Jeff Knaggs - Genealogy - Migrants

Migrants to the United States and Canada
West Indies
Migrants to Jamaica and Trinidad
Migrants to Australia
New Zealand
Migrants to New Zealand
Migrants to Africa
Migrants to other places

Migrants to the United States and Canada

George Knaggs

Crossfield Lane
houses in
Crossfield Lane
One of the first, and most significant, migrants to America was a George KNAGGS. He was born in 1732, the eldest of the eight children of George KNAGGS and Elizabeth WHITMORE. He was baptised at St Paul's church in Deptford, on the South side of the River Thames in London, where his father was a tallow chandler of Crossfield Lane (later of Deptford Bridge). George the elder had married Elizabeth WHITMORE at the nearby church of St Mary in Lewisham on the 8th July 1731; he had probably been born in Sherburn, in Yorkshire in 1704 - but this is not yet proved.

I don't know when he emigrated to America, or what ship he travelled on, but in about 1760 he married a Rachel SLY in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Rachel's surname has several different spellings and may be Dutch. The family spoke English, French, Dutch, Latin and many Indian tongues. After the Revolution, George went on a whaling trip, from which he never returned.
They had eight children that I know of.

Whitmore KNAGGS was born about 1763 and married a Marie Josephte DESCOMPTES LABADIE in Detroit, Michigan. Whitmore was made an Indian agent by one George Washington, and was granted 4,000 acres of land at Maumee, Ohio by the Ottawa indians in 1785. On the 4th July 1805, he witnessed the signing of a treaty with the Wyandot. He was a translator at the signing of the Treaty of Detroit on the 17th November 1807, and of a treaty with the Chippewa etc on 25th November 1808. He built a windmill at Springwells in Detroit, Michigan in about 1814. He had four sons, and died on the 3rd May 1827.

James KNAGGS was born in 1780 near Roche de Boeuf in the Maumee Valley, Ohio. He seems to have been married three times, first to Pelagia (Polly) ROBERT, then to Jemima GRIFFIN and finally to Alice COUTURE. Like his elder brother, he was a colourful character. At the age of 14 he was a scout and spy for General 'Mad' Anthony Wayne. Being a lifelong friend of the great Indian chief Tecumseh didn't stop him killing him (reputedly) at the Battle of the Thames. He had a number of military exploits and was also involved in politics. He died on the 13th November 1860 at Monroe, Michigan.

George and Rachel's other children were George (born 1765, a magistrate in Detroit, married Elizabeth CHENE LYONS in 1795), Elizabeth (born 1772), Anne (born 1777), Rebecca (born 1778), Thomas (born 1782) and William (born 1784). The descendents of George and Rachel are now scattered all over the United States.

A transcription of the book The Knaggs Family of Ohio and Michigan is now online.

William KNAGGS

William, the son of Thomas KNAGGS and Ann ROBINSON, was baptised in Bilsdale Midcable, in North Yorkshire, in 1818. At some point he married a Dorothy, and had a son, John, in England. Their next 11 (eleven) children were all born in Ontario, Canada, where William was a farmer. I haven't yet figured out what happened to this family.

Skelton Knaggs

Skelton Barnaby KNAGGS was born on the 27th June 1911 in the Hillsborough district of Sheffield in Yorkshire. His parents were Harry (a grocer's assistant) and Beatrice Ellen SKELTON. Harry's ancestors can be traced back to Sherburn in North Yorkshire, where John KNAGGS, a carpenter, and Hannah SMITH were married in 1780. In 1924 Skelton emigrated to the USA, with his parents, because of ill health. He returned to the UK in 1935 where he studied, for a while, with the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, leaving to make several UK films and starred in "Climbing" in the West End before returning to the USA in 1939. He married Thelma CRAWSHAW in Croydon, Surrey in 1949 and, at some point, they emigrated to California, where he carved out a little career in (mostly) minor horror movies. A photograph and some details are on Wikipedia. He died, in Los Angeles, California, on the 1st May 1955.

