There is an old adage, "there are no coincidences". While I don't subscribe to that maxim, it surely would simplify genealogy were it true. If I knew there was a definite link to be found I'd certainly look that much harder and longer. Statisticians, theologians, and psychiatrists have actually studied the concept of coincidences. The numbers guys chalk it up to, "The Law of Truly Large Numbers", believing that in a big enough population, weird events are going to randomly happen. Theologians and psychiatrists seem generally to lean the other way.
A few years ago a cousin and I spent a great deal of time on our Vincent line who came from Saratoga County, New York to the Finger Lakes region of the state in the early 1800's. The earliest Vincent I have proof of is John Vincent who died in 1814 during the War of 1812 and whose wife was Mary Clements. Their son Thomas Vincent is my 3rd great-grandfather who died in Victory, New York at a relatively young age leaving behind a family. Two of his children can be found residing with a couple named Dubois in a later census. I discovered in reading the will of Mary Clements' brother Frederick Clements, that Mrs. Dubois was Frederick's daughter, meaning the children were living with a relative.
But that living arrangement was not a coincidence, many persons from Saratoga County migrated to their area. You'd expect some of them were related even though their surnames differed. I would however, call it a coincidence that one of the Dubois children married my Worden 3rd great-grandfather's niece. The Worden's were from Rhode Island with no known connections to Saratoga County families.
Another interesting development in this same line involves Thomas Vincent's widow Matilda Taylor. After Thomas' death in Victory, Matilda married Rockwell Rood around 1844, something my cousin and I were able to prove even though it was accepted, and published I might add, that she too had passed away. The family of Rockwell Rood had settled in Dix, New York, many miles from Victory, after coming to New York from Vermont. How did Rockwell and Matilda even meet? That question has occupied my imagination for years now. So imagine my surprise upon discovering another relative, my 3rd Great-grandfather Richard Wiggins, had a sister who married a widower named Peter Cooper residing in Victory. Richard and his sister, Catherine, lived in Wolcott, New York, near Victory so Catherine and Peter's meeting was not odd but... in about 1850 Peter's daughter Maria Louisa, (from his first marriage), married a man named Marcus Rood from Dix! His father was none other than Rockwell! Coincidence?
The Vincents and Wiggins were not related except through marriage; a marriage that didn't take place until 1921. But in all probability Peter Cooper and his wife Catherine Wiggins knew Thomas Vincent and Matilda Taylor there in Victory. The Coopers are even further removed, in fact Maria Louisa is not related to my line except as a step-daughter and yet she was living in Victory until her marriage to a man named Rood, after which she lived in Dix, exactly like my 3rd great-grandmother Matilda.
Still not convinced? How about this one-- Peter Cooper's daughter Maria Louisa who married Rockwell Rood's son was born in 1827. Thomas Vincent and Matilda Taylor also had a daughter whom they named Maria Louisa. She was also born in 1827.
|Death certificate of Maria Louisa Cooper showing birth date, 18 Jan 1827|
|Death certificate of Maria Louisa Vincent with her birth date 1 Jul 1827|
I like to think that the universe sends us these delightful little gifts every once in a while to remind us we're all connected, past and present, and to make us smile in wonder, that from the unimaginable vastness, this particular gift was sent for me. Deepak Chopra said, "Coincidences are not accidents but signals from the universe", and G. K. Chesterson*, Catholic convert, writer, philosopher, poet, etc.etc... weighed in with,"Coincidences are spiritual puns". Their thoughts beat those of the statisticians by a mile.
*Author of "Father Brown" seen on BBC