At cemeteries, I’ve always stood on grave markers to avoid snakes. Once, a woman drove up and said, “Why are you standing on my father’s grave?” That was how I met a cousin. I can remember my grandmother bringing me a message from her three older sisters about their grandmother. I had been searching for family records in courthouses for a while. “Quit looking for grandma’s marriage record,” the sisters advised me. “Grandma never married anybody.” When I asked my grandmother once about one of her aunts, the only comment she made was, “She kept a clean house,” which, to my grandmother, was a high mark, but something one does not find in an obituary or eulogy.
The author Harnett Kane dedicated one of his books to an ancestor he described as “the only private in the Civil War,” since everyone claimed their ancestor was a much more elevated rank. Recently, a professional genealogist reported that her client told her, “Don’t clutter my family tree with documents,” clearly not being interested in verifying whether the compiled information was accurate. Many reported that when relatives left this area and went West, they often posted on their doors: “Gone to Texas.”