Kimmitt Genealogical Research

13 January 2015

Week #2 of 52 Ancestors: Robert Robertson Kimmitt, 1871-1951, Man of Many Titles

Robert Robertson Kimmitt, O.B.E (Mil.), T.D., D.L

This is my second post in the "52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks" blogger challenge. So far, so good!

This week I'm switching to the Kimmitt side. I get many inquiries from Kimmitt cousins around the world and I'm afraid I've been telling them all the same thing since 1993: when I retire I hope to tie together all those loose cousin threads and produce a family history. In the meantime I'm gathering evidence here and there, and always happy to hear from members of all branches, from New Zealand to Canada. Part of the reason I don't like to write is because it feels endless. There is so much to say about some people, and Robert Robertson Kimmitt is one of them. So I will present some of the odds and ends I have assembled on him to date.

Robert Robertson (RR) Kimmitt was my husband's great-grandfather. He was the second youngest of the ten known children of the Reverend Edward Kimmitt and his wife Margaret Unwin, born 4 December 1871 in the little village of Benturb, County Tyrone, Ireland, near Moy (1). Guide books say that Moy is one of the most beautiful towns in Ireland, especially in summer when it is "filled with flowers from top to bottom" Yet I could NOT convince his descendants to visit his place of birth when we were on vacation in Northern Ireland this past summer! I can't imagine why, but they were afraid I'd get sidetracked.

The Rev. Edward Kimmitt was minister of the Prebysterian Church in nearby Loughgall, "Cloveneden," when son Robert was born, and he baptized him there on 3 March 1872 (2). Edward Kimmitt appears in Griffith's Valuation in 1864 in Ballygassey. (3) I haven't researched the Kimmitts on the ground in Ireland yet but I believe a research trip to Belfast is in order!

Robert married Elizabeth Marie Rowand Loudon in Belfast on 2 August 1899. Robert's occupation was "agent" (4). Though I can't put my finger on the source, I know that he was an agent for the Belfast Rope and Twine company. They moved to London by 1900 when son Gordon (my husband's grandfather) was born, and in 1901 the family is in Ealing, a borough of London, at 38 Egerton Gardens. (5) 

Photo courtesy of  The Man and Other Families website.
In 1911 Robert and Elizabeth and their two oldest children, Gordon, 11, and Vivian Robertson, 7 (male) were living at 33 Loveday Road, West Ealing when the census taker came to call. He noted their birthplaces: Robert was born in Moy, Elizabeth in Cork, Gordon in Shepard's Bush, London; and Vivian in Ealing, London. At that time Robert was still an agent for [Belfast] Rope and Twine Makers (6). According to a display in the Titanic Museum in Belfast we visited last summer, in 1900 it was the largest rope works in the world.

Detail of Rope Bridge at Carrick-a-Rede, Co. Antrim, No. Ireland, taken July 2014 by author.
Robert and Elizabeth went on to have their third child, Rowand Everil R. Kimmitt (female), in the third quarter of 1912. (7) RR (and his father before him) moved around frequently, so a timeline is definitely in order here. That will help me define the jurisdiction of various records I need to pull to fill in the gaps.

He seems to have been a natural leader. He is pictured below in 1915, the commanding officer of this group of Non-Commissioned Officers of the 3/18 London Regiment (the London Irish Rifles) --he is fourth from the left in the second row from the bottom. (8)

Here is a detail showing remarkable similarity to my father-in-law:

Robert Robertson Kimmitt served as Mayor of Ealing from 1924-25, and details of his election to the position, and the high regard in which he was held by the community appear in a newspaper article kindly sent to me by the Ealing Historical Society. (9) They look so... Downton Abbey-ish.

