The Mountain Times

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Poultney resident received genealogy award

We all have many generations and branches in our ancestral trees. Chasing out the mysteries in each is fun to a genealogist. The research, organizing, writing and publishing of the data found is often a thankless project. However, Poultney resident Gertrude P. Horridge recently was bestowed with the Lola Parks Spohn Nielsen Award by the Parks Family for her work. The award, a plaque, is given annually by the Parks Family to living honorees to thank them for the service and research that they have done on behalf of their family. Horridge received the award for her dedicated research about her Parks ancestors, a Wells, Rutland County, Vermont branch of the ancestral family group. Gertrude Horridge was also given recognition in The Parks Family Newsletter, a division of the Robert and Laban Parks of Ohio subgroup which is also affiliated with the Parke Society.

Horridge said that she began researching after retirement with zero genealogy research knowledge and after purchasing and learning to use a computer and genealogy software. Her dad was one of 18 children, descendants of Robert Parke of Massachusetts circa 1630, who came to America with the Winthrop Fleet onboard the Arabella. (The Winthrop Fleet was 11 ships under John Winthrop that brought Puritans, provisions and livestock to New England from England during the summer of 1630.) She began the research with the family that she knew who had lived nearby in Wells, Rutland County, Vermont in the 1800s. The family in Wells owned Wellsmere Farm. Horridge also worked on the second family of Joseph Parks. Horridge said that the search took her through records all over the country; Pennsylvania, Ohio, Illinois, Colorado and California.

As a child, Horridge was always intrigued by the family lore of her ancestor who came to Wells, Vt. on horseback with his wife from Connecticut and how "some stayed" and "some went west."  Her great-aunt was a member of the DAR, which infused another bit of lore that sparked her interest in the family history. She said that over the years she gathered wedding invitations, birth announcement and funeral cards as well as all other bits and pieces. Gertrude grew up in Dorset, Vt., but having lived away from Vermont for many years, she said she nearly threw away all the documents when she and her husband, Bill, moved back to Vermont 28 years ago. Then after her mom died, Horridge said she was at a loss for something to do and it was then time to work on those boxes.

She said she is fortunate to live so close to Wells and that the records are still intact, with assistance of very patient Town Clerks. Horridge said the first five generations of the family are well researched by others and were easy to prove. So, she went to work on her direct line; Simion Parks who brought his son, Joseph Parks to Wells, Vt. Joseph Parks was married twice and Gertrude Horridge is a descendant of his first marriage. The family surname is written in several records through the generations with various spellings including Park, Parks, Parke and Parkes.

The Parks Family hosts a reunion annually every Labor Day weekend. Since attending her first one, asking questions of the family present, collecting data and researching, she has now been named by them as the "Family Historian" and information continues to flow in.

Horridge said that her next adventure into history is one in which she is compiling information on the house in which they own and live - historic Eagle Tavern which faces the East Poultney Green. It is one of Vermont's "most historical buildings." She said that "little did she and Bill know that history when they bought the Eagle Tavern to occupy their retirements and run as a bed and breakfast business, a business which they have since retired from." Horridge said that "doing genealogical research on all of the previous owners of Eagle Tavern is an experience all its own." The fact that all of the Poultney records up to the early 1860's burned increases the challenge for all researchers of Poultney history. She also said that since the inn and tavern business is very hard work and doesn't pay well, there are numerous owners to keep her busy for quite a while.

Horridge has also been actively researching several branches of the ancestral trees of both of her parents as well as of Bill's. A surprise for her was having discovered the many ancestors in her Hyde family heritage who are buried across the street from Eagle Tavern in East Poultney cemetery dating from the late 1700s / early 1800s. Horridge said she had no idea when she and Bill located in Poultney that she had ancestors who had lived in this community. 

One genealogy "brick wall" that she hopes to knock down is regards to Bill's heritage of the surname of Williams. She has traced it back to 1622 in Cornwall in the United Kingdom to the surname of Hoskin/Hosking/Haskins. "The Surnames of Wales" indicates that the Haskins surname originates from Wales. Horridge said that Bill's ancestor, William Hosking married Florance (surname not yet known) Aug. 20, 1622 in Ludgvan, Cornwall, England. She hopes for Bill and their grandchildren to learn more about that line of ancestry. For all of the lines of the research which she has completed she has obtained records which are genealogically necessary to make it proven work.

Gertrude and Bill Horridge enjoy membership in the Welsh-American Genealogical Society, Poultney Area St. David's Society, United Methodist Church of Poultney and Vermont Historical Society. They are retired members of Poultney Area Chamber of Commerce.

Janice B. Edwards is a freelance writer and a native of Poultney, Vt.

Photo submitted