Do the Women Who Have Babies After 33 In My Family, Live Longer?

Women Who Have Babies After 33 Live Longer  “…women who had their last child after the age of 33 doubled their chances of living to age 95 or older compared with women whose last child was born before their 30th birthday…The natural ability to have a child at an older age likely indicates that a woman’s reproductive system is aging slowly, and therefore so is the rest of her body,’ said Perls.”

Thia made me take a look at my family tree to see the age of mother’s at the birth of their last child and how long they lived.

Maternal side

My 2 X great grandmother Eliza Williams Allen (1839 – 1917) gave birth to her youngest child when she was 40. Eliza died 78.

Eliza’s daughters:

Mary Allen McCall (1856-1937) gave birth to her youngest at 38. Mary died at 81.

My great grandmother Jennie Virginia Allen Turner (1866 – 1954) gave birth to her youngest at 42.  Jennie died at 88.

Willie Lee Allen Tulane (1873-1954)  gave birth to her youngest child at 27.  She died at 80.

Abbie Allen Brown (1876-1966) gave birth to her youngest child at 21.  She died at 89.

Beulah Allen Pope (1879 – 1962)  gave birth to her youngest child at 31.  She died at 77.

My grandmother Fannie Turner Graham (1888 – 1974) gave birth to her youngest child, at 40. Fannie died at 87.

Her daughters

Mary Virginia Graham Elkins (1920-2009) gave birth to her youngest child at 34. She died at 89.

My mother, Doris Graham Cleage (1923-1982) gave birth to her youngest child at 25. She died at 59.

Paternal side

My great grandmother Anna Allen Reed (1849 – 1910) gave birth to her youngest child at 37. She died at 62.

Her daughters

Sarah Reed Busby (1870 – 1954) gave birth to her youngest child at 44.  She died at 83.

Louise Reed Shoemaker (1873 – 1938) gave birth to her youngest at 31. She died at 64.

Minnie Reed Mullins (1878-1963) gave birth to her youngest child at 43. She died at 84.

*My grandmother Pearl Reed Cleage (1886-1982) gave birth to her youngest child at 39.  She died at 96.

Pearl’s daughters

*Barbara Cleage Martin (1920 – still living) gave birth to her youngest at 31.  She is 94.

* Gladys Cleage Evans (1922- still living) gave birth to her youngest at 37. She is 92.

Anna Cleage Shreve (1925-2013) gave birth to her youngest child at 37. She died at 88.

My great grandmother Celia Rice Cleage Sherman (1855-abt 1931) gave birth to her youngest child at 28. She died at 76.

Her daughter Josephine Cleage (1873-1956) gave birth to her youngest child at 36. She died at 82.


Of the 19 women in my study,  13 had children beyond the age of 33.  Two of the 12 lived beyond 90.  My grandmother is the only one who lived past 94.  She lived to 96. One, Gladys is 92 and still living.

4 of the women gave birth to their youngest child in their 20s.

6 of the 17 did not have children after 33.  1 of the 5 lived beyond 90, she is 94 and still living.

I guess I should do a graph using this information. Maybe tomorrow.

African-American Genealogy & Slave Ancestry Research Cleages Investigations

Cleages In Black and White

Several days ago, I found the will of Alexander Cleage, which mentioned my Cleage Ancestors: Frank, Juda and Lewis Cleage by name, as he willed them to his wife. After finding the will, I did two things.  First, I went back through the other documents I have concerning the white Cleages and slavery.  I found a bill of sale wherein David Cleage and his sister Elizabeth sold some of their inherited slaves (including my great-great grandfather, Frank) to Alexander.  I had believed that my family went from Samuel Cleage to son David, and remained with him, after Samuel’s death.  This cleared that up.

