Answers to Questions


CHILD, Bushey, late 19th century

March 2003





Peter Child (peter_child @t of West Hunsbury, Northampton, writes: As a Watford lad I have been tracing my direct ancestors who all came from around Hertfordshire.  My problem at present is that I have failed to find details on my great great Grandfather.  In the 1881 Census it lists the household at Villiers Road, Bushey as being:

Rose Child 38 Widow Laundress Chesham, Bucks
Francis H. Child 15 Son Bricklayer Watford
Arthur Child 6 Son Scholar Bushey
Joseph T.C. Goldsby 30 Lodger Bricklayer St Albans

Francis H. Child is my great Grandfather.

It would appear that most males were in the occupation of bricklaying and I have found others in Beaconsfield who I believe may be related.  Even on checks through Francis and Arthur I still have not identified their fathers name nor Rose's maiden name.  Any help would be appreciated.

Just because Francis was a bricklayer does not mean that his deceased father was one.  A bit would depend on his age when his father died - as if he was, for example, only 8 or 9 the continuity of occupation that often occurred may not apply. The Beaconsfield Childs listed in the 1881 census include a number of people in the building trade (but I didn't spot any bricklayers).  The oldest William Child was clearly a businessman, including brick making among his activities, and was old enough to be your 3-great grandfather. It would therefore be worth checking the 1851 census to find his family at the same time as your are checking other census microfilms.

You don't say what checks on Francis and Arthur you have carried out. As they were both born born in the Watford area you should have be able to get copies of their birth certificates from the Watford Registrar of Births, Marriages and Deaths, of from HALS. If you have not yet done so this must be your top priority. If you have tried - and were unsuccessful - what was the reason for the failure? For instance if you asked for a certificate for a Francis Child born circa 1865 in Watford whose mother was called Rose this might fail if Rose was in fact his stepmother. (Because of the way the requests work it can be better to be less specific because wrong information in the request can lead to the request being rejected.)

It would seem that the family moved at some time around the 1871 census, so it would be a good idea to get both certificates, if you can, to help locate the family in the 1871 census. In addition if you get the birth certificates they should give the mother's maiden name - making it possible to identify and purchase the marriage certificate - although the marriage may have taken place in Buckinghamshire.

I also have a detailed family tree of Child in Hertfordshire going back to 15th century, which was sent to me, which I would be pleased to forward to anyone seeking such information.  Unfortunately I cannot find a link to this tree at present until I go further back.

It is important to remember:

(1) That with a descriptive surname such as Child there could be many completely independent families with the same name.

(2) Many family trees have been drafted by amateurs who have not been very careful and checking sources or indicating which bits are no more than provisional guesses. You should not accept any part of any family tree as correct unless there is adequate supporting evidence that the individual links are sound. 

(3) If the tree is not your own work (and particularly if you have not checked it) it should not be passed on without attribution (and if appropriate permission) from the source you got it from.

November 2003

Clare Anderson (clare-p.anderson @t writes suggesting that the Childs of Beaconsfield may not be related. She says: You mention the businessman William Child who was a builder and tile maker. He had a son Frederick William who had a son Arthur born about 1866 in Beaconsfield. I don't think there can be a direct link with the Arthur Child in the query. Although not authenticated (and still, therefore provisional) I do have a family tree for this branch of Child, with the earliest documented Child ancestor, William born about 1713, married in Beaconsfield to Sarah Weaver in 1738. As it's possible he wasn't born in Beaconsfield, I am wondering if he came from King's Langley, which has had Childs as far back as the 17th century. It's a total shot in the dark, but I haven't much else to go on!

It may well be worth you and Peter exchanging information.

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