Category Archives: Neal

Alice arrives in Canada

A nice little update to a previous article about great aunt Alice Neal – Turning an absence into a presence – which traced her to Canada.

I have  now located her in the passenger lists arriving in Canada. It’s a bit of an odd record, as a form has been adapted slightly. But there’s little doubt this is her, accompanied by her uncle Henry, who had already settled in Canada.

This is a sailing from Liverpool to Halifax, Nova Scotia on the ship Mongolian, arriving 24th February 1894. On looking at this again, I can see that Henry and Alice’s ticket numbers are not quite consecutive – what happened to ticket 11114?  “Griswold Ma” must refer to their declared destination in Manitoba. Griswold is a few miles due south of Bradwardine, where Henry is living at a later census. At 1891 his address was Selkirk district, sub-district Daly.

It is good to know that Alice was accompanied on her journey by her uncle, but it begs the question of whether he made a special trip to England or perhaps Alice took advantage of a family visit. And what did Alice plan to do in her new country, and what did she actually do to start with? It was another eight years before she married Alexander Reid in Winnipeg, where the couple set up home.

Also see: Neal family, Abroad.


Turning an absence into a presence

Tracing Alice Neal’s family

No old photos on today’s item. In fact a photo absence is where it starts. Alice Neal was the only one of the 11 children of Robert Smith Neal and Ellen Elizabeth Watts not to appear in the 1902 family photograph featuring elsewhere on Cutlock and Co. But the very helpful caption, added later by gran (Emily Neal), says “No 3 Alice in Canada”. (Alice was the third child, Emily 9th.) Alice had so far proved elusive to pin down, so this was useful.

I had my fingers crossed when I started out to find Alice in the Canadian records – not for long as the typing gets a bit tricky. And not for long either as after guessing that she quite possibly went to the same neck of the woods as her brother Robert and uncle Henry, Manitoba, Alice emerged quickly into a clearing.  Manitoba’s births (over a hundred years ago), marriages (over 80) and deaths (over 70) are available online on their Vital Statistics database. This showed she married Alexander Reid on 9th May 1902 in Winnipeg – a Scottish man almost 20 years older than her. Alice born 1875 Norwich, Alexander 1856 somewhere in Scotland.

Next step – where are they in 1906/1911 Canadian census returns? Both can be searched in various ways on Automated Genealogy, along with 1901 and 1851/52. Worryingly Alice appeared in 1906 as a Scottish Allace, but maybe this was down to a broad accent from the head of household. 1911 declares her English, and  the extra info on this census of month and year of birth tallies, thank goodness.

Whether Alice’s death would be more than 70 years ago wasn’t certain, but worth checking. She just ‘made it’, sadly for her but fortunate for us, having died 10th September 1939 – recorded as in St Boniface district of Winnipeg. She was 64, and another pleasing confirmation that I’d got the right person, as the date of birth given here matched that provided by gran’s birthday book. Alexander’s death hasn’t been found, yet.

Back to the ‘young’ family: At 1911 they are living in Winnipeg City, Alexander is a stone mason working on his own account and there are four children listed. This is where I had left things until yesterday, when I put the children’s names into Vital Statistics to see if I could find fuller names and perhaps marriages. Results:

  • George Alexander Reid, born 18 Feb 1903 Winnipeg. A possible marriage to Gladys Kelly Nov 1925.
  • John Henry Reid, born 21 Nov 1904 Winnipeg. Married Nellie Fletcher Brand 26 Sept 1925 Winnipeg. She was born in Tynemouth, Northumberland 1905, arriving in Canada with her mother and siblings in 1908, her father having arrived in 1907. (The latter has the wonderful name of William Twaddle Brand, the middle name being the surname of his mother, as is Nellie’s.) This couple seem to have gone to the States as, according to a couple of family trees on, they died in California (John 1985) and Washington (Nellie 1996).*
  • Jessie Margaret Reid, born 13 Feb 1907 Winnipeg. Possible marriage to Hardwick Norman Dodds April 1929.
  • Louisa Helen Reid, born 17 Jun 1909 Winnipeg.

It looks like I’ll have to take a trip to the library to access the Worldwide records on Ancestry to research further (I have a UK/Ireland sub at home at present). Unless anyone reading can tell me more!

* Update on John Reid/Nellie Brand: at 1945 living in Calgary, Alberta, with John a sales manager (from Border Crossing transit card), at 1963 in California, as Social Security numbers issued there. Place and dates of their death confirmed.

Neals in Canada – the photo gallery


Please now see Neals in Canada – photos page on

Robert (Bob) Neal (born 1873 Norwich) and family at or near Oak River, Manitoba, Canada.

Before they were married

This is currently my favourite old photo from the hundred or so ‘scanned in’ a couple of days ago. It is the only one just showing grandparents Sydney Howes and Emily Neal, and has been captioned “Wellington 1912”, a whole seven years before they married. I wonder who took it?

Wellington, Shropshire was then the home of Emily’s older sister Eliza, who had been like a second mum to her, and had married Ernest Laddiman. Both Sydney and Emily were elementary school teachers – he started teaching in 1909, she in 1910 – so would have time to visit the relations in the school holidays.

Nellie Neal, Emily, Sydney, Alec and Ethel Williams, legs of Harry just visible?

