Search billions of records on


Chance Meetings

In the course of researching my ancestral roots, I have from time to time uncovered evidence of distant relatives of mine, ancestors or cousins, who had contact with each other. I have finally decided to record these for the amazement of my friends and relatives, and the general public.

To be counted in this list, the element of coincidence must be present - the pair should not themselves be related or, worse, married! In some cases, however, the coincidence lies in the fact of their being distantly related — unknowingly, I presume.

For lack of a better idea, I have arranged the items chronologically. New ones will be added as discovered.

Salient characteristics:
  • Links to details of each rencounter are available by clicking the info signs.
  • Relationships (to myself) are shown THUS
  • Highlighted surnames link to pedigrees containing that person.
rencontre /renkónter/ n. archaic = RENCOUNTER 
rencounter /renkównter/ n. & v. 1 an encounter; a chance meeting.
The Oxford Dictionary and Thesaurus, 1996

Dates, setting, cast
1580-1600 Boxford, SFK, ENG
  1. Rev. Henry Sandes [1572-1626] 8GGFa
  2. John Winthrop [1588-1649] 1C11 and his father, Adam [1548-1623] 10GGFa
Staunch and influential Puritans, Sandes and the Winthrops became neighbors and good friends.
1584 Suffolk, ENG
  1. Adam Winthrop [1548-1623] 10GGFa
  2. Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester [~1532-1588] 3C14
Dudley sponsored Winthrop when he was called to the bar of the Inner Temple after leaving Cambridge. (Dudley, thought to be Queen Elizabeth I's lover, was so portrayed in the 1998 film Elizabeth.) 
1586 England & Netherlands
  1. Elizabeth I Tudor [1533-1603], Queen of England 8C14
  2. Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester [~1532-1588] 3C14
  3. Capt. Edward-Maria Wingfield [1625-~1614] 3C12
Wingfield was instrumental in foiling the Motte Plot, a plan by which a hired assassin, Anthony de la Motte, was to dispatch both Elizabeth and Leicester, her favorite (and, some say, her lover).

I know nothing of the perpetrator, but I do have Mott ancestors. This would be a four-way rencontre if I could discover a link to this Motte!

1632-1650 Massachusetts Bay Colony
  1. Elizabeth Fones [1609/10-1673] 8GGMo
  2. Lt. Robert Feake [1602-1661/62] S12
  3. William Hallett [1616-~1709] 8GGFa
Fones, a/k/a "The Winthrop Woman", already my 8GGMo, married 1) her first cousin, Henry Winthrop, then 2) Feake, becoming my S10.
January 1646, North Atlantic Ocean
  1. Mary (Goodyear) [1603-1646] 2C13
  2. John Taylor [?-1646] 8GGFa
infoEast-Haven Register; Dodd, Stephen; New Haven, 1824. (subscription required to view this)
Mary, wife of Deputy Governor Stephen Goodyear, was sailing from New Haven back to England aboard the newly constructed Fellowship, George Lamberton, Master, with a few other passengers, including Taylor. The ship was never seen again, and is presumed to have foundered at sea with the loss of all aboard.

That June, an apparition of the ship was seen to reenter the harbor and cruise about for half an hour before disappearing. Years later, Longfellow was inspired to document this event with a poem, The Phantom Ship

Two years after the disaster, Dep. Gov. Goodyear married Lamberton's widow, Margaret Lewen.

1673 Hartford, CT
  1. Francis Lovelace [~1621-1675] 10C10
  2. John Winthrop [1606-1676] S10
January: NY governor Lovelace and CT governor Winthrop jointly inaugurate the first Post Road in America, New York to Boston, later US Rt. 1 and I95. July: Lovelace travels to Hartford to meet with Winthrop. In his absence the Dutch recapture NY (Aug. 7), largely due to his inadequate preparations. 
1748 Cow Neck, Suffolk, NY
  1. Comfort Sands [1748-1834] 1C5
  2. Comfort Starr [1706-1763] 1C8
Wealthy Danbury merchant Starr visited the Sands household shortly after Sands was born. His visit so impressed the new parents that they named their infant son for him.
1876-1881 United States
  1. Rutherford Birchard Hayes [1822-1893] 4C6
  2. William Almon Wheeler [1819-1887] 6C5
Hayes was the 19th POTUS. Wheeler was his vice president.

POTUS Taft & vice POTUS Sherman were also both cousins of mine!

1850-1883 Various
  1. Phineas Taylor "P.T." Barnum [1810-1891] 18C3
  2. Charles Sherwood "Tom Thumb" Stratton [1838-1883] 7C3
Showman Barnum employed the dwarf Tom Thumb as one of his best attractions. Over the years they became good friends. They probably did not know that they were also distant cousins, 5HC2.
1857-58 American Southwest
  1. Lt. Joseph Christmas Ives [1829-1868] 6C3
  2. John Strong Newberry [1822-1892] 5C7
Lt. Ives was commissioned by then Secretary of War Jefferson Davis to explore the possibility of using the Colorado River as a supply route to the American Southwest. Newberry, as United States Geologist, was sent along to study the geology of the area.
1858 New York City
  1. Frederick Law Olmstead [1822-1903] 7C5
  2. Col. Egbert Ludovicus Vielé[1825-1902] 4C2
Col. Vielé and Olmstead had both submitted plans in the competition for the development of New York's Central Park, Olmstead in partnership with Calvert Vaux. The Olmstead & Vaux plan, Greensward, was adopted, and at the same time as this announcement, the board also abolished the position of chief engineer, and Vielé, who had held that position, was dismissed.  Vielé, a "hard-boiled West Point graduate and army veteran",  was ever after resentful about this, claiming that key aspects of his plan had been stolen by many of the other entrants -- including Greensward. Vielé and Olmstead became bitter enemies.
1865 New York Citynew
  1. Phineas Taylor "P.T." Barnum [1810-91] 18C3
  2. John Mix Stanley[1814-72] 7C5
Barnum's museum burned in 1865, a total loss. Also lost was a large collection of Stanley's paintings on exhibit there. This was Stanley's second disaster by fire this year; A fire at the Smithsonian had wiped out another large collection. Stanley spent the rest of his life repainting these works.
1909-1913 United States
  1. William H. Taft [1857-1930] 9C3
  2. James Schoolcraft Sherman [1855-1912] 10C4
Taft was 27th POTUS. Sherman was his vice president.

POTUS Hayes and his vPOTUS Wheeler were also both cousins of mine!

  1. Phineas Taylor "P.T." Barnum [1810-1891] 18C3
  2. Burl Ives [1909-1995] 7C2
Respected stage and screen actor and recording artist Ives, plays the part of Barnum in the 1967 movie Those Fantastic Flying Fools.
nCm = nth cousin m generations removed
~ = about
< = before
> = after
* = born
A = Aunt
F = Father
G  = Grand
GG = Great grand
H  = Half
M  = Mother
S  = Sibling
S/ = Spouse of
U  = Uncle


visitors /~dav4is/Misc/Rencontres.html
Uploaded: 2010-12-03 07:05 
data errors | external links | FAQ | Misc help
site help
Colophon description
© 1998, 2017
Roderic A. Davis, 2nd
All Rights Reserved
Email: Rod Dav4is
 dav4is @
 Genealogy, et Cetera
 c/o Rod Davis
 The Manor at Woodside
 168 Academy St. #221
 Poughkeepsie, NY 12601
Search this site:
Powered by:
SiteLevel search
(to this folder)

(of this webpage)
Monitor page
for changes

it's private
powered by