On a recent research trip to Cumming, Georgia, I met my 3rd cousin, Jane Crunkleton. We didn't arrange this meeting in advance. Neither of us even knew the other existed before I visited the Historical Society of Forsyth County a couple of weeks ago.
Jane and I share 2nd great-grandparents, John R. Petty and Margaret Thomas. Their six youngest children went from Hopkins County, Kentucky to Forsyth County, Georgia to live sometime between 1876 (when Margaret died) and 1880. My great-grandmother, Samantha, stayed in Hopkins County. Jane's great-grandmother, Mollie, moved to Forsyth County. Five of the children lived with Margaret's sister, Mary Thomas Echols (and her husband, James Milton Echols). The sixth lived with James and Angeline Tribble. The Tribbles were not related, as far as we know, but they took in other children in similar circumstances over the years.
The Historical Society of Forsyth County is housed in room 112 of the renovated Cumming School building at 101 School Street in Cumming.
They have a great collection of photos and other memorabilia mixed around the room with books and surname files but their best resource might just be their volunteers – like Connie Pendley (above) and Co-President, Martha McConnell (below).
Connie and Martha asked what names I was researching and when I mentioned Petty, they knew the basic story of children coming to live with their aunt and knew one of Mollie Petty's descendants—Jane. Martha called but Jane wasn't home. (Since you've seen the picture, you know that wasn't the end of her efforts.)
Jane hadn't called back by the time I was ready to leave so I thought we weren't going to have an opportunity to meet. My next stop was the Friendship Cemetery outside Cumming. Martha volunteered to go with me and it didn't take long to find all of the graves on my list. After the cemetery, I headed on to Duluth (about 30 minutes away) to be there for Georgia Family History Expo the next two days. While I was in Duluth, Martha talked with Jane and arranged for us to get together on Sunday so I made a detour back to Cumming before returning home.
Meeting Jane was the highlight of my trip. I will forever be grateful to Martha for going to so much trouble to get us together.