Category Archives: America

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So this makes the nice large wall chart of dad’s family “out of date”, if that’s the right phrase for having newly discovered historic information.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).


Brookstone in Leeds, Manchester, New York and Tonypandy

One of the earliest articles on Cutlock and Co was about tracking down the background to the Brookstone family, connected via great great aunt Lily Osborne’s husband Jonny. See Finding that elusive Jewish connection.

Jonny’s younger sister Eva,  born about 1883 Leeds, gets a mention there, but I couldn’t be sure where she went after 1901. With a full Ancestry sub I can now be confident that a voyage to New York in 1920 was indeed hers, with the full passenger list giving the right place of birth. She gave her previous address as Manchester, and eldest brother Louis can be found in that city in the 1911 census at Fermi Street, Cheetham, working as a fruit hawker. (Unfortunately no sign of Fermi St now.) Was she staying with that family? Rather than give this brother as ‘nearest relative or friend’, however, the passenger list has Harry Kay (friend) with an address in Crummock St, Hightown, Manchester. Another place I can’t find on a modern map, although the street appears in genealogy sources with both Hightown and Cheetham given as the district.

Brother Jonny is married by 1911, and living in Tonypandy, recorded as a House Paperhanger and Painter. Other sisters are probably married, but the remaining Elias Brookstone should be findable somewhere.

Eva herself is so far untraceable in the 1911 census. And her last known whereabouts are the place she was down to stay after arriving in New York,  on 11th July 1920 – cousin’s Mrs Annie Stein, 107 Forest Avenue, Buffalo. I can’t find her in the 1930 USA census, but it is quite likely she would have married. Marriage record availability varies from state to state, but a trawl on Ancestry and familysearch doesn’t come up with anything at all plausible.

So any help appreciated, on Eva B or her cousin Annie Stein.

Note: This Eva, sister to Jonny Brookstone and born about about 1883 Leeds, should not be confused with Eva, daughter of Jonny, born 1917 Tonypandy.

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.


Oak River sledge ride to school – Manitoba

Posted earlier on Ancestry message board for Manitoba, and now updated with scans of photos:

An old family photo album came out for the first time (for me anyway) this Christmas, with a few snaps from our Neal relatives who had emigrated to Manitoba.

Bob, Harry?, Stan, Nellie


One photo was labelled ‘School-van Oak River’ – a sledge cart with high sides pulled by 2 horses, with Oak River (and some less legible writing) written on the side. On the same page of the album, the construction of a building which looks remarkably like Oak River United Church as shown on

Could this be the church? Nellie again in front.

One or two photos of snow puts our recent flurry in perspective – roads tunnelled through depths about the height of an adult.

Nellie and Stan near the railway bridge?


I have only got a 1916 census for the family for there – the 1906 census, while still in the general area, seems to be a different place. Would be grateful for any suggestions of any sources of more info – for family data or Oak River history.

Bob Neal first went to Canada 1892, returning to England for marriage to Mary Earl in 1897. Offspring William, Harry, Earl (died England?), Stanley, Nellie.