Answers to Questions


THRESHER, Shenley, 19th century

July, 2003




Donna Thresher (donna.thresher @t btopenworld) of Hullbridge, Essex writes: I am trying to find the birth record of my Great Grandfather George Thresher. I have his marriage certificate which shows his father as Thomas Thresher,  and when the marriage took place in Hackney in 1891 he was aged 35. I have him in the 1891 census as born in Herts. He does not appear on the 1901. Is it possible that you have a copy of the Herts census for 1861 where I am hoping that he may appear, I really just want be able to apply for his birth certificate so that I can then continue my searches with Thomas and spouse.

It is important to understand that some records are a lot less accessible than others. The 1861 census is un-indexed (apart from a few locations) and all you know is that George Thresher was born in Herts - which could mean reading the complete census microfilms for the county frame by frame - which might take a week!

However you have a name, George Thresher, his father's name, Thomas Thresher, an approximate date 1856 (give or take a year or two), and a county, Herts. If all this information is correct you have enough information to purchase his birth certificate from HALS.

You appear not to have searched the 1881 census - which is readily available online in transcript form at familysearch. A search for George Thresher, born anywhere in about 1856, produces four people with that name. Your ancestor would appear to be the able seaman on board HMS Martin  in Portsmouth harbour - and this records his place of birth as Shenley, Herefordshire [sic - a quite common transcription error in this index]. This gives you a place within Hertfordshire and if you then search the 1881 census for Thomas Thresher in Shenley you will find one who is old enough to be George's father, and another who might be his brother. Shenley also contains other people with the surname Thresher who are probably related, possibly including his mother.

As the population of Shenley in 1881 was 1,320 the village is small enough to make it realistic for you to search the un-indexed census microfilms. However you should note that for the 1861 census part of Shenley is indexed (at HALS) and part is actually included in the Middlesex census. The same cross county boundary problem may apply for other census years.

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