Ever since I started doing genealogy, my mother wanted me to help her and her sister work on their lines. I wanted to do Daddy's. And I knew that Mama (Davis-27777) and Aunt Elza would pick apart anything I found with a fine toothed comb. And I really didn't want to put myself into something like that. They had already did it on my Jesters as it was. And most important, to me, when I'm on the right track, I have physical symptoms.
In the late 1990s, living in Texas, I was out of work and extremely depressed. Mama, living in small town in Calfornia, didn't have access to good libraries, would send me out on small quests to try to bring me out of that black hole. She had me relook at William Thornton-2828 in Randolph County, GA in 1850. She thought she had missed something and had it wrong. She didn't.
Find if there is was John Chesley Davis that Grampa's (Davis-27833) baby brother (Davis-44419) could have been named for. I spent 4 hours going thru some court records for John Chesley Davis who was too far distant to have been of any use in 1880s.
Just before Mama passed in 2014, I was looking at family on census records and saw John C. Geralds, who had married into the Thorntons, Thornton-2834. And I recalled the story Mama had told about naming my sister. Gramma Annie Thornton-2727 wanted her to be named after the Geralds. But I physically heard Mama say "but I named her Geraldine (Jester-203), isn't that good enough?" While J. C. Geralds' census record is flashing like a neon light. Mama was bedridden in the other room, asleep.
Another quest, during that dark time, Find Sallie Hogg. Not having enough money for the bus, up and back, and not wanting to walk the 3 miles to the library. I said i would try to find what I could on the internet. All Mama knew was she was supposed to be associated with the Thornton's but didn't know how.
Not really knowing how ancestry worked, (it was free in those days) I added what I knew in a search. William Thornton. That search brought up 1000s. So I refined it to GA. that only brought up 368 or so. I looked at every one of them. Too old, too young. Kids not right, wife not right, til near the end, I found two with wives name Elizabeth. I knew William's wife was Elizabeth (Stell-51). And I knew from seeing the marriage certificate that the name was St**ll or Sl**tt, but it was very foxed and degraded. But this record said Stell. My heart started palpitating. I'm reading the page and I see this record has her parents... my heart starts beating harder. Her parents are listed. Thomas Stell-63 and Rebecca Cook-12347. Rebecca Cook?? WHO IS SHE? Then I looked again, because my heart is about to beat out of my chest. I was starting to think I was in real physical danger, the hard rapid beating, hyperventilating, sweating... and I saw Thomas had another wife. I click on it and SARAH HOGG-1092 appeared.
This gedcom had Elizabeth's sister Julia Amanda also, but had them as daughters of Rebecca.
Being on dial up, I disconnected, leaving the monitor up and called Mama. I was crying hard. "MamaMamaMama, I found her!!" It took Mama several minutes to get me calmed down enough to tell her what happened. Mama asked, "How do you know its her?" After what I had just went through??? "Its her Mama, Its her! I know its her!!"
Since that time I met with the Stells on genforum.com when it was active and told them how I descended. They admitted that they did not know which children belonged to which wife so they had put Sallie's girls under Rebecca. A half cousin from Rebecca, sent me Thomas' will.
I then went to the Thornton group at genforum and started reading. I found one discussion that seemed to fit mine, and told them who I descended from. In this group were 4 descendants of Wiley Thornton and Elizabeth Johnston. One was descended from Elijah Thornton and Julia Amanda Stell. Over the years, we found someone descended from all the children who lived to have children, of Wiley and Elizabeth.