Sunday, February 19, 2012

Sentimental Sunday: Nora Ann Cully, Jr.

Nora Ann Cully, Jr.
15 years old
Harlem, NY Rooftop

This post for some reason is a difficult one for me to write.  I have spent a good solid eight years researching my Cully family, and because of this, I have really tried to understand who they were when they were living.  As a family historian, I feel that we as genealogists have been honored with the task of putting flesh upon the bones and breathing life into the ancestors that have passed on.  We set up time-lines and we search out the stories of these individuals that lived and walked before us.  We try to imagine how they celebrated, and how they suffered their losses.

My last post was the postings of my Great Uncle Osborne and his wife Gertrude who died in 1936 and 1937.  Seeing that Osborne and Gertrude died right after the other, and knowing that Nora, Osborne's little sister died in 1936, moved me to tears. [I will need to do a time-line of all the siblings and their elders to see how many more died so close together].  It is difficult for me to imagine having to lose so many in a short period of time.

The photo above is my Great Aunt Nora Ann Cully, who was my grandmother's [Agnes] younger sister.  Nora was born on November 4, 1911, and was named after her mother Nora Ann Gilliam, who died November 7, 1911 from complications from giving birth to Nora Jr.

The only records that I have been able to find on Nora is her birth record in Worcester, MA.  I knew that Nora died young.  The family story that was told to me by my mother, is that Nora who was a Jazz singer in New York, had been brutally raped and left for death. I was also told she died at 21 years.

After visiting Worcester, Mass Hope Cemetery, I had found from her burial records that she died at 24.  This was all I had on Nora.

Recently, I was on ProQuest and found a few notices pertaining to Nora, and wanted to share.  ProQuest has given me lots of information so that I could put dates to events that I had no prior knowledge.

Miss Nora Cully, sister of Mrs. Catherine Cully
is in the Belmont Hospital, where she is very ill.
Mar. 21, 1936

Miss Nora Cully is reported improved at the
Belmont Hospital
April 4, 1936

Miss Nora Cully
Worcester, Mass.-Miss Nora Cully
died Saturday morning in the Belmont
Hospital after a long illness
April 4, 1936

Miss Nora Cully
Worcester, Mass-Miss Nora Cully
was buried Wednesday.  The Rev. John
W. Marvin Gibson of the John Street
Baptist Church officiated
April 19, 1936
Some of the dates of report seem a little off.  On April 4th Nora was reported as improved.  I have documentation from Nora's burial record that she was buried on April 1, 1936, or this might actually be the death date.  Sometimes records are just not accurate. So even at this point, I wonder if Nora died in March 1936.

Burial Cemetery Card
Hope Cemetery, Worcester Mass.
Plot 6772 Sec. 76
Nora Cully


  1. What a sad story! You have done a great job locating records for your great-aunt. It isn't easy researching the difficult and depressing stories in our family trees, they can be emotionally draining.

    I did a quick search for Nora Cully at Genealogy Bank (newspaper archive) in Harlem papers as well as New York papers in general, but there were no records for her in their database.

    Just saw Actress Zara Cully Brown on your sidebar. I've always enjoyed watching "The Jeffersons" and Mother Jefferson was one of my favorite characters. Zara was a talented actress - how special to be related to her.

    1. Thank you for stopping by and reading my blog. Also thank you for seeing if there might have been more records on Nora.

      Zara was a fascinating woman, too bad I was very young when I knew her. She was always kind to me.