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The Knowles family from Belfast to Birkenhead

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Becky Report 1 Jan 2014 15:11


I am looking for any living relatives of this family shown in the 1911 census of Ireland:

The family moved from Belfast to Birkenhead in 1912 and William Knowles and Jane Knowles (nee Gibson) went on to have a girl (Jean, 1912) and twin boys (one of which was Harry). I am struggling to find what happened to them after that.

I do have a little more information but it is only speculative at this stage:

I believe that Matthew went on to marry an Eileen Field in 1928 and they went on to have at least 2 children Roy Matthew in 1929 and Eileen May in 1934.

I think Eileen may then went on to marry a Mr Iveson in 1957 but I am not sure.

I believe that Matthew may have died in 1981 and David in 1973.

I am looking for living relatives for my nan who is the Granddaughter of William and Jane through their only daughter Jean. Jean moved to London in the 1930s and lost touch with her family so my nan knows very little.

If any of this is ringing any bells for anyone, I would be delighted to hear from you :-D Hopefully this has all made sense lol




patchem Report 1 Jan 2014 16:43

Welcome to the boards, Becky.

You could apply for those certificates to see if your suppositions are correct.

Have you looked to see if anyone on genes has any of your family in their trees, and then made contact with them?

It is better and faster for you to search out people, not wait for them to come to you.

just copied that census so we can see it:
Residents of a house 12 in Biggs Street (St. George's, Antrim)
Knowles William 33 Male Head of Family Church of Ireland
Knowles Jane 34 Female Wife Church of Ireland
Knowles David 11 Male Son Church of Ireland
Knowles William 9 Male Son Church of Ireland
Knowles Matthew 5 Male Son Church of Ireland
Knowles Robert Male Son Church of Ireland
Gibson David 38 Male Brother in Law Church of Ireland

I cannot see any Knowles/Gibson births in Birkenhead. Where and when were Jean and Harry born?


patchem Report 1 Jan 2014 17:06

You have Jean as Jean Eleanor in your tree.

Do you know if the other children had middle names, and did Jean marry, or is this her death?

Jean Eleanor Knowles
Birth Date: 14 Sep 1912
Date of Registration: Sep 1999
Age at Death: 87
Registration District: Eastbourne
Inferred County: Sussex
Register Number: A76E
District and Subdistrict: 4541A
Entry number: 117


Becky Report 1 Jan 2014 17:33

Thanks for the reply! :)

I have found a member on here who has the same relatives on their tree and I think they're the ones i'm after - i'm just waiting for a reply.

Jean was born in Belfast and the family thought this was just before they moved to Birkenhead but I'm starting to think that they moved later on as George signed up for the war from Belfast in 1915. Perhaps all the children were born in Belfast.

I think that the boys adopted their mother's maiden name of Gibson as their middle name - any idea why this would be? It must be the right children as they have her maiden name in theirs right? I can never be too sure if I am positively on the right track - difficult isn't it. A lot if the information has been guesswork and instinct - my nan doesn't know a lot about her family. Hopefully I am on the right track.

That is the death entry for my great nan and she did not marry but did have two children with a Canadian soldier during WW2 - to cut a long story short, he went back to his family in Canada after the war a left her with two children. My nan never saw him but I have since been able to find pictures by talking to people on the ancestry site! Hopefully I can find more about this part of the family for her in the same way.

anyway, I have gone off point a bit lol

thanks for the help!


Flip Report 1 Jan 2014 19:28

I don't know if I'm being a bit thick here - but who is George who signed up in Belfast 1915??

That 1911 census, they have been married 15 years, 5 children born 1 has died - so all 4 live ones are accounted for, so who is George.


patchem Report 1 Jan 2014 19:39

As you know about this death, then have you got the certificate as the informant could be a relative?

David Gibson Knowles
Birth Date: Apr 1899
Date of Registration: Mar 1973
Age at Death: 73
Registration District: Eastbourne
Inferred County: Sussex
Volume: 5h
Page: 850

And this one
Matthew Gibson Knowles
Birth Date: 2 Sep 1905
Date of Registration: Sep 1981
Age at Death: 76
Registration District: Birkenhead
Inferred County: Merseyside
Volume: 37
Page: 0806


Flip Report 1 Jan 2014 20:07

There's something not quite stacking up with the military record. William Knowles enlisted in Belfast in 1915 - wife Jane nee Gibson, they married Belfast 11.7.1896.

However, the only children mentioned on his forms are:

William 15.4.1901
Matthew 2.9.05
Robert 1.7.10 (or 1.9.10, it's unclear)
Elinor 14.9.12 (not Jane Eleanor)

No David mentioned, not any later children.


patchem Report 1 Jan 2014 20:17

But the birth date for Elinor is the same as the death for Jane Eleanor.


Becky Report 1 Jan 2014 20:38

My mistake, I meant David not George - no idea why I said George. So many names come up when I'm researching I probably just got them mixed up somewhere. Could anyone make out why he was discharged?

perhaps David isn't on his dad's war record as he wasn't living at home - he went to war too - I'm just guessing here, It's still the same family though, there's too much that matches.

I think they had twins after they moved to Liverpool so that'll be why there are no children on the list after Eleanor (maybe they just called her by her middle name of Eleanor instead of Jean)


Becky Report 1 Jan 2014 20:44

it can all get quite confusing at times can't it lol :-S


rootgatherer Report 1 Jan 2014 22:12

Name: David Gibson Knowles
Estimated Birth Year: abt 1899
Age at Enlistment: 16
Residence: 36 Island Street Belfast
Document Year: 1915
Regimental Number: 3262
Regiment Name: 15th R I R (Bugler)
Number of images: 3

Discharged 21st. January 1915 under para 392 (4) K. R.

So he was discharged as he was "claimed as an apprentice"

On the next page of his records it says he was discharged under para 392 (2). That would indicate that the reason was "having been irregularly enlisted"

Father enlisted May 1915 and still giving Belfast Address.

Name: William Knowles
Estimated Birth Year: abt 1880
Age at Enlistment: 35
Residence: 36 Island St, Belfast
Document Year: 1915
Regimental Number: 23639
Regiment Name: Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers
Number of images: 10


Becky Report 1 Jan 2014 22:34

Hi Reggie. I didn't mean it to sound like the boys adopted their mother's maiden name, I just meant to suggest that that's what happened in the family. I should have said that they were given their mother's maiden name as a second name

Rootgatherer, Thank you for finding the reason for discharge for me, I appreciate that as I couldn't make it out on the form

thank you all for the help, I have so much more information than I thought I would get. I will spend tomorrow making sure I record it all down!


Becky Report 1 Jan 2014 22:51

rootgatherer, On davids war records, you mentioned he was discharged 21st. January 1915 under para 392 (4) K. R.

When I look at the record I see 21st. January 1915 under para 392 vi (a) K. R.

that would mean that he would have lied about his age, what do you think? this would then tie in with the next bit where it says he was irregularly enlisted.


Flip Report 1 Jan 2014 23:42

It's so sad to read the war records, yes I think he was discharged for being too young - as my great uncle tried twice under his brothers names to enlist but got caught out both times.

Poor David was only 4ft 10in when he tried it on! If you don't have access and want any of the war records let us know & someone can download and send over to you.