Next, I set up a tree for the white Cleages on Through the shakey leaves I found another will. This one for Elijah Hurst, father of Alexander’s wife Jemima Hurst Cleage. In the will, Elijah deeds Jemima my great-great grandmother, Juda, who (along with several other slaves) he had already given her when she married.  There was a wealth of information and documentation available on Ancestry which I am going through now.

After going through those documents, I will modify the timelines I have for Frank and Juda Cleage.  I am also going to be looking for traditions surrounding giving ones daughter a couple of slaves to take with her when she married.  This is the second case of that I have found in my family.  My great great grandmother Eliza was given to Edmund Harrison’s daughter Martha Harrison, when she married Milton Saffold.

This is the year that I plan to devote some real time to writing up my family history. More about that later.

Related Posts

Article of Agreement Between Samuel Cleage and Overseer – 1834

Cleage Bricks

The Will – 1860

Christmas Grahams Investigations Montgomery Alabama

Merrie Christmas and Happy New Year

A Christmas card from my Grandparent’s ( Mershell and Fannie Graham) collection, date unknown.  I read on a post by Pauline on Family History Across the Seas  about the people who sent Christmas Cards. It started me thinking about the cards I had from my grandparents collection with photographs of people I only knew were friends of the family, but nothing else about them. I wondered what I could find out. I picked this one out because, unlike some of the others, it had a name and a street address, although there was no date and no city. My grandparents lived in Montgomery, AL before moving to Detroit in 1919, so I started there.  Here is what I learned from the census and Montgomery Directory about Addie Smith.

Addie Smith "Ma Smith"
Addie Smith  “Ma Smith”  is written on the shingles near her face level.
"Merrie chtsmas and happy New Year. Your Addie Smith 105 Hutchinson St."
“Merrie Christmas and happy New Year. Addie Smith 105 Hutchinson St.”  My mother wrote “Don’t know date- friend”

Addie was born in 1869 in South Carolina to parents also born in South Carolina. In 1888, (the year my grandmother was born), Addie married Fountain Smith, a laborer about 14 years her senior.  This was her first marriage. Fountain may have been married before.  They had no children.

bankrupcyBy 1906 Fountain and Addie were living at 105 Hutchinson Street in Montgomery. She would live in this rented house for the rest of her life.  A Fountain Smith filed for bankruptcy in 1906. Over the years Addie Smith worked as a char woman/janitress in the Post Office. She may have also worked in that capacity in other public buildings.

At 53 years old, on October 26 in 1922, Addie Smith died. She is buried in Oakwood Cemetery in Montgomery.  Fountain lived another 8 years, dying on November 3, 1930.  He would have been about 62. Because Addie died in 1922 and my grandparents moved to Detroit in 1919, I am guessing that this card was sent in 1920.

Fannie and Mershell soon after their marriage in 1919.
My grandparents Fannie and Mershell Graham soon after their marriage in 1919.

Looking at a map of the 4th Ward in Montgomery in I found that Hutchinson street no longer had houses below #800, However, my great Uncle Victor Tulane had a grocery store at Ripley and High street. My grandmother Fannie managed the store for a number of years before her marriage. This store would have been several blocks from Addie and Fountain Smith’s house. I am supposing that this is how they met.

For more Sepia Saturday Posts, CLICK!
For more Sepia Saturday Posts, CLICK!

Timeline – 1948 Happy Birthday Pearl!

I decided to make a collage of happenings in 1948, the year my sister Pearl was born. The most surprising thing was how many of our very favorite Little Golden books came out that year. I don’t know what my mother was reading to me before 1948!

Click to enlarge.
Click to enlarge.


1950 Census Cleages Investigations

The Cleages in the 1950 Census

Today I am previewing my paternal grandparent’s, Albert and Pearl Cleage’s, household in 1950.

In 1950 the Cleage household consisted of Albert B. Cleage, his wife Pearl and 5 of their 7 children. Albert was a Physician. He was 66 years old and  had retired from his medical practice, my Aunt Gladys remembers. He was born in Tennessee and both of his parents were born in the United States. He had completed over 5 years of college. He and his wife had been married for 40 years. This was the only marriage for both.

