Why? Because Lanier was celebrating her 119th birthday.
Only a week earlier, Guinness World Records officials had visited the tiny town of Monroe, Ga., to present Besse Cooper with a plaque proclaiming her the oldest living person in the world -- at roughly age 114 and a half.
"We're trying to separate fact from fiction," Young said.
Cooper is preparing for a visit Monday from Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal. She was 114 years and 158 days old on the January day earlier this year when the previous record holder, Eunice Sanborn, died in Texas at age 114 years, 195 days. (Sanborn had held the title for only three months, after the death of a French nun last November propelled her to the top spot.)
In the case that played out last week in Ohio with Lanier, her family said they don't have a birth certificate -- noting her parents had been slaves in Mississippi -- but they do have Social Security records to prove she was born in March 1892.
"When she came up here to live with us, when she moved to Cleveland, she celebrated her 112th birthday," Shambley said. "And we've been keeping it going, based on the records left with us."
The investigators at Guinness, however, found U.S. Census Records that suggest Lanier actually was born in 1905 or 1906. Young told AOL News that officials at Guinness were aware of the case as many as five years ago and had determined the age claim to be false after research conducted then.
However, he said, the documents have to back up the story. And in Lanier's case, the census records, the age of her husband, the ages of her children and other documentation all played a role.
"Her being born in 1892 is not fitting in with the other pieces of the jigsaw puzzle," he said.
Lanier's family, however, plans to do more research to see what they can turn up, Shambley told AOL News.
Was Lanier upset to hear she couldn't claim the oldest person title?
"She wasn't disappointed," Shambley told AOL News. "Stuff like that doesn't really faze her. She's not even that into it.
"The only thing that's really important is that she's here with us and she's doing great," she said.
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