Technical Professional|Family Researcher|Fashion Stylist|Creative Type

DSC00201I am a former Advanced Training Specialist, having worked with Ford Motor Company, EDS, Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Michigan, the City of Detroit and more. I have earned M. Ed. Instructional Technology and B. A. Mass Communications: Radio, TV and Film degrees from Wayne State University, in Detroit, MI.

I am a family researcher and blogger. I’ve written a number of family research articles and one relating to the development of South-side Chicago, IL entitled, Early Bronzeville Entrepreneurs and Professionals. As a descendant of the Underground Railroad, I am a contributor to the “Underground Railroad, The Struggle Against Slavery” website; a project developed by the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History, Eastern Michigan University and other institutions.  My research focus is on the maternal side of my family and I continue to compile information for the development of a book length manuscript.

This blog is an eclectic mix of my various interests and creativity, as I’m an artist at heart. I’ve been a fashion fanatic since childhood and started coordinating outfits and fashion shows as a teenager. I was a runway model, worked as a fashion stylist and I consider myself a frustrated fashion designer. I’ve created a multitude of fashion sets and product collections at Polyvore.com (NOTE: Polyvore has been sold and the site was shutdown, all of my fashion set and collection posts have been disabled and I’m currently waiting for a response to download my sets)I am a creative who loves art and jewelry making, check out my art related posts here.

I began blogging in 2005 on MSN Spaces as an outlet for creative and thoughtful self-expression. My initial blog content featured technology innovation, fashion/beauty trends and interesting people, places and things. I’ve been blogging with WordPress.com since October of 2010 and my content largely remains the same.

Proud Detroiter

Detroit Fireworks 2014Detroit is currently on it’s way back to being a world class city! I’m a proud 6th generation Detroiter. My maternal Binga ancestors settled in Detroit in the early 1840’s. I’m a Detroit Snob, I Love My City. I’m cognizant of the longstanding issues plaguing my beloved hometown and I’m hurt and saddened by the ruin porn (photography) and pervasive negativity across the Internet regarding Detroit. My purpose is to highlight the positive, restorative, innovative and fun things happening around town. Check out my Detroit category here.

Family Researcher

I am African/Af-Ra-Kem, Indigenous to America, and European. My African ancestors primarily come from Cameroon/Congo and Benin/Togo, with a bit of Mali, Ivory Coast/Ghana and Nigeria.

Rev. Anthony Binga Sr. 2

Rev. Anthony Binga Sr.

I’m a descendant of the Underground Railroad. My maternal Binga ancestors escaped slavery from Newport (now Covington), Campbell County, Kentucky in 1836 (Africa, Virginia, Kentucky, Amherstburg OT, Chatham/Kent OT and other parts of Canada, Detroit, Saginaw, Howell, Pontiac and other parts of Michigan, St. Paul & Minneapolis MN, Cincinnati OH, Chicago IL, Harlem NY and more). My Binga ancestors were most likely enslaved in Virginia for several generations and later offspring were sold or taken into Kentucky sometime during the mid to late 1780’s. I am aware of two plantation owners who held my ancestors, a Mr. Bucknell (not substantiated) and Gen. James Taylor Jr. My maternal 3rd great grandfather, William W. Binga, was born a slave in Greenupsburg, Greenup County, Kentucky in 1817, within a pretty large family group. My cousin Anthony Binga Sr. born about 1817 was an abolitionist, an underground railroad missionary until slavery ended and was dubbed, “The Walking Preacher.” He founded the Amherstburg First Baptist Church, built in 1848-1849 and later established the Amherstburg Regular Missionary Baptist Association (ARMBA).

My paternal great grandfather George Henry White, was also born in Greenupsburg, Greenup County, Kentucky in 1855 and was likely a mulatto slave. During the 1850’s, there were slaveholders by the surname White listed in Greenupsburg, Kentucky. His mother’s name is listed as Emily on his death certificate and his father is unknown. George shows up in the 1870 Census as a 15-year-old house servant living in Greenupsburg, Kentucky with the family of Edwin J. Hockaday, a white farmer. He continued to work as a domestic servant and laborer throughout his life.

