Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Finding the Right Alice

While it has been gratifying to figure out who the unidentified people were in a photo album I found at a local antique store, I'm not satisfied to stop there. You know I have to find out more about this family.

My quest right now is to figure out just who the Harry and Alice were who sent the album as a Christmas gift, back in 1936. Perhaps knowing exactly who that couple was will reveal more clues about who the recipient of their creative family photo-documentary might have been.

Since the most obvious name to follow from the album was that of Penrose Hawkes, Irish immigrant to Corning, New York, I tried my hand at doing a search on his name in all available digitized newspaper archives. Let me tell you: there were a lot of results found at the Old Fulton NY Post Cards site.

One hit I remember in particular was a 1933 wedding announcement I found in the Elmira, New York, Star-Gazette. In that two-column spread, Penrose's name showed up as merely an "also ran"—a mere blip of a mention, stating he had served as usher at his cousin's wedding. I had to go back and double check that entry...out of over two hundred matches.

As it turned out, the article was covering the wedding of a different cousin, not Alice Hawkes. But there was an Alice mentioned—an Alice Dewart Robinson, "cousin of the bride."

This, as it turned out, was yet another Alice in the extended Hawkes family—bringing us farther and farther away from our goal of zeroing in on the Alice of the Irish photo album. Yet the exercise did provide some clues about the Alice we were introduced to yesterday, the one who married a Canadian man named Robinson. That Alice came with an interesting story of her own, as the newspaper entries revealed. We'll begin with some links to help trace who she was and continue tomorrow with the rest of the story on what became of her.

The first clue came from a retrospective column in the Corning Evening Leader from January 25, 1940. Labeled "Looking Backward Through Files of The Leader," the column focused on that same date in 1915. There, a brief mention told us, "Miss Alice Hawkes sailed for Ireland to spend some time at Inniscara House, the Hawkes family estate."

Remember our story about the Hawkes family member who, realizing his place in the family constellation as second son would never net him the family estate, left his homeland to seek his fortune in America? Perhaps, since Thomas G. Hawkes' older brother did predecease him, he may have inherited his father's property back in County Cork, after all.

Why do I mention that? Because, according to this June 8, 1902, article in the Buffalo Courier, Alice was indeed identified as Thomas G. Hawkes' daughter:
Miss Alice Hawkes, youngest daughter of Thomas G. Hawkes, returned from the National Cathedral School at Washington, D. C., bringing with her two very handsome cup trophies, one won at athletics and the second as tennis champion.

A front page insertion in the Bath, New York, Steuben Farmers' Advocate provided the next link in the proof. The January 5, 1916, edition informed us,
Announcement has been made of the engagement of Miss Alice Hawkes, younger daughter of the late Mr. and Mrs. Thomas G. Hawkes, of Corning, to Edward Hartley Robinson of Toronto.

Thus, with that one announcement, we receive not only confirmation of who this Alice Hawkes actually was, but have our feeble hopes further dashed upon discovery that the "H" in her fiance's name did not, in fact, stand for the hoped-for Harry.

I leave it up to you to decide whether we can stretch that detail far enough to fudge it and make this Hartley party to our sought-after couple, the Harry and Alice signing the greeting on that mystery photo album presented to an unnamed someone in December, 1936.

In the meantime, though I've given up this segment of the chase, there are a few other details that this Alice deserves having mentioned in her memory. Let's not leave her trail—nor that of the other Alice mentioned here today—without following up on a few other details.

Harry offering Alice some more lunch! Crosshaven, Aug. 1936.

Monday, January 30, 2017

How Marion Met Alice

Ephemera—memorabilia meant to last for only the moment—why do we find it so fascinating? How can these papers show us so much about the people who once kept them, especially considering the blip on the radar of Time they represent?

The draw to learn just who the unidentified faces in a discarded photograph might be is likely what first enticed me to purchase the family photo album I discovered in a local antique shop. And actually, we've done quite well in figuring out who a few of the players were. We've certainly pegged Penrose Hawkes of County Cork, Ireland, thanks to his mother's penchant for cute white show dogs. And really, if it weren't for the notes inscribed on each page of the album, it would have been impossible to learn any of the Hawkes family's story.

One question remains, though: just who was it who added those white-ink notes on the faded black pages of the album? The album's frontispiece clued us in to the names Harry and Alice, but no surnames. We can presume that somehow, Harry and Alice are related to the other Hawkes family members, but we haven't yet picked up any further details to lead us to an answer.

However, we are certainly sensitized to any mention of those two names. So, in discovering the obituary of Penrose's recent bride, the fact that, besides mention of her sole survivors—her husband and her mother—the lone other name included happening to be someone named Alice certainly caught my attention.

To learn more about just who this Alice Hawkes Robinson was, we need to turn to yet another Hawkes family obituary from 1944—this time, six months prior to Marion's passing.

The obituary I'm referring to filled an entire column on the tenth page of the Corning Leader on March 20, 1944. Under a photograph labeled "Art Glass Vice President" was the article on the sudden passing of a man named Townsend de Moleyns Hawkes.

It's a pity that, though the article mentioned the names of this Mr. Hawkes' parents, his father's given names happened to be the same as some other members of the extended Hawkes family. To complicate matters, the newspaper seems to have a penchant for lumping all cousins into the same class, labeling as "cousin" both the father and the son of another branch of the Hawkes family. By using that term so indiscriminately, it complicates our quest to determine just how the Alice we are seeking is actually related to our target, Penrose Hawkes.

Here's a brief synopsis of the obituary, though the full article can be viewed here for free, thanks to the site known as Old Fulton NY Post Cards. Apparently, Townsend de Moleyns Hawkes was born October 11, 1874, at Kilcrea House in County Cork. He left Ireland to emigrate to New York in 1891 where, as the newspaper put it, "he quickly became associated with his cousin, Thomas G. Hawkes."

Almost in the same breath, the Leader went on to say, "He was also a cousin of Samuel Hawkes...the present president of the company." Samuel, as we've already noted, happened to be son, not brother, of the founder, Thomas G. Hawkes—so either Townsend and Thomas were cousins, or Townsend and Samuel. Especially considering this family tended to repeat use of the same given names from generation to generation, being able to peg their most recent common ancestor to one generation or the other would be quite helpful, as we'll soon see.

There were fine words to be said about Townsend Hawkes, of course. He was "an intensely friendly and democratic person" who held key positions in many civic-minded organizations. Though as important a person as vice president and secretary of a company manufacturing "some of the world's most beautiful art glass," he had just been out for a short walk with his dog when, resting afterward in a chair at home, he suffered a fatal heart attack.

Mr. Hawkes, at sixty nine, left behind a wife, two daughters and three grandchildren, in addition to his two brothers and two sisters.

And, of course, there were the "cousins." Samuel Hawkes, president of T. G. Hawkes at his father's passing, was listed as a cousin—but then, so was T. G., himself, a detail making this label nearly useless. Likewise, for that matter, for labeling Penrose as a cousin.

