How do you resolve conflicts in gender between censuses?

+3 votes
Lina Box. a daughter of John Box, in the 1850 Census of Texas is assumed to be L. H. Box, a male, in the 1880 Census of Texas and   later buried as Lina Helen Box, former Confederate soldier and father of a number of children.
WikiTree profile: Lina Box
in WikiTree Help by Joseph Fox G2G5 (5.1k points)
retagged by Ellen Smith
Original documentation has supported the fact that Lina is in fact a male. As a direct descendant it is unusual for a distant related to make extra efforts to dispute fact.
My concerns relative to Lina Box who was a daughter of John Box in the 1850 census becoming Lina Helen Box who was buried as a male Confederate soldier with several children derived from lack of documentation that Lina Box of the  1850 Census had a middle name of Helen and later in life was known in most documentation as L. H. Box   All the documentation of L. H. Box was of L. H. Box until I saw  the picture of him as Lina Helan Box and the biography of him by one of his children.

It would still be helpful if you would post the documentation where Helen was used as a middle name.

Emma's biography and picture of Lina Helan Box certainly made the profile a more interesting read, however, the link to her article was not working just now.

4 Answers

+4 votes
Looks like a possible conflation of individuals that will require more research to tease out the facts.
by Kathy Rabenstein G2G6 Pilot (234k points)
+5 votes
1. Track down the death records of any children you can ref to his / her name (might get some Alternative Names).  Confirmation of gender would have support based on those records.
by Susan Smith G2G6 Pilot (359k points)
+3 votes
Just a cursory glance at the currently attached and conflicting sources seem to indicate Lina Helen Box was male.

I doubt there were many, if any, female Sargent's in the Texas infantry during the Civil War.

The son has L.H. listed as father on his death certificate, and mother listed as Lousia (who is connected as wife of L.H.)
by Dennis Wheeler G2G6 Pilot (532k points)
Census takers often get facts wrong. Especially with unusual names. I have many ancestors listed as male on one census, only to be listed as female in the next (or visa versa).

I have found that the most helpful documentation of gender is the death records of the person and their children.  

I am supposing that when the DNA test for the sex gene becomes mandatory, that this will clear up a number of confused cases.  And of course that a child lists its father's name is no definitive proof that the father was the father, as has been discovered more than once -- but I have not heard of a case where the father's descendant's Y-DNA test failed due to the father being female

At best (or worst) it would merely register as an NPE.  I'm not even sure this discovery COULD be made, that the man was actually a woman, in such a case.  

I find it difficult to imagine a woman who died in 1881, and who served in the CW could masquerade as a male for over 35 yrs -- and be credited with x number of children but stranger things have been discovered -- but in that case the Y-DNA track would be absent, assuming you could test for it anyway. 

That some females DID serve as line soldiers in the RW and CW, disguised as males, is known. 

Someone better informed about DNA is needed here for a "DNA 101 for Dummies" course but I am reasonably certain in such a case it would just register as a NPE (lack of a Y-DNA track) 

On the other hand in THIS particular case, this doubt seems to be banished by the supporting evidence (childrens' records) 

+4 votes
I understand why Lina decided to only use his initials, as in those times having a feminine name may not have been as acceptable as it is today. I do have documents (originals) but I am still perplexed as to why I have to prove this to someone who is not part of the lineage.
by Jose Box G2G Crew (320 points)
An up vote from a sister whose brother was named Lorraine in 1938 and started using Larry as a preferred name after serving in the army and having to defend himself with that name belonging to a girl by the 1950s.   All of the family, except my mother, accepted the nickname and she had all kinds of ways to avoid using it.  Example: "Give your brother, the mechanic, this XXX"  Or "Call your youngest brother to lunch"  etc.

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