Back in 1998, I was active on the Russell Rootsweb list. One day, a woman named Jeanne posted a query. She was asking about Allen George Russell who was a pilot and worked for Howard Hughes for a time. That's about all she said.
I read that query and said to myself, "There couldn't be two!" I wrote back and told her that I thought she was talking about my great uncle Allen George Russell who was born in Fallbrook, California in 1900. I also said that, besides having worked for Howard Hughes, he was also the personal pilot for William Randolph Hearst for years -- and a few more facts. I had no idea why she was looking for him.
She wrote back and said, "That's him and he was my father!" Let me tell you, that was a surprise! I thought I knew all of Great Uncle Allen's wives and children. After exchanging additional email, I learned that she was born to a wife that no one in family knew -- and that, apparently, it was bigamy! I was able to put Jeanne in touch with her three living brothers and I organized a family reunion so she could come to Fallbrook and meet everyone. She was so excited!
The first time I saw Jeanne, I knew she was a Russell. She looked a great deal like my grandmother (her aunt). Jeanne became a friend. I loved her and I will always be grateful that I was able to introduce her to her family. Jeanne passed away in 2013. I was able to see her a couple of months before she died and I went to a memorial service for her at the end of the Seal Beach Pier. May you always rest in peace, Jeanne!