Hertfordshire Genealogy

Guide to Old Hertfordshire


Genealogy in Hertfordshire

Editorial Blog

June 2011 Archive


Home Page

Currant Blog

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

23rd June

Message from the Resident Genealogist

I have given myself a "holiday"

This week has been chaotic,  I have not been sleeping well, and I have been quite busy with some background work for my other blog.. Normally I finalize the changed pages on Thursday for posting by the weekend. This morning I got up, and went to the computer to find there was no connection with internet - presumably between my modem and my ISP. I then looked at the number of tasks I had flagged up to complete - there were a dozen - and the more urgent ones had been dealt with by email. I paused for a minute and then I said "No". - I am supposed to be retired and I urgently need to spend a day or two in getting my household accounts into order.

    So I have selected two items - one very immediate and the other to justify the front page picture. Expect a bumper update next week - possibly on the 1st or 2nd of July, so I can include include the statistics for June.

Herts FHS

Early Air Photographs of Hertfordshire

On the 25th June the Herts Family History Society will be holding a meeting on "Aerofilm Collection of Historic Photographs of Hertfordshire" at their normal meeting place at Woolmer Green. The Computer Group will be considering  "Using The Genealogist.co.uk"


Michelle's Witkowski ancestor was a servant for the Baker family in Bayfordbury during the middle of the 19th century. I was able to provide her with a brief history of the house from 1759 to 2011, but cannot help on the whereabouts of any estate papers for the time she was there.


16th June 2011

Your Questions Answered




Your Questions Answered




Your Questions Answered

Snatchup End, St Albans

Carole's Waller ancestors lived at Snatchup End (or Alley) and one of the family is mentioned in an old newspaper account of the theft of potatoes from James Peppercorn's field. I provide maps of the area which show Snatchup End, and explain the Waller involvement, as his house was near the pond where the thieves dropped the sacks of potatoes when they were spotted by the policeman.

    It is possible that her ancestor James Waller worked for my great grandfather, Jacob Reynolds, as he was an agricultural labourer living in the cottages nearest to Heath Farm. I also noted that my grandfather built his house adjacent to Snatchup Alley and I was born in a nearby nursing home,

Levick/Willmott at Harpenden

Betty writes to say she is the granddaughter of Dyson Levick and Lizzie Willmott and I have forwarded her message to Liz.


The Hertfordshire Yeomanry

Carol's father, Arthur Evans. fought in the First World War, and the only link with Hertfordshire is that in a photo the cap badge has been identified as the Hertfordshire Yeomanry, although he is know to have been in France with the Durham Light Infantry. As a result I have updated the page on the excellent book The Hertfordshire Yeomanry.

Some Issues  questions

If you are researching your ancestors who emigrated from England it helps to know a bit about the geography of the country. Yet again I get an otherwise excellent query about Herefordshire - which is a completely different county about which I know very little. To try and avoid further confusion I have emboldened the word Hertfordshire on the Ask Chris page.

     I also got yet another query about the display of "Grunged" email addresses on the web site - and can only reply that the approach taken is to make the address secure against the "spam-bots". Don't forget that one of the aims of this site is to share information, and if you email the original enquirer direct it could help if you also tell me so the information can be shared with others.

The Webmaster


Malcolm has just notified me that the Friends of Nettleden Church web site has just been launched. In addition to current church affairs it contains a short history and a few photographs - but I expect more photographs will be added. I have written to him suggesting some ways in which he can boost traffic to the web site,

First World War Centenary

Last week I mentioned the meeting held by the University of Hertfordshire Heritage Hub and so far I have had one response (thank you Anthony) which has been forwarded to the organisers. Has any one else any ideas? Would it be of interest to set up a Memories page area on this site or might it be more important to submit stories of our Hertfordshire ancestors who fought in the war to the Hertfordshire Memories page.

9th June, 2011

Message from the Resident Genealogist

Remembering the First World War

There is only three years to go and if you are planning to recognise the outbreak of the Great War it is time to start planning. That was the message behind a meeting on Tuesday organised by the University of Hertfordshire Heritage Hub which was attended by representatives of local history societies, museums, etc., from all over Hertfordshire. There were stalls showing the work being done at Wheathampstead and Bishops Stortford about work already in progress and a chance to meet people and exchange ideas. Two short plays relating to the war were performed by the Twisted Events Theatre Company, the one pictured here is God Save the King by Edmund Goulding.

    Should we plan something special for this site? Tell me if you have any ideas?


Your Questions Answered



Your Questions Answered





Your Questions Answered





Your Questions Answered





Your Questions Answered

ASHBY, Watford Area, Early 19th century

Richard is a descendant of the William Ashby born at Commonwood Common, near Sarratt, and is happy to exchange information on his branch of the family.  I update the page to allow him to trace his ancestral line back to about 1710 using familysearch and point out that HALS has a possibly relevant Ashby will dated 1717 - and a property document from 1661.