Pearl D. Cleage was 64 years old. She had given birth to 7 children. She was born in Kentucky and had completed 12 years of school. She kept house and had not worked or sought work outside of the home. Her parents were born in the US.

Albert & Pearl 1950s
Albert & Pearl 1950s

Louis Cleage, their son, was 36 years old and also a physician  in a private practice.  He had completed over 5 years of college and never been married.  He worked 52 weeks.  Henry Cleage, a son, was 34 years old. He had worked 52 weeks as an attorney in private practice. He had been married once and divorced about 6 years. Hugh Cleage, a son was 32 years old. He had never been married. He worked 52 weeks as a postal worker at the US post office. Not sure of his salary yet. He had completed 2 years of college.  None of them had been in the military.

Barbara Cleage, a daughter, was 30 years old. She had worked the previous year as receptionist at a doctor’s office. She had never been married and had no children. She had completed 1 year of college.  Anna Cleage was the youngest daughter at 26 years old.  She had completed over 5 years of college and had worked the previous year as a pharmacist in a doctor’s office. She had never been married and had no children.  All of the children were born in Michigan.  Everybody in the household was identified as Neg(ro).

2270 Atkinson
“The Manse 1948” 2270 Atkinson

By 1950 the Cleages had moved from their house on Scotten Ave. to 2270 Atkinson.  This three story brick home with full basement was built in 1919. Because it was bought only 2 years before, in 1948, I believe there was a mortgage.

 There were 2 full and 2 partial bathrooms. There were 4 bedrooms on the second floor and 2 in the attic.  On the first floor there was a kitchen, a breakfast room, a dining room, a living room, a library and a sun room  adding another 6 rooms and making 12 rooms in total.

The house was heated by steam heat, with radiators in every room.  The house was fully electrified, had hot and cold running water and indoor plumbing. There were two bathtubs and 4 flush toilets in the various bathrooms. In the kitchen there was an electric refrigerator.  The stove was gas. The sinks all had hot and cold running water.  There was a radio and probably a television.  A friend who lived across the street from my grandparents says that his parents bought their house for $15,000 in 1952.  My cousin Jan found papers about 2270 Atkinson. When my grandparents bought it early in 1949, the cost was $12,600.

loan 4-15-1949a
1950 Census Grahams Investigations

The Grahams in the 1950 Census – I Was There

Click for empty census forms.
Click for empty census forms – 1870 -2010

Today I’m going to write about my mother’s parents, Mershell and Fannie (Turner) Graham grandparents in my preview of the 1950 Census.

In 1950 Mershell and Fannie Graham were still living at 6638 Theodore Street. The single family frame house was built in 1913 and was probably worth about $7,000.  The Grahams bought the house in 1923. If they had a 30 year mortgage, they would have had 3 more years until it was paid.  I like to think that they had already paid it off. The house probably cost  less than $2,000 when they bought it in 1923.

The house was heated with forced air using a converted coal to gas furnace. There were 3 bedrooms and a bathroom complete with indoor plumbing and running water upstairs, including a claw foot bathtub and a flush toilet.  Downstairs were 3 more rooms, making 6 house deedin all (not counting the bathroom). The kitchen had an electric refrigerator and a sink with hot and cold running water.  There were also a full attic and basement. They did not own a television but did have a radio.

Mershell had worked 52 weeks as a stock clerk in an auto factory. His annual wages were probably about average, $3,210. He had completed 8 years of school. He was not a veteran. Mershell and Fannie had been married once and this marriage had lasted 31 years. Fannie had birthed 4 children.   She had completed high school, and had not worked outside of the home.

Living with them was Fannie’s 75 year old widowed aunt, Abbie Allen.  Abbie had birthed 2 children and her 1 marriage occurred 46 years ago. She hadn’t worked in the past year. She had completed 7th grade.

