R is for…Riddiford

I had considered “R’ week of the Gould Genealogy Alphabet Challenge  an opportunity to trot out my Riddiford family as they are, strictly speaking, not a Western District Family.  However, after initially being excited at the prospect of bringing together their rich history,  I soon realised I had too much information to give a summary while still doing justice to the many stories I have found.

Now how am I going to tell you about the family of fabric workers from Gloucestershire, dating back to at least the 1500s, who spread across England, into Wales and then Canada, United States and Australia.  I really want to tell you about the criminals, including Dinah Riddiford, the oldest woman to hang in England in the 18th and 19th century and the convicts transported to Van Diemens Land, Sydney and Norfolk Island.

Then there is the story waiting to be told of the Riddifords of New Zealand, original settlers in the country, with Daniel Riddiford arriving in 1840 and making a large contribution to the pastoral history of the country.  Descendants of the Wellington pioneers  have gone on to climb Mount Everest with Sir Edmund Hillary, sit in the New Zealand parliament, play cricket for New Zealand  and  direct, write and produce for film and television, just to name a few.

NINE GAMBLE DEATH TO SEE ROOF OF THEY. (1952, February 23). Examiner (Launceston, Tas. : 1900 – 1954), p. 14. Retrieved September 6, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article52848815

Or there is the Riddifords that  immigrated to Australia arriving to South Australia, Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria.  These included one of the most renown  Australian Riddifords, Walter Riddiford of Broken Hill.  The former miner and mayor of Broken Hill  had the Riddiford Arboretum in the town named in his honour.

MAYOR 7 TIMES ALD. RIDDIFORD WINS HONOR AT £1000 A YEAR. (1954, December 17). Barrier Miner (Broken Hill, NSW : 1888 – 1954), p. 4. Retrieved September 5, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article49976381

I also would like to tell you about my Riddiford line including my ggg grandfather, Charles Riddiford, a tailor and policeman who died in the Saunderton Union Workhouse  at Wycombe, Buckinghamshire. And his son Thomas Cooke Riddiford, a some time publican and butcher who immigrated with his family to Canada in search of a better life, only to return to Buckinghamshire a few years later.

I will, however, get the chance to tell you the story of my grandfather and great-grandfather, Percy and Tom.

Thomas William Cooke Riddiford, the fourth of eight children, was born in 1875 at  the Crown Inn, Aylesbury Road, Cuddington, Buckinghamshire not long after his family had  returned to England from a failed venture to Brant County, Ontario, Canada.

While still a baby, Tom’s parents Thomas Cooke Riddiford and Emma Piddington moved the family to Clerkenwell, London where Lily Beatrice was born in 1877.  Again, the move seems to have been another failed attempt to find a better life for the family, as they had headed back to Cuddington by 1879.  Thomas senior resumed his role as publican of the Crown Inn.  Emma’s father, a victualler, also had links to that pub and others in the district.  In 1883, Emma died aged 34 and Thomas was left with eight children to care for, with three under five.

How does a family manage after such a tragedy.  By the 1891 UK Census, consequences of Emma’s death had become evident.  On the night of the Census, the two youngest children, Ernest Arthur, 11 and William Leonard, 10, were at the Aylesbury Union Workhouse.  Youngest daughter Florence, 12, was living with her grandmother, Jane Piddington and Lily, aged 14 was a servant for a Aylesbury hairdresser.  My great-grandfather Tom, then 16 was boarding at the Plough Inn, Haddenham , working as an apprentice butcher.

Where was Thomas senior by this time?  He had moved on.  To Manchester in fact, working as a cab driver and living with his new wife, Sarah Browne and their four-month old son, Arthur.   The saddest part of this stage in their lives is that I have never been able to find any trace of Ernest beyond the 1891 Census and his time in the Workhouse.  My grandfather named a son after his younger brother.  A tribute maybe?

Tom junior got on with his life, making a move to London working as a fully qualified butcher.  He married 18-year-old Londoner Caroline “Queenie” Celia Ann Kirkin on February 7, 1896 at St Barnabus Church, Kennington, London.  By the time of the 1901 UK Census, the couple were living at 169 Cromwell Road, Kensington with three sons.  Tom was working for himself as a butcher .

In 1903,  the family suffered a loss with the death of two-year old Horace. Percy Ronald Riddiford, my grandfather, was born in Leytonstone in 1904 before a break of six years when Reginald was born in 1910 at Edmonton.  That is where the family were living at the time of the 1911 UK Census, 54 Raynham Road, Upper Edmonton.  Oldest son William was 14 and working as a metal polisher, Cyril 13, was attending school and working as an errand boy for a greengrocer.  Father Tom was still a butcher, working for Universal Stores.

