Baby Boomer (born 1943 to 1963)
Stephani Miller was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Her father, born in Ridgley, Maryland, retired from the United States Navy, and her mother, born in Oakland, California, retired from the Pacific Bell Telephone Company.
Stephani was a Navy Brat for the first eight years of her life. During that period, she lived in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Rota, Spain; Newport, Rhode Island; and Great Lakes, Illinois. After her father retired from the Navy, the family moved to San Jose, California where she was involved with Brownies and Junior Girl Scouts. During her 9th grade of high school, she moved to West Chester, Pennsylvania where she was vice president of the Black Student Union, member of the National Spanish Honor Society, and graduated from Henderson Senior High School.
Stephani briefly attended Pennsylvania State University and majored in Human Development, before meeting her husband.
At 21 years of age, Stephani became an Air Force wife, stationed in Louisiana where she enjoyed being a homemaker and becoming a mother to her son. During her husband's six-year enlistment, she attended nursing school. Afterward, they moved to Sacramento California where she started her pediatric nursing profession, had another son, and then went on to open an adult residential group home with her family. When her sons became teenagers they moved to Florida. For over seventeen years Stephani has been Chief Executive Officer of Independent Living Services LLC, her agency that provides Supported Living Coaches, Personal Supports, and Life Skills to adults with disabilities.
Stephani describes her most significant life accomplishments as being a great family member and mentoring young women. Stephani has been married to her husband for 36 years. They are now proud grandparents to a grandson. She has a close relationship with her sons and her mother, who lives with her. Stephani's brother and his family live in the same city and is her partner with the agency. She travels and enjoys events with her father, step-mother, two sisters, and mother all together as a family annually. Stephani is the vice president of Keep It Simple Saints Inc., a non-profit organization which empowers girls and women of her community.
Genealogy is a major part of her daily life. Stephani has been serving as a genealogist for over 22 years with a special interest in non-paternity events and adoption cases. She also squeezes in traveling, as well as creating arts and crafts.
Oral History Summary
Life Coach. Exposing falsified and denied oral histories.
Stephani talks about how her Revolutionary War patriot James Due was not Scottish but instead a black man living with a white woman; and proving that her ancestor Vilmont Schexnayder was born to Norbert, a white man who had a child with a slave, which Norbert’s descendants denied. She discusses growing up in San Jose, California; working as a pediatric home care nurse in Sacramento, CA; opening a group adult residential home with her mother and family; running a Supported Living Coaches, Personal Supports, and Life Skills business; taking family trips with her mother, father, stepmother, and brother together; her interest in genealogy beginning with mother's stories about her third great grandfather Vilmont Schexnayder and a woman of German descent stating the name must mean Schex’s-"n-word"; how Vilmont was born a slave and was a US Colored Troops (USCT) soldier in Patterson, Louisiana; searching for Vilmont’s father; taking a tour of Laura Plantation that led to a chance encounter with guide Jay Schexnaydre who pointed her to Vilmont's father Norbert and later learning that Jay was a cousin through DNA testing; a white descendant of Norbert Schexnayder denying that he is the father of Vilmont; later taking a DNA test that revealed the descendent as her closest match; Vilmont's USCT widow's pension request explaining that she was partnered with Henry Alexander in Lafayette, Louisiana to produce children as a slave but married Vilmont in Patterson, Louisiana when she was freed; assuming her Revolutionary War patriot James Due, of Caroline County, Maryland, was white with a black or Native American partner since she only knew of white descendants of Enoch, James’s son, who were always told that James was Scottish; Enoch’s battle between identifying as mulatto or white, finally living as white and his sister Serena living as mulatto; Enoch's descendants having African DNA; being proud to know that her ancestors were here from the birth from United States; joining the DAR so that James Due could no longer be forgotten; no one knowing that James Due owned property in Maryland and is buried there in Tuckahoe State Park with no grave marker; feelings while having her DAR new member welcome ceremony in a country club which had previously excluded blacks and in 1920 hung July Perry in Ocoee, FL massacres, outside of the gates, because he wanted to vote; embracing the DAR sisterhood.
Stephani Miller's oral history was recorded on October 4, 2020
Membership State: Florida
DAR Patriot Ancestor(s)
Dew/Due, James: Maryland
African Descent Male