A few of examples from my files.…
A man told me his older brother’s cause of death. This older brother actually died before this man was born. I got a copy of the death certificate and the cause of death was something completely different. I reported back and was told I was wrong.
A man told me that his father didn’t have a middle name. Obtained several documents including the man’s SS-5 that he filled out himself that stated otherwise. The name he knew his father by was actually his middle name. He stated it wasn’t true no matter what the documents said.
A woman has a direct ancestor that committed a murder. Entire event chronicled in the newspaper with the ancestor confessing to the crime. Woman states the event never happened and she doesn’t know why the paper would print such a thing.
A woman’s ancestor was a wealthy slave owner. Let’s just say she didn’t deal with that news very well and insisted there was some mistake. None of her relatives would have ever done that.
A man’s great-grandmother had a child out of wedlock. He insisted that all of the documents and evidence was in error.
A woman didn’t appreciate it when I presented census records to her that showed the brother of her ancestor listed as an “idiot.” (I did try and explain the term).
- I don’t hide anything. What I find is what I find.
- I do try and convey “bad news” as gently as I can along with explanations and background information to put things into context.
- I present the evidence but I don’t argue about it. If you don’t want to accept it I can’t help that.
- If you are not prepared to hear things that are different from what you “know,” or if you don’t believe that skeletons are possible in your family, it is probably better if you don’t dig into your family’s past.
Copyright © 2013 Michele Simmons Lewis