Monday, 27 December 2010

Rolling Stones v. Roaming Sams

From 'The Kisblogger' 1 October 2009

A rolling stone gathers no moss, as the saying goes. But Samuel KISBY of Sutton Bridge, Lincolnshire, managed to gather two ...Mosses. It is a mystery which doesn't quite add up yet!

Samuel Kisby, a Corn Merchant's Clerk (who died at Sutton Bridge in 1890 aged 74) seems to have married two different women with the forenames Mary Moss.

Samuel's first marriage, to the aliteratively named Rebecca Beck, lasts for many years until she dies in Sutton Bridge in 1875. In 1877 a Samuel KISBEY marries a Mary Moss WOODRUFF, some distance away in Risely, Bedfordshire (it was common for the husband to go to the wife's parish to get married). Her age is given as "30". Unfortunately for all concerned, Mary Moss KISBY dies aged 32 and is buried at Sutton Bridge in January 1879.

Meanwhile, later in 1879 a Samuel KISBEY marries a Mary Moss SWANNELL, quite some distance away in Barnet, Hertfordshire. In the 1881 Census Mary Moss KISBEY aged 40, "Wife of a Merchant's Clerk" is recorded at the home of her mother, Catherine SWANNELL, in Northamptonshire. So clearly this Mary Moss KISBEY is not dead in the slightest and is an entirely different person to Samuel's second wife. Curiously, Mary Moss's place of birth is Pavenham, Bedfordshire, only 7 miles from Risely (location of Samuel's second marriage). Meanwhile Samuel is recorded separately (but 'Married') in Sutton.

The birth of Mary Moss SWANNELL is recorded in 1838, which tallies approximately with her age in 1881 (women allowed to be bashful about their age!). A Mary Moss KISBY dies aged 57 in the Birmingham area in 1897. There is no apparent record of a birth of Mary Moss WOODRUFF. To confuse matters, Samuel's mother is believed to be named Sarah WOODRUFF.

If Samuel was trailing across the country following a merchant on his business, it would explain his varying locations. But is there another connection between his two wives or did Sam spend 1879 trailing across England trying to find a third wife with the exact same name as his young deceased sweetheart?!! Why did they marry in Barnet? Something to hide? Conspiracy theorists may think that the second Mary Moss, upset that she had been courted only because of her name (not her looks or personality) left Sam and returned to Mother. It makes a good story worthy of a romantic novel!

Wednesday, 1 December 2010

Kisby Crims

From 'The Kisblogger' 12th August 2009

Spare a thought for John Kisbee, woodturner of Stamford, Lincolnshire. He was put up for trial for 'crimes' at least three times between 1836 and 1847. For his first offence in 1836, burglary, he avoided prosecution or punishment (one presumes therefore not guilty). In 1839 John was, intriguingly, put on trial with three other men for "riot". None of them were found guilty for this offence.

In 1847 John appears again in the Lincolnshire criminal registers, this time he is arrested for 'larceny'. Before his trial can commence John Kisbee dies in Stamford Gaol, leaving a young family and a wife expecting another child.

Why John had his collar felt by the long arm of the law so many times we might never know. He is described as well educated and evidently is also a skilled tradesman. The Kisby's generally seem to avoid falling foul of the law!

However, the Lincolnshire Kisby's have not remained entirely well behaved. In November 2008 a Lincolnshire Kisby (who will remain nameless here) was sent to prison for five and a half years for a "savage, wicked, attrocious" attack in the street, leaving the victim needing extensive facial surgery. Luckily the trial was not taking place in 1830's England, or the Kisby crim may have spent his remaining days in Australia or worse!

