Clarence Devan Williams: grandfather

I don’t remember my maternal grandfather

I’ve seldom mentioned my maternal grandfather, Clarence Devan Williams. It’s because I don’t remember him. He died in July 1958 in Owego, Tioga County, about 20 miles from Binghamton, Broome County, at the age of about 71.

From what I knew, he was the son of Margaret, or Marguerite (1865-1931) and Charles Williams, who was a year older or a year younger, depending on which Census you check.

Clarence had a brother Charles Nathaniel Williams (1885–1923) who was about two years his senior, and they both reportedly played Negro Leagues baseball somewhere.

In 1900, they lived on 103 Paige Street in Owego.

But there’s a record in the New York, Census of Inmates in Almshouses and Poorhouses, 1830-1920 suggesting that a Clarence Williams was the “illegitimate child of Mary Williams – December 20, 1887.”

Someone suggested in a note in Ancestry.com that Clarence might have been adopted. Presumably Mary was the sister of the elder Charles.

Clarence was a laborer at some point in his early twenties. I have no idea how he met Gertrude Williams in Binghamton, but they apparently got married in 1927 and had two children. One was my mother, born in 1927, and the other was a female child who died in early 1929.

The family lore suggested that Gertrude’s mother somehow drove Clarence away. But Lillian Holland died in 1938, yet he mostly stayed away.

There’s a guy, a black male, named Clarence Nat Williams, who had a 1942 draft registration card, though he was 55. If it’s the same guy – by then he was living in Deposit, Broome County, with a Charles Williams. Did he take his brother’s middle name as a tribute?

This was just a quick and dirty search in Ancestry for less than an hour, and it was like falling into a wormhole. I acknowledge that some of my assumptions may be wrong.

This is why I need to retire, in order to track these and other familial mysteries down. I have a feeling it’s going to take awhile, especially since I have no contact with the Williams tribe, and, of course, I can’t ask my mother.

Maybe sometime I’ll go to Evergreen Cemetery in Owego. I don’t believe I’ve ever been to the grave site of Clarence Devan Williams, unless my mom took me there when I was very young.

Am I one of the Irish of Munster, Ireland?

Interesting that none of the other parts of my genealogy specify below the region, but my Scot-Irish roots identifies Munster.

Munster
by Caomhan27 – Based on 1651 Arms of Munster, CC BY-SA 3.0, Link
The last time I got results from my Ancestry DNA test, I showed to be 19% from Ireland or Scotland 19%. But then there was a specific reference to a place called Munster, Ireland.

The Wikipedia notes that Munster is one of the provinces of Ireland, in the south west of the island. “In early Ireland, the Kingdom of Munster was one of the kingdoms of Gaelic Ireland ruled by a ‘king of over-kings’ (Irish: rí ruirech).

“Following the Norman invasion of Ireland, the ancient kingdoms were shired into counties for administrative and judicial purposes.”

The test also suggests a possible connection to Cork, its largest city. Cork County is the southernmost entity of the state.

There is a Munster Irish group. “To meet the project goals, we limit membership to males with one of the surnames (or variants thereof) listed below and EITHER a most distant paternal ancestor identified as having been born [there], OR a Y-DNA haplotype similar to those described under ‘The Ancestral Haplotypes of Munster’ on the Results page.”

Well, I don’t know about the latter criteria. I should work on one of those Y-DNA tests eventually. But Green IS on of the surnames listed as having “been identified as in use in Munster in pre-Norman times in various ancient works.’

Interesting that none of the other parts of my genealogy specify below the region:
Cameroon, Congo, & Southern Bantu Peoples 26%
Benin/Togo 22%
England, Wales & Northwestern Europe 20%

From this I infer that there are other people in the database from Munster with similar traits as I have. I find the slow peeling of the layers of my genealogy fascinating.

So Roger O Green can legitimately celebrate St. Patrick’s Day. I’m not one for green beer, so I’ll have to find other ways to celebrate.

Sister Marcia: contribution to the genealogy talk

Someone in the audience knew Charlotte Yates from her time in Binghamton before 1954.

Even though she hasn’t been to our hometown of Binghamton, NY in over a decade, my sister Marcia has contributed mightily to the genealogy talk our cousin Lisa presented recently.

Lisa spoke at the Broome County Area History Conference on April 21 at the Bundy Museum. She came all the way from Washington, DC to introduce two families, one Black and one Jewish, which my wife, daughter and I attended.

As she wrote in the precis, our “second great grandfather, James A. Archer, a free Black man who, along with two other family members, fought in the Civil War. They survived and returned to Binghamton to raise families and start businesses.” In part because of other photos Marcia put online, Lisa was able to ascertain that the post-Civil War photo I’ve posted to this blog included not only James Archer, but the brothers of his wife, Harriet Bell Archer.

“In the late 1800’s the Archer family purchased a house on Maple Street, which became a hub of family activity for several generations to come.” That was the house my grandmother and mother grew up in.”

She also told about her great grandparents, Isaac and Sarah Berman, who were born in Latvia and Lithuania, emigrated, first to Denmark then to the US in 1913 and settled in Binghamton. Isaac “started an egg business that eventually turned into a trucking company that was the first to offer overnight service from the Triple Cities to Boston.

“Both families grew and in 1937, the two came together with the marriage of Ernest Archer Yates and Charlotte Berman, my grandparents, who faced their own challenges as an interracial couple.” Ernie was my grandma’s brother and Charlotte the third child of Isaac and Sarah.

