09 June 2012

Lucky of Fateful Encounters - Part Three

Is there ever anything lucky about mistaken identity, especially in the area of family history?  Sometimes, I am contacted by people who think they are related to me when I know they are not.  It is often the case that a similar name in a completely irrelevant location is the cause of confusion in the minds of the people contacting me.

Sometimes, however, a person who might be unrelated can help us in other ways. Perhaps they had relatives who had the same surname and lived in the same area as a family member, or even in the same street.  It is something I have found from my own experience.

Being in contact with someone who has an insight into an environment a family member would have experienced can reveal some interesting snippets of information.  I can vaguely recollect my grandmother mentioning a sweetshop near to where she lived as a child, and I think she mentioned the shop was owned by a relative.

Someone with the same surname as my grandmother's maiden name did indeed own a sweetshop in the street where my grandmother grew up, as I discovered while exploring my Shropshire family history and heritage.  The person I contacted by email was very pleasant and informative, though we could not work out if there actually was a family connection anywhere.

It is always important never to jump to premature conclusions when researching anything. I hope you will find some of my other investigations into identity to be of interest.  They are from my By Any Other Name blog:

Unfortunate connotations

Mistaken identity and identity confusion

Entertainment, friendship and identity

Most of my luck with family history has come as a consequence of my research online, of emails I have sent or received enquiring about all sorts of historical matters, and from distant relatives who have been looking at this blog.  

And mentioning a sweetshop reminded me that I have some very nice chocolates in my kitchen...  Now that is lucky!

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I especially appreciate historical insights.