tells me much of its history, including what counties it was in. Often, I’m looking for a neighborhood in an area, and Wikipedia provides the answer.
  2. Family Search – I find the FamilySearch Research Wiki to be the most valuable wiki for my use. When I have completed my phase 1 and phase 2 research, I will typically go to the Family Search Wiki. I’ll enter a place my ancestor lived, for example, Scarborough, Cumberland County, Maine. I will then go through the websites and information there, then I’ll go through the county page, and finally the state page. Besides being a site of links, it tells a lot of information about the town, county, and state, when and where various records might exist.
  3. RootsWeb – The Rootsweb Wiki is now the Ancestry.Com Family History Wiki. There is a lot of background information about military records, state records.
  4. DNA Painter – Not actually a wiki, but DNA Painter provides tools and information I often find useful in my understanding of DNA. Blane Bettinger’s Shared cM Project tool is my most used DNA tool. It provides the means to quickly see the possible relationships given a specific amount of DNA. Invaluable.


There are hundreds of blogs and podcasts that relate to Genealogy. First, it makes sense to subscribe to the blog or podcast for any site you pay for a subscription. It is always good to see what they are posting as new or interesting. So, I receive regular blog postings from American Ancestors, Ancestry, Newspapers.Com, etc. That said, I like, and pay attention to, several free blog sites.

  1. The Legal Genealogist – My favorite free blog is Judy Russell’s “The Legal Genealogist.” She focuses on Genealogical issues, ethics, and events. Her blog does an excellent job of alerting its subscribers to problems occurring in the genealogy world. I love it and her perspective on things. She is always thoughtful in her analysis and causes you to think.
  2. Genealogy à la carte – Although the focus of Genealogy à la carte is Canadian, I find that Gail Dever does a great job of keeping the topics interesting to me, who has no known Canadian ancestors.
  3. Genea-Musings – Randy Seaver provides excellent material about what is new and available in news, articles, and record collections. He gives ideas for your research and links to podcasts and videos. His write-ups regarding his ancestors are excellent examples for you to use in your ancestor biographies.
  4. The Ancestor Hunt – As probably my favorite site that provides links to other sites, I’m always interested in what Kenneth R. Marks has added or updated to The Ancestor Hunt. I always check out his articles for places I’m researching.
  5. DNAeXplained – Genetic Genealogy – It is hard to keep up to date with the latest in the ever-changing world of Genetic Genealogy. Roberta Estes does a great job of keeping folks informed using understandable writing. Her writing can challenge my understanding, but I like that. Her blog helps to keep me up to date in my genetic genealogy comprehension.

I didn’t write about podcasts in this list. Sadly, I don’t listen to them very often. Some people find them useful, but I am more visual in my preferences. So, I’m much more likely to do videos than podcasts. Even if the video is a “talking head,” I prefer that to a podcast. In any event, Randy Seaver’s Genea-Musing can point you to lots of great podcasts, if that is your preference.

Keep climbing your trees,