STUTELY, London Colney & Shenley, circa 1829

August 2001

Nat Smith of Halifax, Nova Scotia, says: I am looking for information on my GGG grandfather Charles Stutely, who in the 1881 census put Colney, Hertford, England as his birthplace. I haven't been able to find any reference to Colney on your web site or that of any one else. Does this town exist? if so are there records for the period of about 1829, and are they easy to access? I just found out who my GGG grandfather was, as I only just started on my father's side of the family tree, and my grandfather was born in London so all of his family comes from England. It's a large country, and I thought Canada was hard to research in!

It is important to realise that during a census the people were asked where they were born. The reply was meant to be the town or parish but sometimes it was the name of a hamlet - or even a farm. If you look at the 1881 census index entry again you will see that it actually says "L Colney" which is undoubtedly short for London Colney, Herts, rather than the nearby Colney Heath. Both were hamlets in the liberty of St Albans. If you check the census microfilm you will probably find he described the county as Herts - as the use of the unqualified "Hertford" as the county name is an inappropriate and misleading Americanism adopted by the LDS in their indexes.

The surname Stutely and its variants are uncommon in Hertfordshire although there are a few at Ippollitts (some way from London Colney) on the 1881 census, and the nearest in the 1851 census (not all indexed) was an Elizabeth Stuckey, a 70 year old sempstress born at Cobdenhill [now the name of part of the old Roman road, Watling Street, at Radlett - not very far from London Colney] and lodging with a household in the Market Place, St Albans.

A quick look at familysearch shows a Charles STUKELEY was baptised on 12th October 1828 at Shenley, Herts, the son of John and Elizabeth Stukeley [try batch number C048851 if you want to look for any siblings on the same register]. London Colney is only a couple of miles from Shenley and would have been the nearest church. He is very likely to be your Charles Stutely and when you check the microfilm of the parish register at your nearest LDS Family History Centre you could find that it records that he was born at London Colney - and it should also give the occupation of his father.

You should not worry about the difference in spelling - the 1881 census shows Charles was an outfitter's porter - so he was probably not well educated - while most people living in London Colney around 1830 would have been illiterate and may not even have been able to write their own name.

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