Howse it going? - October 2014

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Howse it going? - October 2014

Post by mardler »

Hello everyone. We have a full note for you this month. Read on . . .

Sleuth alert
Four questions about individuals, at least a couple of which provide material for eager sleuths to cut their teeth on!
1 - Commander Godfrey Edward Hammond House (1894-1960) - is anyone out there acquainted with this man's family? A representative of the Royal Navy contacted us asking if we have any contacts. We have provided them with a few potential leads but are not yet sure whether they have been successful.
2 - David Robert Howes (1964-1988). We have referred to this man before. He was gunned down by the IRA in Belfast during "the troubles". Does anyone know anyone in his family? If so, please get in touch with me directly at paul 'at"
3 - James House (b1955, Sacramento). This man is a country music singer, suddenly popular with line-dancers in the UK. I tried to trace his family but after finding that his mother's name was Andrews, I drew a blank. Can anyone help?
4 - Jesse George Howes (1889-1973) - we believe that this man was the proprietor of a baker's shop somewhere in Buckinghamshire, unsurprisingly named Howes Bakery. A member of his family is interested in learning more about it/him. Anyone know anything, please?

George Denis Howes (1899-1961)
A correspondent drew my attention to this man, who won the George Medal (GM) in 1942 and I want to share his story. For non-British readers, I should explain that the GM was instituted in 1940 to recognize acts of bravery by civilians.

George was the Second Mate aboard a steamship sunk by a U-boat in 1942. As the senior officer aboard the lifeboat he was able to keep twenty-one survivors in good spirits for a total of forty-nine days adrift in the mid-Atlantic, before they were rescued. We have since been in contact with one of George's sons, ironically aboard another ship in the Atlantic at the time, who has pointed me toward where George's medals can be seen: Trinity House in Hull, George's home port, and hope to add a photo of them to our site soon. We have also added George's Name to the list of GM recipients at Wikipedia, here: ... orge_Medal.

To read the full story, check out George's record page here: ... ee=Onename. If we can obtain more information/pictures about George, we will add a page in our Notable People section, which he fully deserves.

HOWES - a new origin for our name?
We (or at least, I!) have generally figured on our name's origin being toponymic, that is after a geographical feature (in our case, a hill) with perhaps other sources deriving from the name Hugh or a dwelling. However, correspondent Steve Howes recently found some references to the "Howes Division" of Cambridgeshire in the 1830's. It appeared to cover several parishes to the North-West of Cambridge, including Girton.

Steve wrote to a Cambridgeshire archivist and received a reply stating, among other things, that there was a hamlet named Howes as early as the year 1219. It was not recorded as such after the year 1600, but apparently lived on as the administrative grouping of nearby parishes. The archivist also drew our attention to the existence of a book named, "The Hamlet of Howes" by a Helen M Cam, published in 1944, which he suggests has more information. Does anyone know where we might find a copy of that book and/or is anyone interested in relating any relevant contents for us?

Side note, but nowadays about the only trace of the old hamlet and a possible origin for our name is the street sign for Howes Place, which you may have seen as part of our photo rotation on our site's home page.

Persistence pays - work around your problem
My wife and I have just returned from a three-week road trip across the USA from Jacksonville to San Diego and back. While my wife was driving, I had to find something to work on which didn't require internet access! So I turned to a large number of obituaries which I had downloaded last year and added many details from them to records of people already in our database. One was for an Arthur Wellesley Howes a teacher of Latin and Greek in Philadelphia, PA. He and his father, William were already in our database but we had been unable to figure out which William it was, given that all we had to go on was a year of birth and "England" as a birthplace! Arthur's obit, however, mentioned that "his uncle was John Edward Howes, who as a lieutenant of Light Dragoons took part in the charge of Balaclava". From that, we were able to tie Arthur and father into their original family.

We draw two morals from this story:
a) don't believe everything, just because it's in an obit! Arthur's uncle wasn't a lieutenant but a Sergeant, later a Sergeant-Major, and Arthur wasn't a descendant of the Duke of Wellington as claimed, but one of many English boys in the nineteenth century named after him.
b) if you have a brick wall in your research, it often pays to work around it and examine the relatives of the person. You may find something relevant, as we did here. But be patient! It won't always show up straight away.

We hit two big milestones this month. First, we passed 90,000 people in our database and ended the month at 90,679 people. Second, I keep a master list of 24,750 marriages in England and Wales between 1837 and 1950 for people with our name. As we find another marriage I note the name of the spouse and the location of the marriage if we know it. We now know the name of the spouse for over 14,000 and the actual location for close to 5,500! So we are definitely "on the down slope" for England and Wales, at least!

Finally, I want to acknowledge the help this month of Colonel Bob Howes, the Howes Family Association genealogist, whom my wife and I met again in Las Cruces, NM on our way across America. Bob was able to provide us with some fresh information and a copy of the book written about Howes Brothers circus, for which I am most grateful.
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