PETERS, Hertingfordbury, early 19th century

December 2002

Daphne Ford of Australia writes: I believe David Peters born 1803 in Hertingfordbury to be my ancestor.  A David Peters from Hertfordshire was transported to Australia in 1831 on the "Surry" married with 2 children 1 male 1 female. I believe this to be the same David. My ancestor was married to Susanna Harris, born 1806 Hertfordshire but I have not been able to find details of the marriage or the birth of the 2 children. The couple may have moved to London as David was tried at Middlesex. He was sentenced to life for burglary. I think the family followed him at a later date perhaps when he obtained his ticket of leave in 1839. If you can help with a confirmation of the marriage and the birth of the children it would be greatly appreciated.

Daphne later expanded the information she had:

Recently, I managed to find the marriage record on the IGI of a David Peters on Aug. 8th 1824, Edmonton, London, England, No wife was recorded, so I typed up Susannah Harris in the boxes and up came a marriage Aug 8th 1824, Edmonton, London, England. So although I have found the marriage, I have found no record of the boy & girl children David had when transported to Australia in 1831 on the 'Surrey'.

He was tried at Middlesex, so presumably the family were living in London. A few days ago I found a shipping record of assisted passengers in "Sparton" on 31st Jan, 1838. Susan Peters (married) was travelling with just two children, Charles & Susan, I have no doubt that this was the family of David who had come out to join him. David who was given his ticket of leave in 1839.

Although the informant of Susannah's (David's daughter) death certificate claimed Susannah was born in Hertfordshire I think it was London. Convicts and their children told many falsehoods to cover up their convict past.

I did find a IGI record of William born to David & Susannah Peters in 1828 in Southgate London, I believe this child died as they had another William in 1841.

Clearly you have some problems - which are not uncommon in tracing people back to their English sources - and I am unable to provide any "Eureka" information, especially as the links to Hertfordshire seem uncertain.

The important thing is to understand your sources on information and follow them up as appropriate. There are many problems with the IGI on familysearch (see The Limits of Familysearch) and the fact that David Peter's marriage reference does not include his wife, and vice versa, should immediately start alarm bells ringing. If you look at the data again again you will find a link to the file that the data comes from - which is entitled "Baptisms for the dead, 1893-1943; heir indexes, 1893-1960". This doesn't seem to be an obvious source for reliable marriage information! I would suggest that you follow up this source at your nearest LDS Family History Centre (address on familysearch). Presumably the information came from a descendant of David and Susannah Peters who became a member of the Church of Latter Day Saints - and the information may either provide you with a lost cousin or prove that the couple is not the David and Susanna you are looking for.

If you can find more information from the Australian end (for instance, do they or their children appear on any Australian censuses?) this could provide clues - see My Ancestor emigrated from Hertfordshire. You may also find it useful to to look at Right Name, Wrong Body?

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