Friday, July 22, 2016

Will DNA Testing provide the Answer for my Howell Brick Wall?

- By Don Taylor

I have completed my initial writing about Generations 3, 4, and 5 on my Howell line research. (See my blog on Howell Research for a list of people and articles.) My next person to research in that line is the unknown father of Peter M. Howell, my wife’s third great grandfather. When you begin researching an unknown person, it is highly desirable to have a plan.  Maybe not as formal of a plan as many genealogists do, or say we should do, but it needs to be enough to get going and not duplicate previous efforts. The plan is simple.

  1. Consolidate what I know.
  2. Determine a pathway to potentially learn more.
  3. Document and relate what I find.
  4. Determine the vital information about the subject.

What I know:

What little I do know about Peter’s father was gleaned from Peter’s book, The Life and Travels of Peter Howell by Peter M. Howell[i]. From it, we know that Peter was born 15 July 1805, so there is a presumption that Peter’s father lived in Charlotte County, Virginia, in 1805. We know that the family moved to Buckingham County, Virginia in 1807. We also know that Peter’s father died when Peter was 12 years old (c. 1817). Finally, just for ballpark purposes, I conjecture that Peter’s father was likely somewhere between 20 and 45 when Peter was born. That gives the following:

Unknown father of Peter M. Howell

  • Born c. 1760-1785.
  • Resided Charlotte County, VA. 1805.
  • Resided Buckingham County, VA 1807.
  • Died Buckingham County, VA 1817-18.

Because this is my wife’s father’s father’s father’s father’s father, it is a perfect situation for Y-DNA testing one of my wife’s brothers. The first brother I asked agreed to test; he tested through Family Tree DNA - Amazing results. There were three matches with a genetic distance of 0 (Zero). The surprise was that the surname wasn’t Howell, rather it is Howle. Nothing I had ever seen before ever suggested that spelling for the surname.  Also, the haplogroup was I-M253 rather than the typical R-xxxx most Howells are.

A genetic distance of zero means there are no differences between the 37 markers tested. According to Family Tree DNA, that indicates an 83.49% likelihood that they share a common ancestor in 4 generations, a 93.29% likelihood in 6 generations, and a 97.28% likelihood in 8 generations. I have four generations (to Peter M. Howell) with assurance.

All three of the Howles indicate their most distant ancestor is William Howle, born circa 1730. One mentions William as being born in Lunenburg Co., VA and two show he was born in Charlotte County, VA. A quick check of Wikipedia indicated that Charlotte County was formed from Lunenburg County in 1764, so, all are consistent. (I love consistency.)

One of the three has a GEDCOM file on Family Tree DNA showing his 4th and 5th great grandfathers born in Charlotte County, VA. Another interesting item of his GEDCOM is that his Howle family moved from Virginia to South Carolina and then to Alabama. Peter M. Howell’s half-sister married a Holman and moved to Alabama. Peter apprenticed with him for a while in Alabama. So, there might be a connection there as well.

I also joined The Howell Surname Y-DNA project on Family Tree DNA. There are seven other people with the same Y-DNA Haplogroup (I-M253). Two of them indicate ancestors in North Carolina and two indicate ancestors in Virginia (three don’t provide a location for their earliest ancestor.)

Brick wall with a hole to peek through.
I am excited. Family Tree DNA testing results may well provide the clues to help me find the answers to my Howell line brick wall. The DNA testing results are providing new holes in the wall for me to peek through and see if I can find the answers to the Howell research wall.

Further Actions:

  • Contact Match #2 and see if he has a tree that might include potential candidates for Peter M. Howells father.
  • Contact Match #3 and see if he has a tree that might include potential candidates for Peter M. Howells father.
  • Contact Haplogroup I-M253 matches with Howell surnames for further details. 
  • Do further research regarding the descendants of William Howle, born circa 1730 because he may have had additional offspring that weren’t identified by other researchers. 

List of Greats

  1. Peter Fletcher Howell
  2. Peter M. Howell
  3. Unknown (father of Peter M.) Howell


[i] Howell, Peter. 1849. The life and travels of Peter Howell, written by himself in which will be seen some marvellous instances of the gracious providence of God. Newbern, N.C.: W.H. Mayhew.

---------- DISCLAIMER ----------

Monday, July 18, 2016

The Name Is Never the Same – Marandy, Mary D., etc.

The Name Is Never the Same – Marandy, Mary D., Marada, etc.

