I'd taken a 15 year break from the Padfields as they weren't quite what I expected. My Benjamin, the youngest of the tribe, was a yeoman farmer as were all his offspring. This was because he'd inherited the family farm from his father, and despite a maid burning the farmhouse down (about 1857), he was able to maintain his position in the parish leaving nearly £1000 at his death.
He also left a journal filled with writings, notes and recollections of his father - and these are wonderfully golden and detailed, it was unlikely, living nowhere near, that I'd be able to find anything more of significance to add.
Then came the disappointments - none of Benjamin's new siblings had any children. The ones that got uncovered seemed to have none of Benjamin's personality, longevity or standing. They were just dropping off the social cliff. I then found that his mother was a Hill; there was doubt over his half-sister's children, and family refused to accept the findings that the journal didn't 100% match the reality of the parish registers. I didn't feel that the patchy Padfield family as shown in the records matched my imagination of generations of popular Padfields toiling the Somerset soil.
Also the other researchers had no names that matched at all, and a lot more miners and a lot fewer friendly faces.
Rays of light came in, though - dear Joseph the young man felled by a slocket, left an unborn baby boy according to the registers. A new half-sister had a boy called Eli (very significant) too. A cousin found some papers which named, surprise indeed, both Robert and his boy Francis Padfield - names from the registers and missing from the journal.
Today, about 20 years later, I again scouted out these branches. Benjamin's sister Ann Wilcox looks pretty secure and her family were as fun as I remembered and more so (a travelling salesman added to the loop today). Benjamin's other sister Betsy is sitting there with a tribe of descendants waiting to be unearthed and no real problematic gaps. The Hill mother turned out to be much more than met the eye (shouldn't have been a snob about the very ordinary name) - a nephew was a vegetarian Belgian confectioner who liked writing to the papers. The older Padfields are almost all now slotted in - and Robert and Francis were progenitors of very varied Padfields. None farmed the soil and none led me to the Essex lines, but we have some worsted weavers in Bradford and lots of new researching cousins, which was just the tonic needed.