The family history covers the strong link between the Kennedy and Stephenson
lines, as detailed in the documents provided by my uncle (William James Guiler
Kennedy). As there were a number of WWI heroes in both the Kennedy and
Stephenson families, some short mention of them demonstrates Jack's reasoning
behind his enlistment.
The Kennedy Line
The history of the Kennedy's of Cross
House Ballymoney has been traced back to 1150. For details you
will want to read Adobe PDF documents that contain much more of this detail
provided here as the Kennedy
Summary as well as the Stephenson-Montgomery-Kennedy
Summary. The short version of the genealogy chart for Jack Kennedy is
as listed, updated in June 2008 with additional information contained in
the service records of James Kennedy.
- Hamilton Kennedy, 6th Laird of Benane
- Robert Kennedy (second son of Hamilton, settled in Killeagus, Ireland)
- James Kennedy (only son)
- George Kennedy (eldest son), Killeagus 1775
- William Kennedy (eldest son) 1805
- Hew Catherwood Kennedy (5th son)
- William John Kennedy (eldest son)
- Rev. S. G. Kennedy (eldest son)
- Children of Prof. Rev. S. G. Kennedy
|William Kennedy (killed in the Great War on June 7, 1917)|
|Josiah Alexander Chancellor Kennedy (survived the Great War), 1896-1957|
|James Kennedy (killed in the Great War on March 21, 1918)|
|Samuel Guiler Kennedy (too young to serve in the Great War)|
|Herbert Maurice Kennedy (too young to serve in the Great War)|
|Christina Lang Kennedy|
Work is in progress to prepare a Genealogical Chart for the Kennedy
Family line dating back to Professor Reverend Samuel Guiler Kennedy (#
"8" in the above list). An initial outline of this tree
was sent to me by my Uncle Guiler (son of Josiah Kennedy) circa
1993. This was been updated in March 2008 with the additional
information that came from Richard Kennedy, son of Peter Kennedy, who
was the son of the "namesake son - Samuel Guiler
Kennedy". Also added to this was information contained in the
military service records of James and Josiah Kennedy from the UK National
Archives, and the school records from the Royal Belfast
Academical Institution ("Inst.")
The chart will be updated as more information becomes available so please
refresh your links whenever you check this
chart: (the side chain of the Christina Kennedy - children Alan
(son) and Kenn (daughter?) are not shown on this version but will be added at a later
date, once information is retrieved from the families still in Ireland.
Additional research on Josiah's brothers was also discovered during
the trek to track Grandfather Kennedy's war record. Our associated
Genealogical Research has made us aware that he had four (4) other
brothers and one (1) sister. James and William, which I believe
were older than Josiah, were killed in the
Great War. The younger bothers Samuel Guiler and Herbert Maurice) were
too young to serve in the Great War. The boys had a sister "Christiana
Lang Kennedy" who married into the Stephenson line.
Christina's and Maurice's full names were found in the service records
of her brother James Kennedy. Those same documents list the mother
as "Christina Lang Kennedy" as well, which conflicts with the
chart showing "Christina Debbie".
In March 2008 the search to find out more about the Kennedy
brothers was enhanced when my previously unknown 2nd Cousin
"Richard Kennedy" contacted me from Ireland. Richard had
been researching our common Great Grandfather "Prof. Rev. Samuel
Guiler Kennedy" and came across this web site. The link
was established and the hunt for additional details was
intensified. As this all occurred just a few days before St.
Patrick's Day 2008, I took a long shot and posted a request for
additional information to the Great War Forum. The trap set was
"Canadian Looking for a
Leprechaun" and the Irish could not resist!
Within hours I had a number of replies, all leading to additional
information on Josiah, William and James Kennedy. The details are
included with what was already know in the summary table that follows.
In August 2010 CEFSG Member Annette Fulford provided a link to
the on-line Irish Census (National
Archives of Ireland, 1901 & 1911 Census). From there is was
quick work to find Great Grandfather Samuel Kennedy and his family at 31
Cromwell Road (Cromac, Antrim): (note spelling as "Josias")
That documents is also available in the original form PDF1
and cropped as above PDF2.
