Saturday, March 10, 2012

Genealogy Serendipity Moment -Roena Gates Gender Change

Once in a while I go work in and input information about the families I am working on. Recently as I spent considerable time working on the Gates family history I returned to review their information. Roena Electa Gates is my husband's great-great-grandmother and our first link to the Gates family. She was married twice, the first time to Charles Robert Lamb in 1884 in Minnesota. They apparently had two children, Belva Mae born in Minnesota, and A. J. born in Montana. At this point we know very little about Charles and A. J. Lamb.

Roena married Delphis LeBlanc, a French Canadian, on December 24, 1892 in Kibbey Township, Cascade County, Montana. While living in Montana they had three children, Adolph, Alfred and Valmore. Valmore died in Montana when he was three years old. Two more children were born in Oregon, Oliver and Bertha. I blogged about their marriage and serendipity moments about their research on May 4, 2011. Since that time I gathered considerable information about their family and posted a total of eight blogs about the Gates family ancestors.

On February 17, 2012 I blogged about finding Roena Gates as a female and a male in and contacting the the person who had submitted the incorrect information. This week we finally accomplished the goal of eliminating Roena as a male.  In the process she requested a copy of a birth or death certificate for proof of her identity. Roena was born on October 11, 1865 in Mankato, Blue Earth County, Minnesota, and we have not found a birth record for her other than family records. She died on August 17, 1956 in Roseburg, Oregon, before my husband was born. I have hesitated to order the death certificate as the Vital Records in Oregon charge $20 a piece.

Delphis and Roena are both indexed in the Oregon Death Records 1903-1998 at

Name: Leblanc, Delphis       
County: Douglas         
Death Date: 10 Feb 1935   
Certificate:  28       
Spouse: Rouna
Name: Leblanc, Roena E
County: ??0
Death Date: 17 Aug 1956
Certificate: ??141
Spouse: Delphia

As one can see the indexing is interesting and seeing the originals is a must. In discussing this with one of my genealogy friends, I explained how they just did not show up on the Oregon Historical Records Index of the Oregon State Archives. My friend mentioned that the death records have not been included in this online index and that I would need to contact the archives about accessing the records as they hold the state death records beginning fifty years after their creation. To order a copy from them is $5 and this is much better for my budget. Last time I ordered a record from the State Archives it was emailed to me within thirty minutes and I then mailed them a check. Sometimes we need a wake up call when we assume too much about an index.

So, the first thing I did was reply to the submitter, who was very willing to make the correction, and sent her the information from I provided her with a copy of the marriage license and certificate for Delphis and Roena. Then while I was rereading my notes about Roena, I realized I had her obituary, which I received last year from another relative. This I quickly emailed to her to add further weight to the validity of Roena being a female.

August 1956
Funeral Slated Monday For Roena LeBlanc, 90, Gazley Route Resident
Funeral services will be held Monday at 2 p.m. for Mrs. Roena Electa LeBlanc, 90, well-known resident of the Myrtle Creek-Canyonville area who died in Roseburg Friday.
She was born at Mankota, Minn. Oct. 11, 1865, and was married to Delphis LeBlanc at Great Falls, Mont. Dec. 24, 1891. She moved with her family to Douglas County in 1902, residing on Cow Creek until 1906, when the family moved to Gazley Route, Myrtle Creek.
Mrs. LeBlanc was preceded in death by her husband in 1935. She was a member of the Seventh-day Adventist Church.
Surviving are five children, Mrs. Belva Steward of Seattle, Adolph LeBlanc of Salem, Alfred LeBlanc of Myrtle Creek, Oliver LeBlanc of Canyonville and Mrs. Earl (Belva) Butler of Grants Pass; a brother George Gates, Orting, Wash; 22 grandchildren and a number of great-grandchildren and great-great-grandchildren.
Funeral services will be in the Methodist Church in Canyonville, with the Elder Neal Losey of the Tri-City Seventh-day Adventist Church officiating. Concluding services and interment will follow in the IOOF Cemetery , Canyonville.
Funeral arrangements are in the care of Long & Orr Mortuary, Roseburg.

Yesterday I received a wonderful email from our newest family connection, the great-granddaughter of Albertha Rosella Gates, the sister of Roena. They were the two eldest, in a family of ten known children.
Re: Roena E Gates PID # MDYL-XWR
Thank you for contacting FamilySearch Support. Because the record with the incorrect gender was submitted by one individual, the record for Roena E Gates showing the wrong gender no longer appears in new FamilySearch.
FamilySearch Support

We did it!  Thanks for your help on this.

Notice the joy she feels in having accomplished this and our new opportunities for collaboration. These types of serendipity moments are what collaboration is all about. Making corrections in is challenging, I still have one gender problem I need to resolve on another family line, which is the result of extraction work. My focus in the online collection is to clean up the work that is presented there, starting with our immediate family and work slowly backward on the lines. This will be an ongoing process and working with other contributors is essential. For Roena Electa Gates we have conquered and reinforced our efforts in providing accurate information about her.

1 comment:

  1. So glad you were able to set the record straight. I am also excited you've got another genealogist in the family. Thanks for sharing this encouraging story.