Hertfordshire Genealogy

Answers to Questions


WELCH, Flamstead, 18th century

March 2002




Mrs M Mealey (m-healey @t talk21.com) of Leek, Staffordshire, said (summarising a number of messages) I am at a stand still. I cannot trace where William Welch came from. He married Mary Grace at Flamstead on 12 October 1767 and the witnesses were Layton Kilby and Richard Neal. William Welsh and Mary Grace stated they were from this parish but they only had to live there 6 weeks, didn't they. Their children, baptised in Flamstead, were William (1769 - possibly died in infancy?), Mary (1772), Elizabeth (1774), Thomas - my ancestor (1776), Sarah (1779), William (1781), Hannah (1790). The first Welch appeared in the village in 1750, a Thomas Welch, but he only had 2 girls. Then there was a Joseph - I discarded him as he married a girl from Kings Walden and married and stayed there. I have drawn a 15 miles radius with no success can you help me please.

I suspect that you are reaching the stage where you have run out of the easily accessible and indexed records and need to assess how much time and money you want to spend on taking the research further back, bearing in mind that success is not guaranteed.

The most important thing to do is look at what you know for certain, what is supposition, and where "negatives" may be due to incomplete records, incomplete or inaccurate indexing, incomplete searching, or some similar cause. For instance you mention that the first Welch to appear in the village was  a Thomas Welch in 1750 - and I suspect that what you really mean is that the first mention in the baptismal and marriage registers was the baptism of one of his daughters in 1750. When you say Thomas only had two girls - you possibly mean that only two were baptised in the Flamstead Parish Church - and that you do not know how many children he had (possibly baptised somewhere else, and possibly including your William) before that date.

There are two indexes which you may not have consulted, both obtainable from the Hertfordshire Family and Population History Society. One is the Militia list index for Flamstead (which lists adult males between 1758 and 1786 - and may be later) which will almost certainly mention you adult Welch males - and may give some clues to their age, occupation, etc. The other is the Monumental Inscriptions index - although most people buried in the 18th century would not have had a quality stone grave marker which would have survived and still be legible.

If you visit familysearch and look in the library catalogue for material on Flamstead you will undoubtedly find the microfilms of the parish registers (including the burial register which I suspect you haven't seen) and other documents - perhaps including old account books - which could include early references to the family. These can be ordered and viewed in your nearest LDS Family History Centre (see familysearch for address) and of course at HALS, in Hertford, and possibly elsewhere. (You will find it useful to have access to a good book on parish records for family history research if you want to make the most of such records.)

In addition there may be manorial records which contain relevant material - and also old estate records. HALS can undoubtedly advise - many do not survive and others are scattered in unlikely places. Many may only be available to personal callers at HALS or some other record depository.

Many of these unindexed records may be difficult to read (unless you are experienced in 18th century scripts) and to make the most of them you need to be familiar with the village as it was, and its main landowners - i.e. The New History of Flamstead - and relevant parts of the Victoria History of Hertfordshire.


Eric Kilby (ejkilby @t paper.org.uk) of Swindon, writes: I'm not sure how useful this information is but the 2 witnesses mentioned at the 1767 marriage: Layton KILBY and Richard NEALE were brothers-in-law. In fact Richard NEALE married Judith KILBY in Flamstead on the same day as William WELCH married Mary GRACE (Layton was a witness at both ceremonies). Layton and Judith were children of Richard KILBY, yeoman, of Flamstead. The KILBYs were quite well established in Flamstead but also had links across the border in Bedfordshire, particularly in the parish of Caddington. I would recommend looking for information in wills and probate records (I think an index is available from HALS), as this has helped establish various relationships more clearly

Probably coincidental but I notice that a Thomas WELCH married a Martha KILBY in Hatfield in 1802. Regards and congratulations on such an excellent and informative site.

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