Cambridge Coincidences Collection

Well I Never!

Professor David Spiegelhalter of Cambridge University wants to know about your coincidences!

Birthdays on the 14th

Multiple members of our family were born on 14th of the month. Anthony 14.6.31(grandad); Sheila 14.5.35 (nana); Jennifer 14.1.60 (daughter); Isobel 14.6.04 (granddaughter); Alex & Henry 14.3.05 (grandchildren). What are the chances?


I had a flatmate who I had not known prior to that. One day my friend was visiting from San Francisco and they got talking. Turned out he grew up in the same small village in Lincolnshire she did and their families knew each other..

Related ancestors

1) I have been researching my family tree and realised a name which came up on my tree was the maiden name of someone in my department at work (we had been discussing maiden names one day). I thought no more about it but then, out of curiosity, asked my friend if any of her family came from Somerset and she, after confirming with an uncle, was able to say that yes, they did. After a bit of research, it turned out that my 5 times great aunt by marriage and her 4 times great aunt by marriage were sisters!!

Several coincidences of meeting people.

My husband and I were visiting New Zealand, driving ourselves and using motels. One morning, we were watching the boiling mud at one of the thermal areas on the North Island, when another car pulled in to the small car park and a couple came across to where we were standing. As usual, we fell in to conversation. They too were English, and it turned out that they used to live in the small village where we live now, but they had moved north several years ago.

same person

In August 1977 I went to Tenerife on holiday with a couple of friends. We met 3 French lads, one of whom had already paired up with a German girl called Elke. 2 of us paired up with the remaining 2 French boys and the 6 of us spent much of the holiday together. After the holiday there was no further contact with any of the others. The following year, I went on holiday to Majorca, in October. At the hotel, I got into the lift and there were already 2 girls in it. One of them was Elke! So, a different year, a different country, we were at the same hotel, in the same lift.


On Monday 9th January 2012 we went to see The Comedy of Errors at the National Theatre. The play is about 2 sets of twins, one set the servants of the other set, who are separated soon after birth. 30 years later one master and servant arrive at the town where the other master and servant now live, and there is a long series of mistakes until they eventually meet. In this modern dress production the servant twins are dressed in identical replica Arsenal shirts.

Appendix - double trouble!

My 18 year old daughter woke in considerable pain one day and I took her to the doctors surgery. Whilst waiting for her to come out, I took a call from my 22 year old son who told me not to worry but that he was in A & E at his local hospital as they thought he may need his appendix out.


On the 9th January 2006, I was in labour with my third child at the Women's Hospital in Liverpool. In the delivery suite we had the TV on in the background and were watching some teatime television. On the popular letters game in the show Countdown, one of the words that came up was the word bilobal - having two lobes. My son Zak was born that evening with a double lobed right ear!

Dad's death.

Went to brussels for a few nights at Christmas. somehow managed to get the only eurostar back to london for a few days after snow meant they were cancelled. Managed to get back home to sheffield. Left the house for a days shopping on the 27th waving goodbye to my dad who was recovering from a cold. 5:10 pm on the way back from shopping 2 options: 1) go out for dinner or 2) get takeaway dinner with friend thus arriving home at approx 5:20. Chose to go out for dinner, passing my house on the way. 10 mins past my house, stopped off at shop ont he way for dinner.

Birthday co-incidence

Half-listened to the interview on Radio 4 on Saturday, the co-indence that I have is that my brother, eldest and youngest sisters all have the same birthday, coincidentally this week, 20th January.