Category Archives: family history

Cutlock & Co on the move to new web location

This may well be the last post on this particular version of the Cutlock and Co website. A new package is now live at and will be where new items will appear. Update, May 2015: The design has been changed (after several years of staying the same) to a mobile friendly style, which looks good on larger screens too.

This site will stay live for quite a while, but please update bookmarks and so forth to and do let us know of any problems, suggestions, etc. Thanks.


Site stats can help in odd ways

Sometimes I feel I get a bit obsessed with checking the statistics on this site. I like to see what visitors are searching for and what pages they read (or at least visit). This can be useful though – allowing me to respond quickly to my new Cullum cousin recently for instance. The stats can also prompt a tweak in the content, making me realise I haven’t quite got the content up to date or clear enough to answer a search phrase.

And sometimes a search term prompts me to check out what the hell they might be looking for, as its certainly not on Cutlock and Co. Today was one such, and after a while it led to a website new to me – the British Jewry Leeds Database. Leeds is where my Jewish Brookstone trail led, and yes there on the Database site was Jonny’s mother Toba Lazarus and the confusion of names around her two marriages and various offspring (see Finding that elusive Jewish connection).  There doesn’t seem to be any sources given for this lot of records,  so I can’t do my own check of the data or see if it might contain any more clues. But the additional marriage information (precise date, place: 10 Sep 1865, Belgrave St Synagogue for Toba and Isaac) is consistent with what you’d expect from a certificate or register entry, so good enough for the moment. The death date of Jonny’s father Isaac will be taken on trust – 25th April 1889.

Equally it is clear what is missing – and what is much more definite now I have a death for Isaac. The following appeared highly likely, given no other matching Brookstone in 1891, but was still a supposition. Jonny, or rather Jacob as he started out, was in the Jews Orphanage in Norwood, London at 1891 with two sisters, Annie and Eva, the youngest of the family. Presumably because Eva wasn’t born at the 1881 census, she isn’t on the Leeds database at all. I’ll have to get in touch to exchange notes.

That’s quite enough wordage for a quick update.

Keeping the family trees in sync

I started building my family tree using, but fairly quickly decided that my reference database would be using the connected Family Tree Maker software on my PC. A new version of this comes out every year, and the latest is due out soon – in America at the end of September and in the UK two weeks later (according to Amazon, which says release date is 14th October).

The differences between the annual versions can be quite small, such as minor enhancements to the reports available and customisable historical events for  the timeline view. This time though there is a key new facility – Tree Sync. At last the online and offline versions can be kept matched up without doing everything twice (or creating a new tree every time you want to sync).  There is a little information on TreeSync in Ancestry’s Customer Help FAQs.

If you haven’t started using FTM and/or Ancestry yet, it would be silly to buy the old version (the upgrade discount in the UK isn’t worth talking about). And for once I might not just be buying the new version, once I’ve found a decent discount, as a cheap way of getting an Ancestry subscription.

Also note

I’ve started a Family Tree Maker notes page – useful links and a few tips and on using the program.


An email on the FTM 2012 upgrade has arrived from British distributor Avanquest (lunchtime 26th Sept). Seems like the upgrade is available right now if ordered direct from them for £19-99 (includes one month Ancestry Essentials membership):

NEW TreeSync™ – Synchronise Desktop and Online trees! Easily update your online tree from your desktop, laptop and even your iPhone or iPad – and then simply click to sync so your tree is always up-to-date, no matter where you access it next. Share your tree with other family members and choose who can view and update it.

NEW Blended (Combined) Families View – see stepfamilies, adoptees and other blended families at a glance.

IMPROVED Smart Stories™ – gives you new tools for adding and editing your family’s details. Include facts about the individual and his or her spouse and children.

NEW Customised Fact Sentences – Now when you create an Ahnentafel, descendant report, or Smart Story you can change the wording of the fact or event sentences and also choose what data is included.

IMPROVED Notes Report that lets you display person, research, relationship, or fact notes you’ve entered for individuals in your tree.