Mershell holding granddaughter Dee Dee, Fannie - 1948 Detroit
Mershell holding granddaughter Dee Dee with Fannie – 1948 Detroit.

All three of them would have given “Negro” for race, but if the census taker didn’t ask and assumed, they may have been enumerated as “white”.  All three were born in Alabama and all of their parents had been born in the United States.

Helpful links for figuring out costs and wages were:


1950 Census Investigations

I Was There – The 1950 U.S. Census

Click to see the 1959 and all US census forms

The other day I was thinking about when the next census would released – 2022.  I enjoyed finding my family and placing them in context in the 1940 Census. I thought that I know much of the information that would be asked on the 1950 Census.  Why wait?  I Googled a blank form for the 1950 Census. This is the first of a series based on all of the unpublished censuses – 1950, 1960, 1970, 1980, 1990, 2000 and 2010. I was there!

The 1950 Census is the first one in which I make an appearance. I was three years old. We lived at 643 Union Street in Springfield, Massachusetts. This was the parsonage/ community house located next to the church.

albert_st.johnsMy father, Albert B. Cleage, was the “head” of the household.  He was 38 years old and had worked for 52 weeks as the pastor of St. John’s Congregational Church. I do not know how much he earned the previous year, but I’m sure it was on the low side of the $2,992 average wage. He was born in Indiana and both of his parents were born in the United States. He had completed at least 1 year of post degree college work.

My mother, Doris G. Cleage, was my father’s wife.  She was 27 years old and was born in Michigan.  Both of her parents were also born in the U.S.A.  She had completed four years of college and had not worked outside of the home the previous year. She had given birth to two springfield_ma_kidschildren, both of them still alive.  Three year old Kristin and one year old Pearl had both been born in Massachusetts. My parents had been married 6 years. Everybody in the house was identified as “Neg(ro)”.  My mother took education classes at Springfield College in 1950 but I’m not sure if it was before or after April, when the census was taken.

Some things that I know about my family at that time that aren’t listed include that we didn’t own a car and that my father hoped to eventually find a church in Detroit so they could move back home.  This happened the following year, 1951.

I have added two articles from April, 1950 concerning my parents activities and an entry from the 1951 Directory for Springfield, Mass.  Read more about our life on Union Street at – U is for Union Street. Read an overview of news and other happenings for the 1950s here American Cultural History 1950 – 1959.



Allen DNA - Genetics Investigations

Seven Generations of L3e3b – My Mtdna

This chart is adapted from the 23andMe website.
This chart is adapted from the 23andMe website.

The mtdna that I received from my mother, who received it from her mother and on back to the beginning lost in the mists, is L3e3b.  I have been told that I share this haplo group of L3e3b with the Mende people of Sierra Leone.  You can read more in this post Stolen from Africa – Fearless Females.

Annie Williams is the first woman in this ancestral line that I can name.  She was born about 1820 in Virginia. Her daughter, Eliza Williams Allen (who is the Eliza this blog is named after) and all of her children were born in Alabama. Eliza passed her mtdna to her 13 children.  5 died before adulthood. 2 were sons. Of her 6 daughters, I wondered, how many had daughters who had daughters, who had daughters?

Photographs and word cloud with names of all the known female descendents of Annie Williams.

Mary Allen McCall had 6 children, 2 sons and 3 daughters survived to adulthood.  Two, Jeanette McCall McEwen and Alma Otilla McCall Howard, had sons only. Annabell McCall Martin had 7 children. 3 were sons and 3, daughters, Anna Marie Martin, Geneva Martin and Thelma Martin. So far I have been unable to trace them beyond the 1940 census in Detroit when they were unmarried, childless, teenagers, so I don’t know if they had daughters.

Anna Allen (oval picture) had no children.

