08 September 2011

Lucky or Fateful Encounters - Part One

I like to put a few series of blog posts here from time to time on particular genealogical topics.  They give me the motivation to explore ideas and connections more clearly, at least in my own mind.

When we think about our family histories, our own existence is frequently thought of as the consequence of a series of lucky encounters.  For example, what if your parents had never met?  Where would you be now?

We may think of ourselves as experiencing both good luck and bad luck.  I have never won a lottery, or anything similar, so does that make me an unlucky person?  Until very recently, I had not been a hospital patient since the first week of my life, and I have now recovered fully.  Does that make me a lucky person?

When I was a child, I thought my maternal grandfather was unlucky because he had his birthday just before Christmas.  I thought my paternal grandmother was lucky because she worked in a cake shop.  Is luck just a matter of how we view a situation, especially the situation of someone other than ourselves?

Here is a blog post mentioning my experiences a few years ago in New York

Perhaps, unlike me, you believe in fate.  I prefer to think we have some freedom in our lives to choose our own destinies, or at least to plan and prepare for the type of future we would like.  And I sometimes wonder if my ancestors thought in a similar way.

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I especially appreciate historical insights.