NEW & IMPROVED Charts – Now you can display generation labels (such as parents, grandparents, and great-grandparents), add your own images and text and create a descendant chart that shows the relationship between two people whom you select.

NEW Index of Individuals Report that lists every individual in your tree and their birth, marriage, and death dates.

SIMPLIFIED Interface for Upgraders – A newly simplified interface integrating the best of previous versions.

Uncle William comes into focus

It has been rather a long summer break for this blog – time to get back down to the writing.

The only possible subject for this week is making contact with a genuine descendant of my great great grandmother Harriet Cutlock and her husband William Bishop Cullum (see Cutlock/Cullum page). Muriel’s daughter happened to stumble on this website as she was checking out the Cullum name and noticed that Muriel’s name was mentioned. We have been exchanging emails since Sunday 11th, and got as far as a Skype conversation by the Tuesday. This completes the wish list for the year three months early {1}!

Muriel Shephard, nee Cullum, is a (half) second cousin of my Dad and has great memories of visiting 12 Waller Road, his childhood home, and playing with Dad’s toy fort. She is now living in Canada. See her comment under Great photo sham about the documentation for more, including other current family.

It has been wonderful to learn of, and speak to, new living relatives. And having the “elderly uncle known for his care over money” being brought to virtual life has been a great pleasure too. I had speculated greatly how William John Cullum, one of the sons of Harriet and William, had moved from being a lowly Ledger Clerk age 23 living in Lowestoft at the 1891 census to a ‘fruit grower’ in Sussex 1933, while appearing in Catford, south east London as a clerk/cashier in 1901/1911. This is now much clearer (and I have amended the Cutlock/Cullum page accordingly).

Sharon, the Cullum relative still living in this country, and a (half) third cousin of mine, is sure that William made his money with Maconochies. The Maconochie Brothers company is probably best known in recent times as the makers of Pan Yan Pickle, which was first produced in 1907. Production had ended in about 2002 (having become a part of Premier Foods), but the pickle became the focus of a campaign to find the original recipe in 2008 after featuring on the Chris Evans radio show. Ignoring misleading information on Wikipedia, the Grace’s Guide website indicates that the firm was set up in Lowestoft, Suffolk in 1873.

It hardly takes a great leap of imagination, on discovering that Maconochie’s Millwall factory (Isle of Dogs, the Pan Yan Pickle source) was established in about 1896 {2}, to say that William moved with the firm.  The birth and death dates and places for William’s first unfortunate two children narrows the move down further – William Robert was born in the Mutford district, which includes Lowestoft, September 1893 and Henry Arthur arrives and departs in Greenwich district, October 1894 (dates from Sharon, places from FreeBMD).

Maconochies also had an office at 131 Leadenhall Street in the City by 1900, which may well be where William worked. The 1911 census, filled in by him, gives his work as ‘Cashier to Presd Provn Mnfr’. Here, a cashier would be the person in charge of the company’s cash, rather than a counter clerk – and the abbreviation is presumably for Preserved Provision Manufacturer. He could easily also be the Company Secretary, as Sharon suggests, and seeing significant financial reward (from shares?) as the company expanded.

At 1914, according to Grace’s Guide, Maconochies were “Manufacturers of pickles and sauces. Specialities: pickles, sauces, jams, marmalade, jellies, potted meats; preservers of fish, meat, vegetables etc”. They supplied rations to the troops in the Boer Wars and World War One. From Trench Food (Spartacus Educational): Food was often supplied in cans. Maconochie contained sliced turnips and carrots in a thin soup. As one soldier said: “Warmed in the tin, Maconochie was edible; cold it was a mankiller.”

William’s eldest son, Arthur, appears to have done his war service at home, quite possibly as an accounts clerk. So perhaps he didn’t have to endure the rations made by his father’s business. It is sobering to think, though, that part of our family did rather well out of the horrors of WW1. Uncle William, as Dad knew him, undoubtedly had a large influence, for instance almost certainly on where his half nephew Sydney (my grandfather) set up in London. And also helping Arthur Cullum set up a fruit farm in Newick, Sussex.

