Ancestor Sketch – Samson Clark Amsterdam

Brown-Montran Line
By Don Taylor

Photo of Don Taylor with cat Nasi.[Growing up, I knew I had an Uncle Russ and that he was the child of Donna and her husband, Sammy Clark Amsterdam. I never knew that Sammy was my grandmother’s third husband. My mom and her brother, Russell, never knew Donna was married before Sammy until I discovered that in my genealogy work. It was a surprise to both of them when I found evidence of the two previous marriages. This week I’m looking at Sammy Amsterdam. He was the father of Russell and the “father of record” of my mother. My grandmother and Sammy stayed married after my grandmother was pregnant (by Dick Brown) to “give the child a name” and then quietly divorced. Such was the way of show-business marriages in the 1930s. Sammy is one of the few people I know of who served in both World Wars.]

Roberts/Brown – Ancestor #6-S3[1]

List of Maternal Grandparents

    • Grandmother: Madonna Mae Montran (1893-1976)
      • 1st husband of Madonna: Chester Fenyvessey
      • 2nd husband of Madonna: Thomas Valentine Rooney
      • 3rd husband of Madonna: Samson Clark Amsterdam
      • (Not Married) Richard Earl Brown
      • (Significant Other) Russell Harrison Kees

Samson Clark Amsterdam (1898-1979)

Samson is found at Family Search as profile G93G-W2Y, Find-a-Grave, Memorial 54396367, and my Ancestry Tree.

Birth

Samson Clark Amsterdam was born on 20 July 1898 in Brooklyn, Kings County, New York, the first child of Saul and Sarah (Gottlieb) Amsterdam. It was during the peak of the Spanish-American war. The United States was mobilizing troops to send to Puerto Rico.

Children of Saul and Sarah (Gottleib) Amsterdam—(Siblings)

Name Born Married Died
Samson 20 July 1898 Madonna Montran
Elvie Bolton
13 April 1979
Evelyn 3 December 1901 Al Wise
Sammy Rodvien
8 August 2001
Elias 2 August 1905 Madelyn (LNU) 15 May 1989
Harold 12 August 1914 Ann (LNU) 7 June 1996
Bernard 12 August 1914 Doris Westbay 28 September 1975

1900s

The 1900 Census found two-year-old “Samuel[2]” living with his parents at 263 Division Street in Manhattan. Living with them are his grandparents, Leo & Yetta Amsterdam. Also living with them is Sammy’s uncle Abraham Reuben.

The 1905 New York Census finds the Amsterdam family living at 207 Madison Street. “Sol” works in Real Estate. The household consists of his parents, a younger sister (“Evia”), and 53-year-old “Sarra” (Sarah) Gottlieb. Although listed as a “Boarder,” Gottlieb is Saul’s wife’s maiden name. As such, she must be related. It is unclear if this is Sarah’s mother or an aunt.

1910s

The 1910 Census shows that the Amsterdam family moved to 1433 50th in Brooklyn. Saul was still in real estate (a broker now). Besides four-year-old “Eli,” Sarah’s mother, Rebecca Gottlieb, lived with them. Additionally, they had a servant living with them. Sarah’s three children were living, and Rebecca’s seven children were all alive in 1910.

The 1915 New York Census shows the Amsterdam family still at 1433 50th in Brooklyn. It documents the twins Herald and Bernard. Sarah’s mother, Rebecca Gottlieb, is still living with them. A new servant, Sadie Burcheska, is living with them. Samson is attending high school; Evelyn and Elias are also in school.

Military Service

On 2 May 1917, Samson enlisted in the Regular Army at Fort Slocum, Winchester County, New York. On 18 November 1917, Samson was discharged from the Regular Army to enlist in the ERC—Enlisted Reserve Corps (now the U.S. Army Reserves). Samson was supposed to ship out on 26 November 1917 aboard the USS Aeolus (ID-3005); however, his name was stricken from the ship’s manifest. Instead, he remained stateside with the Medical Detachment of the 503rd Engineers. He was stationed at the Post Hospital, Fort Hamilton, NY, from October 1918 until January 1919, and stationed at the Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland, from 28 January 1919 until his discharge on 5 June 1919.

1920s

I have been unsuccessful in finding Sammy in the 1920 Census, but the 1925 New York Census found him back home with his parents and three brothers, now at 86 Halsey Street. His occupation is listed as “Theatrical.” The building at 86 Halsey is still standing.

