Friday, March 21, 2014

O' Saliva, Tell Me About Grandmother Hazel Lee Roberts!

                  Gave my saliva up....twice. Waited forever it seemed, for my DNA Ethnicity Results. My Birth Certificate states I'm "Negro".....and my skin has been Black my whole life. "Colored", "Afro American" and "African American" are all boxes I've checked over the years
                                             No matter how often my designated label changed, one fact remained: the ink/pencil mark I left in the box was always Black, and THAT is what I call myself.
                                               It was time for my saliva to talk to me.

           I wanted to have a Profile Photo (above) showing my Black face to my DNA "Matches"  

                                                                     Another reason?

            MAYBE it would trigger some newly confirmed White, Red, or Olive skinned cousins  to notice a family resemblance among their known family members, dead or alive!

                                                                    Another reason?

             I hoped my paternal grandmother Hazel Lee ROBERTS' father's descendants would see themselves in these photos. John ROBERTS was his name, and he was a White man of Irish extraction, according to my grandmother. Hazel knew her father and his parents to be White. I have no documentation about her father. I know he was married, lived in Rapides Parish, Louisiana, impregnated a young Black girl in Alexandria or Cheneyville, and had parents by the name of Susan & John ROBERTS. I have this 1920 Census for Alexandria, Rapides, Louisiana, which places Hazel in her father's mother's home.

                         You can see that the Enumerator changed grandmother Susan Roberts' race from "W" to a very heavily scripted "B" over the "W". Hmmmm. A story there, and theories swirl in my brain. I do not know Susan's maiden name. All I know is that my grandmother Hazel lived with her from a VERY young age, until Martha, (Mrs. James De JEAN by then), came for daughter Hazel. Martha, husband James and 6 years old Hazel went to live in Beaumont, Jefferson, Texas.

                        Hazel was born 1913 in Alexandria, Rapides Parish, Louisiana. Her Black mother was Martha Ann CRITTLE (b.1897 Cheneyville, Rapides, Louisiana, d. 1937 Beaumont, Jefferson, Texas). The Crittle family was also enumerated on various U.S. Censuses as CRIDDLE, CRIDDELL, and CUTTLE. Martha's paternal grandfather "Moses" was listed on the 1870 U.S. Census for Cheneyville, Rapides Parish, Louisiana as Moses CRIDDLETON. Many spellings, but same people.

Fashionable Hazel in the 1940's

  My grandmother Hazel Lee Roberts COOK before her passing in 1998 Houston, Harris, Texas
(I see ME in later years. Insert eerie music, here)

                            A photo of myself. One that definitely shows the resemblance to my grandmother. My nose....chin...facial structure....hers.

                            We don't make ourselves. We're just weary travelers stopping for rest at points along the way. Who knows? Just like in a good ol' Horror movie, a photo or portrait may be hanging above the Coat Hook where you hung your umbrella.....and it looks like YOU. The person who opened the door for you? Looks like YOU.
                             We see people whose features look alike, but their skin tones don't match. We see people who  look nothing alike physically, but are as related as they can be. That's throwing a bunch of people ALL the way off. They don't grasp the concept that "Spit has spoken." Being thrown doesn't feel good, and I keep that in mind when dealing with others on this DNA-Genealogical Journey.

                            There's a "Generational Jump" thing at work in genetics. Grandchildren look like their grandparents, and someone with 5 siblings looks like NONE of them.....but, rather a dead ancestor's oil portrait from 1720 A.D.

                             I threw my saliva into the pool of other unknown close cousins. I've been swimming with a few who sincerely don't mind my being in the same pool as them. I have a few DNA cousins that feel our saliva has been thrown into a Ring, and they have their "Dukes Up."
Maybe, one day their understanding of some facts will help them to drop.

                              I have to say that I CHOOSE to SWIM, and I'll keep on singing:

                                               "O' Saliva, tell me some thaaaaaaannnnnng......"               



  1. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this post. Yes, I do see the resemblance. Your grandmother was beautiful. You told her story very well. Continued success in your journey.

  2. Nice take on the DNA journey. It is in your face.

  3. Lawd the Striking resemblances. It's All down in your bones girl! i loved this piece. Grandma Hazel looked like she didn't PLAY just like you. Just a reminder of how Strong our Roots are, and good or bad we should be Proud of All the Sums of Ourselves. Here's to my SPIT!

  4. Wonderfully written cousin, and you are DEFINITELY Hazel Lee Roberts COOK's beautiful grand-daughter!

    Cecelia, I tell you what is interesting . . . how Beaumont, Jefferson County, Texas fits into my personal life as well. How so? I attended Lamar University right out of high school. I got married and lived not far from the university. My son was born at St. Elizabeth Hospital there as well. Simply amazing cousin!