I know this is a longshot, but I am looking for any information anyone could give me regarding my Lee branch of my family tree.
I am an extreme novice when it comes to this amateur genealogy and it seems as though my ancestors liked to go by multiple names. Additionally, the myth of our familial origins seem to be wildly inaccurate.
The story was that my oldest ancestor was named George Lee and he was orphaned during the Johnstown Flood in Pennsylvania and adopted by a family with the surname Lee. So, I figured I would find whatever I could, piece it together, and possibly get lucky... The thing is, though, that story seems to be false.
Now, what I do know:
My grandfather was Eugene Owen Lee (b. 1940 in Kern County, California - d. 2015 Mulege, Baja, Mexico)
His father was Pete E Lee (b. 1915 in Fort Sumner, New Mexico - d. 2002 Yarnell, Arizona) and married to Martha E Bewley
Now, using census records, military records, and directories, both Pete's generation and the generation prior seem to use a variety of names, and to add to the confusion, they seemed to move around quite a bit at the turn of the century.
Depending on the record, Pete's name was a variation of Pete Eugene Benson Lee on each document. His siblings also seemed to have their names changed throughout the records as well.
Pete's siblings were: Merle (b. 1926 in Idaho, but that is all that I have found), Henry (b. 1910 in Texas d. ??? - guessing California), Bertha (b. 1911 in Texas, d. 2003 San Bernadino, California), and Belva (b. 1908 in Texas, d. 2003 Visalia, California)
Using these names (or ages and uses of some variation on them ) I was able to confirm what I already knew - their mother was Elizabeth Shipman (sometimes listed as Margret Elizabeth Shipman, or Lizzie Shipman, or some variation) who was born in, or around depending on the record, 1886 in Cooke County, Texas. Her family tree, oddly enough, traces to within 100 miles of where I live now - a place where my family had not only never visited prior to moving here in the 90s, but also had never heard of any of our family living in the southeastern US, let alone this area.
Because of her family tree, which had been easily traced due to the diligent work of descendents of the Shipmans, I was able to find her marriage license. She married a man named George E Lee in 1906 in Indian Territory, Oklahoma. While this took the location of George out of where I thought he had originated, it fit with the rest of the family tree, but made it highly unlikely he had been orphaned as a small child in the Johnstown Flood.
Now, here comes further confusion with my ancestor, George E Lee. He is interned in an unmarked grave in California next to the gravestone of Lizzie Shipman (arranged by her son Henry Lee) at the Greenlawn Memorial Cemetary around Bakersfield, CA, but in no other records other than the gravesite and the marriage record does he exist.
Using census records, it seems she was married to a man named John H Lee whose birth year is always listed as being around 10 years older than either the internment records or the marriage certificate.
I am unsure as to whether John and George are one and the same (despite a ten year age difference in records) or if there may have been a reason for George to have been out of the picture (prison?) until his burial in 1959.
In addition to this, aside from a couple of public trees which list his parents as Jessee and Sallee from the Netherlands, there are no records of a generation prior, and certainly no artifacts to support this claim. Several census records involving my GGgrandfather Pete's brother Henry's claim that his father's native tongue was Dutch (and that his father - possibly George or John, could neither read nor write in English), there is not much to corroborate this, either.
I know this is an incredibly long post, but I wanted to be as thorough as possible in regards to my findings in the hopes that someone, hopefully, possibly could lend me a hand. I know it's a longshot, but any help would be extremely appreciated.
To any reader who could be of help, thank you for taking your time to read this long-winded post.