Photos of the meeting of Beryl Longuet with Barbara and Barry Gibb after many years.
2013, copyright David Longuet. 

Who do you think you are?

Who Do You Think You Are
(one of the last TV projects Robin did before his death May 20th. 2012).

About The Gibb Family Tree

Barbara Gibb as a young girl

September 21st. 2011
The British BBC 1 aired the Gibb episode of -Who Do You Think You Are- a U.K. television program where celebrities trace their family trees and where also Robin Gibb was trying to find more about his ancestors. Robin was born on 22nd December 1949, and had a younger twin brother Maurice Gibb. The twins were originally born in the Isle of Man to British parents Hugh Gibb and Barbara Pass. They have an older brother Barry, as well as an older sister Lesley and younger brother Andrew. The family moved to Chorlton, Manchester in the 1950’s then emigrated to Brisbane, Australia in 1958. Barry, Robin and Maurice formed the Bee Gees shortly after and went on to become international stars, and one of the best selling groups of all time with record sales estimated at over 220 million.

Barbara Gibb as a young girl
left: Young Barry in pram
right: Young Robin and Maurice 1950
The Gibb Family in the 50ties

Earlier this year Robin spent some time filming for this program which also took him to Paisley to carry out research into his family tree.
He delved deep into Renfrewshire Council’s records for evidence of his Paisley links.
The program focused on Robin, Barry and Maurice’s paternal great-grandfather Matthew Gibb in Scotland, and maternal great-grandmother Cecilia Lynch of Manchester, two characters Robin was able to breathe life into with the help of historians, photographs and public records. The Gibb Brothers have sold millions of records and live in beautiful houses, but they came from a fairly poor family.
But as you could see from Robin’s reaction in the program, that was nothing compared to what his ancestors endured.

left: The three young Gibbs starting in music
right: Old photo, Lesley, Andy, Barbara
left: Hugh and Barbara with their sons
Matthew his wife Mary and there son Charles

Robin’s father Hugh Gibb was born in Chorlton Lancashire in 1916, the son of Hugh Gibb and Edith Yardley. Robin’s grandfather was born in 1892, in Lanarkshire Scotland, and served during the Second World War.
The Gibb family are shown on the 1901 census with father Matthew Gibb recorded as ‘Staff Quarter Master Sergeant’. Meeting with other surviving relatives, it was revealed that Matthew Gibb was born in Scottish town Paisley in 1849, and enlisted in the army aged 18. 

Matthew his wife Mary and there son Charles

He served extensively in India and Afghanistan, though was arrested in 1874 in India for drunkeness and demoted from corporal to private. Matthew’s wife Mary James, born in 1831, was originally from Somerset and was the daughter of John James, a coal miner from Farrington near Bath. Matthew’s father was William Gibb, a weaver in the booming Paisley textile industry, though as the trade made way for new technology, William could not find work and left the town, leaving young Matthew to live at the Paisley ‘Ragged School for Destitute Children’. Records painted the sad picture that William, suffering from ‘a depression of spirit leading to insanity’ died in the poor-house in 1874. You could see that Robin was genuinely moved by the story of William, aware that he is lucky enough to be able to provide for his family in a manner that would astound his ancestors.

left: Robin talking with Ann, Matthew's last surviving grandchild
right: Robin goes to Winchester to Matthews' regiment The Rifles

Robin’s grandmother Edith Yardley was born in Manchester in 1891 to joiner William and his wife Hannah. Hannah was 16 years younger than William and became step-mother to the 7 children William had from his previous marriage. His first wife Annie had died in 1889 at the age of 38. William is seen on the 1871 census in Lancashire as an Omnibus Conductor, and in 1861 is with his parents Thomas and Ann in Cheshire. Robin’s Great Great Grandfather Thomas Yardley, born in 1826, is recorded as a railway worker. Census records for England and Wales are available on from 1841 to 1901 for all Premium subscribers, and the 1911 census is currently being added by county to the Diamond Premium.

left: Robin travels to Scotland to find out more about his family.
right: Robin finds out that William used to be a weaver and goes to the Paisley Museum.

left: Robin studies William’s life during unemployment, at the Paisley’s Library.
right: Robin visits the sight of the Ragged School.

On Robin’s maternal line, the family are still in the Lancashire area, and his grandfather Ernest Pass is the son of warehouseman, James Pass and his wife Mary Ann Crompton. Mary Ann is the daughter of Thomas Crompton, born in Worsley in 1834. The 1851 census shows Thomas living with his parents Robert and Sarah and his five sisters. The whole family are recorded as cotton workers, even the youngest sister Hannah who was only 10 years old. The cotton industry was booming in the 1850’s in Lancashire, with Manchester developing into an important commercial city. Thomas escapes life in the cotton mills by learning a trade and by the 1861 census he is now a clogger and shoe maker.

left: Robin searches on his laptop at home to find out about his grandmum’s mother who was midwife.

left: Robin talks to Mary Cherry and her sister who knew Cecilia Lynch.
right: Robin talks about Cecilia’s prosecution.

Robin’s maternal grandmother Nora Lynch was the daughter of Irish born James Lynch and his wife Cecilia Jennings from Stockport. Cecilia Lynch was a respected midwife, at a time before contraception and most babies were born at home. Her record was blighted in 1937, however, after Cecilia did not report a baby’s deteriorating eye condition and the child became blind. And so Robin will be discovering why she was summoned to appear before the Midwives Penal Board.

left: Robin is trying to understand Cecilia’s situation

At the conclusion of the programme, Robin Gibb said: ‘I feel richer for knowing about people in my past.
Two heroes I would have liked to have known in life’.

Latest information

When Robin took part in Who do you think you are, they could only get back as far as William a Weaver who died in the Poor House. That at the time, was as far as I had got as well but now I know that a) He was ten years older than they assumed b) His father was also William and c) He had four siblings. Well that is where I have got to so far but I may be able to extend that even further.
Richard Gibb, 2012. (who researches the Gibb family history).

Websites to visit:

Watch the program:
Who do You think You are ? (1-5)
Who do You think You are ? (2-5)
Who do You think You are ? (3-5)
Who do You think You are ? (4-5)
Who do You think You are ? (5-5)

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