My first blog post was May 24, 2010. I hoped it would help me organize my genealogy information and share it with my family in a way that they would actually read it. I succeeded with both and along the way found some interesting and informative blogs and met some interesting bloggers. Here is what I would like to accomplish in 2011.
1. This would be my father Albert B. Cleage Jr’s 100th birthday this year if he hadn’t died on February 20, 2000. I plan to do 100 blog posts about him this year. Maybe I’ll start with his birth and move forward with 1 a year with 11 bonus posts.
2. Participate in the 52 weeks of Personal Genealogy and History, Sepia Saturday and at least a few Carnivals of Genealogy.
3. Scan my photograph collection and organize it both on and off the computer and share the photos with family.
4. Write up more of my ancestors stories.
5. Organize and write up the information we recently received from my husband’s new found cousin from the Davenport/Brown line, from Mer Rouge, LA.
6. Identify and send for documents I don’t have for my parents, grandparents and great grandparents.
7. Re-establish communication with several cousins I have neglected.
8. Transcribe the interview with my aunt Anna made during a family gathering in December, 2005.
9. Identify what information I need to get while visiting Athens, Tennessee in July.
10. Visit the National Archives and/or the local Family History Center to become familiar with the information available.
11. Continue to organize the information I have already found.
Here I am starting my one and only knitting project. When it was done the edges curled up. It was light blue, very long and wrapped around my head and face during the cold Detroit winters. I added fringe to the ends and wore it all through college. I’m wearing it below in 1969. To see other SepiaSaturday offerings click HERE.
In the past several months I have received several awards for my blogs. (I used to have two blogs, one for my maternal line and one for my paternal line. I combined them awhile ago.) I put off posting them because I am supposed to pass them on to 10 or 15 other bloggers and it seemed like almost everybody I follow already has received the awards, some multiple times.
Today I was determined to find ten bloggers to pass the awards on to and to be able to post my awards. I spent several hours going from blog to blog and it started to be funny to me because I found that bloggers were receiving the Ancestor Approved Award just before I got there. In one case two people passed on the award right behind each other! I don’t quite know how to handle this. I have decided that I will fulfill the other requirements and not pass on the awards at this time. If someone reading this has not yet received the Ancestor Approved Award, email me! I’ve got to post so people will stop thinking I haven’t received the award and keep sending them to me! So here goes…
Dionne Ford of Finding Josephine gave Finding Eliza two awards some months ago, The “Versatile Blogger Award” and “One Lovely Blog Award”. I apologize for taking so long to respond. I have to list seven things about myself and link back to Finding Josephine.
1. I can milk a goat.
2. I swam across Lake Idlewild and back when I was in my 40’s.
3. My third daughter, Ayanna, was born at home.
4. I home schooled my four youngest children.
5. I studied Spanish, French, Norweigian and Arabic with varying degrees of success.
6. I recently began strength training with my sister.
7. I didn’t get my driver’s license until I was 29.
This award was created by Leslie Ann Ballou at Ancestors Live Here. Leslie asks that recipients list ten things they’ve learned about any of their ancestors that have surprised, humbled, or enlightened them and pass the award on to ten other bloggers who are doing their ancestors proud. Here are my ten things. I’ve linked to those I blogged about.
1. I was enlightened to learn that the story my mother told about Eliza was true but not exactly in the way she told it. Eliza’s story is here. There are 3 parts to the story and a chart.
2. I was surprised to find that Annie Belle and her brass band ended up in Detroit after living in Florida and Tennessee.
3. I was saddened to learn that my great grandmother’s sister, Willie Allen Tulane had lost two of her three children in infancy.
4. I was enlightened and humbled to find that my great great grandfather Dock Allen tried to escape slavery by running and so met my great great grandmother Eliza and gained his freedom.
5. I was moved to tears when I found my grandmother Fannie Turner Graham’s father with his parents and siblings in the 1870 census and was able to take the family back a generation.
6. I was thrilled to receive copies of records from the Cleage plantation where my ancestors were slaves.
7. I was surprised when I found my grandmother Pearl Reed Cleage had a singing double.
8. I was enlightened but frustrated to trace Jacob Graham’s little Bible to it’s first owners and to find his death certificate but I was still unable to connect Jacob with my grandfather Mershell Graham.
9. I was ecstatic to find photographs of my first cousin once removed, Naomi Tulane Vincent and her husband using Google.
10. I was overjoyed when I was contacted by my husband’s cousin who took us back a generation or two on this mother’s side and shared photographs, stories, places… whoo hooo!
Another Christmas memory from the Ruff Draft December 1991 Issue, compiled by Ayanna.
Gladys Evans remembers when she used to take her family over to her mother, “Gammie’s” house. Her brother Louis was like Santa Claus. He didn’t put on the suit, but with all the presents, his attire was not noticed. There would be a roomful of presents. No one was allowed in. They would have to wait, to build the suspense, until Louis was ready. Then they would all open their presents. They would be just the thing for that person, not a last minute thing picked up on the way home. Gladys said she always wondered if they had left anything in the room. As soon as possible, after the hub-bub, she would go check out the room. There was never anything forgotten.
