Family history is all about families. As I write this I'm in a hotel room in Ann Arbor, Michigan. I'm here to celebrate the graduation ceremony of my younger son, David, who will shortly enter the wide world and begin to earn his living as a computer engineer. Maybe at some point he will continue our own family line, but that's not for me to decide!
This month, I spotted this delightful photograph of five generations of a family, four of whom are named Howes. From oldest to youngest, they are Josephine Alamanza, Rosalita Howes, James Howes, Anthony Howes and Ella Howes. Congratulations to them.
The picture was in the Great Falls Tribune in Montana and the family is clearly from around there. So here's one for you sleuths: we have several Howes families in Great Falls in the early 20th century, but we cannot connect this family up. Is there anyone out there who can figure out this family's ancestry? And, are there other five-generation Howes/House/Howse/Hows/Howze family photographs out there?
Last month I mentioned that I would be at this exhibition on the stand of the Guild of One-Name Studies. I was so pleased to meet nine people associated in varying degrees with our name(s), many of whom have provided and continue to provide us with information. So thank you for stopping by to:
Viv Sharples (one of our earliest correspondents) and her cousin
John Mabbitt (who now has his own One-Name Study)
Heather Law (Heather and Brian had not met before but it appears that they might be related!)
and Jan Rands, a newly discovered relation of mine, and her husband, Mike.
Jan and I had been corresponding for the last month or so. She related a fascinating story about how as an infant in 1866 her great-grandfather, Walter Howes, was deposited on the doorstep of another couple in Norwich with a note saying that money would follow for the child's maintenance, which it did. The child's birth certificate apparently leaves no doubt as to his parents (Thomas Benjamin Howes and Charlotte Smith) but the circumstances of his removal from his parents make us rather puzzled. Thanks to Jan, there is more detail on Walter here:
http://howesfamilies.com/getperson.php? ... ee=Onename
Jan and I decided to take a DNA test each to try to establish how closely we are related. We would also dearly love to find a male descendant of Walter with whom we might test some yDNA. Does anyone know this family? We know that some descendants existed in Norwich, England and others in Vancouver, British Columbia.
A wayward vicar, or was he just unlucky?
Another rather odd story about Herbert Taylor Howes can be found here:
http://howesfamilies.com/getperson.php? ... ee=Onename
I was contacted about the story by the author of a new book as mentioned in the note. If you have an interest in matters clerical, the whole book looks like an interesting read! As for the Reverend Howes, you'll have to decide. The jury couldn't and the man was "busted" back to curate for the rest of his days.
Can anyone help with . . .
There was a Howes family on Montserrat in the 1850s and may well still be. Parts of the family left and went to Canada and Australia. What's intriguing us particularly is that the scion of the Montserratian family was a Thomas Masters Howes, supposedly from Yorkshire. We had puzzled about his origins for some time until Mike Howes, one of our regular research team, recently found a man of the same name and vintage born in Gloucestershire.
Montserrat's official records were apparently all destroyed by the volcano there some years ago which means that there's no solid paperwork other than family reminiscences. Although we cannot match the men we can see that they must have been closely related as there were others with the given name of Wylde in both families. At the very least, then, the two Thomas Masters Howeses must have been at least cousins.
I think I mentioned before that FindMyPast now has an unequalled grup of Irish records, allowing families to be reconstructed in ways almost impossible a few months ago. Is there anyone with time and patience and perhaps a little Irish knowledge and/or blood who might try to rebuild some families for us? My own view is that the Howes/House families in Ireland are originall English transplants from the dim distant colonial past, though I know others disagree. Here's your chance to find out!
Is there anyone out there with a MyHeritage subscription? I've not seen their technology recently myself but I have read others describe their new smart matching technology applied to books and the Australian Trove database of newspaper articles. It sounds great. I'm wondering whether
Bletchley Park records
We like coming across unusual records. Recently, we came across the roll of honour for Bletchley Park, the house in Southern England where people worked on monitoring German radio communications and cracking the codes of the Enigma machines during the second world war. We were fascinated to find two Howeses among those who worked there: Clement Charles Howes and William Arthur Dickerson Howes. One was a "wireless interceptor" and the other was "top brass" - an RAF Wing Commander in charge of radio intercepts. Was one of these men in your family? Did you have others in your family who worked there. To see more, click on SOURCES in the left hand column on our site, type bletch in the box and hit the enter key. Then click the source reference to see the people.
Thinking about the long-term
To close, I want to say that after thousands of hours of work by me and others, I'm concerned over the long-term retention and preservation of this study. Without giving away too much, I'm aware that an opportunity will come up shortly for us to lodge our work in a public place, still under my/our control, but where it can be preserved for the long-run even if our team were to collectively walk under the proverbial bus tomorrow. I'm thinking seriously about taking it.
I can assure everyone that:
1 - we aren't going away any time soon! Howesfamilies.com will remain our primary archive
2 - we already keep multiple copies of our data on several hard drives in two countries and in a private archive in the cloud. At worst, we would lose a week's work.
3 - NO living individuals will be among the data preserved in that public archive. We take our confidentiality promise very seriously. Right now there are over 20,000 living individuals in our database whose records you cannot see. Nothing at all regarding these people will be passed to anyone.
4 - we will have the chance every few months to update that public archive.
If you have any concerns, please do let me know.
And finally, is there any reader out there who is going to the NGS conference in Fort Lauderdale, Florida next week? If so, let me know. It would be fun to meet up.
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