McNEIL OF LIVERPOOL

 

Edith (Dixon) Timmins (1912-2002), daughter of John and Jessie (Wilson) Dixon, remembered that her paternal and maternal grandmothers were Margaret McNeil and Hannah McNeil respectively and that Margaret and Hannah were sisters. The main contemporary clues to the origin of their father John McNeil that have been found so far are his age and his birthplace of Scotland in the 1841 census returns, along with the presence in his household at that time of a James McNeil, an apprentice plumber, whose age was given as 15 and birthplace as Scotland. This was clearly a different individual from John’s son James, who was much younger, and indeed another James McNeil appears in the same household as a six-year-old.[1] The older James McNeil was likely the James McNeill, plumber, who married Elizabeth Murray on 6 April 1851 at St. Martin in the Fields, Liverpool.[2] That James’s father was given as John McNeill, a labourer.[3] This would cut the likelihood that James was a nephew of the John McNeil who married Hannah Sewell and, on the assumption (based on his surname) that James was a close relative of John, it seems he was either a brother or a cousin of some degree. In the former case, the John who married Hannah Sewell would also be a son of John McNeil, labourer. James McNeil would seem to be the man listed as aged twenty-four and born in Scotland in the 1851 census returns for Liverpool.[4] Although the ages do not match, he was probably the James McNeill listed as born at Greenock in Renfrewshire in the 1861 returns.[5] A James McNeill, plumber, aged 41, is recorded in the burial register of Toxteth Park Cemetery on 29 April 1866.

 

Geoffrey Daniels, husband of Margaret and Hannah’s granddaughter Helen (Dixon) Daniels, recalled a vague tradition that Helen’s McNeil ancestors may have come from Dumbarton and a John, son of John McNeil and Margaret McNeil, was baptised there on 10 June 1810.[6] These would seem to be the John McNeil and Margaret McNeil who were married at Abbey, Renfrewshire, in 1803, when John was recorded as a soldier in the 92nd Regiment of Foot. Census returns, military records and parish registers indicate that John was born about 1776 in Renfrewshire (Greenock or Paisley) and served in the 92nd Regiment of Foot from 1794 until 1806 when he was transferred to the 9th Royal Veteran Battalion.[7] He was discharged in 1814 and subsequently worked as a labourer for some time. Towards the end of his life, he lived in Glasgow. He died on 25 April 1853.[8] His wife Margaret McNeil was born about 1783 in Argyllshire and seems to have survived her husband John, possibly remarrying after his death.[9] Their children appear to have been Neil, John and Donald, baptised at Dumbarton in 1808, 1810 and 1811 respectively, followed by Catherine[10] and Daniel,[11] baptised at Greenock in 1817 and 1819 respectively. The link with Greenock suggests the possibility that they were the parents of the James McNeil who was later a plumber in Liverpool but no obvious baptism has been found for James so for the time being, the connection remains speculative.

 

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McNEIL

 

JOHN McNEIL of Liverpool, Lancashire, engineer, was born ca 1810 in Scotland[12] and died on 1 March 1849 at Whitehaven, Cumberland.[13] He married on 24 September 1833 at St. Peter, Liverpool, HANNAH SEWELL,[14] daughter of James and Mary (Sawyers) Sewell (see here). Hannah was baptised on 29 November 1812 at Beaumont, Cumberland, and died on 14 February 1849 at Liverpool.

 

Children of John and Hannah (Sewell) McNeil:[15]

                i               JAMES McNEIL, b Liverpool,[16] bap 15 Feb 1835, St. Peter, Liverpool.[17]

               ii              MARGARET McNEIL, b Liverpool, bap 27 Jun 1837, St. Peter, Liverpool,[18] d 31 Oct 1908, West Derby, Lancashire;[19] m 24 Dec 1864, Ireby, Cumberland, EDWARD WILSON DIXON[20] (see here).

               iii             JOSEPH McNEIL, bap 19 May 1839, St. Peter, Liverpool,[21] d 26 Jul 1839.[22]

                iv             MARY McNEIL, b 6 Jul 1840, bap 9 Aug 1840, St. Martin, Liverpool,[23] d 14 Aug 1840.[24]

               v              HANNAH McNEIL, b Jul 1841, Liverpool,[25] d 24 Oct 1881, Burnopfield, County Durham;[26] m 26 Aug 1866, Carlisle register office, Cumberland, JOHN WILSON[27] (see here).

               vi             MARY ANN McNEIL, dressmaker, b 26 Nov 1843, Liverpool;[28] m              DOBBS.[29]

                vii            WILLIAM McNEIL, b 21 May 1846, Liverpool,[30] d 16 Jul 1849, Liverpool.[31]

                viii           CATHERINE McNEIL, b 20 Jan 1849, Liverpool,[32] d 10 Mar 1849.[33]



[1] 1841 census returns, Liverpool (National Archives, HO 107/564/16, fol. 9).

