Answers to Questions


ARNOLD, Ippollitts, 18/19th century

March 2002




Jeff Arnold (jeffarnold1 @t of Melbourne, Australia, says I am currently researching my ARNOLD ancestors from the St Ippollitts and surrounding parishes in Hertfordshire and I would very much like to find out if these families are related?

 Charles ARNOLD (b/c1836 St Ippollitts) and Emma Mary CAMPBELL (b/c1831 St Albans); -  Benjamin ARNOLD (b/c1809 Great Wymondley) and Mary GRAY; - and Frances ARNOLD (b/c1775 Ippollits) and Sarah SMITH; - Franciss ARNOLD (b/c1751 St Ippollitts), wife unknown; - Francis ARNOLD (b/c1712 St Ippollitts) and Susan FIELD.

Charles and Emma ARNOLD migrated to Melbourne, Australia in 1857, and are my GGGrandparents proven by their descendants Australian birth and death certificates. Charles' death certificate lists his birth place as Ippollitts but unfortunately notes his parents as unknown.

From what you say I guess Charles and Emma were married before they left - in which case there should be a UK marriage certificate - which should give the name and occupation of Charles' father, if he ever knew it - which he may not have done if he was illegitimate. 

Benjamin, age 42, and Mary ARNOLD, age 41, are listed in the UK 1851 census as living at 10 Ash Brook, St Ippollitts with 6 of their children, including a Charles, age 14.

Benjamin (72, farm labourer, born Ippollitts) and his wife Mary (72, straw plaiter, Ippollitts) were living at No 9 Ashbrook, St Ippollitts, according to the 1881 census CD. House numbering in small villages was very unusual in 1851 and still not that common in 1881 so I suspect that they were actually in the same cottage. A check on their immediate neighbours in the 1851 and 1881 census (and 1861 and 1871 as well) would indicate whether the house numbering was consistent - or whether the 10 in 1851 was the census enumerator's reference number rather than a house number.

Arnold is a very common surname and there were nearly 400 people with that surname living in Hertfordshire in 1881. (You must also be careful because Ippollitts is spelt in an unbelievably varied number of ways.)  The 1881 census CD shows a George Arnold (48, platelayer railway, St Ippollitts) and his wife living in Hitchin and a Joseph Arnold (36, farm bailiff farming 500 acres, St Ippollitts) at Stevenage. Maybe they were brothers of Charles - but if so Joseph had done very well in the world if his occupation is a guide - although he was only a farm bailiff of a large farm and not a farmer, and he is not listed as a farm bailiff in the 1882 Kelly's Directory.

Frances ARNOLD, age 69, is listed in the 1851 census as living alone at 16 Ash Brook, St Ippollitts, possibly the father and grandfather of Benjamin and Charles.

Possibly - but could also be an uncle or cousin - see The Inheritance of Single Christian Names and Right Name, Wrong body. Might even be completely irrelevant.

I obtained the birth/christening place and dates for all these people from the online IGI and the census information from a kind Herts List lookup.

The IGI at familysearch is an index to tell you where you should look for information - and the 1851 census lookup may have been selective (see the Ivory example in Right Name, Wrong body.) It is very important to follow up at least the key records - as at present you are rather like someone who has looked up the references in the back of an atlas but has not yet looked at the maps to see if they make sense.

At  the level you are researching there are excellent facilities for family historians in all the major Australian cities, and at the very least microfilms of all the documents mentioned should be available to you in Melbourne. (If no-where else on prior request at your nearest LDS Family History Centre - address on familysearch). I live in Hertfordshire but HALS is more than 30 miles from where I live - and almost unreachable by public transport - so at least some of the records you need may be more accessible to you in Australia, that they are to me in Hertfordshire.

The combined name Francis Benjamin runs through the 1st and 2nd ARNOLD generations in Australia which is an indication that there might be a link.

Would I be right in assuming that there is a direct line here and how would I go about proving it if it is true?

You would be very foolish to make such an assumption before you have made every reasonable effort to confirm the later generations. One of the problems with the internet is that it makes it easier for people who collect names without checking the facts to circulate inaccurate information as if it was the truth - see The Dangers of Internet Genealogy.

And if it is true how do I progress further back from Francis and Susan ARNOLD as there is no obvious link in the online IGI? Would there be a wills register or similar and would Agricultural Labourers make wills?

My Wills page needs updating but includes some relevant links. Very few of the poor made wills before the 20th century.

There is a Francis Arnold listed in the Parish of Ippollitts Militia Lists from 1758 to 1762, and 1778 to 1785. This may be 2 separate people. Do you know what the age limits were for men to serve in the Militia, and what was required off them?

I assume that this information came from one of the excellent Hertfordshire Family and Population History booklets - and many of these (I can't vouch for all) have an introduction which explains that the lists were of able-bodies people between the ages of 18 and 50 who were liable to serve. For most places the lists are relatively complete between 1758 and 1786 and to fully interpret the dates you give you also need to be certain of the years for which records survive,

I have asked a few questions here and I hope that you may be able to help me. I find your web site helpful for understanding how to unravel the personal histories of former Herts inhabitants.

You have asked a lot of questions - and the basic answer must be that you must follow up index references and make use of the excellent genealogical services available to you in Melbourne.

I have been unable to find much in the way of information about St Ippollitts from books here in Melbourne, I have ordered the "Yeoman of Ippolyts" through Amazon but it is a long wait for delivery, so maybe you might like to write an expose on Ippollitts in the near future!

I have just posted some information on Ippollitts.


Mark Arnold (mark.arnold @t writes: I've been researching my Arnold Ipollitts/Gt. Wymondley ancestors for 15 years and have accumulated a large amount of material, family anecdotes and other Australian Arnold ancestors I am happy to share with my new found relative, Jeff.  They go a long way toward answering all of his queries, although go no further back than 1781 - Francis Arnold born at Great Wymondley

Please let me know if you would like specific answers to Jeff's questions.

I think it will be adequate simply to post that you have information about the Arnold family that you are prepared to share. However don't let me stop you if you want to say more.

Unverified Arnold family anecdotes that warrant further investigation include stories of:

The St Albans Grand Steeplechase, outside the Turf Hotel, 1832
from A History of St Albans

If Edward Campbell worked at a St Albans Horse Stud in the 1830's he would undoubted known of (if not actually worked for), Thomas Coleman (1796-1877). Coleman was a noted trainer and licensee of the hotel which he named the Turf Hotel. He introduced the concept of steeplechasing into England as a spectator sport. The first proper steeplechase in England was held at Nomansland, a common where flat racing was held, not far from St Albans in 1830. The sport rapidly became popular and while Coleman discontinued the St Albans steeplechase in 1839, this was the year that the Grand National was started.

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

Link updated January 2008