Yorkshire Chess History



Robert William Genese











Made in Yorkshire



Sheffield Sub-Site



08/05/1848, Dublin


26/05/1848, Westland Row Catholic Church, Dublin


21/01/1928, Southborough, Tunbridge Wells, Kent



Non-Chess Life


Robert William Genese was the son of Samuel Genese (born 1816/17, Strand, London) and Margaret Genese (née Kelly, 1826/27, Ireland), who appear to have had no more children.


Though born in Ireland, and raised as a Catholic, he seemingly had Jewish heritage.  The family moved to Liverpool at some time from 1848 to 1851, and the 1851 census found Samuel and Mary Genese, son Robert, and Mary’s older sister Margaret Kelly, living at 43 Paradise Street, Liverpool.  Father Samuel was at this stage an auctioneer.  Margaret Kelly was a house servant, though whether that was in the Genese household or some other is unclear.


The 1861 census found the Genese family still at 43 Paradise Street.  Margaret Kelly was no longer mentioned, but there was an Irish servant.  Father Samuel was now a print-seller, employing 6 men.


Robert William Genese was educated at Liverpool Institute, and went on to be admitted as a pensioner to St. John’s College, Cambridge, on 18/05/1867, matriculating in Michaelmas, 1867.  He became a “Scholar” in 1870, getting his BA (as 8th Wrangler) in early 1871.


The 1871 census found our man as a 22-year-old “teacher BA Cambridge” lodging with widow Susanna Addison at 13 Thorncliffe Grove, Chorlton-on-Medlock, Manchester.  Whether he taught in a school, privately or whatever isn’t clear.


University College of Wales, Aberystwyth (now Aberystwyth University) was founded in 1872.  Robert William Genese applied for the post of Professor of Mathematics, but the post was awarded to N. R. Grimley.


He got his MA in 1874, and was perhaps in a better position to apply for job of higher academic standing than hitherto.  Venn records that our man was at some time Vice-Principal of the Training College at Carmarthen.  This was probably from around 1874 up to 1879.


In the latter part of the 1870s, the finances of University College of Wales became bad, and, to save money, three professors were dispensed with, including N R Grimley, and the new, cheaper professor of mathematics was Robert William Genese, who was appointed in 1879.


Accordingly, the 1881 found Robert William Genese as Professor of Mathematics at the University College of Wales on King Street, Aberystwyth, lodging at the college.


The 1891 census took place at a time when our man was visiting Charles Trubshaw at 123 Osmaston Road, Derby.  Charles Trubshaw (born 1840, died 15/02/1917) was an architect best known for designing railway stations and also some hotels.  Had our man gone to explain a trigonometrical technique developed by Genese, that of biangular coordinates, which might have been of potential application to architectural design?


As late at least as 1895, and probably at least until he got married, our man was still living in college.


The 1901 census again found our man away from home, this time at a hotel at 28 Mount Pleasant, Liverpool.  He was still unmarried, but not for long.


Later in in 1901, Robert William Genese married Margaretta Richards (born 1862/63, Aberystwyth), in Aberystwyth.  He seems at about the same time to have moved out of college, as Kelly’s 1901 South Wales directory listed him as residing at 54 Marine Terrace, Aberystwyth.


In 1909, the mathematics department Aberystwyth was split into two, with our man continuing as Professor of Pure Mathematics.


The 1911 found Robert and Margaretta at the Hotel Mount Pleasant, Great Malvern.  Although described as lodgers, Robert and Margaretta were probably visitors.  The recurrence of “Mount Pleasant” suggests a connection between this hotel and the one our man was staying at during the 1901 census.


Our man retired from University College of Wales in 1919.


By 1925 at the latest, he had moved to Tunbridge Wells.  He resided latterly at 49 Prospect Road, Southborough, Tunbridge Wells, Kent.


The Proceedings of the London Mathematical Society, 1880, pp. 157-168, carried an article by R. W. Genese, “On a system of coordinates”, which presumably referred to biangular coordinates, as distinct from, say, Cartesian or polar coordinates.


He published articles in the Education Times; Messenger of Mathematics.

He published articles in the University College of Wales Magazine:

“Mass and weight”

UCWM No. 9, 1886-7, pp. 248-52

“From lowest rung up”

UCWM No. 14, 1891-2, pp. 275-80

“Newton's second law of motion”

UCWM No. 12, 1889‑90, pp. 261‑64


He published “Simple exposition of Grassmand's methods” in the Mathematical Gazette, July, 1927.


A book co-authored by him, still available in reprint, was “The Calculus of Extension” by Henry George Forder and Robert William Genese.




He died on 21/01/1928 at Southborough, Tunbridge Wells, Kent.




The connection between Robert William Genese and Yorkshire chess is negligible.  He played in the Section A of the Minor tournament at the 1925 Scarborough Whit Congress, securing second place behind F. Davy of Doncaster, finishing 5th-6th= after the inter-section play-off.


He played in the Craigside (Llandudno) Tournament on January 1898, securing only one point from nine games.





Copyright © 2015 Stephen John Mann

Census information is copyright of The National Archive, see UK Census Information

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