A hint of Rosemary

She was just a little tyke, picture perfect really, her arms draped around a sheepish grandpa’s neck and shoulders. The only clue I had as to who she might be was in her name, Rosemary, penned out along with that of “Grandpa” in stylish ink beneath the old photograph. She and Grandpa (or rather a grainy picture of the same …) arrived in my mail box all the way from Alexandria a few weeks ago.

I didn’t start out looking for Rosemary, and I really wasn’t too sure who “Grandpa” was, either, but the more I looked at their picture, the more they seemed to be calling out to me. I was pretty sure I’d never “met” Rosemary before in the family tree – and I definitely needed to back track a bit on figuring out just who “Grandpa” was. However, like most of us who do family history, I knew I wasn’t going to be able to let it go. There seemed a reason for Rosemary to be looking at me from that old picture – and it was going to bug me until I found out just who she was.

Rosemary’s picture had arrived en masse with a lot of other old photographs, forwarded for safekeeping, and sent with kindness from the family of my biological great-grandmother, Opal Young.[1] Most of these old pictures had belonged to Opal’s older sister, Mary,[2] with some of these pictures inherited by Mary’s daughter Maxine.[3] And like most old pictures they had been labeled as Mary Young and her daughter Maxine had preferred – for themselves, and for their own easy identification.

While I wasn’t certain, I had a pretty good idea who “Grandpa” was.

Now, my relationship and my getting to know members of the Young family has always been, well, achieved rather vicariously – as I never knew Opal, Mary, or Maxine, and I have spent the last 25 years or so getting to know the who’s who of my biological great-grandmother’s family, usually by snail mail, remote control, or email. (By the way – these cousins have been great!)

While I wasn’t certain, I had a pretty good idea who “Grandpa” was. The picture looked to have been taken in the early 1930s. This meant that the “Grandpa” in the picture couldn’t have been Mary Young’s. Both of Mary’s (and Opal’s) grandfathers, Guilford Young[4] and John Neff,[5] had died several years before 1930. It seemed likely that any reference to “grandpa” must mean that this particular picture had belonged to Mary’s daughter Maxine.

And, since the photos had come “from” the Young family, I felt fairly safe in ruling out Maxine’s paternal grandfather[6] as a subject in the photograph. This meant that the reference to “Grandpa” could likely only be one person – Maxine’s maternal grandfather. And while not 100% confirmed, this did make an identification of “Grandpa” more plausible. “Grandpa” was then most likely Mary and Opal’s father, George Alfred Young.[7]

The next step in identifying Rosemary was going to prove a bit more arduous. I had researched the family of Opal Young (and  Mary Young) fairly extensively in an effort to document their Mayflower ancestry.[8] I had a general outline and understanding of Opal and Mary’s siblings, the children of “Grandpa” George A. Young and his first wife Mary (Neff) Young. My trouble was that of the four (out of six) Young children with issue, none of them had a daughter named Rosemary.[9]

The next step in identifying Rosemary was going to prove a bit more arduous.

So exactly who was Rosemary? Without G.A. Young’s grandchildren, this left a few possibilities: a) that Rosemary was a niece, cousin, or friend from an unrelated family who just happened to “pose” with Grandpa Young, or b) that the picture wasn’t referring to Rosemary’s grandfather at all, but only Maxine’s grandfather, with Rosemary belonging to an entirely different generation of the Young family. (And hopefully one that could claim George Young as “Grandpa”!)

Rosemary (McPeak) Snook. Courtesy of U.S. School Yearbooks Index, Ancestry.com.

It took a bit, rifling through the descendants of the children of George Alfred Young, but there she was – there was Rosemary. I found her first listed in the household of her grandparents, Walton and Grace (Young) Hull[10] – Grace, an older sister to Opal and Mary Young. Rosemary McPeak, age 2 years, is living there with her parents, Truman McPeak and Grace Hull’s daughter, Marian (Hull) McPeak.[11]

So you see, Rosemary hadn’t been assigned a random “Grandpa” after all. Rather, she had been held in the arms of her “Great-Grandpa.” The picture as labeled was correct for its owner, Mary’s daughter Maxine. But the phrase “Grandpa and Rosemary” turned out to have a generational meaning all on its own. Rosemary, my newly-found second cousin once removed, has now claimed her spot (other than in a picture) in my growing family tree. From what I have learned, Rosemary lived a good long life.[12]

Now, what the heck to do about these pictures of “Bob and Audrey”?? Who are they? Yikes!


[1] Opal Rae (Young) (Porter) Everett (1895–1978).

[2] Mary Freelove (Young) Walker (1893–1982).

[3] Maxine (Walker) (Blanton) (Glasener) Bryant (1921–2000).

[4] Guilford Dudley Young (1827–1911).

[5] John K. Neff (1839–1919).

[6] Samuel Riley Walker (1856–1910).

[7] George Alfred Young (1856–1936).

[8] Mayflower Descendant 65 [2017]: 2.

[9] My grandmother, Katheryn (Ogle) Record (1914–1993) – also a granddaughter of G. A. Young and his wife Mary Neff – was acknowledged posthumously as a part of the Young clan.

[10] U.S. Federal Census 1930, El Dorado, Butler County, Kansas, household of Walton Hull and Grace (Young) Hull.

[11] Marian (Hull) McPeak (ca. 1906–after 1941).

[12] Rosemary (McPeak) Snook (1927–2001).

About Jeff Record

Jeff Record received a B.A. degree in Philosophy from Santa Clara University, and works as a teaching assistant with special needs children at a local school. He recently co-authored with Christopher C. Child, “William and Lydia (Swift) Young of Windham, Connecticut: A John Howland and Richard Warren Line,” for the Mayflower Descendant. Jeff enjoys helping his ancestors complete their unfinished business, and successfully petitioned the Secretary of the Army to overturn a 150 year old dishonorable Civil War discharge. A former Elder with the Mother Lode Colony of Mayflower Descendants in the State of California, Jeff and his wife currently live with their Golden Retriever near California’s Gold Country where he continues to explore, discover, and research family history.

7 thoughts on “A hint of Rosemary

  1. Great detective work! And it helped me understand the roots of people named Snook (German apparently); I have some distant connections with that name, and I was curious.

  2. Jeff. Your determination amazes me! Now, if only I could convince you to be related to William John Broadhurst, who has been avoiding my searches… :D) Your determination has given me the hope, though, that if I keep working on it, I will find the answer to my own mysteries. Thank you again…

  3. Beautiful article and impressive investigative skills. I think you missed your calling. 😉

  4. I have an Opal Young in my family also, so it has been interesting to read of your adventures in search of this family. Mine appear unrelated, being from Michigan, related to me by way of my Aunt Mildred Lee’s marriage to George Young. Opal was Opal Greene (1930-2008) Young, first wife of my cousin, Floyd Lee Young, who turned out to be a bit of a scoundrel. After their divorce, this branch of the family seems to have fallen out of contact with the rest of the cousins, and I would love to find one or more of Opal and Floyd’s seven children to learn about their lives and children, as I’m in the midst of a book on the descendants of my Lee immigrant, and this is one of the later generation blanks.

    Hoping posting this might bring one or more out of the woodwork…

    1. Hi Linda, thank-you for your note – I wish you much luck in discovering the lives of those seven children! You will have many stories to tell – as I am sure so do they. I too am descended from a (northern?) Lee family also – it appears we have much in common! Best of the New year to you –


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