Last night I received an email from an irate individual, who was royally ticked off at me because I had impugned one of his ancestors on my genealogy website.
He was ticked off because I had said on my website that his ancestor SARAH WHITECOTTON (of Marshall Co AL) was somehow involved in a court case in Bradley Co TN, and that somehow his SARAH WHITECOTTON was inexplicably connected to some THOMPSON family in Bradley Co TN, etc, etc. My research was wrong, wrong, WRONG, he said. And he had the bible records, and family stories to prove it!!!!!
I wrote back a lengthy reply. What happened here was that this individual was confusing two people with the same name--although in one case, it was a married name. But the kicker was that the two people were born thirteen years apart, and lived in completely different areas.
It's difficult sometimes when ancestors you are researching have the same name. But it's really important to pay close attention to the details, and not jump to conclusions.
Here is what I wrote back to the irate individual:
"I can see the basis of your confusion. You are referrring to TWO DIFFERENT people here:
1) My gg grandmother SARAH THOMPSON b abt 1825 NC, died 1889 Christian Co MO, who married JAMES MONROE WHITECOTTON b 1825 Alabama, d aft 1900 Jackson Co AL;
and 2) your ancestor SARAH WHITECOTTON b 1812 prob KY, died aft 1860 Marshall Co AL, who married TILGHMAN HARDY BURNS and JAMES N DAVIS.
My gg grandmother 1) SARAH (THOMPSON) WHITECOTTON was from a family that lived from 1839 until 1858 in Bradley Co TN; she herself can be found in Alabama for the 1850 census in Morgan Co AL, Decatur twp, with her husband & two children (one of which was my great grandmother). In 1860 my SARAH lived with her sister MARY (THOMPSON) GOODWIN & family in Hamilton Co TN, and from 1870 until her death in 1889 she lived with her second husband NATHAN GRIFFIN and her extended Thompson family in Christian, Taney & Douglas Co MO.
Your ancestor 2) SARAH WHITECOTTON was born abt 1812 in prob KY, and died sometime after 1860, likely in Marshall Co AL. She lived only in Marshall Co AL, according to census records. And she was the aunt of my gg grandfather JAMES MONROE WHITECOTTON who was born about 1825 AL.
The court case I refer to on my webpage involved my great grandparents 1) SARAH THOMPSON who married JAMES MONROE WHITECOTTON, and not your ancestor 2) SARAH WHITECOTTON who married T H BURNS and JAMES N DAVIS. Your SARAH likely never set foot in Bradley Co TN.
It's really easy to get confused when several ancestors have the very same name. It pays to look carefully at the birth & death dates. I have been researching the Whitecottons for ten years and so far I have found at least five with the name SARAH WHITECOTTON!! And there may be more."
Can't get much clearer than that, eh? Plus I sent him a link to all the documentation that I have on both families, which is substantial.
But sadly, this morning, I received another reply from this individual, still ranting & persisting that I was WRONG about his ancestor SARAH WHITECOTTON of Marshall Co AL-- and he could prove it!!!
Will I return a reply? Absolutely not. Either this person is cognitively impaired, or mentally unstable. In either case, it doesn't pay to engage someone who is so far off track.
Oh well. Have a great day!