By – Don Taylor

Seldom have I encountered a person whose name is different in virtually every record I find for the individual.  It makes me wonder if Marada Lister’s name metamorphed over the years or if the pronunciation was such that people seldom got it right when they heard it.

Marandy A.
Merida A.
Marriage Registration
Morady A.
Morady A.
Maraday A.
Son Ray’s Marriage License
Mary D.
City Directory
Maranda A.
Grave Marker

Ten records and nine different spellings of her name.  The bottom line is that, because she was buried as Marada, she probably became known as Marada in her later life and I’ll call her that, too.

Biography – Marada A Lister Barnes (1867-1932)

Marada Barnes
c. 1916
Cropped from a photo
Courtesy Kenneth Smith
Marada A. Lister was born on 27 February 1867[i] in New Lebanon, Indiana[ii] to Nimrod and Malinda (Evans) Lister the sixth of eight children. Her older siblings included
  •             James M., born about 1854 in Ohio.
  •             Nancy, born about 1856 in Ohio.
  •             Charles C.,  born about 1959 in Indiana.
  •             Eliza J., born about 1961 in Indiana.
  •             Charlotte, born about 1865 in Indiana.

Her brother William was born in 1868 or 1869.  

The 1870 Census find Marada living with her father, mother, and apparently six siblings. Her father was a farmer owning real estate valued at $660[iii].

In 1872 her youngest known sibling, Sarah F., was born.

The 1880 Census finds the family down to her father (still a Farmer), mother (Keeping House), the 25-year-old oldest brother James living at home working as a huxter (Huckster). Marada and her two younger siblings were attending school[iv].  

In 1886, when Marada was only 19, she became pregnant. It is unlikely that Marada was married because the child was surnamed Lister. Also, when Marada and Joel Barnes marry, it is Marada’s 1st marriage and Joel’s 2nd marriage[v]. Finally, John is listed in the 1910 Census as Joel Barnes’ stepson which eliminates the possibility that Joel was John A. Lister’s father and was conceived before Joel and Marada married.

Marada married Joel Clinton Barnes on 18 June 1893 in Sullivan County, Indiana[vi].  Joel had two (of five)  children from a previous marriage still living, so with Marada’s son John, the new family consisted of three children; however, the family would quickly begin working on “ours.”

Ray was born in 1895.
Ada was born in 1898; she died in 1899 at the age of twenty-one months.

1899 plat map showing the Barnes farm.
From An Illustrated Standard Atlas of Sullivan County, Wilson, Fuller & Company
Source: Indiana Memory Digital Collection
The 1900 Census finds the Barnes family in Turman Township, Sullivan County, Indiana with Joel owning a mortgaged farm that he is farming, his wife Marada, and three children at home. Alma, John A, and Ray[vii].

Nelson was born 1901; he died in 1902 at the age of nineteen months.
Essie Pansy was born in 1903
Mabel Bessie was born in 1906.

In August 1909, Mrs. Clint Riggs assaulted Marada Barnes.  Mrs. Riggs claimed that Mrs. Barnss was accusing her (Mrs. Riggs) of stealing chickens. A fight ensued with much hair pulling.[viii]

The 1910 Census finds the Barnes family still living in Turman Township. Joel is the head, owning his mortgaged farm. Marada is with him as are five of the children. Joel’s daughter Anna, Marada’s son John A., that Joel and Marada’s children, Raye, Essie, and Mabel[ix].

By the 1920 Census, Anna and John are out of the house, and only Raye, Essie, and Mable are living at the house in Turman Township. The two daughters are attending school, but Ray is working as an Oil Driller[x].

In 1921 Joel died leaving the 53-year-old Marada a widow.

Marker Marada A. Barnes
Drake Cemetery, Fairbanks, Sullivan Co., Ind.
Source: Find-a-Grave Memorial 37229133
The 1930 Census find the 63-year-old Widow Barnes living with her daughter Essie’s family.[xi] 

Marada A. Lister Barnes died on 3 May 1932. At the age of 65.

She was buried at the Drake Cemetery, Fairbanks, Sullivan County, Indiana. Her marker includes the symbol of the Eastern Star showing her affiliation with that organization[xii].

Marada was a member of the Fairbanks Eastern Star #321.[xiii]

Further Actions:
·      [Question: Is Mrs. Clint Riggs the mother-in-law of Flora Barnes Riggs and mother of Harlon Riggs?
·      Continue with Marada’s life using newspapers.
·      Follow the status of Marada’s children.