My Indigenous Roots

Olmec Head, Original Man, Ancestor 1

Olmec Head

My original indigenous paternal ancestors were Egypto-Nubian (Manding, Mandinka, Mandingo) Africans who sailed to the lower tip of South America in about 6000 BCE, later settling in southern Mexico at La Venta and San Lorenzo between 1400 & 1200 BCE. My direct ancestors lived at Lake Chapala, Mexico in Olmecca land or the place of the Xi People. Much later, the Mayans encroached upon their land and they were pressed into the Mayan army. When the Aztecs conquered the Mayans my ancestors fought along with them, subsequently rising through the Aztec ranks. Later, my indigenous ancestors left Mexico on a northeastern migration in 992 CE, as Lenne Lenape (Original Man), led by the first tribal chief Little Frog.

Shawnee Warrior

Shawnee Warrior by Randy Steele

They settled into their first permanent village at Crystal River Florida and are known as the Mound Builders. Our direct ancestors established the Etowah and Stone Eagle mound building groups of Georgia. The ancestors split ranks and a group traveled to the east coast northward into the salt marshes of Maryland and onward to Pennsylvania establishing several villages, where the Chalgotha alliance was made. My direct ancestors traveled from Georgia across the Appalachian mountains into Tennessee, Kentucky and Ohio. They encountered the Talegwa (the Hopewell mound builders) with whom they merged creating the Fort Ancient culture.

Shawnee Chief Tecumseh


My direct ancestors are of the Kispoko or Kispotaka Sept, from which all Shawnee chiefs emerged. They lived along the Packawillany plans of Ohio, west to the Mad River. By the year 1575, at least 5 bands of Shawnee including the Kispoko,

Grace Elam, White, 1915

Grace Elam-White, 1915

Piqua, Chalgotha (originally the Ainu), Makujay and the Hathawekila lived in Ohio, stretching into Kentucky. My indigenous DNA comes through my paternal grandmother Grace Viola Elam – White and could originate from both sides of her parentage, in her mother Ella Marie Thompson and father Thomas Marshall Elam.

Sources |

  • Shawnee Nation United Remnant Band, A Brief History of the Present Day Shawnee Tribe in Ohio
  • They Came Before Columbus: The African Presence In Ancient America, Ivan Van Sertima

My European Roots

Thomas B. CotillierMy European roots are primarily in England, Wales, Northwestern Europe, Ireland and Scotland, with a bit of Sweden and France. I don’t know much about my European roots, but I suspect some of it comes from chattel slavery rape, the washing out of Shawnee natives by the French and likely multi-racial mixing of my maternal Cotillier branch, as the Cutillo surname is on the Melungeon list.

A few of my maternal cousins conducted research on the Courtillier, Cotillier, Cotellier, Costels, Costles, Cotillia, Cotillian, Catillier, Cattilla, Catillia, Catillion, Cuttillo, Crtillow and Kerteller, etc… branch of our family (Paris France, Africa, Portugal, Quebec CA, Jamestown Virginia, Flat Rock Creek (Cumberland Parish) in Lunenburg County VA., Charles Parish in York County VA., Bears Element Creek in Lunenburg County VA., Gloucester and Richmond, Henrico VA, New York, Detroit MI, Saginaw and other parts of MI, Chicago IL, Ohio, Altadena and other parts of CA). Some of our family surnames are Berry, Epps, Combs, Francis, Stewart, Robinson and more.