[2] There was another James McNeil who is recorded as a boiler maker, aged 31, in the 1851 census returns. However, he appears to have had a marriage proclamation with Ann McGuinnes at Greenock in Feb 1841 so would not have been the apprentice plumber living with John McNeil in Jun 1841.

[3] Marriage certificate.

[4] 1851 census returns, Liverpool (National Archives, HO 107/2177, fol. 598).

[5] 1861 census returns, Toxteth Park (National Archives, RG 9/2701, fol. 93). The ages given in the returns are implausible as, barring a swift remarriage, James McNeil was not likely to have a wife aged 55 and a daughter aged two months. The ages may be out by twenty years from the intended values.

[6] Dumbarton parish registers (General Register Office for Scotland, 496/0030 0297).

[7] Discharge papers (National Archives, WO 97/1135).

[8] Chelsea registers (National Archives, WO 23/27).

[9] Pension records (National Archives, WO 22/134).

[10] A Catherine McNeil married Alexander Drysdale at Liverpool in 1837 but it is not clear whether this was the same Catherine.

[11] He may have been the Daniel McNiel, blacksmith, who married Sarah (Wood) McVoy in 1839 at Liverpool when his father was given as John McNiel, bottle blower. There was a Daniel McNiel, with a wife Sarah, who subsequently served in the 1st Dragoon Guards and had a son Richard Wood McNiel baptised at Canterbury in 1844.

[12] 1841 census returns, Liverpool (National Archives, HO 107/564/16, fol. 9). His death certificate gives his age as 38.

[13] Female Orphan Asylum admission papers (Liverpool Record Office, 362 SAL 2); death certificate; The Cumberland Pacquet, 6 Mar 1849. John drowned by falling from the side of the steamship “Whitehaven” into the sea during a storm.

[14] St. Peter, Liverpool, parish registers (Society of Genealogists, London).

[15] The Cumberland Pacquet, 6 Mar 1849, states that “We understand that McNeil bore an excellent character; that he had buried his wife only two or three weeks ago, in Liverpool, and that he has left a family of seven children to deplore his untimely loss”. The Female Orphan Asylum admission papers (Liverpool Record Office, 362 SAL 2) show that in May 1849, Hannah McNeil had two brothers of the ages of 14 and 3 years and two sisters of the ages of twelve and six years. The same records show that in Nov 1850, Mary Ann McNeil had one brother of about 15 and two sisters of 13 and 9 respectively. This appears to have been corrected from two brothers.

[16] 1851 census returns, Liverpool (National Archives, HO 107/2176, fol. 312).

[17] St. Peter, Liverpool, parish registers (Society of Genealogists, Mf 2976).

[18] St. Peter, Liverpool, parish registers (Society of Genealogists, Mf 2977); 1871 census returns, Lowick (National Archives, RG 10/5189, fol. 4).

[19] Death certificate.

[20] Marriage certificate.

[21] St. Peter, Liverpool, parish registers (Society of Genealogists, Mf 2978).

[22] St. Mary’s Cemetery registers (Liverpool Record Office, 352 CEM 4/1/1).

[23] St. Martin, Liverpool, parish registers (available online at http://www.ancestry.com).

[24] St. Mary’s Cemetery registers (Liverpool Record Office, 352 CEM 4/1/1).

[25] Female Orphan Asylum discharge registers (Liverpool Record Office, 362 SAL 9/1); 1871 census returns, Tanfield (National Archives, RG 10/4955, fol. 93). Hannah was baptised on 2 Aug 1841: St. Peter, Liverpool, parish registers (Society of Genealogists, Mf 2979).

[26] Death certificate.

[27] Marriage certificate.

[28] Female Orphan Asylum admission papers (Liverpool Record Office, 362 SAL 2); Female Orphan Asylum admission registers (Liverpool Record Office, 362 SAL 3/1/1); 1881 census returns, Wavertree (National Archives, RG 11/3717, fols. 145-46).

[29] 1881 census returns, Wavertree (National Archives, RG 11/3717, fols. 145-46). Perhaps William James Dobbs (1871 census returns, Bedminster, National Archives, RG 10/2507, fol. 5).

[30] Birth certificate.

[31] Death certificate.

[32] Birth certificate.

[33] St. Mary’s Cemetery, Kirkdale, registers (Liverpool Record Office, 352 CEM 4).