BRETT, Hertford, late 19th Century

October 2002

 Valerie Edwards (valerie.edwards @t of North Saanich, British Columbia, Canada, is trying to find a connection with a Frederick Brett who was listed as informant of Old Cross, Hertford on my g.g.grandfather George Hart's death certificate in 1895. His relationship was given as "nephew". There is no possibility that he was George Hart's nephew, but I am hoping he was perhaps a more distant relative that will lead me along a line in an 18 year + search for a previous ancestor's parents!

Did George Hart leave a will - and if so is Frederick Brett mentioned?

Could Frederick Brett be a "nephew-in-law" - i.e. married to George Hart's niece?

In 1899, Kelly's Directory lists a Frederick Brett as publican of "The Ship" Old Cross, Hertford. He was not in Hertford in the 1891 census. Incidentally, "The Ship" was run by George's brother Edward William Hart and his wife Elizabeth who died in 1890 and 1891. So it seems most likely that there was some family connection between the Bretts and Harts.

Kelly's directory was issued at 4 year intervals and dating is sometimes a problem. I expect that the 1899 one you mention came of the back of a reprinted map of Hertford and the data may well refer to 1898. A number of directories have been issued on CD by ArchiveCDbooks and in 1912 Owen Dean was the landlord of the Ship. (Kelly's Directories also exist for 1894, 1902 and 1906 but I don't have ready access to them. There may also be annual street directories covering the area - worth asking HALS about them.)

I have checked out the only 2 Frederick Bretts that appear on the IGI in the area who also appear on the 1881 census index & 1901 census online index, but neither of these seem to fit in with the Frederick Brett I am looking for:

1) Frederick Brett born 1837 Lt. Hadham - farm lab. (1881), horsekeeper on farm (1901) married Sarah. Appears in Lt. Hadham in 1881 & 1901.
2) Frederick Brett born 1858 Brent Pelham (also listed as born in Buntingford on 1901 census). An Agricultural Engine Driver (1881) & Steam Roller Driver (1901). Appears in Brent Pelham (1871), Hare Street, Gt. Hormead (1881), Ilford, ESX (1901) and had married Ann Nottage whose mother was Keziah Hart. However, this appears to be a red herring as I can find no connection between her and George Hart despite very thorough research!

Bearing in mind the incompleteness of the IGI in the 19th century - See the Limitations of familysearch - (some of the gaps are covered by the British Vital Records Index), and the level of "errors" on the censuses, which are further compounded in the transcription/indexing process, it would be better to look at anyone who was on the IGI, or the 1881 census, or the 1901 census.

Can someone possibly give me any details about a Frederick BRETT who is listed on the 1901 census index as being born in St. Margarets, Hertford, age 53, a florist/general shopkeeper, and living in St Pauls Cray Entire, Kent, please?

His wife is Ellen born in Sible Hedingham, Essex (1901 census). Neither Fred's birth, nor his marriage appear on the IGI, nor on the free BMD pages, and I wonder if his parents names might be able to help me.

In case anyone is wondering Stansted St Margaret is sometimes simply referred to at St Margarets. There is a 32 year old Frederick Brett, born St Mart (presumably written Mart = Margaret), Herts, listed in the 1881 census, with a 32 year old wife, Emily, born Gravesend, Kent, and six children. see  >>Link<<. This could well be the same as your 1901 census entry but with a different wife. Probably you best bet is to get his birth certificate from HALS - which would tell you his parents.

November 2002

 Valerie Edwards (valerie.edwards @t replied: Many thanks for your prompt answer. A couple of things to add, a correction on both sides and an update.

[Corrections have been made in the above text]

George Hart did not leave a will, nor did his wife Mary Ann (nee Sharp, formerly Pestell), nor his brother Edward William who ran the Ship, in Old Cross, Hertford, nor Edward's wife Elizabeth. Frederick Brett could was not a nephew of George Hart's. I know of all George's brothers & sisters, their wives and husbands and children, and children's husbands.  No Bretts at all here.

I now have information from "Kelly's" that Frederick Brett was at the "Old" Ship from at least 1895 (date of George Hart's death) to 1899. Owen Dean was publican there in 1901 and with Rose A. Dean in 1902, 1910 (and as you have informed me - 1912).

I realise that the IGI is poor to say the least where some entries are concerned (eg. there are loads and loads more Harts in PR's for East Herts. than listed on the IGI even though it has quite an extensive list and looks as if it covers most parishes quite thoroughly!)

Thanks for the information about the 32 yr old Fred Brett in the 1881 census, sounds like the same fellow with an earlier wife perhaps as you suggest. He needs to be looked into, as well as his children and I will certainly look at the 1881 CDs that I have. Obviously never picked him up with the abbreviated form of St. Mart! Thanks for your help - you have given me some avenues to set off on to check thoroughly.  Meanwhile if there is anyone researching BRETT in Hertford ... please e-mail!