The text of the document as transcribed for the 1911 Census is as
follows: (as "Surname Forename Age Sex Relation to head Religion Birthplace Occupation Literacy Irish Language Marital Status Specified Illnesses Years Married Children Born Children Living")
|Kennedy Samuel G 49 Male Head of Family Reformed Presbyterian Co Derry Minister and Professor of Church History Pastoral Theology P S D Read and write - Married - - - - |
|Kennedy Christina 46 Female Wife Reformed Presbyterian Scotland - Read and write - Married - 19 6
|Kennedy William 18 Male Son Reformed Presbyterian Scotland Bank Clerk Read and write - Single - - - - |
|Kennedy Christina 16 Female Daughter Reformed Presbyterian Scotland Scholar Read and write - Single - - - - |
|Kennedy Josias 15 Male Son Reformed Presbyterian Belfast City Business Apprentice Read and write - Single - - - - |
|Kennedy James 12 Male Son Reformed Presbyterian Belfast City Scholar Read and write - Single - - - - |
|Kennedy Samuel 9 Male Son Reformed Presbyterian Belfast City Scholar Read and write - Single - - - - |
|Kennedy Herbert 8 Male Son Reformed Presbyterian Belfast City Scholar Read and write - Single - - - - |
|Trainer Annie 25 Female Servant Roman Catholic Co Monaghan Servant Read and write - Single - - - - |
Great War Forum member Liam Curran supplied copies of the applicable
pages from "Ireland's Memorial Records 1914-1918" for the
Kennedy men. Although we had a positive identification on William
Kennedy, we were still not sure we had the correct James Kennedy. William
Kennedy's number is 14/16657 (confirmed son of Rev. S. G. Kennedy) and
the next number is James Kennedy 14/16658 (but not linked to father Rev.
S. G. Kennedy). Here are the pages Liam sent
in March 2008 (click the image to see
the full size):
The common link to date is their attendance at the same
school in Belfast, which is contained in the information kindly provided
in March 2008 by Great War Forum member Alan Curragh.
We were fortunate that Alan was researching the students of the Royal
Belfast Academical Institution ("Inst") and had come across
the Kennedy entries. Images and links to these documents are
posted in the following summary. In May 2008 this
information was enhanced by additional documents sent in by Alan Curragh
from the UK National Archives at Kew (formerly "PRO" -
Public Records Office). These additional records allowed us to
confirm the identity of James Kennedy and to fill in a number of gaps
about the family of Reverend Samuel Guiler Kennedy. Click here for
a complete copy of these records: James
|The Kennedy Brothers in
the Great War:
We now know that at least three of the Kennedy boys attended
the Royal Belfast
Academical Institution ("Inst.") as that is where
Alan Curragh found the lads. Each of James, William and Josiah are
listed on the Inst Honour Roll of the Great War.
on image for complete honour roll
|Memorial Plaque at
photo courtesy of Alan Curragh
Some time after the initiation of the project to track the military
service record of J. A. C. Kennedy, I went back to look for his older
brother "William" who we knew had been killed in the Great
War. Fortunately, we also knew that only Josiah had enlisted from
Canada, so a search was made of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission
web site for a UK soldier who was the son of a Rev. S. G. Kennedy.
That search led us to the following:
Service Number: 14/16657
Rifleman, 14th Battalion, Royal Irish Rifles
Killed in Action: June 7, 1917
photo courtesy of Alan Curragh
from records at "Inst"
on this image to see the larger picture that points directly at
the grave of William Kennedy
In Memory of
Rifleman W KENNEDY
14/16657, 14th Bn., Royal Irish
who died on 07 June 1917
Son of The Rev. S. G. Kennedy, of
Cromwell House, Cromwell
(see note with James Kennedy regarding the
update of the CWGC records based on new information)
Medal Index Card of Pte. William Kennedy
K. National Archives
|Note that the UK National
Archives incorrectly shows his service number at #14/166,
which from the image you will see is because the last digits
"57" are under the stamp. A correction was
submitted and the correction has been made.
|Brother James Kennedy:
As of this date I do not know which of the brothers was the
oldest, only that Josiah was the 2nd son of Samuel Guiler Kennedy.
Prior to March 2008 there was no known identification of James
Kennedy, although it was believed that he had been killed in the
Great War. This was confirmed by the findings of Alan Curragh who
found James Kennedy listed on the Memorial Plaque at the Royal
Belfast Academical Institution, along with William. He is
also listed in the Honour Roll with both Josiah and William.
Earlier attempts to identify James Kennedy from the records at
the Commonwealth War Graves Commission ("James Kennedy")
failed. Although there was a James Kennedy with Service
Number 14/16658 (one past William's) this proved to be a James
Kennedy with different parents. Either the records or wrong
or this was just a coincidence.
