I was attempting to track a woman born Bertha Amelia McKee a while ago, and abandoned the effort because her life was clearly even more eventful than my grandmother with the four husbands including two brothers who were Mennonites (possibly Holdeman, altho I'm still not at all sure about that). As a result of developing this portion of my tree, someone else on ancestry.com got in touch with me and explained she was doing some research on behalf of a first cousin once removed. I got B.'s contact information, then promptly had a whole lot of minor excitement of my own (R. laid off, we went to WDW, we came back, I got sick and had laryngitis for a while, blah, blah, bleeping, blah). Last night, I called her and had a wonderful conversation, in which I learned that my grandma and her sister P. had a non-relationship -- P. wouldn't even answer her letters, which I in no way blame P. for because I've read some of my grandma's letters and she was quite apocalyptic religiously and it tended to take up a lot of pages when she wrote people.
P. also had some negative things to say about Bertha Amelia McKee, which B. was very skeptical about. But I got to thinking maybe P. was not as far off as we thought. I had already suspected Bertha had more than three husbands. I nailed down the fourth one today, and there are people online doing really excellent work on this lovely lady who assert there were 5.
Not 9, but still. I'm going to take another swing at her anyway, because I just figured out that at least one of her step-daughters, Alma Siedel, spent at least a period of time in an orphanage after the husband/father died and Bertha moved onto another husband.