James Gunzeon

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Steve Emms
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James Gunzeon

Post by Steve Emms » Mon Apr 26, 2010 4:45 pm

Can anyone shed any light on the origins of this player? He played for Maxwelltown Volunteers, made a couple of appearances for Hearts in 1902/3 (probably on trial), then spent the 1903/4 season at Kilmarnock before returning to non-league football. There's no sign of this surname in the Society of Genealogists' birth, marriage & death records - does this mean he was born overseas?

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Post by Scottish » Mon Apr 26, 2010 10:20 pm

Nothing on his origins but I can confirm the spelling is as in contemporary match reports and that, yes, his Hearts period was on trial. Left Killie to return to Maxwelltown Volunteers then Carlisle United.

Ancestry.com records would suggest he was local to the Maxwelltown area. They have ten Gunzeons living in Kirkcudbrightshire in 1891, one of whom was an 11-year-old called James. This is the only county in Scotland where the name appears for that year and it occurs nowhere in England & Wales or the USA.

The Family Search site shows 24 records worldwide for this surname, all of them in Kirkcudbrightshire, Dumfriesshire & Wigtownshire. So very much a local name by the looks of it.

Certainly a rare name. Your very query shows up as third on Google already.

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Post by Steve Emms » Tue Apr 27, 2010 4:45 pm

Thanks for that. The surname is unusual enough to make you think he'd be easy to trace, but he still remains very much a mystery

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Post by Steve Emms » Mon May 17, 2010 10:00 am

Following up the 1891 clue, James's birth is registered at Dumfries in 1880 - however the surname is shown as 'Gunyon'. I'm assuming this was an error as all subsequent references have the name as Gunzeon, but no wonder he's so hard to track down!

John Meffen

Post by John Meffen » Mon May 17, 2010 12:59 pm

I presume that was how it is pronounced, his name was probably Gunȝeon [or Gunȝon] originally. I'd would have thought that most geneological sites were prepared for soundy-likeys

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Post by Steve Emms » Mon May 17, 2010 1:24 pm

Ancestry.co.uk also tells me that a James Gunzeon of the right age died in British Columbia in 1947 - unfortunately I can't get more of that site without taking out a subscription.

I know a lot of Scottich footballers left for the USA in the 1900's; this might explain why he doesn't appear in later UK census records

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Post by Skyline Drifter » Tue May 18, 2010 8:12 pm

John Meffen wrote:I presume that was how it is pronounced, his name was probably Gunȝeon [or Gunȝon] originally. I'd would have thought that most geneological sites were prepared for soundy-likeys
Can't help much other than to add, as you all probably already knew, that there is a place called "Kirkgunzeon" (pronounced Kirgunyon) near Castle Douglas which presumably has the same roots.

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Post by Scottish » Tue May 18, 2010 8:49 pm

Skyline Drifter wrote: as you all probably already knew, that there is a place called "Kirkgunzeon" (pronounced Kirgunyon)
Yeah, course we did. How could anyone forget whattsitsname? Presumably there was a St Gunyon or similar knocking around at some point?

Actually the Gunyon spelling bears out the Kirkcudbright/Wigtown/Dumfries thesis. The National Trust name search facility shows those three counties as the home of virtually every Gunyon in Britain in the 1880s. The only other area with a significant number is (and don't ask me why) Bromley!

By 1998 there aren't enough Gunyons anywhere to show on the map.

Going back to the player, his season at Rugby Park was strange in that he never kicked a ball for Killie before or after 1903-04 but during the season he was the only ever-present in the league (26 matches) and also played in all six cup ties that term.

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Post by laughingravy » Fri May 21, 2010 11:31 pm

Ancestry.com have a record of a James Gunzeon (or Ganzeon) sailing on SS Columbia from Glasgow to New York, arriving 5th March 1907. The manifest states he was travelling with his wife Jessie and son William. Their itenary was from Maxwelltown to San Fransisco. His occupation is stated to be a plumber.
I would imagine there would be a lot of work for plumbers, the year after the earthquake.

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Post by Steve Emms » Sat May 22, 2010 9:43 am

Thanks, Laughingravy. So we now have Gunzeon, Gunyon and Ganzeon. The more we find out, the more complicated he becomes! I think I need a lie down.

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