There was another "cousin" mentioned in this same enigmatic category: a woman by the name of Alice Hawkes Robinson—the same Alice we had seen mentioned in the then yet-to-happen obituary of Penrose's wife, Marion. In this earlier obituary, however, we have the luxury of learning more about this Alice than in Marion's meager column inch coverage.

For one thing, we learn the name of Alice's husband: Edward H. Robinson of Toronto, Canada. Whether we will learn that Edward's middle initial will reward us with the given name Harry is yet to be seen. But we can hope.

Of greater interest, at this point, is the detail that followed Alice's introduction:

A cousin, Mrs. Alice Hawkes Robinson, wife of Edward H. Robinson, Toronto, Ontario, Canada, was active during World War I as a nurse overseas and is now with the Canadian Women's Army Corps.

Here we find enough detail to discern the possible connection between Alice and Marion, the woman who, long after their possible World War I connection, was to become Penrose's wife. Whether or not this woman was the Alice of the mystery photo album, could it be that Alice was also the matchmaker who introduced her good friend Marion to the cousin who eventually married her?  

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Welcome End of Another Two Weeks

It's the end of another two week cycle, traditionally time to check my research progress. I already know, however, just how my progress went—at least for this past week. It went nowhere. I was, in case you have already forgotten, totally immersed in learning more about genetic genealogy at the Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy. When you're having that kind of fun, who has time for cracking down on wayward ancestors who refuse identification?!

For the sake of new year's resolutions intentions, though, I'll go through the motions. I may not have made much headway these past two weeks, but at least I made some progress.

Perhaps I'll hear a snicker when I admit I only added fifteen documented names to my mother's line in the past two weeks. I know you can probably do that in one sitting—with your eyes closed and one hand tied behind your back. Fine. That's the way I felt, rushing around to upload all those great new programs I was going to need before my SLIG class started. At least I got fifteen more people into the database despite all those other obligations. My mother's line now stands at 9,456 people.

A little better was the progress made on my mother-in-law's line: seventy four additions. Yeah, most of them came yesterday evening, when I finally sat myself down before my desktop computer and realized that number would have been zero if I didn't take matters into hand right away. Thankfully, it was just a matter of picking one of those good Catholic families to add another generation to, then finding that branch in an 1800s census year to glean the big numbers. That line now counts 9,818 people.

A little bonus surprised me one evening when I was too mind-numbed to think any more, after class. For whatever reason, a new DNA match called my attention to the fact that it didn't come from my mother's line—the usual case—but from my father's. I had no idea who this new match was, but I was determined to figure out just where the connection was. Of course, two hours later, I still hadn't found the answer, but along the way, I managed to add forty three new entries to my father's tree. I now have 389 there—small, but after nearly a half year of standing still, that's welcome progress.

My only regret is that I didn't make any progress on my father in law's line, where the count remains at 1,080. Not to worry, though, as I'm now working with one of my husband's cousins to check out matches in our mutual DNA results. A little crowdsourcing may help jump-start the action on this line.

On the DNA side of the progress equation, I'm beginning to see the wave of results wash up on our Family Tree DNA accounts' shores. In the past two weeks, I've gained thirty eight new matches to bring my total to 1,578. My husband's results jumped up by twenty one for his total of 1,001. We are still awaiting his two sisters' results—which they had sent in to the company before Christmas. Apparently, there's quite a backlog. But that is good news, if the increased numbers result in more matches for their current customers, too.

Gains at AncestryDNA were more modest, but still just as welcome. My count of matches is now at 435 (up eight) and my husband's is at 200 (up nine). No significant discoveries there, but we can be patient. They, too, are experiencing increased numbers, due to the holiday sales. It is only a matter of time, and those results will sort themselves out and trickle down to those of us already in the AncestryDNA customer database. Hopefully, that will lead to more informative matches for everyone. 

Saturday, January 28, 2017

SLIG 2017: It's a Wrap!

The fastest way to make a week fly by must be to attend an event which requires one hundred ten percent of one's brain power to be firing on all cylinders, all day long. I'd say SLIG—the Utah Genealogical Association's Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy—would qualify in that capacity.

I arrived in Salt Lake City mid afternoon last Sunday, just in time for a drive through gently falling snow to my hotel destination. Other than having to shoulder my way past some insistent paparazzi chasing late-arriving celebs for the 2017 Sundance Film Festival, the move from airport to baggage claim to express shuttle was seamless, getting me checked in, settled, and on my way to the opening reception at a relaxed pace. (Hint: Don't think I was one of those arriving stars.)

My goal for the week was to extract a few practical tips and tools for examining those kazillion matches I've tired of comparing at the three main DNA testing companies. I came away from the week more than satisfied with the outcome.

Not to say it won't take a while—oh, let's peg that somewhere between several weeks and several months—to digest all that I've acquired in the week's sessions. Between the hands-on presentations by CeCe Moore on tools at 23andMe and AncestryDNA, Paul Woodbury on GEDmatch and chromosome mapping, and APG member and recently Board Certified genealogist Karen Stanbary on the powerful but cranky Genome Mate Pro—not to mention, an added field trip to the Ancestry.com offices to watch Angie Bush take us through the ins and outs of Gworks—there was a lot to digest in this week's material.

It might sound like we barely survived a harrowing week, cramming in more information than a brain should be able to bear, but it really wasn't that way. Those who arrived in time for advanced check-in were treated to a reception along with gathering their registration materials—a leisurely opportunity for networking and saying hello to fellow alums from previous institutes. While classes kept up a steady schedule from Monday morning through Friday afternoon, each session began at 8:30 and ended at 4:00, with a half hour mid-morning and mid-afternoon break and ninety minutes for a leisurely lunch with friends to interject a change of pace each day.

Though the point of an institute is to allow the opportunity to study one area of focus in depth all week long, each institute offers learning options from wide variety of subjects. My choice, of course, was the DNA course, but others chose to hear from luminaries like Judy Russell (The Family History Law Library), Thomas W. Jones (Advanced Genealogical Methods), and John Philip Colletta (Researching Ancestors From Overseas).

As might be expected, the capstone for the week was Friday night's banquet, featuring the keynote address by Barbara Vines Little. The pull of home and the unfortunate juxtaposition of the last flight out on Friday night with the introductory comments during the Completion Banquet put me in the position of having to kiss goodbye what was surely a fun evening. But here I am, weary yet well-informed, back home and ready to put all this hard-earned experience to good use.   

Friday, January 27, 2017

A Few Other Details

There were a few other details embedded within the sad note in the 1944 Corning Leader article on Marion Fishback Hawkes' passing. Attending to those details might do us some good in our pursuit of just who the Harry and Alice of our mystery photo album might have been.

Along with the article's details on the date and location of Penrose Hawkes' wife's funeral, a brief paragraph covered the significant points of Marion's life. As a young woman during the years of World War I, Marion apparently opted for the cutting-edge choice of inserting herself in the midst of the war cause.

The late Mrs. Hawkes was a C.P.O. yeomanette in the Third Naval District in World War One and in late years had been an active volunteer of the Travelers Aid Society and the USO. For many years she was recording secretary of the Woman's Guild of St. Nicholas Collegiate church.

