Category Archives: Cutlock/Cullum

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?

All at sea with a new cousin

So this makes the nice large wall chart of dad’s family “out of date”, if that’s the right phrase for having newly discovered historic information. With a bit of help from the Ancestry Facebook page {1}, I’ve downloaded the 1911 census form for my ‘half great great uncle’ William John Cullum from the actual Ancestry site. And yes, there is another offspring that was not recorded in the 1901 version. I had guessed there would be two, so I won’t make any great claims here. (Doesn’t a “half great” equal to ‘a no more than adequate’ great uncle?)

In mess dress. Photo courtesy Muriel Shephard

Stanley John Cullum was born 1904 (21st April from two sources) in Catford, south east London, and died December 1984 Lewes district in Sussex. I believe that district includes the place where his father was at the end of his life, Burnt House in Newick, but I’m not at all sure he took over that property. The wonderful Phone Book directories available on Ancestry have a Stanley J Cullum in Hastings in 1954, 1956, 1964 and 1966 (and other dates in between I haven’t checked) – Oak View , Westfield Lane – which is pretty likely to be him. He would be my (half) first cousin twice removed.

What is much more interesting is the Passenger Lists records – in this case USA ‘list or manifest of aliens employed on the vessel as member of crew’.  These show without doubt that he was a ship’s engineer. Here’s the data:

  • January 1947 – arrival at Portland, Oregon, USA, from Vancouver, Canada, ship  Lochmanar, “refrig. eng.”, 20 years service at sea.
  • May 1947 – arrival at Everett, Washington USA, from Vancouver, ship Lochmanar, “refrig. eng.”, 21 years at sea.
  • May 1953 – arrival San Francisco, from Vancouver, ship Pampas, Chief Engineer, 27 years at sea.
  • Feb 1956 – arrival San Francisco, from Vancouver, ship Paraguay, Ch Engineer, 29 years at sea (gives fill date of birth).

The records give his height – about the same as mine – varying from 5 foot 6.5 inches to 5′ 9″!

Given about 30 years at sea, I was surprised there weren’t more such lists, so another look while I write this finds four more. All from earlier years, and all starting from Vancouver or New Westminster, British Columbia.

  • Nov 1933 arrival at Seattle, ship Nebraska, 4th engineer, 8 years at sea.
  • Aug 1934 arrival at Bellingham, Washington, ship Nebraska, 4th engineer, 10 years at sea.
  • Aug 1935 arrival at Seattle, ship Narenta, 4th engineer, 9 years at sea.
  • Dec 1935 arrival at Seattle, ship Narenta, “asst ref eng”, 9 years at sea.

And I also have now noticed that all the 5 ships were owned by Royal Mail Lines Ltd.

Nearly all of these are quite short voyages – were there more just within Canada? Or if he didn’t embark at the American port, would he still show on the manifest? As the US records only cover up to 1957, there could be later ones waiting in the wings. But what about getting to Canada from England in the first place, and going to and fro, assuming the Hastings phone number is his? A bit early to be using airlines (would be too costly even for a chief engineer)?

There is bound to be more on Royal Mail Line ships on the web, so time for a trawl.


The Royal Mail Lines site run by Stuart Nichols has some information on the ships operating in the last days of this company during the 1960s. Both Pampas and Paraguay were a “General freighter built principally for Brazil and River Plate services.” About 5,500 tons, Harland & Wolff, Belfast. So that gives a different spin – was Stanley mainly operating in South America? On the other hand, a general shipping site,, has his earlier ship Lochmonar as running a UK to Vancouver service.

Nothing further found for the 1930s ships Nebraska and Narenta yet, beyond their tonnage (around 8,250) and that they were built at Workman Clark, Belfast.

Further Update

Following contact with this side of the family, Sept 2011, I now have more details and a wonderful photo. Coming soon.

