Friday, February 10, 2017

Friday's Feature

Tracking the Lee Family Using the GPS

First, let me explain what is meant by GPS. The GPS or Genealogical Proof Standard is a guide or a standard used by genealogists in their research. This is a tool that all genealogists, whether hobbyists or professionals, can use to ensure that our research is well researched, accurate, and reliable. These three elements are important to me as a genealogy hobbyists. The GPS is a process that will help us in our research. We can all say that we prefer the correct families’ in our family trees. When we use the GPS as a guide in researching our ancestors, we will have a plan and will confidence about what we are doing and where we are going. There are five elements that will guide us in our research; look for all available sources or records for the time period; check the facts and cite the sources; analyze carefully and accurately, and correctly interpret them; make sure there is no contradictory evidence, in other words, make sure the evidence agrees; and lastly the research findings are valid or reliable and written in a logical consistent way.

Genealogical research can become a complicated and complex hobby. However, it is a hobby that I enjoy and have been involved in for fifteen years. In the search for my ancestors' records it isn’t always easy to find them. Researching our ancestors is fun when accurate and complete records are found for our ancestors. If we find original records with our ancestors’ names, dates, and parents ‘names in them then all is well. Some researchers are fortunate to find those kinds of records; however, that isn’t always the case. In fact, that hasn’t happened while researching the Lee paternal line.

The paternal Lee family line has been researched extensively, and finding records has been challenging. Was Jordan Lee christened? No such record has been found for him. Direct evidence such as birth records or christening records list the names of parents. Those are the kinds of records that gives the birth date and parents’ names. Religion was an important part of the lives of our ancestors. Church records are a valuable substitute for a person when vital records are not available. None have been found for the Jordan Lee family. What church did the Lee family attend? I suspect they were Methodist; however there, is no evidence to back that up. The living Lee cousins that I have connected with since researching the Lee family, has said their affiliation is Methodist; and the a tradition through the generations.

The Baptists, Quakers, and Anabaptists were pioneering settlers in South Carolina. If Jordan Lee was one of those pioneers, there would be records with his name on them. Since there have been no military records found for Jordan Lee, maybe he was of the Quaker faith. Researching Quaker records was fruitless. The Methodists were established in South Carolina in the 1770s. The church record for the Lee family most likely is in the custody of the church where they were kept. The church, assuming the family attended church, may no longer exist. Until proven differently, I will go with the speculation that Jordan Lee’s family was of the Methodist faith.

Where is the marriage record for Jordan Lee and Lydia Hodge? They apparently were husband and wife because there are hundreds of family trees that show them to be husband and wife. We all know those trees are always accurate do we not? The information that I have used to put Jordan Lee and Lydia together are 1800 – 1840 census records, Benjamin Hodge’s pension record, Daughters of the American Revolution application, and a Petition Paper in the Probate files for Benjamin Hodge.

Jordan Lee seemingly died suddenly in Tallapoosa County, Alabama in 1847, the place where he migrated when leaving Richland County, South Carolina soon after 1830. Jordan would have been about sixty-nine years old at the time of his death. There is no record of his death. He just disappeared from the censuses. No smoking gun record that will say, Jordan Lee died April 1847 of a heart attack and was found by his wife Lydia Hodge Lee lying on his back in the yard in front of his house. A coroner’s inquest record would be a fantastic find. That is the type of record found on a Meadows ancestor in North Carolina in 1755. Why isn’t there a record of his death? Maybe it is in a repository in Tallapoosa County, Alabama.

Indirect evidence or circumstantial evidence is like a puzzle piece, you take each piece, you fit that piece into the place where it fits, and if it fits, then you are on the right track. In the end, if the pieces all fit together then you have the correct ancestor. I am confident in the direction that I am going with this Lee family, and research continues. 

We use the GPS in our vehicles we find that is an important tool in providing directions when on a trip. The Genealogical Proof Standard is an important tool in providing genealogists' directions in research. 


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