Tuesday, 2 November 2010

The Axis of Kisby-dom

Monday, 11 October 2010

Last of the Wortley Kisby's

My father's cousin Gladys passed away in August, ending over 110 years of my family's connection to the Leeds suburb of Wortley. Charles Kisby, my great grandfather, married in New Wortley in 1899 after moving to the area from Cambridgeshire. Much of the sea of Victorian terraced houses have now been swept away and Gladys lived in a more modern block of flats in Lower Wortley. Gladys' mother 'big' Doris - differentiating her from Gladys' sister 'little' Doris - lived into her 90's and Gladys was fortunate to enjoy a long life herself. No doubt her family will miss her. As should Wortley, which is now Kisby-less!

Thursday, 7 October 2010

Beer and Sheep

From 'The Kisblogger' 8 June 2009:

The weekend before last I paid a visit to Preston, Lancashire, a haunt of my mother's family during the nineteenth century. My great-great grandfather (and his father too) ran a small hotel on the outskirts of the town. To my amazement and delight it is still open today and trading under the same name, the "Grand Junction", a name it has now retained for almost 150 years!

Of course, the most famous Kisby watering hole is "Kisby's Hut" near Papworth Everard, opened by Samuel Kisby circa 1770. It closed recently, after 230+ years trading (though it only held the name "Kisby's Hut" sporadically during that time).

My greatx3 uncle James Kisby was landlord of the "Boat & Anchor" just outside Whittlesey, Cambridgeshire. Interestingly, in the 1901 Census he is described as 'Innkeeper & Shepherd', which is certainly a nice trick if you can tend your flock and pour a pint at the same time!! I expect he needed to employ baaaaa staff ;o)

Thursday, 30 September 2010

End of the Kisblogger

The Kizz Blog's predecessor, The Kisblogger, is deceased. has closed down today and the many blogs hosted by them are disappearing too. Thank goodness I moved to Blogger in plenty of time!

Thursday, 23 September 2010

Hunting in Huntingdon

At last I indulged myself yesterday in a trip to the Huntingdonshire Archives to continue my Kisby/ee quest. The town is pleasant (the birthplace of Oliver Cromwell) and the Library is airy and modern with a great little cafe.

Huntingdonshire borders onto the Kisby/ee stomping grounds of the English Fens but, unfortunately, not many of its records seem to have been digitised. Therefore the only way to delve further is to examine the original records. It was fascinating (and quite a privelege) to be handling parish registers which were over 350 years old!

Though I didn't manage to further my own family tree, I did come across a family group of Kisbee's in the parish of Farcet, in the far north of the county. Thomas Kisbee married for a second time in 1767, shortly after his young wife Laetitia had died. He was literate and spelled his surname with the two e's. His son, Martin Kisbee, also brought up his family in the parish. Interestingly, Martin and his wife Mary later appeared in South London, where they ended their days in apparent poverty. My next investigation will be to find out why they came to from Huntingdonshire to Surrey and fell on hard times....

Monday, 26 April 2010

Charles Kisby the wife seller

The story is almost complete. The death certificate of Charles Kisby (1812-1872) arrived today in the post. Charles was a railway labourer. He died of brochitis in Sedgefield Workhouse, hundreds of miles from where he was born.

Charles Kisby is actually one of my own ancestors, born near Whittlesey, Cambridgeshire, on 16 February 1812. He married Maria Bass when he was still a teenager and Maria gave birth to at least two daughters. The marriage didn't appear to have gone well at all. Probably the daughters, Sarah Ann and Jane, died when they were young. Then in May 1840 it was widely reported in the English and Irish press that a certain Charles Kisby had sold his wife in Wisbech market! Charles had arrived with his wife wearing a rope halter around her neck. Fortunately the local police sergeant intervened to stop the auction but, all the same, Charles later sold his wife to a Thomas Foster for one guinea.

In 1851 'my' Charles Kisby appears in a village near The Wash on the other side of Wisbech. He is described as 'unmarried'. In 1871 he appears as a railway labourer living in County Durham.

So Charles ended up coughing and spluttering his guts up in the workshouse. As for Maria, I've never found out whether she met a miserable end or spent her days in a happy new relationship. It would be fascinating to know!

