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


  1. Bravo! Now what will you do if a Corning descendant comes along and wants that album before you can finish this series?

    1. That would be so cool!!! I always love seeing photos going to places where they make impact - like your album with the ice breaker!

    2. Actually, Wendy, I'd quite welcome it. Bring 'em on!

      As the family history of Penrose Hawkes unfolds here, behind the scenes, I'm actively engaged in searches for more background information on the family. We'll see what happens...

      And yes, Iggy, that would be cool! That is probably why both you and I get so inspired by what Far Side is doing with her Forgotten Old Photos blog.

  2. So he was in the glass business:) I am intrigued and very late reading on the weekend and I am just catching up now:)

    1. Welcome back, Far Side. Likewise here! Can't wait to catch up on reading on your sites, too!

  3. Hello Jacqi,

    I think I lived 3 houses away from Penrose and Marion in Corning NY in the early 1950s. If memory serves me well, they had an apartment in The Chowning House, a yellow painted home on 1st st. between Pine and Cedar Sts. in Corning NY.

    I think there was a Hawkes glass showroom on Market St. in Corning. It had lovely show windows with engraved glass pieces backed by dark blue velvet -- facing Market St. Of course I was very familiar with the Corning Glass Museum, and the Hawkes company was intriguing as Penrose and (I think) Margaret lived close to me, and the showroom was walking distance from my home.

    When I was a young girl, my friend Nancy and I would go and knock on Mrs. Hawkes back door. She would bring out glasses of Coca Cola to us. She was really friendly and quite pretty.

    We were not allowed to have Coke so this made this experience a true adventure.

    I found this as I had written down a list of Corning people I remembered, in order to look them up on the net.

    That's all I recall and I'm not positive this friendly woman was named Margaret -- I'm guessing from reading what you have written on this website.

    Devon Darrow

  4. This article has piqued my interest. I have a great great uncle named John Pym Penrose but asurname of Thurston. They are meant to be related to the Waterford Penrose family but I just can’t find a connection.


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