What was unofficially dubbed yeomanettes was a designation properly known as the rank of Yeoman (F) in the U.S. Naval Reserve. Following the lead of Loretta Perfectus Walsh, sworn in as the U.S. Navy's first woman to serve as petty officer on March 21, 1917, eleven thousand women volunteered to join her in that historic role as part of the Naval Reserves. One of those young women was Marion Fishback.

The war lasted for another twenty months after establishment of the rank of Yeoman (F). It is unclear when Marion chose to join the ranks of this new classification—and when she attained the rank of C.P.O.—but reading between the lines in her obituary we learn of her part in that groundbreaking movement.

Her other activities listed in this brief eulogy showed a woman who continued a habit of involvement in the lives of others, and help to paint a picture of the type of person she was.

There was one more detail, however, which didn't focus so much on who Marion was, but rather serves to lead us to clues on how Marion might have eventually become part of the Hawkes family. It was a brief mention—and, singularly, the lone mention—of someone who attended the funeral. A mere blip in the otherwise routine business of composing an obituary, that one sentence insertion stepped into the narrative, then unobtrusively slipped back out again, without further explanation.

Mrs. Alice Hawkes Robinson of Toronto, Canada, attended the funeral services. Interment was in the Hawkes family plot at Woodlawn cemetery, New York.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

A Sad Turn of Events

As doubtless having put in his stint as Corning's Most Eligible Bachelor for far longer than a man should be entitled to, the news of Penrose Hawkes' New York City marriage to Marion Fishback in 1937 likely was welcome news for those wishing he would settle down and enjoy a home life.

That season of marital bliss was not destined to last long, however. A news report issued only a few years later seemed to arrive all too soon from the Hawkes' new home in Manhattan, where they had been residing since at least the time of the 1940 census.

MRS. PENROSE HAWKES—Funeral services for Marion Louise Hawkes, wife of Penrose Hawkes of New York, formerly of Corning, were conducted Saturday, September 2, by the Rev. John H. Ludlum at St. Nicholas Collegiate Church, 48th street and Fifth avenue, New York City.

Tucked within the items on the tenth page of the September 5, 1944, edition of the Corning, New York, Leader, the announcement was an unwelcome one, though evidently not an unexpected one. Still, it was a premature turn of events. After all, though this was a late marriage for Penrose, we discovered from the marriage record as well as their self-reported ages on the census record that Marion would have been only forty four years of age at the time of her passing.

Though this entry may have seemed like a brief funeral notice, the article developed into an obituary of sorts, providing more information on the circumstances.

     Mrs. Hawkes died Thursday at the Doctors Hospital, New York, after four months' illness. Mr. and Mrs. Hawkes were married in October, 1937, and resided at Tuckahoe, N. Y.
     Mrs. Hawkes is survived by her mother, Mrs. Margaret M. Fishback of New York and by her husband, Penrose Hawkes. Mrs. Hawkes was known in Corning, where she had visited.
     Mr. Hawkes lived for some years in Corning and is now the New York manager of T. G. Hawkes & Co.

Penrose and Marion had settled in the New York metro area because Penrose had been managing the T. G. Hawkes sales office in the city. Presumably, the Tuckahoe referred to by the paper was the village in Westchester County, making a short commute for Penrose, rather than the hamlet out by the Hamptons on the eastern end of Long Island—though the latter might have been a more likely place to encounter his usual customers.

It was not surprising to learn that Penrose's bride of only seven years had not left him any children. After all, the marriage came later in life for her as well as for her husband. Then, too, health issues may have burdened her for more than the four months mentioned in the newspaper notice.

Far removed from that sad departure—as well as by the fact that neither Marion nor Penrose were my relatives but merely subjects of a search sparked by finding an abandoned photo album—my main question upon this discovery was more practical. If there were no children left to Penrose, who was it who inherited that family photo album after it was sent by Harry and Alice in 1936? What—or who—brought it on its journey far to the west of this former Irishman's adopted country?

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Man About Town

One of the best parts about the discovery that Penrose Hawkes had settled in Corning, New York, came with the realization that I could fill in the blanks on his everyday life through the pages of the local newspaper.

Granted, it's nice to find out that the city paper in one's target research area is included in a collection of newspapers. Even better to realize the collection is free to access by anyone with online connections. But the bonus to that discovery is the fact that it makes possible research that fills in the blanks in an ancestor's life which might not be available through decennial census enumerations or other infrequent—and official—documentation.

Not that Penrose Hawkes was my ancestor, of course; I only started this wild (and merry) chase, thanks to the discovery of the Hawkes family photo album in a local antique shop. But once smitten with curiosity over just who this man might have been—to say nothing of the other strangers in album's pages—I certainly was drawn to know more. And newspapers could fill that bill.

Thankfully, it turned out that one website provided that free window into Penrose's life. Granted, he must have been considered one of Corning's Most Eligible Bachelors for quite a while—at least judging by all the snippets which could be found in The Evening Leader on details of his daily life—but processing some of those articles and arranging them in a timeline could prove useful.

For instance, if you recall the discovery of Penrose's application for U.S. Passport, thanks to Ancestry.com, you might remember that the stated purpose for the application was to return to Ireland to visit his parents and family in 1923.

Presto! Confirmed in the local paper, thanks to this small entry in one of those "Looking Back" articles printed in 1938, was the following remembrance of fifteen years prior, when on Thursday, May 17, 1923, The Evening Leader had reported:

Penrose Hawkes has sailed for Queenstown, Ireland, where he will visit his parents, whom he will see for the first time since he left Ireland seven years ago.

Oh, the details that can be read between the lines of an article. Another such entry—this one carried in the same paper, but reporting the event as it happened in their Monday, December 9, 1929, edition—was this brief insertion:

CHRISTMAS IN IRELAND: Penrose Hawkes will sail Thursday on the Laconia for Ireland where he will spend Christmas with his mother.

Though the trip was likely much the same as the one in 1923—although exchanging summer sailing for an Atlantic crossing in winter—we can note another item which had changed. While the first trip anticipated a joyful reunion with "his parents," the second journey mentioned only a visit to his mother. Though I have yet to find a record of the senior Penrose Hawkes' passing, I can now narrow this event to a date range between 1923 and 1929. Furthermore, given the added risk of a winter passage, it might be reasonable to presume the loss had been recent and perhaps imposing an undue burden on his aging mother.

Searching for the name Penrose Hawkes in the Corning paper revealed dozens of results. It will be quite a task to catalog each one of them, but it will also be worth the information to construct a timeline of the reports. While many of those entries are but snippets in the news day—filler material for an era when layout and graphic design were an art form under time pressure—some of them did manage to reveal glimpses of significant detail.

For instance, remember my wondering about Penrose's wife, Marion? There had been no mention of her in the 1936 photo album, and yet he and his bride were married in New York just over a year later. I could find both Penrose and Marion listed in the 1940 census in New York City, but not much else about the couple.

