I was researching Millie Haynes. She was born around 1845 in TN. I found a 5 yr old Milla in Hamilton Co TN and a 15 yr Milley in Greene Co AR in 1860, in both cases her father's name is Miles. These were obviously the same family, all family members' names and ages matched up. But this did not prove she was my Millie. I was having trouble proving her parentage.
I knew she married Bill Sisco before 1880 and that they lived in AR. I found them on the 1880 census for Randolph Co AR. They are listed with some people named Littler. I did not know these people and wondered who they were for quite some time. I still was no closer to her parents.
When I thought I had exhausted all avenues, I decided to go back to the Milla and Milley I found in 1850 and 1860. I went through and searched all her brothers, trying to find them as adults. One brother in particular was Alexander. I found an Alexander Haynes in 1880 in Lawrence Co AR, same age and birthplace as Milla's brother. I discovered that he is also listed with people named Littler. And that was it, my connection.
So, I concluded that all these Alexanders are the same person based on location, family members, date and place of birth. I concluded that my Millie and these other "Millies" are also the same person, based on date and place of birth and the fact that both she (after her marriage to Bill) and Alexander had these Littler people living with them. This means that my Millie's father is Miles Haynes. While not 100%, it would be very coincidental to find that these were actually different people.
After making that connection, I have since found other names that connect these people on marriage records and census records. I consider it a success.
But I still don't know who the Littlers are.
The importance of searching collateral lines was very apparent in this case, it was the key to finding the information I needed. So don't ever discount collateral lines.