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Frank Elwin Elner Lee – Special Spotlight

Frank Elwin Elner Lee is ABSOLUTELY no relation to my Lee line, … Before everyone gets upset…

I found this Frank E. Lee amidst a rather large broad search while of course looking for our mysterious long lost Frank Lee. When I read his 1930 census, I thought it was a great story to highlight & share, though I still have little to no details of his life.

When I found a 1930 census where he was a “partner” to an Italian dude, Domenico Zavaglia, in Alaska … Well naturally I had to take a few extra looks. Instantly in my head, “A registered gay?! They actually had it put on the census?! No… I’ve got to be looking at this wrong.. Can you imagine gay in 1930?!.” And a million other questions took over…

Clearly they weren’t business partners of any obvious note. Domenico was a Blacksmith who owned his own shop, and Frank was a Ferryman who owned his own ferry. Older in age, neither married at this current time… But this above 1930 census lists Frank as “D” for divorced. So I had to look deeper… So I did…

WWII draft registration tells us he was born 11 September 1877 in Merrill, Wisconsin. He has a relative named John P. Lee who is close enough to always know where he is, who lives in Arlington, Washington. He is 5’9.5″ and 162 lbs, blue eyes, gray hair, with a dark complexion for a white man. He has no disabilities & no reason not to serve in 1942.

Found a very sparse not well sourced family tree online at (thanks costellotrisha), that states his parents were Edward Lee & Alameda Bartlett.

In 1920 he is listed as single, as in never married at age 42. So with the above information this implies that if he did indeed marry and divorce it was between 1920-1930, before the 1930 census, and before his WWII Draft registration card was created. in 1920, he was living in Cook Inlet, (later known as Talkeetna), Alaska. He is a lodger at the home of another Italian, Antonia Cascutti, along with various other lodgers. The census makes it appear to be a camp town… an area that was erected in tents, shanties, and maybe a few good buildings with many foreign lodgers… right before it becomes an “official” town.

1918 WWI Draft Registration Card clearly states his is a tall, slender, blue eyed, brown hair individual. However, this time his middle name is “Elner” and his nearest relative is “Edwin” P. Lee, not “John”… but he’s in the right place with the right job…ferryman!

WWI Draft Registration Card

After this point, it becomes pure speculation as to his life between his parents & the time he lands in Alaska. After much research I can’t place him any where solid… except a possible listing in 1910 in the Seattle area, King Co., Washington… listed with John & Edward Lee all born in the US, with parents born in the US. They were laborers at the logging camp. However, John & Edward aren’t listed on the 1880 Census with the family since they were both younger, and without the immediate 1890 census we can only speculate who they are. the 1900 census implies that the 1910 Frank Lee in Seattle area is not the same as Frank Edwin Elner Lee, since the 1900 Frank E Lee was born Dec. 1876 in WI, both parents born in WI, and a locomotive foreman. He is however, still single at the age of 23 in 1900.

With the help of google & wikipedia I learned of my own ignorance on the LGBT (lesbian gay bisexual transgender) movement, and I learned that in the early 1900’s there was the first defense for gays in the US. By the 1920’s-1930’s openly gay was acceptable in the culture with “Pansy Clubs”, magazines, films, and other forms of entertainments. However this only lasted until 1935. This kind of acceptance wasn’t revitalized until the 1960’s-1970’s.

I can only imagine how hard it was for a man living in these times…. Can you imagine losing more of your freedoms after spending most of your life in a semi-free to be gay America? I have no idea if it was a “gay” marriage that Frank Elwin Elner Lee might have taken part in between 1920-1930, but I can say it was being tried & tested as much as interracial marriage was during that time.. something today’s gay issues never seem to recall.

(Disclaimer: I am not a gay marriage supporter, but as a Christian, a historian, a genealogist, a mother, a sister, a friend… I still respect & love my fellow neighbors & family no matter their choices in life as Christ does. Gay doesn’t make a man/woman an alien, an “object”, or remove them from humanity.)

You’re What?!

With a degree in Sociology & YEARS of research I’ve concluded a new unprecedented, undocumented, & completely unethical hypothesis:

If we tell enough generations that they’re “Indian” (feathers not dots), then “they” (tribes) can’t deny our claims.


Umm, OK….

I’ve been chasing Native American lineage “stories” for years now, well against any interests of mine, on many sides & branches of my family to instead find everything else: English, German, African American, Welch, Irish, Swedish,….

I can’t place exactly where the stories originated for these claims, but some go so far back that breaking away from the story would make me the liar & a rebel breaking “family” tradition.

However, I calmly keep beating the paper trail and still come up with negative results for these Native American claims,…just as they have.

So if the proof is in the evidence, then why are they still all holding so tightly to these “false” claims? And where’s their positive evidence for their claims?

My other unprecedented, undocumented, & unethical theory is that there came a time when the US government was trying to make amends for the brutal & unfair treatment of Native Americans by what appeared to be “free land, money, food, & other wealth.” (Of course after years of being persecuted that many true Native Americans denied their heritage to prevent further loss, hardship, & turmoil due to a major lack of trust in US government.) Thus many families living near these tribes (in Oklahoma, AR, KS, etc) struggling to make ends meet thought they could fool the tribes & the government into also receiving these “benefits”. So began these twisted claims that aren’t true…

By no means do I judge. I rather try only to imagine how desperate someone had to feel to try this approach, for it was tricky & if any results occurred, would take years to materialize.

And here we are years later, where “false” claims seem to be some of the family’s ghosts.