Below Anna is Beulah Allen Pope who had 2 sons and 1 daughter. Her daughter, Annie Lee Pope Gilmer, had 1 son.

Willie Lee Allen Tulane had 3 daughters. Only 1, Naomi, survived to adulthood. Naomi Tulane Vincent had three daughters – Sylvia, Jacqui and Barbara. Sylvia and Barbara did not have any children. Jacqui had 2 sons.

Abbie Allen Brown had 2 sons.

My great grandmother, Jennie Virginia had three daughters. Daisy and Alice had no children. My grandmother, Fannie, had 4 children. Her 2 sons died in childhood. Her 2 daughters, my aunt Mary V.  had 3 daughters. Barbara and Marilyn both had sons only. Dee Dee’s one daughter, Maricea, has no children.

My mother, Doris, had 2 daughters. I (Kristin) have 2 sons and 4 daughters. Jilo has 1 son and 2 daughters.  Ife has 1 son and 1 daughter.  Ayanna has no children.  Tulani has 1 daughter. All of their daughters are still children. My sister Pearl had 1 daughter. Deignan has 1 son and 3 daughters, all still children.

I have the mtdna haplo group from my father’s mother and for my grandfather Cleage’s mother.  I will be writing them up soon. I will also be writing about my total dna findings. Unfortunately, there are no men in my direct line alive to test for the Ydna.





A-Z Challenge 2013 Investigations

B is for Buford Avritt

a-to-z-letters-bThis is my second post for the April A-Z Challenge. I will be blogging everyday using the letters of the alphabet as a prompt. Today I am going to write about one of my great grandfather’s – Beauford Edmund Avritt.

Beauford Avritt was my father’s mother’s father.  I wrote about her mother, Anna, yesterday. There were few stories passed down about Beauford Avritt in my family. I was told that he was my grandmother’s father, and that he was a “doctor of English extraction”, but advised not to never mention this to her.  My uncles and aunts told me that at some point Anna and her family were having a difficult time and the older sons went to ask him for help.  His reply was “I know nothing about you people.”  My father once mentioned that his own father had not had a middle name and as an adult took the name “Buford” out of respect to Beauford Avritt.  I thought that was pretty strange, given the story that I had heard over the years of knowing nothing about you people.  When I mentioned this to my Aunt Gladys, she said that wasn’t how her father got his middle name. She said that he picked it on his way to Medical school when they passed a town called Buford, before he met my grandmother.

I learned from cousins on my grandmother’s side that my grandmother’s older sister, Minnie, had the middle name of Avritt. Recently I learned that her brother Hugh had gone to California with his family and changed his name to Averrette.  The story about the father of Anna’s four younger children being Beauford Avritt’s was also told in other branches of the family.

For a long time I didn’t claim Beauford Avritt and avoided doing any research beyond the basics. Since he didn’t want to know anything about my grandmother and her siblings, I didn’t care to look for anything about him. After finding Hugh’s family, I became interested in spite of myself. I found the details of his life in various places online. It is from these that I wrote this post.  I don’t have any photographs of Beauford Avritt. I was hopeful today, when I found the archives of the University of Louisville School of Medicine, but so far no luck. I have written them and I’m still hopeful that one will turn up.

Beauford Edmond Avritt was the second of the nine children of John and Elizabeth Marshall Tucker Avritt.  He was born July 21, 1839. His father was a farmer.  The 1840 census is the only one I have found that shows the family owning a slave. There was one female slave under the age of 1 counted with the family.

John and Elizabeth were literate and Beauford and his siblings attended school and were educated. Several of his brothers were farmers, two were lawyers and Beauford was a physician.  He attended the Kentucky School of Medicine, completing in 1866 and University of Louisville, finishing in 1873.image_previewHe worked treating the sick during the Cholera Epidemic of 1873. It started at the Marion County Fair in Lebanon and was spread through people coming to and from the fair.  Here is a report made about a case of his during the epidemic from; MARION COUNTY. – NARRATIVE OF THE CHOLERA EPIDEMIC OF 1873.

