Family History


My Story

A quest for the RIDLER HISTORY AND other snippets along the way 

Author Tony James Ridler

Chapter 1

First Interest

My interest in family history was first generated by my grandmother, Margaret nee Mills, (little Nan). I used to drop in to see her every week; she liked to talk about her younger days and had a remarkable memory for things in the distant past although she had problems remembering what she had done yesterday.

During one of my visits she showed me a book that had belonged to my great, great grandfather William Ridler (1826-1867). Inside the front cover was a list of the members of his family with most of the entries having been dated. Several of William’s children survived into the 20th century. The youngest son was also a William (1857-1891) who was my grandfather’s father Albert William (Pop). He died at the young age of 24 years, only a few months after Albert (1890-1964) was born.

One month after William’s death, Albert’s brother, Fredrick Alfred was born. Unfortunately only 3 years and 9 months later Fredric died.  

One of William junior sister’s, Emily Eliza (1863-1934) known in the family as Aunt Luke brought up Albert after William’s widow (Kate nee Ancrum) married again to John Heath.

Albert at the age of 20 in 1910 decided to emigrate to America. He was courting Margaret at the time and they decided to get married when he had a job and somewhere to live. 

When he first arrived in New York he lived with Aunt Nell who had emigrated to the USA sometime earlier.

 He obtained a job with the New York Tram Company as a conductor on the horse drawn trams. After a few months he sent for Margaret to come to New York and join him.

Albert and Aunt Nell met the steamship from England on the 22nd of December 1910. 

Aunt Nell insisted as they were not married yet, they must not be together alone until they were married. 

Albert had arranged for the wedding ceremony to take place the next day at New York Town Hall. 

After arriving at their intended home in West 11th Street, Albert had an apartment in the same house as Aunt Nell, but after spending the evening at Aunt Nell’s apartment he was sent to his apartment and Margaret slept at Aunt Nell’s apartment. 

Nan and Pop were married the next day, 23rd of December 1910 at New York City Hall.

Almost exactly 9 months to the day James Albert Ridler (my father) was born on the 26thSeptember 1911 at 269 West 11th Street, Manhattan Island New York.

One thing that was very vivid in Nan’s memory was the hot summer evenings, sitting with the wives of the other tenants on the stoop (steps at the front porch) with the children playing in the street

 In 1913 Aunt Luke was seriously ill following a miscarriage and sent the money to the USA for the fare for Pop to return to England before she died. Albert, Margaret and their 2 year old son James returned to England. Aunt Luke despite having a colostomy operation in later years survived to 1937 and died at the age of 78. With no children of her own Albert was brought up as her son.

With the war clouds looming for the First World War, Albert volunteered for the army and joined the Royal Horse Artillery.

Albert William Ridler looking quite a hansom Soldier in his Sam brown belt.   

 In 1975 my company closed down its Industrial section and I was offered a position in London.

My new career was quite demanding and required working overseas.

On one occasion I was working in New York and took a picture of my fathers birthplace at 269 West 11thStreet.

I was quite surprised the original building was still there complete with the stoop where my father was photographed 63 years previously when he was a child.