Monday, February 6, 2017

Monday's Musings

Jordan Lee from Richland County, South Carolina

Who are Jordan Lee’s parents? This is the question that I have been working to answer for a while. How does one identify the parents of an ancestor? What records are most helpful in linking a parent to a child? In genealogical research census records, birth and death records, and wills. That is the ideal genealogical solution when all these records are available. However, there are no ideal genealogical solutions when researching ancestors. Jordan’s parentage is unknown now; however, I have an assumption as to who he is, but that is a story for another day.

Researching my ancestors, both maternal and paternal, has lead me to one conclusion, they were farmers. I have drawn the conclusion from the 1850 to 1940 censuses from the occupation listed and available agriculture censuses. And those ancestors left a sprinkle of a paper trail. Neither Jordan Lee nor his son Benjamin left wills. So, there isn’t that document that states, “I leave to my beloved son Benjamin…” The records for Jordan Lee in Richland District, South Carolina are the censuses. There are some documents, other than censuses, that Jordan Lee are mentioned in Richland County, South Carolina.

Jordan Lee deceased is mentioned in Benjamin Hodge’s Revolutionary War pension that Zady Hodge applied for 13 October 1847 on behalf of the heirs of her mother, Nancy Hodge. He is mentioned in Benjamin Hodge’s administration papers. Jordan Lee was in the Richland County, South Carolina area until after the 1830 census, then he left South Carolina. By the taking of the 1840 Tallapoosa County, Alabama census was taken, he was living there in that county. On 1 June 1845 Jordan Lee purchased 40.14 acres of land that was a cash sale entry. Then in about1847 Jordan Lee died in Tallapoosa County, Alabama. There are also the Daughters of the American Revolution applications that have been submitted for patriot Benjamin Hodge to that organization for membership. Those applications have been proven and accepted with supporting documents for verification of Benjamin Hodge’s service and descendants.

A service record hasn’t been found for Jordan Lee. Why did Jordan Lee not serve in the military? I have searched for service records for him but haven’t found one. He could have served in the War of 1812 since he was about thirty-four years old. Or was he too old to serve in the War of 1812? When looking at his estimated birth year about 1778, possibly he was exempt from having to serve in the military.

As we all know who have researched for a while, genealogy is inexact and uncertain. We also know that there is a possibility that a relationship or information about an ancestor’s birth, death, marriage, or anything could be a little sketchy. The further back into the past you go the possibility of that happening is greater. Records were sometimes illegible – lack of formal writing skills. While you can never get around these things entirely, you can make sure your genealogy research is accurate and successful by using all available records. In the case of my Lee family there aren’t many online records available. However, I have searched for records for years hoping for more records for them to be placed online.

When using the available records, census records, I make sure the source of the information is recorded so that I will know where I found the information; and for others to know where I found the information. Genealogists know that census takers made mistakes when writing names, family members gave incorrect birth information and places of birth. So, we take that information and interpret it keeping in mind those possibilities. Is there information that you are not sure of that may be contradictory to previous information seen on another record? This information for your ancestor must be analyzed and resolved as to the accuracy of each record.

I believe from the records that I have for Jordan Lee, he is the father of Benjamin Lee and is a third great grandfather. This is soundly made based on the evidence that I have for him. However, if more records are found this conclusion may change. Sometimes, in genealogy research, we must take a leap of faith in our conclusions due to a lack of solid evidence. Is there a record that states Benjamin is the son of Jordan Lee? No, my assumptions are made with evidence where the record doesn’t outright state a family relationship or date, but can be inferred from the information that is there, information from other Lee family members, and the locations of the two men.

I will look for more evidence to back all this up. Records are being added online at a rapid pace. And I may eventually find that one record needed to link Benjamin to Jordan Lee. Once I find that record then I am at a point of being as sure as I can be about the accuracy of this line. Just because I haven’t found that record yet doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. It may be in a courthouse waiting for me to come get it. Until then I will leave Jordan Lee and son Benjamin in their places in my family tree. And the search for Jordan's parentage is ongoing. His parents will one day have their rightful place in my family tree.

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