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Saturday, October 07, 2006

A Cautionary Tale

From the Pasco (Wash.) Tri-City Herald of Jan. 27, 1959:

MIAMI, Fla. (AP)—An 80-year-old man who spent his life tracing people's ancestors guarded his own life so closely that when he died friends were unsure of his first name.

Robert L. Brownfield Jr. was a genealogist or family tree tracer. He came to Miami 27 years ago but nobody seems to know where from.

He moved into a hotel and kept to himself. Recently he became ill in the night and started for the telephone. Before he reached it, he died. His body was found three days later.

One hotel resident thought he remembered Brownfield's talking once about being president of a bank in Pennsylvania. Another, who had lived in the hotel as long as Brownfield, did not know his first name.

Brownfield's desk was cluttered with papers. They were filled with clues about other people's background. There was nothing about himself.

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