NameJames Harper LAIDMAN , 628, Q1070
Birth19 Apr 1883, Hull, YKS
Death11 Dec 1964, San Francisco, San Francisco County, CA, USA Age: 81
Occupation1901 Ship Draughtsman; Naval architect; 1911: Shipbuilder
1891 census return: RG12/4237, folio 7, page 10.
Blyth (Northumberland), 36 Stanley Street
James H. Laidman, head, M[arried], 40, ShipBuilder, employed, [born] Northumberland, Hartley
Hannah Laidman, Wife, M, 37, born Northumberland, Walker
Mary F. Laidman, Daur, S[ingle], Scholar, born Northumberland, Walker
William Laidman, Son, S, 12, Scholar, born Northumberland, Walker
James H. Laidman, Son, S, 7, Scholar, born Yorkshire, Hull
Ethel Laidman, Daur, S, 4, born Yorkshire, Hull
Norah K. Laidman, Daur, S, 2, born Ireland, Belfast
John H. Laidman, Son, S, 2mo, born Northumberland, Blyth
1901 census return: RG13/1074 folio 53 page 5
The Avenue (St. Johns Villa), Shirley, Southampton
John [sic] Harper Laidman, head, married, 50, Ship builder (Manager), born Northumberland, Hartley
Hannah Laidman, wife, married, 47, born Northumberland, Walker
Mary F. Smith, daur. widow, 24, born Northumberland, Walker
James H. Laidman, son, 17, Ship Draughtsman, worker, born Yorkshire, Hull
Ethel Laidman, daur. 14 born Yorkshire, Hull
Norah Laidman, daur. 12 born Ireland, Belfast
John H. Laidman, son, 10, born Northumberland, Blyth
Thomas Laidman, son, 6, born Hants. Southampton
Richard Laidman, son, 3, born Hants. Southampton
Margaret Holden, serv. single, 16, General Servant Domestic, born Lancs. Liverpool
1911 census return: RG14PN5989 RG78PN274 RD99 SD2 ED1 SN38
Hampshire, Southampton, Claremont, The Avenue
Laidman, James Harper, Head, Married 38 years, M, 60, Shipbuilder - Manager, born Hartley Northumberland
Laidman, Hannah, Wife, Married, F, 57, born Walker Northumberland
Laidman, James Harper, Son, Single, M, 28, Shipbuilder, born Hull Yorkshire
Laidman, John Head, Son, Single, M, 20, Auctioneer, born Blyth Northumberland
Laidman, Norah Kathleen, Daughter, Single, F, 22, Governess, born Belfast Ireland
Laidman, Richard, Son, Single, M, 13, At School, born Southampton Hampshire
WWI Medal Rolls: Served with 8 Lond R, Corporal, no. 370 787, Lab C no. 614 090. Victory Medal, British War Medal.
Geoffrey Wade Laidman writes (October 1998): There is some question on how James Harper Laidman entered the USA. It may have been illegally after arriving in Canada by ship. He worked as a naval architect in England, but was out of work during the depression. To help support the family, his wife Isabella served as a stewardess on two around-the-world cruises during 1927-1930 (I have several art carvings and other items she obtained while in China). The family was finally reunited in the US in 1931.
1883: 4 Naylor's Row, Dryport, Kingston upon Hull, Yorks
1891: Blyth, Tynemouth, Northumberland
1915-1916: Spring Road, Southampton
1916-1917: 107 Westridge Road, Southampton
1923-1927: 82 Gordon Avenue, Portswood, Southampton
1927-1928: no mention
1928-1929: 16 Suffolk Avenue, Southampton
Rebekah Laidman-Simonds (the daughter of John Neil Laidman) writes in June 2002: “JHL was a superintendent of a ship yard in Southampton, England; he married Bella Snowdon, whose family had an ownership interest in shipyards in Belgium and England or maybe Scotland, something McClintock I think [there is probably confusion with McClintock Marshall, a steel company in Pittsburgh, for whom JHL worked as a naval architect], (I assume the Southampton facility was one of them). I believe Joan has someone's (perhaps her grandfather?) obituary clipping (I have seen this) that mentions they were world renowned yacht builders (my father had told me that they built barges). The economy soured and as a result the shipping business was lost.
JHL leaves - there is speculation here. 1. He deserted the family (ladies man -true to the name). 2. Took vast riches ran and hid them in the USA (I very seriously doubt this, I have never seen any indication of great wealth, although "hope springs eternal.") 3. Left the UK to find employment in the USA. I was also told that he jumped ship and came into the USA illegally. The illegal part seems to be undisputed. This raises one of my BIGGEST questions: Why would an attractive, educated, successful, British Gentleman come into the USA during a time when the USA was letting just about anyone in? I would like to find out the year and check to see if there was a immigration moratorium in effect. As far as I know his immigration status remained unchanged the entire time he lived here. So even if there had been a solvable problem at the time, I would think he would have corrected the problem eventually - UNLESS there is a more sinister reason lurking in the past waiting to be discovered!
