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Maj Gen Robert Wanless-O'Gowan


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#1 bmac

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Posted 29 July 2012 - 06:00 PM

Wonder if anyone can help with an explanation as to why Wanless-O'Gowan, GOC 31st Division 1915-18, changed his name in 1895 from Robert Wanless Smith. His father was E J Smith of Clonard, Co. Dublin and Robert Wanless Smith was born in 1864. He married Alice Phillis Bland of Derryquin Castle, Co Kerry, in 1884. He was variously attached to the 8th KRRC, 2nd Cameronians, 1st East Lancashire Regt., before commanding the 13th Brigade and 31st Division. He died in 1947. I cannot find any details for his parents other than the E J Smith link.

#2 IPT

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Posted 29 July 2012 - 09:45 PM

Well, here are his parents;

Ireland, Births and Baptisms, 1620-1911


Name: Robert Wanless Smith Gender: Male Birth Date: 5 Sep 1864 Birth Place: Bray and Rathmichael, Dublin, Ireland Father's Name: Edward John Smith Mother's Name: Dorcas Maria Kelly


They were also the parents of Edward John Shirley Smith (14/10/1865 - Croom, Limerick), Leah Leonora Mary Smith (4/8/1867 - Rathfarnham, Dublin) and one born 1 Jun 1872 whose name is not recorded). Edward John Shirley Smith died aged 21 in 1887.

Here's his mother (a widow, born Glasgow) on the 1901 census -http://www.census.na...alally/1315487/ She died in 1923.

I believe that this is the father's death - Edward John Smith 62 Jan-Feb-Mar 1896
Rathdown


So absolutely no clue where O'Gowan came from in the last year of his father's life.

#3 Sandie

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Posted 29 July 2012 - 11:10 PM

Have you had a look at the Wanless website? http://www.wanlessweb.org
I don't know what it can tell you but it is dedicated to tracing the history of the Wanless family.

Good luck,
Sandie

#4 bmac

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Posted 30 July 2012 - 07:44 AM

Thanks for the information about the parents. Excellent, just what required. And thanks for the link to the Wanless site. I did go there and they are not even sure whether E J Smith was male or female! So I can let them know. He probably shouldn't even be there as 'Wanless' was not part of his surname until he incorporated into his new name of Wanless-O'Gowan in 1895.

#5 Philip Wilson

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Posted 30 July 2012 - 04:35 PM

Here is his entry in Debretts 1919 under Companionage page 1644 mentioning reverted to family name in 1895.

Attached File  Extract Debretts 1919.jpg   41.51KB   0 downloads

#6 IPT

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Posted 30 July 2012 - 04:44 PM

reverted to family name


Even more mysterious!

Presumably, we'd have to go further back in Edward John Smith's or Dorcas Maria Kelly's families to find the O'Gowan link? Or is there some question of his parentage?

Is there significance in the timing of it (E J Smiths final year of life), or the change from an English surname to an Irish one?

#7 IPT

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Posted 30 July 2012 - 05:22 PM

There is a person that I assume to be the son, Lynedoch Wanless O'Gowan who was a Captain in the Scottish Rifles in ww1, later Flt Lt RAF.

He was born 29/7/1889 as Lynedoch Wanless Smith in Dundrum/Rathdown, Co. Dublin, so he also changed his name. In 1915, his address was 32 Leeson Park, Dublin.

On the 1911 census, Robert, wife and daughter are living at Inkerman Barracks, Woking.

#8 bmac

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Posted 30 July 2012 - 05:37 PM

There was a son and a daughter. Lynedoch was the son. An unusual name. It is also the name of one of the houses at Wellington College, which is named after Thomas Graham, Baron Lynedoch, one of Wellington's successful commanders in the Spanish Peninsular War. Interesting but, it seems, totally irrelevant. :w00t:

PS. And the name of an area in Glasgow. Which suggests a link to Dorcas Maria Kelly who came from Glasgow. The thot plickens, as they say.

#9 Terry_Reeves

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Posted 30 July 2012 - 05:59 PM

It might go further back in time than has so far been mentioned. See the coat of arms in the top left corner:

http://www.araltas.com/features/smith/

TR

#10 IPT

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Posted 30 July 2012 - 06:16 PM

So it looks like Robert got in touch with his celtic roots and changed his name accordingly?

I'm 99% sure that E.J. Smith was a successful cattle breeder and local J.P. in Islanmore, Croom, Co. Limerick. A search of "E J Smith" with "islanmore" will reveal this, and even adverts for his cattle in Australian newspapers. Also, the mysterious nameless 1872 birth appears in a local newspaper as a baby girl who only survived 3 hours.

Clearly, this was a family with substantial wealth (Lynedoch's house is worth a quick google streetview), and Dorcas Smith has 5 servants on the 1901 census.


PS - I note that Robert appears to have named his house in Surrey "Islanmore" at the time of his death.

#11 IPT

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Posted 30 July 2012 - 06:26 PM

Terry,

I think you're right. Here's another example of a ww1 officer who de-anglicised Smith to O'Gowan.

http://en.wikipedia....nt_with_Ireland

And somewhat of a character!!

#12 Sandie

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Posted 30 July 2012 - 06:30 PM

The name McGowan in Ireland is derived from the native Gaelic Mac Gabhann Sept that was located in County Cavan. The name is usually Anglicised as Smith or Smithson. Variations include O'Gowan.
It is in the ancestral homeland, Cavan, that the name can be most commonly found.