Sydney Howes rear left, William John Cullum front right. Fred and Dora in the centre. (Photo courtesy of Muriel Shephard)

The Cullum/Howes connection is most vividly seen in the photos from Fred and Dora’s wedding in 1926, as in the snap above. Also see Great photo, shame about the documentation for an action shot of Sydney throwing confetti over Dora. Who was the official photographer?

Many thanks to the ever helpful folk on the page on Facebook for their assistance on cracking Maconochie Brothers. And of course thank you to Muriel, Sharon and also Rachel. Hope to see you some time!

Note 1

See A Progress Check.

Note 2

See British History Online for more on Maconochie’s Wharf, Westferry Road.

A progress check

At the start of the year, I set out family history research possibilities for 2011 in  Looking ahead to look behind. Half way in, I’m more than pleased with the results so far.

Here’s the tally

  • Visit to the Tonypandy area, and Trealaw cemetery in particular. Tick – gathering a useful bunch of photos and data while there, and a splendid visit to a key local relation. There is still one or two blog posts to come on this, but the start is at A quick look at family gravestones at Trealaw.
  • Digitally scanning old family photos. Tick – results scattered across Cutlock and Co. But now time to plan to locate and scan Mum’s old photos?
  • Keeping on finding material to blog about. Seemingly a tick.
  • New online records: still waiting for relevant Welsh parish records on Findmypast, and the fully indexed version of the 1911 census images on Ancestry. At least I’ve found some useful records on the latter without a proper index, and the outstanding material is clearly in the pipeline.
  • Finding living Cullum relatives, the Canadian branch of Neal, and Watkins cousins too: great success on the Neals, a little on the Watkins.

So the only real outstanding item is making contact with some Cullum cousins. Other than adding to what’s already on this website {1}, the rather minimal strategy at present is fingers crossed that somebody stumbles upon one of my notes about a relative.

Ancestry’s various connectivity features to help locate relevant family trees has been a great help (see recent In praise of  article). This blog has also come up trumps with new family contacts a number of times. I’d still keep writing even if it hadn’t, in expectation but also as I find it a valuable ‘sounding board’.

Working by myself on the tree can mean I miss the obvious through over-familiarity, or just losing track. Writing up a story here can see the narrative evolve and holes in the logic or gaps in the supporting data appear, as well as perhaps engaging another part of the brain in the thought process. It spares my brothers from receiving bunches of disjointed emails on the latest research, too, which no doubt quickly get buried in their inboxes with more urgent/interesting stuff.

I’m not now going to produce a new list of things to do for the next 6 months as it is summer and I want to stop adding to the time I sit in front of the PC! There’s already plenty of notes for further blogging, anyway.

Note 1

See Cutlock and Cullum page

One additional item: Muriel Cullum, born 1933 Lewisham (half second cousin once removed), probably married Roy Shephard 1956, and moved to Salisbury, with two daughters Rachel and Sarah?

A question of religion in Yorkshire

Parish records for West Yorkshire were released on Ancestry this week. Not many ancestors or distant relations in this area, and the few who were in Leeds had left Poland, presumably due to the persecution of Jews there. Parish records were of course held (and created) by the Church of England, so are very unlikely to include those of the Jewish faith. I had a look, just in case.

There is no sign of the Brookstone family in these records, but the related Gladstones do appear. Toba Lazarus, who married Isaac Brookston 1865, had previously married Moses Gladstone – originally Gluckstein – in 1860 {1}. Son Moses/Morris/Maurice Gladstone marries Charlotte Annie Jane Waterfield in St Georges Church, Leeds 1889 and the baptism and marriage records of two of their daughters are available. Surely they must have changed religion. The element of doubt is that no death/burial records have been spotted so far – could they have reverted at the last resort?

