Lawes, Lanham, Lodge and Ralph 

My Great Grandmother was May Ivy Camelia Lawes, who was known to her family as Ivy, was born in 1891 in Bishopstoke Hants. i think Camelia is a lovely name!

Her family and ancestors were from the surrounding areas of Romsey and Eastleigh, this area heralded the start of the railway age in Britain, and was the main area for train and coach building. This was the main area of employment of this branch of my family, with coach builders and coach painters being among the occupations. As my Great Grandfather Arthur Neal was a coach builder i presume he met Ivy through a colleague who was part of her family (perhaps a brother,father,uncle or cousin). This theme of employment has continued with both my grandfather - Glan Neal and my Uncle - Peter Neal working for British Railways, and my Father - Malcolm Neal transferring this to working on cars. I also love traveling on proper steam trains and on many of my holidays have been on some restored trains. My Uncle and Cousin both collect train memorabilia and have an amazing model railway set up in the loft.

Ivy's grandparents were Edwin Lawes and Mary Ralph - my 3rd Great Grandparents. Although Edwin was a Carpenter and wheelwright in Hampshire, he originally came from Wiltshire where he was a shepherd. His family came from the villages Bishopstone, Bowerchalke and Broadchalke not too far from Salisbury. I went on holiday a few years ago to this area, obviously to do some research and loved the area, it is very pretty countryside with proper english country villages, thatched roofs etc and tea shops. I can recommend some good pubs for lunch if you are thinking of visiting this area. The churches are also well worth a visit with many being originally built in Norman times, one of which is actually outside of the village, as during the time of the plague the village was relocated!

The tree on the branches of Lanham gets very confusing as Lawes, lanham and Ralph appear to marry individuals from related branches of trees, it would be quite amusing to try and work out some of the actual relationships.

Mary Ralph (born 1837) who was a school teacher, her parents were John Ralph and Elizabeth Jones and were both recorded on census as being deaf, perhaps this was an arranged marriage as how deafness was perceived in the past. Ralph has now been passed down as a middle name as the surname died out on this branch with John and Elizabeth only having daughters.

In Wiltshire most members of this branch of my tree were farmers or ag labs (which is the recorded or known term for agricultural labourers. In the 1800s there was some very poor years for farmers in wiltshire and the local council joined a government scheme for interested parties to begin a new life abroad, the population in these villages went down dramatically, and various relatives on this branch emigrated to Australia and started farms or as known out there, homesteads in Queanbeyan Canberra.

When i looked through the records at the Wiltshire record office i discovered that the vicar at Bowerchalke had been very precise with some of his records, meaning i even know at what time some of my family died and were buried!

Further back on these branches I can back to John lanham born 1624 in Bishopstone and John Lodge 1525, so the descendants and tree on these branches is very large and has mentioned with various relatives tying the branches back up, another very confusing branch!