Mary L. Lindley: What Does the L. Stand For? (52 Ancestors #33)

Mary Lindley is another ancestor that has always fascinated me.  If I’m being honest, they all have, but I think everyone has a handful that are especially interesting for one reason or another.

Mary L. Lindley Springer, circa 1910. Photo courtesy of Susan Huber-Jourdan, FindAGrave.com

Mary L. Lindley Springer, circa 1910. Photo courtesy of Susan Huber-Jourdan, FindAGrave.com

Mary L. Lindley was born on March 13, 1839 in Paoli, Orange County, Indiana.1,2,3,4,5,6,8,9  Her parents were Samuel and Anna (Braxton) Lindley.8  She is descended from Jonathan Lindley, who founded Orange County in 1811.  He was her great great grandfather on her mother’s side and her great great great uncle on her father’s side.  It took me a minute, too.

Mary married John Alexander Springer on December 22, 1859 in Orange County.7  I believe they had eight children.  It’s hard to tell, as one census says she had seven children born to her with six still living and the next census says she had five or six children born to her with four still living.5,6  The named children I have come across are Anna L. (ca. 1864), Edward (ca. 1866), Mary E. (ca. 1867), Frank (ca. 1869), Charley (ca. 1873), Stella (ca. 1875), Mattie (ca. 1877), and John (ca. 1881).1,2,3,4,5,6,10,11  I do believe these are all of their children, based on census records, but also because Frank wrote about each one of his siblings at some time or another in letters to his wife and daughter.

Mary died of heart disease on January 18, 1916 in Paoli.8,9  This may be the end of her life, but it isn’t the end of the story.

Tombstone, John A. and Mary L. Springer, photo courtesy of Allen Helderman, 20 March 2015, FindAGrave.com.

Tombstone, John A. and Mary L. Springer, photo courtesy of Allen Helderman, 20 March 2015, FindAGrave.com.

As if the confusion over her bloodline and her children weren’t enough, there seems to be confusion over her middle name as well.  On the pedigree chart that my grandma gave to me years ago, she is written in as Mary Lumire Lindley.  Now, I’m what some people call a name nerd and unusual names are of great interest to me.  Why Lumire?  I looked into it and could not find a logical explanation.  I looked at other pedigree charts on several different genealogy websites and also found her middle name given as Lumiere, Lamira, and Lamiah.

Knowing that records were often written by other people listening to the pronunciation of a name, I can see how these could all sound the same with the regional accent.  The interesting thing is, I have yet to find her middle name on any official record.  She is always Mary or Mary L.  I began to look at the names on their own merit.  Lumire and Lumiere are not names that I’m familiar with, however, lumière does mean light in French.  I don’t believe the Lindleys have a French connection.  Lamiah (or Lamia) is from Greek mythology and would have been a possibility.  However, the Lindleys were Quakers and I don’t believe they would have used a name from Greek mythology.  This leaves me with Lamira.  Lamira was a name first used circa 1613 by John Fletcher in his play The Honest Man’s Fortune.  The name rose to popularity in New York in the 1780s and the popularity had probably spread west by the mid-1800s.12

In the absence of a document with a middle name on it, Lamira will be the name I pencil in on my charts.  As always, I’ll keep looking for proof.


Sources

  1.  1850 United States Federal Census. Ancestry.com, 2009. Web. 27 Dec. 2014. Paoli, Orange, Indiana. p.879. Family #324, lines 16-24.
  2. 1860 United States Federal Census. Ancestry.com, 2009. Web. 07 Mar. 2011. Paoli, Orange, Indiana. p.120. Family #921, lines 15-16.
  3. 1870 United States Federal Census. Ancestry.com, 2009. Web. 07 Mar. 2011. Paoli, Orange, Indiana. p.24. Family #176, lines 23-28.
  4. 1880 United States Federal Census. Ancestry.com, 2009. Web. 07 Mar. 2011. Paoli, Orange, Indiana. p.6B. Family #53, lines 17-25.
  5. 1900 United States Federal Census. Ancestry.com, 2009. Web. 27 Dec. 2014. Paoli, Orange, Indiana. pp.8A-8B. Family #165, lines 50-55.
  6. 1910 United States Federal Census. Ancestry.com, 2009. Web. 07 Mar. 2011. Paoli, Orange, Indiana. p.2A. Family #29, lines 24-27.
  7. “Indiana Marriages, 1811-2007,” database with images, FamilySearch(https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:KZCH-GFZ : accessed 15 August 2015), John A Springer and Mary Lindley, 22 Dec 1859; citing , Orange, Indiana, county clerk offices, Indiana; FHL microfilm 1,316,697.
  8. Orange County Health Department. Orange County, Indiana Deaths: book H-23, p.86. Issued 12 April 1979.
  9. “Deaths (Obituaries)” Paoli Republican 19 January 1916, Wednesday ed.: 6. Print. column 2.  Accessed 27 Dec. 2014, NewspaperArchive.com.
  10. Springer, Frank. “Various Letters.” Letter to Ella Rakestraw Springer. N.d. MS. In My Possession, New Albany, Indiana. Inclusive dates: 1892-1893.
  11. Springer, Frank. “Various Letters.” Letter to Mildred Springer Wiseheart. N.d. MS. In My Possession, New Albany, Indiana. Inclusive dates: 1905-1925.
  12. “Lamira.” Behind the Name: Meaning of Names, Baby Name Meanings. N.p., 03 July 2014. Web. 18 Aug. 2015.

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