Monday, January 21, 2008

Genealogue Challenge #113

Character actor Allan Melvin died Thursday in Los Angeles. In keeping with a recurring theme of these challenges, he made eight appearances on The Andy Griffith Show in eight different roles.

Where were his paternal grandparents married?

Drew Smith

Wikipedia indicates that Allan Melvin was born 18 February 1923 (some other sources, such as IMDb, show 1922 instead) in Kansas City, MO, and that his family moved to New York City. IMDb also indicates that he was "Allan J. Melvin".

The 1930 census for Manhattan shows an Allen J. Melvin, 7 years old, born in Missouri. He's living in a household with his paternal grandparents (Frank E. and Helen) and his mother (Marie).

Frank E. and Helen also appear in the 1920 census with 22-year-old son Richard (probably Allan's father, since Richard is listed as a movie salesman, and other sources indicate that Allan's father worked for Fox Film).

The 1910 census adds children Arthur (an actor), Frank E. Jr. (an oil company bookkeeper), and Marguerite (a theater usher).

As Frank was from Massachusetts, and his oldest 3 children were born there (the oldest a year after Frank and Helen were married), it's most likely that Frank and Helen were married in Massachusetts.


1930 Manhattan NY Census:
Allen J Melvin 7 MO NY MN is listed as a nephew in the household of Frank E and Helen Melvin, along with their daughter-in-law Marie. I'm thinking the nephew is an error and he's really a grandson as I found a death record of Marie Melvin b 25 Aug 1894 in MN d 14 May 1974 in Los Angeles.

Looking back at the 1920, 1910 and 1900 census records for Frank & Helen, trying to determine which son was Allan's father, I find that Richard Melvin was a movie salesman (and IMDB had shown Allan's father as a film salesman for Fox Film), so I'm going to "assume" that Frank and Helen are the grandparents.

Frank was born in MA in Nov 1857 and Helen was born in New Brunswick Canada in August 1858 according to census records. Their oldest child in the 1900 census was born in Aug 1887 in Massachusetts. Helen was naturalized around 1875/1877.

A death record for Richard M Melvin b: 14 Aug 1897 d: 21 Nov 1969 in Los Angeles shows his mother's maiden name as Campbell.

I've looked for a marriage of Frank E Melvin and Helen Campbell in Canada and in Massachusetts without any luck.

I found Frank E Melvin (looks like him) working as a porter at the Massachusetts General Hospital in the 1880 Boston, Suffolk County Massachusetts census. He was single at the time.

I can't wait to find out where you find the missing info.


Frank E. Melvin and Helen Campbell did marry in Massachusetts, but what city? The answer is freely available online.


Frank E. Melvin was married to Helen Campbell on 26 Aug 1885 in Boston, MA, according to the MA Vital records, Volume 383, page 124

At the time, Frank is listed as age 28, occupation Clerk, place of birth, Nahant, MA. His parent's names are given as William E. and Sarah.

Helen is listed as age 27, no occupation listed. Place of birth is recorded as St.John, NB. Her parent's names are William and Margaret


You got it, Mary. For those without access to Massachusetts VRs at the NEHGS website, the Commonwealth has an free index of VRs that gives Frank and Helen's year and place of marriage.

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