Migrants to the West Indies

Walter Knaggs

I'm not sure if Walter counts as a migrant, as he may well have been born in Jamaica (some say in America). His parents were John KNAGGS and Susan BRETT. John was an apothecary and surgeon who had a practice in Piccadilly, a fashionable street in the West End of London. Susan had been born in Jamaica about 1796. How they met defeats me. I have no documentary evidence of Walter's birth, but he married Margueritte Corinne Laudé on the 9th March 1843 in Kingston, Jamaica. At the time, he was a tax clerk in the office of the Receiver General. Their first two children were John Walter (born 23rd December 1843) and Stephen Laudé (born about 1845) both in Jamaica. The family moved back to London, where a third child was born. This child and his mother both died soon after. Walter maried again and, with his wife Augusta Maria, moved back to his old job in Jamaica, where they have five more children. In 1851, Walter made a charge to the Governor that his boss had removed a large amount of money from the cash account. After a too quick investigation, his boss was exonerated and Walter was fired. They moved back to London again, where his wife died in 1884. Walter is next heard of when he dies, in Singapore, in 1890 (described as a mining agent).

I don't know if any of his descendents remained in Jamaica but, if they did, they are my distant relations.

I have recently been in touch with a KNAGGS in Haiti (my first black cousin) who seems to be descended from Walter - research is still underway.

Robert Knaggs

Robert KNAGGS, the second son of Samuel KNAGGS and Rebecca LAWFORD, was born on the 23rd May 1830 in Peckham, South london. Like his father and brother, he trained as a doctor. He set up his practice in old Swindon, and married Harriet Eliza WRIGHT on the 9th March 1854. The first two of their nine children were born in Swindon, the third in Streatham. Then, about 1860, the family moved to Trinidad, where Robert continued his medical career.

Their second child to be born in England was one of the very few Knaggs ever to be knighted - Samuel William KNAGGS was born on Christmas Day 1856 in old Swindon. He was educated in Trinidad and entered the Trinidad civil service in 1876. He held several important posts in Trinidad and Tobago, and in Barbados, before retiring in 1919. He was created a Knight Commander of the Order of St Michael and St George in 1920. His son Kenneth John was killed in action in the First World War.

Robert and Harriet Eliza's other children were Robert Henry Edward (1855-1908, doctor), Harriet Martha (1858-), Emily Davies (1863-1881), Annie Elizabeth (1864-), Harry Leslie (1867-, civil servant), Adele Sophia (1868-), Cathey Rebecca (1869-1884) and Mary Louisa (1870-). Much more information on this family and their many Trinidadian descendents is available if you are interested.

Migrants to Australia

Richard KNAGGS

Richard KNAGGS was born on the 5th March 1818 to Isaac and Mary KNAGGS in Shoreditch, London. Like his father he was a hearthrug weaver when, in 1835, he was arrested for stealing a pocket handkerchief. Found guilty, he was transported to Australia on the Mary Ann II. In 1861, he placed an advertisement in "The Times" seeking relatives still in England - our first recorded family historian. Like many others, he prospered in Australia and, although he died there in 1864, many of his descendents live there still.

Thomas Ashby KNAGGS

Thomas Ashby KNAGGS was the first child of Samuel KNAGGS and Isabella Frances BATTYE, and was born in Huddersfield, Yorkshire in 1857. Samuel was one of the many medical Knaggses and the author of several medical and social publications. He emigrated to Victoria, Australia where he married Elizabeth EYRE in 1884 and Harriet Anne QUIN in 1895. He died there in 1933 leaving several descendents.

William Edmund KNAGGS

William Edmund KNAGGS was born 3 March 1877 in Kilham, the son of Frederick and Annie WILSON. Frederick was an ironmonger, and the family moved south soon after William was born. William migrated to Australia, where he married Rosa Bertha GILL in 1906. Edmund Frederick was born the following year - I'm not sure what happened to him, but his father died in 1912.

