I’m not a big believer in luck, so I had to ponder this prompt. (Do you see a trend here?) I began to think about other words used to describe a seeming happenstance that worked out beneficially. The words above are just a few of what I came up with.
I’m especially fond of “Providence,” defined as “the foreseeing care and guidance of God or nature over the creatures of the earth.”
And, “serendipity” has long been one of my favorite words, not only in definition but in speech. It’s just fun to say!
And, what, you’re saying, does all this have to do with genealogy?
Well, I’ve been “lucky” quite a few times in my family history quest.
Just recently, I won a pass to RootsTech. The classes I took have given me some new knowledge and encouragement to continue my pursuit and to do it better and more efficiently. I hope that my improved research and organization skills will lead to more stories.
And, just a few weeks ago, I wrote a post on how I finally found the parents of Washington E. Keen by fortuitously stumbling onto a will.
What I didn’t realize until after I had written that post, was that the enumerator in the census that led to this discovery had made an error.
Sarah’s last name wasn’t Keene at all!
Here’s the entry in the 1855 Massachusetts state census:
If you look closely, you can see that underneath the “Keene” in Sarah’s entry, in very faint handwriting, is the last name “Kent.”
For whatever reason, the enumerator or someone else had written over “Kent” with “Keene“.
Kent is the maiden name of Washington’s widow, Lydia, seen on the first line. It’s probable that this is a relative of Lydia’s. (Though, it’s not her mother, whose name was Judith.)
This “lucky” error sent me on a trail to hunt down a Sarah Keene! I never would have looked for this name, and wouldn’t have found the will of the right Sarah Keen, if not for this serendipitous “mistake”.
Here’s to more “propitious” mistakes!
“Til next time!