Talented Tuesday: Christine Gilliard Culley

Christine G. Culley
Photo by DeLaigle, (Harlem)
I am highlighting Christine G. Culley, who is the daughter of the trumpet player, Wendell Phillip Culley.  Christine was born January 3, 1930 in Manhattan, New York and died September 1, 2009.  
I went to New York June 8, 2010, and had not realized she died.  She had become a recluse, and frankly had no contact with any surviving family members of her generation or after.  I thought I would go to Harlem and get the stories about her father, who happened to play for Count Basie in the 50’s, Cab Calloway, Lionel Hampton, and appeared in over 200 recordings of some of the great artists and musicians.
Christine was born, grew up, took care of her mother Violet, and grew old in the same apartment her parents got married in.  She remained in that home for 79 years.  My trip to her apartment in Harlem was not necessarily successful as she had passed but I was able to get in touch with the owner, who in turn connected me with Christine’s friend, that handled her final affairs.  
The connection to Christine’s friend (Karen) gave me some answers as to who Christine was.  Christine was my mother’s first cousin, and they grew up together, and were probably pretty close until my mother and grandmother moved to Los Angeles, CA.  
Karen was most helpful in giving me what she had regarding Christine.  All of Christine’s things were donated to thrift stores, and organizations that Christine was interested in.  What Karen did have that was somewhat of a consolation, was photo’s of paintings that Christine did.  Christine was a Teacher at New York University (NYU) for many years and had many of her art pieces.  I have been on a hunt for them, and was able to recover four paintings, that I hope one day, will find their place in the homes of our relatives.
I am only posting a few of her paintings below:
Abstract Painting by Christine G. Culley
(Recovered & in my home) 1970
Painting sold in an Auction
by Christine G. Culley

The material, both written and photographic on these pages is the copyright of Yvette Porter Moore unless stated. Material on this site may be used for personal reference only. If you wish to use any of the material on this site for other means, please seek the written permission of Yvette Porter Moore
© 2010-2011

Cully Family Surname: (My Matrilineal Line) Part #1

Betty Peters

My late-mother Betty Mae (Peters) Porter mentioned on numerous occasions that she was going to write the Memoirs of  her Life on Sugar Hill, NY.  She also wanted to include her family history that had been passed down to her.  I heard many stories about her mother Agnes Cully and her family.
I had promised my Mother that I would help her with her genealogical research, and so I do this in her honor and memory.

My Mother only knew her grandparents names and the stories told to her by her mother Agnes;  (Ambrose E. Cully and Nora A. (Gilliam) Cully  both died before Betty was born.  The Cully family originated from North Carolina and Ambrose went to Worcester, MA in the late 1880’s.
Ambrose was born before slavery ended in 1863 (even census and other various records show otherwise) and died in 1925.  Ambrose’ wife Nora gave birth to so many children, that her body did not have time to recover, and therefore died by the time she was Forty. The account is that Nora gave birth to 10 up to 21 children…as of date, I can only document 12.

When I initially began my research, I had the habit of not documenting and indexing the records.  I would save the records on Ancestry.com and print out a copy if I was able to.  I did not have a system of filing and staying organized, so at this time I am having to backtrack. Thanks to fellow Genealogist and Family Connection, Debra Newton-Carter, she has really challenged me to raise my standards with my research and documentation.

Many stories were told to me by my Mother or were recorded on tape, and  written down in manuscript form.  These stories needed to be backed up with historical records so I could confirm what was told. My goal is to place each ancestor in historical context.

First thing I did was to back up what I did know.  I went to Ancestry.com to look at the 1930 U.S. Federal Census to see my Mothers household  composition in the 1930 US Federal Census.

(1930 US Federal Census)

My mother Betty Mae Peters was listed as 3 11/12 years old and she was living with her parents
Charles Irving (32) and Agnes (28) and the family resided at 79 St. Nicholas Place, NY NY.  

Source Citation:Year 1930; Census Place; Manhattan, NY, NY,  Roll 1577,
Page 12A, Enumeration District 1019; Image: 314.0

I wanted to know more about my Mother’s Grandfather Ambrose Elander Cully and his Paternal line. (More details to come in upcoming posts.) According to my mother’s journal,  Ambrose was sent away as a young man by his father (William) to Worcester, MA due to the race issues in North Carolina in the late 1880’s.  My mother stated that Ambrose’s father gave him some timber land.  (Have not confirmed this, as It is possible that Ambrose’ Grandfather gave his father William Henry Cully timberland.) Ambrose married Nora Ann Gilliam in 1889 and started his family in Worcester.  

