My mind has been rather intensely occupied by the whole muddled mess that is my Hyde line. Surprisingly, after writing that last post about the updates I need to make, I discovered a whole new crazy plot twist involving bigamy. Except this time, the crazy was in my direct line and for some reason that revelation was more upsetting than all of the previous discoveries – that should absolutely be more upsetting. Of course, I haven’t shared those discoveries yet so you’ll just have to trust me that they should feel worse. Sigh. I’m adjusting.
But. Because my mind has been so fixated on this part of my tree, this photo took on new meaning to me. It is an image taken in Sheffield, England and labeled on the front, “my sister Alice”.
On the back it reads “Alice Hyde Duval”. Now the note on the back was written by my own Grandmother. If her note was correct, this photo would be of her grandmother, Alice Hyde who married Francis Cyprien Duval.
Her note is not correct. This is definitely not Alice Hyde Duval. Alice Hyde was born 29 July 1880 in Muskoka, Ontario, Canada. She did travel to England with her father and younger sister Rosey after their Mother’s death in 1884. But it appears they did not remain in England for very long, likely not long enough for her to be as old as the child in this photograph. Rosey was left with her Hyde grandparents in Sheffield and Henry, Alice, and Henry’s new wife Alice left England bound for Alaska.
So who is “my sister Alice”?
I believe this photo is an image of Alice Whiteley. Alice Whiteley is the sister of Ann Whiteley. Ann Whiteley is the wife of Henry Hyde and the mother of Alice and Rosey Hyde. Ann died 3 days after the birth of a daughter – who is believed to be Rosey – leaving Henry a widower with two young daughters. He went back to England and married Ann’s younger sister Alice Whiteley.
We now have two females named Alice Hyde. They are aunt and niece, and step-mother and step-daughter.
Alice Whiteley was 5 years old when her older sister Ann married Henry.
It appears that after Ann and Henry’s marriage, Henry left Ann in England for a time while he was living in Ontario. She may have been there as late as 1879 – when Alice was 11 years old. When Ann left England, Alice was her only living, unmarried sister.
So, as I said before, I believe this photo is of Alice Whiteley, the sister of Ann, who went on to marry Ann’s widower Henry.
But here is the really big deal…
If I am correct that this is a photo of Alice Whiteley, then I am likely looking at my 3rd great grandmother Ann Whiteley’s handwriting.
Ann Whiteley is a bit of a ghost in my tree. She left almost no mark on this earth in the form of records. There are no known photographs of her. This might possibly be the only item she ever touched that still remains in our family’s possession.
That is cool.
And yet, did she write, “my sister Alice”?
On her marriage record in 1873, Ann signed her name with an x as her mark. In the intervening years would she have learned to write so well?
I don’t know.
What I do know for certain, is that there are two family members in my tree named Alice whose lives intersect with Sheffield, England. The only two candidates to be the subject of this photograph. Alice Whiteley and Alice Hyde. Aunt and niece, step-mother and step-daughter. I have two photographs of them together.
On the left is my 2nd great grandmother Alice Hyde, born in 1880 in Ontario, Canada. On the right is Alice Whiteley, my 3rd great grandaunt, who was born in 1868 in Sheffield, England.
This photo was taken in Alaska. Alice Hyde is in the back row and Alice Whiteley is in the front row on the right.
Based on their faces, I believe the child in the first photograph does look like the adult Alice Whiteley.
What do you think?
Is the child in the image Alice Whiteley born in 1868 in Sheffield?
If so, do you think Ann learned how to write well enough that she labeled this photo herself?
Every photo, letter, note, and artifact leave us clues. I hope I am seeing all of the clues for what they are.
ps – Here’s one more factor… According to her 1940 prison record, Alice Hyde born in 1880 had grey eyes. The eyes of the child in the photo appear to be very dark to me – brown or black. And yes, you read that right. My 2nd great grandmother went to prison when she was 60. I told you this Hyde line is filled with a lot of heavy stuff.