In March and April of 1926, Donna was doing her “Donna Darling’s Little Jewel Revue” in Michigan, Upstate New York, West Virginia, and Brooklyn. So, it must have been a whirlwind romance because Sammy and Donna married on 19 April 1926 in Manhattan. The two started the Donna Darling Revue with Sammy Clark the first week of May.

Marriage 1 – Madonna Mae Montran (aka Donna Darling)

Children of Samson and Madonna (Montran) Amsterdam

Name Born Married Died
Russell Erwin Amsterdam [Kees][3] Aug 1927 Delphine Ann Sieradski 2016
Sammy, Russell, & Donna at the Beach, circa 1928.
Sammy, Russell, & Donna at the Beach, circa 1928.

Sammy and Donna took their vaudeville show across the country. They played in New York, Michigan, Illinois, Ohio, Wisconsin, Oklahoma, Colorado, Texas, Arizona, California, Oregon, Washington, Montana, & Iowa, North Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Louisiana, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, and Massachusetts, with stops in Ontario before returning to ending the show in July 1927, just eight weeks before Russell was born.

It appears that Sammy and Donna took off for several months but restarted the Donna Darling and Sammy Clark show in April 1928.

In 1929 Sammy and Donna went to Panama, where they worked.

1930s

Something happened between Sammy and Donna in Panama as they left the country estranged. The passenger list for their return in April 1930[4] shows them in different cabins and indicates Donna going home to her mother’s address in Detroit and Sammy going home to his mother’s address in New York. I have found no evidence they ever were together again.

In 1939 Sammy traveled to Cuba and returned.

1940s

I have not found Sammy in the 1940 Census. However, from May to July 1940, Sammy lived in Chicago, where he was initiated, passed, and raised as a Master Mason in the Henry Horner Lodge #402 in Illinois.

Military Service Again

By February 1942, Sammy had located to Odessa, Ector County, Texas. He lived at 613 W 9th Street and worked at a nightclub, the Village Barn, when he registered for the draft. He enlisted that following October in the Army Air Corps. His marital status was “divorced, without dependents.”

1950s

In May 1950, Sammy and his mother Sarah took a month-long trip to Europe. They sailed aboard the RMS Queen Mary to Cherbourg, France, and returned aboard the RMS Caronia in June 1950. Sammy’s address was 540 West Avenue, Miami Beach. Today, that address is a modern (built in 2005), luxury, high-rise condo, known as Bentley Bay North.

Marriage 2 – Elvie (Bolton) Anderson

In 1951 Sammy married Elvie (Bolton) Anderson in Dade County, Florida.

During the 1950s, Sammy had a theatrical booking agency in Miami Beach on Collins Ave. His home address was 6295 SW 116th Street.[5]

Death/Burial

Sammy lived in Macon, Bibb County, Georgia, when he died on 13 April 1979. He is buried at Riverside Cemetery in Macon

Events by Location

  • Florida, Dade                                  Marriage 2 (1951)
  • Florida, Dade, Miami Beach     1950
  • Florida, Dade, Miami                   1954-1955
  • Georgia, Bibb, Macon                  1979 & Death
  • Illinois, Cook, Chicago                 1940
  • New York, Brooklyn                      Birth, 1910-1915, 1925, 1930,
  • New York, Manhattan                  1900-1905, Marriage 1 (1926)
  • New Jersey, Camp Merritt          Military Service – 1917-1919
  • Texas, Ector, Odessa                     1942
  • Texas, Lubbock, Lubbock           Military Service 1942-1945
  • Panama                                               1929-1930

Conflicts

Do not confuse Samson Clark Amsterdam with Sam Amsterdam, born 26 December 1899 in Manhattan, New York, the son of Gerry Amsterdam, or Sam Amsterdam, born 26 November 1899 in Manhattan, New York.


