Sailing to America

The other day I received a text from Aunty Jan telling me about a woman called Muriel Gladys Reavell. She arrived in New York, via Ellis Island, on November 10, 1912. Aunty Jan wanted to know whether we’re related; whether Muriel was anything to do with our Reavells. So I did a little research.

Muriel Gladys Reavell was 19 when she arrived in New York. She was on her way to Canada, to a Mr Stacey who lived in London, Ontario. Muriel’s profession (or so she told the authorities in New York) was a secretary. That’s all I know going forward. Going backward, however, I know a lot more.

Muriel was the first child and only daughter of William John and Rosa Reavell. She had a younger brother called Claude Vincent who, in 1911 was a 15 year old ‘engineer’, living as a boarder in Kettering, Northamptonshire.

Before leaving for America, Muriel lived with her parents in Wimbledon, Surrey. In 1911, she was a student. Her father was a commercial traveller specialising in ironmongery. The family were successful enough to have one live in servant (Mary Maud Gibbs who was a trained hospital nurse).

Muriel’s father, William John, was born in Aldershot, Hampshire (just up the road from us but in about 1876). He was the son of William the grocer who lived in Aldershot in 1891 with his wife, who seemed to have the strange name of Ciggie. (She was actually called Lizzie – thanks Deborah!)

William senior was born in Guilden Morden, Cambridgeshire in about 1836, the son of James Revell, born in about 1811.

That’s as far as I’ve bothered to go since there appears to be no connection to any of our Reavells up to this point. However, related or not, I can only admire the courage of Muriel Gladys. It would have taken a lot to just up sticks, at the age of 19 and travel, alone, to New York then continue on to Canada.

In the same text, Aunty Jan mentioned another Reavell (William, a director of music, again from Wimbledon) who visited New York in 1910. The amazing thing about this Reavell (and I’ve not researched him at all), apart from coming from Wimbledon as well, is that he and his wife were tourists.

These two intrepid Reavells, were not just travelling to America to see the sights and tour the country down to Washington DC, they had also done so before. Seasoned trans-Atlantic tourists were they! Clearly the Director of Music business paid very well and managed to give some pretty hefty holidays. I might study this chap some more, later.

Apart from this little bit of family research (and the onerous task of updating the blog software, a job I always fear), the day was mostly spent hanging around the house, chilling. I took some photos of the gorgeous flowers starting to appear throughout the garden.

Mexican orange blossom, after the rain

The Mexican orange blossom is looking (and smelling) fantastic this year. We have two. This one is down by the gazebo, spreading its sweet scent around the chairs.

Awkward bloody Jay!

And I almost caught the slippery jay! I spotted him sitting on the end of the path, just waiting for a photo op, but, once I’d walked upstairs and retrieved the camera, he’d moved to the banana tree. This was the best photo I could get. But I’m patient and his time will come!

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2 Responses to Sailing to America

  1. Fantastic! Yes we thought Muriel was brave too! Wow! Rather disappointed that they never panned out to be our relatives ;( thanks for trying. There were other Reavell’s but we just chose those two because the passenger lists said they were from Wimbledon. There was less than 50 spelt the same that landed on Ellis Island NY during 1892-1924. Great job. Lovely read Gary! Xxx

  2. mum cook says:

    Yes great work very interesting as Jan said shame not related but fancy our name going on and on like that.
    Flowers lovely and pretty little Jay I will have to take a pick of our tomatoes.
    love mum

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