Emma is listed in the 1880 and 1900 census records in her father's household. They were in Randolph County, Alabama in 1880 when she was listed as Emma E., age 7 and born in Alabama. The family also lived in adjoining Chambers County, Alabama both before 1880 and after. They were in Monroe County, Mississippi in 1900 when she was listed as Emma, age 27, born in April 1873 in Alabama with marital status of widow. Just because she's listed with her parents in 1900 doesn't mean she really lived there. It seems that Joseph and Nancy listed all of their living children without regard to where they were living or accurate marital status. It is definite that three of the other children listed as living with them in 1900 absolutely were not and two of them were definitely married but were listed as single.
The E. E. Lanier and T. S. Childers who were married in Chambers County in 1889 appear to be living in nearby Coweta County, Georgia by 1900 (at least a couple of other researchers I've talked with believe it's the same couple but they didn't know anything about Emma's parents). T. S. was listed as Thomas and E. E. as Emma, age 27 born in May 1873 in Georgia. Thomas and Emma had been married for 11 years which matches the 1889 marriage. They had four daughters - Sallie (11), Nannie E. (6), Jeannie (4) and Ann (1 month). My Emma had a sister named Sallie and her mother's name was Nancy, sometimes listed as Nannie for whatever that's worth. The age is the same as the 1900 record for my Emma with her parents, the birth month is May instead of April and birthplace Georgia instead of Alabama so everything doesn't match perfectly but that's often the case with census records from various years.
By 1910, Emma Lanier Childers had died (or at least was gone) and Thomas was married to a 2nd Emma whose maiden name was Bony. The 1910 census in Coweta County lists Thomas as Samuel T. Childers and his wife as Emma Lou. They were listed as married for 3 years and it shows as a 2nd marriage for both of them. Emma Lou is listed as the mother of 3 living children and there are three children listed - Mattie Lou (7), Marie Viola (2) and John B. (8 months). So not only is the first Emma gone, so are all four of her children. The two older girls could have been married by 1910 and maybe even the 3rd one but 1 month old Ann would have only been 10 years old.
So, there is no real proof that this Emma E. Lanier Childers was my grandfather's sister, Emma E. Lanier. I really think she is but until something more solid comes along, I'm leaving all this information in Emma's research notes and not adding the husband and children to my database.
At least we have a solid possibility for Emma unlike their sister, Louisana "Lula" Lanier. There's not a trace of her to be found.
All thoughts and suggestions are welcome.
Series of posts about a research trip to Alabama and Georgia, June 9-12, 2010:
Research Trip - Is This My Emma E. Lanier?