There is another  photo which could well have been taken in Shropshire the same year with Sydney and Emily arm in arm accompanied by the Williams children going for a walk. I take the presence of Emily’s mother Nellie to be an approving one. Or it might be a year earlier, 1911 – as ages of 7 for Alec and 13 for Ethel would seem to fit better.

The Neal family in full 1900s attire

I really ought to be saving this photo for later, doing a big build up for an important item. But that’s not really my style. So without further ado, the entire Neal family, bar one, in 1902.

The extended caption written at some point by gran (Emily) reads:

“Taken 1901 or 2. The Neal family

Laura (7), Henry (5), George (6), Eliza (4)

Edith (8), Ellen (Nellie) (1), Mother, Father, Robert (2)

Albert (11)

Mary (Polly) (10), Emily (9)

No 3 Alice in Canada”

That last line explains the remaining mystery for this lot, with Alice Neal now  located in Winnipeg. The numbers give the age order of the children.

Father – Robert Smith Neal, mother – Ellen (Nellie) Elizabeth Watts.

This, with a related photo which includes in-laws and grandchildren, is the only one we have for Laura (died 1904) and Albert (died 1915?). Polly also died young in 1912. George Neal also disappears from view, but that seems to be down to some falling out between the siblings, as he lived until he was 80.

As Earl Neal is missing from the second snap, I take this to be 1902, since he died early 1902 before reaching his second birthday. Indeed I think the photos were probably taken at the time of his funeral. It’s always possible that he is missing for a different reason but the sombre clothing is another indication.

UPDATE: I have now discovered that Alice married Alexander Reid on 9th May 1902 in Winnipeg, Manitoba. A small possibility that a photograph was commissioned of the whole family to mark the occasion (and send to Alice) as they couldn’t be there?

The caption:

“Taken 1901 or 2. The Neal family with in-laws and grandchildren

Edith, George, Robert, Henry, Laura

Harry Williams, Nellie, Mother, Father, Mary (wife of Robert), Eliza

Harry (junior), Ethel, Albert, Harry Neal, Willie Neal

Emily, Mary (Polly)”

See Neal Family page for more data.


Photos of great great uncle Sam, farmhand

This gallery contains 2 photos.

So the ‘major scanning exercise’ is done, with about 100 old family photos digitally processed. Not quite as good quality as I hoped as Dad’s HP all-in-one scanner didn’t want to budge from 200 dpi but should be adequate. It … Continue reading

Uncle Ernest the pharmacist

I’m preparing for a major exercise digitally scanning a whole lot of old family photos (first half of 20th century) so have been checking over my family history records of those I know feature. It might make it easer to organise the scans and make sure all relevant info is gleaned from attached notes etc.

The Laddiman family from Shropshire certainly are in the mix. Ernest John Laddiman married my great aunt Eliza Neal in Norwich, 1905, and at the 1911 census they were living at 14 Market Square, Wellington, Shropshire. He was a pharmacist so I thought I’d try to find any old photos or postcards of the chemists shop, online (knowing none were in our collection). With some helpful suggestions from Ancestry’s Facebook groupies, the Wellington History Group website (on WordPress just like Cutlock & Co) did the business.

A 1960 photo shows the chemist at 14 Market Square as Bates and Hunt – see Wellingtonia issue 7. Bates and Hunt also had another branch in New Street, which seems to be the original one – it is listed in the 1895 Kelly’s Directory (available on Ancestry) as:

Bates James Limited, chemists & grocers, wine & spirit merchants, dealers in mineral water & tobacco, & agents for W.& A. Gilbey Lim. wine & spirit merchants, 82 New Street”.

There is also an entry:

“Hunt Edward Joshua (James Bates Limited), chemist & grocer, 82 New Street”.

This presumably is the Mr Hunt that became a partner later. The furniture (and more?) from the original branch is now the basis of the chemists at Blists Hill Victorian Town open air museum.

At 1895, 14 Market Square was already a chemists, but the name in Kelly’s is Joseph Hall (name just visible in the 1890s photo to left, below the Olivers sign). I am told (via Wellington History Group) that by 1900 it was in the hands of Mr Bates. Ernest will presumably have taken on managing the shop (the 1911 census gives his job as ‘Pharmacist and Photographic Dealer’) when the family started living over it. This would have been from between June 1906, when eldest son John was born in Streatham (London), and March 1911. How much would a chemists have changed from the Victorian shop preserved at Blists Hill?  A fair bit but certainly much more to come. (I didn’t watch much of the recent BBC series Victorian Pharmacy, perhaps I should have.)

Dad recollects the name Bates and Hunt, and reckons Uncle Ernest was at a different chemists in the last stages of his working life, out in “Hadlow” (probably Hadley), perhaps setting it up as a new branch. My guess was in the 1940s but the slip case (is that the right phrase?) now  inserted in this item is for a photo of Eric and Vera’s wedding in 1940. The branches seem to be in the order they were opened – earlier photos have less of them – so assuming no more than one a year Hadley would be 1938 at the latest.

Ernest Laddiman with wife Eliza and eldest son Jack

Here’s one Laddiman photo from the collection.

As an aside, William Withering “Physician, Botanist and Mineralogist”, was born in Wellington 1741, moved to Birmingham and was one of those brainy types who were members of the Lunar Society and moving forces in scientific and technological progress in this country. He started out working as an apothecary in Wellington, an eminent predecessor for a Wellington pharmacist.

Bates and Hunt (Chemists) Limited was dissolved as a company July 1997 (from Companies House search). Is the current oil distribution company of the same name connected?