This picture also came from Marcia’s collection, with Ernie and Charlotte together in the back row, my mother’s arm on Ernie’s shoulder. Given the presence of three of their four children, I peg the photo in 1945 or 1946. Someone in the audience knew Charlotte from her time in Binghamton before 1954, when she and the children moved to Queens, NYC after Ernie died unexpectedly.

When Lisa came to Binghamton, she had to take a detour off Front Street onto Gaines Street and pass another Archer property at 5 Gaines Street, where MY nuclear family lived in the 1950s and 1960s.

So Marcia, even though she was far away, was an important part of Lisa’s presentation. Happy birthday, baby sister.

My Ancestral Journey, part 1

The National Geographic had its Genographic (their word) kits on sale and I bought one, registered it, mailed it back, and in about eight weeks got some results.

My ancestors are from:
Western Africa 52%
Northwestern Europe 21%
Eastern Europe 11%
Northeastern Europe 7%
Italy & Southern Europe 3%
South China Sea 2%
Central Africa 2%

My paternal line, in the main, stayed in Africa longer than my maternal line, it appears.

My first reference population, i.e, the obvious comparable, is African-American.

Western Africa 65%
Central Africa 15%
Northwestern Europe 12%
Southern Africa 8%

My second reference population is Bermudan; i.e., “This population is based on samples collected from mixed populations living in Bermuda. The percentages shown here reflect Bermuda’s vast racial diversity, including Africans brought during the slave-trading era (West and central Africa, as well as Southern Africa) and European and Asian colonists and workers (Great Britain and Ireland, Western and Central Europe, and Southern Asia). In addition, some Native Americans were sent as slaves to Bermuda in the 17th century, accounting for the small Native American ancestry. Bermuda had no indigenous inhabitants when Europeans first arrived in the 16th century.”

Western Africa 54%
Northwestern Europe 17%
Central Africa 11%
Southern Africa 9%
North America & Andes 5%
Southwestern Europe 4%

I’m a surprised by the eastern Europeans in my ancestral journey. I grew up in a primarily Slavic part of Binghamton, NY, but don’t know of any intermarriage there. And northeast Europe, which appears to be Finland and the Baltic states, I totally didn’t see coming.

I’m also 0.9% Neanderthal, compared with 1.3% for the average person they tested. “Everyone living outside of Africa today has a small amount of Neanderthal in them, carried as a living relic of these ancient encounters. A team of scientists comparing the full genomes of the two species concluded that most Europeans and Asians have approximately 2 percent Neanderthal DNA. Indigenous sub-Saharan Africans have none, or very little Neanderthal DNA because their ancestors did not migrate through Eurasia.”

Here’s the summary.

I was so interested in the results that I’ve now done the Ancestry.com test, which, I’m gathering, will be even more specific. I’ll get the results in six to eight weeks.

March rambling: complicated meanings

Luna Lee on the gayageum

At Current Rates Of Use World Could Run Out Of Thoughts And Prayers By As Early As 2019

We Are all Nixonians Now

There Are No Good Guys With Guns

What To Do When Racists Try To Hijack Your Religion

‘National Geographic’ Reckons With Its Past: ‘For Decades, Our Coverage Was Racist’

‘Stay Strong,’ And Other Useless Drivel We Tell The Grieving

The Encyclopedia of the Missing

When the only way to go free is to plead guilty

3 Far-Flung Cities Offer Clues to Unsnarling Manhattan’s Streets

OVERLOOKED: 15 obits of notable women

Alaska as a Red-to-Blue(ish) Model

‘The story of a weird world I was warned never to tell’

Union College says it found strand of George Washington’s hair

Stop Using the Label ‘Struggling Reader,’ Author Jacqueline Woodson Advises

Why Do We Need to Sleep?

The Unexpected Benefit of Train Travel

Rare Photo of Harriet Tubman Preserved

Digging into my family’s claims of Cherokee ancestry

in praise of soft targets

Stephen Hawking dies at 76 on Einstein’s birthday and Pi day; despite ALS, his mind roamed the cosmos

RIP, David Ogden Stiers

Dalai Lama, Chicago in May 2008:
“The universe is in a constant state of becoming—an ongoing miraculous creation. Every day we awaken to that miracle with gratitude, respect, and compassion for all who share the gift of being.”

Memories of ‘M*A*S*H’: Inside Stories of the Most Famous Episodes (and Castings)

The Loophole

Smartphones Are Getting Dumber…on Purpose

A Finnish comedian explains the complicated meanings of an English word

Legendary toy demonstrated to have squirrel-repelling properties

Faking It: The Obviously Dubbed Telephone Ring

Aldi’s supermarkets history

A PhD In Batman

A niece at Carnegie Hall

Now I Know: The Florida City Fueled by Soda and Baseball’s Unluckiest Fan and How Bazooka Joe Lost a Baseball Glove

Not me: Couple begins rekindling an eighth-grade romance

MUSIC

Camille Saint-Saens’s Septet for piano, trumpet, and strings, Opus 65!

Hamilton Polka

The Music of Paolo Tosti – Carla Fisk and Michael Clement

Will Jesus Wash The Bloodstains From Your Hands – Hazel Dickens

Everlasting Arms – Luke Winslow-King, Vasti Jackson, Dr. John, and Roots Gospel Voices of Mississippi

Norma Tanega (and Dusty Springfield)

There Is A Time – The Darlings (Andy Griffith Show)

Tush – Luna Lee on the gayageum

Cover of Take on Me (a-ha)

Sound of Silence – Todd Hoffman

Taxman – Joe Bonamassa, Live at The Cavern Club

Inside the Life of Brenda Lee, the Pop Heroine Next Door