I supposedly have Cotillier French and Afro/Portuguese ancestors, through an Edward Catillier and spouse Anna (a Negro of Portugal), but that information hasn’t been substantiated and my latest DNA update has wiped out all the Western European marks. Edward and Anna are listed as the parents of Abram Cotillier b. 1652. Abram is listed as the husband of Katherine Jewell b. 1639 and the father of her children. My research shows that in Colonial Jamestown, VA court records Katherine Jewell is documented as having 3 illegitimate mulatto children called by the surname Cattilla, with an unknown black man. The children include Mary b. 1669, William b. 1670 and Matthew (supposedly my direct ancestor) b. 1672. Katherine Jewell of York County, VA had her first mulatto child at about 30 years of age and I haven’t found an Abram Catillier b. 1652 in any Virtual Jamestown or FreeAfricanAmericans.com records.  The Cotillier family tree doesn’t seem to add up, I hope someday to get to the truth.

Adelphia Powers- Binga 2My maternal 3rd great grandfather, William W. Binga married an orphaned Irish girl named Adelphia Seymour. She later claimed to have found her birth family, declaring she was a member of the New York State Powers family. I suspect William married a white woman to secure the freedom of his children, due to his fugitive slave status while openly conducting business in Detroit as a barbershop proprietor. I believe William possibly met Adelphia during the course of his profession, as barbers were doctors of sorts during the early days. Adelphia likely made her medicinal and surgical skills available to barbers in her immediate area, as she was known as a herbalist and doctor throughout her life.

Some of our family surnames are Binga, Cotillier, Robinson, McCowan, Winchester, Dandridge, Ford, Smith, Scott, Palmer, Dismond, Atkins, Hughes, Nash, Bowles, Williams, Coleman, White, Wright and more. I’ve written articles about a few family members and the history connected to those individuals. I continue to be fascinated and amazed by my Binga ancestors, check out my Family Research category here. NOTE: My paternal Thompson, Elam, White, etc… family was and continues to be a multi-generational racial mix. Also, many individuals on both sides of my family have chosen to live as Caucasian.

Thanks for stopping by!


53 Responses to About

  1. freedom says:

    Cool – don’t ever change, girly. Peace.

  2. C. Rae White says:

    I’m good! It seems as though things are always changing around here!!

  3. perceptionshapes says:

    You have a vibrant eye and being; I sense it throughout your page. Thank you for the connection and stopping by.

  4. Love your blog C. Rae! Only just stumbled upon it & already I’m addicted – I have major passions for fashion, art & creativity so your blog is heavenly for me! 🙂 Excited to read & see more of your posts & love the positive attitude you write with!

    Stay stylish 😉

    The Image Mistress, xoxo

  5. Team Oyeniyi says:

    Very interesting – I’ll be back! 🙂

  6. Liza Vassallo says:

    How do you like wordpress in comparison to MSN spaces? I was on the same boat but I like the freedom and sophistication of tools here.

    • C. Rae White says:

      Well, I like both. Spaces was fun because I could be creative with the home page, always changing the banner with my own graphic creations, placing videos, games, music and other stuff on the home page as well. Here at WordPress, I’ve had to step it up by doing a lot more writing. In the future I hope to improve and do more with my blog.

  7. C. Rae, thanks for the follow. It’s so great to meet another local blogger. I look forward to browsing more of your sight!

  8. C. Rae White says:

    Thanks sooo much! I greatly enjoy reading the wonderful posts on your blog.

  9. Becky J. says:

    Thank you for visiting carefreecomposition.com. I appreciate the blog like!

  10. Such an awesome bio! I’m interested in researching my family tree but haven’t a clue how to get started; any advice? 🙂

    • C. Rae White says:

      Thanks and I appreciate you stopping by! All you need to do make a list of names. Finding family members will be easier if you have birth dates and states and cities of residence. Start with the free service FamilySearch.org to find census, marriage, death and other information. Good hunting!

  11. mamaproud says:

    I love design. Not so up on fashion but enjoy a good layout. I’m also from SoCal… Pasadena/Altadena. Learning how to live in the midwest. Will keep your blog handy for tips on fashion and the like.

