In some ways, genealogy is a lot like a game of checkers or chess. It takes a combination of strategy and luck to win.
In researching the rest of my great-grandfather Harvey LYNN's family, I took a look at his sisters to see if there was some way to flesh out the very limited information I had on them. The firstborn child of my newly discovered great-great-grandparents, Martha (LEE) and Lewis C. LYNN, was Laura. In some records, she is listed as Laura L. (My guess is that her middle name is Lee, but it's just a guess.)
Laura LYNN was born in Kentucky in 1865, according to multiple census records. So, on a whim, I visited one of my favorite sites: the Illinois Statewide Marriage Index. For "bride," I entered LYNN and checked only Jackson County (where Murphysboro is). And up pops a short list. At the very top?
Albert James KING and Laura LYNN, married 4 DEC 1898.
Hmmm. Could be. So on another whim, I added Albert as a spouse to Laura in my ancestry.com database. And suddenly, a family appears. Laura and Albert's firstborn, Richard, is listed in multiple censuses as born in 1894. And then in another census, it lists their marriage year as 1890. Well, maybe it's NOT the right Laura LYNN.
I followed them through a few more census years – including 1900 and 1910, which place them in Union County. (And it adds an interesting twist listing her as a mother to THREE children, when there are only the two sons born by 1910. And there are two girls with a different last name, listed as step-daughters to head of household. Meaning, Albert's stepdaughters. Hmmm. But if they're HER daughters, wouldn’t she be mother to FOUR?) Or maybe the first child is HER stepson. At any rate, I'm still not convinced it's the RIGHT Laura.
Then, I find the 1920 census listing for this family. They are now in Taylor (Craighead County), Ark. Hey. Wait. That's where I found my grandmother and her sister, Nevada, in 1920 – living with Laura's brother, their uncle – John LYNN. I call up the image of the census record and then I see it. The KINGs are living RIGHT NEXT DOOR to John LYNN, et al. I don't think I need much more proof than that.
Laura though is only the first of the ELEVEN children of the LYNNs. And by following the same method as I did with Laura, I quickly found another of the Sisters LYNN: Martha Catherine.