I’m just wondering where to go next with the mystery about George Goldsmith Kirby’s (GGK) ancestry. There are a number of leads, but few, if any, strike me as being particularly enlightening.
The family coat of arms, for example, turns out to be bogus (see more here), so it’s not much use for tracing our genealogy. I’ll probably write some more about this as the letter from the Bluemantle Pursuivant at the college of arms was interesting, at least in terms of how all the various elements of a coat of arms are chosen when genuine. It’s this type of insight that I discover along the way that make this ‘research’ interesting for me, rather than just the genealogy who begat who, where and when, with whom. That said I’m still intrigued by the mystery of GGK’s ancestry.
Cambridge University may also be a lead. My great great grandfather Alfred Octavius (Kirby) went to Trinity College, and so did his brother and my great grandfather (see more here). We only have one page of Kirby entries from the biographical register at the Cambridge University Archives, so maybe there are some more clues on the following pages. Even if there are it’ll probably be difficult to show how they might be related.
My eldest brother had commissioned help from family history and genealogy experts Achievements, but disappointingly they discovered less than I had through all the fantastic help from George H. Graham (see more here). I also contacted another professional genealogist, but seemed to have scarred him of with my enthusiasm. Shame because I have jumped into this with both feet first, so am finding my way as I go along, and I think some professional help could help focus my enquiries with some insight about the tricks of the trade.
I thought I might be able to find out something through the masons, seeing that GGK was managing director of the Freemasons & General Life Assurance in the mid-1800s (see more here). Sadly, they don’t keep much more than their equivalent of name, rank and serial number. Maybe they will have some information about GGK’s father, but it’s a £30 fee with no guarantees. I may look into this again not least because it seems that GGK was possibly up to no good, but also the selling of life assurance products to any affinity group like the masons in the 1800s strikes me as being pretty forward thinking given the upward mobility of their growing membership.
There also a whole host of other Kirby leads that I have come across during my research, such as the possible Kirby Turner connection. There’s also a large number of Kirbys that lived in and around the areas where GGK was born and lived like the artist Joseph Kirby. I’m not over optimistic that I’ll find out whether they are actually related. There seems to be no shortage of Kirbys out there so it’s hardly surprising that some could end of living close to each other without being related.
The most promising lead at the moment is St Clement Danes in the strand. GGK was apparently born nearby in Holborn and many of his children were christened there (see more here). Strangely, I’ve just had an email from Personal Assistant to The Resident Chaplain saying that the records are now held at the City of Westminister Archives Centre in St Ann’s Street, London. So that’s my next line of enquiry. Fingers crossed.