Every once in awhile, I feel like there can’t possibly one more thing that I can research on my “brick wall” ancestor, John M. Smith. When that happens, and I have a significant chunk of time to surf the web (such as during a full day of football on tv!), I decide to pick a “FAN” (friend, acquaintance or neighbor) and see what I can find. I try to pick someone who has SOME connection to my research to see if I can find something unexpected. Today, I decided to see if I could find a connection to a surname that appears on a lot of court records along with my Smiths. The Cook family is quite often a witness or a surety for the son’s of John M. Smith.

I had found a short Wayne County history that listed the significance of the Cook family. Four sons of Edmund Cook were doctors and were known for traveling around the area on horseback to take care of their patients. Were these doctors the same men whose names I was seeing?

I started off with a general Google search of the family and noticed that in a specific family, there were 2 sons who had married Ellis girls. John M’s son, George A (my ancestor) had married Talitha Ellis, so I decided to see if there was a connection. I discovered that they were all sisters, so the Cook family members were in-laws to my ancestor. BINGO!

Off to Ancestry to start filling in the names. This is where it gets fun for me. When I know I have a new connection, it is very satisfying to find census records – which lead to names of children. Finding the census records for THESE children begins to yield additional records – Find-A-Grave, Civil War draft registrations, land grants, marriage records, death records, etc. And THEN, I begin to see additional surnames that I recognize.

So now, based on a Find-A-Grave record, I see a female with a maiden name of Garr. That’s a surname that I’m trying to use to connect with a Smith family in Mercer County, Kentucky. So now, my brain is seriously “tickled”…can I make a connection? I feel like I’m going to need a nice big sheet of paper to start sketching out some connections which may very well lead to a VERY late night…and I’m excited!

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