List of Greats
1.     Marada A. Lister
2.     Nimrod Lister


[i] A history of Sullivan County, Indiana, closing of the first century's history of the county, and showing the growth of its people, institutions, industries and wealth. New York: The Lewis Pub. Co. Pages 234-236.
[ii] New Lebanon is an unincorporated community in Gill Township, Sullivan County, Indiana.
[iii] 1870 Census; Nimrod Lister - Indiana, Sullivan, Turman, Page 12, Line 24.
[iv] 1880 Census; Nimrod Lister - Indiana, Sullivan, Gill Township, ED 329, Page 5, Line 18
[v] "Indiana Marriages, 1811-2007," database with images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 13 June 2016), Joel C Barnes and Morady A Or Mary A Lister, 18 Jun 1893; citing Sullivan, Indiana, United States, various county clerk offices, Indiana; FHL microfilm 1,392,999.
[vi] "Indiana Marriages, 1811-2007," database with images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 13 June 2016), Joel C Barnes and Morady A Or Mary A Lister, 18 Jun 1893; citing Sullivan, Indiana, United States, various county clerk offices, Indiana; FHL microfilm 1,392,999.
[vii] 1900 Census; Indiana, Sullivan, Turman, ED 138, Sheet 7B - Joel C Barnes
[viii] Sullivan Daily Times - Sullivan, Indiana - August 21, 1909 – WOMEN PULL HAIR ONE IS ARRESTED
[ix] 1910 Census: Indiana, Sullivan, Turman, District 178, Page 8A - Joel C Barnes
[x] 1920 Census; Indiana, Sullivan, Turman, District 0270, Sheet 1B
[xi] 1930 Census; Indiana, Vigo, Terre Haute, Page 9A - Bert A Roberts
[xii] Find-a-Grave; Marada A Barnes - Memorial# 37229133
[xiii] Sullivan Union - Sullivan, Indiana – January 22, 1908 – “Conferred the Degrees.”

Close ComposeHTML Link
---------- DISCLAIMER ----------

< br /> Discover yourself at 23andMe Discover yourself at 23andMe Find your ancestors today! Find your ancestors today!
 Amazon Frame:
Search Military Records - Fold3 Search Military Records - Fold3
Survive a computer  disaster with Carbonite

Friday, July 15, 2016

Peterson Paternal Project – Hemsworth-Morgan Branch

By Don Taylor

[Previously, I wrote about this project in "William George Ables and Nancy Grimm."]
My half-sister Glennis has long wondered who her biological father is. Thanks to Ancestry DNA we have a great clue. She has a match with a person, I’ll call M.A., [i] who she shares 201 centimorgans of DNA across 8 segments with. M.A. does not match with me, so we know that the match is on Glennis’ paternal side. Ancestry DNA predicts the relationship to be 2nd to 3rd cousins and Blaine Bettinger’s “Shared CM Project”[ii] suggests they are second cousins. That means that she and M.A. likely share a great grandparent. The really great thing is that M.A. has all of his/her great grandparents identified. If I can take all eight of those great-grandparents and follow their descendants, possibly one of them was in the right place at the right time. If so, I will have a very likely candidate to my Glennis’ biological father.

Background notes: Glennis’s mother was 21 when Glennis was born. I estimate that Glennis’ biological father must have been between 19 and 32, suggesting a birth year from 1920 to 1934. Supposedly his name was Paul, but he went by Phil. Additionally, Glennis was probably conceived in either Minnesota or Michigan.

One of second cousin M. A.’s sets of great grandparents was James Luther Hemsworth & Mary D. Morgan, were married on 28 Aug 1881. I’m looking to see if one of their grandchildren was in the right place at the right time. Additionally, the amount of DNA shared could suggest a 2nd cousin once removed, or even a 1st cousin once or twice removed. Basically, that means I need to follow each of the Hemsworth children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren to about 1940 to determine if any of them are males born between 1920 and 1934.

James Luther Hemsworth and Mary D Morgan Married 28 Aug 1881.

Stella Belinda Hemsworth (1883-?) Married Joseph Frank Stewart 18 Nov 1906
Mary Naomi Stewart – (1908-? – Married John Clifford Huber 16 Dec 1929.
They had two boys,
JC Huber was born in 1930. He lived in Michigan 1935, 1940, 1988-2001.
RL Huber was born in 1932. He lived in Michigan 1935, 1940, 1987-1998.
Both are potential candidates, Further research to follow.
Ivan Stewart (c.1910-1989) – Married Mary Eloise Not a candidate.
All known children born after 1939.
Harry Stewart (c. 1913-
Franklin James Stewart (1922-2007) – Married Inza Gay Fierce 10 Oct 1942. Unlikely candidate.

