Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Betty Neels Birth Certificate

via email (with thanks and apologies to Betty Magdalen for how tardy I am with posting this - I was sick as a dog last week plus had a houseful of college kids...):

Hi, Founding Bettys--

Betty Ross has done us a solid! He's ordered The Great Betty's birth certificate.

We've looked at the street in the outskirts of London (here's a link to a Google Earth image) and it’s possible she was born in a rather more substantial house that’s since been torn down to build a primary school. Or she was born into one of the rather modest terraced houses, only we don’t think so. Note that there’s no house number, but just “The Homestead” on the birth certificate—that rather supports the idea that her family was in a house significantly unique enough to be identifiable by name and not just by house number.

Alas, she was born in 1909, so we inadvertently missed the centenary of her birth by one year. But as The Uncrushable Jersey Dress didn’t exist in 2009, I think we’re forgiven. Plus, Mills & Boon misled all of us!

Anyway, you’re welcome to show this on the blog. Betty Ross will correct the MISINFORMATION on Wikipedia that The Great Betty was born in DEVON. Hah!

Love & crumpets dripping with melted butter,

Betty Magdalen


  1. Great Bettys ghost! Fantastic sleuthing by Betty Ross! (Can we give him our renowned (just made up) Betty of the Month award?)

    I'm surprised, since The Great Betty was an Accountant's daughter, that we get so few of those anywhere in the canon--even heroine's father's tend to be mouldering Professors of Antiquity and financiers are generally just 'something in The City'.

    I tend to agree that The Homestead does not indicate a terraced house. I'm also afraid that Ernest Randle and Isabel Alice don't exactly scream Neels leading character names.

    Gosh, I just love that you guys did this. Huzzah!

  2. Betty van den BetsyJanuary 4, 2012 at 10:26 AM

    I'm all shivery! (haven't finished dressing and it's about 20 degrees F today, but still...) Thank you Betty Ross! and Betty Magdalen! Is it too much to hope that you took a few photos whilst in the Canterbury Road?

    Lucius Massey, hero of Roses and Champagne is a partner in an accounting firm. But Betty was right; hospitals are much more romantic than accountancy firms. Much, much more. (The Jonkheer is a CPA. I really have got to get looking.)

    Alice shows up three or four times as a housekeeper-type, and the heroine of The End of the Rainbow is Olympia Randle. No Isabels nor Ernests that I recall.

    I love the beautiful handwriting on this certificate. Thank you again, Bettys Ross and Magdalen.

  3. What a find!!! Thank you Betty Ross and Betty Magdalen for this momentous contribution!!!
    I'm with Betty Keira: Can we give him our renowned (just made up) Betty of the Month award?

    Just for the fun of it I typed in Betty's father's name and found this:

    Marriages September Quarter 1907
    Baker Isabel Alice W. Ham Volume 4a Page 181
    Baverstock George Halbert W. Ham Volume 4a Page 181
    BLAND Margaret Jane F W. Ham Volume 4a Page 181
    NEELS Ernest Randle W. Ham Volume 4a Page 181

    Betty Anonymous

  4. Well, I've known some of this info since I discovered the English Army Nurse list. But to see her actual Birth Certificate! Goodness, Gracious What Fun. Thanks Betty Ross!

    After looking at the location on google earth, I'm wondering if the Homestead might be the Barclay Centre just past the green space on the same side of the road as the school. The school looks rather old. I know its web site says it was begun in 2006 but I think the building looks very old. As does the white two story building between what may be two schools. Just a thought. I could see Betty being born in this modest but nice Homestead.

  5. This is worthy of a Betty Lifetime Award!
    How difficult was it to order a UK birth certificate? Do you have to have connections? Be a UK citizen like Betty Ross?

    And can we flush out the family tree and get Charlotte out of hiding?

  6. wowza, holy detective work. Thanks Betty Ross and Magdalene!
    Betty AnHK

  7. woops sorry about the extra 'e' on your name x

  8. Definitely let's give Betty Ross the Betty of the Month Award. I'm not sure if he had to be a Brit, but it helped to have a British bank account. :-)

  9. During World War I, Leyton was hit by bombs during Zeppelin raids. Might the family have moved away then or at some other point of time?

    The Homestead, Canterbury Road, Leyton

    There is a site that might have information on Betty’s home in Leyton:
    Waltham Forest Archives and Local Studies Library
    Please note: Searchroom visits are by prior appointment only.
    If you are interested in researching:
    • Your family history
    • The history of your house or street
    • The development of the local area and local communities
    • Subjects for a school project or for academic research
    We can help you. We hold on one site a wide range of manuscript, printed and pictorial resources for research into all aspects of the history of the Waltham Forest area. Waltham Forest Archives and Local Studies Library is based at Vestry House Museum.

    Nostalgic photos of Leyton
    Images are subject to copyright.
    1952: St. Paul’s was in Canterbury Road, Leyton.

    Betty Anonymous

  10. Betty Barbara here--
    A big "huzzah!" for Betty Ross.

    FYI, Mijnheer van der Tarheelin does a lot of genealogy work and orders British birth certificates all the time. They take credit cards!

  11. It's a lot easier to get a birth certificate from England and Wales than from Pennsylvania (where you have to be the person or a relative). You can use FreeBMD to do preliminary research and then apply for a copy of the certificate from the GRO.

  12. Well, if it isn't the Betty of the Month himself! Thanks for the tip. Mijnheer ter Huisma has Welsh blood, so it's good to know.