In 1947, was appointed High Sheriff of Middlesex. A glowing article about him says: "His first commission was with the 5th Royal Munster Fusilliers in 1899. He served in the First World War with the 18th Battalion London Regiment (London Irish Rifles) of which he was promoted Lieutenant Colonel in 1916; he was Hon. Colonel of the 44th (Home Counties) Division Signals 1928-1933, a military member of the County of Londonderry T.A. and Air Force Association from 1917-1936, and of the Middlesex Association from 1925 until the beginning of this year. In 1937 he became County Controller V.A.D. Middlesex, was appointed an Officer of the Venerable Order of St. John of Jerusalem in 1928 and Commander in 1939; he was awarded the O.B.E. (Military Division) in 1919, and the Territorial Decoration 1932, and has served as Army Welfare Officer for the County Middlesex since 1941. (10) I wonder what ever became of those medals, ribbons and pins?

He went on to head up or serve on many local committees such as the Ealing Public Health Committee from 1923-38 and many others, taking a special interest in the local hospital, King Edward Memorial. He was also a mason, according to his grandson, Brian Robert Rowland Kimmitt.

He "collapsed while attending the hospital he served,"  and "died with almost startling suddenness” there in Ealing Broadway, London on 24 January 1951 at 79 years old. Wife Elizabeth had died in 1944. His funeral was held at St. Andrews Church, Mount Park Road and he is buried in the family grave at Westminster Cemetery, Hanwell. (11)

1. Brian Knox, "The Kimmitts of Armagh" September 2001, 4;  typescript report, in author's files. Brian's report is carefully researched, well written, and though not strictly documented he does make reference to where is obtaining information. He hired local researchers to pull parish and civil records. Also, "Ireland Births and Baptisms, 1620-1881," transcription from unknown source; ( : accessed 12 January 2015), Kimmett, 04 Dec 1871; citing Tyrone, Ireland, reference v 16-2 p 546; FHL microfilm 255,832.

2. Knox, "The Kimmitts of Armagh and Tyrone," 4.

3. Richard Griffith, General Valuation of Rateable Property in Ireland, Loughgall Parish, townland of Ballygassey, Co. Armagh, p. 25, taken in 1864, Rev. Edward Kimmitt; ( : accessed 13 January 2015).

4. Marriage of Robert Robertson Kimmitt and Elizabeth Marie Loudon, 2 August 1899, Macrory Memorial Presbyterian Church, Belfast, Antrim, Ireland; online subscription database, transcription Irish Family History Foundation (http"// accessed 14 Apr 2010, now

5.  1901 England, Wales and Scotland census, Ealing, Middlesex, England, Castlebar Municipal Ward, St. Stephen's Parish, Brentford Reg. Dist., folio 164, p. 43, 38 Egerton Gardens, sched. n. 265, household of Robert R. Kimmitt; digital image, ( : accessed 12 January 2015).

6. 1911 England, Wales and Scotland Census, Ealing, Middlesex, England, ED 28, Brentford Reg. Dist., Reg. Dist. n. 128, sched. 297, 33 Loveday Road, household of Robert Robertson Kimmitt; ( : accessed 13 January 2015).

7. "England and Wales Births 1837-2006," index, birth of Rowand E R Kimmitt, 3rd quarter, 1912, Brentford Dist., Middlesex, England, 3A:264; ( : accessed 13 January 2015).

8. NCOs of the 3/18 London Regiment (London Irish Rifles), photograph, Illustrated War News, 6 October 1915; Northwest Family History Society  ( : accessed 18 August 2013). This link no longer works and I cannot find the site today.

9. "Mayor and Mayoress Designate for 1924-5," Middlesex County Times, Ealing, London, England, 26 July 1924, no p. n.; photocopy sent to author by Borough of Ealing Local History Centre, London, England.

10. "High Sheriff of Middlesex: Alderman R. R. Kimmitt appointed", Middlesex County Times, Ealing, London, England, 15 Mar 1947, no p. n.; photocopy sent to author by Borough of Ealing Local History Centre, London, England.

11. "Alderman Colonel Kimmitt Dies," West Middlesex County Times, Ealing, London, England, 27 January 1951, p. 1photocopy sent to author by Borough of Ealing Local History Centre, London, England.

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