In May 2008, Alan Curragh sent on
another set of documents that he discovered at the UK National
Archives in Kew. Alan photographed all of these and they are
now posted to this web site at this location: "Records
of James Kennedy".
There is quite a bit of additional
information in these records, including other members of the
family. The reason that James was not easily identified is that
there was confusion in the records between "James" and
"Josiah", both using the initial "J".
James was initially reported as KIA and then MIA, all a result of
this confusion. It was Josiah that was MIA, James was
In July 2008 a record of the death of 2nd Lt. James
Kennedy on March 21, 1918 was found in a current text "The
1st Royal Irish Rifles in the Great War", written by
James W. Taylor. James is mentioned in the text in two locations,
first at the battle at St. Quentin and second in the summary of
those killed (see
extract). For those interested in the action at that time in
the Spring of 1918, I have also extracted a larger part, which
also includes the information noted above (full
Based on the information that was submitted to the
Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC), the records of each of
James Kennedy and his brother William Kennedy have been modified
to show the relationship of the brothers and their common father,
Rev. S. G. Kennedy.
Commonwealth War Graves Commission
Confirmed May 2008
(thanks to Alan Curragh)
In Memory of
Second Lieutenant J KENNEDY
8th Bn. attd. 1st Bn., Royal Irish Rifles
who died on 21 March 1918
Remembered with honour
GRAND-SERAUCOURT BRITISH CEMETERY
War Graves Commission Record
Medal Index Card - UK National Archives
James Kennedy, KIA March 21, 1918
(click image for full scale -
full documents are here)
The updated records for James and William Kennedy
are now posted to the CWGC site and can be found at these locations:
Each of the records have been adjusted to
Son of The Rev. S G. Kennedy, of Cromwell House, Cromwell Road, Belfast. His brother
_ Kennedy also fell.
In August 2008 Alan Curragh added to our
collection with pictures he took of James Kennedy's grave at Grand-Seraucourt
British Cemetery in France (south west of St. Quentin on the
east of the River Somme).
Photos from Alan Curragh (click
image for full scale)
We initially identified two (2) Maurice Kennedy's on the U.K.
We now know from the records supplied by Alan Curragh that
Maurice (his first name was actually Herbert) was only 15
in March of 1918, so much to young to be in the war.
The new document to the right, included in the full package,
shows the surviving children of Reverend Samuel Guiler Kennedy in
March 1918. William and James are not on the list as they
Family Members, March 1918
|Samuel Guiler Kennedy:
There is no record to date of the "namesake" son
having served in the Great War, which was confirmed with the
documents from Alan Curragh in May 2008. As per the note to
Herbert Maurice Kennedy, we know that the namesake son was only 16
years old in March of 1918.
The list to the right are the ages
of the siblings taken from the UK National Archive records and the
image shown above for Maurice.
We now know the
following names and ages:
Samuel Guiler Kennedy 56
Christina Lang Kennedy 52
William Kennedy - KIA
James Kennedy - KIA
Christina Lang Kennedy 24
Josiah Alexander Chancellor Kennedy 22, POW
Samuel Guiler Kennedy 16
Herbert Maurice Kennedy 15
It is interesting to note that after Grandfather Kennedy left the CEF
to take a commission in the Imperial Army, he too ended up with the
Royal Irish Rifles. As noted in the "Stephenson" line
which follows, William Stephenson was also in the 14th Royal Irish
Rifles, the same battalion as William Kennedy
Further details were
provided in an e-mail from Auntie Peg (Chancellor's
daughter-in-law "Marguerite Parker Murray") that told us more
of the intricate details of the Kennedy-Stephenson family ties.
Auntie Peg reports that during one their (Aunt Peg and Uncle Guiler -
Chancellor's son) trips to Ireland they found out that Chancellor's wife
Essie Stephenson was previously engaged to William Kennedy.
William, as you have read above, was killed in the Great War. Jack
(aka Josiah or Chancellor) mentioned in one of his letters home that
"he would write to Essie, and mention how sorry he was to hear the
news". As Aunt Peg reports, that means that Jack and Essie
got together after the war. Had William survived, Jack (my
grandfather) would not have been married to Essie - thus I would not be
here as I am today.
