Sometimes, You Don’t Have to be Searching to Make a Fascinating Family Find
I work at an educational institution and my department hires student tour guides. Because many students take 2 year programs, we will usually have guides for about a year and then they move on.
One guide in particular, Andrew Leaman, took several programs in a row so he was with us for a few years. In the beginning, assuming he would be with us a short time, I only made small talk with him and smiled when I saw him since I didn’t expect to know him long. As he became more of a familiar face sticking around over the course of his various programs, conversations lasted longer and my team got to know him a bit more. Come to find out, he was a graduate of the same high school as me and came from my home town. That, of course, led to chat about what we had in common from old haunts to people we knew. He brought in treats once in a while and we all developed a respect for him as he grew as a tour guide. Later, he became a student ambassador speaking on panels to prospective students of his pathway to success.
As I was thinking about a gravestone discovery for my husband’s great aunt one day in my office, Andrew stopped by to say “hello”. The great aunt’s name of my stone discovery was Cora Leaman and it occurred to me that Andrew’s last name was Leaman also. I knew since I first met him that his name was Leaman but at that moment it was like I heard it in my head for the first time.
“Andrew!” I said. “You’re a Leaman!” He responded with “Last time I checked”.
“My husband’s great aunt was a Leaman. Any chance there might be a connection since you are from my area?”
He said it was possible since he knew of there being Cornishes in his family line. I pulled up my online family tree and instantly he pointed out “Hey, that’s my grandfather!” and from there we had quite the conversation filling in the gaps of our shared family tree. His great grandmother, Cora (Cornish) Leaman, was the same Cora whose grave stone I was looking for the week prior; my husband’s great aunt. She was a sister to my husband’s great grandfather Ken Cornish (the same Kenneth Verne Cornish I mentioned in last month’s Crestleaf’s entry). That makes Andrew a 3rd cousin through marriage. Incredible!
I’m always amazed at how small the world is sometimes but it seemed to be even smaller that day. The fact that the woman, whose stone I was in search of, was the great grandmother of this student, who I worked alongside for almost 2 years without making the connection, astounded me. And the timing of the two discoveries was equally astounding. Synchronicity at its best. Sometimes, you don’t have to be actively searching for something to make a fascinating find. Sometimes, you discover something fascinating right there in front of you and you didn’t even realize it was there the whole time.