Confirming the identity of the woman behind all those white-inked comments in the photo album I found at a local antique store certainly helps amplify her personality. Can't you just hear the older sister in her comment labeling her brother Penrose's photo outside the front door, "Penrose, looking very cross!"?
We now know just who the mom was who doted over the two young girls in the album's pages, Ruby and Iris. (And believe me, there are more photos of Ruby and Iris to be had!)
While many of our other questions about this family might not yet be possible to answer—Irish records available online for births must be farther removed from current day than one hundred years, marriages greater than seventy five, and deaths beyond fifty years—we can still extrapolate a few more details about our target family.
For one thing, now knowing that the Harry and Alice who signed the Christmas greeting in the photo album were Harry and Alice Reid, we can be almost certain that the children's names were Ruby Reid and Iris Reid. Furthermore, since their mother revealed their ages at a fixed point in the album, we can estimate their years of birth. Using that fixed point of June, 1936, as the basis, Ruby was probably born in the summer of 1928 and her younger sister Iris toward December of 1929.
Granted, records of these two are as sealed up as can be made possible—although we can only speculate as to whether either of them is still alive. The likelihood of either daughter's subsequent marriage adds another twist in the path to connecting the album with its family's rightful heirs.
There are, however, some threads to this story for which we can find closure—albeit not a very satisfying closure. There is the matter of what became of Penrose, himself. And there is that small detail of the several photographs I've yet to share with you from the album's remaining pages.
Apparently, part of the purpose of the 1936 visit to his homeland by Penrose—or at least an outcome of the occasion—was a social gathering, for which several guests joined together for a group portrait. Thankfully, many of those names were recorded in the album, itself.
We can only hope, in working through those details, we may glean more useful clues, not only regarding the family who sent the album, but the ones who were intended as its recipients. After all, there is that one additional question in my mind: how did that album make it from the hands of Alice Ruby Bridget Hawkes Reid into my possession, nearly half a world away from her Bride Park home in County Cork, Ireland?
Rest assured: we are not done with this search, yet.
Another move in the game! Looking very harmless!