The Riddel branch of the family begins with my maternal grandmother Helen Thorburn Riddel (4). The direct line of this branch can at present be traced back for only 3 generations.

Generation Riddel ancestor Spouse Date and place of marriage
Q Helen Thorburn RIDDEL(4)
Christopher Rawdon BRIGGS(3)
27 Mar 1902 at St. Aidan's Presbyterian Church, Didsbury, Manchester.
P James Riddel(15)(1849-1921) Emily Holinger(16) 22 Apr 1875
O Robert Riddel(35)(1815-?) Jane Lauder(36) (1820-?) 23 Oct 1843 at Earlston, on the border of Berwickshire and Roxburghshire.
O James Riddel(40)(?-?) Helen Riddle(715) (?-?) 22 May 1803 at Crailing, Roxburghshire.


James Riddel(15) was the son of Robert Riddel and Jane Lauder. He was christened on 27 Feb 1849 at the Lloyd St. Presbyterian Chapel, Manchester. There is a photograph of him as a young man in taken in Edinburgh. He married Emily Holinger (16), on 22 Apr 1875 at Brunswick St. U.P. Church, Manchester. According to Norah Riddel's birth certificate, James described himself as a merchant. He died in 1921.

James and Emily had seven daughters:

Child Notes
Jane Emily (“Nita”) Riddel (26) She was born on 25 Feb 1876 and there is an entry in the GRO births index for the Jun quarter of 1876 (Chorlton, 8c, 837). She married Bertram Sands Giles (33) on 08 Apr 1903 (Emily Holinger Birthday Book, The Times, and the GRO marriages index for Jun 1903, Chorlton, 8c, 1690). Bertram Giles, in the 1901 England census, is a 32 year old boarder at 161 Burton Road, an electrical engineer, born in Bombay, India. Jane Emily, aged 25 and of no occupation, is still living with her parents at 123 Lapwing Lane, which intersects Burton Road, so they were living round the corner from each other. They had one son Donald Riddel Giles (34) who was born on 12 Aug 1904, according to Emily Holinger's birthday book. He died in Sydney, Australia in about Nov 1939, aged 35, drowning himself at Rose Bay, Port Jackson according the the inquest held at Sydney on 17 Nov 1939. His death was registered at Sydney, certificate no 22011 of 1939 with father listed as Bertram Sands and mother Jane Emily. Nita died (in childbirth?) in 1907 and is said to have been buried in Sutton, Surrey, though we never seriously looked for her grave there.
Hilda Riddel (27) Born, according to her mother's birthday book, on 10 Jan 1879 in Manchester (GRO births index Mar 1879, Chorlton, 8c, 705). She married George King(41) on 26 Sep 1906 according to the same birthday book (also GRO marriages index, Sep 1906, Chorlton, 8c, 1880). They had no children. Hilda died in Jul 1940 (GRO deaths index, Sep 1940, Manchester, 8d, 186).
Norah Lilian Riddel(28) Born on 03 Jan 1880 (GRO births index, Mar 1880, Chorlton, 8c, 700). In the 1901 England census she was at home with her parents, and of no occupation. At some stage she trained as a nurse, presumably in Manchester, and during WWI worked at the Urgency Cases Hospital first at Bar-le-Duc and then at Chateau Faux Miroir. This hospital was attached to the French army, and Norah had learned to speak French whilst at some kind of finishing school in Switzerland. After the war she continued nursing, looking after private patients, and travelling with them too. She did not marry, and definately did not learn to cook. For the last 12 years of her long life she lived with my family and me in Sutton, and died on 20 Jul 1984 after a fall.
Mary Riddel(29) Born on 22 Oct 1881 (Emily Holinger's birthday book; GRO births index Dec 1881, Chorlton, 8c, 609). On 07 Apr 1910 she married John Oliver Macdonald (32) (Emily Holinger's birthday book; GRO marriages index Jun 1910, Chorlton, 8c, 1496). They had no living children. Mary died some time after 1954.
Helen Thorburn Riddel(4) Born 9 Dec 1882. Married Christopher Rawdon Briggs(3) on 27 Mar 1902 by whom she had four daughters. Died on 6 June 1949. See her separate entry above.
Ada Jane Hannah Riddel (30) Born on 12 Dec 1884 (Emily Holinger's birthday book; GRO births index, Mar 1885, Chorlton, 8c, 709). Did not marry.
Elsie Lauder Riddel (31) Born on 09 Apr 1887 (Emily Holinger's birthday book; GRO births index, Jun 1887, Chorlton, 8c, 708, two adjacent identical entries!). Did not marry.


