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William Carter Kinggett

William Carter Kinggett was my 2nd cousin 3 times removed. He was the son of James Kinggett who, in turn, was the son of my 4th great grandfather's brother, Richard Kingshott. Richard called himself Kinggett, which is unusual since his siblings all remained Kingshott's.


From what I can piece together William he had what can be described as an "interesting" life, part of which seems to have been a lie.


William was born on 19th August 1878 at Guildford, Surrey, England and was the 5th son of seven. He appears in the 1881 census living at Albert Terrace, Stoke, near Guildford. In the 1891 census he was still living at home, at 7 Artillery Terrace, Stoke but at the time of the 1901 census was living near Hook, Hampshire. 


William married his first wife, Jennie (sometimes Jane) Hayden, at Hook on 4th August 1902.


They remained in Hook for a while, but they were clearly adventurous and the pair emigrated to the United States on board the SS Cedric, which left Liverpool on 26th October 1904. The journey was a slow one and they are recorded as arriving in New York on 4th November the same year, bound for California.



After arrival in the United States, William & Jennie settled in Contra Costa county, California. There, according to a family bible entry, they had two children, Phyllis Ellen & Philip William Hayden Kinggett.


Phyllis was born on 18th August 1906 and sadly died on the 13th October the same year. Philip was born on 9th September 1907 and was to subsequently return to the UK, dying in 1988.


What Happened to the Marriage?

By the time the 1910 US Census arrived, in May of that year, William was living away from his wife and son in Richmond City. He can be seen on line 73 of this census image. Click on the image to view a larger version, but please bear with it while it loads.

1910 US census image reproduced by kind permission of The National Archives and Operations Inc.

I lose William in the available records between 1911 and 1918. By the latter year, he had apparently married again, this time to a lady called Hazel Dorcas Schenck, though I can find no marriage records for this event. The question arises, therefore, as to whether he was divorced or whether this was what we used to call a "common law marriage", which is where there is no formal marriage, but they live together as husband and wife. The other alternative is that there was a marriage, but it was bigamous. What makes this suspicious, at least to my police mind, is the fact that he seems to have pretended that he was some 7 years younger than he was.


In 1918 William was required to register for potential service during the latter stages of World War 1, when America finally decided to lend a hand! His draught registration card is reproduced below, and you can clearly see he was now claiming to be born in 1885!

image reproduced by kind permission of The National Archives and Operations Inc.

William continues this throughout the rest of his life, including the 1920 US Census where he again claims to have been born in 1885. At this time William and Hazel are living in San Francisco, and he is working for the magnificently named Pacific Hog Company.


I had initially thought that Jennie, his first wife, had died, but she appears in the 1920 US census, along with their son Philip, living in Oakland, California. Interestingly, she is described as a widow. 


By the time the 1930 US census comes along, William is clearly in failing health. His wife, Hazel, is shown as the head of the family while he has no occupation listed. By this time, they had moved to Oakland and were living on 55th Avenue. He subsequently died on 26th May 1933. His death is recorded in the The Oakland Post Enquirer, Saturday 27 May 1933, Page 7 (see below). 


Jennie and Philip moved back to the UK, arriving in Liverpool on 8th January 1927, and remained here ever since. She died in 1945 and he died in 1988.


It would certainly be interesting to know the full story of this family, and exactly what happened to them. If you know anything more, I would be very interested to hear from you.

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