Hertfordshire Genealogy

Guide to Old Hertfordshire


Genealogy in Hertfordshire

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February 2011 Archive


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This Blog is to provide up-to-the minute information on updates together with some background on how I run this web site, plus more general genealogy news.

If you have any Hertfordshire history news that should be reported here, please Tell me about it

For more recent items see the Current Blog


25 February 2011

Apologies to everyone who has contacted me in the last week or so, and also to those who were expecting a new blog for the coming weekend. For various reasons - including toothache and the coming 10th anniversary of the death of my daughter Belinda - I have not been sleeping well.

Rushing to try and catch up could well send my stress levels soaring and prove counter-productive, and while I will be posting some draft updates the next blog, with details of two weeks updates, in a week's time, and there may be delays in replying to recent messages.

17 February 2011


The Resident Genealogist


I am not the most organised individual and over the years my library of book gets more disorganised and more scattered as it expands out of my overfull office. I have decided enough is enough and started  a major spring clean. As a result I am already selling off some material on ebay (currently mainly Buckinghamshire) to make room while other non-local history books are going to a local charity shop.

Online activity this week has been dominated by people who have kindly donated material to help improve the site. In particular Bill Hardy has produced scanned imaged of old post cards of Thorley (near Bishops Stortford) while thanks to Martin Thompson I now have access to digital copies of some rare references works relating to Berkhamsted from the early 20th century. Such help is always appreciated

In addition to the changes reported below there have been some queries which were answered quickly off site, and others where more information was requested. Three people were supplied with high resolution digital scans, one because it showed the contact's house 100 years ago, another for a book illustration, while another may end up on a commercial web site.. I am planning a web page discussing various copyright and related issues, following a query about quotations from The Mortonia (published nearly 90 years ago).

 Post Cards of Thorley

provided by Bill Hardy


Thorley Church

Thorley Church in 1899

Thorley Church used 1904

Thorley Hall

Thorley Rectory


Meeting on BT Archives

The Herts Family History Society meeting on 26th February is on the B. T. (telephone) Archives - Future meetings are on "Fobidden Love" and "Old Watford newspapers' horticultural competitions before World War I"


The Parish of Thorley

There has been extensive correspondence with Bill Hardy, who has updated "From the Archives" section of the church web site. As a result he has provided a number of images of post cards of Thorley, and I have significantly extended the pages on this village, to include information on some post cards linked to the village.  Relevant updates have been made to Bishops Stortford Post Card Publishers,  I have provided information on the publishers of The British Mirror Series and the Canon Series - allowing the cards to be more precisely dated. Further pictures, of the locks on the River Stort, etc., will be added next week.


Hertfordshire Hospitals

During a quickie query from Lynda relating to the transfer of buildings, shrubs and trees from Denton Hospital to Watford Isolation Hospital I discovered the web site Lost London Hospitals and have now set up a Hospitals subject page.

Some useful Berkhamsted Sources

Martin Thompson has kindly provided digital images of four booklets which contain very useful information about Berkhamsted on the first few years of the 20th century. I have posted many pictures and advertisements from the Souvenir of the 1902 Coronation. Details of the others will have to wait until I tidy up the Berkhamsted pages - hopefully later this year.



Souvenir of Coronation Day, Berkhamsted, 1902

Published Newman

Berkhamsted Guide,  circa 1910

Published Borrows

Berkhamsted Directory, 1919

Published Loosley

Old Berkhamstedians Association Members List



Visit of the Shah of Persia to Hatfield House, 1889

He also visited Earl Brownlow at Ashridge House, Alfred de Rothschild, Halton, Bucks, and Baron Ferdinand de Rothschild at Waddesdon Manor.




Clutterbuck's Sandridge - The Churchill Connection

Recently Ann requested a copy of the ROWLATT family tree from Clutterbuck and I decided to put online the whole of the Clutterbuck pages on Sandridge from The History of the County of Hertford (1815).


The Parish of Weston

Martin told me of a book on the parish, by Judith Evans, and I also took the opportunity to add some new links.


10 February 2011


Since the last blog I have had a lot of queries, some of which has not yet answered and some of which needs tidying up before being added to this site. A minor infection, plus antibiotics, has left me feeling under the weather. Postings planned for this week are being carried over to next week - for posting here on or before 18th February.

Hertfordshire Post Cards


Aldbury Rectory

by Loosley, pu 1905

Bedford Volunteers at Ashridge, August 1905

 by Downer

Hertford Heath

(Little Amwell)

by C Martin, pu 1910

Great North Road

Welwyn, pu c1910


 How the Romans may have affected who your ancestors married

What was the connection between Elstree and a stables in the West End of London in in the early part of the the 19th century? Did the couple net and married because of the traffic along an ancient highway? see Bull Baiter's Farm, Elstree for details.



Stagenhoe House, St Pauls Walden

Following last week's Blog Philip wrote asking for a high resolution scan of this picture as he is writing a web site article on the house. He has another article on his Hertfordshire ancestors in the press - for the April Issue (pub March 10) of Family Tree Monthly.