I don’t deny that my family branches don’t have a few with true Native American blood, but not on a direct line to my immediate family & 1st cousins. Respecting a people whose way of life that was destroyed & rebutted, is very honorable. Admiring it & wanting to have something unique & special is also human nature… Respecting a people, who to this very day, try with every inch of their being to hold on to the last remaining elements of their culture is also very honorable. Trying to claim it as your own under all false pretenses…is stealing!

Can we stop with the myths & focus on the truth…the evidence & for the love of Puff the Magic Dragon… Prove me wrong!

$5 Beer!

I have just a random thought to share…

Today a family member was sharing a winded story of being a young punk youth back in… well a long time ago where he could buy a whole case of beer for $5! WoW! Today it’s $5 a single draft beer!

It made me think of how much times have changed since I was a little one myself. When car seats were just these metal booster seat things that had A LOT of wiggle room… we all survived! Where a stroller looked like a shopping cart with a low seat it in… no one died in those! I can remember when our small town cable TV went to color! And I can recall when the idea of having my entire life at my fingertips (smart phones) was a “space age” concept :D

It also makes me think of how much my ancestors must have witnessed in their lives. Can you imagine what they would do if you told them to Skype you? Or what they would say to an overage apartment rent being $800-$1000 a month? And what if you told them you can return the same day you left (aircraft travel)? Imagine how “space age” that was to them…

When you stop to think about your ancestors & really put them into their time, you can get a slight idea of how much harder it was… or simpler in some cases. No dishwasher, no eating out… but then again, no traveling team sports before high school :D I really admire those who did the land rushes & got long & were successful! Can you imagine?

Slightly Derailed Out of Japan

I am sorry for my missing posts & fun facts. My attention & prayers remain in my heart… which is still in Japan.

Life have been slightly derailed for me as I made my self-made evacuation with only a few bags & my son the other day. We are now stateside & feeling safer, more relaxed… and detached. As my panic settles, I know many remain upset & feeling stranded as they announce that lethal levels of radiation had been released. (many many tears) Those left inside the exclusion zone have been left to die.

My heart breaks. Even 300 miles away from the Sendai plant, we detected low radiation levels. 300 miles away, there was no fuel, limited train schedules, no water, food, or diapers. The few that tried to remain as life as normal were struggling. My neighbors has boarded up, stayed in doors, & had changed their entire lives over night.

Due to many political reasons, there are many Americans stranded in Japan, alongside billions of Japanese. They are slowly coming forth with the effects that Chernobyl left behind for 40 years. It has spread to Norway & Poland through the water & food sources. Though Fukishima power plant hasn’t exploded, the levels of radiation emitted into the air can’t be tracked or traced. They don’t know this radiation will do or how it will affect people & things.

As low radiation levels appear in the United States through the luggage of passengers, life has dramatically altered for everyone on this earth. Especially in the cost of “stuff” in an American economy that is already in denial of its recession.

After this nuclear mess, the Japanese will then be dealing the much decomposing bodies that were lost to the tsunami & its aftermath.

As a genealogist, my thoughts of my own family tree have been completely derailed to those lineages lost in Japan. Japan is an older country. It’s people are older. This is a great loss. I watched so many children board my flight with only one person in charge of 5-6  children (whom were not their own) fleeing for safety & perseverance of Japan’s future.

I ask that everyone reading my blog to take a moment from their own research & say a little prayer for everyone, especially those still attached to Japan.

Introducing My Deep Roots Blog

Hey Everyone – I just wanted to introduce you to my friend’s new blog: My Deep Roots. She has been doing research for many many years, but is now starting to blog about her deep roots. I had to nudge her a little, but she is also starting over from scratch. I know that she has some amazing stories & great ancestors to share. I am so excited to have her join the genealogy blogging community! I can’t wait to see what stories she has to share!

Finding Time – There’s An App For That!

I’ve been asked & I have done some asking: “How do you ever find the time?” I mean I’ve got only one baby boy….a friend of mine has 5 children & she homeschools! So how do individuals like us find the time?

As I have stated, I’m a genealogist in a significantly different era. I’m young in comparison to many of my counterparts & technology had taken a hold of most family history research.

I can’t vouch for anyone else, but for me I find the time, like right now: I’m sitting in my truck letting little sleep & my ankle rest, while friends of ours finish the Mt. Nokogiri hike,…on my iPhone with my WordPress app & the 3G network here in Japan :D

Believe it or not, these days most my research, correspondence with relatives, my blog, etc is all done via my iPhone! Apps! They literally have an app for everything! Once you get set up, moving to an app is so easy & extremely convenient!

“That’s greeaaat! So, where’s the time?” This was my biggest area of “adjustment” after baby. Finding the time, took first getting ORGANIZED! For me that meant getting everything set up & communications working.

Having a hardcopy of all my work to date with documentation in a 3 ring binder is a great start! This reference point is so easy & set up in a way that I can locate any ancestor I am looking for in seconds! Sometimes, faster than the internet can connect to the page I request! It stays open on my office desk so that I have a quick & easy access with my “drive by” moments of free time. It saves me so much time! (A blog to follow just on binder organization & why MRIN’s are so vital!)

Then I just need to download a few apps to my phone & log in to my accounts via the apps, and I was set! Just a tap & touch away, I can find time while waiting to pick hubby up, relaxing on the couch during little’s nap, during transit time to somewhere fun (road trip or tain rides), while soaking in a bath (yes you read that right!), sometimes I steal quick glances at emails or write a note while waking from the laundry to the kitchen, & of course the obvious time… little’s bedtime.

By having all my information & internet access at my finger tips literally, all I needed next was a good “To-Do List” App, and I have been able to find the time & get back to a passionate hobby of mine :D

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