Familys birthdays defy the odds

April 9 is the day to be born for four generations
by: Courtesy of Joanna Roberts One in a million? Stella Hargreaves – she’s the one in the middle – is closer to a one in 20 billion baby.

If Stella Hargreaves only knew.

Stella is just two weeks old, born April 9 to be exact, at Legacy Emanuel Medical Center. But when Stella gets older, her parents, Southwest Portland residents Joanna Roberts and Andy Hargreaves, will be able to tell her that the date she was born was fated. And Stella can believe that or not.

Consider that little Stella is the fourth generation of her family to be born on an April 9. Pretty freaky.

Our story starts 85 years ago, when Rachel Lampert, now living in Atlantic City, N.J., was born on April 9, 1926. Twenty-nine years later, Rachel gave birth to daughter Lisa Lampert, on April 9, 1955. On April 9, 1987, Lisa gave birth to Chad Glickstein.

Rachel Lampert had a daughter and a granddaughter born on the same day she was born. Still, when Portlander Joanna Roberts was told nine months ago her due date was - you guessed it - April 9, Roberts didn't get too excited.

'We all thought it was very funny but didn't think it would really happen on the due date anyway,' Roberts says.

It did happen. Stella is Rachel Lampert's great granddaughter, making her the fourth generation to share the April 9 birthday.

New mother Roberts teaches kindergarten at Cedar Oak Park Elementary School in West Linn. If she wants to use it, she now has a real world example of higher calculus she can impart to her students.

Roberts, for those skeptics among you, swears she did not induce the April 9 birth of Stella. And, no, she says, she did not arrange to get pregnant so she might give birth according to family tradition. Sometimes, she says, coincidences just happen.

'It will be a great story to remind (Stella) of, that's she's more than one in a million,' Roberts says.

One in 20 billion

Now, the Tribune couldn't just let this story go without proper research, so we contacted our favorite mathematical genius, University of Portland professor Aziz Inan.

Inan makes a hobby playing around with numbers and calculating the likelihood of various numerical combinations. We provided him with the facts of baby Stella's recent birth and the three previous April 9 births in her family.

Inan reported back that he had calculated the odds of four births from four generations of one family occurring on the same date. First, he says, he checked to make sure none of the April 9 births occurred in leap years. Which means that the answer to the question is (1x365) x (1x365)x (1x365) x (1x365).

Total that up, or, in our case, ask Aziz Inan to total that up, and the answer, he says, is that the odds of the four births sharing one date are about one in 20 billion.

But Inan says that's an implied calculation. The odds could be different depending on how many children were born in each generation of the family. More children would lower the odds. The one-in-20 billion calculation simply represents the odds of all four family members being born on one specific date.

But wait, there's more: Inan reports that he and his wife Belgin were married on April 9, 1987. Now, what are the odds of that?