Friday, July 31, 2015

John F Montran (c.1867-c.1897)

John F. Montran


This has been a really good week for me. I continued working on my great grandfather, John Montran.  

John F. Montran & Ida in Birth Registry entry for Madonna Montran, 1893
John F. Montran & Ida Birth Registry entry.Michigan, Births, 1867-1902 
Dept. of Vital Records, (Lansing, MI, )
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. 

These are exciting times in genealogy.

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Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Social Networking & Mother-in-Law's atDNA Results

Social Networking


I was out of town last week for personal business and didn’t have a chance to do any genealogical activity while gone.  I’m back now and am putting the final touches on my Social Networking for Genealogy presentation which I give this Saturday to the Greater Portland Chapter of the Maine Genealogical Society (GPS-MGS).  See https://www.facebook.com/events/1613563462253782/ for details. 

I decided to add a couple slides regarding Family Me and We Relate because both of them focus on sharing your family tree and then incorporating a Social Media element in order to allow for collaboration. Once I’ve given the presentation at the GPC-MGS, I’ll try my hand at recording a voice-over and making it a “canned” presentation and then posting it to my website. 

atDNA Results


This week I received the results from Ancestry DNA for my mother-in-law’s atDNA test. The good news is my wife is genetically her daughter so she isn’t a hospital changling/mix-up.  (We never thought she was.) Not many surprises. 

 ANCESTRY atDNA Results

Mother
Daughter



As I look at the results, they kind of imply that my wife father’s line was predominately from Ireland.  Because of the way Ancestry groups ethnicity, it still makes sense because "Ireland" includes not only all of Ireland, but also includes the rest of the United Kingdom. There is a heavy overlap with Wales and Scotland, which is where her father’s people were reportedly from.

It also interesting to note that most of my wife’s matches do not match with people her mother matches with, so the matches my wife has must relate through her father’s DNA.  Lots more about the matches once I can get to working that project. Again, more paternal matches makes sense because my mother-in-law's ancestors tended to have smaller families than my father-in-law's family did.


Finally, when I have time, I’ll export my mother-in-law’s Ancestry raw data  and import it into GEDMatch and see what connections I can find through them. GEDMatch is a great service, one that I highly recommend.  

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Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Social Networking for Genealogy

Title slide for
"Social Networking for Genealogists"
I’ll be giving a presentation on “Social Networking for Genealogy” to the Greater Portland Chapter of the Maine Genealogical Society on August 1. This will be the first presentation I have done since moving from Smyrna last year; I am really looking forward to it. 

I attended a “Social Networking” presentation a couple years ago (in Georgia) and felt that I could do a much better job than that speaker did. The biggest issue that I had with that presentation was that the speaker talked about his family tree excessively and he didn’t tie his findings to social networking. In other words, he didn’t keep to the topic – an issue I often have with speakers. Anyway, I’ll be talking about some techniques I use and will speak of some of my social networking successes. I will stay on topic and, hopefully, people will enjoy the talk.

I’ll probably post my slides to "Social Networking for Genealogists," my Pinterest board sometime after the presentation.

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Sunday, July 19, 2015

Walls – Paper or Brick | John Montran – (b-186?/7? – d. Bef 1911) - BM-14

Walls – Paper or Brick?


Rice Paper Walls - by Matt Litt via Flickr - ShareAlike 2.0 Generic - https://www.flickr.com/photos/smorked/2096018330
Rice Paper Walls
Photo by Matt Litt via Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)
We all have our genealogical walls. Often, we don’t know if a particular wall is a brick wall or a paper wall. It might be a wall surrounding a vault with steel plates or it might be just thorny bushes that create a labyrinth. Until we do a thorough analysis of what makes up a genealogical wall, we don’t know what kind of wall it really is. 

My greatest genealogical challenge is my completely unknown biological father. Through DNA and other research, I think am slowly breaking chips out of that wall. I think I have a reasonable plan and direction to continue working that challenge. So, maybe it isn't a brick wall, rather maybe it is just a complicated maze that I will need to find my way through. 

