...there is an equal and opposite reaction...
Well, that's not entirely true. But perhaps what I was uncovering in my race to find the nexus between my mystery cousin and myself in this post-mtDNA revelation that we are "exact matches" was proving a more exacting force upon me than I counted on.
So I stumbled upon a record indicating that yes, there were members of my matrilineal line migrating westward—not in the typical path southward and then across the Gulf states, eventually to Texas, but headed roughly due west from Virginia through Kentucky and ultimately to Missouri. It was a shiver-inducing discovery (even in this heat wave!) whose promise left me awestruck.
Representing such a slim chance of a genealogical match, why would I get excited, as if this were the key to connecting my mystery cousin's ancestor Sarah Kinslow Stinebaugh with my Gilmer relations? After all, that would make for some procedurally sloppy research to jump to such conclusions.
Admittedly, all that discovery served to do was confirm to me that, yes, it was possible for people to migrate in that pattern, even though the rest of the family headed elsewhere. But it was handy for another reason: people heading out into the wild open spaces westward—and away from all the supports of civilization—needed as much help as they could get. That's why they often traveled in companies.
And the path that Dr. Frederick George Gilmer took, from his 1806 birthplace in Wilkes County, Georgia, through Christian County, Kentucky, and ultimately to Lincoln County, Missouri, might just have been the same path followed by my mystery cousin's kin.
Sensing the possibility of being on to something might have played havoc with me, somewhere deep within. Who knows? Or maybe it was the concurrent, incessant banging on my roof, courtesy of the diligent construction crew performing a pricy make-over on the top half exterior of our humble abode for most of the past month. Or blame it on the heat.
All it took was one early morning moment to stoop down and greet the cat—my favorite cat, I might add—and out went my back. I don't know if it was an equal and opposite reaction to all the stress piling up over the last few days—both the bad and the good—but that momentary "reaction" landed me flat on my back and too dazed to think clearly through any further research.
Oh, I've poked around and found some interesting links on that Gilmer family, all right. They are amply documented, with records flung even to the far reaches of the Internet. As for putting the narrative together in a cohesive manner though, well, let's just say I'll need some R&R equal to that opposite reaction before I can again think straight—or even stand straight.
Let's just call this Newton's posture prompter.