Monday, October 8, 2012

Confusing Genders

Since I'm stuck on my mother's people, I started researching Lemons again.  Lemons are much easier than Oglesbys or Deweeses or Stevenses.  Lemons are distinctive and their names, while misspelled with regularity, it's still easy to see that they're them.  I started a new tree on called Guy Lemon.  I found this Lemon family in Sanilac county and since my great-grandfather, Isaac B Lemon, moved his family up there and that's where my grandfather Russell Tiffen was born, I was interested in seeing where that other Lemon family line went.   It went in surprising directions.

I started with Guy H Lemon, but the story really started with his father, Edward N Lemon.  Edward was born in 1839 in Michigan.  I'm unsure exactly where in Michigan he came from, but it's enough of a start for what I wanted to accomplish.  The good news for me is that Edward also died in Michigan between 1899 and 1920.  This means I have access online to his death certificate.  Oh, I love the Library of  Michigan!  All those death certificates online are a huge help.  While I know they're not primary evidence of birth, they at least give me clues about which direction to go to find more people.  And one of the biggest helps on them is the information of where a person is buried.  Ancestry is a pay site. is free, and many people post information on the memorials they create for deceased family that is not found on Ancestry.  But I digress.

Edward and his wife, Jennie Husted, had at least 3 children; Charles Vernon born in 1867, Guy Hugh born in 1871, and Jennie born 1880.  I started with Guy because I found his marriage record on and then found the rest of his family later on Ancestry.   Guy was rather difficult to track, but Charles had a wealth of information available online, starting with his 1900 census record that lists his wife as Frank M Lemon.  I was sure that was a transcription error, but when I looked at the original image, there she was.  Next I went to Family Search to find any marriage record.  Yes, there was one.  Frank M Reynolds and Charles V Lemon married 12 Jun 1888 in Shiawassee County.  There was an image for that information as well and she is listed as Frank.  Her parents were listed as William Reynolds and Mary Burr.  That was partly incorrect, but I didn't know that then.  It led to a day of searching online census records and other people's family trees before discovering that William Reynolds was really Myron H Reynolds of Shiawassee, Michigan.
And Myron married 3 times, causing even more confusion while trying to trace his family.  But, sure enough, there in 1870 in Shiawasse was Myron, Mary, and their first child, Francis W Reynolds.  They were living with Myron's father, Seneca Reynolds.  (That was pretty cool as Lucius Annaeus Seneca is my all time favorite philosopher.)  There were quite a few trees with this Reynolds family on Ancestry, and all of them had Frank listed as male. 

After 1900, Charles Lemon is found with Lennie/Linnie as his wife.  I went back to Family Search and found another marriage record for Charles in 1905.  Then I found "Frankie Lemon" in the death certificates on the Library of Michigan's site.  I was very lucky there because she died so early, though I always feel badly for thinking that way.  My luck is someone's hugh misfortune.   Then I found Frankie's headstone on Find A Grave;  Sister--Frankie Lemon.  Mystery solved.

As an added bonus in all this not-really-my-family research, I found that Frankie and  Charles Lemon had a daughter, Mearle.  Mearle married a...Ruby.  It's funny how I keep finding Lemons marrying Rubys.  But that's a story for another day.

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