Answers to Questions


REEKS, Little Munden/Standon, circa 1800

February 2002




Little Munden

John Reeks (johnreeks @t of Ballinasloe, Eire, says his great great grandfather, Mark Reeks was born in Little Munden 1812/1814 and is trying to establish who his parents were. The Reeks/Reekes family moved to Herts with the Jesuits, in the latter part of the 1700s, there is about 25yrs, missing from our history (1700s/1814).

I assume that the Mark Reeks you are interested in is the 66 year old shepherd, Mark Reekes, born Little Munden,  who at the time of the 1881 census, was living at Dane End, Little Munden, with his wife Mary Ann Reekes (58, born Aspenden).

You probably already know that the online indexes at familysearch suggest that the name Reek appeared in Hertfordshire in the early 19th century, and was concentrated in an area north of Ware. The online FreeBMD index (which contains information from civil registration so only starts in 1837) also shows a concentration in the Ware registration area. Similar information comes from the British Vital Records Index CDs and the 1881 census CDs.

While the indexes are not complete they are compatible with someone called Reeks coming to the area in the late 18th/early 19th century, and it is appropriate to review the information from the above indexes.

The first thing to note is a series of Reek marriages at Standon a few miles east of Little Munden. The earliest was Jospeph Reeks, who married Sarah Cakebread on 7th February, 1814 while the last was Ann Reeks, who married Henry Kent on 31st December 1836. They included a Mark Reekes who married Sophia Hughes on 17th September, 1827. The marriages are incompatible with a single family of six adult children, Joseph, Mark, Ann, George, Elizabeth and Ann - as there are two Ann's and Joseph would appear to be somewhat older than the rest. However the presence of the name Mark suggests a possible connection, and Jospeh's marriage is just about early enough to be your Mark's father. There is an apparent absence of any related christenings - but this is not surprising in view of what you have said. People had to get married by the Church of England there was no need to have your children baptised there (if at all). As it seems likely that the Reeks were Roman Catholic their children would presumably have been privately baptised. I must admit to knowing nothing about what Roman Catholic records, if any, survive. However I believe there is a booklet which may be able to help you sold by the Society of Genealogists.

The 1881 census contains more clues. The Ann Reeks who married Benjamin Boultwood was living with her husband at Old Hall Green, Standon, - and was aged 84 and born at Standon. The Ann Reeks who married Henry Kent was also living with her husband, at Standon Lordship, and was 73 and born at Standon. These records establish that Reeks were in Standon before 1800.

I have access to one other index that could help - The National Burial Index, which includes the burial register of Standon between 1800 and 1850, and two entries relate to people born before 1800. John Reeks was buried on 27th Jun 1821 aged 66 (born ~1754/5) and Ann Reeks was buried on 16th February 1840 aged 78 (born ~1761/2). These two could well be the couple who originally came to Standon.

I don't claim to have found every relevant entry in the indexes I have mentioned, but your next stage should be to check what the registers actually say (not just relying on my extracts of the index entries) and to try and get a better idea of who was who from the 1851 census for the Standon/Little Munden area.  Unfortunately there are not many LDS Family History Centres in Ireland and your nearest is probably Limerick, so you may need to plan your strategy carefully.

July 2004

Danielle Barry (chris_danielle @t of Canberra, Australia, writes: I am writing in regard to the information you provided to John Reeks in relation to his query about his Gt Gt Grandfather Mark ReeksMark Reeks and his wife Mary Ann Newland are in my Family Tree as Mark's brother Thomas is my Gt Gt Gt Gt Grandfather.  Mark Reeks parents were Martin Reeks (b.1793 in Soberton d. 1872 in Standon) and Elizabeth Ann Pickett (b.1785 Standon)- I have more info on Martin's parents and grandparents.  The Reeks appear to originate from Soberton Hampshire where I have Mark Reeks Gt Gt Gt Grandfather Martin Reekes (the 1st?) born 1630 and died 1694. Throughout my research on this side of my family I have found that by the late 1800's a lot our Reeks family had adopted the more 'pleasant sounding' surname RICKS rather than Reeks. Earlier records show it as Reekes, then Reeks and more recently Ricks. My Gt Gt Grandfather is known as James RICKS son of Thomas REEKS (b. 1821 Gt Munden married Elizabeth WREN).  Most of this info was provided to me by Richard Reeks who like myself  and Chris is also a descendent of Martin and Mary Ann Reeks and has done extensive research on this line in our family.

February 2006

See also WEBB, Standon, circa 1851

December 2007

Iain Riddell (iain.riddell @t of Calgary, Canada, writes: Just thought I would tell you about George Reeks from Standon, born in 1822. In the 1841 census he was living with his family in Standon: dad Joseph Reeks b.c1795, woodman, his wife Sarah, and two younger sisters, Mary and Elizabeth George married Mary of a similar age and became a gamekeeper for someone around Standon / Ware. He and his wife had five children in Hertfordshire: Alexander, Harriet, Martin, Joseph and Winifred, before they all upped sticks and went of to Devon to work as gamekeeper (we think for the Earl of Devon, but that just family legend).  George and Mary had another five children in Devon as they moved around estates.  The children seem to have dispersed across the country. I have found Reeks lines in Staffordshire / Birmingham, Tiverton / Devon and Norfolk, the eldest daughters also travelled about and the youngest daughters clustered around Tiverton.  I think Alexander may have gone to America but not sure yet.  George died in 1892 and Mary in 1902.  I am descended through Joseph who also was a gamekeeper (having tried carpentry and returned to it). He also had many children in Tiverton as did his son Ernest who was a groom to somebody based in London in 1904.  Essentially a lot of Reeks not in Hertfordshire seem to have come from George, even possibly a branch in the north-east from his son Martin (who went to Birmingham raising a large number of sons.)

Not at all sure how George fits in with the other Hertfordshire Reeks though.

Your George is presumably the son of Joseph Reeks and Sarah Cakebread mentioned earlier, who married in Standon in 1814. John Reeks, who asked the initial question in 2002, has not let me know how his research has progressed, and in any case many more records are now available online, or on CD, since I first addressed the matter. Danielle Barry clearly has access to a lot of information - but possibly not immediately linked to Joseph and his son George. The problem is that there seems to be a death of baptism information to link children to the right parents - see Where is my ancestor's baptism before 1837? for possible reasons.

I am alerting John and Danielle to your interests, as since they wrote they may have obtained further information, and between you it may be possible to link your ancestors with theirs.

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

Page updated December 2007