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jananmart
18-07-2009, 10:41 PM
Hi I'm hoping some-one can help me solve this mystery- After years of searching I finally tracked down my Grandfather Henry james Beech b.1892 through his mother Elizabeth who was widowed by my G. Grandfather Robert William Coward he died in 1907 and Elizabeth went on to marry William Kneale in 1911.I have found them on the 1901 census where henry is 9 living at 31 page St Liverpool with his natural parents. I then found them at the same address where the spelling is off under Knowle as follows- Elizabeth 40 bookbinder and sewer.William 43 dock labourer and Henry james 19 dock labourer. Although I am absolutely delighted to have 'nailed him' I am really curious to know why he changed his name to Beech and if William Kneale adopted him I also have my Grandfathers army records from1914-18 where he enlisted under Beech. How doI find out if he was offficialy adopted?By the way I have exhausted my research of relevent family names to find a Beech connection with no luck. Does any-one have any ideas where to go next? Many thanks Jan

christanel
18-07-2009, 11:42 PM
Hello Jan
I think you will find that official adoption didn't begin until 1927.
Anyone can use any name they choose, as long as it is not for illegal purposes.
Maybe taking a look at the census pages for your man may show a neigbour with the Beech name.
My father was unofficially adopted in 1911 and used his adoptive parent's name until he required a birth certificate at the age of 14 for work purposes.
Now, his father enlisted in the army in WW1 using 3 different surnames, but never his true one!! He used his mother's maiden name, a neighbour's name (listing her as his mother) and another rellies surname. Then had the gall, in 1923, to request that his medals be re-issued under his birth surname!! He was found out of course and he was using the surname for illegal purposes as he deserted twice taking all his kit with him. What lengths to go to to avoid supporting your wife and children.
Christina

jananmart
19-07-2009, 8:18 PM
Hi Christanel many thanks for your reply-Yes I have trawled through all the streets surrounding his home for the Beech connection with no luck. I have a 'window' between 1911 and him enlisting in 1914 to explore which is almost impossible having no research facilities to start with. I do know he worked in London for a while during these years even 'aquiring' a cockney accent which he never lost. All in in all he was a wily old fox and I'm pretty sure there were some underhanded dealings going on in his life around this time.
I note with much interest you are located in Australia which begs me to ask another favour- My Uncle Stanley Beech emigrated to N. Zealand in 1954 last known address Auckland We know he has died during the last 10 years and I am trying to track any cousins I may have there unfortunately access to N.Zealand history is very restricted here or costs a bomb - any suggestions?
Many thanks for your interest and good luck with your research Any help I can give you on this side of the pond? I am located in North Wales on the Cheshire/Liverpool border.
Best wishes jan

christanel
19-07-2009, 9:17 PM
Hi Jan

Looking on this site ( which has only recently come on line)

http://bdmhistoricalrecords.identityservices.govt.nz/Home/

I found this

Death registration 1996/49527 Stanley Beech born 23/11/1928

Is this your man? If so you can order the certificate on line and it may give you the names of children or other rellie. I am not very familiar with NZ certificates even though both my Mum and Dad died there (must ask my sister for a copy) and I was married there.

Hope this is your Stanley.
Christina

Wirral
19-07-2009, 10:52 PM
I am really curious to know why he changed his name to Beech and if William Kneale adopted him I also have my Grandfathers army records from1914-18 where he enlisted under Beech. How doI find out if he was offficialy adopted?By the way I have exhausted my research of relevent family names to find a Beech connection with no luck.
I'm not surprised that he changed his surname from COWARD to BEECH. Imagine the teasing he must have had to put up with, especially if he had signed up for the 1stWW under that name. There may be no connection at all with the name BEECH - he just wasn't called a COWARD any more!

joette
20-07-2009, 3:58 PM
Is it possible that Robert Coward was not his Father? He may in fact be using his natural Father's name.
I have a few of mine who have children with different surnames where they are using not their Mother's husband surname but that of their "natural father".
Have you checked to see if she was married/widowed before?

Wirral
20-07-2009, 7:31 PM
Is it possible that Robert Coward was not his Father? He may in fact be using his natural Father's name.
I have a few of mine who have children with different surnames where they are using not their Mother's husband surname but that of their "natural father".
Have you checked to see if she was married/widowed before?
There is no suggestion from the online records that Robert William COWARD was not the father of Henry James COWARD.

1887 Robert W. COWARD married Elizabeth J. WARBURTON.
1891 census Robert W. 22 & Elizth Jane 23 were living in Everton. That would make her about 19 when married.
June quarter 1892 birth of Henry James COWARD.
1901 census, Robert Wm., Elizabeth Jane & Henry James living at 31 Page St.
1907 death of Robert Wm. COWARD - his son Henry James COWARD would have been about 15.
1911 Elizabeth J. COWARD married William KNEALE. Henry James COWARD would have been about 19 - probably a bit old to be adopted.

christanel
20-07-2009, 11:36 PM
I'm not surprised that he changed his surname from COWARD to BEECH. Imagine the teasing he must have had to put up with, especially if he had signed up for the 1stWW under that name. There may be no connection at all with the name BEECH - he just wasn't called a COWARD any more!

I like your thinking Wirral.:)
Christina

jananmart
22-07-2009, 10:58 PM
Hi Christina and Wirral again thankyou both for all your suggeations.Yes I realised the connotations of the name Coward when my Grandfather enlisted in the army. The reason I was curious as to a possible adoption was finding him with his mother and step-father on the 1911 census with the name Knowle (sic) He would have been 19 here and probably asked his name by the enumerator unless he just assumed the same surname. So why didn't he enlist under the name Kneale? It would have been perfectly acceptable to the authorities at that time given that legal adoption wasn't enforced until 1927.
Christina thankyou so much for the death reg ref my Uncle Stanley- I'm sure it's him. I found his ship passenger record where his birth year matches (1928) and have sent off for the cert hoping I can trace the family through the informant.
I am so grateful to all of you and will no doubt be piking your brains again in future.
Best regards Jan

christanel
23-07-2009, 9:19 AM
Hi Jan
Glad I could stick my two bobs worth in and have a result.:)
Christina