Finding a close cousin is always rewarding but sometimes confirming distant cousins is better. When a genetically-proven 3rd cousin and I identify our common 2nd great grandparents, it provides solid evidence for the whole family line beneath them. It validates my paperwork and reveals that there weren't any "accidents" in that branch of the family tree. However, when a 5th cousin and I locate our shared 4th great grandparents, a far more difficult task, then I prove a much longer branch of that family tree.
Dr. Edwin Lampitt from Missouri and I share our 4th great grandparents: James Harper, born Virginia in 1767, and Elizabeth Hopewell, also born Virginia in 1770. They moved west to Indiana where they had at least 2 children: James and Francis. James Harper Jr. was a grandfather to Emma Hethcot, who married Thomas Simpson, and was my father's grandmother.
Meanwhile, Francis Harper married John Greer and moved west to Iowa. Her granddaughter, also Francis, married Edwin Lampitt and moved out to Illinois. Their great-grandson is my 5th cousin.
This old family tree shows a couple of the generations of my Harper family ancestors, although William Washington Harper was not a direct ancestor but my 2nd great uncle.
I have long thought that Marietta (Etta) Charters, the mother of Russell Tenure, my wife's great-grandfather, had died previous to 1905. The evidence was that she was not on the New York 1905 census, which held the names of her husband, William Henry Tenure, and 2 children, nor on any other future census, either with her husband nor with her parents. Further, her husband remarried by 1910. I confess, I was a little sexist in my appraisal. While a husband and father disappearing from a young family always has me checking to see if he left them, rather than died, I never thought that the wife and mother would similarly leave a family.
Now I have discovered that this is the case and that Etta was still alive long after 1905. The Tenure name is often misspelled on censuses, which caused me a few roadblocks in the past. It originated from the French name, Le Tourneur, which was clearly too difficult for most census-takers, and was spelled in many different ways. On a New York 1915 census, I found Ella Tuenre. The "Ella" was really "Etta" but mis-transcribed and the "Tuenre" was clearly "Tenure". Etta was a boarder in a New York apartment, along with her 2 grown sons, Percy and Russell.
The relationship with the two boys and their father was clearly rocky. After a run-in with the law, Russell likely spent some time in detention and then ran away from New York for a couple years while Percy left his father and lived with Etta's mother in Nyack. It appears that later, they reconciled with their mother and lived with her for a time in New York. Both were well-employed while Etta was not, so its possible that they helped to support her. They also lived with another older man, James Galbraith, so its also possible that Etta was in a relationship with him.
Divorce was very difficult in New York, as Russell would discover, so its possible that Etta and William never divorced, leading her to not marry her partner.
It's difficult to know what exactly happened with Etta that she would be estranged from her family. Was there mental illness? Abuse? Did she return to her mother's house but was missed on the census? Regardless of the precise circumstances, its clear that this was a broken home, which provides a lot more context into Russell's own behavior in later life.