“Case 2- Reported by B.E. Avritt, M.D. of Lebanon, KY. – Cholera – Second stage – Recovery.

Charles, a negro (sic) age 35 years, single, after a few hours of diarrhea, was attacked with vomiting and purging, attended with excessive prostration.  Cramps of hands and feet were rapidly developed.  The discharges assumed the rice-water character.  Skin of fingers and toes was shriveled.  he was first seen by Doctor Cleaver at 6 o’clock p.m. of September 10.  The patient was in an old shanty, without any of the comforts of a sick-room.  Some one had made up a bed for him, but at the time of the visit he was alone.  He was placed upon full dose of opium, calomel and bismuth, and Doctor Avritt was asked to take charge of the case.

At 7 o’clock p.m., Doctor Avritt exhibited a full dose of chloroform; continued the powders. At 8 o’clock p.m. the chloroform was repeated, and quinine, gr. ij, was added to the powder already noted.  Finding it impossible to obtain any nurse for this man, Dr. Avritt made him as comfortable as the circumstances would admit; placed by the side of his bed a bucket of ice-water and a glass, and visited him as often as possible during the night.  The vomiting and purging continued during the night, but at lengthening intervals, and as water from the tumbler did not satisfy him, he drank from the bucket as long as he could tilt it to his mouth.  During the night he drank all the water that was provided.  At 6 o’clock a.m., September 11, surface of his body was not so intensely cold, a slight pulse, no vomiting or purging; by noon was fully reacted and on the 13 was able to sit up.”

Beauford never married and as far as I know had no other children.  In 1880 he shared his home in Gravel Switch, Marion County, Kentucky, with a store clerk, C.C. Mines. In 1900 he lived with a widowed relative.  In 1910 and 1920, at 80, he lived alone in Bradfordsville with family living next door and down the street.   The distance between Bradfordsville and Lebanon is about 9 miles.  The distance between Gravel Switch and Lebanon is 11.9 miles.

On July 7, 1926, Beauford Avritt died of “senility”. I have sent for his death certificate but have not received it yet.  He is buried in Ryder Cemetery in Lebanon, Kentucky.  Perhaps one day we will have DNA which will prove this relationship.

Note: DNA has provided proof in the form of DNA ties to descendants of other Avritts.

Biography Cleages Investigations sepia saturday

Moving Day Springfield to Detroit 1951, Revisited

Back in November of 2011 I wrote Moving – Springfield to Detroit 1951 for Sepia Saturday 102. I mentioned that I remembered the little girls in the photograph, but I couldn’t remember their names. Well, I found them!

Moving day (note the boxed up stuff behind me) L to R: Kristin (me), Lynn, Sherrie, Pearl and in the back is Mrs. Johnson. I still have the rocking chair back there.

Left to right – Kristin (me), Lynn, Sherrie and Pearl

During February, I was working on a post about turtles I have owned, when I came across the photograph below.

Mr. and Mrs. Funn with me (Kristin) in front and my mother in the middle holding sister Pearl.

I recognized them as the Funns and realized that the other man’s name that I remembered from Springfield, “Lindsey”,must be the name of the father of the girls in the photographs.  How could I find the last name? I decided to Google “Lindsey St. John’s Congregational Church, Springfield, MA”. The first item that came up gave me his last name, Johnson.  I Googled “Lindsey Johnson, Springfield, MA” and came up with several articles. This was them!  Sherrie was the oldest daughter, the one who poured milk in my dinner on that day so long ago. Below are some of the articles I found and some photographs of the Johnsons and also an article about Mr. Funn. Goggle and newspapers – it’s hard to beat them sometimes.

Articles about Lindsey Johnson and family. The house they talk about is the one I visited with my father in the winter 1968.  Click to enlarge and read.

To see more posts about boxes and other things, click!