Neal relations at Cuckoos Cup, The Wrekin

Connecting with the neighbours

Researching the family tree comes up with plenty of “is this why” and “what if” moments. Here’s one I did recently.

The Neve family is one of the lines coming under closer examination after making contact with the Cullum cousins. With a few more dates and details to work from, it was possible to work backwards from 2 x great uncle William Cullum’s wife Sarah Ann Margaret Neve, find her parents Robert and Elizabeth in the census records in Norwich, and their likely marriage entry. Only likely, as Robert’s surname appears just as ‘N’! But then working forwards again, looking at their offspring came up with something that must be more than coincidence.

Eldest daughter Emily Elizabeth Neve, about 5 years older than Sarah, at 1891 is living at 5 Guernsey Road (with husband William Payne), next door to a very familiar address. Number 7 was home for the Neal family for quite some time, but not this early. And at number 3 in 1891 is George Neve, brother to Emily and Sarah.

Guernsey Road, perhaps early 1920s

So what about later censuses? 1901, oh, what a Payne, they’ve moved to Ipswich. And George is elsewhere in Norwich. But there’s 1911, might there be Neves in Guernsey Road then, when gran had appeared at number 7? Well, yes, as it happens, guys and gals. Emily and William Payne were back at number 5. {1}

So this becomes an “is this why?” – grandfather Sydney Howes is a half nephew to William Cullum, and it is quite conceivable that the Howes and Cullum/Payne families met up on occasion. (The Howes household was only a  few streets away in Churchill Road.) Is this how Sydney met his future wife Emily Elizabeth Neal, over the garden fence?

While writing this, I have spotted that Robert and Elizabeth Neve were in the same street as James John Cutlock, an in-law of the Cullums. Maybe this helped the Cullum/Neve tie up! See the family distribution map for Norwich on Google.

At this distance, such speculation is just that, but interesting and fun nevertheless. And turning up such close connections is definitely part of the  reason I “go wide” in researching the family tree, taking in not just the parents of an in-law but their descendants and ancestors too.


  1. Examining the 1939 register (in summer 2016), the Payne family is still represented at 5 Guernsey Road, brother and sister Leonard and Elsie, children of William and Emily. Elsie goes on, in 1948, to marry William J Key who originally married her sister Gertrude  – she died in 1947. Eleanor and Edith Neal are still at No. 7.



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