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The Neal/Neale Family

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Hi, all.


I'm not sure whether this is the right place to post, please forgive me... and any advice would be gratefully received.


I'm a descendant of the Neal/Neale family.  I believe they were Boatmen in the Cape/Saltisford area of Warwickshire during the late 1700's to late 1800's.  My Great (x3) Grandparents were Job and Hannah Neal/Neale. Their children were Mary Ann, Hannah, Job, George, Sarah, Lucy, William and Henry.


Where should I go to find information about them?


If anyone recognises the names and believes they may be related, I'd love to here from you.





Edited by arhesusnegative
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Aha, that’ll be me. Although as I’m about to explain it probably isn’t!

There are at least three different boating families named Neal or Neale (both spellings were probably used within different parts of all of those individual families).


The Neal family that I am descended from hailed from the Banbury area and didn’t start boating until the 19th century. Parts of the family did become established in the Black Country and on the Napton & Warwick canal but of the 51 recorded and verified boat people named Neal(e) in my family tree none of them was called Job.


There was a Job Neal recorded as working on the FMC steamers in the early 20th century. I also once read an article regarding Neal windlasses evidently written by a distant cousin of mine that claimed this Job Neal was an adoptee of our family. That lead me to research him and to the best of my knowledge that claim is untrue and he was from an unrelated Neal(e) family that I strongly suspect is the one from which the OP is descended. That particular matter may have been confused by the fact that there were members of my wider Neal family working on the steamers but bearing the name Drakeford.


During the early 20th century there was also a Neal occupying the Cape of Good Hope pub, having previously been licensee at the Boat Inn at Birdingbury. He was the third husband of the long standing landlady of the Cape. But this Neal was a member of ‘my’ Neals yet was in the midst of the Neal(e)’s of the OP’s family.


It just shows how easy it is to head off on the wrong track when researching family history. Unless of course I’ve missed something and we are in fact related.


Edited by Captain Pegg
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On 17/09/2023 at 11:34, Captain Pegg said:


It just shows how easy it is to head off on the wrong track when researching family history. Unless of course I’ve missed something and we are in fact related.


@arhesusnegative further to this for the OP, our findings when tracing a family tree for the Humphri(e)s boaters.


Many of the boat people were unable to read or write as the working life never gave the children much, if any, opportunity for schooling. They also spoke with a mixture of accents picked up from the towns and villages on their way. However, they have the most wonderful memories of events. When births, deaths and marriages were recorded the recorder wrote down what he / she heard. In various records I have 5 different spellings of "my" narrow boat Captain's surname, yet they are all the same family.
Also, some of the boat people had many children and often used family names. It is quite probable to find cousins with the same name and similar birth dates so it is easy to go off on the wrong track.
I have seen some sloppy family trees on genealogy sites where in one case it had a girl getting married at eight years old!
Back up records in the form of census, boat health registrations, birth, marriage, death, certificates etc., are essential.
Don't be mislead by TV programmes like "Who do you think you are." Tracing families is a very time consuming and can be an expensive business, taking approximately 200 hours to get back 5 generations. I'm afraid if you are really serious about tracing your boating ancestors you have much work ahead of you. Even then it never really ends...... Never assume anything, get solid evidence as indicated above.
Another lead is cemeteries where boat people are buried, these often give quite accurate dates of births and deaths. Boaters tended to bring their loved to what was considered "home port" for funerals and burial. One example being Braunston in Northamptonshire.


This site may be of help?

A Waterways Heritage - Family History | Groups | Facebook




Arthur & Rose Bray.JPG

Edited by Ray T
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Thank you all for taking the time to respond to my query... really appreciated. It is a minefield, this genealogy malarky. I'm lucky that I knew my Great Grandmother, who was born a Neale... she was born in the late 1800's and didn't pass until mid 1980. So I've got my hands on her birth/marriage/death certs from the GRO and worked backwards. Her Father Henry was listed as a Canal Labourer and Boatman on various docs, as was his Father Job. Interestingly, two of Jobs Daughters emigrated to New Zealand in the 1870's and began a new life there. Mary Ann Neale (born 1845) became a prominent Suffragette and one of her Son's, a Charles Edward Seeling became an original New Zealand All Black and hall of famer. I've confirmed this through DNA matches to the Seeling family.

Before I forget, I've been told that my Neal(e) family boat was at the Black Country Museum once upon a time. I haven't got any other details, unfortunately.

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