Friday, February 24, 2017
Of Beauty Queens and Presidents
What do you do when the end of one story comes before you're ready to take up another? As you can probably tell, I've been mourning the inability to connect with family members who could claim the mystery photo album I found in a town near my home. Of course, reaching out to connect with someone in County Cork, Ireland, is a challenge from California, but up to this point, we've done our best.
Now, it's time to move on. What next?
Well, behind the scenes, while that Hawkes family story was unfolding, I couldn't stop working on my own family tree. I have several long-term projects I'm working on, both on my trees and on those of my husband.
For the most part, routine genealogical research isn't something you write home about—unless you want to subject all your relatives to that "my eyes glaze over" reaction. So I just keep connecting documents to names on those trees, one dreary click at a time, during spare moments like lunchtimes alone or while standing in long lines in town. That's the type of work that goes on, behind the scenes. You can tell how much drudgery has been accomplished in any given time period, based on my biweekly reports—but other than that, it's mostly silence to which everyone owes some gratitude. Not every family story is scintillating.
In the past few months of plugging away at this, though, I did run into a couple interesting stories. One involves a distant cousin who apparently won a significant beauty contest and found herself in the running for a chance at becoming Miss America. Another story led me down the descendants' trail from a colonial ancestor to a woman who married a man with a familiar surname—I kept thinking, "Wasn't that the name of a senator?" As it turned out, yes, a descendant in that line did indeed turn out to become a senator, and before even that, someone who had married the daughter of a President.
So, while we await any news of connections with the descendants of Harry and Alice Hawkes Reid—if we even hear at all—we'll use the opportunity next week to explore the stories which have popped up during that routine, behind the scenes, research I've been doing to round out that family tree.
Above: "Washington Arch, Spring," 1893 painting by American artist, Frederick Childe Hassam; courtesy Wikipedia; in the public domain.