Friday, July 10, 2009

Quite A Coincidence ~

"The difference between fiction and reality is that fiction has to make sense" ~ Tom Clancy

One of my genealogy stories would probably not sound credible as fiction - "Too unlikely" an editor would say.

[A little info: My great-great-grandparents, Rudolph GRABER and Emma ZAUGG met and married in Apple Creek, Ohio on March 15, 1881.]

On day, many, MANY years ago (late 80's/early 90's) I was showing my best friend, Nancy, a genealogy program I had just purchased. My friend is a computer programmer and I was only showing her because it was "cool computer stuff", not because she was particularly interested in genealogy. I happen to click on Rudy's record and she said, "Oh my grandfather was born in Apple Creek."

I really thought she was joking as Apple Creek is a tiny town. I said something like, "Not Apple Creek OHIO or I would recognize the name." She insisted that her grandfather, Carroll Lee ERB, had been born there. She told me the family hadn't lived there very long and that Carl's father, Edmund ERB was a minister who later moved the family to Nebraska.

After she left I was in a genealogy mood and began reading a copy of a page from a Wayne County history with information about the German Reform Church where my ancestors had worshiped. I read that services were held in English and in German for many year. It gave a listing of all the prior ministers to serve the church - and there I saw "E. Erb".

I immediately called my friend to tell her. We both thought this was quite a coincidence ~ certainly a small world! If we had grown up as friends in the same small town it wouldn't be at all unusual, but I was born in Ohio, she in Illinois. She grew up in California and then we met in St. Louis and worked together and became friends.

Her grandfather, incidentally, was apparently the last minister to give the service in both languages. After that the services were held in English in the morning by one minister and German in the afternoon by a different minister. [picture of Edmund ERB]

But wait, there's more ~

[picture of Rudy & Emma - likely a wedding picture or taken near that time]

I had no more than hung up the phone then I found something even more amazing. On the registration of Rudy and Emma's marriage was the signature, "Edmund Erb". Her great- grandfather had officiated at the wedding of my great-great-grandparents!!! There on one piece of paper is the signature of both my great-great-grandfather, Rudolph GRABER and Nancy's great-grandfather, Edmund ERB.

My family lived in Wayne County, Ohio for many years. Some still do. Her family, on the other hand, had really just been passing through and yet we have this bit of shared history. I couldn't make up a story like that!


  1. WOW! This is truly something thank you for sharing this.

  2. I think this is soooo cool. Funny how that happens.
    I just finished a history for a friend of mine who's ancestors lived in the same town in Ontario as did my husband's family at the same time. I don't know if they knew each other but I would think they did.
    And now here in B.C. about 150 years later we are friends.

  3. What an awesome story - I love it when that happens.


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