The former Riddiford home, possibly their last in England,  is the cream house with red flower baskets.

Something must have nagged at Tom. A feeling like his father before had felt.  How could he make a better life for his family?  In 1906, he had travelled alone to Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada on what appears to have been a reconnaissance trip, but he returned to London.  In 1912, Tom’s cousin Aubrey Frank Riddiford immigrated to Australia, settling at Heyfield in Gippsland.  This may have been the catalyst for Tom to pack up the family and sail to Australia aboard the “Commonwealth” arriving in Melbourne on September 15, 1913.  Many of the passengers were Assisted Immigrants and I would assume the Riddfords were among them.

SLSA: B 69878

SS Commonwealth 1911 at a pier at Adelaide.
Courtesy of the State Library of South Australia, B69878
http://images.slsa.sa.gov.au/mpcimg/70000/B69878.htm

The Riddifords moved to Smeaton, just north of Ballarat.  Lillian Ivy, the only girl in a family devoid of women, was born in 1914.  War broke out and in 1915 Bill enlisted for his new country, followed by Cyril in 1916 and Ern in 1918.  Bill was hit by an Army ambulance in France and was sent home an invalid in 1917.

ALLENDALE. (1917, July 21). The Ballarat Courier (Vic. : 1914 – 1918), p. 10 Edition: DAILY.. Retrieved September 6, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article73320328

In 1922, Stanley was born at Smeaton, 26 years younger than his oldest brother Bill.

By the end of the 1920s, the Riddifords moved into Ballarat, residing at 97 Humffray Street South.  Tom and Queenie then moved to 619 Humffray Street where they remained until their deaths.

The Riddiford Family of Ballarat circa 1929
Back: Cyril Victor, Lillian Ivy, Percy Ronald, Reginald Leonard
Front: William “Bill” Thomas Frederick, Thomas William Cooke Riddiford, Stanley Gordon, Caroline “Queenie” Celia Ann Kirkin, Ernest Arthur Harold.

This photo is very special because of the circumstances in which I came to have it.  Mum and I visited an antique shop at Newlyn, north of Ballarat. We spotted some old photos with the penciled name “Riddiford” on the cardboard frames.  There were three, including the family photo and a wedding photo of my grandfather and his first wife Mavis McLeish.  The shop owner was able to tell us how he acquired them, but it’s a long story.

Thomas passed away in 1957 aged 81 and Caroline in 1962 aged 83.  They are buried at the Ballarat New Cemetery.

The boys and Lillian married, and all but Bill had children.  But there were few descendants as the seven children produced only 16 grandchildren, seven of them by my grandfather!  Of those, there were five girls and nine boys.  Seven of those boys were my grandfathers!

The most successful of Tom and Caroline descendants to date has been Ern’s son Leonard Riddiford.  Len gained a scholarship to Melbourne  High School and then studied physics at Melbourne University.  During the late 1940s, he travelled to Birmingham to work on the world’s first synchrotron under Sir Mark Oliphant’s guidance, while completing his PhD at Birmingham University.

ATOM STUDY IN AUSTRALIA. (1952, August 22). The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 – 1954), p. 2. Retrieved September 6, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article18278393

To think the Riddifords were the last branch I researched.  As they arrived in 1913 and with my main interest being 19th century Australian history, I considered them newbies.  But when I did seriously begin researching the name I couldn’t stop, not returning to research my other families for months.  The research experience was also very different from my other families.  While  I have little information on my Victorian pioneer families prior to their departure from England, I have easily found information on the Riddifords from a variety of sources.

I have also had the pleasure of tracking my grandfather and great-grandfather right through to the 1911 UK census, when my other families left soon after the 1851 Census.  It has also given me a greater understanding of English history, geography and records.

The Riddifords of New Zealand consumed a lot of my time and Papers Past got a work out.  There are over 54,000 “Riddiford” matches at the New Zealand newspaper archive compared to  3449 on the same search at Trove and I have spent months just on this branch trawling through articles and books about the history of New Zealand.

Although I still have some brick walls,  I can safely say that Riddifords everywhere are related.  Like a jigsaw all the pieces have come together to form a picture of a family who today can  trace their links back to those early Gloucestershire cloth makers and, if my theory is correct, back to the Flemish cloth workers who arrived in Gloucestershire from the  1300s-1500s.  That is another facet of the tale I had intended to share.

