Fearless Females Blog Post: March 20 – Elusive or Brick Wall Ancestor

March 20 — Is there a female ancestor who is your brick wall? Why? List possible sources for finding more information.

My brick wall is my 3x Great Grandmother Zara Humphrey Jones.  It is possible that Zara was born sometime in 1810 in the state of Virginia.  I am unsure of the date but her children Hannah Singleton-Nelson Gilliam and Jane Ellis-Nelson Collins who were  born approximately 1830-1840.  The dates are never fully accurate because most of the time slaves did not know what year they were born in.  I have found multiple years for Zara’s daughters.  Zara married Benjamin Ellis Nelson and the year they started cohabitation are not clear.

Zara’s slave names are Humphries and Jones.  I need to go to the archives in Virginia and see if I can locate some slave records of some sort.  I hope to have the opportunity in the next few years, to visit Virginia and do an extensive search.

One of the documents that revealed Zara and Benjamin’s names were in a Freedman’s Bank application.   The other document that revealed the other Slave surnames were on my 2x Great Grandmother Hannah’s death record.

Fearless Female Blog Post: March 19 – Surprising Fact

March 19 — Have you discovered a surprising fact about one of your female ancestors? What was it and how did you learn it? How did you feel when you found out?

I found out a few years ago that my Grandmother Helen Bunn Thompson lived in San Diego for a few years when her husband, (I’m forgetting his first name) Mr. Coleman served as a Buffalo Soldier in Camp Lockett in San Diego.  The other thing I did not know, was that my grandmother wrote for the San Diego Black Paper in the late 1930’s.  My cousin has a framed article that she wrote, and I am still waiting to get a copy.

Recently, I came across some letters to the Editor in the Los Angeles Black Paper on ProQuest.  Here is a sample.  I discovered that my grandmother was an activist in her community and she liked to give her opinions to the plight of her community.

This letter was published the day Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated and four days before I was born in 1968.

 

Fearless Females Blog Post: March 18 – Shining Star

March 18 — Shining star: Did you have a female ancestor who had a special talent? Artist, singer, actress, athlete, seamstress, or other? Describe.

So many of my ancestors on my maternal side were talented.  I can’t just pick one.

Hannah Cully Brown: (Jazz Pianist, Poet)- My Great Aunt

Nora Ann Cully: (Jazz Singer, Pianist) My Great Aunt

Nora Ann Gilliam-Cully: (Singer and Pianist) My Great Grandmother

Zara Cully Brown: (Actress, pianist and Elocutionist) My Great Aunt

Zara Gale Buggs-Taylor: Singer (Operatic genre)  Could sing in all genre’s.  She sang for Marian Anderson as a youth. My 1st cousin 1x removed

Agnes Mae Cully-Peters: (Fashion Designer, Pianist) My Grandmother

Mary Gale Brown-Buggs (Dancer) My first cousin

Betty Mae Peters Porter (Singer, Dancer, Acting, and model) My mother

They all performed in church and at community events.  Most family members knew how to play the piano as it was a requirement.

 

Fearless Females Blog Post: March 17 – Social Butterfly

March 17 — Social Butterfly? What social organizations or groups did your mother or grandmother belong to? Sewing circle, church group, fraternal benefit society or lodge? Describe her role in the group.

My mother Betty Mae Peters Porter had always been a social person.  She was a socialite in New York and I believe throughout her life in Los Angeles and San Diego.  Betty was active in many organizations.  She was an active member of the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, San Diego Chapter for many years.  She served in leadership positions as a member.

Betty Porter in Blue Dress

Betty Porter and Dr. McFarlin

AKA-San Diego Chapter

Fearless Females Blog Post: March 16: Let’s Do Lunch

March 16 — If you could have lunch (or another meal) with any female family member (living or dead) or any famous female who would it be and why? Where would you go? What would you eat?

There would be so many female ancestors that I would want to spend the day with and have lunch.  I think I would plan a large banquet and invite all my female ancestor’s and have each of them talk about their lives and what their world was like during their time-period.  I would have a private affair in a large room.  Not sure what type of food, but I think I would have various ethnic foods.

Since I can not make up my mind, I decided to choose someone that is not a family ancestor.  This person is living.  Her name is Barbara Rush.  My grandmother Agnes was also one of her designers.  I chose Barbara because I have been curious about her since I was a little girl and always wondered why my mother was not still in contact with her.  I recently tried to contact Barbara Rush via facebook, and I had no response.  Oh Well..

If I had the chance to go out to lunch with her, we would go to a quaint restaurant in Beverly Hills and enjoy any specialty on the menu.  I would ask her questions of her relationship with my grandmother Agnes, and Barbara’s life as an actress.

Barbara Rush

Barbara Rush

Fearless Females Blog Post – March 15: Six-Word Memoir Tribute

I am on my fifteenth day celebrating Women’s History Month and taking advantage of the Fearless Females: 31 Blogging Prompts to Celebrate Women’s History Month.

I have to thank Lisa Alzo of the Accidental Genealogist blog for presenting such an awesome idea.

March 15 — Write a six-word memoir tribute to one of your female ancestors.

Here are my  Ancestors I am highlighting this day with the six-word memoir.
Betty Mae Peters Porter (My Mother): Educator. Great Humor. Classy Woman. Beautiful.
Agnes Mae Cully Peters (Maternal Grandmother) New York Fashion Designer, Cancer Survivor
Helen Bunn Thompson (Paternal Grandmother) Spiritual. Quilter. Concerned Citizen. Foster Parent.
Nora Ann Gilliam Cully (Maternal Great-Grandmother) Always Pregnant. Pianist. Church-goer. Died Young.
Hannah Singleton-Nelson Gilliam (Maternal Great Great Grandmother) Former Slave. Laundress. Young Widow. Matriarch.
Jane B. Nelson Collins (Maternal Great Great Aunt) Former Slave. Freedom Fighter. Activist. Strong.

Fearless Females – March 14: In The News

March 14 — Newsmakers? Did you have a female ancestor who made the news? Why? Was she famous or notorious? Did she appear in the social column?

I have had many female relatives in various social columns throughout the United States on my maternal side. 

When I was going through my Paternal mom’s scrapbook, I came across this clipped out picture of my grandmother’s sister Hattie Bunn Criner who was born in 1914.  I am unsure as to what magazine this photo was published in, but she seemed to be very happy.  I did not have the opportunity to get to know Hattie, and our encounters were very few.

Apparently she was a housekeeper in her middle ages.

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