In trying to fill in the life of my colorful ancestor, Thomas Swain Maness, I found out his third marriage was in Virginia, to Nancy Pool in 1876. They married in Giles County, which is right next to Pulaski County, which seemed to confirm our family's oral history that he left home to find a job at the Bertha Zinc Mine.
The 1880 census lists Nancy by her maiden name, living with her parents. Thinking that she might have found out about Thomas' other marriages and considered herself single, and not finding her in a later census (1890 missing), I'd stopped looking.
Then last year I ran across Nancy's death record. Her name had been horribly mistranscribed in Ancestry as Nannie Mares, but it popped up while researching her father, Moses Pool. Like Thomas' other wives who never knew what happened to him, she considered herself a widow. It's a sad record, as the informant didn't know her birthdate or much about her, and she was "Accidentally killed by train."
Not only did Nancy keep her married name, but the informant's name led me to a child. Fannie B. Maness, daughter of Nancy and Thomas Maness, married railroad engineer Charles P. Sifford. I have more cousins in Virginia!
Next time: Finding a surprise in the Virginia court records!