I made a connection at 23andMe, the genetic testing site that provides you with oodles of people who are related to you- somehow. The irony is that this person is not related to me.
We found each other through a common surname, Puterbaugh. She is a Puterbaugh descendant and I am not. I listed the name as a collateral line. William Puterbaugh married a distant cousin of mine, Mary Duryea Cornell, in the 1860s in Illinois. I had high hopes for this branch because Mary's father, James S Cornell, was instrumental in the founding of Yorkville in Kendall County, Illinois. His story is portrayed in history books and the ancestral angle is portrayed by genealogists. A win-win situation.
This Puterbaugh descendant provided me with a listing of her Puterbaugh line, complete with names, variant spellings, and most importantly- locations. Darke County, Ohio stood out for its name alone. No Puterbaugh-Cornell marriage appeared in her direct ancestral line, though. I realized that I had little about Mary's husband, William Puterbaugh, so I looked at Find A Grave to see if a descendant or kind soul had featured the man. I knew I had the right guy when I saw the specifics of his birth: 1840 in "Dark Co., OH."
So we now had Puterbaughs in the same location at the same time.
A few family trees and researchers later, I was able to decide that William Puterbaugh was a second cousin to my contact's great grandfather. Her cousin had married my cousin. This does not make us related, but it is funny that we connected through a genetic genealogy website.