When UK118 Jim Molyneux was researching his Molyneux family and looking through
family documents and photographs in what had been his grandmother's collection,
he was puzzled as to who the person might be dressed in naval uniform in 2 of the
3 photos he found of the same person. Why had grandmother Ann (Foster) Molyneux
kept them with other family photographs if he had not been a member of the family
or another relative?
Jim's parents were *Joseph and Murial (Winters) Molyneux (1912-1993). Joseph was
one of a family of 4 children: John 1905-78; *Joseph 1907-48; William 1915-34 and
Margaret Ruby 1917-85. The children's parents were John Molyneux 1881-1929 and Ann
Foster Molyneux 1882-1953, they being grandparents of Jim.
Grandad John had a younger brother George 1885-1927 who married Annie Ray in 1907
at St. Mary's Kirkdale and they had three children: Mona 1908-87, Violet 1910-89
and George 1911-68. Grandad John also had an older brother William age 2 in the
1881 Census and living at 80 Selwyn Street, Kirkdale, Liverpool, son of John Molyneux
and Elizabeth (Moss) Molyneux - giving a birth year of 1878/9 b.Kirkdale. Again,
in the 1891 Census, William is still at the same address in Selwyn Street, aged
12. Since that census, there had been no trace of the missing great uncle William.
The mystery photos in grandmother’s box were - a head and shoulders studio photograph
of a distinguished looking man with a date of 1931 on the back. The other two were
of the same man, dressed in naval uniform, one standing on the deck of a ship and
the other at an unknown location. But who was he? Closer examination of the group
of naval men on the ship photo revealed the ship "Scotian" badge on one of the men's
hats. Jim thought he would find out who the sailor was and if he was a member of
his Molyneux family.
Jim was advised to view the Arrivals for Ellis Island, New York on the internet.
He did, and found the following two documents. On the ship "Tunisian" Manifest -
arrivals, listing men employed on vessels as members of the crew, arriving at N.
Y. on l9th May 1918, having sailed from the Port of Liverpool on the 27th April
1918 was a William Molyneux, Troop Cook, age 39, height 5'11, weight 160 lbs. Another
ship’s log for the ‘‘Cotian’’ arriving at N.Y. on 6th August 1918 sailing from the
port of Glasgow (crew engaged Liverpool) on the 24 July 1918, gave a William Molyneux
3rd Cook aged 39, height 5'10", weight 157 lbs. Both these ships’ entries gave almost
identical details about a William Molyneux, but was he the same man? There was also
a third listing for William in the Ellis Island arrivals. Was he the missing gt.
uncle William born in 1878?
Jim had been assisted by a second cousin Alan Molyneux in the search for their mutual
gt. uncle William and Alan wrote to the Merchant Navy Association Welfare Board.
They usually require; 1) date of birth, 2) a Discharge Book, 3) National Insurance
No. All they had was William's date of birth 27th July 1878, but they were more
than pleased to receive photo copies of a variety of small documents, one with personal
details for a William Molyneux which gave the right date of birth, born Liverpool,
a Ships Cook and height of 5'10", eyes - grey, hair light brown, complexion - fair.
One document gave a good example of William's signature. A small photograph accompanied
the information, albeit had been taken years earlier, along with his Identity Certificate
and Dis.A.No. (a registration No. issued to all Merchant Navy personnel). Certain
they had the right William who was in the photographs, the next step was to find
out his date of death and if he had been married.
Because they knew his age i.e., how old he would be at death in each subsequent
year and assuming William had died in the Liverpool area, they trawled through the
St. Catherine's House Registers, picking out deceased Williams in the designated
area, and eliminating those not matching William's age. Eventually they were left
with 3 death entries which matched up with the birth year, these being at: Southport,
Crosby and Manchester. None had matched with a Liverpool Registration area so they
applied for a copy of the Southport death.
When the certificate arrived, it was a complete surprise. Details being: When &
Where died: 26th June 1941,at 18 Waterloo Rd, Southport, Name:William Molyneux,
Age: 62: Occupation: of 13 Greaves Street, Dingle, Liverpool. Caretaker of Deaf
and Dumb Home. Cause of Death: Myocardinal degeneration with sudden cardiac failure.
Signature, description and Resident of Informant: M. Molyneux Widow of deceased
in attendance, 18 Waterloo Road, Southport
Although William had died at an address in Southport, Alan, as soon as he saw William’s
given address of 13 Greaves Street, Dingle, Liverpool, said that it was the address
of a cake shop where, as a child, he used to visit with his mother and aunt. So,
they did have the right William. But the strange thing is, that William’s wife M(ary)
Molyneux is living at 18 Waterloo Road, Southport ,and William must have died there
suddenly whilst visiting her. It was wartime and maybe Mary had gone to work in
a large house because the Waterloo Road address is a large dwelling house. The address
in Greaves Street is not a Deaf and Dumb Home. That must have been situated elsewhere.
Looking for a marriage was another trawl through the Civil Registration Lists and
again, it was a matter of elimination. They finally whittled the list down and sent
for the certificate: The Marriage took place at West Derby Register Office, Liverpool,
On 20th December 1916. William Molyneux age 38 yrs, ba. Ship's Cook, Merchant Service,
of 280 Westminster Road, Kirkdale, father's name: John Molyneux, Carter (retired)
and Mary Jackson age 29 widow, Still Room Maid, of 280 Westminster Road, Kirkdale,
father's name Patrick Croker (deceased) Coachman. Witnesses: Annie Molyneux who
was William's brother George's wife (and grandmother of Alan), and a Flora E. Wallace.
Again, this was a surprise because the address of 280 Westminster Road, Kirkdale,
had been Jim's Grandmother’s house! Also, William's signature on the marriage certificate,
is identical to his signature on the Merchant Navy document.
What has saddened Jim and Alan is that this distinquished looking gentleman is buried
in Duke Street Cemetery, Southport, in an unmarked (public) grave and they are left
wondering why? Alan as a child remembers snippets of adult conversations when remarks
occasionally, would be made about somebody - probably William - being buried in
an unmarked grave. Jim says that it is only by a chain of coincidences - that they
have finally discovered who the mystery man was in his grandmother’s box. --- Thanks
Jim and Alan for this interesting story.
This article was first featured in Mx-World Volume 19 Number 2, November 2004.
Discover what else is in this issue.