With the story of great grandmother Ramie, knowing her husband's name and her last name, I set out to find her parents again after failing on my last attempt. On my last attempt, I had tried searching for her under her married name but had no luck. I also tried under her maiden name and various spellings of it and still had no luck. This time I was older and wiser and started out properly, I found her husband.
Males have kept their last names throughout the centuries making them much easier to track down. Within minutes, I had found my great grandfather in one of the federal census databases and saw that he was married to a Rama. Aha I thought, Ramie is a nickname. I kept tracing my great grandfather back through the census years and also found Rame and Ramey. Now one might suspect that these could be multiple women but they were always the same age difference from my great grandfather and their parents always came from the same state as the others. No, I had to assume that they were all one and the same and that the census taker simply had a hard time spelling her name. This was all well and good but it still didn't help me find her parents other than I now knew which state they were born in.
But times have changed and back 'then', most people never strayed far from home. I had her last name, or at least a spelled version of it, so I decided the next step was to pull up one of the census records that I had for my great grandfather with her in it as wife and look at others on the same page. Perhaps Ramie's parents lived just down the street. The later ones proved fruitless but they were all after a move they had made to a different county some 10 to 20 years into their marriage. I went back to the earliest census record I had of their marriage and started looking at their neighbors. Not half a page down from my great grandparents, I found a couple about the right age and definitely had the same last name. Looking deeper at their records, I found that Robert and Sarah J. were born in the same state as listed on Ramie's records. Things were now looking up.
I started tracing Robert and Sarah back through the census but in the 1880 census, Sarah J. disappeared and Mary A. appeared. Furthermore, listed under their names as a daughter was one Rennie at the right age as my Ramie would have been in that year. So now I knew that Robert and Mary A. were my great great grandparents. A half hour later, I had confirmed that my great great great grandparents were James and Elizabeth, my fourth great grandparents were Thomas and Patience, and I had one and a half sets of fifth great grandparents James and Jane along with Samuel whose wife I haven't had time to track down yet. In a short time, I have gone from the 1900's to well before the Revolutionary War with this line of ancestors.
I still don't know the name of my great grandmother for sure, but I'm guessing it is Rennie since that record was created when she was a young girl and before people in that time tended to change their names but until I find a death or birth certificate, I'm not betting any money on it. And so goes my genealogy search for more ancestors and the stories like going to the greenhouse that sometimes comes with them.