They story continues: Joan [his sister, R1018] is sent to Paris to live with her Aunt Jessie and Uncle Edgar so she can attend school there. James and Neil are sent to a private boarding school in England. Ted is attending a public school. The private schools make sense to me, that is very common in England from what I have heard. The public school and what Ted was doing is a mystery - I will have to ask him about that. While the children are attended to, Bella gets a job on one of the Cunard Line vessels (I used to know white or red - but I have forgotten) She travels around the world on this vessel - four times I believe. I have some of the photos. I also have some of the dolls she collected, and a book about them that Terry (2nd wife of JHL) had given to me that is about some of them. I also have a small wooden chest that she reportedly acquired during those voyages.
My father's mother died when he was 14 years old. He was born in 1916. Thus, if my father is correct about how old he was when his mother died, all of this was happening prior to 1930 - which makes the JHL immigration thing really mysterious! From what I understand (I went to Ellis Island years ago) is that the only reason that JHL - or anyone would not have been allowed into this country would have been if there had been a problem with the law, or he had some kind of nasty illness like syphilis.
After all the round the world stuff, Bella and children reunite and take passage on a ship - steerage section. There had been an argument about where the disembarkation took place. Joan had insisted that they came into Norfolk. Ted insisted it was at Ellis Island, New York. Ted had his stamped passport - he won! Joan has since revised her story to say that they originally went to Norfolk. They were to me met by Bella's sister Margarite who stood them up. Since there was no family to claim them at Norfolk they had to go through Ellis I. Any story that Joan relates that involves Margarite will have Margarite playing the role of villain. They did not get along. Joan claims Margarite was a nasty drunk - but I digress. I never met Margarite - out of loyalty to Joan. I wish she were alive now - she would be fascinating to talk to about all this. JHL was employed as a naval architect by Bethlehem Steel in Bethlehem, PA. He had a falling out with them and went to San Francisco to work there (somewhere there is something about an interim stage, but it is only an impression I am left with. I also think he was responsible for a unique barge design during some part of his career).”
Worked for McClintock Marshall, a steel company in Pittsburgh, PA, later bought out by Bethlehem Steel, as a naval architect building bridges and barges (William Edward Laidman, interview, October 2002).
Unnamed newpaper cutting: LAIDMAN - Dec. 11, 1964, James H. Laidman, beloved husband of Teresa Laidman; loving father of Neil Laidman and William E. Laidman of Bethlehem, Pa., and Joan Laidman of Plymouth, England; brother of Thomas H. Laidman of Miami, Florida, Mrs. Percy Tinn and Nora Laidman of Ipswitch [sic], England. A member of the Olympic Club.
Services Monday afternoon, December 14, at 2 o’clock, at HALSTED & CO., 1123 SUTTER, ST.
Birth13 Aug 1885, Antwerp, Antwerpen, Belgium
Death13 Oct 1933, Philadelphia, Philadelphia County, PA, USA Age: 48
Death MemoFamily Bible
BurialNorfolk, VA, USA
FatherJohn SNOWDON , 8257 (1855-1920)
MotherJanet (Jessie) Murdoch GUTHRIE , 8258 (1859-1948)
Antwerp (Belgium) Police Immigration Index, 1901-1915:
Snowdon, John, [?mar w/] Guthrie, Janet; [born] West Hartlepool 1855
Snowdon, Bella, Anna; born Antwerpen 1885
Snowdon, Jessie; born Antwerpen 1887
Snowdon, Jan [sic, for James]; born Antwerpen 1892
Snowdon, Marguerite; born Antwerpen 1895
Snowdon, Robert, John; born Antwerpen 1898
Snowdon, John, Jozef, [?mar w/] Hazelwood Mabel, Alice; born Antwerpen 1883
Snowdon, John, Walter; born Southampton 1913
Snowdon, Gertrude, Hazel; born Southampton 1913
1911 census return: Not found
1912: 345, Longue rue d’Argile, Antwerp, Belgium
At James Harper Laidman's funeral (15 November 1920), a wreath was presented "in loving remembrance of dear father, from Jim and Bella."
According to William Edward Laidman (October 2002), before they were in Antwerp, the Snowdons had a shipbuilding interest in Glasgow: “Snowdon, Laidman & Murdoch”. Bella was diagnosed with a tumour on the brain. She was operated on, but without success, and survived a few days, paralysed on one side, before dying.
Marriage29 Jun 1912, Antwerp, Antwerpen, Belgium
Marr MemoSt Boniface
District of: British Consul General for Belgium at Antwerp
1912. MARRIAGE solemnized at Antwerp, in the British Consulate General
No. 15 June 29 1912
James Harper LAIDMAN, 29, Bachelor, Naval Architect, Claremont, the Avenue, Southampton, [father] James Harper Laidman, Naval Architect
Isabella Ann SNOWDON, 26, Spinster [no profession], 345 Longue rue d’Argile, Antwerp, [father] John Snowdon, Marine Engineer
Married in the British Consulate General according to the Provisions of the Foreign Marriage Act, 1892 by me Cecil Hertslet H.M.’s Consul General
This marriage was solemnized between us,
James H. Laidman
Isabella A. Snowdon
in the presence of us,
Harry Tuck Sherman U.S. Vice and Deputy Consul General
ChildrenRobert , 8260, R1003 (1913-1913)
Birth10 May 1900, Sedalia, Pettis County, MO, USA
Death1 Feb 1985, San Francisco, San Francisco County, CA, USA Age: 84
FatherMichael John SULLIVAN , 12156 (1866-1930)
MotherTeresa C. MEYERS , 12157 (1871-1940)