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  • Janet Gregsten

    Dear All.

    I'm trying to research the family history for a few of the people involved with the A6 murder.
    I'm really struggling with Janet Gregsten.

    As far as I can tell she had a sister (half-sister?) called Valerie Wickenden, who was was born on 20th October 1925 and died on 25th January 2005. She's the one who married William Ewer (in 1948).

    Janet was, I believe, born on 10th January 1930 as Janet Wickenden, but then it looks like her birth was registered again a whole year later as Janet Kinnock. Then when she married Michael Gregsten in 1951 there were two records entered, one for Janet Phillips and one as Janet Kinnock.

    In the 1939 register both girls were at Clare Park School (possibly boarding?) in Hartley Wintney, Hampshire and both using the surname Phillips. I think this is because their mother had remarried someone with the surname Phillips (Edgar H Phillips?) after the death of her first husband, Robert Leslie Wickenden, in 1933.

    I'm completely stumped as to how Kinnock fits in.

    I've been filling in information and attaching records on the Family Search site. I think you need a (free) account to view the records:
    https://www.familysearch.org/tree/pe...tails/G8NC-171

    Can anyone help fill in the gaps or correct anything I've got wrong? I don't even know the name of the girls' mother yet! It might be Lilian W Stokes, Wendy Stokes, Lilian Wendy Stokes or something else entirely.

    One small fact that I discovered is that Michael Gregsten's father was not an only child - he had an older brother. This might be of slight importance because I think the Morris Minor was described as belonging to an auntie of Mike's, and his father's sister-in-law is an additional candidate for that auntie:
    https://www.familysearch.org/tree/pe...tails/G8NZ-R3H

    Thanks very much.

    Jon
    Last edited by gallicrow; 09-17-2021, 05:23 PM.

  • #2
    Hi Jon, I cannot really help you that much. I have a Find My Past subscription but cannot see an entry for a "Janet Wickenden" born in 1930. I have seen the registration record for Janet Kinnock in 1931 (mother's maiden name Stokes) and the registration of Janet's marriage in 1951 to Michael Gregsten which has her name as Janet Phillips or Janet Kinnock.

    Do you have an entry of birth registration for Janet Wickenden for 1930?

    As to Janet's mother, I believe her birth was registered in 1904 under the name of Lilian W Stokes. She married Robert L Wickenden in 1925 and under the name Wendy Wickenham, married Edgar H Phillips in 1935.

    I have also seen the two 1939 Registration records for the two Wickenden (half?) sisters. It does seem that in 1939 Lilian W or Wendy was not living with Edgar H Phillips, at least not according to the Register.

    Click image for larger version

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    I had always assumed that Robert L Wickenden was not Janet's father and that Mr Kinnock, whoever he might be, was. There is no record of any marriage that I can find that records a marriage between Lilian W and Mr Kinnock.

    On the aunt question, I have always assumed that the aunt in question was Michael's mother's sister, Hilda M Oulet. (1897-1982). It seems from the electoral rolls on Find My Past that Hilda M Oulet was living with the Gregsten's (John and Jeanie) at the time of Michael Gregsten's birth in 1925 and for some years before and after, until John A upped sticks to marry Dorothy Louise in1930.

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    • #3
      I have just had a look at Woff's book (page 13) which has Janet as being born on 10 January 1931, and having a half-sister Valerie (about whom we already know) and an elder sister "Toni" and a younger brother "John". He also states that her mother gave birth to a daughter "Cherie" circa 1945.

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      • #4
        From elsewhere on the forum (perhaps from Woffinden; I don't have my copy to hand):

        'Janet left her Hampstead home at 14 due to the behaviour of her stepfather."

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Spitfire View Post
          Do you have an entry of birth registration for Janet Wickenden for 1930?
          That's so strange, I can't find it now. I could have sworn I had the two birth registrations sitting in front of me, one for Janet Wickenden in Q1 1930 and one for Janet Kinnock in Q1 1931. I must have been hallucinating.

          The birth year of 1930 rather than 1931 is given in both her death record and the 1939 register. Here is her entry in the 1939 register:
          Click image for larger version

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          Kinnock is a surprisingly rare name, and it seems quite likely that the mysterious Kinnock whose surname Janet was given in 1931 is related to Neil Kinnock. I've been filling in a few details for his family tree to see if any of his ancestors lived near Barnet at around 1930. No luck so far. Here is Neil Kinnock's father on the Family Search site: https://www.familysearch.org/tree/pe...tails/G758-CZS

          By the way, a strong candidate for the unluckiest name to give your child must be "Wendy Phillips". I searched for deaths of people with this name on www.freebmd.org.uk and the first 15 died under the age of 1. The longest lived of them all only made it to 28.

