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Saturday, April 19, 2008

My New Project

Prompted by realizing this month is my father’s 100th birthday aniversary, I took it as a kick in the arse toward at-long-last, working on my family genealogy. I’ve been meaning to do so for ages.

For starters I went through the notes I have from my maternal side, whose information was previously gathered by my Aunt Grace. I also dug into my paternal side. Loads of material was available from a pamphlet printed on the occasion of a celebratory family party held in New York for my father on his 91st birthday (he celebrated one additional birthday after that). Please note the buttton to add 'husband' to my little corner - how optimistic. Juan and Dolores are in there, but they don't show.

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The upper, paternal side of my tree are the Millers & Johnsons.

The lower maternal side of my family, are the Carters & Cordles.

And the past few days here is a tidbit I’ve added to to what was previously known.

Parma (the ship) Passenger Manifest page

I know this is the genuine article because my maternal Grandmother Adele was raised by her aunt, who is the someone-or-the-other Lofety whose name appears on the manifest. Cool, eh? My Aunt Grace had tentatively concluded that Grandma came into the U.S. through Canada. I vaguely recall Grandma may have entered the country on two different occasions. I’ll be skimming Canadian records to get to the bottom of that. But this document shows Grandma entered the country in July of 1916 when she was 23 years of age and she made the trip companioned with another young lady of the name Elelia Edwards. I have no idea if they were related or not; something else to dig up!

I also discovered there is a book, Encyclopedia of Latin American and Caribbean Literature, 1900-2003 by Daniel Balderston, Mike Gonzalez which mentions another maternal ancestor, Edward Cordle. He wrote a serial newspaper column based on a fictitious pair of characters Lizzie & Joe; their stories were written in the patois vernacular of Barbados, which in those days was a daring thing. I don’t want to kick in the $90 necessary to purchase the Encyclopedia volume. But I understand – or perhaps misinterpret, there is another book too, entitled Overheard which was published, or so I believe, in 1903. I’d pay $90 for that book – if I can find a copy.

Now for the real challenge! On my paternal side, pretty much everything is a mystery. I am going to have to stop being a freakn’ arse and call my father's nieces - in particular Sandra and Anita - if I ever hope to puzzle out at least the stuff that is still remembered first &/or second hand. For example, here is a photo of my maternal Grandma, Caroline Josephine Johnson Miller.

I have no idea either which lady is grandma, or the names of anyone other than Grandma Caroline. I only know they are here, all British citizens living in Jamaica.

Family story: My father told a story how on one of his first ship voyages out of Panama, he stopped in Jamaica to visit his mother's sister (half sister?) hi Aunt, whom he'd heard about from his mother Caroline. When he got there, his Auntie horribly snubbed him [the bitch]. She wouldn't let him in the front door, making walk round to the back door to let him in. After that uneasy visit my father still stopped by another time and by then the entire Jamaican branch of the clan had gone back to England - no forwarding address. Someday I hope to drop in on my unsuspecting British cousins and get snubbed first hand for myself [the bastards!].

For better or worse, the whole Brit thing pops up in my family on both sides, no surprise as both sides are firmly rooted in British colonies of Jamaica, Barbados and to a lesser degree in Trinidad. My maternal grandmother Adele never gave up her British citizenship. My father used to razz her about it all the time. 'You love that damned John Bull, don't you? What's that flag and crown ever done for you, eh?' Indeed!

Daddy probably had a point. Still, whether it did anything for us or not, the Brit influence might just explain my fascination with the Beatles and Harry Potter and wine gums . Really – you have no idea.


  1. you better hurryup on calling sandra and anita their health and memory cant be getting sharper

  2. Yes, they were in bad shape when I saw them at the 1990(?) family reunion. It's amazing how little of family history gets written down. So! Did you know your maternal great grandfather was a Buffalo Soldier?

  3. Hi,
    I was searching history on my father,Walter Thomas Cordle ,he lived in Richlands Virginia...I found your family tree where you were looking for him....Could I get some more info from you,if you are kin to him and how...my email addy is marthafrancas@yahoo.com

  4. No i didn't know my greatfather was a buffelo soldier, but that explains alot! wink, wink. Hey someone else may be family.

  5. wink, wink. Hey someone else may be family.

    Naw, I don't think so, though I need to do a little more research before I respond. I found some Virginians I thought might be in the gnarly Miller Tree, but the birth dates weren't right. You know - ten year olds probably didn't give birth to kids older than themselves. : D

  6. Hi,

    I have just started tracing my family tree and whiles searching on the internet I happened across your blog. Could we be related? My grandmothers maiden name was Cordle she was born in Barbados. I know some of her family moved to the States. How can I send you me email address privately please?


  7. Annymous, I need your email address so we can figure out if we're cousins. : )