Saturday, October 4, 2014

Missed Opportunity

In looking back over my Thornhill research for Jefferson County, Tennessee, I found an email from a distant cousin in April 2008, noting a connection between Arena Louisa Thornhill and my 5th-great-grandmother Sarah Westall Thornhill. This researcher said that she suspected Arena Louisa was the daughter of Sarah, but had not identified clear proof. I had neglected this message and the potential family connection.
Source: Tracy Estepp. Marriage rites of Henry Givens and Arena Louisa Thornhill.
Arena Louisa Thornhill was born about 1815 or 1816. She married Henry Givens (also spelled Gibbons in later census entries) on 6 June 1831 in Jefferson County, Tennessee. In the 1840 Census, Henry was living very close to Joseph Thornhill (1810-1842), who would have been Arena Louisa's brother.
1840 US Census, Jefferson County, Tennessee
I think it is very likely that Arena Louisa was a child of Joseph Thornhill, the taylor from Culpeper, Virginia, and Sarah Westall Thornhill.

From checking online, Tracy "Betsy" Estepp was a very thorough researcher and frequent poster on message boards for research on Jefferson County, Tennessee. In seeing her old email from 2008, I couldn't tell if I had ever responded. Most likely I missed it completely. On the odd chance that the email address still worked, I sent a message this morning, but it immediately bounced back. I checked some other leads online. Sadly I missed my chance to reply to Tracy by over four years. According to Findagrave, she died in May 2010, a young 46.

No one knows how much time they have, to make their mark. I write this blog, share my research, travel photos and other things I find interesting in order to make public the information, for my family to see later. It's really unfortunate I missed this opportunity to connect and to learn more from someone who spent so much time trying to uncover family history and share that with others. It is a reminder to me to take advantage of the time we have, to share as much as possible, & leave a lasting bit of history on our families and ourselves.

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