I found this business card among my family papers. My mom thought her mom had acquired it somewhere along the line, but….
Oddly enough, a few weeks before I found this, I had been working on my Parks family, so R H PARKS, to me read, Robert Hall PARKS. I thought it was a long shot. Robert Hall PARKS was born in Michigan and lived in Illinois and at some point, Iowa. What I didn’t know at the time was that he did actually live in New York. I remembered that his daughter Isabel was supposedly married in New York. I did confirm that through her marriage record. But having this business card made me wonder if this was actually my Robert Hall PARKS,as he was tied to New York if only through his daughter’s marriage.
I started to dig around and found the marriage announcement of Isbael to Samuel Brewster in the New York Herald. I then started to go through the New York City directories on Footnote and consistently found listing for Robert H Parks from 1880 to 1894. What tipped me off that this was possibly my Robert, was the entry in the 1880 directory:
Although it lists him as a broker working at 5 New, his residence is indicated as Ill. I found him, his wife, and his daughter in the 1880 census living in a hotel in NYC. At this point, I had at least placed the him in New York, and it was apparent he had just moved around the time of the census. As I made my way through each directory, I found the following listing in 1893; it’s the only one that has this business address (there were several other business addresses throughout the years).
Who knew this hunch would lead to anything. All I had was this card (with initials only, albeit) and a dead-end for him in Lake County, Illinois in the 1870 census. The information about his daughter’s marriage was initially vague and unsourced. But once I confirmed that, I thought, maybe they all moved to New York and that’s why I can’t find any of them in Illinois. All of this was confirmed when I found his obituary, which stated at the end “Chicago papers please copy.” That right there tied him back to Illinois. And because of this one little card, I was able to figure out when and where Robert and his wife died (both in 1894 in New York) and learn more about his daughter’s family.
Now whether my maternal grandmother actually found this or not is still a mystery, as Robert Hall PARKS is my first cousin five times removed on my dad’s side!