Monday, 29 March 2010

Marrying in Manchester

Another example which may have raised a few eyebrows, considering there was a law against marrying the sister of your wife...

The impressively named Henry Gilbert Cheek Dunn married Dinah Kisby in Manchester in 1872. I believe Dinah died prematurely in 1882, well for her sake I hope so because, in early 1883, a certain man named Henry Gilbert Cheek Dunn married Dinah's younger sister, Sophia.

Saturday, 27 March 2010

Getting on in Gedney Hill

Another very overt case of Kisby inter-marrying occurred in the southern border area of Lincolnshire. Joseph Kisby died in September 1848 aged 51, in Gedney Hill. A little over 2 years later his widow, Sarah, married Joseph's brother, James Kisby. This revelation has taken me by surprise because, until now, I have presumed the three children that appear in the 1851 census were James's. No doubt things were a bit confusing for them too!!

King Henry VIII also married the widow of his brother, so James Kisby was in good company in this respect!

Tuesday, 23 March 2010

Mixing it in Mepal

The rural people of East Anglia are sometimes cruelly accused of being in-bred. Interesting to note that the Cambridgeshire Fenland Kisby's were not averse to a bit of inter-marrying. In the small village of Mepal, brother and sister Edward and Rebecca Kisby wed Jemima Parsons (1862) and John Parsons (1863), who were also siblings. To confuse matters all the more (and maybe save on wedding invitations), Edward and Rebecca's widowed mother Maria Kisby later married John Parsons the widowed father of Jemima and John.

Thursday, 11 March 2010


Paid a short visit today to the London Metropolitan Archives during my lunch hour. One of my discoveries was the marriage of Susan Kisby in 1853. Susan came from Norfolk and had been widowed in 1845, she consequently came to London, as did her son Emanuel (and probably some of the other children too). Several of Susan's children emigrated to the USA, including Emanuel.

Susan married a labourer called Edward Musgate. Maybe Susan and Edward emigrated to the USA as well. But would you believe it, Edward seems to be the only Musgate that has ever existed. So the trail immediately runs dry! Now, let me tell you, I thought Kisby was an unusual name but, for a surname as plausible as Musgate, I would have at least expected to find more than one!! Maybe Edward was an immigrant and had Anglicised his name, surely there must be a logical explanation. Neither Edward nor Susan could write, so maybe the local priest misheard the name? Edward's father was Sampson Musgate, which is an even more unusual combination!

Any suggestions anyone?

Friday, 5 March 2010

Thought he'd killed someone...

Fascinating correspendence recently with a fellow Kisby that lives not far from my old haunts in South Wales. It concerns a man who called himself Ernest KISBY, who turned up in the Rhondda in the early years of the 1900's. It turns out Ernest's real birth surname was something different and, shock, horror, he was trying to evade the police. Fortunately everything was not as bad as Ernest thought. The man he thought he had killed was very much alive.

The family story passed down was that Ernest COULTON (known as Frank) came from Norfolk and had run away and taken his mother's maiden name, KISBY, as his new identity. In fact, it turns out his surname was COUTEN and Ernest was born near Spalding in Lincolnshire in 1882. However, his mother Sarah Ann (nee KISBY) was brought up in Norfolk.

More interesting still is the fact that Sarah Ann was born in Coates near Whittlesey in 1847. My own Kisby's were born a brought up in the same village. Therefore it could even be possible that I am a very distant relly!!

Saturday, 27 February 2010


Greetings to anyone who stumbles across this blog. It is a continuation of my blog, The Kisblogger.

There were approximately 350 Kisby's, Kisbee's and Kisbey's listed in the England & Wales 1881 census. Nowadays there are probably over 1,000 worldwide. Most of us will have ancestors that originated in the East of England, around the English Fenlands, but there are also Kisbey's from Ireland and Kisby's from Denmark. I'm interested in tracing the origins of the English Kisby's in particular so if anyone wants to help then I'd love to hear from you.