Feb 4, 2010

Sharondipity Strikes Again ;-)

I think by now most people know that I have a thing for the word "Serendipity", which means to make desirable discoveries by accident. Hence, the nickname ''Sharondipity''.

Over the past few months I have been writing little bios about my ancestors and posting them to this blog. I was working on the children of my 2x Great Grandparents and had one left to do. It was for their youngest son Francis Manley and I finally finished it and posted it on Monday. On a side note I had gone to Toronto the day before specifically to find and photograph the gravestone of Francis' son William.

On Tuesday I received an email from a lady named Cathy. A school in her hometown had asked her if she knew of any priests that had come from that area. She remembered the name of one from her childhood and googled it. This led her to my blog because that same priest was mentioned in the obituary for Francis Manley that I had posted the day before. Imagine her surprise when the first post she saw was about Francis Manley and his wife Amelia Cartmell, who just happen to be her great Aunt and Uncle. She hadn't been looking for them, but there they were. She was so excited, she sent me an email introducing herself and asking if I had any information on Frank and Amelia and their children, especially William. (The one I had just gone to visit the day before).

On Wednesday I sent her a descendant list of Francis and Amelia so that she would be able to fill in their children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren, along with a few pics.

Later in the day, I received another email thanking me for the information. Then she added that she was 'particularly interested' in an old childhood friend. Her father had told her that she and her friend were actually 2nd cousins and she thought that her friend must be descended from Frank and Amelia. She told me everything about her friend, including who her friends mother and aunt were and the names of a couple of her cousins. Imagine my surprise when I realized that she was talking about my Dad's sisters and all of my 1st cousins. Her childhood friend was my cousin Jinny. The mother and aunt she mentioned were my Aunts Mary and Reta, and the cousins were Reta's boys; Tommy and Patrick. In fact Reta and her son Tommy are my Godparents.  It was very surreal to read someone trying to explain your own family to you.

I gave her the news of who I am and how I fit into this family. The next email she sent had ''Unbelievable'' in the subject line. She told me that she and Jinny had been BEST friends all through elementary and high school. They had lost touch after Jinny got married and moved away but had seen each other over the years when Jinny came home for visits. The last time was in 2002 when my Aunt Mary (Jinny's mom) passed away. She had so many great memories of their childhood together and said she would treasure the picture that I sent her. She also said that Jinny would be LOL'ing in heaven about how we found each other.

My beautiful, funny, cousin Jinny passed away (way too young) just over 3 years ago. It's been great talking to Cathy about her and I look forward to many more chats. She and Jinny weren't 2nd cousins after all (Jinny is descended from Frank's brother and Cathy is descended from Amelia's brother) but they certainly share common cousins. They came from such a small town it wouldn't surprise me if there is a relation there somewhere. I already have one or two possibilities in mind. We'll have to meet for coffee next time I'm down that way and chat some more. And all of this, because she googled the name of a priest who isn't even related to either one of us.

I call that 'Serendipity'.

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