A recent trip through the Superior Court records of Rabun County netted an interesting connection: an 1838 petition naming Jemima Kell as the sister of James Kell.1
Years ago, another researcher gave me information on Rabun County’s Kells. Not a Jemima amongst them. Ok, no problem, I thought. I’ll just contact that researcher and see if she’s uncovered anything new. Unfortunately, delivery to the e-mail address I had for her failed, and her web site is no longer up. In desperation, I posted to a message board. The researcher I was looking for hasn’t answered yet, but another one has. I’ve queried back for more information. Not knowing this particular other researcher, my imagination is going into overdrive about our anticipated exchange.
Me: So is it possible that Jemima was a sister to the James who was a son of James Kell, who was a son of Capt. James Kell?
Other: Well, she’s not in my database [of 136,489 people I’ve added all by my own self]. And I have a lot on that Kell family in my database [of 136,489 people, etc., etc.].
Me: Ok. What documentation do you have for those Kells?2
Other: Oh, [expert researcher] gave me all his family group sheets, and that’s where all my information [that I’ve posted about on my two web sites and dozen message board posts where I’ve asserted absolute authority on the matter] comes from. I’ve got them right here and I’ll be glad to make copies for you.
Me: Sure, I’d love to have copies. ‘Preciate it much. Are there any references on those FGS? You know, to wills or deeds or the like?
Other: Hmm. No, looks like [expert researcher] got it from [that heritage book someone wrote where no sources were mentioned]. Oh, and [second expert researcher]’s family tree on [that large online company whose name we daren’t mention]. The three of us have spent years researching this family [in publications], and all that hard work means we absolutely have all the connections right. Right? Right?
Ok, so that conversation hasn’t happened, and with any luck won’t (probably), and my imagination has admittedly gone into overdrive. But, to be truthful, I’ve had plenty of conversations with other family diggers that went that way.
Meanwhile, poor Jemima will be left hanging out there, dangling on her own until someone (read: me) can place her with the correct family. It’s not that there were a lot of Kells in Rabun County at that time, nor across the state line in then-Pickens Dist., SC. Nor even a lot of Jemimas. It was a fairly unsual name for this area.
But the records…ay yi yi. Let’s just say that if poor Jemima was who I suspect she was, then I’m going to have to do a lot of work-arounds in order to prove it. As it is, I’m up to my ay-yi-yi-balls in work right now, so Jemima will have to wait in line.
Jemima: *ahem* Yoohoo! *waves* I need a family, please! *waits patiently* Hello-hoh! *taps foot* Anybody home?
Me: Yes, Miss Kell, I’m right here.
Jemima: Did you hear me? I said I need a family.
Me: Er, well, I’m a bit busy right now, what with the transcriptions and clients and the certification thing, and the homeschooling and such and, you know, sleep. If you could just wait a bit…
Jemima: Wait? Wait? What kind of researcher are you, anyway? *bursts into tears* All I wanted was one measly little family. Is that too much to ask…
Wait in line. Oh, if only they would.
* * * * *
1. If you’re wondering, another Rabun Countian, Jinsey Carver, was suing James M. Forrester Jr. for saying that she (Jinsey) had accused James and Jemima of incest. People who say the past is boring haven’t read any early court records. Source for this particular court record: Petition of Jinsey Carver, April Term 1838; Rabun County, Georgia, Record of Writs A 1836 – 1841: 118; Clerk of Court, Clayton.
2. A polite way of asking about the thoroughness of the research made into this family. Well, polite for me.