A VFR reader posted about a historical figure, who he later learned was his ancestor

Ron K. writes:

Now that the subject of synchronicity is back on the site, it’s a good time to relate my own spooky VFR-related experience of 2010.

Early that year, you reported the amazing fact that two grandsons of President John Tyler (1790-1862) were still living. I recognized from the name of one that they were descended from Lion Gardiner, of Gardiner’s Island, the first man to live under English authority in what is now New York, and you posted that, along with some of the Wikipedia article about Lion. And that was that.

Come Thanksgiving time, a stranger researching her ancestry contacted me with questions about my grandmother’s family (the same family as that of Detective Vannatter of the O.J. Simpson case, Don Van Natta of the New York Times, the latest “new Bob Dylan” Sharon Van Etten, and Burl Ives’s great-grandmother Ives.) The easiest way to refresh my memory was at the Worldconnect site, where people post their family trees. My own was there, and I could glance at related ones to see if anyone else might have cracked any common “brick walls.”

And, boy, did someone ever. To make this short, the grandmother-in-law of one of the Vannatter men was for long, in my own and several others’ files, merely a mysterious “Aubrina,” married to a Smith and seemingly impossible to identify. But one researcher did have a full name for the woman— Sybil Parshall— and a pedigree to go with it.

So I clicked on Sybil’s pedigree to learn that her grandfather was the son of first cousins. And who might the common grandfather of that cousin-couple be? Why, one David Gardiner. The son of Lion Gardiner.

So, should this check out, Lion Gardiner was introduced to VFR readers, quite unwittingly, by a (double) descendant of Lion Gardiner, namely myself.

Now, a James Randi or Penn Jillette would say that there are tens of thousands of Lion’s descendants extant, so the odds aren’t 1-in-300,000,000 but “only” 1-in-20,000, so there!

But it sounds like synchronicity to me.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at June 19, 2011 04:46 PM | Send

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