Donald Dean Stewart (c. 1925-2012) – Married Joanne Ruark in 1959. Potential Candidate.

R.E. Stewart (c. 1925) Potential Candidate.
Alma Lovelia Hemsworth (1884-?) – Married Thomas J. Morrell (c. 1878) in 1905.
Had two daughters born 1919 and 1921. No male children born before 1934.
M. C. Hemsworth (1887-1887) – Died as an infant

Olive Hemsworth (1890-?) – If a descendent of Olive, M.A. would be a 1st cousin with no generational difference.

Iza A Hemsworth (1892-?) Married Leslie W. Lamp in 1915.
Three children. Son born about 1916 – Probably too old. Unlikely.
Two daughters. Too young to have sons of interest.
Baby Girl Hemsworth (1894-1894) Died as an infant.

Matching Criteria
J. C. Huber
Age & Location
R. L. Huber
Age & Location
Franklin James Stewart
Donald Dean Stewart
Unlikely but Possible
R.E. Stewart
Unlikely but Possible

I finished my initial analysis of the second of four sets of great grandparents. I think I have found two potential candidates and three unlikely candidates. I have two more sets of great grandparents to look at. Possibly, I will find even better candidates there. 


[i] I do not use the full name for living individuals unless I have received their specific permission or are citing them as a source for information. 
[ii] Blaine T. Bettinger - The Shared CM Project – Version 2.0 (June 25, 2016) -

DISCLAIMER ----------

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

The Great War - Some Where - 7 April 1918

By Don Taylor

Wartime Wednesday

New York Times -  April 7, 1918
One of the interesting images from the New York Times of 7 April 1918 is an image of Lady Drogheda. Her 1918 flight over London, dropping leaflets urged people to buy British War Bonds, is reminiscent of Donna flying over Revere Beach three years earlier dropping banners and tickets for the movie she was in. (See Donna Montran Biplane Flights - 1915 for details). Apparently, this mode of advertising was quite the thing in the day. Of course, I can't imagine anyone doing it today as it would be viewed upon as littering. Times have changed so much over the past 100 years. 

Another fascinating image of the period is one showing English Girls, playing baseball at a Y.M.C.A. Hut, in England. American Sailors are looking on to help and British Soldiers are watching from the background. I wonder if the women had ever seen a Baseball game before. Although baseball was introduced in England in 1890, it fell into low attendance during subsequent years and then dissolved altogether in 1898. American baseball wouldn't return to England until in the 1930s.

(Western Newspaper Union.)
New York Times - April 7, 1918
When the Great War began, the Y.M.C.A. launches a program of morale and welfare services that served 90% of the American military forces in Europe. It was an amazing organization and aided the servicemen of the Great War so much.

I too remember the Armed Forces Y.M.C.A. being an important part of my military life. When I was stationed at Treasure Island, in San Francisco, I would take the bus into The City. From the bus station, I would walk down to the Armed Forces YMCA, which was only a few blocks away.  There, I played table tennis and met the girls at the occasional dance. It was a great place to hang out and a pleasant respite for the homesick sailors. Thank you to all of the volunteers at Y.M.C.A. facilities that have brought joy, happiness, and play into the lives of so many soldiers, sailors, and marines. Well done.

This week, I continue with images from the New York Times. This time, they are not from "over here" nor from "over there," but rather, they are from "somewhere" else -- in this case from England. An image of the entire page in context is available from The New York Times pages on  My images for this date are here.

---------- DISCLAIMER ----------

Monday, July 11, 2016

Donna Montran and “Chin Chin” play at the Victoria Theatre in Steubenville, Ohio on 9 April 1920

"Chin Chin" at the Victoria Theatre, Steubenville, Ohio

By Don Taylor

We know that Chin Chin played on April 5 at the Sandusky Theatre in Sandusky, OH on April 5th and played at the Faurot Opera House in Lima, OH on April 6th. We don’t know if the show was on holiday Wednesday and Thursday, or not, but they resumed playing Friday, April 9th at the Victoria Theatre.