After Gammie died, Gladys said, her family (now grown with their own children) would have two or three Christmases, one at their respective homes, one with Gladys and I do believe she said they would visit Louis and Hugh also.
I don’t remember these gift laden Christmas mornings because my mother, my sister and I went to my maternal grandmother’s house first. By the time we got to Gammie’s house it would be evening and the excitement had died down. I don’t remember anything I got for Christmas then, but I do remember one of Louis later Christmas gifts. It was the Christmas of 1991. My family and Louis, Gladys and Hugh were all living in Idlewild. My cousin Jan and her family came up Christmas day from Windsor, Canada. There were a dozen kids, 7 or so adults and a friendly rotweiller gathered at Louis, Gladys and Hugh’s house. There weren’t a lot of gifts. Louis wasn’t able to go out and shop anymore. He looked around the house and came up with presents. I don’t remember what he gave everybody but I do remember the puzzle he gave us. We still have it 20 years later. I keep it out on the coffee table with the other puzzles and the grandchildren often dump it out with the intention of putting it back together but few actually can do it without spending a lot of time figuring where the pieces go. It always reminds me of Louis and I’m sure I mentioned more then once that it was a Christmas gift from him.
We played Christmas music on the radio and sang carols at church. I like many of them but this one that I heard on the radio is the only one that brings tears to my eyes. Not a carol but a Christmas song.
Christmas 1944 was my parents second Christmas together. My father, Albert B. Cleage Jr (Toddy) had taken a year off from the ministry to take classes in film making at UCLA. He planned to use it later in the church. My mother, Doris Graham, was working as a social worker and apparently taking a class too. They were living in Los Angeles, Ca, missing Detroit and their families. In the montage we have in the top/center my mother, below her is my father. The house my mother grew up in is the big photo of the house on Theodore, below is their Los Angeles apt. The last photo is my mother’s parents Mershell (Poppy) and Fannie (Nannie) Graham. This is a letter my mother wrote home Dec. 17, 1944.
December 17, 1944
Just a line to let you know we’re ok. Hope you all are well
It’s almost midnight and we are both (as usual) trying to get some school work done that we left until the last minute. Toddy has a paper due – and I have a book report.
Here it is – almost Christmas, but it doesn’t seem like it at all. No snow – no cold weather – no nothing. People out here don’t even sing Christmas carols on radio church services or anything. We heard you all have lots of snow. Well – guess I’d better go back to my book.
I can’t find a picture from Christmas 1967 but I think we looked pretty much the same. I bought that pea jacket at the army surplus in Santa Barbara when I was there for a student conference, summer of 1967. I cut my hair that summer too, right after the Detroit riot. Not sure if Pearl had cut hers yet in 1967. I have looked at this photo many times but this was the first time I noticed my grandmother looking out of the window at us. We had moved to the flat with my grandparents that fall, so it’s a different house, but it’s Christmas time and I look the same. I had just graduated from Wayne State University with a major in Drawing and Printmaking and a minor in English. On January 2, I caught the Greyhound to San Fransisco. But that’s not today’s memory. Here is something I wrote in 1967.
It was Christmas and cold. Snow blew wet, sticking to my coat and hair. We went to the shortest corner, down Northfield, past three Junior High girls laughing and cars sliding slow on the ice. The sky was gray behind bare branches. Snow fell quiet, without any wind. My sister and I talked some about…I can’t even remember. We crossed to Pattengill Elementary, went down past the school and stopped outside the empty play field.
I got out my new movie camera and told her to walk away, down toward Colfax, and not to act silly. She started and I turned on the camera, feeling silly myself, taking pictures like a country bumpkin in the city. She started lunging to one side, sort of a half skip with some serious drag to it. I told her to be serious. She did, then walked back. I tried to keep the camera from moving. It stuck and I turned it off twice with a heavy click, jarring, blurring the picture.
We went inside the playground. I shot some more of her walking up and away. A little boy was sledging down a driveway into the street. She said, come on take some behind the trash cans. It’ll be good. I shot some more. Discovered while she was behind the garbage cans I was out of film.
Both of us bent over the camera and tried to shut it off, but we couldn’t. My hands were cold. Red, wet and cold. I put on my gloves and we unscrewed the battery door with her suitcase key to shut it off.
We walked back toward the far corner. I wrote BLACK POWER in the snow, and then PATRIA O MUERTE and VENCEREMOS. Pearl asked what else can we write but I didn’t know. We went on out of the playground and down Epworth talking about how bad somebody can be to you and you still love them. We went on down Allendale. There was a dog sleeping on a porch. Pearl said, loud, keep on sleeping! And he did.
It was getting dark and still snowing. Cold, wet, quiet snow. Grey like the inside of a shell and quiet like when your ears are stuffed up from a cold. Some girls went by across the street, talking loud. We turned back down Ironwood and went home.