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Walter Mitchell
Census 1901
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James Neill (Neil)
G'day, My g/grandfather James Collins married Margaret Neill in 1873 in Co Down. According to the Marriage Certificate she lived in Newcastle and her father James Neill is shown as a Coastguard. She was born approx 1850/51. How can I go about trying to trace her father. If they came from around Co Down is there a station he would most likely be operating from? Many thanks.
bill kean
Welcome to the Forum Bill.

Your question has proved to be a little problematic. Assuming James Neill (Neil) was working in Ireland, then there were two men of that name in the right time period. I think one can be discounted because he was born in 1847, so is too young. However, the second, although born in July 1829 and therefore about the right age, was working on the other side of Ireland at Tarbert.

The man at Tarbert had two official numbers (37953 and 75251). Entering these numbers on the National Archives 'Seamens Records' search page will bring up his records, but since we cannot be certain this is the right man there seems of little point in paying for these.

For completeness I also looked for a James O'Neill, but again without success.

If you had Margaret's place of birth it might be possible to match this to a specific mans naval career, and thus confirm his identity.

Sorry I could be more conclusive.

Edited by crimea1854 on 11/04/2012 07:43
G'day Martin, Thank you for looking into my query. Checking my records, I find that James Neill's wife Mary ( nee McCullough) died in Scotland in 1884 ( aged 70years), which would imply that her husband James Neill would be born around 1814. So its unlikely that the James Neill born July 1829 is mine. As I mentioned on Margaret Neills marriage cert it shows her father as Coastguard( but does not state he is deceased) and on the 1881 Census for Scotland it shows Margaret's mother Mary as a widow. So it would appear James died sometime between 1873 and 1881 !! On Mary's death cert is states widow of James Neill, Coastguardsman. Is there any other avenue I can follow up on regarding James. Thank you.
bill kean

I've checked the National Archives catalogue, and there is a pension application for a James Neill who was serving in the navy/CG from 1832 to 1860, so your estimate of his date of birth suggests he could be your man. This document can be ordered online and takes about 3 weeks to come through:


In the meantime I will widen the search of the CG records to include the rest of the UK, hopefully I can find a man whose last posting was Scotland.


PS: Since the above post I think I have traced this man in the CG Records, and knowing where he was stationed in 1851 was able to check the Census (Whitstable, Kent). Now for the bad news, his wifes name was Sarah, and no sign of a Margaret. Found him again in the 1871 & 1881 Census, but have been unable to trace him in the 1861 Census.

The search goes on!!!
Edited by crimea1854 on 12/04/2012 08:28
G'Day, I have ascertained that Margaret Neill (Neil) was born in Newcastle if that helps. The one you found was not mine....can anyone tell me who is best to contact to find out more, the National Archives Ireland or the NAC in England? Thanks, Bill
bill kean
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