In the newspaper, however, search efforts provided some helpful detail, not only regarding who Marion was, but what had become of her, shortly after that 1940 census entry.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Where He Got His Name

Perhaps, just as I did when I found that forsaken family photograph album in a local antique store, you are wondering where the album's featured subject got his unusual name. After all, if it weren't for spotting the name Penrose in the pages of that 1936 album, I likely would not have purchased it.

Now that we've learned his name was actually Penrose Hawkes—and have discovered the family history attached to that name—it might be appropriate to take another genealogical detour to discover yet another branch of the Hawkes family roots.

As we've already mentioned, Penrose's full name was actually John Pim Penrose Hawkes, just as was his father's name before him. It was the senior Penrose's older brother who was the second-in-line to inherit the family's property, and thus chose, rather than a possibly hopeless waiting game, to leave his homeland in County Cork and emigrate to New York. That fortuitous decision led, over fifty years later, to the younger Penrose taking up a position in his uncle's by-then successful enterprise, the cut glass manufacturers T. G. Hawkes and Company.

The family's link to the world of cut glass, however, didn't start with Thomas Gibbons Hawkes' decision to immigrate to a New World. The Hawkes family, as it turns out, was linked to at least one other such concern. To see the connection, however, requires a detour through the Hawkes family genealogy.

Moving back through the generations from the elder Penrose Hawkes, we have his father, known as Quayle Welsted Hawkes. He, in turn, was the sixth son of Samuel Hawkes, founder of the estate in County Cork known as Hawkemount.

The detail of interest in this genealogy is actually not another Hawkes, however, but the wife of this Samuel Hawkes: a woman by the name of Sally Penrose.

Sally was not from Cork, herself, but came from a family residing in the nearby city of Waterford. As fourth daughter of Samuel and Mary Randall Penrose, Sally provided, through this family connection, the Hawkes family's claim to connection to another notable crystal concern.

Knowing the history of that city's glass works becomes important to this story, for it reaches back to two Penrose brothers in 1783. That is when George and William Penrose established a glass manufacturing concern in Waterford. The business experienced success through the year 1796, at which point William died. Within a year, the business was put up for sale and eventually changed hands. From then on, the concern started by the Penroses underwent a meandering history of changing ownerships, from which, eventually, arose the products we now know as Waterford Crystal.

The story of Waterford Crystal's evolution through the centuries has been ably represented by a couple online resources. If you are interested, you might enjoy the account as told by the Waterford Visitor Centre. In tracing the history of early Waterford Crystal, however, what stood out the most to me was one detail: the earliest forms of that coveted product, "as fine a quality as any in Europe," was known specifically as Penrose Crystal.

 Penrose with Ruby + Iris, Aug. 1936

Monday, January 23, 2017

A Line of Relief . . . and Intaglio Work

The line of work picked up by our man Penrose Hawkes—the one whom we discovered between the covers of a discarded family photograph album in a local antique shop—was not only an enterprise handed down to him from the previous generation, but one with a long history intertwined with the family heritage.

As we saw last week, the man bidding Penrose to leave his home in County Cork, Ireland, to join him in Corning, New York, was Samuel Hawkes, son of the founder of T. G. Hawkes and Company, masters at cut glass manufacturing.

What was so special about cut glass? The allure of this product is better realized when we understand it was a material known as cut leaded crystal in which the company was actually dealing. In order to withstand the forces of the engraving process, a special type of material needed to be used: glass to which is added up to forty percent lead oxide, making it to soft enough to cut—thus gaining the ability to withstand the pressures associated with application of artistic designs.

From its founding in Corning by Thomas Gibbons Hawkes in 1880, the company used both cutting and engraving techniques to create geometric and floral scenes in the decorations featured on their crystal. The engraving processes used at T. G. Hawkes included various styles. Primary among them were relief work and intaglio work—the former referring to a design raised above the background, and the latter involving a design cut below the surface.

Though T. G. Hawkes and Company enjoyed prosperity up through the first half of the twentieth century, after World War II, they faced inevitable decline. Yet even now, you can find many of their still-sought designs in catalogs such as this one, from the firm known as Replacements, Ltd.

Yet, below the surface of that one company's rise and fall lies not just the story of Penrose's immediate family history, but a link to a more long-standing family heritage, as well. You see, Penrose was not only related to the man who started the T. G. Hawkes concern in Corning, New York, but he also had roots in another company back home in Ireland, known for centuries for their crystal work, as well.

Above: Entry in the Corning City Directory for T. G. Hawkes and Co., two years before its president's passing in 1913; courtesy Ancestry.com. 

Sunday, January 22, 2017

By the Time You Read This . . .

...I will be headed to the airport to fly to Utah. There, I'll make my way to downtown Salt Lake City. While it doesn't sound as fun as heading to Downtown Disney—nor as romantic as splurging in Paris—for genealogists, this city is a much-anticipated destination.

Don't count on me to be spending hours at that city's go-to destination, though; I probably won't be frequenting the Family History Library. My main purpose in taking this wintertime trip to Salt Lake City is specifically to augment my research skills with the use of DNA test data.

As fellow researchers with more of a knack in this arena than I have devise additional tools to manipulate that DNA raw data, there come more ways to put them to practical use in discerning which of that undistiguishable mass of results belongs in which family pile. Offshoots of paternal grandmothers versus maternal grandfathers may soon be more easily pinpointed, guiding us through this confounding maze of matches in more efficient ways.

I'm all for that. If there's a way to escape the conundrums of false connections on family trees, misattributed parentage, and the ever-frustrating "Last Name Unknown," I'll be keen on trying it.

If nothing else, this series of classes presented by genetic genealogist CeCe Moore and her team of instructors will be just what I need. I'm a hands-on learner, and the lab sessions will help cement concepts into my mind the way I learn best: by doing it myself.

While part of this upcoming week's blog entries will continue the series on Penrose Hawkes and his family—I try to post in advance when I know I'm going on a trip—if I get a chance between homework assignments, I'll be sure to give an update for those who are interested in how things are going, live, at the Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy. Who knows? Maybe you'll find it worth your while to consider joining me there in 2018.

Above: "Klotild Palace in Winter," 1938 painting by Hungarian artist Antal Berkes; courtesy Wikipedia; in the public domain.

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Getting Psyched for Some
Genealogical Spring Cleaning

What?! Spring already?

Don't panic; not yet. While around here, the temperatures have emerged from their typical thirty-something degree lows only long enough to bring lots of weedy growth in the wake of our recent storms, the cold will return shortly.

In the meantime, I've been doing some preparatory work for an upcoming project. While taking a look around at what still needs to be done, I realized just how much clean-up work needs to be tackled in the resultant weeds in my genealogical files, too.

Sometimes, we get so taken up with the content we are adding to our research files that we lose sight of the mess we've left behind in the process of chasing those elusive ancestors. There are trees on free sites, paid sites, desktop-resident sites—all needing some sprucing up. There are emailed queries that could use some follow-up; others that are still waiting to be sent. There is a veritable avalanche of DNA test results on, now, three companies' websites that could use some attention, as well.

