LOVELL, Hertfordshire, circa 1800

September 2002

Margaret Ahern (mgahern @t of Victoria, Australia, writes: I am looking for family history before the year 1800 on Joseph Lovell. b 1800 (circa) at Hertford UK. He married Mary Dawson and came out to Tasmania some time in the 1830's (circa) I am trying to find his ancestors and names of any siblings. I am unsure as to whether they were born in England or Ireland. I would be grateful to get any info on my Lovell ancestors.

October 2002

Margaret later provided the following additional information: Joseph Lovell married Mary Dawson b1801 in England. Their first two children Samuel b circa 1823 and Robert b circa 1827 were also born in England. (As the next child born was in 1828 I am presuming they came to Tasmania during 1827-1828).

The following children were all born in Tasmania: Joseph b 1828, James b 1830 - d 1831, Thomas b1834, Sarah b 1836, Benjamin b1838, James b 1840 . I think that Joseph Lovell b 1800 may have been listed on the No 1 convict list what ever that is : but I have no details on that. I don't know what Ship they travelled on, but would be interested to find out.

I am a little worried about spending much time looking for your ancestor in Hertfordshire without having further information from Australia, particularly as you give no sources. The names and date you give appear to have come directly from the Ancestral File on familysearch. Following the recent changes on that site this information comes with the warning message "Ancestral File is a collection of genealogical information taken from Pedigree Charts and Family Group Records submitted to the Family History Department since 1978. The information has not been verified against any official records. Since the information in Ancestral File is contributed, it is the responsibility of those who use the file to verify its accuracy." I have emphasised the key words - and you should find it useful to look at The Limitations of Familysearch. While I am sure many entries on the Ancestral File are correct, my personal experience is that there are so many serious errors that information from this source should never be used without very careful checking.

The Ancestral Files says that Joseph Lovell was born in 1800 and died in 1878 - and I think we can assume that the birth date is no more than an intelligent guess based on the recorded age at death (which is not always accurate). The place of birth is given as ", Hertford, England." The commas are important and indicate the place was recorded as Hertfordshire and not Hertford. (Blame the LDS for using American county naming conventions when referring to English Counties.) Unfortunately many of the places listed on the Ancestral File as places of birth turn out to be no more than the earliest place recorded - and while they may be the place of birth, they may also be where the individual was brought up, where they married, and if they were convicts where they were arrested or where the court that sentenced them was. Your key priority is to track down the Australian source of this Hertfordshire record so that its reliability can be assessed.

Your comment on the "No 1 convict list" is also puzzling. Joseph is not listed in "Transported beyond the Sea" although this only lists transportations ordered by Hertfordshire courts. However convicts transported to Australia would not have taken their families with them. In fact some left a family behind in England and married again in Australia! The information you give would suggest that Joseph & Mary travelled as a family. It is clear from the dates that Joseph was not on the first convict ships to Australia (1788) and convicts were being sent from Hertfordshire to Van Diemens Land as early as 1812 - so this is also not relevant. However I know that Australian genealogists have published lists of virtually all the early settlers (with short biographies where known) for at least some of the States - but I don't know whether there is one covering Tasmania.

I am not sure what records you have already checked in Australia but here are some suggestions about Australian records which could lead to clues to your Joseph's origins:

If you can find some more precise information it may be possible to find a suitable Joseph Lovell in England. I did a quick check on easily accessible records (I checked familysearch, the British Vital Records, the National Burial Index and the 1851 census for a small part of Hertfordshire). This incomplete search found five James Lovell born in or near Hertfordshire at dates which could mean that they were your James. One can be ruled out because they were still in England in 1851 and a second died in infancy. Two "failed" the inheritance of Christian name test (not a certain test - but a useful clue). The best fit was a Joseph Lovel, baptised on 29th July 1798 at Keysoe, Bedfordshire, the son of James and Sarah - and your Joseph had children called James and Sarah. The name Samuel Lovel also turns up in Keysoe. However it is not a perfect fit (wrong county, date a couple of years out) and you should not assume that the Keysoe Joseph is yours without some positive evidence from Australian records, and research on English records to check that he was not dead, or still in England, when your Joseph was in Australia.

November 2002

Margaret Ahern (mgahern @t  reports further progress:  It seems as though we were on the right trail after all.. I have checked the Convicts list and he does not appear on it. I have now found that Joseph married Mary Dawson in The Village of Dean, Bedfordshire on Christmas Day 1820. Mary was born in 1799 at Dean, the daughter of Samuel and Mary Dawson. The first two sons Samuel 1822 and Robert 1827 were also born in Bedfordshire. Joseph, Mary, Samuel, and Robert  emigrated about 1827 from the Village of Dean, Bedfordshire. They first settled at Clarence Plains in Tasmania. Joseph died 1878 at Woodstock, Huon, Tasmania in 1878. Can you please take this any further back.

When you asked your initial question you suggested that Joseph Lovell came from Hertfordshire, but didn't mention the source. All your new information points to the family comes from Bedfordshire, and the parish of Dean is about as far from the Hertfordshire boundary as it could be. It may be significant that the parish has a boundary with the parish of Covington, Huntingdonshire, and I wonder if your original Hertfordshire reference is actually a badly written "Hunts" misread at "Herts". As this site is only concerned with Hertfordshire families it would be inappropriate to follow it more closely here.

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


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