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From: "Jeffrey L. Armstrong" <>
Subject: [ARMSTRONG-L] Odd coincidences while doing genealogy research
Date: Sun, 16 Jan 2000 15:41:14 -0500


My interest was piqued by one of those "Missing Links" e-mails that we receive as a punishment from RootsWeb for belonging to the Armstrong list.

This particular entry was about odd coincidences that had occurred while people were doing genealogy research. Similar occurrences have happened to me since I have been working on genealogy. At least a dozen times or so I have found crucial pieces of information when I was looking for other things and I had absolutely no reason whatever to expect that the information could be found where it was found. (That is why, if I had any advice for beginning genealogists, it would be to: Keep your eyes open, expect the unexpected, and always give serendipity a chance to occur.)

But a particularly interesting thing happened when I went to the Clay County (Fort Gaines) Georgia courthouse a year or so ago. I went there knowing only that my great grandfather, John Ludwell Armstrong, had lived there for a while in his young adult years before moving to the Geneva County, AL. area. I didn't even know his wife's full name; only her initials were engraved on her tombstone.

The crusty old curmudgeon of a judge at the courthouse there grudgingly allowed me entrance to her vault of records. The marriage book there was a large book of about 500 pages. On each page of the book was pasted two marriage licenses, one each from different couples who were married in the order in which the marriage licenses were recorded.

Sure enough, John's marriage license was recorded to my great-grandmother, Arrabanrion Magruder, whose name I was learning for the first time. But to my astonishment, on the same page of the same book, was posted the marriage license of my great-grandparents from my mothers side of the family, Amos Chancey and Winnifred Word! I had no idea that these people were living in the same place; they did not get married on the same date; they wound up living in different areas and would not be related by marriage for 3 generations. I have no reason to believe they knew each other.

I wonder if any of you have any similar occurrences of odd coincidences while doing genealogy research.

Jeff Armstrong
Tallahassee, FL

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