Beyond Our Ken

My parents acquired our first television in 1959 and it became a family tradition on FA Cup Final day to close the curtains so that we could concentrate on the biggest match of the year. I haven’t watched a televised match played with a round or oval ball for years. Maybe if Kenneth Wolstenholme had been commentating today I would have tuned in.

His was the voice of my formative years that brings back the best of memories. (Not just “they think it’s all over”.) So, given my current obsessions, I turned to FamilySearch to see if he has a place on the Shared Tree. I was astonished to find a sister, Edna, but not him, nor his other siblings. I did a bit of hunting, to check the pedigree as presented and perhaps fill in some gaps – and found that all was not well with the online Wolstenholmes.

False grandpa Robert has 15 sources – and some of these clearly challenge his paternity where Thomas is concerned. A census source names his wife as “Alice Ann”. Here is her marriage and the registration of Thomas’ birth. (Sources: Free BMD & GRO Births Index.)

And “just Alice” of the FamilySearch screenshot with her firstborn, Ernest.

Euphemia’s parents look right but our Ken’s pedigree is disappointingly curtailed. He deserves better.

I looked in newspapers for some uplifting information about English footie’s greatest commentator (arguably) and found that, when he was ten years old his dad was hauled off to jail.

Thomas appears to have recovered from this setback. The 1939 Register shows him with Euphemia and Kenneth at 200 Eccles Old Road, Salford, his occupation not fully legible but including the words “Managing Director” and “Silk Merchant”. Kenneth’s status is equally unclear but indicates his imminent service with the RAF. The young man flew many sorties over Germany and was perhaps fortunate to live long enough to marry in 1944.

Kenneth and Joan had two daughters. Joan died in 1997 and Kenneth in 2002, aged 81.

World Cup Final 1966

FA Cup Final 2021

Rock 30 · Red Cliffs

Cayton Bay

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