Yesterday, I took the time to bite the bullet and try to resolve one longstanding problem with my various family trees. A long time ago—back before anyone dreamed we could use DNA test results to solve our genealogical puzzles—I had made the decision to set up my desktop-resident genealogy database management program with not one, but four separate trees: one for each of our daughter's four grandparents.

What a mess I hadn't foreseen with that decision! Now, everyone wants a link to a full tree for a test-taker's line, not two half-trees. And the dilemma extends to having to make the choice over which of two trees to convert to GEDCOMs and attach to DNA test sites.

I had toyed with various approaches to rectify that sticky detail for far too long, and yesterday tried my best at resolving the issue. After several false starts with various approaches, I finally caved and added the shorter paternal tree to each maternal tree by inserting only the direct line ancestors. This, by the way, may be my only recourse for adding GEDCOMs to sites such as GEDmatch, which limits the size of an uploaded file to under ten thousand individuals. If you remember from my last count, each of the two maternal lines I'm tracing is already pushing that limit—and that's just with one half of the tree entered.

In the process of one task, of course all sorts of other needs come shooting up to the surface. Clean up this! Clean up that! I'm beginning to have a long list of genealogical cleaning projects—and it isn't even spring yet!

The trouble with keeping to a schedule of research output measurements is that we sometimes forget to factor in the time for cleaning up after those heavy lifting sessions. It's encouraging to see the counts go up on our tree stats; there's no perks to cleaning up the aftermath of our research prowess. But keeping our research life organized is the only way to make things workable for future projects, so that simply will have to be yet another goal added to the list of tasks to accomplish.

Above: 1895 landscape by Ukrainian-born Russian artist Konstantin Kryzhitsky; courtesy Wikipedia; in the public domain.

Friday, January 20, 2017

Not Your Typical Irish Immigrant

To get a fuller picture of why, exactly, young Penrose Hawkes left Ireland to find his way to Corning, New York, we need to step back another generation in the Hawkes family history. There, we'll begin to examine the immigrant story of yet another young Irishman, leaving his home for the uncertainties of a new land.

It was not the photograph album I found in a local antique shop that opened up this chapter in Penrose's family history, but let's just say the album served as a handy springboard. From there, we gleaned enough clues to determine that the seemingly-annoyed subject of the 1936 album's pages was actually a thirty six year old man named John Pim Penrose Hawkes.

That full name led us to discover a copy of his passport application—not in his native Ireland, the setting of the photos in the album, but in Corning, New York, Penrose's more recent home. The passport application kindly explained to us that, by 1916, the young Mr. Hawkes had been employed by T. G. Hawkes and Company, a manufacturer of what is called cut glass.

As it turns out, the company's proprietor, T. G. Hawkes, had himself been an Irish immigrant, though being much older than Penrose, he had arrived on our shores in 1863. Much as had the young Penrose, T. G. Hawkes had left his home at the young age of seventeen.

The elder Hawkes did not quite fulfill the Irish immigrant stereotype we've become accustomed to reading about from that time period. By the time he left home at seventeen, he had already spent two years at the then-Queen's College in Cork (now known as University College Cork), studying civil engineering.

His, too, had been the rather comfortable position of son of a member of the landed gentry in Ireland—child of a family whose heritage included a "settler" founder who had emigrated from England to Ireland in the 1700s. Being the second son, however, meant it was unlikely that he would ever inherit the family's holdings. Perhaps on this account, as well as the more oft-cited desire for adventure and to see the world, Thomas Gibbons Hawkes decided it would be in his best interest to seek his fortune elsewhere.

His, as it turned out, was a good fortune. Landing in New York City, though at first struggling to find a job, he happened to make the acquaintance of John Hoare, senior partner in a glass cutting firm in the city. Hawkes' subsequent affiliation at Hoare & Dailey eventually led him to the city of Corning in upstate New York, as well as equipping him with training in the art of what later came to be called American Brilliant Cut Glass.

Eventually, T. G. Hawkes established his own shop in Corning. Starting small, he patented designs and produced cut glass creations which soon found their way into the hands of some of the most recognized American names of that time period. Astors and Vanderbilts vied with presidents—American, Cuban and Mexican—and European royalty for purchase of cut glass creations by T. G. Hawkes and Company.

It was at T. G. Hawkes' sudden death in 1913 that his only son took the reins of the company. Shortly after that point, the thirty-something Samuel Hawkes reached out across the ocean to family still living in Ireland for assistance in running his inherited business concern.

One of those relatives turned out to be Samuel's young cousin from County Cork, Penrose Hawkes, who in 1916 picked up his uncle's immigrant story of over fifty years prior to also pursue a career in the world of cut glass in America.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Just Off the Boat

Discovering the real first name of Penrose Hawkes—the man whose photographs were included in a forsaken family photo album I found in an antique shop in northern California—helped lead to other discoveries. Penrose, after all, was a middle name; proper searches for documents to serve as evidence are generally conducted using first names. Thus, finding the true full name led to more discoveries about this John Pim Penrose Hawkes.

A great find was a copy of Penrose's application for a U.S. passport. This, as it turned out, filled in many of the blanks that had us wondering how this Irish-born young man had ended up, alone, in the relatively rural setting of upstate New York by the time he turned sixteen.

When Penrose applied for his U.S. passport, he had been in the country for almost seven years. He had already managed to become a naturalized citizen at the age of twenty three, barely two weeks before making this application.

Apparently, the reason for his passport request was to return home to visit family during the summer of 1923. While it must have been a long-anticipated return for both adventuring son and his parents, it certainly also provided a welcome record for those of us wanting to know more about him nearly ninety five years later.

If all the declarations made for this document were correct, they provide much for us to learn about Penrose's early days—details genealogists thrive on discovering.

From this document, we learn that Penrose was born March 22, 1900, in the town of Bandon in County Cork, Ireland. That location had been established in Ireland by English settlers in the early 1600s and subsequently mired by a longstanding history once granting residence solely to fellow Protestants. As we'll soon see, ancestors of the Hawkes family had been among those early British settlers in Ireland.

Penrose's passport application revealed that his was the exact same name as his father's—John Pim Penrose Hawkes—and that his father, too, had been born in County Cork.

Since the passport application indicated that the younger Penrose had emigrated in June, 1916, perhaps his father, with full apprehension of then-current events, had considered the risk of what was yet to come in Ireland and wanted to send his only son safely beyond any threat to his welfare. After all, it barely had been two months since the ominous occurrence of the Easter Rising. By June of that same year, son Penrose was safely in Liverpool, England, preparing to sail for America.

Soon after, the sixteen year old Penrose had arrived in New York harbor and made his way northward to the city of Corning—a small town, then, of almost fifteen thousand residents, whose population is much the same today as it was in 1900 when Penrose was born. What drew Penrose to that location was a key member of the extended Hawkes family, a relative who had lived there—and thrived, apparently—for the past fifty years or more.

While statements may be found indicating that the specific reason Penrose went to Corning was at the bidding of his aging relative, taking in the broader picture of the history of Ireland at the time of his departure—especially considering his young age at the time—leads me to wonder whether there was an alternate impetus from across the ocean urging his departure from his homeland. Corning, then, became Penrose's safe haven during the storms about to overtake Ireland.

