It was just about 18 months after my mom died in 1984 that my dad went on a research trip to Kentucky. My parents were wonderful genealogists, and had acquired many first-hand accounts from people that were born in the mid-1800's.
When dad returned, the only thing left standing on his property was the front door and the front wall of his house. Lightning had struck the house and burned it to the ground.
Mom and Dad in front of their cabin in Bath, Ohio
The local fire department had been there and did what they could, but most everything was gone.
Shortly afterward, I went through the remains with dad to see if anything could be salvaged. Behind the front door were wooden bookshelves that housed all of the research that he and mom had done. It should have burned. But, it didn't.
There were some smoke stains and some water damage, but nearly everything was salvageable.
Little Peggy at Kingwood Center. You can see some of the smoke damage on the edges
There was also a tall chest of drawers with the bottom four drawers burned. We pried open the top three, and there was all of his underwear. He said with his genealogy and his underwear and K-Mart, he would be just fine.
Nearly five years later, I received a letter out of the blue from a man in California. He had corresponded with my mother up until her death. He had found my name on the old "Family Registry" on microfiche at the Family History Center and wanted to know who I was. We connected.
The one bit of genealogy that was pretty much unusable from the fire was the Cline genealogy. But, this man had it all, for he and mom had what each other had. His information made ours complete.
It was not by happenstance. Never.