Not knowing Ambrose’s life prior to North Carolina, I initially looked at Census Records on Ancestery.com to continue developing the life of Ambrose’s family in Worcester, MA.  I decided I would look at North Carolina once I felt that I exhausted my Record Search in Worcester.  

I wanted to know when and where Ambrose Cully and Nora Gilliam got married. The information was on FamilySearch.

Ambrose & Nora’s Abstracted Marriage Record from Family Search

Original Record:

Marriage Register in City of Worcester, MA 1889; Record # 340, Film # 1415228,
Digital Folder # 4279733, Image # 00999

With the Marriage record, I took note of who Ambrose’s parents were: William H & Nancy E.  Nora’s parents listed were: Daniel & Hannah.

I also took note of the Marriage date: (conflict in year)  On the abstracted document, it states marriage took place on July 23, 1890, but on the original registrar book it shows July 23, 1889.  I tend to believe it is (1889) according to the original.  Ambrose was (25) and Nora was (19).

At this point, I wanted to know what the family composition was in the years 1900 and 1910 since there was a huge question as to how many children my Great Grandmother Nora Cully had, or at least who lived.  Below I have listed: 

1900 United Stated Federal Census

According to the Extracted 1900 US Fed Census The Family consisted of:

Ambrose Cully (34) Nora (29) S Hannah (9) F Sarah (8) S William (7)
E Kate (4) H Osburn (1)  M Agnus (0) 
The Family resided on 12 Eastern Avenue, Worcester, MA in 1910 at the time of Census

The 1910 United States Federal Census
Abstracted Source Citation: Year 1910; Worcester, Ward 3,
Worcester, Mass, Roll T624_631; Pg 50B, Enumeration Dist 1869
Image 990, FHL # 1374644
The Family Composition in 1910 is as Follows:

Ambrose Culley (41), Nora A (39), Hannah S (19), Zara F (18), William E (17) Catherine (14)
Osborne A (11), Agnes M (10), Ralph C (5), Wendell P (4), Raymond (2), Mrs. Hannah Gilliam (68)

The Family resided at 181 Shrewsbury Street, Worcester MA

So there were additions to the family. By this time Nora’s mother Hannah Gilliam is living with the family, which agrees with what my mother told me that the grandmother raised the children while Nora spent most of her time trying to recover from one pregnancy after another. 

By 1920, Nora was already dead.  Nora died November 9, 1911. 

(The Death Certificate confirmed that Nora A. Cully died due to complications of a miscarriage at 7 1/2 months.  She actually gave birth to a daughter, Nora J. Cully who was born a few days before Nora A died)  I also took note of Hannah’s maiden name (Nelson)

Below is proof of Nora J. Cully’s birth as she is not listed in the 1910 Census:

(Nora J was born November 4, 1911, 5 days before her mother Nora A Cully died)

After Nora died the younger children were sent to live in various locations.  The exact details were not known until I began digging in the records, I was able to see the age of the children, what relatives took them in, and which one’s stayed with  the father, Ambrose, and which one’s were already supporting themselves. (I will show this in a future post)

At this point I was wondering if Nora had more children that were not listed in the 1900 and 1910 Census and never found after the 1920 Census.

I was able to find Birth Records for two stillbirths, one child Sydney H, who I have not found beyond birth records. I am believing that Nora did have other births but probably ended in miscarriages as it was told she had up to 21 births.

Male Cully, July 5, 1902 (Birth)
Male Cully, May 23, 1910  (Birth)
Male Cully (Death Record) May 23, 1910
Index of Death Records in MA (Death Male Cully 1902& 1910)
Unpublished birth records, People of Color (No longer online)
Thomas L Doughton had posted College of the Holy Cross

So with this information, the children that Nora Ann (Gilliam) Cully gave birth to and are accounted for are:

Sydney H
Hannah Sidney
Zara Frances
William E (died at 19)
Catherine V.
Osborne Ambrose
Agnes M
Ralph C
Wendell Phillip
Raymond Mansfield
Stillborn Male Cully (1902)
Stillborn Male Cully (1910)

I have been able to document twelve of the children of Ambrose and Nora..I will later show the descendants of these siblings…But before I show the record of descendants, my next posts will be on the next two ascending generations of Ambrose E. Cully.

