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.


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


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.”


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]


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


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.


  • 1900 Census (F.S.), Family Search, 1900 – Saul Amsterdam – Head. “United States Census, 1900,” database with images, FamilySearch ( : 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 ( : 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. Florida, U.S., Marriage Indexes, 1822-1875 and 1927-2001 [database on-line]. Lehi, UT, USA: 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 ( : 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.
  • 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 ( : 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 ( : 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.


[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.

Donna Darling Collection – Part 83

Donna & Her Cloak – Part 1
Tex Grand – El Paso – 25 Sep 1926

Treasure Chest Thursday
By Don Taylor

Photo of Don Taylor with cat Nasi.For this week’s Treasure Chest Tuesday, I’m begin looking at several clippings and a photo from the Donna Darling Collection highlighting her cloak. Donna is known to have loved clothes, and she had several cloaks, which were stunning. Newspaper clippings help add new venues and further information about her career.

This clipping shows Donna with her beautiful cloak. Luckily she annotated the clipping with “Tex Grand – El Paso Tex. Sep 25-26.” Sure enough, the El Paso Herald reported in the 25 September 1926 paper that Donna Darling and Sammy Clark were appearing at the Texas Grand.

11 Years on State, She Advises Golf and Vegetables for Beauty

Golf and a vegetable diet are the recipes Donna Darling, hotel Paso del Norte, gives to retain youth and beauty.

Eighteen holes of golf sandwiched between vaudeville performances, she says, keeps her trim and strong. She prefers vegetables and fruits when she travels. She thinks a heavy diet and different drinking water would be bad for her health.

Miss Darling went on the stage at 14. She played on the legitimate state, for the screen and in vaudeville for 11 years. A prize winner in beauty contests at Boston and Madison Square Garden, she soon got movie contracts. She is the sister of Grace Darling, Vitagraph[i] star. She played prima donna in Chin Chin when the musical comedy came to El Paso in 1923.


This article is an excellent example that you “can’t believe everything you read in the papers.” Some of it is true, and some is a twist of facts. My thoughts:

Different drinking different water would be bad for her health — Likely. It only takes one episode of “Montezuma’s revenge” to change your outlook on drinking the local water during the 1920s. I can easily believe Donna preferred wine, beer, or anything else alcoholic over local water. Of course, drinking beverages that were safe during Prohibition was likely difficult.

On Stage at 14 – Likely. In 1910, 17-year-old Madonna Holdsworth (a stepfather’s surname) was living Detroit and worked as a saleswoman at a dry goods store. If she had been on stage at that time, it would have most likely been local theater.

In vaudeville for 11 years–Partially true. 1926 minus 11 years is 1915. She won beauty contests in 1915 and 1916 after she was in “Birth of a Nation,” which was released on 8 February 1915. She likely did some uncredited vaudeville work about that time.

Sister of Grace Darling—I had always thought this was not true; there is no way she could be related to Grace Darling, the famous English lighthouse keeper’s daughter. However, it appears that another Grace Darling was her sister-in-law. In 1915, Madonna married Thomas Valentine Rooney. Grace Darling (born Grace Foster) married Pat Rooney in 1908 but divorced him sometime before 1915. She apparently got back with Pat Rooney and was with him when he died in 1933. Donna (Madonna) and Thomas appear to have drifted apart in 1921. Indeed, this is new information to me and warrants further investigation.

She played prima donna in Chin Chin when the musical comedy came to El Paso in 1923. “Chin Chin” did not have a leading lady. Donna was a part of the “Chin Chin” cast from October 1919 to the show’s closing in June 1920, where she played the “Lady of the Lamp.” The show went to El Paso before she joined the show. By 1923, she had her own shows, Donna Darling & Co. and the Donna Darling Revue.


Learning about Grace Foster and Pat Rooney being married and that Grace Foster took on the stage name of Grace Darling makes me wonder if Donna and Grace both took the Darling stage name at the same time. I need to look at how the lives of the two “Darlings” and the two Rooney’s intertwined.

Donna’s note also extends my date for Donna in El Paso from one day to two days.


I have long had a desire to do a side investigation into the life of Thomas Valentine Rooney. The Grace Foster stage name and her marriage to Pat Rooney make this investigation much higher on my to-do list.


[i] The Vitagraph Studios (Vitagraph Company of America) was a film company bought out by Warner Brothers in 1925. Grace Darling was the stage name for Grace Foster. – Wikipedia.

DNA – Glennis’ Paternal Search – Part 15

Looking at Viola Cline more closely.

By Don Taylor

Photo of Don Taylor with cat Nasi.My half-sister Glennis is a DNA match on Ancestry.Com with several individuals who have common ancestors with Nathan Smith Morgan and his wife, Belinda [sometimes Malinda Odell. In the search to determine Glennis’ biological father, I am continuing to develop a tree of the descendants of Nathan and Belinda.

On the last DNA Day, 22 March 2018, I began to suspect that someone close to Viola Cline was going to be a likely candidate. I looked at a couple of Viola Cline’s grandsons and determined they were possible, but unlikely, candidates. I had quite a bit of difficulty tracing Viola’s daughters and their children. So, I thought I’d look at Viola again and see what I could learn.

Discover you family history through historical newspapers at Newspapers.comI learned that Mary Corinne Huber married Roy Lee Ezzell. In the 1940 Census they still hadn’t any children. Placing them out of consideration.

I examined John Clifford Huber previously. His two sons are possible but unlikely candidates.

Genevieve married Chas (Charles?) Osborne. The 1940 Census indicates that they had 1 son who was a 1year-old so, he’s not possible.

Finally, Elenore Elizabeth married Wilmont Schlaff. They had a son (possibly living), who is not a candidate.

1.    Descendants of John and Viola (Cline) Huber

#.# Child Notes/Comments Status
1. Mary Corinne Huber Married Roy Lee Ezzell

Married [Unk] Cook

1.1    Possibly Living Born 1944
2. John Clifford Huber Married Naomi Stewart
2.1.    [Possibly living] Possible but Unlikely
2.2.    Roy L. Huber Possible but Unlikely
3. Genevieve Huber Married Chas Osborne
3.1. Possibly Living Born 1939 Not Possible
4. Eleanor Elizabeth Huber Married Wilmont Schlaff No apparent children in 1940 Census.

There don’t appear to be any likely candidates from the descendants of Viola Cline.

I also took a look at the matches Glennis has on Ancestry.Com and GEDMatch.Com. Neither had any new matches that could shed light on Glennis’ DNA connections.

As such, next I’ll investigate the descendants of her four siblings.

  • Fotilla Cline – born 1873/4.
  • Amos C Cline – born 1875
  • Forest Cline – born 1877/8
  • Rufus Cline – born 1879.

Note – My Criteria:

  • “Candidates” are males born between 1925 and 1935.
  • “Not considered” are females who are unlikely to have had a male child between 1925 and 1935.
  • “Not a Candidate” are males born between 1915 and 1925 as being too young to have had a son between 1925 and 1935 and too old to be a candidate.
  • “Possible but unlikely” are males born between 1925 and 1935, but are not named Paul or Phil, which are the likely names of Glennis’ biological father, or otherwise don’t appear to fit the likely candidate who would have been in Minnesota or Michigan in 1953. I will revisit these possibilities later of this project fails to find a potential candidate.