Above: Main Street in Bandon, County Cork, much as it appeared when Penrose Hawkes was born there in 1900; photograph courtesy The Lawrence Photograph Collection at the National Library of Ireland via Wikipedia; in the public domain. 

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Penrose's Paper Trail

When it comes to the unpredictable nature of genealogical research, sometimes you just have to go with the flow. While I would like to systematically trace our Penrose Hawkes back through each iteration of the United States census from the point at which we found him yesterday in the 1940 enumeration, it turns out my wish may not be granted. There are gaps in the paper trail.

It's tempting to think, when musing over missing appearances in what we can presume would be a regular occurrence, that perhaps our Penrose had not yet arrived in New York for an appearance in that previous 1930 census. Perhaps he was, indeed, still back in his native Ireland.

However, other documents save us from that mistaken assumption. Penrose Hawkes, it appears, left a sufficient paper trail in New York to allow us to trace some earlier highlights of his personal history.

For instance, remember that question I had thought of yesterday, when finding Penrose and his wife Marion in the 1940 census? There had been no mention of anyone named Marion in the 1936 photograph album we've been searching through lately. As it turns out, a marriage record located in New York City provides the answer: Penrose married Marion in Manhattan on 21 October 1937. No wonder Marion hadn't made her appearance in the summertime 1936 family photograph collection back in Ireland. She and Penrose may not even have met by that earlier date.

There were earlier documents to help us piece together Penrose's immigration story, as well. Thanks to records from one passenger list, not only do we learn that Penrose arrived in New York City on the first day of August in 1923, but we get the details on his full name, as well: John Pim Penrose Hawkes. While it is clear his family referred to him as Penrose, not John, it will be helpful to remember that detail, in case searches using the given name Penrose don't yield as much information as we might hope.

The August, 1923, arrival was apparently not his first trip to New York City, however. Earlier documents provide more of his story.

A confirming detail, found in an earlier document dated September 12, 1918, not only was filed under that very first name we previously were unaware of—John—but provided an assuring connection to the home we suspected was his. Penrose's World War I Draft Registration Card indicated, for nearest relative to contact, the response: "Father, Ovens, Cork, Ireland." Ovens, of course, was the parish where we pinpointed the correct Bride Park House residence of the Hawkes family of our photo album.

While Penrose had been found in those more recent documents living in New York City, this earlier record was completed in an entirely different part of the state: the county of Steuben in upstate New York. In fact, it included information on Penrose's position at work, and named the employer, as well. He was listed as a clerk at a business called T. G. Hawkes and Company, in Corning, New York.

With a name like that, it is easy to presume Penrose went to work in a relative's business. If you made that astute guess, congratulate yourself on your keen observational skills. But don't let that stop you there. Behind the name, T. G. Hawkes and Company, comes a lineage that connects with some fascinating business history.

Remember, if you will, the 1940 census entry indicating Penrose's occupation as representative for a glass company. Though it may sound as if this younger Penrose, at the time of his draft registration, was just a lowly clerk in an enterprise bearing the same surname as his, this was a young man serving as apprentice to a relative whose family not only owned the company, but seemingly had glass works in their very blood lines, as well.

Above: Section of World War I Draft Registration Card for John Penrose Hawkes, Corning, New York, filed on September 12, 1918, in Steuben County; image courtesy Ancestry.com.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Starting With the Here and Now

There is one bit of advice I've found indispensable when introducing new students to the wonders of genealogical pursuits: start with yourself and move backwards from there. Gradually. That means step by carefully documented step. Never mind that you just know that your French Canadian great grandmother was descended from Charlemagne.

As the old board game once advised: do not pass go, do not collect one hundred dollars. Until, that is, you have followed the rules of proper genealogical research. And those rules do not include permission to immediately jump back centuries to books on the old blood lines of European monarchs. Or any other scintillatingly famous persons. You simply must go, step by step, from what you know through all the documented changes back through the years of history.

In the case of our current chase, however, we will have to modify that hard and fast rule. For in this situation, we are not beginning from our beginning, but from the most recent verifiable documentation of one particular gentleman known as Penrose Hawkes.

Granted, there are precious few things we know about this Mr. Hawkes from the album I found discarded at a local antique shop in northern California. We can't even say for sure that his name was really Penrose Hawkes. But we do know he was called Penrose. And we have observed, from this same book which was likely a family photograph album, that he was at a place in County Cork, Ireland, during the summer months of 1936. And that the woman who was likely owner of the home was named Mrs. P. Hawkes.

Putting this all together, I tried googling several combinations. I tried searching for Penrose plus Alice. Penrose plus Bride Park. Penrose, in fact, along with any other names or terms I could find in the album.

The results brought me several listings—not for Ireland, but for New York. This, as it turns out, is where we need to start with the here and now—Penrose's here and now. For instance, if there were search results showing a Penrose Hawkes in New York, would there be any entry for that name in the closest census record to the time of the 1936 album?

The answer is a solid yes. In an apartment on East Tenth Street in Manhattan, Penrose can be found in the 1940 census, age forty, along with a wife by the name of Marion. She, too, was forty years of age, but unlike Penrose, who was listed as born in Ireland, she was a native New Yorker—as were, apparently, both her parents.

What is interesting about this census entry is that Marion Hawkes happened to win the census lottery for 1940. Hers became one of two entries included in the supplementary questions found on the bottom of the page. There we learn that she was married more than once, that she was first married at age twenty two, and that she had no children.

The puzzling thing is that I find no mention of anyone named Marion in the family album. If, indeed, we do have the right Penrose Hawkes (and really, how many of those can there be?), the likely explanation would be that Penrose was not married at the time of the 1936 visit to Ireland. Of course, we'll have to reserve judgment on that until we find supporting documentation.

Penrose, himself, provided some additional clues in his own census entry. For one thing, it confirmed his birth in Ireland, and the report that he was now a naturalized United States citizen. It also provided his occupation as sales manager for a glass company.

Lest you assume he was a mere mid level manager for some NYC corporate concern, set that notion aside for a while. For in the next few days, we'll discover which glass company Penrose was representing. Even more important, we'll begin following that thread to learn what a long family history intertwined with that glass industry Penrose—and several others in the Hawkes family line—actually had.

Above: Excerpt of the 1940 U.S. Census for Manhattan, New York, showing Penrose and Marion Hawkes; courtesy FamilySearch.org.

Monday, January 16, 2017


The one enchanting thing about the start of the new year is that it is ripe with possibilities—possibilities that eventually grow into projects. As the year gets rolling and those projects get launched, that bright hope which comes with the luxury of contemplating possibilities can undergo some tarnishing. But never mind that for now. Let's bask in the inner warmth of those possibilities, shall we?

Picking up the tale of that mysterious Christmas gift found abandoned in a local antique shop, we are ready to consider the possibilities uncovered from its pages. We've already been properly introduced to several of the players revealed in just the first few of the album's pages—at least, as properly as possible, considering the circumstances.

