Hertfordshire Genealogy

Guide to Old Hertfordshire


Genealogy in Hertfordshire

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July 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

30th July

Your Questions Answered

How did you say his name was spelt???

--- and where was he born???

Only a few days ago I published a query where the surname "Sirrerman" was spelt in a number of different ways. And what happens? I get an even more complicated case. extending a nine year old query about PAYNE, Long Marston, Tring, 19th century. If my analysis is correct the result shows even more variation. I believe that Shilliford Pain (1805), Shettebor Pain (1829), Silifer Payne (1841), Shillifer Payne (1851), Shilvepher? Payne (1861 - possibly sometime recorded as Silvester), Siliphar Payne (1871), Shiliphar Paine (1881), and Shilloper Payne (1884) are all references to the same person. (In some cases the spelling may be that of the modern index). To make matters worse, while he appears to have lived in the area immediately north of Tring from his marriage in 1829 to his death in 1884 his place of birth is given in the censuses as Not Hertfordshire (1841), Unknown Beds Parish (1851), Ivinghoe, Bucks (1861), Dagnall, Herts [sic] (1871) and Tebworth, Beds (1881).

     My initial detailed analysis suggested that the uncertainty of location resulted from him being born somewhere near the Beds / Bucks / Herts border near Dagnall but on exploring further I find a suitable baptism at Chalgrove, Beds (which is near Tebworth). Shilliford's siblings appear to have been born in various parts of Bedfordshire (perhaps ending up near Dagnall?) and this mobility strongly suggests a possible gypsy connection - which needs some further research in Bedfordshire - which I have mapped out.

     A linked query, about Emma Payne in the 1901 census, illustrates the importance of looking at original documents critically - and understanding how the documents came to be created. In this case amendments in the enumerator's book to the census data as originally collected clouds the relationship between two of the children and the head of household and his wife.

Long Marston




29th July

St Albans

Some Small St Albans Football Clubs

Following the earlier posting of a picture of the Stanville Football Club in 1897/8, Mike has sent two further pictures of small local teams - Glenfield Football Club in  1910/1 and Adult School Football Club, cup winners in 1921/2. The Glenfield picture was badly damaged and the unrestored original is available for inspection. Mike also runs a web site St Albans Own East End.

Can you identify anyone in the teams - or do you have similar early photographs of Hertfordshire Sporting Teams which could be displayed on this site?





Sandridge & the 1873 Agricultural Strike

John  of Sandridge has asked if he can republish the page on the 1873 Agricultural Strike for the locally produced Neighbourhood News. He comments: It's a fascinating piece, and covers a local dispute that strongly mirrors the age but seems to have been almost entirely forgotten, yet must have been hugely important both at the time and with what followed.  The sort of thing which should be taught in our local schools today.

     I have a lot of information on Sandridge (my Sandridge ancestors go back several hundred years) and there is more that is not yet online. This request has has alerted me to the fact that the Sandridge pages urgently needed reformatting. The basic page reshuffle and creation of a menu (which may later be subdivided) is now complete - making it easier to add new material, and update existing pages. No new information has been added and the main Sandridge page will be totally rewritten in the next few days.

     It is perhaps worth mentioning that restructuring the Sandridge page (without adding any more information) involved 110 new or updated pages while 10 old pages were deleted.

21st July

Your Questions Answered


Two Answers relating to America today.

The Myth of Stanstead Abbey

Brian writes asking about the birth place of Robert Titus, who sailed to New England with the Hopewell in 1635. He provides details of a history written in 1881 which describes Robert as having been probably born at St Catherine's parish, near Stansted Abbots, Hertfordshire. In fact the passenger list for the Hopewell simply says he was from "St Katherines" and as the Hopewell was moored in London this presumably refers to St Katherines, near the Tower of London, where there have been docks on the Thames for over 100 years.

