6 January 2015

#52Ancestors - Week 2 - "King"

This week's challenge is "KING" and the suggested theme hints are:
Week 2, King — January 8 is Elvis’ birthday. January 15 is the birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr. Do either of these “Kings” remind you of an ancestor? Or, taken another way, do you have a connection to royalty? Did you ancestor flee from an oppressive king?

I don't have any link to Elvis or Martin Luther King - however, I always remember Elvis' birthday as it was the same day as a boyfriend I used to have - but that's a whole 'nother story.

I do have one person in my tree with the last name of King - Jean King who married Duncan Wright in Lecropt Perth Scotland on Nov 5th 1813. Jean and Duncan had 10 children that I've been able to find. Duncan was the brother of my great-great-great-great-grandfather. But that's all I know about Jean. No date of birth or date of death. Not really much to write a whole blog about, so then I tried something else.

I used the search function in my family tree programme and looked for anything that matched the description "king". 28 people popped up. When I checked the information on the first few, I couldn't see anything that was jumping out at me that used the term "king". So I restricted the search to males only with 19 results - again nothing about "king" jumping out.

But then the Lightbulb!

"Serving King and Country" is my theme this week. James Cruickshanks Geddes is my man.

James was born in Paisley Renfrew Scotland in 1889 and is my first cousin twice removed (1st cousin of my grandfather).

King Edward VII
James' first service to the king started on May 15, 1907 with the Royal Horse and Field Artillery. His age is listed as 18 years and 1 month. James was "Discharged by Purchase" on August 13, 1907 for the price of 10 pounds. With a total service of 91 days, it seems military life wasn't for him. (Note original post now edited says 31 days for service - because I can't count)

King George V
But then WW1 came along. James joins the Royal Field Artillery in 1914 as a driver and served in France. His total service is listed as 4 years and 100 days.

James was not the perfect soldier, there are 4 "crimes" listed on his record - 2 without reason:
March 19, 1915 - in the field - awarded 14 days FP1

14 days would have taken him to April 2, 1915. It seems by then the realities of war were really being felt and James didn't want to go back and fight.... as April 2, 1915 was also the date of his next "crime" in the field - awarded 7 days FP2.

He settled down for about 2 years and then gets himself in strife again:
March 23, 1917 - not complying with an order - awarded 7 days FP2

Then lastly
August 7, 1917 - making an improper reply to an NCO - awarded 7 days FP2

According to Wikipedia, FP stands for Field Punishment and was introduced after the abolition of flogging. You can read about it here:

James was discharged on March 15, 1919

In 1925 James immigrated to the USA and settled in New Jersey. His wife and son joined him in 1926. He worked at a Threadmill. In 1942 he is listed as working for Clark Thread Company which, via Wikipedia, was an offshoot of Clark Thread Company of Paisley Scotland (where James was born).

Then came WW2

King George VI (President Franklin D Roosevelt)
You would have expected James to be too old to serve, right? Not according to the USA. Men between the ages of 18 and 65 had to register for the Draft. What is known as the "Old Man's Registration" happened on April 27, 1942 and James duly registered for the Draft at the age of 53 (though 54 is listed on the registration card as he got his date of birth wrong by a year).

Click here to read about the Old Man's Registration

I don't think James ever served in WW2, but his son James may well have.
Just one in a long line of Ancestors who Served King and Country.


  1. What a clever way to use the theme!

  2. Service to the king is a great way to use this theme! I tried & tried to figure out a way to bring the 'king' theme into a post. I ended up dropping it & writing about something I'd uncovered more information about earlier this week: the murder of my Methodist minister great, great grandfather! My grandmother had told me the story & I had one other article, but this article told a lot more of the story! http://theenthusiasticgenealogist.blogspot.com/2015/01/body-thrown-in-tennessee-river-reuben-h.html