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James Bell Crooks (abt. 1884 - 1962)

James Bell Crooks
Born about in Dunmore, Lissan, Cookstown, County Tyrone, Irelandmap [uncertain]
Ancestors ancestors
Son of [father unknown] and [uncertain]
[sibling(s) unknown]
Husband of — married 21 Feb 1912 (to about 1941) in Auckland, North Island, New Zealandmap
Husband of — married 1951 in New Zealandmap [uncertain]
Died at about age 78 in Auckland, North Island, New Zealandmap
Profile manager: Matt McNabb private message [send private message]
Profile last modified | Created 10 Mar 2021 | Last significant change: 13 May 2022
08:10: EditBot WikiTree edited the Biography for James Bell Crooks (abt.1884-1962). (Correcting ArchivesNewZealand_URL) [Thank EditBot for this]
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Early life

Ireland Native
James Crooks was born in Ireland.
Flag of Ireland
James Crooks migrated from Ireland to New Zealand.
Flag of New Zealand

James was born about 1883-1884[1] in Ireland. According to his marriage record, he was the son of James Crooks (farmer) and Mary Jane Bell.[2]

In 1901 he was living in Dunmore, County Tyrone, with his grandmother Mary Jane (Graham) Bell and three of her children. [3]

In 1907 he was the marriage witness for Eliza Jane (Crooks) Burns (abt.1855-), his mother's cousin via James Bell.

First emigration to New Zealand

James was a member of Ballybriest Purple Star No. 277. (An Ulster unionist organization). At a special meeting on 14 Sep 1908 he and Eakin Shirlow (1888-) were presented with certificates as they were about to emigrate to New Zealand. [4]

James and Eakin and Ben Bell came out on the Devon from Liverpool to Wellington, NZ, sailed 19 Sep 1908.[5]

In 1912 in New Zealand he married Eliza Milne Fowler, daughter of Joshua Fowler (engineer) and Louisa Godby McKay. Witnesses were James Jamison, inspector, and Louisa Fowler, tailoress. [2]

Return to Ireland

In 1919 the couple travelled on the Ruahine to the UK. Their son James was born in Ireland that year, and Louis born in Belfast the following year. [6]

Second voyage to New Zealand

The family arrived back in New Zealand aboard the Ruahine on 10 October 1922. [7]

Return to Ireland (again)

James returned to Ireland at some point. This may have been after 1928 (as he does appear in the 1928 NZ Electoral Roll, but not the 1935) and before 1931.

As of Jun 1931, James held land at Mobuy, Lissan, County Londonderry. [8] His postal address was given as "c/o Mrs Mary Jane Ferguson, Mobuy, Lissan".

In 1935, James attended the funeral of Thomas James Bell (1868-1935) at Dunmore. Thomas James was a nephew of James's grandmother Mary Jane (Bell) Graham.

In about July 1937 he sold his farmland at Mabuoy in preparation for a return to New Zealand.[9]

Final return to New Zealand

With wife Eliza and the two children , he boarded the Rangitane at London on 22 July 1937 bound for New Zealand. [10] Eliza passed away in 1941.

James was a company manager of Auckland, but adjudged bankrupt in May 1942. [11]

In 1951 in New Zealand he married Adelaide Rose Perry. [12]

He passed away at Auckland on 2 May 1962, age 77. [13] [14] He is buried at Waikumete Cemetery. [15]

Research Notes


"James Crooks" was a common name for Dunmore and surrounding townlands; it is not clear at this stage which of those was his father. No birth record has been found. His mother Mary Jane lived at Dunmore, County Tyrone. James Crooks (1865-1908) is the only unmarried James Crooks of the area that I have a profile for so far.

Mary Jane did adopt a child Thomas that wasn't hers and may have been her sister's; so we should keep open the possibility that James Bell Crooks is not Mary Jane's biological child either; and if so, that James may or may not have known.

James being the marriage witness for Eliza Jane (Crooks) Burns (abt.1855-) is a bit odd, if she was only his 1C1R , normally it is a closer relative. Is it perhaps possible that James's father was James Crooks (abt.1828-1915) ??


  1. Based on death 1962 age 77; and marriage Feb 1912 age 28
  2. 2.0 2.1 NZ BDM Marriage 1912/888, see attached. Note that this claims his parents were married; however on Mary Jane's 1900 marriage she is listed as a Spinster. Given that there is no marriage record found for these two parents, I think the reasonable conclusion is that the parents were unwed.
  3. 1901 census - Residents of a house 11 in Dunmore (Lissan Lower, Tyrone). James Bell, 30 of Dunmore; son of Mary Jane Bell(66), has brother George(34), Eleanor(37), and mother's grandson James Bell Crooks(17).
  4. "Orange News", Mid-Ulster Mail - Saturday 19 September 1908 - Page 8
  5. Ancestry Record 2997 #37842098 J B Crooks, 19 Sep 1908. UK and Ireland, Outward Passenger Lists, 1890-1960 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2012.
  6. Ancestry Record 1518 #28560140 Eliza M. Crooks. The National Archives of the UK; Kew, Surrey, England; Board of Trade: Commercial and Statistical Department and successors: Inwards Passenger Lists.; Class: BT26; Piece: 661. Source Information: UK and Ireland, Incoming Passenger Lists, 1878-1960 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations Inc, 2008.
  7. "New Zealand, Archives New Zealand, Passenger Lists, 1839-1973," database with images, FamilySearch ( : 5 July 2019), J B Crooks, 10 Oct 1922; citing ship , Archives New Zealand, Wellington; FHL microfilm 004439197.
  8. (untitled), The Belfast Gazette, June 12, 1931. Page 539
  9. "Mr Joseph Allen's Sales", Mid-Ulster Mail - Saturday 10 July 1937, Page 4
  10. Ancestry Record 2997 #145699849 James Crooks. UK and Ireland, Outward Passenger Lists, 1890-1960 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2012.
  11. "Bankruptcy Cases", New Zealand Herald, Volume 79, Issue 24287, 30 May 1942, Page 8
  12. Wilson Collection, accessed 18 Nov 2021.
  13. NZ BDM Death search: 1962/23135 Crooks James Bell 77Y
  14. Archives New Zealand: R14750483 CROOKS James Bell - Auckland - Retired , probate file via Archway
  15. Find A Grave: Memorial #164496875

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