A book on the Riddiford family history would be the best way do the stories justice.  I have even considered a One-Name study or at the very least, a blog. I don’t think I can manage any of those options at the moment.  While writing Western District Families has given me an outlet to for most of my families, it has also presented a problem. My Riddiford research has fallen into a state of neglect.

RIDDIFORD TRIVIA

It is was not only genealogists who welcomed online records.  Tabloid newspapers soon became fans too. This was evident in 2010 when a journalist wrote on the ancestry of Kylie Minogue.  Numerous newspapers and magazines ran with the story chiefly because Kylie had not one but several criminal ancestors.  Who were they?  Well they were Riddifords!  Yes that’s right Kylie and Dannii Minogue are Riddiford descendants.

Many Riddifords knew this prior to 2010 and I had myself read that the Kylie and Dannii’s mother was a Riddiford.  It was actually her grandmother Millicent Riddiford, one of the Welsh Riddifords.  Millie arrived in Australia in 1955 with her husband Denis Jones and their children.  By my calculations that would make the Minogues my 7th cousins, as we share  6 x great grandparents Thomas Riddiford and Arabella Trottman.  Distant I know, but the 8-year-old research assistant is very proud of his link, even if the kids at school won’t believe him.

An article from the Daily Mail of February 2, 2010 describes the Riddiford/Minogue relationship – Hangings, Sex Assults and Deportation: Meet Kylie Minogue’s Criminal Ancestors…

I would like to trace the Minogue line to see if Kylie and Dannii descend from the Minogue family, pioneers of Cape Bridgewater in south-west Victoria.  They too may have Western District Families.

Call it a family myth, but another piece of trivia Riddifords like to hang their hat on, is the link between Ronnie Barker and L.E Riddiford Grocers in Thornbury Gloucestershire.  The story goes that while Barker was filming in Thornbury, he was so inspired by the grocers store in High Street that he created the show Open All Hours.  If you look at the L.E.Riddiford website you will understand how this comparison may have come about.

MY FAVOURITE RIDDIFORD

This would be Edward Joshua Riddiford, born in the Hutt Valley, Wellington,  New Zealand in 1842, son of Daniel Riddiford and Harriet Stone.  Educated in Australia at Scotch College, Melbourne, Edward spent time on cattle stations in Queensland.  He often visited Australia and on at least one occasion bought stock from the Learmonths of Ercildoune near Ballarat.

IMPORTATION of VALUABLE STOCK.
Evening Post, Volume X, Issue 134, 25 July 1874, Page 2
Papers Past – http://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/cgi-bin/paperspast

The reason I particularly like Edward Joshua Riddiford is for the relationships he forged with the Maori people.  This quote from Edward’s biography by Roberta Nicholls for Te Ara – The Encyclopedia of New Zealand sums him up well:

“At Te Awaiti and Orongorongo Edward Riddiford interacted constantly with the local Maori population, as he had done when he was a child. He spoke their language, employed them, shod their horses, and bartered domestic products, foodstuffs and clothing for crops and wild pork. He played cards and drank with the men; he slept with the women. Out of admiration for his forceful leadership, commanding personality, and physical prowess the Maori called him ‘King’. Because of his influence, Riddiford was able to acquire Maori land for leasehold or freehold on favourable terms.” (from the biography of Edward Joshua Riddiford, by Roberta Nicholls, Te Ara – The Encylopedia of New Zealand)

THE RIDDIFORD FAMILY ON FACEBOOK

If you are a Riddiford descendant you are more than welcome to join our Facebook group. Search “Riddiford Family” at Facebook and you will find us. There are 130 Riddifords from all over the world.  Many have commented on how they thought were the only Riddifords, rarely coming across others with the same surname.  That’s what I used to think growing up in Hamilton in the 70s and 80s.  Mum, Dad and I were the only three Riddifords anywhere in the world except for Grandpa and Grandma Riddiford and my uncles in Ballarat.  How wrong we were!


26 responses to “R is for…Riddiford

  • ann odyne

    fantastic post again MR. every bit was wonderful. especially the Smeaton Brass Band welcoming Pte W Riddiford home.
    Are you sure of “97 Humffray South”?
    I went there today to get a photo for you.
    Humffray South begins with a hotel and motel, then church and manse, then a house which looks like it was an A.N.A place, then a garage on the corner of Main Rd. Across that a glazier’s building definitely 100 years old fills entire block to Porter St. from there it is 101, 103 etc. Let me know if there is anything else here I can photograph for you.