My next greatest genealogical challenge is my great grandfather, John Montran. I know his name but next to nothing about him. So my goal this week is to try to understand what I know about John Montran and then be able to determine what kind of wall I’m dealing with so I can plan on how to break through the wall. Do I need a knife to cut through a paper wall or do I need a howitzer and a small army to shatter a medieval castle wall. 

Until I have done an in-depth analysis of what I have and what I still need to determine, I don’t know what kind of wall I have.

John Montran – (b-186?/7? – d. bef 1911?) - Brown/Montran #14

Marriage Register - Fisher & Barber
Source: Family Search - Michigan Marriages
"Montrani" - Any other opinions?

Name: John Montran
(Possibly John H Montran)

1897-05-20 – Ida Barber married Max E. Fisher. In the Marriage Register, her name is Ida Montrani Barber[i]. I am not certain that it is Montrani. I could be Montram or possibly Montrane. In any event, the Montran portion of the name is clear.

1911-10-01 - Madonna Montran Holdsworth married her first husband, Chester Fenyvessey. On the Marriage license, Madonna’s father is identified as Robert Montran and indicated that he was dead.[ii] This name is somewhat problematic. In all other documents, Madonna’s father is always listed as “John.”

Source: Family Search
Massachusetts, Marriages, 1841-1915 

1915-11-24 – Mae Donna Montran married Thomas Rooney in Waltham, MA. In the City Clerk’s marriage log, Madonna’s father is listed as John H. Montran[iii]. Although I can’t disagree with the “H” identified by the indexer, I can’t be absolutely it is an “H.” Also, because this entry is in a log written by the city clerk, it only corroborates her father’s name as Madonna provided it.

Parents of Donna Montran Kees from her Social Security Application.
1937-09-07 – In Donna Montran Kee’s Social Security Application, her father is listed as John Montran[iv]. Her social security application, which is in her own hand, is the best source for her father’s name that I have, thus, I consider John Montran the preferred name.

Place of Birth

In the 1900 Census, Madonna Fischer’s father is identified as having been born in Michigan. Her stepfather, Max Fisher, was born in Michigan, so it is unclear if her father, in this census was Max or her biological father. Of further interest, is Madonna and her mother, Ida, are living in Manistee, Michigan. Because Ida grew up in Albion, Calhoun County, there had to be a reason for the move. Possibly, she was widowed there. A check of Ancestry.Com indicated that there were other people named Montran in that city -- Definitely an area for further research.

In the 1910 census, Madonna Holdsworth identifies that her father was born in Michigan. With her mother divorced and her former stepfather, who was born in New York, suggests she was talking about John Montran being born in Michigan.

However, the 1920 Census gives more insight into a greater likelihood. When the census was enumerated, Donna was on the road with the stage production, “Chin Chin.” Her grandmother, Sarah (Blackhurst} Barber was the head of the household in New York City and must have provided the information. In that Census, Madonna Montran’s father was recorded to have been born in Pennsylvania. Of all the entries regarding John Montran’s birth location, Sarah is likely the only one who actually met John Montran, so I believe Pennsylvania being his most likely birth location[v].

In 1930, Donna was in Panama and thus not enumerated in the Census and the 1940 census didn’t include birth information on parents.

Birth

Ida was born in 1874 and she became pregnant with Madonna in 1892, when she was 18 years old. It is unlikely that her husband, John was much younger than 17, so, I suggest that John Montran was born something between 1860-1875, making him somewhere between 17 and 32 when Ida conceived. 

Death

1911 Marriage Certificate indicating
"Robert Montran" as dead. 
As I mentioned before, when Madonna married for the first time, in 1911, the license indicated that her father was dead. That suggests her father passed before then. However, because the name was different from all other records, it is possible that whoever added the information didn’t know and gave what they thought they knew. It is also possible that Madonna's father was only “dead to Ida and Madonna” and that he lived many more years, started a new family. Although not as likely as having died, I remain open to the possibility.