Zeppelins over Hertfordshire

Nothing yet about a possible bomb at Walkern in October 1916 - but Anthony has drawn my attention to a picture of a bomb crater at Redbourn dropped a month earlier, This is on the web site Hertfordshire Memories - and I have added an appropriate comment on that site.

NASH & HARWOOD, Welwyn, 19th century

Deborah reports she now has birth details for John Alexander Nash


WINGFIELD, Berkhamsted, early 19th century

Melvyn has not been able to find birth/baptism information for Matthew Wingfield who was born in Northchurch in 1816. It seems likely that no record of the event survives. A trail using the names at witnesses at weddings, a elderly widower living with his daughter in a census, a burial and a marriage over the county boundary strongly support the idea that his parents were William Wingfield and Sarah Carpenter.

    Many copies of parish registers are provided from scratched microfilms. One such copy has been partly cleaned up to show what can be done to rectify such problems.


 More sycophantic books by the Press family

At the end of the 19th century Truman PRESS was the editor of the Hertfordshire Standard newspaper in St Albans and also edited books such as Hertfordshire Men of Mark and Hertfordshire County Homes. Linda has come up with some more information on  the family book publishing empire. I have added yet more titles. It is now clear that Truman, his brother Charles, "Ernest Gaskell" (apparently a pseudonym for Carrie Amy Campion, who edited Hertfordshire Leaders: Social & Political) and "Alan North" (a pseudonym Truman used when living with Carrie in Devon) all published expensive limited edition books which were, in effect sycophantic biographies, etc., of the subscribers! A large number of volumes have been identified covering most UK counties.

St Albans

The Catling Graves at Bovingdon

In last weeks update to CATLING, Hemel Hempstead area, c. 1815 a picture of the grave of George Catling, one of the watch owners was omitted. I have added a picture of George and Daniel's stones, and an enhanced view of the writing on George's stone.


If You want free help ...

Why not read the guidelines. If not you may get a reply on the following lines

Thank you for your query but at the present time I am snowed under and cannot reply to all the requests I get. I am sure you will understand that I give priority to people who took the time, in formulating their requests, to include adequate information on the background and sources they have consulted, having first read and understood the suggestions on the "Ask Chris" page.

Family Events


The Dacorum Borough Council records for Heath Lane and Woodwells Cemeteries, Hemel Hempstead, Kingshill Cemetery, Berkhamsted, and Tring Cemetery are now available - with 29153 burial records to 2010. .The basic search free and I was disappointed to see that my daughter, Lucy Ann Reynolds, was recorded as Lucy Alan Reynolds.

Web Sites



Books by Hertfordshire Publications
Hertfordshire garden history: A miscellany Hertfordshire Bellfounders Children of the Labouring Poor

The Webmaster

Please help with keeping the links up to date

This site needs maintenance and at the time of writing this note there were 2686 external links, plus many additional email addresses, most of which have been grunged using " @t " However the URLs for web sites, and individual web pages, can change - or the site can be deleted altogether. Another change is that information is moved around sites - and my reference to a continuing page my no longer be relevant. Where I know there is a problem I can delete the link or try and correct it. This can be time consuming - for instance google searching to try and find if the page has moved elsewhere - and in important cases locating the lost page on the Way Back machine.

     In addition people change their email addresses [Have you told me if you have changed yours?] - while every year a few questioners die leaving their mailbox unread. Where I know an address is no longer responding I can indicate this - but of course I may not know why and the email may just have been diverted in error to the spam folder!

    So thanks to all who have helped. If you find a broken link, one which takes you to an inappropriate page,  or non-functioning email address please let tell me. One of the recently reported broken links was to a map showing the parishes of Hertfordshire which, some time ago, was "reorganized" by its owner to a different URL.

You can help

1st June, 2011

May has been a busy month

As some of you will have noticed, this "weekly posting" is a little late - as I have had rather more queries than usual, and have had a blitz trying to clear my May mail box. In addition I have been busy getting a very different blog, Trapped by the Box going. So far web traffic on the new blog is tiny compared with this web site - but it is growing fast - with 19 page views in March, 101 in April and 215 in May. This compares with over 50,000 page views on this site in May.

Next Blog planned to be ready for the Weekend of 11/12 June.

Message from the Resident Genealogist

Your Questions Answered





Your Questions Answered





Your Questions Answered






Your Questions Answered






Your Questions Answered





Your Questions Answered


Hertford Prison in 1871

Gary and Clive first raised the story of KING, Hertford, 19th century in 2002, and Clive has now updated the information about the prison at Hertford in 1871 - which was apparently still functioning in that year (prior to moving to the new prison at St Albans). William Henry King was then working as a prison warder, while in 1861 the census shows he was working as a railway policeman at Watford.