An American Connection with St Pail's Walden

Further to last week's item on LEWIS, Webster's Hall, St Paul's Walden, 17-18th Century Antony has pointed out that the Victoria County History (British History Online) shows that the manor of nearby Ayot St Lawrence was sold to Thomas Lewis in 1714 who died in 1718

    Jeff raises some interesting questions about English and Irish banks, which I am afraid is outside my experience - but perhaps someone else can comment,.


Tracking down property in Watford

Iain is trying to discover more about the property, sometimes called Hedges Yard, in Watford High Street - see  HEDGES, 122 High Street, Watford, mid 19th century. I record the history of the property between 1841 and 1912 and identify the building in an old photograph of the High Street. If you know of other pictures, particularly any which show the yard, Iain and I would be delighted to hear from you.


 The Online Guides are there to be used!

Occasionally I get questions where the questioner has rushed to ask a question when the answer is easily available in the online guides. This week I got a question where the answer could be found by clicking on "Family Events" in the main Menu, then "Burials" and then reading the page Looking for 20th Century Burials.

3 February 2011


I have to live a life ...

As mentioned in the previous blog, I am taking a bit of a break to catch up on a backlog of more domestic activities. Today I did some work in preparation for a lumberjack to cut down a 30 foot high tree which completely overshadows the garden. Tomorrow I am lunching with friends and doing some shopping. At the end of the week I need to sort out mistakes made by my bank ...

    For reasons such as these this week's blog is limited to cases where I have received a question or information from a visitor to the web site (please keep those messages coming), together with the monthly statistic report. Routine maintenance and updates are temporally on hold.

News from the Help Desk






An American Connection with St Pail's Walden

Jeff has found a 1733 Virginia Will in which a property is left to his ancestor Captain George Heale by a William Lewis. My answer touches on the importance of consulting the original will, the location of "Poles Warden", and the possibility of Captain Heale having any direct connection with Hertfordshire.

See LEWIS, Webster's Hall, St Paul's Walden, 17-18th Century 

For anyone with a similar problem I recommend following up the ideas in My Ancestors Emigrated from Hertfordshire.


Fanny or Frances? How can one decide?

In 2001 Glen asked about HAILEY, Hitchin & Welwyn, late 18th/early 19th century and nearly 10 years later John found the page in trying to resolve a problem. Frances Hailey was baptised in Hitchin in March 1894, while Fanny Hailey was baptised in the same church 7 months later. As Fanny is the diminutive form of Frances this is potentially a Right Name, Wrong Body problem. If you have a similar problem in your family tree my answer, Frances/Fanny HAILEY, Hitchin, bapt 1804, should give you some ideas.

     I sent details to Glen, and it turns out that he had already been this way and he sent details which showed how a further study of the marriages, and the witnesses, made the whole situation much clearer.


More about Bedwell Series Post Cards.

Graham alerted me to an entry in the 1910 Bedfordshire directory and as a result I found that Ernest Bedwell was trading as a hairdresser in Camberwell.

Can you Help?


The Gardens of Stagenhoe House, St Pauls Walden

Lottie is undertaking research on Stagenhoe for the Hertfordshire Gardens Trust, and I have provided a high resolution copy of the picture on the St Paul's Walden page. She is appealing for any other pictures which show the gardens. After she has finished the report she will be looking for pictures showing the gardens at Lockleys, Welwyn.

Berkhamsted Football Club

Pictures of the Apsley Charity Cup winners in 1900 and 1904 kindly provides by Martin, grandson of the Secretary,

 E E Thompson

The Webmasters Report






Statistics for January

Site Totals: (comparison with January 2010): Visits 19669 (20790) of which 4405 (4302) were repeat visits within the month; 3109 (2907) different pages were viewed, the total number of page views being 57090 (62915)

The Editorial Blog: Five blogs posted in the month - viewed  495 times. (Not available in January 2010)

The Guide to Old Hertfordshire: Visitors to "Map" page 609. (Not available in January 2010)

Find It: Used 758 times (502).

Wikipedia: 405 (62) visits from 106 (23) different Wikipedia pages 

Rogue Usage: In checking the web sites which access this one there are a lot of references to single pictures - in many cases as illustrations to blogs which "borrowed" the picture. However there are clearly a few busy sites which access pictures on a large scale. (This does not affect the number of visitors to this site - but does inflate the number of hits)  One site started accessing one particular photograph in December and has already has generated about 0.25 Gigabytes of bandwidth. Another site started up at the end of December, and was active during January, but has now been closed down by the ISP for terms of service violations. Looking back I found a third site made over 6000 accesses to pictures in December but these have now stopped (possibly one of my pictures used as a Christmas Card on the home page of a busy games site.)

Emails: I decided to try a new filing systems and address book to try and keep on top of my online correspondence. This shows that in January I have sent or received at least 155 personal emails. (This total does not include automatic mailings from genealogy web sites, etc. or the very larger number of messages I get about Hertfordshire items for sale on ebay). These involved contacts with over 65 different people or organisations. At the end of the month I had one unanswered query, and two more that need more work, which will be answered before the next blog. Four other emails are "pending" because further action is needed over a longer period.

Overall: While there has been a small decrease in overall visitor numbers. it should be remember that the majority of visits are short ones (little more than a quick glance at a single page). The figures suggest that the changes made in 2010 to attract the more active visitors are working well.

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January 2011

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