There is One in Every Family!

There’s One in Every Family!  A family legend that is.

Usually, it has something to do with being  related to a famous person.  A president.  A General.  Royalty.  Maybe an actor.

My family is no different than any other – and actually I think that we share one of the most common family legends in the country.

Ours is that we are “somehow related to Robert E. Lee”.

I recall my grandmother telling me this when I was a child.  I didn’t pay much attention.  At the time, I honestly didn’t really know who he was. I wish that I would have listened a bit more – and maybe have gleaned some clues as to what that connection may have been (if she even knew – which I doubt).

Interestingly enough, the legend was also passed to some of the long-lost cousins I have found since starting my family history quest.

One of the pictures they gave me also mentioned the connection:

I’m sure that all Lee families who spawned from Virginia try to claim some shared ancestry with the General – and his famous family.

I am taking it with a grain of salt.  Not saying that I wouldn’t be doing cartwheels if I could find some connection!  Of course I would.

It’s just that it’s so darn easy for one of those “rumors” to start.  All that has to happen is some child overhearing Grandma wondering if they were related and 50 years down the road it’s remembered as there being a definite connection.  It’s like the game of telephone, spread out through the generations.

The truth is, I have no hard data to either prove or disprove the legend.  I’m not going to be upset if we aren’t even remotely related.  I will just be happy to have the speculating over with.  I would love to one day get past this brick wall.

Here is the information on my Virginia Lee family.  Maybe someone out in cyberspace is a Lee family guru and has some information that can help me!:)

The furthest Lee ancestor that I actually have any information on is Francis L. Lee.  Another researcher gave me his name as Francis Ludwell Lee and I believe it was mentioned as that in a sketch in a county history.  I haven’t seen his middle name listed as Ludwell on any documents.  Francis was born abt. 1778 in Virginia.  I have found him in the 1810-1860 census in Bedford, Montgomery, and Roanoke counties (which all border each other – apparently he moved around a lot).  I have found him listed in a deed and as a surety for a marriage in the same area.  He married Sally Moorman, daughter of Charles Clark Moorman and Nancy Hancock, on 28 Sep 1804 in Bedford county, VA.  The same sketch I mentioned above listed his father as a Richard Lee of Kentucky.  Kind of vague, especially in this area.

I have information on their children, one of which (Samuel Edward Lee) was my direct line.  I don’t have much more than that though.  I don’t have exact birth or death dates for him.  I don’t know where he lived before 1810.  I don’t know who his parents were.  And I’ve been stuck at this brick wall for a number of years now.

So, for now at least, the legend still lives…

Written for the 100th Carnival of Genealogy with the theme of “There’s One in Every Family” hosted by Creative Gene.

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  • Greta Koehl - November 15, 2010 - 9:21 pm

    Well, I don’t know whether or not you are related to General Lee, but I do believe you are related to me, albeit distantly. I have a Moorman ancestor somewhere back there, and I’m pretty sure that it’s the same set because of the name Clark, a related family. And I believe that Samuel Clemens also had a connection to these Moormans. Vickie Everhart at BeNotForgot is connected to those Clarks, so we can all call one another “cousin”!ReplyCancel

    • Jen - November 15, 2010 - 11:04 pm

      Yes, that’s the right Moorman family! Samuel Clemens was related through my Charles Clark Moorman’s sister Rachel. (if I remember right). It’s nice to find another cousin. :)ReplyCancel

  • Susan - November 19, 2010 - 1:39 pm

    Keep at it, Jen. My husband’s family had the same story (his middle name is Lee). I was skeptical but eventually (20 years later) discovered they were right, though it is the most remote of connections. Now I just have to find out how I’m related to Wade Hampton!ReplyCancel

  • J.M. - December 6, 2010 - 2:25 pm

    There are plenty of family legends in every family and I think trying to prove or disprove them is part of the fun of genealogy. Great post!ReplyCancel

  • HW - November 10, 2011 - 10:00 am

    Jen, there is a connection to Gen. R. E. Lee. Try the “Arkansas Family Historian” PDF, from page 30, which is put out by the Arkansas Genealogical Society. http://www.agsgenealogy.orgReplyCancel

    • Jen - November 11, 2011 - 10:03 am

      Which edition??ReplyCancel

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