What person doesn’t enjoy a pleasant surprise? As a genealogy researcher, I love that “a-ha” moment of discovery, sometimes celebrated with what is known as the “genealogy happy dance.”
Recently, there have been two very pleasant such events in my genealogy life. The first occurred during a vacation to Indiana. We had just toured the Twin Oaks Dairy Farm and stopped at their gift shop to eat lunch. As I was browsing some of the displays, someone hurled their baseball cap at me. I winced and though, “What bratty kid is throwing things in here?” Well, it was not a bratty kid at all, but my older brother Ron. (Yes, in our growing up years I may have called him that, but the fact is I have always admired him … even when we would fight). Ron, his wife Marilyn, and their daughter Maria were traveling from Minnesota to the East Coast to visit another family member when they decided to take a quick break at the Twin Oaks gift shop. Now what are the chances of this happening? I’d say very, very remote. Neither of us knew of the others travel plan. It was such a delight to see and visit with them, realizing if either of us had been ten minutes earlier or later, we would have missed each other. I am glad that was not the case
The second serendipity event happened as I did some further research on the genealogy of our son-in-law’s ancestors. It turns out that his sixth great-grandfather (and, thus our granddaughter Ava’s seventh great-grandfather) was the original owner of the property where we owned our first house. It was home to Ava’s mother Naomi for the first four years of her life. Translated: Ryan’s sixth great-grandfather, John Wheeler, had a land patent (homestead) from the U.S. government in 1852, making him the original owner after Uncle Sam. In the middle 1970s we bought our first house on a portion of that land.
So, again, what is the probability of a person living on a portion of land previously owned by a seventh generation ancestor of her future husband?
Coincidences of these kind are fun and fascinating!