WILKINSON, Hoddesdon, circa 1840
Mrs. Margaret A. Russell (RUSSGEN @t aol.com) of North Yorkshire says she is trying to get details of the birth of Peggy Mary Wilkinson. I know she was born in 1837 from family papers and death notices, but not the precise date or details of her parentage. The 1881 Census states she was born in Herts. No specific place given. Her father was William Wilkinson, Ship Broker who was deceased at the time of Peggy's marriage in 1857. She was living in York Road Hackney at the time of her marriage. She had a brother Henry who states on the census he was born Nr. Westminster but I am considering another brother Charles born 1840/41 at Hoddesdon and a possible William born/bapt. 1837 at Hertford. Would it be possible for Parish Records to be browsed for Peggy Mary in particular. I have tried the Hertford Registrar's Office but without success. Checked out IGI, no mention of Peggy or any of the other names but they definitely do exist, Peggy Mary was my husband's gt. grandmother!!
There are may reasons why a name does not occur on the IGI (familysearch) - see Baptisms and The Limitations of familysearch, and not only do I not look up in parish registers - but much more information is needed before it would be appropriate for anyone to look there. Instead I will pose a series of questions you may care to consider - which could bring you closer to the information you want - possibly using the facilities at your nearest LDS Family History Centre (see familysearch).
(1) You don't say why you believe the 40 year old Charles Wilkinson listed in the 1881 census as being born in Hoddesdon (who was living at Broxbourne) is Peggy's brother. If he is, his parents will be listed on his birth certificate which should be obtainable at HALS - assuming he was registered. The address will allow a look up in the 1841 census - and Peggy should be living at the same address. It seems likely that Charles Wilkinson was the son of the widow of Elizabeth Wilkinson (61, dealer in sand) who was living close to Charles in Burford Street, Broxbourne, with her Hoddesdon born sons John B (37, river laborer), James (22, watercress picker) and William (21, builders lab). Could this be the right family - a good reason to check the 1851 census for Hoddesdon.
Note that social mobility was low compared with today, and under normal circumstances I would not expect the son of a "ship broker" to end up as a general labourer living in a yard (such addresses often indicate the poorest quality accommodation). However occupations were often moved upmarket on marriage certificates and the above family's occupations were clearly linked with the River Lea. As a social check it is worth noting what Peggy's husband's occupation was.
(2) Is your information from the 1881 census index or from the microfilm of the original? Could it be that the original simply said "Hertford" and this was indexed as the county rather than the town? There were a couple of traders with the surname Wilkinson in Hertford in the 1850 Post Office Directory, although nothing to link them to your family.
(3) William Wilkinson is not listed for Hoddesdon in the 1839 Pigot's Directory or the 1850 Post Office Directory. You might expect a ship broker to live in London, or one of the Thames ports and you might like to look for him in a London Trade directory of about 1851 - which could give a London address which you could use to look up the family in the 1851 census. Someone who describes himself as a ship broker probably left a will, which could well detail his family. Worth checking.
(4) Have you tried other censuses to get a more precise place of birth for Peggy? As she must have had children, presumably between 1857 and 1871 or later, you may know where she was (from the children's places of birth) about at the time of the 1861 and/or 1871 census, and could get the actual address from the children's birth certificates.
(5) Where did Peggy get married? If it was a nonconformist church or chapel this would be evidence to suggest that she may not have been baptised in the Church of England - and hence her baptism (if she was baptised) would not be recorded in any parish register.
Margaret Russell (RUSSGEN @t aol.com) replied Thank you for your patient and informative reply. I do have other info regarding Peggy Mary's husband and offspring etc., but having printed out your reply to my query I will do some ferreting about myself and see if I can come with more. Thank you so much for your prompt reply..
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