Death of a friend
I found out yesterday that one of my genealogy buddies died unexpectedly.This guy had a lot of health problems and spent the past ten years focused on genealogy.He could not get to the library so he turned to the Internet for information.He scoured every web site he could find, looking for any reference to the Lett name.Spelling did not matter to him; it could be Lett, Lette, Letterman, Leith, and Lott, whatever, anything that could possibly be construed as being a connection was taken into account.I would call the man a human genealogy sponge, soaking up anything and everything.
In his professional life, I think he used to be a cop.At times, I wondered if that were a good or bad thing.Knowing how much data he gathered, relevant or not, I would have hated to have been arrested by the man.Who knows what he would have thrown at you when the case went to court!Some people were offended by his lack of source citation and everyone knew to take everything he produced with a grain of salt.The thing most people failed to understand was that he did not claim that all of the information he passed along was factual.He wanted to relay the information and let someone else track down the proof or disproof if it pertained to their line.He simply wanted to spread the word.
While we never found our connection on paper, DNA proved that we were from the same line.His family was from North Carolina and mine was from Virginia.At some point, one of the Lett boys left Mecklenburg County, Virginia and went into North Carolina.We never found the will, deed or other document that tied us together but our genes were connected in some fashion.We even met up at a Lett family reunion in Missouri a few years back – I made the trip by car in two days, partially just to meet this man.
He tried desperately, sending out hundreds of e-mails per week, to connect all of the dots between all of the Letts out there.Some people were annoyed by his ramblings; others just hit the delete button.Some people tried to argue with him over citation, documentation or called his theories bunk.Some people were rude to him and blocked his e-mail account.Some people tolerated the ramblings of an old man out of respect.I simply communicated with a good friend and happened to get to do some genealogy at the same time.I will miss you Mel.Like it or not, you all know you will miss him!