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19 July 2010

The Kino/Knowles family of Russia and London

The story of the family of Charles Julius Kino is one of great mystery. Family tradition states that he was born in Russia and eventually made his way to England during the 1870's. A search of the 1881 census seems to verify parts of this story (FHL film# 1341005).In this we find Charles and wife Louisa living at #3 Edinburgh Terrace in London. Included in the household are the three children, Hugh C., Margaret M., and Guy J. F.

From the marriage record we find that on 15 Apr 1874, under the direction of the West London Synagogue of British Jews, Charles Julius Kino age 33, the son of the late Israel Henry Kino and Louisa Essinger, age 24, the daughter of the late Max Essinger, were married at the home of the bride's mother, 24 Belize Road.

To this point things are pretty straight forward, but then the fun begins. At some point shortly after the 1881 census, the family of Charles Julius Kino changes their surname. The new name is Knowles, which is obviously of great importance to the author. By the 1901 census, Louisa is listed as a widow. because of this I searched for a will for Charles Julius Knowles. Upon finding the will, that is when the mystery began. In the indexes to the Principal Probate Registry, I find not one, but two wills for Charles Julius Knowles.

The index lists a first probate granted 20 Mar 1900 to Hugh Charles Knowles, worth 1.2 million pounds and a second probate granted 6 Jul 1900 to Guy John Fenton Knowles for almost 400,000 pounds. A further search of the original wills, shows the first will to be a beautifully written document, listing many relatives and organizations that he supported, while the second will is basically just a few short paragraphs.

With this information, many questions are left unanswered, but two are of particular interest. First, why did this obviously successful man change his name? Secondly, why the difference in the way the sons were treated. While both amounts would be very nice inheritances, one is still 3 times as large as the other. Hopefully further research will answer some of these questions.

The records of this family are in The Jews of the British Isles.

1 comment:

  1. Hi I just sent you an email with a question regarding Hugh Charles Knowles :) Just mentioning it here since I don't know if you check the mail regularly. Thx!