Wednesday, February 8, 2017

New Clues From Old Records

It was thanks to a death record that I discovered the married name of Penrose Hawkes' sister Alice. Only for a genealogist would that statement not sound morbid.

With the advent of so many vital records of prior centuries being upload by various Irish repositories in the past year, the closing details of this chase to discover the players in the mystery photo album I found seem to be easily giving up their secrets.

Of course, first I had to confirm the name of the mother of our key subject, Penrose Hawkes. Frankly, trying to find any of the family's names wasn't leading me anywhere until I tried a search on Mrs. Penrose Hawkes. Discovering her name at birth was Sarah Susanna Ruby—thus revealing the source of her granddaughter Ruby's name—I was able to locate one record in the death register for a "Sara Susan" Hawkes.

Embedded in that record, along with the necessary documentation of the last day of her life, was a bonus for us. Listed in the column labeled "Signature, qualification and residence of informant" was a person listed as Alice R. B. Reid. Her "qualification"? "Daughter of deceased." To finish off the details, she specified her residence as Bride Park House, Ovens.

The entry in the death register was given as 17 September, 1951. By then, Sara Susan Hawkes, aged eighty six years, had been a widow of "independent means."

While it would be nice, at this juncture in her family's history, to insert a copy of a local newspaper's obituary, you know what my laser focus is seeking. It's a rush to discover just who it was that Alice had married. Since we are already perusing the records at, it's a simple matter of another search, conveniently on that same site. Right?

You're holding out for Harry, aren't you?

Well, it wasn't so easy. In fact, if it hadn't have been for the telltale indexed record mentioned to me through the hints at, I would likely have not found it. Nothing came up on my search for Alice Hawkes in the civil records at Going to FamilySearch to circumvent the problem didn't help, as it only brought up the transcribed information for that specific individual only—no mention of the spouse's name. (Not to mention, getting the initials for her middle name wrong, as well.)

But I knew a record had to have been there, thanks to the mention at Ancestry. And it wasn't part of the blackout for those marriage records less than seventy five years old.

In the end, it turned out to be merely a clerical case of misspelling on the original form, showing Alice's maiden name as Hawks. And there, with all the details easily seen at last, was what we were seeking.

Seeing Alice's father's name given as John Pim Penrose "Hawks" of "Bride Park, Ovens," was reassurance enough that we had the right person.

The marriage was solemnized at the Athnowen parish in County Cork on October 13, 1927, with witnesses listed as J. P. P. Hawkes, P. L. Ruby, and H. O'Malley.

Alice's husband's name? Henry. So was his dad's name. I'll take Harry as a possible nickname for the junior member of that Reid household. Wouldn't you?


  1. Ding Ding Ding -- I think we have a winner!

    1. Well, I can tell you are enthusiastically agreeing with me, Wendy!

  2. So was the O'Malley in the album the witness?

    1. I was wondering if anyone would pick that up, Kat. Good eye.

      Unfortunately, I can't yet be sure of the identities, owing to two difficulties. First, the clerk's handwriting was hard to read; second, since these people seem to go by more than one given name, one can never be too sure whether going by one initial obviates the possibility that the other may apply, as well.

      However, the label for the "Spree" photo gave Mr. O'Malley's initial as W. Perhaps, as we move into next week, we may learn more about the O'Malley connection with the Hawkes. They might have been related families.

  3. Replies
    1. Thanks for that vote of confidence, Far Side! It was so exciting to find that! And, thanks to some help from Iggy, there's more to come ;)


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...