Sources

  • 1900 Census (F.S.), Family Search, 1900 – Saul Amsterdam – Head. “United States Census, 1900,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:MSJG-W37 : accessed 19 January 2022), Saul Amsterdam, Borough of Manhattan, Election District 13 New York City Ward 4, New York County, New York, United States; citing enumeration district (E.D.) 80, sheet 20A, family 347, NARA microfilm publication T623 (Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 1972.); FHL microfilm 1,241,084.
  • 1910 Census (F.S.), Family Search, 1910 – Saul Amsterdam – Head – Brooklyn, New York.
  • City Directory (A), Ancestry.Com, Miami, Florida – 1955 – Page 42 – Amsterdam. U.S., City Directories, 1822-1995 –Miami, Florida, City Directory, 1955 – Image 23 of 414.
  • Find a Grave, Find a Grave, Sammy Amsterdam (1898-1979) – No Image. Find a Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/54396367/sammy-amsterdam : accessed 26 January 2022), memorial page for Sammy Amsterdam (20 July 1898–13 April 1979), Find a Grave Memorial ID 54396367, citing Riverside Cemetery, Macon, Bibb County, Georgia, USA; Maintained by David Hutchins Israel (contributor 47406641).
  • Florida, U.S., Marriage Indexes, 1822-1875 and 1927-2001, Ancestry, Sampson Amsterdam – Elvie Anderson – 1951. Ancestry.com. Florida, U.S., Marriage Indexes, 1822-1875 and 1927-2001 [database on-line]. Lehi, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2006.
  • Masonic Record – Samson Amsterdam – ID 321333.
  • New York, New York City Marriage Records, 1829-1940, Family Search, Marriage: Samson Amsterdam & Madonna Montana – 19 April 1926. “New York, New York City Marriage Records, 1829-1940,” database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:247L-21S : 10 February 2018), Ida Barber in the entry for Samson Amsterdam and Madonna Montran, 19 April 1926; citing Marriage, Manhattan, New York, New York, United States, New York City Municipal Archives, New York; FHL microfilm 1,643,705. https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:247L-21S.
  • New York, New York Passenger and Crew Lists, 1909, 1925-1957, Family Search, Amsterdam, Samson – Amsterdam, Sarah. “New York, New York Passenger and Crew Lists, 1909, 1925-1957,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:24TN-7NP : 2 March 2021), Samson Amsterdam, 1950; citing Immigration, New York City, New York, United States, NARA microfilm publication T715 (Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.).
  • New York, New York, U.S., Extracted Marriage Index, 1866-1937, Ancestry, Samson New York, New York, U.S., Extracted Marriage Index, 1866-1937 – Amsterdam – Madonna Montran – 19 April 1926 – (No Image).
  • New York, U.S., Arriving Passenger and Crew Lists (including Castle Garden and Ellis Island), 1820-1957, Ancestry, Samson Amsterdam – Arrival 8 April 1930 to New York 8 April 1930. Year: 1930; Arrival: New York, New York, USA; Microfilm Serial: T715, 1897-1957; Line: 1; Page Number: 82.
  • New York, U.S., Arriving Passenger and Crew Lists (including Castle Garden and Ellis Island), 1820-1957, Ancestry, Year: 1939; Arrival:,; Microfilm serial: T715; Microfilm roll:
  • New York State Archives; Albany, New York; State Population Census Schedules, 1905; Election District: A.D. 04 E.D. 11; City: Manhattan; County: New York; Page: 58
  • New York, U.S., State Census, 1915, Ancestry, Saul Amsterdam, Head. New York State Archives; Albany, New York; State Population Census Schedules, 1915; Election District: 44; Assembly District: 16; City: New York; County: Kings; Page: 21.
  • New York, U.S., State Census, 1925, Ancestry, Saul Amsterdam, Head. New York State Archives; Albany, New York; State Population Census Schedules, 1925; Election District: 26; Assembly District: 17; City: Brooklyn; County: Kings; Page: 22.
  • S., Abstracts of World War I Military Service, 1917-1919, Ancestry, New York – Samson Amsterdam. Original data: New York State Abstracts of World War I Military Service, 1917–1919. Adjutant General’s Office. Series B0808. New York State Archives, Albany, New York.
  • S., Army Transport Service Arriving and Departing Passenger Lists, 1910-1939,
  • The National Archives at College Park; College Park, Maryland; Record Group Title: Records of the Office of the Quartermaster General, 1774-1985; Record Group Number: 92; Roll or Box Number: 363.
  • S., Departing Passenger and Crew Lists, 1914-1966, Ancestry, Samson Amsterdam, Departs New York, 9 May 1950 aboard the Queen Mary. Sarah Amsterdam, Departs New York, 9 May 1950 aboard the Queen Mary. The National Archives at Washington, D.C.; Washington, D.C.; Series Title: Passenger and Crew Lists of Vessels and Airplanes Departing from New York, New York, 07/01/1948-12/31/1956; NAI Number: 3335533; Record Group Title: Records of the Immigration and Naturalization Service, 1787-2004; Record Group Number: 85; Series Number: A4169; NARA Roll Number: 74.
  • S., Social Security Applications and Claims Index, 1936-2007, Ancestry.Com, Probably. Number: 468-09-2273; Issue State: Minnesota; Issue Date: Before 1951.
  • S., Social Security Death Index, 1935-2014, Ancestry.Com, Number: 350-09-2088; Issue State: Illinois; Issue Date: Before 1951.
  • S., World War II Army Enlistment Records, 1938-1946, Ancestry, Samson Amsterdam (No Image). National Archives at College Park; College Park, Maryland, USA; Electronic Army Serial Number Merged File, 1938-1946; NAID: 1263923; Record Group Title: Records of the National Archives and Records Administration, 1789-ca. 2007; Record Group: 64; Box Number: 00241; Reel: 24.
  • S., World War II Draft Cards Young Men, 1940-1947 (National Archives), Ancestry.Com, Sam Amsterdam. National Archives at St. Louis; St. Louis, Missouri; WWII Draft Registration Cards for Texas, 10/16/1940-03/31/1947; Record Group: Records of the Selective Service
  • United Kingdom, Outgoing Passenger Lists, 1890-1960, Family Search, Samson Amsterdam – Departed England 2 June 1950. Image at Find My Past.Com. “United Kingdom, Outgoing Passenger Lists, 1890-1960”, database, FamilySearch (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:68PV-B8K1 : 28 October 2021), Samson Amsterdam, 1950.
  • United States Social Security Death Index, Family Search, Social Security Number: 350-09-2088; Issue State: Illinois; Issue Date: Before 1951.

