A study of the Fleuss Family is a
wonderful task of unpicking a blend of established history and dramatic
mythology. The reason for this is probably because so many members of the
family seem to have Continental European roots and it has been easy to
allow the myths and rumours to develop. Thanks to the work of two people,
Sarah Guise and Richard Stenning, much has been sorted out and these
webpages are dedicated to their memory.
To set the scene it is worth mentioning
some of the main points.
Henry Joseph Fleuss,
born in 1811, arrived in this country probably in about the 1830's to work
as an artist.
He married Charlotte Sophie Kolbach
(or Coulbach) who was born in Surrey but was spoken of as being from
Vienna, an artist and a pupil of Lizst.
It seems that their eldest son, Henry Otto
Fleuss was born in Germany and so was of German nationality.
Little is known of his life other than he worked in a rubber warehouse but
was an artist as well. There has been some speculation within the family
regarding his wife's ancestry.
Amongst Otto's daughters, two got married to
men with continental backgrounds. Dorothy Fleuss
married Arthur Heinrich from Germany and
they had to emigrate to America at the being of WW1 and Vera Fleuss
married Jules Guise who was
supposed to have ancestry back to French aristocracy. This has been found
to be a total myth although, but even more dramatical, his father Jules Carl Guise had Danish roots but married Therese Caroline Alexandrine
Tourniaire who, in fact, came from what could be described as
French Circus Aristocracy of the time, with a grandfather, Jacques
Tourniaire who worked for the Russian Tsar
and built the first circus in Russia.
Jules Carl's original surname was Giese, a Danish name with probable
German Roots, and he had to change it to create a more suitable
"brand" for his work in the theatre business.
Henry Otto's eldest daughter, Katherine
Edith Levine Fleuss ( or Catherine ) seems to have caused quite a
stir. She married a gentleman,
Frank Wilson in 1895, and had two children by him before
disappearing off with an Austrian Count, according to the stories. It maybe
that Frank ended up with a total of 5 of her children on his hands.
Little known, but
maybe there is another family mystery surrounding the two sisters, Vera
Fleuss and Dorothy's husband to be
Arthur Heinrich. In 1911 at the time of the census both were living
in a strange house in Broadstairs and in 1912 a boy Hugh B Heinrich was
born. He later change his name to Atkins. See below.
Within the descendants of Henry Joseph,
for simplicities sake at this stage in history research, considered the patriarch of the
family, are any number of artists, actors and engineers. As the generations
continue and the family spreads out there are more and more talented
people drawn into the family. One of his son's Henry
Albert Fleuss was an inventor working for much of his life with diving
In 1916, just after her sister married
a German and emigrated, Vera married Jules
Guise, and still as late as the
WW2, there were issues about the nationality of the family and their son,
Tony, had to fight the system to ensure that he could get officer training.
It was the nature of wartime Britain to draw out the dramatic and
within life and so stories abound, romantic and otherwise about life in
the family during that era.
connection is of interest as Richard Stenning, who Grandmother
married Charles Arthur
Frankland, must have considered
that there was some relationship with the Frankland
Baronets, but so far this has not been established.