Document of The Day: Hannah Nelson-Singleton Gilliam Death Certificate

This is an electronic copy of my 2X Great Grandmother Hannah Nelson-Singleton Gilliam’s Death Certificate, which I found on familysearch.org   Hannah passed away at her sister’s residence at 49 Bowdoin Street, Worcester, MA on February 23, 1914.  I am pretty sure Hannah lived with her sister during this time, as they were very close, and they tended to help one another during the many years they lived in Worcester.

HannahGilliamDeathRecord

Hannah became a widow in March of 1867, when her husband Daniel Gilliam passed away. Daniel was a former slave and only lived a few years as a Freedman. He did not migrate with Hannah and her family to Worcester as they migrated in the late 1870’s.

Hannah was the daughter of Benjamin (Ellis) Nelson and Zara (Jones) Humphrey/Humphries both born in New Bern, North Carolina.

Hannah’s sister Jane B. Collins was the informant.  Hannah’s cause of death was Cancer of the Liver/Gallstones.  When doing research on my Maternal Ancestry, I find that many of them died of some form of Cancer, as did my mother.

One thing I find helpful is to keep track of the causes of death of each of your ancestor’s as you will possibly begin to see a pattern.  This information might help descendants as to what type of prevention methods one might take towards their health.

When I see that Hannah died of Cancer of the Liver, I wonder if maybe she had been a drinker.  It is very possible as I also find that many of my ancestors also died from diseases due to alcoholism or heavy drinking.

Hannah was buried at the Hope Cemetery, Worcester Ma in Lot 5817, Section 76.  Her memorial is on Find-A-Grave at: Hannah Nelson-Singleton Gilliam

Family Stories Handed Down Through the Oral Tradition

If the Story-Teller leaves no oral or written family history, it dies with them.  I think my mother knew this.  44 years ago in 1973, I was 5 years old.  My mother was an elementary school teacher and I distinctly remember during  Summer vacation, my mother sitting in her home office and firmly letting me know that she was writing a family story.  She would tell me that I needed to find something to do as she spoke into an old-fashioned tape recorder with a hand-held microphone, clearly pronouncing every syllable of every word.

[When I reflect on this, I realize that she had perfect diction and elocution, as did her Aunt Zara Cully Brown, who taught her how to speak]

I have always been curious about my family history, and I would hear the stories of my parent’s lives spoken around the table, or in the living room when my mother was entertaining guests.  I always had my ears perked up, but with child understanding, many of the stories were not remembered or understood clearly.

My Paternal Grandmother would give me bits and pieces of her life and those of her family members from the country, but she would shut-down if my questions presented hit a nerve. That would be it, and nothing more.

My mother passed away in 2004, and as I was packing and storing the contents of her home, I came across boxes of tapes.  Many of the tapes were recordings of community events, and recordings of guest speakers.  When I found the time, I took each tape and listened to see what was on them.  One after one, I stumbled across the old tapes my mother had been recording in the Summer of 1973.  I was ecstatic.  Not only did she record the stories, but most of them she had already transcribed.  This was the beginning of my genealogical family research on the history of her ancestry.

These tapes sparked the story-teller in me, and as I listened to each tape, I realized the stories she was telling were passed down from her mother and her mother’s mother.  It was five generations of stories.  I knew my mother wanted to write her life story in Sugar-hill, New York which also encompassed Worcester, MA and North Carolina.  As a matter of fact, I had promised my mother when she was living that I would help her find records to support the stories she was telling.

My mother, The story-teller, who is no longer with us, is alive and well when I replay the old tapes, and the new CD’s I had made of the tapes.  It is like my mother is in the room.  I feel her spirit, and it is in my hearts desire to continue to tell the stories of my ancestors as I hand them down to my children and their children.  Whenever I get the chance, I incorporate the stories into the daily lives of my children according to how they relate to the happenings in their lives.

“Our lives are like a million books, of which many stories can be told.”

Clifton R. Wharton III – Wordless Wednesday

This is a photo of Clifton R. Wharton III, My mother’s Godson.  Clifton’s Grandfather Clifton Reginald Wharton, Sr. was confirmed as the First U.S. black foreign minister of Romania on February 5, 1958.

Clifton R. Wharton III

 

I had never met Clifton, but my mother was devastated by the news of his passing.  I happened to be with her when she received the call.