Tuesday, September 19, 2023

When Lightning Strikes
and Earthquakes Hit


Some things you never expect to happen...and then, they do. This will be one of those posts which has to happen quickly because of the risk of one unexpected event occurring, yet while I'm racing that risk, I'm in the process of discovering the likelihood of another unexpected event unfolding. These sorts of things occurring may be far more like when lightning strikes twice than I had ever thought possible.

I'm writing quickly because tonight we have been experiencing a cluster of earthquakes hitting within thirty miles of our home—closer than usual for this New York transplant in California. This is not the time when I'd like to be lolling around at my desk with the luxury of electricity powering my worldwide Internet connections. 

When I came home earlier this evening, my California-born daughter asked if anything had hit the side of the house. New York native me: I thought that was an unusual question to ask. Until, that is, I was sitting at my desk, preparing to write this post. The desk under my resting arms vibrated after a sudden jolt—and then I clearly understood what my daughter had been asking. We were having an earthquake. Another one.

Despite living in a place having the reputation of someday "falling into the ocean," it is not an everyday occurrence when we find ourselves rocking or rolling—literally—but we do know how to click on to the U.S. Geological Survey's Earthquake Map to see where the activity is happening. Clue: it happened—so far, four times today—beginning with the first crack my daughter heard, all clustered in one place not far from our home.

Meanwhile, I had been continuing my research plan, confirming several of the DNA matches showing on my ThruLines readout for descendants of my Broyles line. These match confirmations take time, at least for those who wish to also include documentation to demonstrate the actual family connection. I was working on one particular Broyles fifth cousin, when I noticed that, after her father's death, her mother had remarried. It was the surname of the next husband which caught my eye: an unusual surname someone in my local genealogical society has been working on for years.

This is what I like to think of as a genealogical lightning striking: the rare chance that someone else in my society might also be researching a family line I'm connected to. After all, it wasn't that long ago when I discovered that the ex-husband of one of my distant cousins ended up marrying a society member's sister. I would never have known that if we didn't make a habit at our society of keeping up on each other's research progress.

While we love to keep in touch over our latest family finds, we never actually expect to discover that we, ourselves, are related! Yet, with this new discovery tonight, I might be witnessing lightning striking the same place twice. And if this California ground ever stops shaking, perhaps I'll get a chance to compare notes over coffee again with a fellow genealogical society member.

1 comment:

  1. I love those moments (the discovery ones, not the earthquake ones)


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