O'Day's analysis of the Nelson-Haxell congolomeration of family and business after the 1850s was one of distancing based on the personal papers of Elizabeth Haxell, Mrs Cotton. This analysis can be read into a wider societal drift toward nuclear families.

Does the assessment hold up when the web of relatedness of the wider kin-nexus is observed? Or does the data instead highlight a series of emotive questions about the Cotton family group.