Endnotes

[1] My own numbering system. Ancestor #6 would be the biological maternal grandfather. The I use the “S” to indicate a step-father and the “3” to indicate it is the 3rd stepfather.

[2] Samson is listed as Sampson, Samuel, and Sammy in different documents and are interchangeable in this document. (I try to use the name used in the source document.)

[3] Born Amsterdam, Russell used the surname Kees through most of his life.

[4] Sammy was aboard the S.S. Columbia between Panama and New York during the 1930 Census and is not listed there.

[5] Per Zillow, the home currently at 6295 SW 116th St. was built in 1998.

Grandparent surnames in the 1940 Census

Photo of Don Taylor with cat Nasi.[Last Saturday, Randy Seaver, in his blog Genea-Musings, suggested looking at grandparent surnames and seeing how many are in the 1940 Census. He also asked if we had done a “one-name search” for any of those surnames.]

My four grandparents surnames and the number with that surname in the 1940 U.S. Census are:

    • Roberts – 199,363 people*
    • Barnes – 109,928 people
    • Brown – 755,566 people
    • Montran – 3 people

My wife’s four grandparents last names at birth, and the exact number with those last names in the 1940 U.S. census are:

    • Howell – 61,015 people
    • Hobbs – 25,280 people
    • Darling – 11,404 people
    • Huber – 22,633 people

I have performed an extensive “one name search” for Montran and have set up alerts with Newspapers.Com, Genealogy Bank, and Newspaper Archives so that I am alerted when “Montran” is mentioned. Then I include news of the Montrans in my tree and my blog.


* The source for all numbers is Family Search.

Montrans in the News – O’Briens Sworn Into Service

Montran Monday
By Don Taylor

Photo of Don Taylor with cat Nasi.

This week for Montran Monday[i], I found the following article:

This week’s entry is from the Evening Eagle (Wichita, Kansas) dated 11 September 1953[ii].

Page 15

Witicha Evening Eagle, Sep 11, 1953, Pg 15

O’BRIENS SWORN INTO SERVICE

Lieut. Alerbert C. Montran swears in twin brothers Ed and Johnny O’Brien, both of the Pittsburgh Pirates, at the army induction center a Newark, N. J. The O’Briens made basketball headlines last winter with the University of Seattle. During the past few months they’ve been with the Pittsburgh Pirates.—(UP Telephoto.)

I learned:

I had not heard of an Alerbert C. Montran previously.  So, there might be an error in the name. That idea aside I learned four (possible) facts:

    1. There was an Alerbert C. Montran.
    2. He was a Lieutenant in the Army.
    3. He was stationed in or near Newark, N. J. in 1953.

Future Actions

Search further for Lt. Alerbert C. Montran.