We've already met Harry and "Self"—the anonymous writer behind those white ink notes on each of the album's pages. We've easily surmised that they are the couple who are the proud parents of the two young girls cavorting through the album's pages, Ruby and Iris. In addition, we've been introduced to a man named O'Malley and a woman called Alice, though we aren't yet sure how they connect to the family's story.

And, of course, there's Grannie. She's the one who seems most likely to have been mentioned in newspaper reports as the West Highland White Terrier owner identified as Mrs. P. Hawkes. In fact, there's a good chance she is the one whose home is the place called Bride Park House in the parish of Ovens in County Cork, Ireland.

Finding the surname Hawkes has indeed been a great help. Who knew it would be the family's dog that would lead us to uncover the mystery of this photo album? Yet it isn't entirely helpful; we have yet to determine just which of these players can claim that surname besides Grannie. Would it be "Self"? Or Harry?

One more player in this scene may also claim rights to that surname: the reticent shadow unwillingly captured in a few of the photographs in the album's opening pages. We've already seen him here, in a fuzzy composition with the ever-present Ruby and Iris. From that introduction, we've learned that his name was Penrose. But is it Mr. Penrose, with an unknown given name? Or may we presume he was Penrose Hawkes? How, exactly, does he connect to this family gathering?

Penrose, looking very cross!

Googling the name Penrose Hawkes does bring up some promising results. However, there are more entries to be found in the United States than in Ireland.

The two lists—one, the search results about the Penrose Hawkes from Ireland and the other the results about the Penrose Hawkes in America—are likely concerning themselves with the same person, opening up a chapter into a fascinating side story concerning the Hawkes family—if, indeed, we have identified the right person.


Sunday, January 15, 2017

Off on the Right Track

Welcoming the new year—at least the first two weeks of it—hasn't been bad at all. I can't say I've had as positive a feeling about a New Year in a long time.

As far as keeping track of research progress, the experiment I tried last year was encouraging. Here's the first installation on the statistical report for 2017. Keep in mind, this is not just a wearying task having to do with numbers. The impetus behind this pursuit—which actually started in late 2014 when I discovered an "exact match" adoptee sharing my matrilineal line—is to trace my mother's mother's mother's line back to whatever generation will pinpoint the nexus between my ancestry and that of my mystery cousin.

Not only that; gearing my research to include siblings of each generation of my direct line—and then extrapolating to all the descendants of any given ancestor—will hopefully help me spot how I match those many unknown third and fourth cousins popping up in my DNA test results with alarming regularity. Keeping track of the numbers helps encourage the research momentum.

For now, it looks like the most—er, make that the only—progress being made is on my maternal line and that of my husband. No problem, though. These are the two lines most likely to experience DNA matches—and also the two lines whose roots reach back to colonial America.

So let's look at the numbers for our new year's fresh start.

On my mother's line, I opened the year with 9,305 names in my freshly-synced family tree. In the past two weeks, I've added and documented 136 additional individuals, bringing the total up to 9,441.

On my mother-in-law's line, the year began with 9,523 and improved to 9,744—a jump of 221 names. I'm not sure why my mother-in-law's line always takes the prize for greatest number of additions, but it sure seems like it does. Perhaps it was all those large Catholic families.

The DNA matches seem to be settling into a pattern, as well, with Family Tree DNA bringing in nearly twice as many as Ancestry DNA in any given time period. Perhaps that is because we are still seeing the tsunami wave coming towards us from that company's unbelievable holiday sale. The down side, of course, is that, flooded with extra work, the lab is likely struggling to keep up with the input. Back in early December, my two sisters in law generously agreed to become "guinea pigs" for one of my genetic genealogy data reading experiments; I've yet to see their results show up in my husband's matches.

So, as it stands right now, the year started out with 970 matches for my husband's account at FTDNA, which bumped up to 980 over the next two weeks. Meanwhile, his Ancestry DNA account only advanced five, from 186 to 191 matches. As for mine, the 1,521 January first tally at FTDNA rose nineteen to 1540, and my Ancestry DNA matches are now up eight to 427.

Making progress on all these aspects is sometimes as simple a matter as squeezing in a few minutes daily to review shaky leaf hints on Ancestry. I must confess, I often spend my lunchtime at my desk, working through those hints as systematically as possible. It may seem like a big number when viewed in the aggregate, but doing a little at a time—and doing so regularly—can make a difference over the long haul.

Above: "Shepherd with sheep in winter landscape," oil on canvas by German artist Ernst Adolf Meissner (1837 - 1902); courtesy Wikipedia; in the public domain.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Off the Shelf:
The Forgotten Irish

It isn't often that I get to buy a book during the year preceding its official release, but that's exactly what happened with the title I want to feature this month.

Granted, the idea of this monthly post is to remind me—a book lover smitten with an insidious disease causing the victim to purchase volumes which then remain shelved and, unfortunately, unread—to go back to that bookshelf, pull the books down one by one and, for crying out loud, actually, you know, read them.


True confession number two: I have a second weakness. This one, I suspect, is genetic, for it was my mother and sister before me who would conspire—even two months ahead of time, and spanning the six hundred miles that separated them—to purchase books as Christmas presents for me, and then ship said present between themselves, so they could each first read the book before gifting it to unsuspecting me. I have now followed suit, as I purchase books for my anthropologically-minded daughter.

"Oh, this one would be great for her to read," I'd think, all the while secretly plotting how I could read it first.

Such were the machinations at play, when I fortuitously stumbled upon a promotional announcement for conflict archaeologist Damian Shiels' upcoming book, The Forgotten Irish.

I'm not sure how I first learned about the book. Granted, I do a lot of research on our family's Irish heritage. Having a daughter recently spend two semesters studying abroad at University College Cork led me to follow a number of Irish archaeology types on Twitter and other social media. And naturally, I follow several blogs on Irish genealogy, archaeology and related topics. Damian Shiels had already surfaced in the mix, long before I discovered the launch of his new book.

Perhaps it was the review I spotted on Claire Santry's indispensable blog, Irish Genealogy News that drew me towards considering getting a copy for myself my daughter. In Claire's mind, The Forgotten Irish was "easily my book of the year."

Then, too, the premise of the book—using the widows and dependents pension files from the American Civil War era "to build a partial picture of the lives of individual Irish emigrant families"—piqued my interest. It was my kind of pursuit. Written by a researcher who had already demonstrated his prowess through his earlier edition, The Irish in the American Civil War, this newly-launched volume promised to delve into material which could breathe some life into the micro-histories of these forgotten people.

I'm not sure how it was, but just in time for some early Christmas shopping in 2016, I spotted a mention of a bargain price for The Forgotten Irish at the Book Depository. Yes, the book was published in the U.K. Yes, that meant shipping it across an ocean and then a sizeable continent. But yes, the company was willing to ship it worldwide for free plus sell it to me at an unbelievable price. I couldn't wait 'til Christmas!

