The second cousin of my grandfather Geoff de Crespigny was Vida Clift née Hopper-Cuthbert (1913 – 2007). She was my second cousin twice removed; our most recent common ancestors were Samuel Proudfoot Hawkins (1819 -1867) and Jeanie Hutcheson (1824 – 1864). Vida’s grandfather was David Hawkins (1858 – 1922). Geoff de Crespigny’s grandmother was Jeanie Hughes née Hawkins (1862 – 1942).

David Hawkins and his family lived in New South Wales. Jeanie Hughes lived in Victoria. I do not know whether my grandfather Geoff ever met his second cousin Vida.

In 1974 Vida Clift compiled a family history, which she called “Pink Hats on Gentle Ladies”. Copies of the manuscript were deposited in the State Library of New South Wales and State Library Victoria.

In the Introduction she wrote:

History requires a considerable amount of time and investigation. As I had neither the time, nor the resources for this research, and had to depend on my very unreliable memory for much of the material, this record is, I considered to be neither complete, nor strictly accurate.

Some of the dates included, are open to question and apologies are made for any errors. 

However, material was obtained from old Parish records, Family Bibles and Birthday Books, old headstones, and printed records in the Public and Mitchell Libraries, Sydney; the National Library, Canberra; and the Archives Office of Tasmania.

Many people, relatives, friends, and even complete strangers assisted me by supplying relevant notes and reminiscences. To all who helped in any way, may I express my sincere gratitude.

Should you feel your family has been overlooked, or scantily recorded, it has not been done so intentionally. It is because the requested information has not been sent to me. In some instances, my requests for information were completely ignored, and I have included only those names and dates which, I believe to be accurate.

Although we appear to have had many distinguished ancestors, we ourselves, are who we are neither better nor worse for those ancestors. Although there may have been an odd scallywag here and there in the many families, I have not found any to include in this record, which I have endeavoured to keep accurate as far as possible. Nor is there anything in this book intended to hurt anyone.

This record has been compiled in the hope that future members of the families will keep it up to date. Some may perhaps research more deeply into the families who came from the Old Country. 

Younger members of the families will have a better opportunity than I will ever have, to go to England, Scotland or Ireland and delve into the past there, where the information should be available.

In 2017 Vida’s son Daniel wrote to me:

I have just been searching through the internet checking on some Hawkins Family history and I came across your details.

I too am a relative of Samuel Proudfoot Hawkins. (A great, great Grandson.)

My mother, (Vida Clift), was a daughter of Jessie Hawkins, whose father was David Hawkins, whose father was Samuel Proudfoot Hawkins.

Mother wrote a very incomplete family history, (Pink Hats on Gentle Ladies), and I am now endeavoring to continue the task, which is a very onerous one!

However, just thought I would drop a line and introduce myself.

We have been in correspondence over the last five years.

Daniel has now produced a second edition of his mother’s book, with corrections and additions. A digital copy is being made available on this website.

Introducing the second edition Daniel writes:

Some additional information and photographs have been added, including scallywags, due to the wonders of the Internet. 

Way back in 1973, mother told us she was going to write a book on our Family and all those individuals associated with our family.

To be honest, we had no interest at all at the time, and as is often the case, we now wish we had paid more attention to her efforts. My mother, (Vida), and my elder sister Barbara, could remember dates and names of relatives where they lived, who they married, where they were born and died. I do wish I had recorded all that information.

Now, I am the last one standing, (to quoin a phrase), and as such I am now engrossed in updating the original book and the information mother had gained.

As is stated in the original edition of her book – ‘Pink Hats on Gentle Ladies’, most of the information was gathered by ‘badgering’ family members and those ‘non’ family members into sharing their knowledge and recollections, searching manually through the Mitchel Library, State Archives, Cemetery and Church records.

Mother painstakingly proceeded to put all the information into some sort of chronological order and then typed the whole document using an old Remington typewriter and foolscap size paper!

I still have that original document.

After the book was printed, not published in the true sense of the word, copies were sold, mainly to the family and copies found their way into both the Mitchell Library and the State Library in Sydney. A copy has also found its way into the State Library of Victoria!

It is fortunate, one of the family members, a cousin, Barbara Hopper-Cuthbert, retyped the entire document into electronic format, thus enabling me to add information, photographs, and to correct information and explore the internet for much needed dates, particularly on Births, Deaths, and Marriages.

Original photographs were scanned, some were enhanced and have been included in this second edition.

There is, a lot of information that is incorrect, missing, and difficult to find.

An extensive source of information was gained from the Internet via a ‘web’ of sites dedicated to Family History, and the ability to explore the families of relatives, but, as Mother found, as have I, some questions asked seeking more information, have gone unanswered.

Reformatting the book proved to be far more difficult than I had imagined, asking myself should I change the format, or leave it alone?

I did however where possible, remove a lot of duplicate information and combine it into a single family with reference to the relevant families. Some information is duplicated because it refers to both sides of a family.

A lot of photographs became available from both my mother’s archives and other sources and where appropriate, have been included. I still have a Sea Chest and two filing cabinets full of family history!

Some information has also been included which may, or may not be applicable to the actual family history, but it is included for historical interest.

I undertook a DNA test through Ancestry, and that has brought the relatives ‘out of the woodwork’, which is much appreciated!

Through Ancestry, I have started a Family Tree, (Daniel Clift Family Tree), hopefully this will be available to anyone looking for information on the Clift side of the family, although it does include quite a few other families, some going back 12 generations.

As some family information is vague, I have removed it altogether.

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Wikitree: Vida (Hopper-Cuthbert) Clift (1913 – 2007)