Endnotes

[i] Montran Monday – My grandmother’s father was John Montran. She used the surname, as a young child and again when she began in show business. The name is uncommon and most of the Montrans I see in the newspapers are my grandmother during her early vaudeville career. However, with the constant flow of newly digitized material, I often learn of new articles which contain the Montran name. I pay attention to the finding and try to determine a possible relationship of any Montrans to Donna’s father, John Montran.

[ii] The Evening Eagle (Wichita, Kansas) dated 11 September 1953, Page 15. Via Newspapers.Com. https://www.newspapers.com/image/719990812/ accessed 23 April 2021.

Montrans in the News – Midweek Junior Eagle

Charlotte Montran – Staten Island (?), NY

Montran Monday
By Don Taylor

Photo of Don Taylor with cat Nasi.This week for Montran Monday[i], I found the following article:

This week’s entry is from the Brooklyn Daily Eagle (Brooklyn, NY) 17 May 1933 via Newspapers.com

Midweek Junior Eagle

The Brooklyn Daily Eagle – May 17, 1933.

If you are planning a trip in the near future, do not be like the man in the ten-credit puzzle that appeared in the Junior Eagle on May 7, and at the last minute find you have mislaid something. The man is searching for his “wallet.” When he finds it, the family will start. The five-credit puzzle in which you had to piece out the linoleum was easy, for you just had to cut through the squares that were misfits and then turn your square around.  In the picture to color, the maid’s feather duster was missing. Next Sunday you will find something new on the back page of the Junior Eagle with which to win credits. Work it out and mail you finished work to me for credits. In next Sunday’s Junior Eagle the pupils of Public School 55 will find their school Honor Roll. If your name appears in the list today, underline it, cut out the list and mail it to me for your credits.

                  Aunt Jean

….
20 CREDITS
… Charlotte Montran….

PUZZLE CLUB
… Charlotte Montran…

I learned:

There was a young girl nameed Charlotte Montran who lived in New York, probably Staten Island[ii], in 1933, and she may have attended Public School 55.

—– Disclosure —–


Endnotes:

[i] Montran Monday – My grandmother’s father was John Montran. She used the surname, as a young child and again when she began in show business. The name is uncommon and most of the Montrans I see in the newspapers are my grandmother during her early vaudeville career. However, with the constant flow of newly digitized material, I often learn of new articles which contain the Montran name. I pay attention to the finding and try to determine a possible relationship of any Montrans to Donna’s father, John Montran.

[ii] Public School 55 is the Henry M. Boehm School in the Eltingville neighborhood of Staten Island. Internet: Wikipedia – List of public elementary schools in New York City.

Montrans in the News – Annual Concert at Ocean City

Montran Monday
By Don Taylor

Photo of Don Taylor with cat Nasi.

This week for Montran Monday[i], I found an article from the Philadelphia Inquirer dated 22 July 1917. 

Article transcription:

ANNUAL CONCERT AT OCEAN CITY

Musical Feast to Be Given at Yacht Club July 27 With Noted Quartette

Plan for Dance Thursday Next for Benefit of Hahnemann Base Hospital Fund

 OCEAN CITY, N. J., July 21—The…

[Eight paragraphs then]

“Mrs. M. W. Montran and daughter, Miss Ruth, of West Philadelphia, were guests this week of W. Ward Beam, and wife at their apartments here.”

Source:

Philadelphia Inquirer, Philadelphia, PA, July 22, 1917, Page six. Found via Genealogy Bank.

Analysis

This is clearly Maude Winter Montran (1875-1931) and her daughter Ruth Grace Montran.

Maude lived in Philadelphia in 1910 and in San Francisco in 1920. As such it makes sense that Maude and Ruth would visit friends or family before the move. Alternately, Maude’s other daughter, Thelma, was married in 1916 or 1917. Ocean City was a great place for marriages and Maude and Ruth could have been in New Jersey for Thelma’s wedding and then stayed with the Beams.

Future Actions

  • Research Thelma’s wedding date & location.
  • Research Mr. & Mrs. W. Ward Beam. Are they related?

ENDNOTES

[i] Montran Monday – My grandmother’s father was John Montran. She used the surname, as a young child and again when she began in show business. The name is uncommon and most of the Montrans I see in the newspapers are my grandmother during her early vaudeville career. However, with the constant flow of newly digitized material, I often learn of new articles which contain the Montran name. I pay attention to the finding and try to determine a possible relationship of any Montrans to Donna’s father, John Montran.