About yportermoore

I am a professional genealogist and family historian. I also help others to rescue their stories and organize their legacy.

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.

Rev. William Henry Cully: Probate Record #5

It has been since June 2012, since I have written on the probate records of my 2x Great Grandfather William Henry Cully.  He passed away in 1902 and he left no will requiring the courts to approve an administrator of the estate.  My Great Grand Uncle George W. Cully was appointed the administrator when his mother Nancy forfeited that role as it was customary for a male child to handle the affairs of their father.

If you are interested in seeing prior posts of the probate records, you can go to these links WHC Probate Record #1, WHC Probate Record #2, WHC Probate Record #3 &4

Below is a page showing what the court case is pertaining to and who is the administrator and where the case is filed.

[Abstract]

W. H. Cully, Decd,

Geo. W. Cully, Administrator

Filed Sept 29, [?] 1902

O & D, Book P

Folio 171

WHCullyimage6

North Carolina, Estate Files, 1663-1979, Craven County, C-Cully, W H (1902) Image 6 of 25, Familysearch.org, accessed 3/27/2014 updated

 

 

I have spent so much time searching for information on the lives of my Cully line, so for me to find this document, it is revealing.  I have known through Census records that my 2x &3x Grandfathers owned land in North Carolina and through family stories handed down.  I just had no proof on paper per se’.   This page below shows the location of land and the amount owned by William H. Cully.  What I found even better was that the document noted where I could find the deeds and the folio they were filed in.

I will be ordering these soon from the North Carolina, Craven County Recorder of Deeds.

WHCullyimage7

North Carolina, Estate Files, 1663-1979 Craven County C-Cully, W H (1902) Image 7 of 25, FamilySearch.org as last accessed 3/27/2014 update

[Transcribed]

North Carolina
Craven County
Before
W. M. Watson, Esq
C.O.L.

Re:
Geo. W Cully, Administrator
Of estate of
W. H. Cully, dec’d

To The Court:
Geo. W Cully, administrator of the estate of W.H. Cully, deceased respectfully returns the following as a just, true and perfect inventory of all the real estate, goods and chattels of his intestate, which have cause into his hands, or into the hand of any person for heir, as such administrator, since the oath of his qualifications.
Real Estate
One tract of land in No. 5 township, Craven County, N.C. containing 300 acres, being land conveyed to W. H. Cully dec’d by deed recorded in Book 74 Folio 92 office of Register of Deeds. {400.00}
One tract of land in No 6 township Craven County, N.C. containing 290 ½ acres, being land conveyed to W.H. Cully, dec’d by deed re- in Book 85 Folio 500 said record.

The next page I will be presenting in the next post is an inventory of personal property of William…I was even more thrilled with all the things that were listed on the inventory sheet as the document revealed what type of farming my ancestors did.

[My Thought]  A Negro family with property between 1800-1902 was a rarity in North Carolina, but not uncommon at the same time.  There were Negro/Native American families that owned land such as the Carter’s, Doves, George’s Goddette’s , Whittington’s, etc.  
 
It makes me wonder if these people of color still had to struggle and deal with racism in their community regardless of their economic standing in New Bern.  Were they the exception as long as they stayed where they were?  Of course I am thinking that they had to deal with racism and they had to deal with hate crimes or at least be on guard with the fear that they may fall victim to such a crime.
 
William’s death announcement stated that he was a well respected colored man.  Was he respected by the Whites because he stayed in his place?
 
 

Root Digger Daily Journal: Friday, October 5, 2012

Today was one of those days where everything was in slow motion.  Had a lot on my plate and still do.

This morning after my friend and I dropped my daughter off to school, we went to a little cafe in Lemon Grove, CA.  I can’t even remember the name.  They gave big servings for the breakfast meals, and I was so hungry and ate all except the pancakes.  Then I purchased some items at the medical supply place that would help me take care of my uncle when he comes home.  Now you know that I could not leave Lemon Grove without visiting the antique store.  I bought a few more photos that had names on the back as they were a part of the collection I already had at home, and I gather that they will give some meaning to the research at hand.

Today I presented the artwork portrait of my father to the elementary school librarian and met with some of the students in a 4th grade class.They were so happy to meet me and I was happy to meet them.

I didn’t do much with genealogy today, but I did participate on an online chat with Joseph McGill of the Slave Dwelling Project.  This project is so intriguing…I would like to participate maybe next year.

I  started to go through College Board to order SAT reports for the twelve schools my daughter is interested in.  I am really starting to get pumped up for the College process with her.

Well it is late, my grandson is here and still awake at 10:30pm…It is time to wind down and maybe play a game of Words with Friends.

See you all tomorrow.

Good Night!

 

Thursday, October 4, 2012: My Genealogy Corner

Today was not a big genealogy day.  Spent a lot of time out of the house running errands.

Some of the things I did do today was:

  1.  Purchased an accordion file, folders, notebooks and sticky notes so that my daughter and I can stay organized while she applies to colleges and scholarships for next year.
  2.  Went to Staples and Kinko’s to have the pencilman Artwork copied on hard stock paper and then went to Aaron Brothers to purchase a couple of frames for the portrait of my Father, Walter J. Porter.  I will be going to the elementary school tomorrow to have it presented for the North Campus library.  We had the presentation of the originals before school let out in June 2012. (The portrait below and a duplicate will be on each campus Library).
The Pencilman and me at the Walter J. Porter Elementary School with both portraits.  The one I am holding has another copy for library.

The Pencilman and me at the Walter J. Porter Elementary School with both portraits. The one I am holding has another copy for library.

  1.  I wanted to get to my Hairston family research today but really did not have the time.
  2.  I did begin a family tree on Walter & Cora Davis…as one of my Hairston cousins was doing some research, and I was curious as to what they were interested in knowing.
  3.  Well, now I will be doing at least one or two photo posts before I head to sleep.  I just do not feel that I accomplished much until I have at least posted a few times on my blog.
  4.  I did get my I-phone today and hope I have the time tomorrow to set it up.
  5.  Tomorrow is going to be a very busy day…Doctor appointments, and lots of phone calls.
  6. One of the highlights of my day was talking to one of my parents and uncle’s good friend in Los Angeles, and his sharing stories about my Uncle, their friends and my parents back in the 1950’s.  He said he knew all the stories.  Our plan is to get together, go out for brunch and record him all day as he tells the stories that I am so eager to hear.

Well this is all for now…See ya all tomorrow.