The Steubenville Herald-Star began speaking about the coming attraction on April 3 in their “AT THE THEATRE” Column on Page 5. They wrote:

Also on April 3rd, Page Nine was the
first ad I could find for the show.
Steubenville Herald-Star
Melodious, artistic and diverting is "Chin Chin", scheduled for the Victoria theatre Friday night, April 9th. To Walter Wills and Roy Binder are entrusted the principal parts, supported by a company of clever comedians and a beautiful chorus. In their songs, "The Chinese Honeymoon", "Go Gar Sig Gong-Jue" and "Temple Bells’, the two clever comedians Wills and Binder make a decided hit and are always recalled again and again. In this charming fantasy with a Chinese atmosphere there are also a score of other songs that are the fascinating, whistling kind, and several unique dances that carry the snappy comedy along delightfully.[i][ii]

On April 4th was one of the most interesting articles about the show “Chin Chin” I have come across. Sadly, parts of the article are not legible, but what is readable in my version is fascinating. It said:


The Importance of Women Choristers in “Chin Chin”
It was not the custom for women to appear publicly in the theatres of Europe either on stage or in the auditorium until many years after the death of William Shakespeare. The women who did venture to the theatre always were masked. Most of Shakespeare’s heroines were acted in his days by boys. There are no records of women acting on the English stage until after the Restoration, when the floodgates of licenses were let down ________________ of owmen choristers in opera is of comparative recent ________ tribute in such entertainments as those which managers like Mr. Charles Dillingham presents __ which “Chin Chin” to be offered at the Victoria Theatre Friday night, April 9 is a notable example.
The bare thought of only a male chorus of twenty-four voices in “Chin Chin”, no matter how attractive these voices might be, would be likely to have a very disastrous effect upon the box office receipts. Undoubtedly audiences of today would not be so easily satisfied as were the ancient Greek audiences, truthfully speaking it is the great number of really youthful and vivacious girls that prove the biggest drawing card for the most interesting of Musical Comedies “Chin Chin” Order seats now.[iii]

I agree that having fifty plus attractive women added to the success of “Chin Chin” at the box office and have seen advertising articles highlighting that fact before, but I had never seen anyone tie it to Shakespeare and Greek plays before.

Again, on April 7th, the Steubenville Herald-Star newspaper had another article on page three. I can’t tell if it is fact or show business fiction nor if it gives insight into the life of Walter Wills or only insight into the culture of the time, but it is an interesting story.


Same Day Ad for "Chin Chin" at the
Victoria Theatre
Steubenville Herald-Star, April 9, 1920
“Chin Chin” at the Victoria Theatre….
Walter Wills and Roy Binder in this fantasy have become a couple of Chinamen who have more or less thrilling adventures in the pursit of the Lam which brought to its possessor all manner of happiness.
Both of the comedians have studied closely in the mannerisms and idiosyncrasies of Chines personality, and one of them had least has a more than casual acquaintance with the Chinese Language.

Wills once had a Chinese Servant from whom he picked up a great deal of useful knowledge. Wills is very fond of fruit, of which he was in the habit of eating a quantity every evening. One day he happened to say to his servant that he was not feeling very well. The Chinaman grumbled and then said, “You eat too much fruit—makes belly ache!” Wills took the tip and cut down on his fruit allowance….[iv]

Victoria Theatre

For those of you who follow my Blog, I normally have a short history of the theater. I have about a half a dozen sources I typically go to find information including Julius Cahn Theatrical Reports and several “go to” websites such as Cinema Treasures. But, in the case of the Victoria Theatre in Steubenville I found virtually nothing. I even messaged the Jefferson County Historical Society asking about the theatre but received no response from them.

I know the theater existed in 1919, 1920, and 1921, but I know nothing more. Not when it was built, not its size, not is current status. If I learn more, I will post it. If you know more about the Victoria Theatre in Steubenville, please add it to the comments below. Thank you.

Further Research

  • Keep researching to determine if “Chin Chin” played on April 7th or 8th 1920.
  • Learn more about the Victoria Theatre of Steubenville, Ohio.


[i] Note: This newspaper has an unusually high number of errors. For the sake of readability, I have corrected most of the spelling and typesetter errors rather than creating a verbatim transcript.
[ii] Steubenville Herald-Star - Steubenville, Ohio - Apr 3 1920 - Chin Chin – via
[iii] Steubenville Herald-Star April 5, 1920, Page 3 via Find-my-Past.
[iv] Steubenville Herald-Star - Steubenville, Ohio - Apr 7 1920 - Page 3 -

---------- DISCLAIMER ----------

 Find your ancestors today! Find your ancestors today!