News from Canada

Shortly after publishing the last blog, I was really pleased to discover an advertisement placed by William Robert’s two sons, James Ernest and Charles Edward. This was from the period when they were in business together for a few years before James set up his own pet shop in Soho Street.

This advert appeared in the September 1913 edition of a magazine called ‘Cage Birds and Bird World’. The reference to ‘Flying Tipplers’ indicates that the brothers were breeding a type of pigeon that was famed for its endurance.

And then, hot on the heels of this discovery, I received a fantastic email from Chet Haywood in Ontario. He is a great-great-grandson of William Robert Hubbleday and I had been in touch with his mother, Pamela Haywood (née Hubbleday) since 1998. She is my second cousin once removed but, like me, had been researching the Hubbledays without knowing of the existence of other branches of the family. We had both been excited to make contact and, a few years later, my brother, Brian, visited her when he was in Canada on holiday.

Pamela’s father was Charles Henry Hubbleday, born in 1909, who was the son of James Ernest Hubbleday who had the pet shop in Soho Street. As a boy, Charles had lived above the shop with his parents and elder brother. In 1951, when in his forties, he emigrated to Ontario, Canada.

Charles Hubbleday is listed on the bottom line of this passenger list of British citizens travelling from Southampton to Halifax, Canada in 1951. His occupation is shown as an electro-plater.

Pamela had told me a lot about her father’s life but Chet’s email contained a beautifully written memoir by Charles himself. Chet had come across it while looking through some of the family’s papers.

Charles wrote his memoir in 1990, the year that his beloved wife, Elsie, died. He was able to remember his grandfather, William Robert, and knew that he had been a professional soldier. He seems to suggest that William Robert had fought in the Boer War but this would have been impossible as he was 57 years old at the time. He was probably confusing it with the New Zealand War, in which we know that William Robert fought. It would have been Charles’s father, James Ernest, who, I surmised in the last blog, might have gone to South Africa with the militia.

Here is Charles’s memoir.

Charles did travel back to England in 1991 and one of the places he wanted to visit was Coventry Cathedral because he had been involved with chrome-plating the cross of nails. He was very moved to be allowed to touch it as his eyesight had deteriorated so badly he couldn’t see it properly.

Charles Henry Hubbleday at Coventry Cathedral in 1991.

Charles died in Ontario in 1994 and the local newspaper published a wonderful obituary. This was clearly a life well lived and I am proud to have had the opportunity to celebrate it in this blog.

An obituary in the Whitby Free Press, Ontario, December 7, 1994

Charles’s memoir suggests that his brother, James, died at the age of 47, which is not quite right. In fact, James lived to be 70 and died in 1977. He had two sons, one of whom, Charles James (1933 – 2009), had two sons who, I believe, still live in the Birmingham area. However, I have not been able to confirm whether they have any sons themselves so it it is quite possible that the Hubbleday name may disappear from James Ernest’s branch of the family.

An abbreviated family tree showing James Ernest’s (1879 – 1940) branch. It’s interesting to see how the same names are recycled through the generations.

The next blog will look at my branch of the family name starting with my great-grandfather, Charles Edward Hubbleday (1869 – 1935), and his four sons.

6 thoughts on “News from Canada

  1. thank you Rob , I found it very interesting and was amazed at the repeat of christian names as the family progressed into more modern times i.e. Charles (my father ) plus simillar names of modern relatives and offsprings i.e. Pam plus a few others .
    A thoroughly enjoyable piece of family history well worth reading !!!!
    Roger

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  2. Thanks Roger. You’re right about the names. I have to admit that I didn’t realise your middle name was the same as my dad’s first name and my brother’s middle name! Also, my son David’s middle name is James – we didn’t know when we named him that there were generations of James in the family. I’m glad you enjoyed it. The next instalment will be all about our grandfather, Charles William.

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  3. Absolutely fascinating! I have other relatives in Canada, but I never thought there would be Hubbledays there. Mind you……. I didn’t realise there were so many Hubbledays full stop.

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  4. I’m pleased that you enjoyed it. There are now more Hubbledays than there have ever been but we’re still a very small group compared to most families. Did you know that there is a Jack Hubbleday living in Bicton Heath? He runs an IT company. He is the grandson of your Uncle Paul.

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  5. Very interesting and a great insight about Charles Hubbleday. It’s funny, before the other comments above, I was thinking; how often, James, Charles and Robert had been passed down. I have done a similar thing with my two sons; one has my Christian name as, a middle name and, the other son has my middle as, his middle name. I think it’s quite a good idea what Charles has done, leaving his immediate family and relatives, a record of who he was and, what he had achieved. I know when I retire, I will be doing the same thing. Regards Roy

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  6. Thanks for commenting Roy. It’s lovely that you have followed the Hubbleday naming tradition. My father did exactly the same with my brother and me. I agree with you that it’s a great idea to leave a record of your life in some form for those who come after you. I am looking forward to writing about our grandfathers, people we may remember meeting when we were children. I wonder if you know that one of your great-grandfathers, William Mitton, joined the RAF in 1914 when he was 34. He survived the war but I was surprised to discover that his widow in 1939 was living in Middleton Road, Shirley.

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