Herbert Henry KNAGGS

Herbert Henry KNAGGS was the son of Herbert KNAGGS of Thirsk, Yorkshire. In the 1920s he was a farm labourer at Broughton before emigrating to farm in Australia. In 1935 he returned to Sewerby in Yorkshire to marry Dorothy Mary POTTER and then sailed back to New South Wales.

Albert Edward KNAGGS

This is a "might have been". Albert Edward KNAGGS was my grandfather. He was born in Bristol, in 1882, to Henry KNAGGS and Louisa ALDERMAN. He was in both the Royal and Merchant Navies for some years before deciding to emigrate to Australia. In order to obtain a free passage, he joined the newly-formed Australian Submarine service and sailed on the AE2 from Barrow-in-Furness to Australia. At the outbreak of World War One, he saw active service in the Far East and then took part in the Gallipoli campaign. His submarine was sunk in the Dardanelles and he was taken prisoner by the Turks. He didn't survive the war (though his diary did) and is buried in Baghdad.

Migrants to New Zealand

Richard KNAGGS

Richard KNAGGS was born in Middleton on the Wolds, Yorkshire in 1816, the son of Richard KNAGGS and Rachel SELLAR. He married Elizabeth WILSON in Lockington in 1836, and had about eight children. He was, at various times, a farmer, brewer and maltster in Kilham. Most of the family emigrated to New Zealand, on the barque "Whirlwind", where many descendents still live. Two of his daughters, Ellen Elizabeth and Jemima, married in Australia.

Walter Arthur KNAGGS

Walter Arthur KNAGGS was born 22 November 1885 in South Milford, near Tadcster. Although we know he was an accountant, other details of his life are mostly unknown, and there is no record of any marriage or children. When he moved to New Zealand is not yet known, but he died in Rotorua in 1960.

William KNAGGS

William KNAGGS was born 9 August 1921 in the West Ham district of London. He married Nancy JONES early in 1952 and migrated to New Zealand. He died in the North Shore district of Auckland on 4 July 1993, leaving his wife but no children.

James Godfrey KNAGGS

James Godfrey KNAGGS was born in 1925, the son of John Chapman KNAGGS and Violet Jane WATERSON of Scruton in Yorkshire. He emigrated to New Zealand, where he worked in the Civil Service, married and had two children. He and his family live there still.

Migrants to Africa

William KNAGGS

William KNAGGS married Eleanor Isabella BRIGHT in Guisborough, North Yorkshire in 1891, and they emigrated to South Africa. Their son, Alfred William Marshall KNAGGS was born in Capetown in 1896, where he married Heloise Helen LOUW, had three children, and died in 1960. Several of their children and grandchildren had distinguished careers in the South African Army and Navy.

Cornelius James KNAGGS

Cornelius James KNAGGS, the son of James KNAGGS (a Congregational minister) and his wife Isabella, was born in Pentonville, London in 1861. He was a clerk in a chemist's shop, and then a photographer, before emigrating to Natal, in South Africa. I don't know who he married, or what happened to him, but he had two daughters. Isabel Ellie KNAGGS was born in Durban in 1893. She, and an older sister, were educated back in England. She obtained an M.A. at Girton College, Cambridge, a Ph.D. at London University, and was elected a Member of the Royal Institution in 1926. She was an eminent crystallographer, working with Sir Lawrence Bragg. She never married, and after retiring, moved to Sydney, Australia where she died in 1981.

Migrants to Other Parts of the World

Jeffrey Knaggs

Jeffrey KNAGGS (not me) is a manager at Kuala Lumpur airport in Malaysia. He says that he is seven eights Chinese. I believe that his great-grandfather was Walter KNAGGS (see above, from the West Indies) but I haven't seen any Malasian documentation yet.

There are Knaggses all over the place - details soonish.