SIMMONDS, Luton or Great Gaddesden, mid-19th century

June 2001

Ann Mansey (jmansey @t of Kingston, Ontario, Canada writes I now live in Canada but was born in Luton, Beds. I am searching two names - Simmonds and Russell. Simmonds has me stumped. This is my Grandmother's maiden name (maternal.) The mystery is John Simmonds my G/Grandfather. John married Evangeline Clarke in 1884 in Luton Reg. Office (I have cert.) He gave his age as 30 and occupation as carriage smith. I next located him in the 1881 census in Aldershot in the Army Ser. Corp. age 27 stating he was born in Luton. I have his enlistment papers showing he enlisted in 1876 and served in S.A. and Egypt. His occupation was Horse and Carriage Smith. He also gave his Mother as next of kin....Caroline Simmonds. Problem, all dates lead to one conclusion that he was born in 1854. I cannot find a John Simmonds born in Luton during that year however the one John Simmonds born in that year (or at least registered) is in Herts. Born in Waterend, Gt. Gaddesden, Father Daniel and Mother Charlotte (nee Crocket.) On John's Marr. Cert. he states that his father is William Simmonds (deceased) his occupation is given as butcher. Searched in Beds. - nothing. He seems to have been very consistent when giving his age on documents. I can only find one Caroline Simmonds in the index of 1851 census for Beds. She does have a John Simmonds who is age one which means that he would have been born in 1850 and again I cannot find a birth Reg. in 1850 or either side. So I am trying to find out if the John of 1854 could be the one. Is it possible that this Johns parents died and he was taken in by a Caroline and William. Do you have any other queries for the name of Simmonds. As I said I am stumped. With the exception of the Farmer family which seems to be deeply rooted in Bedfordshire all of my other roads, Cox, Russell and maybe Simmonds seem to lead to Hertfordshire. I have recently become a member of the Herts. Fam. & Pop. His. Soc. I have searched IGI, GRO, BVR, NBI/ .

I suspect that the Great Gaddesden reference is a red herring - which means that this is not strictly a Hertfordshire query - although as Luton is close to the county boundary I am happy to give some general advice.

There could be a number of reasons why you have not been able to find details of his birth. It may not have been registered as it was not compulsory in 1854. It may have been lost in the preparation of the indexes - see A Comedy of Errors - in which case a direct enquiry to the Registrar of Births Marriages and Deaths at Luton may find him. He may have been registered under a different surname and his mother married William Simmonds when John was young and he was brought up a Simmonds. He may also have had a past to hide - see What did your ancestor call himself - in which case you may have serious problems.

You say John's Father was a butcher, and if he had his own shop he would probably be listed the trade directories for Luton and/or Bedfordshire - which would give an address so you could find the family in the 1861 or 1871 census returns. In addition his mother was widowed by 1876 - and I am wondering whether the 49 year old widow, Caroline Simmons, born Chicksands, Beds, and visiting Shefford, Beds, at the time of the 1881 census, could be his mother.

Ann Mansey (jmansey @t replied: Thank you so much for taking the time to reply to me.  I will take your advise and contact the Registrar of B, M.&D in Luton which may turn him up somewhere.  I will also go the apprenticeship route as he was a smith and fitter when he enlisted.  I have been the trade directory route to no avail.  Anyway, I will be searching deeper and hopefully will find John Simmonds in Luton, Beds. 

I really like your web site and will use it often because who knows what may turn up.  I still have the Russells, Cox, Marlow and Howard families to follow up in Herts. 

If you can add to the information given above tell me.


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