If a document refers to your ancestor as the lessor on lease–he owns the property that is the subject of the lease. If your ancestor is referred to as the lessee, he is the person being given temporary use of the property. The lessor owns it, the lessee borrows it–generally speaking.
That family story may clearly be incorrect or greatly exaggerated. Before you throw the story out completely, think about what sources or records might have been created if it were true. Consider breaking the story into the parts you could prove and the parts you could not prove. And then go from there.
While divorce has not always been as common as it has been in the last forty or fifty years, it was not as rare in the time period before that either. Is it possible that your relative had a short term marriage that did not last? It could be that the oldest child was born to a previous spouse and adopted by the next one? It could be that a female relative was married for a year or so, was divorced and took back her maiden name. A man could have easily moved to the big city to look for work, found love, found that it didn’t go so well, and returned home a single man. That deceased relative may have had a marriage before their “first” one […]
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