The "Myth" is an excellent example of how an error can be multiplied many times by people failing to check information against the source

HART, Ware Area, mid-19th Century

Valerie suggests that the Joseph Hart from Wareside could not have been the bglar who was injured at the Battle of Amtietam (American Civil War). I comment on the biographical information given on Ancestry, pointing out some factors that need to be considered in interpreting such information.

Hazelwood, Abbots Langley

I have added a post card of the house taken before the fire. If you compare the two views they are taken from identical viewpoints and the fire picture appears to be a modified version of the earlier view.

Abbots Langley

18th July

Visit a Church on Sept. 10th

Many churches and chapels are normally locked - so this is the day to visit all the churches and chapels in the area where your ancestors lived.

Your Questions Answered

SISSERMAN, Wymondley area, 19th Century

BRIARS/BRIERS, Stevenage,  1800-1860

"Sisserman" confirmed that Joseph Briars married Pricilla Sisserman/Sissemond and asked where the Sisserman family came from. I noted that the name spelling (at least as indexed) is very varied and I noticed references to William Sisseman (1837), Sissermon (1839), Sissaman (1841), Sissiman (1844), Sissaphon and Sisserman (1845), Sissman (1850), Siseman (1851) and Sisserman (1881 & 1884). I think we can assume that William was unable to write his own name!

A George Siperman who was buried in Stevenage in 1834 might be the George Sisman baptised in Huntingdonshire in 1780. Another younger George Sissaman was removed back to Stevenage in  1835


Little Wymondley

Great Wymondley

NUTTER, Rickmansworth, Late 19th Century

Kerry has pointed out that the public house at Mill End commonly known as "The Tree" was officially named the "Rose and Crown".

Mill End


William Hill, Transported to Australia, 1837

David has responded saying that William applied for his wife to join him in Van Diemans Land in 1840 but the application was turned down. Could the 1840 baptism of Faith, daughter of William and Catherine "Ells" in 1840 been arrange to show that he had a family in England? Possible my imagination is running wild - but not impossible.


For look ups, etc, try RootsChat

I am always happy to try and help if you are seriously stuck or need detailed advice. However if you only want someone to look something up for you, why not try RootsChat.


I recently revisited the web site Therfield.net - which is an excellent example of what we would all like to see for a village history site aimed at the genealogist. As A result I have undated references on the Therfield page - which has been reformatted.

11th July

A Message from the Resident Genealogist

Since the beginning of the month I have been very busy and become over-tired - which is why there was no blog last weekend. Things seem unlikely to ease up in the immediate future and I have decided to cut back on this site until our Australian visitor returns home at the end of September. I will be happy to continue to answer questions such as David's and will welcome updates such as Barney's - which take very little time - but help keep the site up-to-date. I will also try to fit in some recent unfinished business.

     Instead of a weekly blog all answers and corrections will be made as soon as they have been done - which could actually result in more but shorter blogs.  I may also slip in a new postcard image for the entry page (this time of Hatfield Park Street) and short book reviews but don't expect any major updates - the plan to reorganise Rickmansworth started over 6 months ago will remain unfinished for the time being.

Your Questions Answered

William Hill, Transported to Australia, 1837

William Hill was convicted of stealing coal in Hertford in 1836 and transported to Tasmania in 1837. David has been trying to find out who he was - together with details of the wife, Catherine, who he left behind in England. I am virtually certain William was born in Aspenden in 1806 but have less luck in finding definite information about his wife.



Barney has kindly pointed out that I had not included information on the Wigginton History Society and I have added a link to the St Bartholomew's Church Web Site - which includes details of the Society. He also pointed out the out of date reference to the Centre for Buckinghamshire Studies on the Coleshill page.



1st July

A Message from the Resident Genealogist

Because of what happened to my daughters Lucy and Belinda I run this site to help support mental health services in Hertfordshire. For the same reason it is important that I keep stress levels low or I can get distressed, and recently I have been trying to do too much. I hope you will understand if I haven't yet got round to answering your emails, etc. If I find the stress levels rising I say "forget it" and go for a walk in the countryside.

