Only recently have I come to the determination that Ruth Grace Montran is my grandmother’s (Madonna Mae Montran) half sister and that they shared the same father, John F. Montran. In my attempt to prove or disprove that relationship, I’ve researched Ruth considerably and have learned quite a bit about her long life.
“Middlesex-County-Map” by Middlesex County Municipality – Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons
Ruth Grace Montran was born 27 Nov 1897 in Middlesex, Ontario, Canada, to John Montran and Maud Minnie Winter. Dr. Moorhouse was the attending physician.[i] Her birth was recorded/registered only two weeks later, on 13 Dec 1897, by M. M. Montran (presumed to be Maud).
According to Ruth’s naturalization record[ii], and the 1910 Census[iii], Ruth arrived in the United States in January 1898.
The 1900 Census shows Ruth living with her uncle, Primrose Brown, a railroad laborer, his wife Jerusha [sic – Josephine] Brown, her Scottish maternal grandmother, Maryann Winter, and her older sister Thelma Montran in Waterloo Village, Fayette Township, Seneca County, New York. It is interesting to note that the census indicates that she was born in Canada; however, there is not date in the emigration column, clearly an oversight. Another item of note is that this is the only document I’ve seen that indicates that her father was born in France.[iv] (I have long thought that Madonna’s father was French because Madonna used to say she was “English, Irish, and French.”)
The 1910 Census shows 12 year-old Ruth living in Shamokin, Northumberland County, Pennsylvania with her adoptive parents, Penrose and Josephine E Brown and an 5 year-old adopted brother, Harry P Baker.[v] So,
Ruth married John Terrell Cologne sometime between 1910 and 3 April 1920, as evidenced that she became naturalized Miami, Dade, Florida, USA as Ruth Cologne. The registration number is 13328136 and is something to search for.[vi]
I have not been successful finding John and Ruth in the 1920 Census, yet. Anyone else successful yet?
View of the Provident Mutual Life Insurance Building from a few hundred feet of 2 Farragut St. Photo by DanTD (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons
The 1930 Census finds Ruth living with her husband, John, at 2 Farragut Street, Philadelphia, PA, along with her two children, Dorothy B and John T. Cologne. This census entry is curious because it indicates that her father was born in New York. The 1900 Census indicated her father [John Montran] was born in France, and the 1910 Census indicates her father was born in Pennsylvania. Her father in this census is apparently Primrose Brown. In 1930, Ruth was a saleslady working in a department store. Her husband, John, was a dentist and was working as such[vii]. Two Farragut Street is currently a vacant lot next to the 46th Street Station of the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority’s Market-Frankford Line. It was across Market Street from the Provident Mutual Life Insurance Building that is currently under renovation to become a command center for the Philadelphia Police and the new headquarters the Philadelphia for Health Department.[viii]
What happened between 1930 and 1940 is very unclear. In the 1940 Census, Ruth’s husband, John, is living in Philadelphia with his son, John Jr; however, Ruth is not living with them[ix]. I have not been successful finding Ruth in the 1940 Census, so far. In pure speculation on my part, I think that John and Ruth were probably estranged about 1930 which necessitated Ruth to work outside of the home but they were still living in the same house. Then, by 1940 I suspect they were divorced. John remarried later in the 1940s but Ruth didn’t remarry. As I mentioned, this is speculation; however, it does provide directions for further research.
Ruth Grace Cologne died in Broward County, Florida on 3 Sep 1993[x]. I have not found specific burial information for Ruth Grace Cologne yet.
Areas for Further Research:
Determine if Middlesex has certificates for Ruth’s birth period and get a copy if possible.
Get a copy of Ruth’s naturalization information/record.
Get a copy of Ruth and John’s marriage license/certificate.
Find Ruth Grace Montran/Cologne in the 1920 Census.
Find Ruth Grace Cologne in the 1940 Census.
Learn more about Ruth Cologne’s life from 1940-1993.
Determine Ruth Grace Montran Cologne’s burial information/information.
[iv] “United States Census, 1900,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:MSGZ-6PY : accessed 7 August 2015), Ruth Montran in household of Penrose Brown, Fayette Township Waterloo vill., Seneca, New York, United States; citing sheet 16A, family 384, NARA microfilm publication T623 (Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.); FHL microfilm 1,241,162.
[vii]Ancestry.com, 1930 United States Federal Census (Online publication – Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2002.Original data – United States of America, Bureau of the Census. Fifteenth Census of the United States, 1930. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 1930. T626,), Year: 1930; Census Place: Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Roll: 2139; Page: 6A; Enumeration District: 0496; Image: 817.0; FHL microfilm: 2341873.
I learned his middle initial was “F”, and not “H”, through a birth register entry for my grandmother, Madonna (Donna).
I have also ordered a microfilm of another record regarding the birth. I am hoping it is a full certificate and not just the same image from the register. If you have never ordered a microfilm from Family Search and had it sent to your local Family History library, you should. It is a fantastic service and inexpensive — only $7.50/film for short term use. I’ll let you know the results when it comes in.
The exciting thing about learning his middle initial is “F” is that I’ve been unable to find anything about John H. Montran. Whenever I researched, I kept running into John F. Montran. If my John F. Montran is the same person as I’ve seen many times before, then Madonna (Donna) has at least one half sister, maybe two that we’ve never known about before.
I’ve begun researching the other two daughters of John F. Montran. Thelma M and Ruth Grace Montran. If I can find a descendant and can convince that person to have an atDNA test, I can prove that the two John’s are the same person.