There is uncertainty about when and where Robert Riddel (35) was born. Emily Holinger’s birthday book has his birthday on 18 Sep, and the only matching entry in the IGI is a Robert Riddel born at Maxton, Roxburghshire, on 18 Sep 1815, and there is an entry in the Scottish OPR index for this date in Maxton with father was another James Riddel(40) and mother was Helen Riddel(715). Robert Riddel married Jane Lauder(36) on 23 Oct 1843 at the Secession Manse, Earlston, Berwickshire (this information comes from a Golden Wedding card which was amongst Norah Riddel’s papers). The IGI also has an entry for this marriage, based on the records of the parish church at Earlston (i.e. not the secession church), and the date of the marriage given in this record is 14 Oct 1843 and the same date is given in the Scotlandspeople index of marriages based on old parish records. Besides James Riddel(15), who was baptised in Manchester, the IGI lists three other children of Robert and Jane.

Children of Robert Riddel(35) and Jane Lauder (36)

Child Notes
Ellen Thorburn Riddel (38) At the moment I only know that she died on 24 Aug 1904, and that her death was registered at Chorlton in the second quarter of that year, vol. 82, p.467, aged 60. So she was born between August 1843 and August 1844. There is an entry in the GRO Births register, Sep 1844, at Manchester, vol. XX, p.592, which is probably hers. In that her death was registered in the Riddel name, presumably she did not marry.
James Riddel(15) Christened on 27 Feb 1849 at the Lloyd St. Presbyterian Chapel, Manchester. His birth was registered at Chorlton in the Mar quarter of 1849 (vol. XX, p.212). He married Emily Holinger (16), on 22 Apr 1875 at Brunswick St. U.P. Church, Manchester, the marriage being registered at Chorlton in the Jun quarter of that year (vol.8c, p.884). According to Norah Riddel's birth certificate, James described himself as a merchant. He died in 1921, and his death was registered at Chorlton in the Mar quarter of that year (vol.8c, p.785).
William Lauder Riddel(37) According to the IGI was christened at St. Cuthbert's, Edinburgh on 30 May 1852, and according to Emily Holinger's birthday book he was born on 21 Apr.
Jane Lauder Riddel (39) Date of birth was registered in the North Leith district as 05 Jun 1857, and place 15 Bonnington Place. I have a copy of the official record downloaded from the scotlandspeople website. Her father is described as a merchant. Nothing further known.

The Scottish old parish records online at scotlandspeople have no births/christenings to Robert and Jane between 1843 and 1849, and there are no other baptisms on the IGI at the Lloyd Street chapel, Manchester, though there is a gap in the record between 1837 and 1847, so there may have been earlier children baptised there. I would need to trawl through the GRO births index, which is a bit pricy to do online.


A James Riddel (Riddle) married Helen Riddle at Crailing in Roxburghshire on 22 May 1803 according to the OPR marriage index on the scotlandspeople website. There are six children listed on the same website.

Children of James Riddel(40) and Helen Riddle (715)

Child Notes
Jean Riddel (-) Born or baptised on 16 Feb 1805 at Maxton in Roxburghshire.
Barbara Riddel(-) Born or baptised on 02 Mar 1807 at Maxton.
James Riddel(-) Born or baptised on 15 May 1809 at Maxton.
Anne Riddel (-) Born or baptised on 24 Jul 1811 at Maxton.
Robert Riddel (35) Born or baptised on 18 Sep 1815 at Maxton.
Agnes Riddel (-) Born or baptised on 27 Aug 1817 at Maxton.

So Jane Lauder, and probably also Robert Riddel provide about the only genuine Scottish connection for our family. Robert Riddel must at some stage have moved to Manchester, possibly via Edinburgh.

And that is as far back as I have been able to trace probable Riddels so far. Somewhere in the story there is an Adam Riddel yet to be located.

© John Stowell 2006/2009             This file last edited on 29 Oct 2009.

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