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Here is an article I produced for a book that my genealogy club published with members stories.
July 20, 2019 - 6:01:25 a.m.

White, Black & Pink


I discovered that I had two 3rd great-grandmothers both with the surname McBROOM. I had never heard of the name and reckoned that they would almost certainly be related, both being born in Ayrshire.

I proceeded to investigate further, got one back a further generation for one of them and then hit a brick wall for the pair of them. Thinking, because the name was unusual I decided to research the name with the intention of recording every BMD with that surname and finding their relationship. After ten years it is still a brick wall in my tree, although I have managed to get back a little further.

As far as documenting the BMDs, this proved to initially quite successful, as I discovered that a Henry Letham McBroom had made a study of the name and had recorded most (99% up to around 1980) of the ones born in Scotland.

There have only been just over 500 McBroom births in Great Britain over the last 500 years (most in Scotland), or one per year. A few (no more than four families) emigrated to the United States, and there are in excess of 7,000 alive there today!

They have been a fascinating lot – Heroes, villains, slave traders, film stars, millionaires and more!

Going back to the Scottish records the first records found so far are of three brothers named David, Andro, and Bartholomew, and their sister, Janet born circa 1540, probably all in Kirkcudbright.

This family had some mixed misfortune.

They are mentioned in the records of Kirkcudbright and Dumfries Scotland.

Andro McBroom never married but, was burgess (mayor) of Kirkcudbright and a member of the town council; however, in the year 1576 he was charged with dealing with pirates.

Bartholomew married and had two children, but neither lived to adulthood.

Janet McBroom, the sister, was banished from Kircudbright in 1588 for what the town council called "bad behaviour." She was scourged and burned with a brand on her shoulder and ordered banished from the community forever. As was a common procedure in the sixteenth century she was tethered to a ring attached to the outside wall of the Tollbooth (gaol) and the actual ring is still in place (there are two rings and I cannot establish which one she was locked to).

Further research took the family to Northern Ireland due to religious persecution.

David McBroom died in 1580 in Kirkcudbright. His great-grandson, John, graduated from Glasgow University in 1655. Between 1660 and 1662 he was the minister of the Presbyterian Church in the sea coast town of Portpatrick. At this time the English were trying to force the Presbyterian Scots to adopt the "papist" Church of England practices. The Presbyterian minister, John McBroom, was ordered to leave Scotland. He and his family fled Scotland for Northern Ireland. From 1662 to 1682 he served as pastor of the Anahilt Presbyterian Church in County Down, Ireland.

A couple of generations later, John's grandson, James, left Ireland to look for more favourable economic conditions in America. James, his wife Mary (nee Jackson), and their children arrived in the United States sometime in the 1720's. Mary Jackson was the grand-aunt of President Andrew Jackson. Also emigrating with them were neighbouring friends, the CARSONs whose grandson was the famous pioneering scout Christopher ‘kit’ Carson.

Because James, Mary and their children, James II, Thomas, Margaret, Janett, Elizabeth, and Mary, came as a family, it is assumed they came as fare-paying passengers, not as indentured servants as were many Irish immigrants. By 1730, they had an established land improvement in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania.

The CARSONs grandson Christopher ‘Kit’ was a close friend of John McBROOM and often stayed with him in McBROOM’s log cabin. The pair did a lot of scouting together.

Albert B. Sanford writes: "In the spring of 1860, John McBroom lived in this cabin, located a half mile above the mouth of Bear Creek and near present Fort Logan. He had known Kit Carson in Taos, New Mexico in earlier years and when Carson visited the new settlements on Cherry Creek in 1860, he stayed with McBroom for a short time in the cabin. In 1924, Kit, Carson's son came to Denver and Mr. Frank S. Byers drove Gov. Ammons, Kit and myself to the old place, then almost in ruins."


The McBROOMs made their way South settling in the “slave owning” states and became owners and slave traders. This resulted in some of the slaves, after being given their freedom, adopting the surname McBROOM. Like most ‘Afro-Americans’ progressing up the ranks of society was difficult and required sacrifice and dedication. 

 One such ‘Afro-American’ was Marcus McBROOM the son of a preacher born in North Carolina. The Rev. Leo George A. McBROOM and his wife Elizabeth (nee Chandler) had a family of fourteen children. Marcus’ parents must have seen something special in Marcus as he was the first and only member of his family to go to college. He received his education at Wilberforce University and later served at Tuskegee Army Air Hospital School. He was a graduate of Columbia University and received his Doctor of Education degree at the University of California at Los Angeles.

A notable leader in civic and community activities, Dr. Marcus S. W. McBroom was also a practicing psychotherapist, marriage counselor, lecturer and writer, with offices ranging from South Central Los Angeles to Beverly Hills. Charlton Heston and Gregory Peck being a couple of his clients. This was still in the days when blacks could not sit on seats if a white person wanted it!             

Dr. McBroom was a newspaperman and had been an outstanding champion of civil rights for all Americans, particularly as a public speaker. He was always politically active and astute. Eleanor Roosevelt, with whom he corresponded, frequently invited him, as a member of a small group of African American Wilberforce University students, to the White House. He went on to become a Special Assistant to President Franklin D. Roosevelt on problems of discrimination in the U.S. Air Force.

Dr. McBroom befriended and worked with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. He also participated in numerous debates, one of which included Malcolm X as a participant on the L.A. based Joe Pine radio show. Dr. McBroom also served as a speechwriter and colleague of the late Senator Robert Kennedy.


Two of Marcus’ daughters Pamela Carol (stage name ‘Durga’) and Lorelei were backing vocalists with Pink Floyd.

Durga went on to have a long stint with them, being the only backing vocalist to appear consistently on all of their shows starting from the November 1987 concert at Omni Arena of A Momentary Lapse of Reason Tour up to the final concert of The Division Bell Tour in October 1994. She also performed on their appearance at the 1990 Knebworth festival and has provided vocals for the Pink Floyd live albums Delicate Sound of Thunder, and Pulse, and the Pink Floyd studio albums The Division Bell, and The Endless River, as well as David Gilmour's 2001 solo tour.

As fate would have it, PINK FLOYD (the Godfathers of Psychedelia) gave Lorelei her first exposure to the road on their "Momentary Lapse of Reason "and "Delicate Sound of Thunder" tours. She followed that by touring with the ROLLING STONES. Both the Stones and The Floyd gave her the chance to be both operatic and bluesy, featuring her in duet with MICK JAGGER on "GIMMIE SHELTER" and "GREAT GIG IN THE SKY" respectively.

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