From personal experience, I know there are often mistakes, made honestly or due to extreme wishful thinking, on these websites. I've come across it in my own family tree. I also know that many times, family oral history is often based on truth. It may be misinterpreted, misunderstood, exaggerated, but more often than not, the truth can be found with enough persistence, research, & a heck of a lot of luck. As more sources come online, researchers today have access to more records than researchers of the past had.
Back to Stephen Hawes. At noon today, I knew absolutely nothing about this man. Within an hour, searching online, on my lunch break, I found out the following:
Stephen Hawes was born about 1474 or 1475, in Suffolk, "where the surname is common," according to wiki. He was a groom to Henry VII & during that time, was granted the right to 4 yards of black cloth for mourning when Queen Elizabeth (Richard's niece) died. He wasn't part of Henry's household when Henry died however, & it is thought he died around 1523. He was paid for a play he wrote for Henry VIII in 1521 & his will, naming Katherine his wife as his beneficiary, was probated in 1523. He was a well-known, popular poet of the day & was educated at Oxford.
As of now, the only "source" for Richard III being Stephen Hawes' father (other than genealogical websites & God knows where they got their information from) is wiki, which states "it has been suggested" that Hawes was Richard's son. That, in my book, is tantamount to "extreme wishful thinking" on someone's part & should remain so until a credible source can be found. This does not mean, however, that you can't go snooping around to see what you can find & then discussing it.
However, just for even LOOKING for information about Stephen Hawes & speculating whether he had direct descendants alive today, some people got up in arms about the whole thing, calling it a fairy tale. I pointed out that three years ago, "experts" were saying we'd never find Richard III because "everyone knows" his remains were tossed in a river. That didn't stop the wet blankets, though, who proceeded to try to school me on mtDNA (when I was discussing Y DNA).
Ahem. (glances down to first entry on this blog)
If this is what Philippa had to deal with before she finally found someone to help her find Richard, the woman deserves not just a medal, but a statue.
I'm going to keep looking into this little puzzle & will post updates if/when I find something of interest, & that is credible, to add.
Some sources (although you can Google Stephen Hawes on your own as there are way more than this):
Dictionary of National Biography