    • Merron Riddiford

      Thank you so much Ann. I double checked the address and it was 97, however there is a possibility that the numbering has been changed in Humffray Street Sth. Thanks to your comment, I realised I had left out Thomas and Queenie’s last home in Ballarat, 619 Humffray Street. I double checked that too, but the 1954 Electoral Roll said 105 Humffray Street Sth, with Stan living next door at 107. It’s true Stan lived next door to his parents, but at 621. So I have rung Dad and he said yes definitely 619/621. Therefore the numbering must have changed. That would then make 97 Humffray Street close to where they finished up. If I search 105 Humffray Street Sth at Google Maps, it brings up 105 Humffray Street Nth. I think next I’ll see if I can find out about any changes at the Ballarat Library research room including the rate books.
      Thank you again, your wonderful comments are always appreciated.

  • Gould Genealogy

    Firstly hello to all the Riddiford’s around the world. And secondly what an absolutely fabulous post. So well researched and so well written, and of course I have to make mention of all those wonderful family stories that you’ve picked up along the way that really ‘make’ family history.

  • ancestorchaser

    What an amazing wealth of information Merron! I too thought Riddiford would not be a common surname. WOW.

  • Kylie Willison

    What a fabulous post Merron, I loved reading all of it. You have a lovely story telling ability which kept me enthralled right to the end.

  • Dianne Riddiford

    Hi

    I am a Ridddiford!!! Now you have a few more to add to the list. And like the Minogue’s family, I live in Neath, South Wales, UK. It was nice to read your research. My dad has researched our family tree and has a photograph of the lovely (not so) Dinah Riddiford.

    • Merron Riddiford

      Hi Dianne
      Lovely to hear from you. It’s always good to meet other Riddifords. I was wondering which branch you are on. I know Riddiford’s in Queensland, Australia that are descended from the Welsh Riddifords.
      Merron

  • John Riddiford

    Merron. Ernest Arthur Riddiford died at sea. He joined Grimsby Fishing Fleet 3 Nov 1892 falsely giving his dob as May 1878 but he was only 12 at the time. Records have him as 4’9″ tall, dark hair, blue eyes. Home address given as Cuddington Bucks. Reported as being a very good lad. On 22 Apr 1894 he drowned at sea, presumably off the English Coast whilst assisting with a tray sail. .

  • k richardson

    Hi Merron, love your info. I too am connected to the Riddifords and would love to join the Facebook page you mention, but I can’t find it. Has it been removed? I searched under Riddiford Family. Thanks

  • k richardson

    Don’t worry, I put ‘The’ in front of it and I found it. Many thanks

  • John Hodges

    Hi Merron,

    First I’ll declare my relationship. My GGGrandmother was Harriet Riddiford b1840. Her GGGrandparents were Thomas Riddeford and Arabella Trottman, whom you mention in the trivia section.

    So noting that your line of descent is also through Arabella I thought you might be interested to know that she has a very interesting and illustrious ancestry (assuming you didn’t already know). I have traced her line back a further 8 generations to the Lords of Berkeley Castle – the Hardings. They are one of the great medieval families of Britain, who origins disappear into the realms of Viking myth around 200 AD. In addition, these early Hardings married into the de Somery line (amongst others), whose origins trace back to Charlemagne, Alfred the Great and before.

    • John Riddiford

      John. I have your GGGrandmother Harriet born 1840 Cheltenham, Glouc. as the 7th of 12 children to Edwin Riddiford and Ann White (his 1st of 3 wives). I have Edwin as the 7th of 8 children to Aaron Riddiford and Sarah Mainstone. I have Aaron as the 2nd of 10 children to Arthur Riddiford and Mary Saunders. I have Arthur as the 2nd of 6 children of Thomas Riddiford and Arabella Trotman.
      Harriet married William Long born 1840 Barney Norfolk, a Licensed Victualler in 1861 in Lewisham. I have them with 8 children – 2 of whom were born in Constaninople (i.e. Istanbul). Both a William and a Harriet Long died in Lewisham in first quarter of 1917 aged 76. Their death index records have them with consecutive index references so I’m assuming this is them and that they both died hours or days apart from possibly the influenza epidemic. Can you confirm this please.
      John Riddiford Melbourne.