Also in the new news from Auntie Peg, we learnt
that Thomas Stephenson (see below), married one of the Kennedy girls,
Chris. Quite the integrated families! On further checking
the family history documents that Uncle Guiler (William James Guiler
Kennedy) left me, it does clearly show that that Rev. S. G. Kennedy
married Christiana Debbie, and that they daughter Christina married Tom
Stephenson, and had children Kenn and Alan. To complete this
section, Rev. Kennedy's other issue were James, S. Guiler and Maurice.
have resurrected a copy of the circa 1993 that my Uncle Guiler drew for
the linkages between the Kennedy and Stephenson lines. As more of
the family members start to research the individuals, this information
becomes more valuable.
The Stephenson Line
William's younger brother "Uncle JACK" (as the Stephenson's referred
to Josiah Alexander
is reported to have spent his war time in France, as did his brother-in-law Tom
Bones Stephenson, M.C. (1891-1991). There is some confusion in the
interpretation of the family records as each of Tom and Jack (Chancellor
Kennedy) had elder brothers named "William", each of which apparently
was killed in the Great War (see William Kennedy above).
We have added the information for
the "Stephenson" soldiers as found on the registrations for the Commonwealth
War Graves Commission.
Andrew Stephenson - severely gassed during WWI, buried alive by an
exploding German shell, surviving only to develop Parkinson's disease.
William Stephenson (1890-1916), was a Sergeant in the 14th Irish
Rifles (the same battalion as William Kennedy, our
Grandfather Kennedy's elder brother - a link established not just by
tennis and church but in war - see below), having reportedly refused a commission.
William died in his 26th year, just before the Battle of the Somme. He
was interred at Hamel in France.
Thomas Bones Stephenson, M.C. (1891-1991) "a centurion"
said he volunteered as a result of his bother William's death. Thomas,
unlike William, opted to go to war in France as a commissioned officer with
the legendary Ulster Division.
This again suggests a link to Jack and the Royal Irish Rifles, as that was a
part of the famed Ulster Division, as reported on the link as noted on the
"Long, Long Trail Web Site:
"In September 1914, the Ulster Division was formed from the Ulster
Volunteer Force which raised thirteen battalions for the three Irish
regiments based in Ulster; the Royal
Inniskilling Fusiliers, the Royal
Irish Fusiliers and the Royal
Thomas was interviewed by the Ulster Star, just 5 days after his
100th birthday, reporting still on the vivid memories of the Great War:
"No-one who lived through the war in the trenches could ever forget
it, it was terrible. Before going "over the top" the
men would all get a tot of rum to give them courage, I vividly
remember wading through the trenches waist deep in water handing it
out. You knew that when you were doing so that many of them would
never come back."
Thomas was invalided out of the army in 1918, at which time he held the
rank of Acting Captain. He had been awarded the Military Cross (see
also our sister web site for George
Van Wyck Laughton, M.C.), as reported in the London
Gazette on February 8, 1918 (page 2162) with the citation reported in
the Gazette on July 18th, 1918 (page 8473):
Gazette for July 18, 1918, page 8473
Citation for Military Cross - For conspicuous
gallantry and devotion to duty. His company commander having
been wounded early in the operations he assumed command and
organized and led bombing parties when the enemy sought to enter
our trenches, driving them back. He showed great courage, initiative
and resource under most trying conditions, and set a splendid
example to his men.
Gazette for February 18, 1918
Appointment as Temporary 2nd Lieutenant, Royal Irish Rifles
My maternal grandmother, Esther ("Essie") Stephenson (1892-1984), was the sister of Tom
Stephenson. It is interesting to note that "Jack's" sister
Christina Kennedy married Tom Stephenson (April 30, 1920). Chancellor and
Essie were married one month later on May 30, 1920. As noted below,
Chancellor (as he was commonly called, rather than Josiah) and Christian,
were children (issue) of Rev. S. G. Kennedy. The Stephenson history
reports the close family ties came as a result of closeness to the Stranmillis
Tennis Club and the Presbyterian Church, which they attended.
|It has been suggested that this photo depicts Josiah (Chancellor to his friends and family) in the Penticton are of British Columbia in 1916 or 1918. I must presume that the written date is 1918, after his release from the prisoner of war camp, as there are no records of him returning to Canada in 1916.
I only recall meeting
Grandfather Kennedy once in 1957, as a young lad, and shortly before he
passed on. Auntie Peg (son Guiler's wife) kindly sent this photo to
me in June 2005. More may follow as the B.C. relatives search
through the family archives.