Dancing with the ancestors is always an interesting dance, and one in which I have to do some fancy footwork in order not to end up with two left feet. Ha!
Such is the case with my 3 x Paternal Great Grandmother Nancy (surname unknown at this point) Smith. I don't know much about her other than she was born in North Carolina around 1796 and moved with her husband and family to Warren County, Tennessee at some point, probably early 1800s.
Over the course of the last few years, I've painstakingly tried to add a bit more depth to her history. I actually printed out the 1830 and 1840 Census, painstakingly going through line by line until, in the 1840 Census Record I found a Nancy Smith - her husband John, my 3 x great granddad was deceased by this point - and, using a handy Excel spreadsheet I created, determined she was living in Warren County, Tennessee with her daughter Elizabeth, her sons Moses Riley and Jesse, and another son whose name I don't know . . . at this point. And she was living next door to her son John B. Smith and his family.
In 1850, she and Moses Riley were living with her daughter Elizabeth, who by this time had married James Monroe Webb and had a number of children! Woo-hoo!
By discovering the 1850 Census Record, and realizing that Elizabeth Webb was actually Elizabeth Smith-Webb, I was able to put another piece of the ancestor puzzle for the Smith branch in place.
Okay, I'll admit it, I was stumped as to why Nancy and Riley were living with the Webb family in 1850. I knew there had to be a reason, but my poor beleaguered brain couldn't figure it out until, later, mind going here/there/everywhere, it suddenly dawned on me that Elizabeth was most likely Nancy's daughter. So, pulled up the Ancestry app on my iPad, checked the census record and . . . voila, Elizabeth Webb is the correct age as Elizabeth Smith.
So, when dancing with the ancestors, remember that you sometimes have to have some fancy footwork in order to complete the dance. Don't be afraid to try a different path in your search for your ancestors.