    • C. Rae White says:

      Thanks so much for stopping by! I also love art and design and it looks like you have lots of interesting posts along those lines. Welcome to the midwest, I’m sure you already have a heavy coat and tall boots for those cold, windy and snowy days (weeks & months teehee). The weather here can be a big challenge, especially if you live anywhere near the Great Lakes.

  12. Nice how you got your site lookin all festive. Happy New Year, sista!

  13. Chanele says:

    Hey girl – as I love and follow your blog posts, I decided to nominated you as one of my inspiring bloggers Visit http://globalpremiere.wordpress.com/2012/12/31/very-inspiring-blogger-award

    Hope you like it.

  14. Hey! It’s Cameron from Threads. I nominated you for a Blogger Award! Thanks for supporting me! (:

  15. well, hello there…I see you still been able to keep your blog up to date. I’m still around just busy. Well, I gotta go, I check back on some of your posts real soon. Til then, ciao!

  16. What up sista! It’s been awhile…I hope all is well with you. You and yours are not affected by that Flint mess are you? Peace

    • C. Rae White says:

      Greetings Chocolate!! I’m blessed and everything is well. I hope things are well with you and yours. We’ll find out soon enough if Detroit school aged children are lead infected after the results of recent tests are released. Meanwhile, there is a group that is organizing state wide circulation of an approved petition to recall Gov. Schnider.

  17. How is the D? Have you gotten back the any results from the water testing? I hope your water is safe to drink and such. Lemme know what’s happening. Take care.

  18. Just came to wish you a Happy New Year!

  19. Thanks as always for your words of encouragement and support and right back atcha. I know you doing big things in Detroit, whichyobadself! Quck question, did you get an email from me about a book about I wanted to recommend you to read? I sent it about a month ago. I can resend it if you didn’t get it or it went to your junk mail folder. Lemme know. Peace.

  20. Just checking in. I did not know you updated your About page with detail of your family history research. Fascinating…you have a lil bit of er’thing in your background don’t you?

  21. shunpwrites says:

    Simply powerful, it is a joy to run across those who share a passion for ancestry as I do!

    • C. Rae White says:

      Thanks so much for stopping by! I greatly appreciate your interest and appreciation of my ancestor research. I wish you happy hunting and great finds regarding your ancestor research!

  22. Hey, just stopping by for my usual check in. Hope all is well. I see you have updated this page once again. Fascinating read. You are doing some spectacular detective work on your family history. Keep up the good work! Peace!

    • C. Rae White says:

      Thanks! I’ve decided that I’m no longer going to allow anybody to dictate who and what I am. It makes me feel so good to have my DNA information and family research!

  23. Just stopping by to say Happy New Year!

  24. C. Rae White says:

    Thanks! Greetings for a wonderful 2018!!!

  25. I dunno what going on with the email thing but thanks for getting back to me. Let me know if you do go to see Black Panther and your thoughts of the film. Hope all else is well.

  26. Just stopping through. Hope you are enjoying your summer so far. Talk to you later. peace.

    • C. Rae White says:

      Thanks for stopping by! I’m so happy for the sunshine!!! This summer has been busy with gardening and lots of domestic stuff! I just don’t seem to have enough time for everything! I been riding my bike and getting back to hot yoga.

  27. rcotillier says:

    I’m a Cotillier and find the same confusion on our history. we should collaborate sometime and see if we can’t figure this out. My mother has info going back to France. Some of my uncles on the west coast, could shed a little light as well

    • C. Rae White says:

      Cousin! Thanks for stopping by my blog! I feel the same way regarding the Cotilliers! I have basically avoided doing any major research on them, as it’s so confusing! I am open to share and appreciate anything you and your family have to share.

  28. Always great to hear from you sista! Hope you are being the change, making that $change$, and seeing change in the “D”. Peace

  29. Just checking in…I sent you an email a week or so ago inviting you to become a editor of an microsoft onenote application I and a former spaces users have been using for years since the site shut down. Let me know if you interested. Take care,

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