      • John Hodges

        Hi John,

        What you have is all correct, except that William Long was a blacksmith in 1861 (the job description is actually recorded on the line for his siter in the original census return). He only became a Licensed Victualler sometime after the family returned from Turkey, around 1874/5. The pub they ran was the Black Bull in Lewisham High Street (now called the Fox and Firkin and viewable on Google Street view). William Long, however, appears to have been more than just a simple blacksmith. He had moved with his family to the Plumstead area by 1851. His father, Robert, was a saddler and collar maker at Woolwich Arsenal. It seems that William also worked at the Arsenal and was probably something of an engineer, not just a simple blacksmith. He may have gone to Turkey to work at an armaments manufacturing plant in Zeytinburnu (where Arthur Edwin Long my GGrandfather claims he was born). I only know this because I found an old map which shows Zeytinburnu as a tiny village on the shores of the Bosphorus dominated by a “cartridge factory and shot works”.

        I think the family made a good deal of money out there and were able to get involved in the pub trade when they returned to England. The family went on to own/manage a large number of London pubs over the following century. This may have been Harriet’s influence as the Riddifords had a also been landlords in the past. Aaron Riddiford ran the inn at North Nibley in 1800 – again you can see this on Google Streetview – today it is the Black Horse.

        William died soon after Harriet because he was in general bad health and the shock was too much. She seems to have had a stroke or heart attack. The death certificate is not too specific.

        Harriet’s father, Edwin, is an interesting character. He was a policeman and eventually became a Superintendent. A number of his sons followed in his footsteps, the most notable being John Raymond who was with the Surrey police at the time the celebrated Victorian detective Jack Whicher carried out one of his investigations in the Reigate area (nothing to do with the Kent case for which he is most famous).

        Edwin, too had his moments – he investigated the death of Sarah Moss, who had her throat cut by William Mealing in Rendcombe, Gloucestershire in 1862. According to the newspaper reports, Sarah had asked Mr Riddiford to get more maintenance money from the father of her 3-year-old illegitimate daughter. It says Mr Riddiford was in the habit of receiving the money from the father and handing it over to Sarah. At the time of her death, Sarah was heavily pregnant with William’s child. He was found innocent on the grounds of insanity (although he’s named as murderer on Sarah’s death cert) and spent the rest of his life in Broadmoor Asylum for the criminally insane.

        Edwin’s sons – Aaron, Thomas White, James and Arthur Walter – also became policemen. James, like John Raymond, died young, while Arthur disappeared from the public record (in UK at least) in 1871. Aaron and Thomas retire from the police and move to Birmingham where they work for the council as Assistant Parish Overseers. However, Aaron Riddiford defrauded Birmingham City Council of £500 in 1876 during his employment as a rate collector and then absconded. He disappears entirely from the public record in UK, but re-emerges on his death in 1897 – in Canada. Thomas had been brought to court on a similar charge to Aaron in 1873, but was acquitted. He then disappeared from the public record too.

        Another son, Edwin similarly disappears after 1851 as does Nigel the fifth son, post 1853. He was accused of pilfering a few pence (at age 11) but was acquitted. However, he may have died in 1856; but I have assumed this recorded death of “Nigel Riddiford” (with no age stated) is his uncle who was also a convicted felon from 1833. It could be that the 1853 criminal charges were actually against this man as no age is recorded here either. Anyway, in 1853 there were two Nigel Riddifords but there is only one subsequent death record – at least in UK. So to sum up, Thomas White, Edwin, Nigel and Arthur Walter all disappear from the UK without any death record (or census record, or marriage or children) that I’ve been able to find.

        With the exception of Harriet the daughters of Edwin (the Superintendent) all die young. The saddest is Emma who appears to have been a kleptomaniac. She gets four sentences for fraud and larceny and spends several years doing hard labour. She dies soon after release in 1859. Sarah Ann seems to die in child birth aged 22 while the other sisters both die in their teens.

        More information at:

