10 Generations of Strong Women Ancestors

September 17, 2011 by  
Filed under Research Notes

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Women in My Family Tree

One of the problems I’ve had over the years is that it is sometimes impossible to uncover details about my female ancestors. This isn’t just a problem in doing African American family history. It comes with the territory when you do genealogy. So I was really excited when I discovered that I can identify my mother’s mother’s mother’s mother’s and, well – you get the drift.

What this means is that on my mother’s line, I’ve found my women ancestors 10 generations back. In their honor, I’ve listed them here so they will never ever be lost in time.

You’ll notice that I introduce my female ancestors by their maiden names and that’s a tip for you. Always identify women in your family tree by their maiden, not married names. If you don’t have that maiden name for a particular ancestor, put her first name and then “unknown” for the last name. You can always add the maiden name later .

Now, meet the strong women who made it possible for me to be here:

  1. I am the daughter of Alice Vivian Dickinson who was born on June 18, 1919 in New York, NY. She married my father, Thomas Melvin Batchelor in 1945. Mom was the 2nd generation of women in our family who went to college (my sister and I are the 3rd). Mom earned her BA in Spanish Literature at Howard University and later received her Master’s degree. Mom is still living and is 92 years old – God Bless.
  2. Mom is the daughter of Hazel Edna Weaver who was born in Cleveland, Ohio on January 8, 1891. Grandmother was a pioneer in our family – the first woman who went to college. She graduated from Howard University in 1917 with a Bachelor of Science in Math.  She married my grandfather, Frederick William James Dickinson who was originally from Bermuda.
  3. Grandmother was the daughter of Jennie Daisy Hood who was born in Waterford, PA on March 12, 1867. She married Prince Albert Weaver in Cleveland in 1880. They were an interracial couple and her father never spoke to her again because of that.
  4. My great grandmother Jennie was the daughter of Clarissa A. Scribner who was born on September 27, 1837 in Ballston Spa, NY. Her husband was Andrew Coover Hood whose grandfather and great grandfather served in the American Revolution.
  5. My great great grandmother Clarissa was the daughter of Luransey (or Luransa) Frazier who was born February 27, 1796 in Leyden, MA. Luransey was the wife of Alexander Scribner of Ballston Spa, NY. Alexander’s father and grandfather were also Revolutionary War soldiers.
  6. My 3rd great grandmother Luransey was the daughter of Sally Page who was born in 1768 in Bernardson, MA. Sally was the wife of Michael Frazier of Franklin County, MA. Michael’s family name was originally Frizzell (or one of the 9 variations of spelling I found), but he changed the name back to the original Scottish spelling. Michael’s father was a Revolutionary War veteran.
  7. My 4th great grandmother Sally Page was the daughter of Sally (aka Sarah) Cunnabell who was born about 1753 in Boston, MA. The name Sally was sometimes used as a nickname for Sarah. Sally Cunnabell became the wife of David Page, also of Boston.
  8. My 5th great grandmother, Sally Cunnabell was the daughter of Sarah Crafts who was born on June 17, 1729 in Boston, MA. Sarah married John Cunnabell and they left the comfort of Boston to become early settlers in Western Massachusetts.
  9. My 6th great grandmother, Sarah Crafts was the daughter of Anne White who was born on January 24, 1711 in Boston, MA. Anne was the wife of Revolutionary War patriot Thomas Crafts and mother of their son, also Thomas Crafts, who was one of the original Sons of Liberty and a member of the real Tea Party.
  10. My 7th great grandmother, Anne White was the daughter of Sarah Wilson who was born in 1688. I don’t know where Sarah Wilson was born but she married my 7th great grandfather, Edward White in 1709. Obviously I’ve got some more research to do to figure out where she came from originally. With a little luck and a lot of patience, maybe I can actually discover who this particular Sarah’s mother was and add another generation of strong women to my family tree.

Who are the strong women in your family history?

My Genealogy Muse

August 19, 2011 by  
Filed under Wit & Wisdom

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Great Aunt Clara

My Aunt Clara was the first person I knew who was passionate about family history. In 1976, when I decided to start researching our family, I didn’t know where to start. Somewhere I read that you should start by talking with your oldest relative. At that point, it was my maternal great Aunt Clara who was 81 years old.

Born Clarissa Mae Weaver on December 1, 1894 in Cleveland, Ohio, Aunt Clara grew into a strong, feisty woman with an opinion on everything and anything – whether you wanted to hear it or not. My childhood memory is that Aunt Clara was tall and imposing, the kind of person who commands attention when she walked in a room. And she sure got our attention.

In her later years, Aunt Clara had a little touch of dementia but that didn’t dull her memory of the old days. When she got us kids sitting still for long enough, that was her opportunity to share a family tale. Aunt Clara absolutely never missed those opportunities. I’m sorry to say, I don’t think I soaked up enough of the family history in those early days.

But I made up for lost time when I started doing genealogy in 1976. Aunt Clara was right there ready and willing to share all she knew. As I look back, her amazing enthusiasm about genealogy was infectious. And I caught it!

Over the next 8 months, Aunt Clara and I bridged the distance between my home in Detroit and hers in Cleveland with phone calls and letters – sharing and discovering more about our Weaver, Coover, Hood and Scribner family lines. But in September of that year, Aunt Clara fell and broke her hip. In a week she was gone.

Aunt Clara was my genealogy muse. I am so grateful for the time we had to share our mutual passion for Black family history and, more importantly, for me to get to appreciate Aunt Clara as the strong, endearingly eccentric and amazingly inspirational woman she was.

Who inspired you to start doing genealogy?