The Gene Pool: Coincidences

Every now and then I like to sum up a few genealogy-related items I’ve come across in pop culture. I call it The Gene Pool because I’m clever.


Item #1: Oh my god, you’re European!
via the Internet

Samantha logged onto Facebook one day and read a message from a woman in England telling her that she had a doppelganger. She clicked a link to the woman’s Facebook profile and couldn’t believe what she saw. A year and a half later they’re documenting their story. I love this kind of stuff.

Read more here.


Item #2: No Coincidence, No Story
via radio and the Internet

Family researchers often find themselves in situations where they have to decide whether a coincidence is happenstance or a pattern taking shape. So, when I heard the first story about coincidences on an NPR broadcast, I was hooked!

After hearing the hour long broadcast, I couldn’t stop telling everyone I saw about the significance of a man giving his girlfriend a dollar with her name written on it (minute 22 in the podcast below), or the odd story of a man being given a picture of a toddler in a stroller taken 18 years ago and noticing his own grandmother perfectly framed in the background (minute 9:14 in the podcast below). And the other 13 stories gave me goose pimples, too.

Listen to the broadcast here. This one is a bit of a time commitment, come back to it when you’re washing dishes or cleaning house this weekend. I promise you won’t be sorry.



Item # 3: History Detectives
via television

I’m really late to this party,  but I figure if I wasn’t aware of PBS’s History Detectives even after 10 seasons of being on the air, then others might not know about it either. It is exactly the kind of tv program someone who knew me pretty well would tell me about!

It’s similar to Antiques Roadshow, only instead of appraising objects from the past, the detectives research the story behind the objects. In a recent episode, a woman inherited a beautiful electric guitar from her father who had worked in the music business. Her father told her it was the very guitar Bob Dylan played at his infamous Newport Folk Festival performance. So the detective went out to verify the story.

That example is a little less genealogy oriented, than others. They’ve also investigated the story behind two stolen Civil War derringers (I had to look up the word) and the validity of a woman’s claim that she inherited royal jewels. My point is that this show covers the whole gamut of people’s interests — music, art, culture, writing, architecture, sports, military– not to mention my three blogging loves: history, sociology, and genealogy.

Check out their website or watch a segment about a book of African American spirituals:


Like what I did here? Read my first Gene Pool installment!

Do you know about any history, sociology, or genealogy stories  I can use for upcoming Gene Pools? Tell me about it.

Have any interesting coincidences happen to you lately? I’d love to hear it. Or just tell me what you thought of my finds.


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I am a writer for an e-Learning course vendor near Chicago.

8 thoughts on “The Gene Pool: Coincidences”

  1. I listened to the podcast while I made cookies this afternoon. Very interesting and well done! The story about the engaged couple whose parents didn’t get married was my favorite.

      1. Ooooh, interesting question. I think there is meaning in most events in our lives but I don’t necessarily think there is deep meaning in every coincidence. I think some coincidences, while cool, aren’t necessarily indicative of anything other than personal choices lining up to create a fun set of circumstances. That being said, I believe many things considered coincidences are actually a chain of events that are meant to be. I found the podcast very interesting but it didn’t alter my opinion at all. What do you think?

  2. Not sure if this is quite what you are looking for but, In 1914a woman bought a photographic plate to take a picture of her newborn son, she then took it to a developer in Strausberg to get it developed. War broke out and she was never able to pick up the developed photo. She moved to Frankfurt two years later and had another child, so she went to buy another photographic plate.
    When she got the photo developed, she realised that the picture of her daughter had been superimposed on top of the photo of her son.
    It was the same plate that had been re-cycled and sold on (which was pretty common practice at the time) it just happened that this plate had never been cleared properly….
    Not sure on the validity of this as I got it from (#16) but its a cool story none the less.

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