Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Serendipity in Genealogy: Nothing on earth left to do

It's coincidence, hunch, synchronicity, fortuitous luck, guidance, paranormal, spiritual, karma, ESP, visitation, life-after-death, fate, divinity, genetic memory, providence, intuition, Deity, inspiration, psychic, revelation, subconscious reasoning, numeracy, vision, sixth sense, collective subconscious, dream, reincarnation, educated guess, inner voice, out-of-body journey, chance, non-mechanical reality, portent, omen or "the sheer cussed ... wonder of things." (Jones, Psychic Roots, p. 81.)

We call it Serendipity in Genealogy.

Nothing on earth left to do

"Angel of the Aurora"
Credit: Suzanne Ruby
Courtesy SkyChasers.net

In late 1992, Billie's husband came into the house, sat down in his favorite chair and passed away.

Billie's husband—we'll call him Robert—was a volunteer at a Family History Center (FHC) in Southern California where he worked the Tuesday shift. Unbeknownst to Billie, in frustration Robert had been telling other volunteers at the center that he had exhausted all possible research avenues on his father's line and was unable to break past the road block.

"I don't know what on this earth I can do to get more information," he reportedly said.

Three months after her husband's passing, in early 1993 Billie received a letter from England addressed to Robert. A woman had discovered his address in the files at the Family History Library years earlier and wondered if they shared a common lineage. The relative confessed she had meant to write for some time. She provided enough information that Billie was able to verify they shared the same line. She quickly returned a response and asked her husband's newly found English relative if she had additional information.

With joy Billie received a response a few weeks later extending Robert's father's line back six generations.

What led this relative to finally make contact at this time? Why this relative who had the exact information Robert sought? And why so soon after Robert's death?

Serendipity, of course.


Adapted from "Unexpected query," Billie Myers Hawkins, LDS Church News, 15-November-2008, p. 16.

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