The Catling Graves at Bovingdon

In his search for CATLING, Hemel Hempstead area, c. 1815 Dave has visited Bovingdon churchyard. He has provided a plan showing the plots - together with photographs of the stones of other members of the family. I use one of the stones to show the processing of digital images can make it far easier to read old grave stones.

Dave also sent a digital photo of a Board erected in the church at Flaunden showing that George Cattling was one of the church wardens when the new church was built in 1838.



Did something go bump at Walkern on 1st/2nd Oct 1916?

John recently purchased an old post card in which Maud wrote to Mum (Mrs Holes of Walkern) saying "We are glad to hear that you are alright after the Zepp raid." By tracking down zeppelin movements in early October - and by identifying who Maud and her mother were - it is possible to identify the zeppelin was the one captained by Heinrich Mathy, which was shot down at Potters Bar a short time after it had passed overhead in the Walkern area. There is even a possible reason for bombs to be dropped in the area - see Zepplins, Walkern, October 1916. So are there any records of bombs falling on or near Walkern? Can you help

See The Tring Zeppelin for further information about zeppelins over West Hertfordshire.

Can You Help?



Half Moon, Hemel Hempstead

David's ancestor, Harvey Henry South, moved to Hemel Hempstead shortly before 1870 and died in 1872. It seems that information on the licensing the Half Moon Public House may not be available for this date but I was able to provide a picture showing ii, and a time line from 1750 to 1937.

Hemel Hempstead

SEARING, Cheshunt, 18/19th century

Paul is also researching this family and would be happy to exchange information.


Samuel Glendenning Payne

S. G. Payne was an Aylesbury, Bucks, photographer (and a relative of mine) who also took photographs over the county boundary into Hertfordshire. Peter has a number of photographs taken when Samuel was trading from 1 New Road Terrace, Aylesbury, which dates them to about 1870. Two show a country house and a third is at some kind of country show. Do you recognise the house - it could be in Herts or Bucks - and if we could identify the house it might be possible to identify the event.

Rogues Gallery

Some quick items from my mail box

  • I was delighted to get an invitation from Julie to an event, Remembering the First World War, being put on by the University of Hertfordshire and will report on it later.

  • The Wilstone page lists the inhabitants from the 1890 Kelly's Trade Directory, and includes a farmer called George Gregory. I was therefore delighted to hear from Stephen, of Bedford, that he has traced his wife's Gregory yeoman farmer ancestors in the area straddling the county boundary, with information back to 1505, Cross-boarder families always liven up research and there is an additional complication in the area where the Gregory family lived. There are two abandoned medieval villages, Tiscott and Betlow, which were for a time were "no mans land" in that they didn't belong to any parish - and are sometimes recorded in Bucks and sometimes in Herts

  • Christie's ancestors include the Goldsmith blacksmiths of Bushey (see The Old Forge, Bushey) and I have sent her some information about places to visit. One useful tip if planning a trip to the home of your ancestors is to start planning what you want to see before you finalise your itinerary. For instance Bushey Museum has limited opening days. I remember being very frustrated some years ago when I planned to visit a particular museum/art gallery in Florence on the last day of my holiday - to discover that was the weekday it was closed!

  • Gerard suggests that some of the cap badges on "Fall In" are from one of the Light Infantry regiments - but which one?

  • I often get queries which fall outside the scope of this web site, particularly when they are looking for information about living people or their relatives. Luc (lucas.swinnen @t gmail.com) of Kaggervinne, Belgium, is researching the aircrew of an RAF Bomber which was shot down in 1943, and would like to trace relatives of Ralph Frederick Garrod, who was born in Hertford in 1913.

  • Another query which ignored the guidelines has been referred to the relevant local newspaper.


Post Card Views of Hertfordshire

The Priory,

 Kings Langley

The Vicarage,

 Kings Langley

Station Road, Letchworth

by Frank Dean

Poultry Farm, Libury Hall,

 Little Munden

The Webmaster's Report


Statistics for May

Site Totals: (comparison with May 2010): Visits 20058 (19320) of which 5254 (3896) were repeat visits within the month; 3177 (2859) different pages were viewed, the total number of page views being 50192 (49212). These all show a useful increase since last year.

The Editorial Blog: This was viewed  466 (289)  times.

The Guide to Old Hertfordshire: Visitors to "Map" page 531 (191)..

Wikipedia: 419 (116) visits from 113 (27) different Wikipedia pages. The top page was for Ashwell (16 views)

Twitter: 25 followers get notification of Blog updates

This site supports the charity Herts Mind Network

Please consider making a donation to help the mentally ill of Hertfordshire

2011:   May    April    March    February   January

2010:  December   November  October   September   August   July   June  May  April   Earlier Editorials