Imagine my surprise when I overheard two unknown patrons three microfilm readers to my right at the family history library in Salt Lake City talking about the same family members I had traveled 200 miles that day to find. Or were they?
The more I listened (eavesdropped) the more confident I became they were indeed searching for William Carpenter and Elizabeth Eva, his wife, whose origins in England the family had been looking to find since they were separated from several of their children who joined the Church and immigrated to Wyoming in 1864. Finally, I became completely convinced when they mentioned Middlesex, England and Charles Carpenter and Hannah Day, his wife. These were my convert and emigrant ancestors and their residence in England. Charles was William and Elizabeth’s son.
But now they were packing up their things and getting ready to leave the library. I couldn’t let this opportunity pass. I approached the couple and asked if we were looking for common ancestors. And we were. We were second cousins.
They excitedly and quickly showed me much of the information they had found while looking for William and Elizabeth’s origins over the years. But they were on a tight schedule because they had to return to their home in Evanston, Wyoming that evening. They had driven 60 miles that day just to spend the day at the library.
It was more than coincidence that brought us together. It was the Lord’s doing. We had both traveled far from opposite directions to be at the library just for the day. We chose the same row of microfilm readers out of dozens of rows. And we were only three readers apart where I could overhear them whispering. It was miraculous.
Since then we have corresponded many times and shared each other’s excitement as we have each made discoveries, which have extended our common line of ancestry.