Synchronicity and Family History

by Sarah Webb. 0 Comments

I was in utter confusion.  Was Trout a Union veteran or was he a Confederate?   Not one to give up, I headed north from Monocacy Battlefield towards the Maryland Room. 

My plan was to find the original articles that the Frederick News Post referenced.  I knew they had to be longer in the original edition than in the excerpts and I couldn’t wait to get my hands on them.

            I’ve heard people talk about synchronicity when doing family history research.  Apparently sometimes “things” just start happening to let you know you’re on the right track.  Those “things” usually take the form of strange coincidences. 

         Susan Guynn even writes about it.  She called it the “Whoa!” factor in her article on page 62 about Opossumtown Pike in the November/December issue of “Real Frederick.”   Strange coincidences really do start happening when you take the time to investigate curiosities of history that interest you.

 Once again John Trout didn’t disappoint. 

 I practically skipped the stairs by twos to get to the Maryland Room.  The librarians have always been helpful and there were 2 resources I needed.  I wanted to see the microfilm of old newspapers; and, I wanted a resource book about the history of place names in Frederick County. 

 I knew the book I had in mind; I just couldn’t quite remember the title.  I was trying to describe it to the librarian and she knew immediately what I was talking about, but couldn’t directly put her hands on it.  As we were perusing the shelves, the Maryland Room phone rang.  She walked back to the desk.

 “Hello.  Oh hi!  Your ears must be ringing.  I have someone here who wants your book.  Where is it on the shelf?”

 I could only hear her side of the conversation.

 “Hmm…let me find out.”

 Then she turns to me, “What are you looking up?”

 “Park Mills, Flint Hills,” I reply.

 She repeats the information, then, “Well, thank you!”

 And she walks right over and pulls the book off the shelf for me.

  I.  Kid.  You.  Not. 

 I will repeat. I am not kidding.  It happened exactly that way.

 What are the chances that the author of the book you are looking for will call at exactly the same minute and in exactly the same room in which you are standing?  Even beyond that, I have no idea why the author called because the librarian didn’t talk about anything else with him except to ask him where his book was. 

Now mind you, I am scientifically skeptical of most coincidences, but even I had to nod Upstairs to that one.  I suddenly did not feel very alone in my library quest that day.  I half expected to see John Trout pop out from behind the stacks after that.  

 Personally I think synchronicity doesn’t just happen in genealogy.  One is led to it.  As if records are waiting to be discovered by someone who is willing to listen.

 Incidentally, the book I wanted is called ­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­Gazetteer of Old, Odd & Obscure Place Names of Frederick County, Maryland compiled by Louis B. O’Donoghue.  It is an interesting resource on the origins of Frederick county place names and locales.     I found out that Park Mills (formerly known as New Bremen) and Flint Hills have some families that may possibly be descended from slaves from nearby plantations, like Buckingham Manor (now the Claggett Center).   In another resource Frederick Couny, Maryland: Never the Like Again  by Paul and Rita Gordon, I discovered that Buckeystown and Urbana, the districts where John Trout was living, held strong Confederate sentiments during the Civil War, perhaps due to their prevalence of plantations.

           Instead of resolving any questions I had, these resources only added to my questions about John Trout.   Maybe the microfilm will help…..

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