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:
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!