Category Archives: Census

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.


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).

A community in the Bush

Please see the the full current version of this article on the main Cutlock and Co website. There are also further items, including Bush Houses viewpoints and No beating about the Bush, plus the chance to add comments and get in touch.

A community in the Bush … is worth two in Malvern. Or some other bad variation on the saying – any better suggestions?

This is the second article featuring the ‘street’ known as Bush Houses, this time trying to give an idea of how it featured in the the lives of the families who had moved from south Somerset to the south Wales valleys of the Rhondda. See the previous post for the physical history of the place.


Please see the newer Cutlock and Co website for the rest of this article.

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.

Theophilus Farrall shipping agent and electrical inventor

One family connection I hadn’t previously pursued very far was that of my cousin Geoffrey and aunt Irene (Watkins). Their father/husband was Charles O’Brien, revealed to have a middle name of Theophilus on his wife’s death certificate – I have a feeling he hated this name.

I had only got a little info on place of birth and parents for Charles. It was likely that a birth registered in 1912, mother Farrell, was his but that was not enough data to go on in amongst a large number of O’Briens. Having been prompted by a brother that it was rather unfair of me not to dig further, I ordered the wedding certificate (1948) to confirm the birth year and get a name for his dad. Thumbs up to to GRO (General Records Office) – ordered Monday evening online, arrived Saturday post.

So with the additional piece of information that his father was Charles Frederick O’Brien, printer, plus an address in Enfield, hey presto – I can discover loads about his mother’s family. And sod all on the O’Briens, although perhaps the 1911 census will help,  once I have a sub for it.

The first step was to find the elder Charles’ wedding, eventually found as 1910 Edmonton to Mary Aseneth L Farrall (not Farrell, note). Oh joy, a distinctive middle name. Easily found in the 1901 census in St Pancras district {2}: parents Theophilus D Farrall (born Audley, Staffs 1843) and Mary E S – who proved to be Mary Ellen Sophia Chapman (born 1859 St Pancras district). That’s a cheat as in 1901 Theophilus (do I recognise that name?) claimed to be 5 years younger, which was repeated on his death registration in 1908. Possibly not the only cheat from him, but I mustn’t jump ahead.

Theophilus gave his occupation in 1901 as Electrical Engineer Inventor, and  a quick Google was in order. The result was provided by Google too – a page from Electrical Engineer publication for 1890 mentioning a provisional patent dated 18th March “Improvements in method and mechanism for generating heat, steam, and light by electricity. Theophilus Davies Farrall 52 Chancery Lane.” The address would be for his patent agent. At the time Theo is highly likely to have been in America – his children were born 1885 Indiana (Theo junior), 1889/90 in Chattanooga (Mary and Amy), 1892/93/95 New York (Florence, Victoria, Rowena/Rosina). Then 1898/1900 in St Pancras, London (Ruby, Dorothy). No English 1891 census located {1}.

Briefly going back to the O’Brien line, the only census entry found for a Charles Frederick O’Brien in 1901 also states that he was born in America. No more precise than that – if this is the right person he was an attendant in the lunatic asylum in Banstead at the time of the census.

Theophilus was born in Staffordshire to a colliery clerk, and other occupations shown for him on census returns are shipping and commission agent (1871, Staffs), glass manufacturer (1881, London St Pancras {2}). On his marriage certificate in 1879 it says ‘railway clerk’, living at Leighton Road, Kentish Town. So  the most interesting leap is between 1879 and 1881 – no obvious connection between making glass and paperwork springs to mind.

One of Theo’s sisters was Asenath Farrall, the likely source of that distinctive middle name for Mary. The middle D for all of Theo’s children is probably for Davis (or Davies), his mother being Mary Davis (maiden name as shown by a number of family trees).See Footnote {3} for more.

There’s also a possible criminal register entry for 5 April 1872 (found not guilty of embezzlement and fraud) in Somerset. The entry is for Theophilus Davis McDermot Farrall. As a Staffordshire shipping agent in 1871 I would guess it was possible he’d have business in Somerset, but where would the McDermot name have come from?


{1} Little of the 1890 US census has survived.

{2} St Pancras district includes Kentish Town.

{3} Tree so far:

Richard Farrall b 1814 Bunbury, Cheshire, m Mary Davis (b 1816 Shropshire). Offspring all born Staffordshire – Theophilus Davis b 1843, Asenath b 1845, Louisa D b 1846, Augustus D b 1850.

Theophilus (R A) Davis Farrall (died 1908 Edmonton) m Mary Ellen Sophia Chapman 18 June 1879 Kentish Town, St Luke parish church. Offspring as above.

Mary Aseneth L Farrall b 22 July 1889 Chattanooga, Tennessee, died 1976 Redbridge district, London. Married Charles Frederick O’Brien 1910 Edmonton district.

Charles’ maternal grandfather was Theophilus Davies Farrall (although the precise name varied somewhat) – in 1901 has gives his occupation at Electrical Engineer Inventor. So I thought I’d Google him and the attached is the result. Odd that his address is given as London – as Charles’ mother was born in America 1889 and looks like a sister of hers was born there 1892 – so must be patents agent address. Theophilus was born in Staffordshire to a colliery clerk, and other occupations he shows on census returns are shipping and commission agent, and glass manufacturer, and looks like he was a railway clerk when he moved to London/married. There’s also a possible criminal register entry (not guilty of embezzlement) but seems odd that he would be in Somerset. 

Charles’ maternal grandfather was Theophilus Davies Farrall (although the precise name varied somewhat) – in 1901 has gives his occupation at Electrical Engineer Inventor. So I thought I’d Google him and the attached is the result. Odd that his address is given as London – as Charles’ mother was born in America 1889 and looks like a sister of hers was born there 1892 – so must be patents agent address. Theophilus was born in Staffordshire to a colliery clerk, and other occupations he shows on census returns are shipping and commission agent, and glass manufacturer, and looks like he was a railway clerk when he moved to London/married. There’s also a possible criminal register entry (not guilty of embezzlement) but seems odd that he would be in Somerset.

No curfew on finding the right birthplace

Here’s one of those ‘fun’ transcription errors, but in this case its more down to the original census official. William Woodland, a grandfather of the husband of a great great aunt  (Osborne family) – yes that close – was born on the island of Corfu where his father was serving in the military (about 1821). The 1881 census gives this as ‘Ireland, Cerfuw’!

Obviously the latter doesn’t exist but given that his mother was from Ireland I had found a town, Carlow, which was just about a possible match. Fortunately it looked like someone else on the Ancestry site had useful info but was keeping her tree private. So I asked. It did take almost 3 months for a reply (she isn’t actively researching at the moment it seems), but she had got a birth certificate for a sibling which gave the answer. She also had noted that the father Thomas Woodland (b Midsomer Norton about 1788) “served in 28th Regiment of Foot Reserve. Discharged aged 40 years Royal Hospital Chelsea. Soldier Service Documents WO 97/476/167”. I trust she doesn’t mind me reproducing that – someone may want to pursue the records further.

So now do I send a message to all those other Ancestry trees with the wrong birth place info?

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.