A relative died in rural New Mexico in 1925 after a fall from a horse. A neighbor who had probably known him for a short time was the informant. Based on the information on the death certificate, the informant likely knew the relative’s approximate age, that he was divorced, and that he had lived in Oklahoma before moving to New Mexico. That was it.

And it makes perfect sense if someone moves somewhere to “start over.” The relative was not hiding who he was, but his new neighbor had no need to know the names of my relative’s parents or the name of his ex-wife. The place of birth given for my relative was Oklahoma–where he had lived before coming to New Mexico.

The age on the death certificate lists only a year. The place of birth is Oklahoma. The names of parents, their places of birth, and the wife’s name are all unknown. Makes perfect sense given the time and the informant. The names of parents being unknown are also frustratingly consistent with what the relative listed on his marriage record from the 1880s.

Keep in mind the relationship. The two men functioned perfectly well as neighbors without the two sixty-something year old men knowing who the parents or the ex-wives of the others were or precisely where they were born.



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