Go here to see Part #2

The material, both written and photographic on these pages is the copyright of Yvette Porter Moore unless stated. Material on this site may be used for personal reference only. If you wish to use any of the material on this site for other means, please seek the written permission of Yvette Porter Moore
© 2010-2011

Daily Journal: Cully Family Genealogy

Edgecombe, Sugar Hill, NY APT building Grandparents lived  in 1920’s

Today took a very interesting and a welcoming change in my Research, Writing, and Blogging.

I have finally realized I cannot do another thing until I organize my years of printing and saving documents.

Over the next few months, I am going to be organizing, sorting, scanning, filing, all of my Family Research information.  I have been researching the Cully Family since 2004 electronically and have not done the documentation required to keep up with the material or at least share it with individuals such as Debra Newton-Carter and Michaud Robinson who have interest in my papers as we both have family connections.

I have been doing Family  Search and Research in general since I was 18 years old in 1986.  I did not know there was a name for it until the year 2000. 

Since I have been researching the Cully Family, my Goal is to write two books within the next few years.  They are: The Cully Family: An African American Story and Embraced Identity.

I want to personally thank Debra Newton-Carter of In Black and White: Cross-Cultural Genealogy.  She has agreed to help with some of the documents and put them in some type of order so that I may focus more on my writing.

© Yvette Porter Moore-All Rights Reserved

Treasure Chest Thursday: Agnes Cully, her mirror & Shoe Horn Magnet

My Grandmother Agnes Cully attended the Women’s Trade School in Worcester, MA to take Dress Making Classes. In the picture below, she is the only African American in her graduating class. My mother shared with me that the people at the school were very nice to her and enjoyed her presence at the school. Agnes, born May 8, 1900 had been sewing as a little girl making dresses and outfits for her dolls. Her Grandmother Hannah Gilliam would question Agnes where she got the clothing, and Agnes would tell her she made them herself. Hannah, would whip her because she thought Agnes was lying since she did not have any formal training.
 Hannah had been born into slavery so this was the normal custom of weekly whippings she would give to the many children her daughter, Nora A. Cully had, since Hannah was the one who took care of them while Nora was continuously pregnant with a child or trying to recover.

Agnes Cully front and almost center (only African American)

These are a couple of items that I can always remember in my mother’s room growing up.  After my mother Betty Porter passed away in 2004, these are the items that I kept as heirlooms or treasures and hopefully will pass down to the next generation.  I never met my grandmother Agnes as she died three years before I was born.  I like having these items because I know that her hands touched them and I know she used the Horse Shoe Magnet daily as she was a fashion designer in New York.

Silver Hand Held Mirror

Silver Hand Held Mirror

Horse Shoe Magnet

Horse Shoe Magnet

© Yvette Porter Moore-All Rights Reserved

Sympathy Saturday: Nora A Cully and William E. Cully (Mother and Son)

     I was told by my mother Betty Mae Peters, that her grandmother, my great-grandmother, Nora Ann (Gilliam) Cully spent most of her adulthood pregnant.  Nora had many children, miscarriages, and stillbirths, that her body did not have time to recover.  Nora died November 9, 1911 after giving birth to her daughter on November 5, 1911, who they named Nora J Cully. [The birth index was transcribed incorrectly, stated Nora was named Norma J A Cully]
Photo of Nora A [Gilliam] Cully
December 28, 1871- November 9, 1911
Nora A [Gilliam] Cully Death Certificate

     Documentation is so important.  Even when stories are handed down orally, I find that linking the stories with documentation, verifying the stories, gives great confirmation that the oral tradition was accurate.

Birth Index for Nora J Cully, Daughter of Nora Gilliam Cully dated Nov. 5, 1911
     I had the opportunity to visit Worcester, MA in April of 2011.  This is a picture request from find-a-grave as all the pictures I took in Worcester, MA were lost to technical difficulties with my camera.  (Learning that I must always backup everything immediately.)
Nora Ann [Gilliam] Cully, Hope Cemetery, Worcester MA, Lot 6767, Sec. 76
     Nora’s Son, William “Willie” Elander Cully died September 14, 1912 and was buried next to his mother Nora A [Gilliam] Cully.  The Headstone is a dual headstone, with Williams writing on the backside.

Willaim E. Cully, Jan 19, 1893-Sept 14, 1912, Hope Cemetery

William E Cully Death Certificate

     William was 19, when he died on September 14, 1912.  He was an Elevator boy for a Department Store in Worcester, MA.  He died of Acute Endocarditis.

Hope Cemetery Sign