I now see John Montran as:

Born:         1860-1875 in Pennsylvania (Possibly Michigan)
Married:   About 1892 in Michigan (Probably Albion, Calhoun County)
Died:         before 1911, possibly not.

Armed now with what I think I know, I can now check for the low hanging fruit and then determine if I really have a wall or is the wall just an illusion. Then I can focus my research on key events in his life. 




[i] Michigan, Marriages, 1868-1925, Family Search, Max E. Fisher and Ida B. Barber Montrani, 20 May 1897 (Accessed 07 Mar 2014). https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/N3XV-7TB.
[ii] Ontario, Canada Marriages, 1801-1928 (Toronto, Ontario, Canada, Archives of Ontario, 2010), Ancestry.com, http://www.Ancestry.com, Archives of Ontario; Series: MS932; Reel: 180 - Certificate: 015779. http://search.ancestry.com//cgi-bin/sse.dll?db=OntarioMarr1858-1899_ga&h=3477093&indiv=try.
[iii] Massachusetts, Marriages, 1841-1915 (Massachusetts, State Archives, Boston), Family Search, FHL microfilm 2411236, p 650 no 312. - Thomas Rooney & Donna Montran. https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/N4XD-X3L.
[iv] Social Security Application - Donna Montran Kees, Form SS-5 - Application for account number.  XXX-XX-XX79.
[v] 1920 United States Federal Census 3, Ancestry.com, http://www.Ancestry.com, Year: 1920; Census Place: Manhattan Assembly District 13, New York, New York; Roll: T625_1209; Page: 24A; Enumeration District: 958.

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Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Memories – 4th of July, 1977 – Don Taylor



I was reading Randy Seaver’s Blog “Genea Musings” (http://www.geneamusings.com) who was suggesting that we might remember our best 4th of July experience as a child and our best as an adult. So, I put my mind to it.

Cap Pistol with roll caps much like I had in the 1950s
photo via www.freerepublic.com


Sadly, I could not think of any childhood experiences that were outstanding or particularly memorable. Certainly, growing up in Minnesota, a state without personal fireworks, means I didn’t have any fireworks around until I was a teenager. We had roll caps for our toy guns and cracker balls that you threw at the sidewalk to get a pop, but there really wasn’t much. I recall going to the drive-in movie theater a few times to watch the fireworks. One year, when I was at the Hilltop Theater, there was a misfire and a large starburst went off about 30 feet off the ground showering the spectators with hot sparks. (Boy, did people dive into their cars quickly.) I also recall going with some friends on the 200 mile drive out to Watertown, South Dakota to get some real fireworks, but, the road-trip was probably more fun than shooting the fireworks off.


Then I thought about my adult experiences, and I’ve had many good experiences. I think the best, and most memorable, experience was in the late 1970s. I was in the US Navy, stationed in Hawaii. I lived with my wife and son in base housing at “Camp Stover,” which was at Wheeler AFB near. Across Kunia Road was Schofield Barracks, a large army installation. It is where we usually shopped because they had a great commissary and exchange. One of the three years I was there (1976-1979), they planned a huge fireworks display climaxing in the 1812 Overture with cannon. Wow.

By The U.S. Army (Firing a Salute)
CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons
We packed a lawn blanket, a picnic basket of goodies and had a wonderful afternoon with other service families. Later that evening, after the sun went down, the fireworks began. Then there was a short lull in the fireworks and the Army Band played the “1812 Overture” and the canon (howitzers actually) joined in. The howitzers were deafening and from were we were, probably 20-25 feet away, the pressure change was like a kick to the chest. An amazing experience, lots of fun, and something I will always remember. YouTube has several videos of 4th of July celebrations that show more modern celebrations, but none of the videos do justice to the experience of being there.




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