Note 1 1911 census: At the moment there isn’t an index to the census images on Ancestry, so you have to use the summary books index. Unfortunately a) this usually only shows the surname of head of household – you need a very good idea of where someone is likely to be to stand any chance, and b) transcriptions aren’t 100% it seems. So I’ve only located the right Cullum image on Ancestry because someone with a Find My Past sub found it over there first (Find My Past had exclusive access to 1911 census for a year or so).

Also see

Cutlock and Cullum, A fruitful life for an accountant (re Stanley’s father).

Corrupt voting – great uncle accused

Another interesting new history search engine, going beyond the usual sources but creating new frustrations! It has passed the ‘Cutlock test’ though, sort of.

Connected Histories is a joint project of a number of universities and currently includes 11 major digital resources for Britain in the years 1500 to 1900 – see the Resources list. Some are academic in origin, others require access via a university or other institution, but there is some freely available material indexed. For example, there is the Clergy of the Church of England Database 1540-1835 and the Charles Booth Archive of images/maps.

I did the usual – insert “Cutlock” and see what appears. After a couple of false starts (ticking query type as ‘person’ didn’t give anything) up comes  a string of references to ‘Report of the commissioners appointed to inquire into the existence of corrupt practices at the last election for members to serve in Parliament for the city of Norwich, 1870’. Also an obviously connected 1868 petition.

Most 19th century Cutlocks found so far can be connected to the family tree somewhere, so the Francis mentioned here was plausible. And while no dates of birth are given in what is visible in the search results, it does say he is a bricklayer, which matches 4x great uncle Francis Cutlock, born July 1814 Norwich. Oh dear, looks like he was taking bribes on who to vote for at the parliamentary election, but as access to the Report is via an institution it also looks like I’m not going to find out anything more precise. At least I know he owned property – the Representation of the People Act (second Reform Act) of 1867 extended voting to urban working men meeting the property qualification. And apparently (from UK parliament website) the Corrupt and Illegal Practices Act 1883 effectively ends serious corruption in British elections.

Has anyone reading got access to the House of Commons Parliamentary Papers, which is where the search results take you?

But I have done a little more digging and have discovered in the online Hansard archives for 5th July 1870:

MR. C. S. READ , who apologized for addressing the House at so late an hour (1 o’clock), said, that the conduct of the Norwich Commissioners had excited the gravest discontent in that city. It was rather extraordinary, in the first place, that the Commissioners, instead of beginning where Baron Martin had left off—that learned Judge having discovered all the bribery, though not the sources from which it had proceeded—should have begun de novo, should have examined 1,500 witnesses, have sat for 33 days, asked nearly 45,000 questions, and put the the city to enormous expense. And what was the whole foundation of the Commission? Why, the story of a small boy that £1,000 had been sent down by the Carlton Club to bribe the electors of Norwich; and as soon as the origin of the story was discovered the inquiry collapsed. It was a mistake to suppose that every one who voted after 2 o’clock was of necessity bribed, or that every one who was a zealous partizan was employed in corrupting others.

So that bribery accusation is now somewhat less certain.

Wedding fashions through family photos

There are of course a number of wedding photographs in the family collection, dating back over a hundred years. I thought it might be interesting to look at the differences, from changing fashions and fortunes. The variation is no doubt as much as about what they could afford as personal taste and the conventions of the times.

Summer 1905, Norwich, NorfolkEric Laddiman and Eliza Neal are fifth and sixth from the left back row. The fact that this is their wedding is by deduction based on being ‘August or September 1905’. An odd grouping, with all those young women in front. Gran Emily Neal, with her sister Polly, are in the front row, third and second from right. The ‘better’ shots probably went to the older siblings – large size photos such as these would presumably have been relatively  expensive.

1918, New York State, USA

Ambrose Watts, who had arrived from Norfolk in 1914, and his American born wife Adabelle Waterson. Photo courtesy of Darrell Austin.

1923, Tonypandy, Wales:

Spencer May and Daisy Maud Scott are the happy couple in the middle of the back row of the Scott family. Len Watkins second from right at the rear, husband of Mary Ann sitting just in front. Again the date of this, worked out from age of the youngsters, pinpoints the occasion.