And do I assume the Brookstones kept the faith from their absence in the parish records? The surname does get misspelt and mis-transcribed a lot but I have checked several variations.

PS Ancestry – why do new records not get properly recognised by your Family Tree Maker software until several weeks after release? It is annoying having to save images in a separate process and then re-transcribe the info.

Note 1. See Finding that elusive Jewish connection

In praise of .. Ancestry’s Member Connect Activity feature

The Ancestry website has a flexible (personalised) front page, where you can arrange or hide various modules showing particular information. I have chosen to have ‘Recent Member Connect Activity’ as the the top left box, which I find a bit addictive. It highlights activity by other Ancestry members connected with records which are on your own tree (or the ‘shoebox’ save-for-later area). There’s something new every week, often most days, usually just showing you who else has some vague interest in a particular person in the tree, saving a census or birth record say, as its easy to do. This can be a bit of a time waster when the same fellow researchers re-appear, or the link is tenuous. Or occasionally good for a laugh when they have got things obviously wrong. But it can come up trumps, as it did twice this weekend.

On Friday, I spotted Ancestry user kejama1 had added records to Samuel and Mary Myhill – Mary is a great great aunt. On having a look at where she had saved these, I could see that she had only one of Mary’s children, Kate Jane Watts Myhill. In my tree this is Katie Jane Watts, born 1875, several years before Mary married Samuel.

Sam Myhill and offspring

Yes, another illegitimate offspring amongst the ancestors. But what grabbed my attention was the presence of Katie’s husband, as I had yet to track this person down. Edmund John Pike married Kate in 1903 in Smallburgh, a Norfolk village but also the name of a larger registration district which includes Worstead, the Watts family home. He had previously married Caroline Chichester Hewys, but she had died in 1902.

{Katie Jane Watts is the one on the right in the photo}

As Kate was working in the London County Lunatic Asylum at Colney Hatch in 1901 and Edmund was a clerk in Tottenham at that time, how they met is rather open to speculation. In the 1911 census the couple are in Watford, with one son, Harold Edmund Baron Pike. At 1932 , on Edmund’s death, the probate record says Harold is an accountant. Kate Pike dies Watford 1945.

After that success with a first cousin twice removed on Friday, it was a surprise to find another seriously helpful connection appear on Saturday evening as I returned to the front page before logging out of the Ancestry site. This is one I would probably never have found without such help.

Margaret Ann Osborne, born 1874 Bargoed, was an older sister to great grandmother Amelia. I had looked quite hard to find what had happened to her after the 1891 census, but was stuck with choosing from four possible husbands and assuming she had married as Annie Osborne (she appears with that name in 1881 census). So a ready made and well sourced tree from ‘elisharvey’ was very welcome. Annie, as she indeed appears in most places, had married Clifford Charles Taylor (one of the 4 possibles) 1896 Pontypridd district (Rhondda/Tonypandy area). Four Five children from him before he dies in 1902, and she remarries in 1905 to George Trask. Trask, along with Osborne, is a prominent name in Merriott, Somerset {1}. Indeed George had been born there about 1864, and in 1891 was lodging with an Osborne family from Merriott in Salford, Lancs. Annie and George have two children by 1911, when they were living in Weymouth, working together selling fruit. A third, Phyllis, appears 1916.

George had 3 more children from a previous marriage – one of whom was lodging in 1911 with my great grandparents Charles and Amelia at Blaenclydach (I had wondered who his parents were!). So far I have found more info on two of the combined group of children – Annie Ellen Trask (born 6 July 1906 Tonypandy) marries William John Duignan 1929 in Weymouth, while Clifford Charles Taylor (born 9 Sept 1901 Tonypandy) has numerous entries in the ‘crew manifests’ available on Ancestry. He is going back and forth between Southampton and America as a ship’s cook, in later years a sauce cook on the Queen Mary. That’s the second  first cousin twice removed found “all at sea” in less than a week (see Stanley Cullum).

Note 1. See Merriott Families Genealogy site for pages on each of the main surnames.