Notes from the past…

52 Weeks of Abundant Genealogy Week #33: Ancestor Legend

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What is your favorite ancestral legend or family lore? Who originally told the story and what was the claim? Have you been able to prove the story true or false? What steps did you take to do so?

There are actually 3 “ancestor legends” that I would like to prove:

  1. Relationship to Robert E Lee- according to the Stanley family Bible, my fourth great-grandmother Sarah Lee was a first cousin to Confederate General Robert E Lee (and through R E Lee, to some of the Declaration of Independence signers). Circumstantially, this is possible. Sarah Lee was born in Virginia ca 1823, as were many of Robert E Lee’s family. In fact,Virginia was full of Lee family members in the late 1700′s-early 1800′s. So… maybe, but as yet no evidence has been found to support this.
  2. My Dad’s “Jewish Grammaw”- according to my Dad, my great-grandmother Ruth Carroll was Jewish. It is through her that we are Jewish. Over the years, I have searched through various synagogue records and have contacted a few local Jewish authorities, but alas… this is still undocumented.
  3. And finally, my Dad’s “Cherokee Grammaw”- my Dad had told me wonderful stories of my great-grandmother Dovie C McBurnett. He says she was dark-skinned and often wore Native American garb and kept her house decorated as such. This claim I believe is probably true, although it may be Chickasaw, rather than Cherokee. Several years ago, I was able to obtain a copy of her first marriage license ( 6 husbands!) from the Chickasaw Nation Marriages 1895-1907 database that showed her to be married in Indian Territory (now Oklahoma) in 1906. Then, about 2 years ago, I met an online cousin who was descended from one of Dovie’s brothers, and this lady had information indicating that the family was eligible for federal government assistance because of their Native American ancestry, but refused it. I still need documentation of this.

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52 Weeks of Abundant Genealogy by Amy Coffin is a series of weekly blogging prompts (one for each week of 2012) that invite genealogists and others to discuss resources in the genealogy community including websites, applications, libraries, archives, genealogical societies and more. You do not have to be a blogger to participate. If you do not have a genealogy blog, write down your thoughts on your computer, or simply record them on paper and keep them with your files.

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