        http://stjohnstreet.thornburyroots.co.uk/no9%20HSL%20occupants.htm

        and

        http://theplain.thornburyroots.co.uk/police.htm

      • John Riddiford

        Thanks for the information John.
        Aaron Riddiford died in Toronto from Pneumonia 22 Nov 1897, aged 70 – occupation Yard Foreman. He abandoned his 1st wife Eliza Pearce and family but three of his sons George Henry, Arthur Charles and Gerald Ben, from that family were to also migrate to Canada then to USA. Aaron had 8 children to second wife Rose (Emma?) Newman but no marriage record found in USA for them so they may have lived together as de facto.
        Thomas White Riddiford is on the 1881 census as Thomas W. Biddiford, Messenger age 49, in Birmingham with wife Sarah A. Biddiford age 40 born Carmarthen and niece Sarah A. Moses born same. No marriage record found. A Thomas Riddiford died Birmingham 1884/Q1 age 49 (age is out). This is probably him. I haven’t tried to get his certificate.
        I have nothing more on James Riddiford beyond the 1861 UK census apart from a notation – believed to have died c 1865. Like you, I have nothing on Arthur Walter Riddiford beyond the 1871 census. Similarly nothing for Edwin Riddiford beyond 1851.
        For Nigel Riddiford, under The List of Ship’s Deserters South Australia is recorded Nigel Reddeford. – Boy Feby. 1857 Ship J.F. Chapman. This is likely to be him. Perhaps his father made him join the navy for disciplinary reasons or an order made by the the court to avoid conviction for burglary. No other information held on him although there is an N. Riddiford on the Unassisted Immigration Passenger List departing Brisbane and arriving Sydney 4 Dec 1887.
        Apart from Harriet, her sister Ann Riddiford born 1843 lived until 1913, dying in Leicester. She had 6 children to a William Chambers (no marriage record found) plus an earlier son, Frederick Alexander Riddiford born 1893 Plumstead. If you are prepared to communicate direct with me by email, I can forward you a full list of descendants and my supporting information from my database, commencing with Edwin’s parents Aaron Riddiford and Sarah Mainstone.
        Regards.
        John Riddiford.

      • John Hodges

        Pleased to do this. How do we set up private communication?

  • John Hodges

    A further observation re: the old lady, Dinah Riddiford, who was hanged in 1816. It may explain why she stole and why the Courts took such a hard line.

    On 15 April 1815, the volcano Tambora erupted. This resulted in a massive ash cloud which circulated the globe in the following years, restricting sun light. 1816 became known as the Year Without a Summer and this led to crop failures and food shortages – details can be found on Wikipedia:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Year_Without_a_Summer

    Anyway, it is possible the old lady was driven to theft by rising prices, food shortages and ultimately hunger; meanwhile the authorities probably took a hard line because they feared widespread civil disorder – this is the sort of thing that fuels revolution.

  • John Riddiford

    John. I suggest you email me at joleridd@bigpond.com.au
    John Riddiford.

    • Merron Riddiford

      Thank you John and John for your comments. Reading them has been interesting and will help other Riddiford researchers. I really like the Thornbury Roots website and have used it often. When I get the time I will do some more research on the Trottman’s who I have neglected to some degree. Thank you John for giving me the lead on Arabella’s lineage.

    • daniel rutledge pollitt

      I have just stumbled onto this thread and have information on a Riddiford who may be the gerald Ben Riddiford, b. 1870 d. 1899 son of aaron riddiford. If i am right gerald ben is my great grandfather who somehow found his way to Cincinnati in the 1890s and married my great grandmother Jemmima Olarenshaw (another English immigrant) and produced my grandmother Mima Riddiford Pollitt (b. 1898 Cin. d. 1986 San F.) and my uncle Basil Riddiford Pollitt (b. 1919 d. 2005).
      It would appear gerald ben never had a chance, living only 29 years, and my grandmother always considered herself an orphan.

      • John Riddiford

        Hello Daniel. Yes Gerald Ben Riddiford is your great grand father and I have extensive information on him and his ancestors which I am prepared to share with you provided you are prepared to exchange information on your more recent relatives. Please contact me direct by email at joleridd@bigpond.com.au
        Gerald Ben first arrived in North America in 1892. His father Aaron had earlier migrated to Toronto Canada in 1873.The 1881 US census records your great grand mother Jemima as having migrated in 1891. RegardsJ.R.

  • J Freeman

    Hello John Hodges,
    Someone on the Rootschat site suggested I get in contact with you. I can see we have some things in common. I have an ancestor (with his family) that went to Constantinople in 1871 and 1872. He may have been there for as long as 1867 – 1873. My ancestor was a Metal Turner at the Woolwich Arsenal. According to the familiy story he was there to help teach the Turks to make guns. He had a son born in Zeytinburnu. Same as you I discovered the armaments factory in Zeytinburnu. There were a lot of foreign workers there. Infact it sounds like they were running the place. There seems to have been some sort of disagreement with pay with many (perhaps all) not being paid. Perhaps this is why they returned to England. Do you know anymore about your family member’s time in Turkey? I would like to try and find out more but I’m finding it very difficult!
    Regards
    JF

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