So, technically, the book did sit on my shelf for a while—at least through the two months since its arrival before Christmas—before I got to pull it down and feature it on my monthly book post. I assuaged my guilty book-buying conscience by not reading it before actually gifting it to its intended recipient. (It is a paperback, after all.)

And now, I'm reading it.

There was one small puzzle, though. Being a Christmas gift and all, of course it will be an item whose purchase date I'll remember clearly. So I was quite surprised to see a tweet by the author yesterday, which advised the official launch of The Forgotten Irish would occur on January 26. That, as far as I can tell, means January of 2017.

How is this? I double checked for dates. Could this have been an announcement for January of 2016? If not, oh, how I wish I were headed to Dublin right now!

According to its Google entry, the book was released on October 6, 2016 by its publisher, The History Press. But if you look up The Forgotten Irish on Amazon, the blurb indicates the book will not be available until May, 2017. That's if you want to wait until American outlets make the volume available. I certainly didn't. Besides, while speeding up the process by shopping overseas, you certainly can't beat the price.

Meanwhile, I've overcome my mother's weakness for taking a sneak peak at reading the very books she's about to give to others. I now read those books after Christmas. Yeah, like when the recipient leaves the country to do some post-holiday winter-break traveling. After all, it wouldn't be like she is taking the book with her. May as well seize the moment. I've got a couple hundred pages yet to cover before she gets home.   


Friday, January 13, 2017

Finding the Right Bride Park House

With the nagging thought still lurking in the back of my mind—that the unnamed family in the photo album I found might merely have posed for their pictures at a lovely spot discovered while touring Ireland—I continued following two parallel research tracks. One was to seek any record of the Mrs. P. Hawkes whose darling West Highland White Terrier had won so many ribbons at Cork dog shows. The other, of course, was to zero in on the specific parcel of land which would definitively identify the right location for the building dubbed Bride Park House.

It was that second task which was uppermost in my mind, once I discovered another home known as Bride Park in the same county in Ireland. I simply can't abide it when my pet hypotheses don't line up with reality.

Fortunately, using the Ireland-specific version of Google helped bring a few local resources into focus. While the Landed Estates Database we discussed yesterday seemed to lead us away from our target property, it nevertheless included some interesting detours which may turn out to be helpful in the second phase of our quest to learn more about the Hawkes family.

Keep in mind the NUI Landed Estates Database is organized to be searched in three different ways. One of those is to search by family name. Right away, I headed for the A to Z listings in the family category. There was plenty to wade through under the heading for H. If our mystery album's family was indeed part of the Hawkes line of County Cork, there was plenty to learn about their forebears in the 1800s in this overview of Hawkes holdings.

Though none of the entries mentioned the name Bride Park specifically, various entries on the Hawkes family confirmed some of the other discoveries I had been finding simply by Googling that name. What I had been sensing about a family name with quite a history turned out to be so.

That was not all to be found on Bride Park, as you may already have discovered for yourself if you chose to join in the research chase. While I couldn't find anything correlating "Hawkes" with "Bride Park" in any landed estates, I could find some more recent listings for properties.

One beautiful website discovery was that of the National Inventory of Architectural Heritage. There, among their entries, was one looking very much like the Bride Park House we had been musing over from the photograph album's pages. Except now, much like the Dorothy who was transported from Kansas to Oz, we weren't looking out the door to view a 1936 black and white life any longer; this photograph was in vivid color.

Detailing the house history for the very building we are seeking, the Architectural Heritage entry informs us that Bride Park House was likely built in the 1820s. In the townlands of Kilumney in County Cork, the property has undergone additions, all of which are catalogued in the Architectural Heritage description of the building's construction. Clicking on the web page's hyperlink for "additional images" reveals a close-up of the very doorway where I suspect "Grannie" stood in 1936 to have her picture snapped.

The location of the house, according to the map linked to its entry in the Architectural Heritage website, appears to be right next to a river. Whether that is the River Bride, I'm not yet sure, but it seems likely. Checking the property's location on Google maps not only confirms that location, but adds the ability to view it via "street view," revealing yet another iteration of what seems to be the very property we've been seeking.

Ruby and Iris, taken in the garden at Bride Park—July 1936

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Bride Park: Not Just a Kennel

Page by page, that discarded family photo album I had found now started providing more clues. The more details spotted on previous pages, the more understanding the exercise yielded. It took a process, first, of linking internal clues to each other, then, when enough of those were aggregated, taking the leap into the real world to try out our hypothesis and see if it led us to any real people.

Before jumping to any conclusions, though, it might be helpful to view just one more page in the album I rescued from our local antique shop. This one allows us to step back from that "hall door" we had already seen in the photograph of "Grannie" and take in a view of the house through which the entrance led.

Not only did this photograph provided a glimpse of just what the place looked like in 1936, but its caption revealed to us that the building, itself, was called Bride Park.

Part of Bride Park House.

What we had previously assumed was the name of the kennel claiming the bragging rights for the prize-winning "Bride Park Periwinkle" turned out to be the name of the home where the kennel was likely based.

The question now became: where, exactly, would that Bride Park home be located? If the house known as Bride Park was the residence of the "Mrs. P. Hawkes of Ovens" whose prize-winning West Highland White Terrier came from a kennel bearing that same name, it would figure that Bride Park would be located in Ovens.

Fortunately, questions like this are serving to reawaken some of my hibernating research memories from our family's trip to Ireland, two years ago. One site I had found back then, upon discovering an Irish relative's address led to the ruins of a now-deserted two story home, was a useful database set up by the National University of Ireland in Galway. Called the Landed Estates Database, it catalogs properties in Ireland by location, by family names and by estate names.

My next step, obviously, was to go straight to the NUI database and see what could be found under the heading, "Bride Park." There was indeed an entry, from which I gleaned that there is also a townland bearing the same name as the estate, itself.

The entry provided a brief historical rundown on the first owners of the Bride Park estate. The house was built in the 1770s by a Reverend Stephen Rolleston, changing hands in the early 1800s to a Reverend Spread. By the mid 1800s, the owner was a man named Thomas Power, but there had apparently been others on the title, prior to that point.

None of the surnames, however, included that of the woman whose kennel shared the name of this estate. There was no mention of anyone named Hawkes.

That was where I slowed down to take in all the details on this brief house history. While I was somewhat consoled by spotting the mention of new owners taking over in the early 1900s, that hardly mattered when I realized what the map on the page was shouting at me: this Bride Park was on the wrong side of the city of Cork. If Mrs. P. Hawkes was from Ovens, she had to live in a place to the west of Cork, not the east. And the NUI Galway site had this Bride Park situated to the northeast of the city.

Now I understand why, despite a recent renovation, that Bride Park house didn't quite look the same as our photograph. It wasn't the same house!

That left me wondering: should I be following the lead of the name of the kennel owner, Mrs. P. Hawkes? Or should I pursue further clues by examining more details about this property which appeared to be the rightful claimant to the estate name Bride Park?

Not only that, but another possibility occurred to me: what if, like many "photo shoots" of our current day, this unnamed family was just on an outing to a beautiful, photogenic locale which would serve as a pleasant backdrop for their family portraits?  

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