Some key historical and family dates.
1817 Victoria born
1834 Poor Law unions created
1836 First police force in Norwich
1837 Victoria becomes queen.
1840 Victoria married Prince Albert.
1840 Start of Cunard Line steamships to America
1841 Great Western Railway built
1844 Norwich has railway to Yarmouth, 1849 to London
1846-49 Repeal of Corn Laws
1852 – 58 Birth of great-grandparents, Howes side.
1859 Levy Watkins in Merthyr Tydfil by now.
1850-70 Somerset railways built.
1861 Prince Albert died.
1861-65 American Civil War
1862 USA’s Homestead Act, 160 acres for citizens tilling for 5 years.
1866 First transatlantic telegraph cable laid.
1870 Education Act – elementary education for all (England, Wales).
1872 Robert Jeary/Jane Watts arrive in Seward, Nebraska.
1873 Henry Neal emigrates to Ontario, Canada.
1869 – 1878 Birth of great grandparents, Watkins side.
1881 Osborne family arrived in Rhondda, and Watkins have moved here from Merthyr.
1888 – 1897 Birth of grandparents.
1890/93 Frederick Watts, Emma Watts emigrate to USA (separately).
1894 William Cullum and family arrive in south east London.
1897 approx Robert and Mary Neal emigrate to Manitoba, Canada.
1899-1902 Boer War
22nd Jan 1901 Victoria dies
1912 Launch and sinking of Titanic.
1914-18 World War One
1916/19 Marriage of grandparents.
1919 Howes family follows uncle William to south east London.
early 1940s Watkins family arrives in New Cross.
1952 Elizabeth II becomes queen.
1953/54 May family to New Zealand.
Ancestry has a useful timeline: Emigration to and Within the United States in the 1800s