When the Tony Awards are given out this time, some of us ancestry researchers will be thinking about Antoinette Perry, in whose honor the awards are named.
She had a fine time in the theater as a young actress, a director, a producer and a supporter. When her husband died and left her a small fortune, she used it generously in the theater world. Her relatives on her mother’s side had been troupers. She’d traveled a bit with them as a young girl. As we trace her ancestry, we see her parents were divorced.
The lineage of Antoinette Perry’s mother’s side is extensive and interesting for the ancestry researcher. From the earlier piece RecordClick has posted on Antoinette Perry, we noted that there is a lot for the ancestry researcher to find on her mother’s side of the family—going as far back to the American Revolution. Now, this RecordClick ancestry researcher can even trace Antoinette Perry’s genealogy back to the Mayflower. In the History of Colorado, Volume IV, published in 1910, Antoinette’s mother’s family had been pioneers in Iowa and then, in Colorado. Her mother’s father, Charles L. Hall, had Mayflower lineage. The ancestry researcher will find Antoinette Perry descends on her mother’s side from
- Mrs. John Filley
- John And Elizabeth Howland
all of whom are reported to have arrived in America on the Mayflower in 1620.
Antoinette’s grandfather, Charles L. Hall, was brought to Iowa when he was 9. Later, he moved to Colorado, began and sold a cattle ranch and then he prospected for gold. The written stories of his prospecting days detail great feats of survival. Ultimately, he had success starting the Colorado Salt Mines and married Mary Melissa Hill Nye (b. 1838) in Denver after she had come West with her family from Genesco County, New York. These were the parents of Minnie B. Hall, mother of Antoinette Perry.
Antoinette’s mother married three times:
- William R. Perry on September 7, 1887,
- Edward Roberts Murphy on May 19, 1910, and
- Emilio D. De Soto on November 22, 1930.
While her ancestors had been true land pioneers in Colorado, Antoinette’s mother was a pioneer in bringing the Christian Science religion to Colorado. Church lore on the website has it that Antoinette’s given first name, Mary, was in honor of Mary Baker Eddy, founder of Christian Science. It may also have been that she was named in honor of her father’s mother, Mary.
Her father’s side is fascinating for the ancestry researcher in other ways.
Antoinette’s father, William Russell Perry (b. 1859, d. 1911) was born in New York or Kansas (depending on what census record you look at) and died in Denver. Or maybe, he died in Kansas. We do know for sure that he was married to Minnie Betsey Hall (b. 1863) in 1887. They had Antoinette in 1888. By 1900, they had been divorced.
Where might the ancestry researcher find the divorce papers? Perhaps, the genealogist could find them in the local archives. Maybe, a diligent genealogy researcher will find them in a local religious institution’s records. In person interviews with a family history researcher with Antoinette Perry’s descendants may likely turn up the family’s stories about the why and how of the divorce.
For now, we can verify by the census records that in 1900 that he was a divorced man. In the 1900 census, in Colorado, we find William R. Perry, age 41, living with his widowed mother, Mary A. Perry, age 64 and his brother, John A. Perry, age 42.
He was working as a bookkeeper. His brother is working as a lawyer. They are living with a servant Carrie Schaefer, age 32, from Germany.
- Mary A. Perry, 64, widow, Landlady
- John A. Perry, 42, lawyer
- William R. Perry, 41, bookkeeper
- Carrie Schaefer, 32, servant
By the 1910 census, the brothers are still living with their mother.
- Mary A. Perry, age 73
- John A. Perry, age 52
- William R. Perry, age 41
- Minarie Sauer, age 20
The older brother is listed as an attorney. William R. Perry is listed as having his “Own Income”. The ancestry researcher wonders what that means! The servant is now Minarie Sauer, age 20, from Germany. An interesting note found on the census record is that Mary A. Perry is listed as having had 4 children, with two surviving. In both the 1900 and 1910 censuses, the sons list their mother, Mary A. Perry, as being born in Ireland, although in the 1910, census it says Ireland/English.
The 1900 census lists their father as coming from Georgia. In the 1910 census, they their father’s nationality is listed as Canadian/English. Just something for the ancestry researcher to note. As always, the ancestry researcher must double and triple check with records and interview and archival material. Sometimes, as in the case, the genealogist must become a Perry Mason!
Let’s keep going backwards, as many an ancestry researcher likes to do.
In the 1870 census, there is Mary A. Perry, a widow, living with her two sons, ages 11 and 10 and what looks like five boarders. Her profession is listed as Boarding House Keeper. Her place of birth is listed as New York. Her sons are listed as having been born in Ohio.
Genealogists note that in the 1900 census, they noted they were born in Kansas and that she was from Ireland. Interesting, no? Might not be the same people. And might be the same people. More for the ancestry researcher to verify.
In the 1880 census, William Perry, age 22, is listed as Single, from Kansas and with a father born in New York! His mother, Mary, age 43, is living with him and she is listed as coming from Ireland.
When searching for the ancestry records of anyone, the genealogist must compare, contrast and think about the information presented from decade to decade. There are often discrepancies in the census documents that need to be verified and confirmed with other records. Often, a genealogy researcher will find that there are two people with the same name and same birth year.
There are death records for William R. Perry, (b. 1859, d. 1940) buried in Topeka, Shawnee County, Kansas. Then there is also a death record for William R. Perry (b. 1858, d. 1911) buried in Denver, Denver County, Colorado. Which is our Antoinette’s father?
In the case of Antoinette Perry, her father’s family has some confusing information on birth places and origins. The ancestry researcher can easily check and clear up these items.
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