(And yes, I’ve photoshopped this photo  to give better contrast.)

September 1926, Lewisham, London

Fred Cullum, Dora Briselden, wedding Sep 1926

1930 Norwich, Norfolk

Harry Williams, Alec Williams and Cissie Berry, plus bridesmaid and father?

1933, Wellington, Shropshire

Eric Laddiman, Jack Laddiman and wife Peggy (Helen Marguerite) Price, not sure of the other two (the bridesmaids?!).

1940, Wellington, Shropshire:

A war time wedding. Eric Laddiman and Vera Davies.

UPDATE: there’s a feature on dating wedding photos in the May 2011 issue of Who Do You Think You Are magazine.

Great photo, shame about the documentation

Continuing the exploration of the large batch of old family snaps digitised last week, here’s one of the more intriguing. It’s a wonderful action shot, taken by  that prolific photographer ‘person unknown’.

Fred and Dora's wedding 25 Sept 1926

Labelled ‘Fred and Dora’s wedding September 25 1926’, the event is obvious and the most prominent figure pictured is also easy to identify as grandfather Sydney Howes. The occasion: Frederick Hinton Cullum, son of William John Cullum and Sarah Neve, marrying Dora Lillian Briselden – I had found the basic info already and the caption pleasingly confirms this and adds the precise date.  But after that, questions arise:

  • Who is the boy next to Sydney? There’s probably quite a few candidates of the right age in the family tree.
  • Is that gran (Emily) just off centre frame?
  • It is tempting to take the baby in the archway behind to be Dad, but he would only be a few months old at the time. Even with my limited knowledge, this one is surely somewhat older, perhaps 18 months? It could conceivably be Ann Harriet Howes (Cutlock), half aunt to the groom, holding him/her.

Here are the happy couple in a separate shot. The wedding is somewhere in the Lewisham area, both having been born in Catford.

Fred Cullum, Dora Briselden, wedding Sep 1926

Sadly Fred died only seven years later age about 33. This does mean that the basic probate record is available on Ancestry, providing some useful information, but I don’t know how he died or why/when he had moved to Ealing.*

Dora appears to have died in Salisbury, Wilts in 1964, presumably having moved in with her daughter’s family by the name of Shephard (or was staying there at the time). I have further details on this family but as they are likely to still be alive I won’t include them in a public post. If they are reading this – do please get in touch! *

More on the Cullum/Cutlock family.


You will note from the comments below that my plea has been answered. Some consequent additions/corrections:

  • Fred worked in the City for the National Bank of Scotland, and died from kidney cancer.
  • Dora moved into her own maisonette in Salisbury, “up a hill near Old Sarum”.

A matching pair of Elizabeth Cutlocks, or the same person?

After getting round to tidying up records on some early 19th century Cutlock family members, I’ve posted the following item on the Ancestry message board for Norfolk (England). There isn’t a Surname message board for Cutlock, surprise surprise.

Seeing as a search for Cutlock on the Ancestry boards comes up blank, time to start a thread! And give a link to my family history site,

My great grandmother Ann Harriet Cutlock was born 10th December 1858 in Norwich to an unmarried Harriet Cutlock, father unknown. Harriet was born 1840 Norwich, and is easily confused with her cousin Harriet, born 1837 London but otherwise found in Norwich (married James Rallison 1863, 1841/51/61 shown as niece in one of two Cutlock households).

As Cutlock is a rare name I have been checking out any sightings of that surname. Even so I am yet to pin down the connection which makes the two Harriets cousins i.e. the older Harriet’s parents.

One Ancestry member has stated she has found her christening on – 19th November 1837 at St Anne Blackfriars, London, parents Thos and Elizth Cutlock. I can’t find this myself. Instead I am drawn to the fact that an Elizabeth Cutlock, matching the age [and name] of Harriet’s mother shown in the 1871 census, was born to John and Mary Cutlock (about 1807), grandparents of the younger Harriet. Certainly not conclusive that the two Elizabeth Cutlocks are one and the same, though.

Any suggestions on how to resolve this welcome.