HOWARD, Hemel Hempstead, early 19th century

November 2002

Following some correspondence on the ENG-HERTFORDSHIRE list Ron Howard (ronhoward01 @t asked: I am currently employing a researcher to investigate my relative who was transported to NSW, Australia, in 1837.  It has been two frustrating years trying to find his parents. Witness statements, Court Records and many other documents have been checked, including poor law,  but no results.  I even have his death certificate from Aus' which is not very informative.  Ken Griffin has my relative listed in his book, Transported beyond the Sea.

My relatives name is JOSEPH HOWARD, born about 1808. He probably moved to Hemel Hempstead, his place of marriage to Sophia Hall, after he was born. I have lots of info regarding his descendants, but nothing on his ancestry. For someone who committed lots of petty crime and started a family, his history is difficult to find.

One of the help files on this site is My Ancestors emigrated from Hertfordshire, and if you have a look at this you might be able to suggest a few extra clues. However I am afraid there may be no easy solutions.

I don't know how much you have discovered about Joseph's criminal history but I see that he was transported for stealing 30 lbs of lead - which is not the "usual" crime. He would need to have access to a market for the lead - possibly suggesting he was something of a professional criminal. It is important to remember that this was many years before police photographs, fingerprints and computer databases. If you were a criminal caught away from your "home" patch the courts would have considerable difficulty in locating your criminal record - unless you foolishly gave your correct name and "home" area. The posting What did your Ancestor call himself gives an example which was satisfactorily solved but in many cases the identification of the birth/parents may not be possible.

Another problem, which causes serious difficulties, is that many people in West Herts worshipped in non-conformist chapels, and there may be no surviving records. See Where is my ancestor's baptism.

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


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