Now all you have to find out is where he found Wanless!

#13 Philip Wilson

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Posted 30 July 2012 - 06:30 PM

An Irish Surname search revealed this:

The Irish surname MacGowan (not to be confused with the Scottish macGoun) is more often than not hidden under the synonym Smith. In Irish it is Mac an Ghaghain, I.e. son of the smith, and its translation to Smith (commonest of all surnames in England) was very widespread, particularly in Co. Cavan where the MacGowan sept originated. It is included by the chroniclers as one of the principal septs of Breffny. On the borders of Breffny, in Co. Leitrim, and to the north west in Counties Donegal and Sligo, the true form in English, MacGowan, is still used in preference to Smith. There was, too, in east Ulster a distinct sept of O'Gowan, a name which was also anglicized Smith. A very prominent member of this family, long resident in Co. Cavan, has recently, with the full approval of the Irish Genealogical Office, resumed the name O'Gowan. They came originally from a place called Ballygowan in Co. Down.



#14 IPT

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Posted 30 July 2012 - 06:42 PM

Now all you have to find out is where he found Wanless!


How about if Dorcas was the daughter of Robert Wanless Kelley of Islandmore, Limerick?

http://www.wanlesswe...=I1428&tree=100

Here's his wife - "Died on 12 April at Clonard, Dundrum, county Dublin, Mary Anne Kelley, widow of the late Robert Wanless Kelley, of Woodbank, Birkenhead"

Haven't proved it yet....

#15 bmac

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Posted 30 July 2012 - 08:42 PM

I'm loving it, you genealogical sleuths you. Given the location of Mary Anne Kelley's death, i.e. the same place as Robert's birth, you may well be on to something.

#16 Sandie

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Posted 30 July 2012 - 08:56 PM

Robert Wanless Kelley Esq, formerly of Birkenhead but late of Manor Hill, Claughton, died 26th December 1874.

Here's the answer: http://search.ancest...&ln=Kelley&st=g

The link is Edward John Smith Esq (Robert's father), so Wanless was our Robert's Grandfather's name!

IPT you're a genius!!! He could have been a neighbour of yours!

#17 Sandie

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Posted 30 July 2012 - 09:01 PM

Just for a bit of material interest...
He left an estate of 'under £80,000'. In 1874 £80,000 was worth £6,324,800 (today's value).
That must have eased Mary Anne's grief a little!

#18 Sandie

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Posted 30 July 2012 - 09:09 PM

I've found Robert Wanless Kelley and Mary Anne Brown in the Dublin Marriage Licence Index 1836

#19 bmac

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Posted 30 July 2012 - 09:26 PM

Let's see if I have this right. Robert Wanless Kelley and Mary Anne Brown may be the parents of Dorcas Maria Kelley (Kelly). (Slight query, though, that Dorcas was born in Glasgow). Dorcas married Edward John Smith who appears to have been a wealthy cattle farmer from Limerick, and Robert Wanless Smith was their first son. Robert then reverted his name to the original Irish O'Gowan in 1895 hyphenating it with the Wanless which was a hangover from his maternal grandfather. Yes?

#20 IPT

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Posted 30 July 2012 - 09:29 PM

Yes bmac. That's how I see it.

I think this confirms it;

Cheshire BMD
Cheshire Marriage indexes for the years: 1861 to 1865 Surname Forename(s) Surname Forename(s) Church / Register Office Registers At Reference KELLEY Dorcas Maria SMITH Edward John Egremont, St John Wirral C1/1/172

#21 Sandie

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Posted 30 July 2012 - 09:29 PM

Transcript:

The will with a Codicil (document that amends, rather than replaces, a previously executed will) of Robert Wanless Kelley formerly of Birkenhead but late of Manor Hill, Claughton near Birkenhead in the County of Chester Esquire who died on 26th December 1874 at Manor Hill was proved by Mary Anne Kelley of Manor Hill Widow the Relict (widow or survivor) Henry Browne Kelley of 34 Imperial square Cheltenhan in the County of Gloucester Esquire the Son Edward John Smith the Younger of Islanmore Croom in the County of Limerick in Ireland Esquire and Robert Reeves of Merrion square East in the City of Dublin Solicitor the Executors.

Grammar as written.

#22 Sandie

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Posted 30 July 2012 - 09:37 PM

:wacko: I'm confused.
Was Henry Browne Kelley the Son and Edward John Smith one of the Executors (son in law)?

So Wanless came from Robert's Maternal Grandfather and O'Gowan was Gaelic for his father's name of Smith? That all sounds plausible.

No mention of poor Dorcas when the money was shared out!

#23 Sandie

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Posted 30 July 2012 - 09:48 PM

We're going to get told off for this...

Henry Browne Kelley died in Cheltenham on 1st June 1884 (age 44) and left an estate of £25,000 (£2,171,978).
One of the Executors was Edward John Smith Esquire of Clonard Dundrum, Dublin

#24 IPT

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Posted 30 July 2012 - 09:52 PM

On the 1861 census, the family are living at 61 Hamilton Square, Birkenhead.

Robert W Kelley is a South American merchant, born Scotland. 22 yr old Dorcas is confirmed as being born in Scotland. - http://search.ancest...c=&pid=22859382

What's nice is that Eleanor Smith of Ireland (sister of Dorcas' future husband, John) is visiting, just as she is 40 years later in Dublin.

#25 Sandie

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Posted 30 July 2012 - 09:53 PM

In a previous life I hope I lived in Hamilton Square (upstairs of course).