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          • #6
            I'm also struggling to find the birth record for Michael and Janet Gregsten's second son. I won't post his name here as he is still alive, even though his name is well known.
            Using freebmd.org.uk and the GRO index, I found one boy born in 1953 with a mother's maiden name of Kinnock. The second was apparently born in October 1959, so his birth should have been registered in Q4 1959, but I can't find it.

            Edit: Possibly registered with the surname "Greyston" with mother's maiden name "Phillips".
            Last edited by gallicrow; 09-22-2021, 10:16 AM.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by gallicrow View Post

              Edit: Possibly registered with the surname "Greyston" with mother's maiden name "Phillips".
              Undoubtedly Greyston should be read as Gregsten for the registration in the 4th quarter of 1959. The young Greyston had same Christian name and same middle two initials as Mr Gregsten used when his marriage in 1996 was registered.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Spitfire View Post
                ... an elder sister "Toni" ...
                Perhaps Antonia Kinnoch?

                Click image for larger version  Name:	AntoniaKinnoch.jpg Views:	0 Size:	15.6 KB ID:	769062

                It looks like this person died in 2013 (death registered in West Sussex as "Antonia Cutler" in Q3 2013).
                Last edited by gallicrow; 09-22-2021, 10:37 PM.

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                • #9
                  It would seem that that Antonia Kinnoch married in 1949 and by then was using the name "Kinnock" rather than "Kinnock".



                  I have also discovered an electoral roll entry for 1931 which shows that a Mr Ronald George Barclay Kinnoch was living with a Wendy Kinnoch at 36 Beaconsfield Road, N11.




                  Mr Ronald G B Kinnoch was a relatively well-known film producer and according to Wikipedia was born in Dundee in 1910 and died in the USA in 1995. This would have made him 21 years of age in 1931. He would not have been old enough to be on the 1930 electoral roll when Antonia was born.

                  If Wendy (Lilian W) Kinnoch/Stokes/ Wickenden/ Phillips had given birth to Antonia in early 1930, she could not also have given birth to Janet at about the same time unless Antonia and Janet were twins. It is possible that the dates on the 1939 Register and the death certificate for Janet Phillips/ Gregsten misstated her birth date by making her a year older than she really was.

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                  • #10
                    Quote: It would seem that that Antonia Kinnoch married in 1949 and by then was using the name "Kinnock" rather than "Kinnock".

                    should that read Kinnoch ? Rather than Kinnock? Or Kinnock rather than Kinnoch ? ( not a nit pick ,just a question)
                    Last edited by moste; 09-23-2021, 12:07 PM.

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                    • #11
                      Thanks Spitfire, that's good enough for me!
                      I've updated the information on Family Search (this is editable by anyone by the way, no one person owns a record). Here is the entry for Ronald George Barclay Kinnoch:
                      https://www.familysearch.org/tree/pe...tails/G8VW-WR6

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                      • #12
                        Regarding Janet's younger brother John - there is a possible match to a birth in 1932. It's the only one in that year with surname Kinnoch and mother's maiden name Stokes. His first name isn't John, but one of his middle names is (this can be seen on the GRO index rather than freebmd). His other middle name is very Scottish, one of my favourite authors, D'Arcy Thompson, shared it.

                        Edit: He seems to have married in 1963 using "John B W" rather than "Brian John W" and, like his sister, his surname has been entered as "Phillips or Kinnoch".
                        Last edited by gallicrow; 09-23-2021, 01:24 PM.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by moste View Post
                          Quote: It would seem that that Antonia Kinnoch married in 1949 and by then was using the name "Kinnock" rather than "Kinnock".

                          should that read Kinnoch ? Rather than Kinnock? Or Kinnock rather than Kinnoch ? ( not a nit pick ,just a question)
                          Rather than Kinnoch (i.e. as per her birth registration).

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Spitfire View Post
                            I have just had a look at Woff's book (page 13) which has Janet as being born on 10 January 1931, and having a half-sister Valerie (about whom we already know) and an elder sister "Toni" and a younger brother "John". He also states that her mother gave birth to a daughter "Cherie" circa 1945.
                            For Cherie, how about Genevieve Phillips whose birth was registered in the first quarter of 1945 at Marylebone? Her mother's maiden name was given as "Wentworth-Stokes".

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                            • #15
                              A poster said 'Ancestry' shows that Valerie Wickenden (Janet's half-sister) married William Ewer in late 1948. (Woffinden said they married in 1943.)

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