Friday, April 7, 2017

Remember Alice?

Call this the genealogical equivalent of Monday morning quarterbacking. We need to deconstruct the logic behind my assumptions in dealing with that mystery photograph album I found in a California antique store.

Granted, it was a pretty good job, finding my way from that lost album to the home of its originator, back in Ireland. But in the process, I did veer off in the wrong direction with some guesses.

Lesson learned: never forget to consider both sides of the family.

As much as I eventually knew the surname of the couple sending the gift of that album—it was Harry and Alice Reid—it never occurred to me to reconstruct a family tree for the Reid side of the family.

I have my excuses, of course. For one thing, there was such a focus on the Hawkes family—Alice Hawkes Reid's family. There were pictures of "Grandma"—her mother. Of course, there were some shots of Alice's perennially grumpy brother, Penrose, without whose unusual name I probably wouldn't even have considered purchasing the album. The group photo of the tea party guests included a listing of several Hawkes family members. There were even photographs of the Hawkes family's dog, Periwinkle, whose kennel club victories helped clinch the identity of the family's surname.

Other than that, the few stray mentions of other surnames didn't seem to provide any research traction.

And then there was the other Alice. The one whose unknown identity twisted me in contortions. I had tried everything—remember, the Hawkes family seemed to have a love affair with that name—yet nothing seemed to work out to provide me with confirmation of those guesses.

Now that I've connected with Heather, a Hawkes family descendant, in almost an instant, I've discovered my mistake. I was looking on the wrong side of the family tree. That mystery Alice was born a Reid, not a Hawkes.

It turns out Harry Reid had several siblings, including a sister who was about six years younger than he. Her name was Alice, and her arrival in the family constellation occurred in 1896.

Considering this gaping hole in my research, thanks to Heather's guidance, I'm making amends by filling in the Reid pedigree chart. Joining Alice were several siblings and half-siblings. And just like the rest of Alice Hawkes Reid's family, some of them dispersed to the four corners of the world, including Canada and the United States.

Hmmm. A clue. Perhaps, when I was considering the "voice" Alice Hawkes Reid used when penning her comments in the photo album, I should have remembered that other side of the family. It certainly makes sense, in reviewing her white-inked words, that the familiar tones regarding first-name-only family members could also have been reserved for the Reid side of the family.

Above: "Off on a Spree," Alice Hawkes Reid had labeled this photograph from their Christmas, 1936, family album. The four people listed left to right were "W. O'Malley, Alice, Harry + self." Alice Hawkes Reid always referred to herself in the album as "self." The woman standing second from the left, as it turns out, was actually Alice Reid, sister to Harry Reid.


  1. The clue was there all the time. sometimes that happens:)


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