52 Ancestors #25 – Same Name – James Ryan Caddy

Ancestors with the same name can sometimes cause a lot of confusion when doing your family tree. Then the one that has an unusual middle name which turns out to be the same surname as a mother or another ancestor, helps to prove you are on the right track.

I remember my uncle Ray telling me once that the Caddy family came from Ireland. It didn’t take long to discover that our great grandfather James Ryan Caddy, although he himself wasn’t born in Ireland, his oldest brother Joseph and his father Thomas were. Perhaps he was conceived in Ireland!! So where did the Ryan fit into all this? It turns out that Ryan is his mother’s maiden name. Thank goodness for a middle name being the same as a surname.

James Caddy arrived on the Lady Douglas in Fremantle in July 1884, with his wife Ann nee Carson and child Thomas Hollingsworth Caddy. (Another middle name that is the same maiden surname of the mother).

Although his obituary in the Northam Advertiser, 19 Dec 1931 says he was born in Nottingham, I have James’ birth certificate showing that he was born in Congleton, Chester, Cheshire, England in 1859, to Thomas Edward Caddy and Ellen nee Ryan, an iron moulder. The Caddy’s went on to own a wheelwright business in Nottingham known as Caddy & Co. The business is listed in the 1896 Scottish Post Office Directories as CADDY & Co., Ltd., Daybrook Iron Works, Daybrook, near Nottingham; John Scott, jr., 63 Waterloo street.

Caddy & Co 1896 Scottish Post Office Directories

1896 Scottish Post Office Directory

When James and Ellen arrived in Western Australia, he went into partnership with the Tomlinson Brothers, who coincidentally arrived on the same ship, the Lady Douglas in 1884. James established his own ironworks in Wellington Street, Perth. When the partnership dissolved he worked for a contractor on the Eastern Railway line that was being built and became a ganger, working right through to the end of the line. On its completion, he established the Avonside Ironworks in Northam.

James and Ellen had 12 children and a story that was passed down from my Uncle James Albany Herbert (who has the same first name as his father James Harold Herbert and grandfather on both The Herbert and Caddy families) to my cousin Raymond “John” Herbert, was that he made a cast iron mould for a Punch doorstop. He gave one of these to each of his 12 children, then destroyed the mould. John had loaned it to his father, my Uncle Raymond John Herbet (he gave his son the same name) and it was just recently after his passing, that John asked if I’d like to take possession of the Caddy produced Punch doorstop as the keeper of our Caddy family history. Even though he’s not the nicest looking character, I was honoured to receive such a gift. I won’t tell John what my kids said when they saw it, but he will no doubt be reading this post.

I made enquiries with other Caddy relatives and only one was able to confirm the story as told by her relatives, but they do not know where their doorstop ended up. It will be interesting to find out if there are any still around of this particular mould, made by James Caddy.

I have done some research on Punch door stops and it appears they were very popular in the Victorian era. I’ve seen some for sale online from £80 to well over £500 as they have become a collector’s item. I bet that gets my kids thinking differently now! Not that he’s for sale and they probably won’t read this post either.

Punch & Judy shows were the flavour of Victorian life although Punch’s first appearance in England was in 1662. Punch wears a brightly coloured jester’s hat with a tassel and he has a hunchback and an extremely long hooked nose that nearly touches his chin. He carries a stick (a slapstick) which he used on most of the other characters in the show and spoke with a distinctive squawking voice. By the 18th century, the marionette theatre staring Punch, and Judy, his wife and Dog Toby, was at its height. The show was primarily aimed at adults but changed to children’s entertainment in the late Victorian era. The show changed somewhat and ceased to include the Devil and Punch’s mistress “Pretty Polly” when they were seen as inappropriate.

We have often used the phrase “Please as Punch” which is derived from the Punch and Judy show, specifically from Mr Punch’s sense of gleeful self-satisfaction!

I doubt that the shows will see a revival as they would be seen today as being too violent, especially when Punch and Judy were often quarrelling and fighting and as for that stick!


Punch & Judy doorstops for sale online.

Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Punch_and_Judy
Obituary: Northam Advertiser, Saturday, Dec 19, 1931 pg 3.

About Jenny MacKay

Just a person who is looking forward to retirement and enjoying the golden years!
This entry was posted in 52-Ancestors-52-Weeks, Blog, Caddy and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

11 Responses to 52 Ancestors #25 – Same Name – James Ryan Caddy

  1. Richard Harvey says:

    Hi Jenny. I’ve been doing some research on 63 Mansfield Road, Nottingham. This address housed the registered office for Caddy & Co (Nottingham) Ltd between at least 1895 and 1922 according to trade directories. I assume it’s the same firm you mention with its works at Daybrook, but just wondering if you had any info to help me verify that.

    • Jenny MacKay says:

      HI Richard, the only information I have on the Caddy foundry is what is in Kelly’s Directory of 1904. It reads: Kelly’s Directory of Nottinghamshire in 1904 Caddy & Co, Nottingham Lim(ited) iron founders & furnace engineers, 63a Mansfield Road & at Daybrook Nottingham, Nottinghamshire, England.
      Source: University of Leicester, Kelly’s Directory of Nottinghamshire, Directory of Arnold, Nottinghamshire: 15; digital images, University of Leicester www.historicaldirectories.org

      Hope this helps.

  2. I used “proud as Punch” this week… not realising it was from the old Punch and Judy days. I believe the puppet show may still happen at variousness seasides but is much tempered. No more killing of the baby or beating Judy. We are a weird mob really. But I would be as proud as Punch to own the doorstop even if I did want to hide it behind the door at times. Your same name prompt certainly came up trumps.

  3. Eilene Lyon says:

    I hadn’t realized the phrase “Pleased as Punch” came from Punch and Judy. Interesting family history story!

  4. Pam Batten says:

    Another great family story Jenny and I do love that scrapbook page. Love the reminder of the ‘Punch and Judy’ shows and the characters too! You are so right. In todays Society one cannot believe there will ever be a revival of the show.

  5. Melody Cartwright says:

    The little dog’s name is Toby. If only a few were made they could be more valuable.

    • Jenny MacKay says:

      Certainly valuable if James Caddy threw away the mould, however we only have it from one other family member who had heard of the story. I forgot to mention Toby!

  6. tstatton says:

    What an interesting story! I can quite understand what you meant by the children not really appreciating such a character as “Punch” coming into the family! He is quite scary really – especially to younger children.

    • Jenny MacKay says:

      He is indeed and with the clowns now making the headlines! I just hope that in years to come they will appreciate the significance of the piece of family history now an heirloom.

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