Technical Professional|Family Researcher|Fashion Stylist|Creative Type
I 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.
Detroit 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.
I am African/Af-Ra-Kem, Indigenous to America, and Western European. My African ancestors primarily come from Ivory Coast/Ghana and Cameroon/Congo, with traces in Nigeria, Senegal and Benin/Togo.
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. 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
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 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 AD, as Lenne Lenape (Original Man), led by the first tribal chief Little Frog.
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.
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 1575, at least 5 bands of Shawnee including the Kispoko, 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.
- 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
My Western European roots are primarily in France, Ireland, and Scandinavia, with traces in the Iberian Peninsula and Great Britain. 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. 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.
My 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.
Thanks for stopping by!