Henry KOSBAB was born sometime around the late 1870's. The 1881
Census gives his age as 4 years, the 1891 Census, give 14 years and his
marriage certificate 24 years, all of which would give a birth year of 1876/77.
Both Census state he was born in Twickenham, Middlesex, but I have been
unable to find a copy of his registration.
Henry was born to Louise HU(E)NCHEN and Henry? Frantz? Otto?
KOSBAB. Unable to find Henry's birth registration, I sent for his sister
Henrietta's. She was registered as Louise Henrietta, and born 17 March
1878 at 8 Coles Buildings, Twickenham and her mother's maiden name is
given as HINCHEN and her father as Henry KOSBAB.
The 1881 Census gives the name of the Head of the Household as Frantz.
aged 40 giving a birth year of 1840/41 and they are living at 12 Queen
Square, Twickenham. Both he and Louise give Germany as place of birth,
with Louise adding Berlin. They were actually found under the name
HUSBERT, and it looks like a combination of enumerator and transcriber's
In the 1891 Census he becomes Otto! His age is given as 50 - is he Frantz, a
twin brother or just telling fibs? They are now living at 93 St Margarets
Grove. Again both give Germany as birth place, This time they were found
under the name KORBUT, again probably an enumerator's error.
Otto KOSBAB is then found in 1886 in Hutchings & Crowley Directory and
Kelly's Directories from 1887 to 1888 under the name of KUSBAB, (this is
probably due to the 'o' being pronouced as 'oo'), first at 7 Ventnor Cottages,
Twickenham then at 93 St Margarets Grove. Otto KOSBAB died in 1892,
and the name stays in the directory with Louise and then after her dead in
1897, with her daughter Henrietta. KUSBAB finally becomes KOSBAB with
our grandfather's entry in 1900. He is at this time living at 5 Hampton
Cottages, Michels Row, Richmond, Surrey when the name becomes
Henry? Frantz? Otto? Are they one and the same or are they all different?
We have one daughter of Henry and Maud who, whilst very happy to provide
Westlake information refuses to help with the Kosbab family! She has stated
that to dig up the past will hurt a lot of people. Perhaps, like me, she found
the same information and thinks that her gransmother was a little free with
her affections. YET it could well be that it was one man and that he used all
three of his names. I have read that in Germany boys were often given three
names, and these names would all be used. One by parents, another by
siblings, and the third by friends and other relatives.
My Gran told me when I was little that our Grandfather's father had been a
'Professor' of Mathmatics at Twickenham University; that he spoke several
languages other than his own and English, and that he met his wife, who was
a Student at the University. This doesn't tie in with what I have found, so far.
But Gran was right when she said that they were both from Germany.
On Louise Henrietta's birth certificate her father's occupation is given as
Gardener. On the 1881 Census as Domestic Gardener, and a Market
Gardener, Employer in 1891. On Maud and Henry's Marriage Certificate, it
is given as Gardener.
According to my Gran, she met Henry KOSBAB in the grounds of Hampton
Court Palace, and she said he looked real handsome in his uniform. Henry
KOSBAB and Maud Mary WESTLAKE were married on the 4th May 1901 at
The Register Office in Brentford, Middlesex. Witnesses to the marriage were
Ellise And J Avery. The address Henry gives prior to his marriage is 28
Orleans Road, Twickenham the home of Mr John Avery, and Maud was living
at Cedar Lawns, Ailsa Road, Twickeham.
My Dad tells me that his Mum was still working at Ailsa Road, when he was
a kid. Cedar Lawns is no longer there, but there is a large cedar tree where
the house would have been. 28 Orleans Road is still there, and is
unbelievably tiny, but visiting these homes from the past, helped bring the
grandma I knew and loved and the granpa I never knew, a little closer.
Henry Kosbab picture is the one at the top left-hand corner of this page, and I
have been trying to discover the regiment he served in during World War I.
Having spent many long hours going through insignia and cap badges I
finally found what looked to be a near match. The regiment has a web site,
and I sent an e-mail asking if the badge belonged to their regiment. I have
received a reply agreeing that it is the cap badge of The Queens (Royal West
Surrey) Regiment. Now we hope that the PRO at Kew has his service record,
and that they were not among those irretrievable lost to German Bombers
during WW II. If as Gran said, he was in uniform when they met, then there
is the real likelihood that there are other service documents awaiting us at the
PRO - I have my fingers crossed that he was with the same regiment.
In peacetime, Grandpa Henry was a journeyman house painter, and he died
in 1936. This is all the information that I have on him at present, but hope to
be able to add information at least about his service to Britain in the not too
We have yet to find out where Henry Frantz Otto KOSBAB came from in
Germany and where he and Louise married.
There are a number of KOSBAB's on the IGI in Berlin and many in what was
Pomerania, which is now part of Poland. There are KOSBAB's in America
who have traced their ancestors back to Pomerania, and we have been in
contact with them and with Gerd KOSBAB in Germany whose family also
hail from there. Unfortunately we have not been able to connect our family
with any of these KOSBABS.
At the present time, it looks as if these brick walls are here to stay. Unless you
have the information we need ...