Saturday, January 17, 2015

Serendipity in Genealogy

Serendipity: n-the occurrence and development of events by chance in a happy or beneficial way.

I have read stories on other blogs regarding “Serendipity in Genealogy” and finally had a serendipitous moment of my own.

I had been researching my cousin’s Farias line.  We are related via my father and their mother.  Our parents are first cousins on my Gonzalez side.  I was trying to see if I could connect our families via a Farias relation as well.  I had followed their line back to their 2nd great grandparents Fausto Farias and Epitasia Hinojosa.

My research led me to request a film be sent from the Family History Library in Salt Lake City to a local branch close to me.  The film reel (1016452) consisted of marriage certificates for the State of Texas, Starr County 1858-1916.  I had the marriage date as it had been indexed; 26 August 1878.  Now I want to see if the marriage certificate held any unknown information.

The reel started with 1858 and I needed to unwind it 20 years.  If anyone has done this before, that can be a lot of hand cranking.  When you are looking for a specific document, you start winding like crazy, stopping periodically to see how the date has come along.

As many of you can relate, we are rarely working in only one direction at one time.  Around the same time, I had also been researching the Vela line of my brother-in-law (my sister’s husband).   I had the names of his 2nd great grandparents Severo Vela and Estafana Garcia.  I had put forth a good amount of effort but I had not been able to find evidence of their marriage in the Mexico records I had been searching.

Serendipity happened on one of my pauses unwinding the film to check the date.  I had landed on 4 July 1869.  Still 9 years off my target.  As I scanned the screen looking for a date, the name Severo Vela registered in my brain.  I blinked a couple of times and took another look.  Sure enough, in front of my face, sat my brother in law’s 2nd great grandparents marriage certificate.

I had not thought to search on this side of the border for a record of their marriage.  Subsequently, I gave myself a slap on the forehead moment, when I proved if I had just used the United States in my search parameters, I would have returned results. 

By the way, I did also net my quarry that day of the other marriage certificate. 

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