Monday, 10 March 2014

Motherhood Of My Maternal Ancestors (Kristin Cleage)

Today I decided to do one of the prompts from Lisa Alzo's  Fearless Females"Make a list of your direct line maternal ancestors beginning with your mother. So you will list your mom, her mom, her mom's mom and so on, back as far as you can. Now figure out how many children each female ancestor had. Did the females in your direct maternal line tend to have the same numbers of children each generation? Did they have more? Less? Were they prolific or are there few children born to each woman? Is there a pattern emerging?"
Doris & Kristin 1947
My mother, Doris Graham Cleage, was born in Detroit Michigan in 1923. She gave birth two daughters. The oldest (me) was born when she was 23 in 1946. My sister was born in 1948 when my mother was 26. I had 6 children and my sister had 1.

Fannie & Doris 1924
My maternal grandmother, Fannie Mae Turner Graham, was born in Lowndes County, AL in 1888.  She gave birth to 4 children, all in Detroit. The first, a daughter, was born in 1920. The second, a son, was born in 1921. The third, my mother, was born in 1924. The  forth, a boy, was born in 1928 when she was 40.  Both boys died in childhood. Fannie's oldest daughter (my aunt) had 3 children and my mother had 2.

Jennie, Daisy, Fannie
 My maternal great grandmother, Jennie Virginia Allen Turner, was born in 1866 in Montgomery, AL. She gave birth to three daughters. The first two were born in Lowndes County. My grandmother was the oldest, born in 1888 when Jennie was 22.  Daisy was born in 1890. In 1892 Jennie's husband died. She remarried and her youngest daughter was born in Montgomery, AL in 1908 when she was 42. Of her 3 daughters, only my grandmother had children.

My maternal 2X great grandmother,  Eliza Williams Allen was born about 1839 in Alabama. She gave birth to 13 children. I know of 8 who survived to adulthood.  All were born in Alabama. The oldest daughter was born while she was enslaved in 1856. She was about 17. The rest were born free in Montgomery, AL.  The youngest was born in 1879 when Eliza was 40. Of Eliza's 6 daughters only the oldest, Mary had more than 3 children. Mary had 6.

My 3X maternal line great grandmother, Annie Williams, was born a slave about 1820 in Virginia. I only know of one child, Eliza above, who was born in Alabama in 1839 when Annie was about 19. Annie died before the 1900 census so did not answer the question "How many children did you give birth to?" There is no oral history of Eliza having siblings.

Is there a pattern here? The women who were slaves had their first child earlier than their free descendents did.   Several women had their last child in their early 40s.  Eliza had the most children. I feel like I should make some sort of chart for the information here.

Kris & oldest daughter, 1971
I could not help adding this to the list. I was born in 1946. My oldest daughter was born in Detroit in 1970 when I was 23 years old. I birthed 4 more children, the youngest born in 1982 when I was 35. We adopted our youngest son when I was 41.

I have 4 daughters.  The oldest has 3 children. Her oldest was born in 1998 when my daughter was 28.  The youngest was born when she was 32.  My 2nd daughter has twins that were born in 2003 when she was 27.  My 4th daughter has 1 child born in 1999 when she was 20.

My sister had 1 daughter born in 1975. Her daughter has 4.5 children. The first was born in 2002 when she was 27.  The youngest will be born this summer when she will be 39


  1. I really liked your post. This is a good assignment. You also have great photos as usual.

  2. Kristin, I loved this post and I like the fact that you included the children of your sister including the yet to be born baby.

  3. The not yet born baby is a boy so he won't make the chart when that generations begins to have children. I had to restrain myself from doing my cousins!

    I did enjoy doing it.

  4. Lovely post! Your are so lucky to have photos of each generation!

  5. If only I had one of Eliza's mother, Annie, it would be complete.

  6. A fascinating analysis of mothers and children and how wonderful to have the photograph of Eliza, born in 1839.

    1. My branch of the family never had a photo of Eliza. It wasn't until I started exchanging photographs with a cousin that I got it.

  7. Wow, what an amazing chronology of your direct lineage of women. I really enjoyed it and the photos were an added bonus. Great work.

    1. Thank you. This was the line I grew up feeling close to even before research because my mother talked about them like they were still around.

  8. Kristin, I really wonderful post for Women's History month. It's really something you can go that far back when two of your ancestors were slaves. I have all sorts of trouble with that.

  9. It causes me even more trouble, believe me.

  10. I really like this post! And yep, a chart would be nice! :-)


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