Joanne  Rowling

JK Rowling

Privacy Level: Private with Public Biography and Family Tree (Yellow)
JK Rowling aka Murray, Arantes
Born 1960s.
Ancestors ancestors
Sister of
Mother of [private daughter (1990s - unknown)]
Rowling-31 created 31 Jul 2014 | Last modified
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Categories: Notables | Famous Authors of the 21st Century | Who Do You Think You Are (UK) | Who Do You Think You Are (US) | Légion d'honneur.

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Joanne Rowling was born 31 July 1965 in Yate, England, to James Rowling, a Rolls-Royce aircraft engineer, and Anne Volant, a science technician. Her parents met on a train departing from King's Cross Station in 1964.

Joanne is best known for her writing of the Harry Potter series under the pen name J.K. Rowling. The books won worldwide attention, sold 400 million copies and won several awards. They've become the best-selling series ever and were the basis for movies that became the highest-grossing film series in history.

J.K came up with the idea for her Harry Potter novel whilst on a train ride from Manchester to London in 1990. It took her seven years to complete Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone during which time she suffered through her mother's death, divorce from her husband and poverty.

Her story is one of rags to riches. In five years Joanne went from living on state benefits to being a multimillionaire. In 2007, Forbes ranked her as forty-eight most powerful celebrity. In October 2010, leading magazine editors named her the "Most Influential Woman in Britain".


Who Do You Think That You Are

Synopsis: Jo Rowling seeks additional information surrounding her Great-Grandfather, Louis Volant. According to her recollection, he married an English woman and was a brave soldier in WW I and received the Legion d'Honneur, which was also something that she had recently received as well. Jo gave her acceptance speech in French.

She visited her Aunt Marian (Volant) Fox in Edinburgh (her Mom's big sister) who is her last link to the Volant family. She revealed Louis "Good Conduct Certificate" which showed Louis' birth date to be the same as Jo's. He was born in Paris. His mother was Salome Schuch, who grew up in the countryside in France. Her Grandfather is also named as Stanley Volant.

Louis immigrated in the 1890s and started in London as a waiter. He met "Lizzie" in London, who was working as a nursery maid. He had to return to France to do his military service and wrote a number of letters to Lizzie while serving. Lizzie and Louis were married in 1900. At some point, Louis returned to France, but Lizzie refused to join him, so they separated but never divorced. For 50 years they continued to correspond.

Jo goes to the archives in Paris to seek further information. In the archives there, she finds that a Louis Volant was injured in Ford de Vaux near Verdun on 5 June (no year mentioned) and he lost half of the sight in his right eye and lost a limb. and was born on 16 June 1878. Finding that the dates do not match, she discovers that this record does not represent her Great-Grandfather.

Further researching his military records, she finds that there were two Louis Volant's and that her great-grandfather was in the 16th Territorial Regiment. The Territorial soldiers were older men whose job tended to be guarding roads or bridges. Her ancestor was stationed in Courcelles-le-Comte, and that a great battle was fought there in October 1914. Louis was 37 at the time. The Germans attacked on 3 October. The Territorial soldiers were only equipped with rifles and no artillery. The 16th Regiment held on for five solid days of constant fire and bombardment. After their officers were wounded or killed, Louis took charge, defended his comrades, and killed several of the attackers. He was seriously injured in the arm and side by an incoming artillery shell. For his bravery, he was awarded the Croix de Guerre.

He did later recover from his injuries and became an interpreter. The military archivist presented Jo with a medal that represented the one that her great-grandfather would have received, the Croix de Guerre with a bronze star. Happy to have found out so much about her great-grandfather's military record, she then turned to researching her great-great-grandmother's name, Salome Schuch.

In the Paris hospital archives, she finds Louis' birth records. He was born at 7 AM to Salome Schuch. Salome was a domestic servant and 23 years old at the time of Louis' birth (1877). However, Louis' birth name was Schuch and not Volant, and no father is listed as she was an unwed mother. At the time of his birth, she was living in 19 Rue Clauzel in Paris. She visits this address, and finds out that Salome was a maid at this location and would not be allowed to have a child in her work. So by her giving birth to Louis and choosing to keep him, she had lost her job. A year later, they find evidence of her again, having a second child in December 1878, Gabriel Jean, with a residence of Rue Milton. This child's father is named Pierre Volant, but Salome is still unwed. She is now working as a dressmaker.

By 1883, she was married to Volant and recognized and legitimized four male children. Louis is still named Schuch at the time, but the other children all have the last name of Volant (Gabriel, Gaston, and possibly Avol). She notes that Salome's home town is Brumath, which is in the Alsace-Lorraine region on the border with Germany. Her mother was born in 10 March 1854 to Jacques Schuch and Christine Bergthold. She is able to see the whole family in the 1861 Census, with Jacques, Christine, along with their 5 children, Catherine, Salome, Marguerite, Dorothea, and Christine, ages 10, 8, 6, 3, and 1. Jacques was a stone cutter of sandstone. They had another daughter, Madeline, in 1861. Tragically, Jacques Schuch died 13 September 1865 leaving his pregnant wife and six daughters alone. His only son, Jacques, was born 27 October 1865. Christine Bergthold Schuch died 13 September 1886.

Discussing her family with a local military historian, he shows her the family house. Salome would have lived through the Franco-Prussian war, when Brumath was occupied by German forces beginning in 1870. Later in 1870, a treaty was signed and those in the occupied areas could choose French or German citizenship. She seeks the records in the Protestant Church in Brumath, where her family was married and baptized. Based on the lack of documentation, it appears Christine opted to remain in Brumath and thus became German. Salome was too young to make a choice. However, Salome's Aunt Catherine Bergtold did opt in a Paris document (verve Lobstein) 9 Sepember 1872. So Salome likely followed her Aunt Catherine to Paris, technically a German but living in Paris, and became French when she married.

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On 27 Aug 2015 at 15:18 GMT John Riley wrote:

I always wanted to ask if you wandered through a Riley family graveyard in Bolton, England and pick up useful miscelaneous names like Potter and Scrymgeour? Funny coincidence! John Francis Riley (45 removed from you by way of Acadian mother)

On 19 Aug 2015 at 15:15 GMT DK Clews wrote:

Please add the following:

"Category: Who Do You Think You Are (UK)" and "Category: Who Do You Think You Are (US)".

Her UK episode aired 17 Aug 2011, BBC. Her US episode (same, edited) aired 2 Aug 2015 on TLC.

Also, IMDb: J.K. Rowling link:


On 13 Aug 2015 at 22:37 GMT Doug Lockwood wrote:

Rowling-62 is Peter J Rowling

On 31 Jul 2014 at 17:24 GMT Hilary (Buckle) Gadsby wrote:

Father was Peter J Rowling and parents married in Islington district of London in the first quarter of 1965.

Queen Elizabeth II JK is 42 degrees from Abby Glann, 46 degrees from AJ Jacobs, 49 degrees from Martin Luther King and 35 degrees from Queen Elizabeth II Windsor on our single family tree. Login to find your connection.

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