Of course it cheers me to see that half way through the year the charity has raised 481 pounds towards a target for 2011 of 1000 (which values my time at about the lowly sum of 1 an hour - while HALS charges 30 per hour). But it could be more. If you look at the donations list you will see that there were no donations at all in July and the total is made up mainly of a few generous donations (A big Thank You if you were one of them). It  is clear than many people whose questions I answer never make a donation - and if I answer such questions there is less time to answer questions from people who are likely to support the charity. I have therefore changed the wording of Ask Chris (and also Tell Me) to discourage questions which are less likely to attract donations.

Your Questions Answered

Winning Team, Greg Cup, 1911-12

Ann's grandfather was in the winning team and she has supplied photographs of the gold "medals" recording the victory on his watch chain. This is a good example of the small trinkets which record your family history which are so easily overlooked.

More on the Catling Watches

Dave has had an article on the subject published in Antiquarian Horology and perhaps this may lead to the discovery of whether there is a third Catling watch.

The Four Swans, Waltham Cross

Nick originally wrote asking about the demolition of the Four Swans, which claimed to go back to 1260, but was a 17th century building that had been so altered that little of the old building remained. However further investigation has turned up some interesting information on the hotel in the 19th century - including the conversion of part of the building by Nick's ancestor, Joseph Tydeman. The answer demonstrated what can be learnt by looking at the details that can be found on some old post cards.

Waltham Cross

Snatchup End, St Albans

There has been some correspondence from my earlier item on this subject from Dawn (who has sent some photographs) and Kate - who has published an excellent short piece on this part of St Albans. I have also discovered some extensive draft notes I made many years ago. I am currently looking at reorganising the page and adding some more press cuttings. In the mean time you may find Kate's web page of interest.

The other emails - not answered here

This week's "prize" dumbo email request was a request to the Webmaster for "the location of the Ashridge estate in detail e.g. surrounding villages, roads, etc."  Not only does the the Ashridge page on this web site have a direct link to the relevant information - but simply typing Ashridge into Google immediately come up with even more information and a map. The questioner clearly knew about google as they had a google email address! 

     One request asked how they could advertise an event (with no possibly connection with the work of this site) on my "events" page! Several others asked about dates outside the scope of this site, and/or posed questions unconnected with Hertfordshire.

Web Sites

Hertfordshire Memories

This web site has recently acquired eight satellite web sites - each run by different groups of volunteers. The sites (and the towns they cover when not obvious) are: 

Our Broxbourne [Broxbourne, Cheshunt, Hoddesdon, Waltham Cross], Our Dacorum [Berkhamsted, Bovingdon, ChipperfieldFlamstead, Hemel Hempstead, Kings Langley, Markyate, Tring], Our Hatfield, Our Hertford and Ware, Our Letchworth, Our Oxhey, Our Stevenage, Our Welwyn Garden City

  Post Card Views of Hertfordshire


  The Lych Gate at Aldenham Church Artichoke Dell, Chorleywood Common Loudwater House, Rickmansworth Shenley

The Webmaster's Report


Statistics for June

Site Totals: (comparison with June 2010): Visits 19025 (17460) of which 5350 (3705) were repeat visits within the month; 3285 (2635) different pages were viewed, the total number of page views being 47938 (45260). These all show a useful increase since last year.

Editorial Blog: This was viewed  423 (462)  times - less than last year - but there were less updates this June.

The Guide to Old Hertfordshire: Visitors to "Map" page 449 (181)..

Wikipedia: 409 (76) visits from 111 (32) different Wikipedia pages. The top page was for Aldenham (27 views)

Twitter: 23 followers get notification of Blog updates

Half Year Observations:  A check on my folders shows that I have been handling about 5 query related emails a day (in or out) - quite a few with attachments - and in addition I have probably been getting a similar number of circulars for other web sites, etc.  There were 117,000 visits to the web site in January-June - which works out at nearly one every two minutes.


This site supports the charity Herts Mind Network

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

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