Answers to Questions


SEARING, Cheshunt, 18/19th Century

December, 2003




John Howes (Howesjf @t of Florida, USA, writes I am looking for the birth date and parents of Samuel Searing. I have his death certificate from 1856 in Cheshunt that would give a birthdate of early 1788 or late 1787 but I have been unable to find it in either the IGI or the British Vital records index. I believe his parents could be Samuel Searing and Alice who were married in the area in the 1760's  but this is only a guess.

John provided the following additional information: Samuel Searing  was a farmer in Cheshunt and that in 1810 he married Ann Ruskin. They had one child, another Samuel Searing jr in 1811, my 2x great grandmother, Ann dying 2 months before the christening of Samuel Jr. Samuel Sr remarried Martha Wood in 1819 in Cheshunt. The name Samuel seems to be a family tradition for the Searing family. There is a Samuel Searing and Alice in Cheshunt who have a son Samuel in 1764 (too old to be the Samuel I am searching for) but there is no further record of this Samuel that I can find. I have postulated that he died and that Samuel and Alice went on to have another son named Samuel in the late 1780's (Alice would have been in her late 40's at that time) or the Samuel born in 1764 is the father of the Samuel I am searching for. Another alternative is that Samuel is the son of one of the other Searings in that area. In his will of 1856, Samuel, the farmer, left his property to his wife and to one of his sons from Martha Wood. His son Samuel, by Ann Ruskin is not mentioned in his will, even though he was alive and living in Wormley.

During the period you are interested in there is a big problem in much of Hertfordshire in that a significant minority of births/baptisms were either never recorded or the records have been lost, and simply matching names which happen to be in the indexes can be unreliable. (see Where is my ancestor's baptism record before 1837 and Right Name, Wrong Body) If there is a "missing" baptism or other uncertainty it is important to look closely at what information one has to plan out a course of action.

Religion often plays a part so I checked the National Burial index, which covers some parishes between 1800 and 1850. This showed that Ann was buried at St Mary the Virgin, Cheshunt - and that 28 out of 29 Searings listed for Hertfordshire, Essex, and Middlesex were buried there, the other being at Wormley. While this will be distorted by the limitations of the index it suggests a cluster, possibly all related. There were two Samuel Searing (died 1818, aged 81, and died 1825, aged 1). A quick check on familysearch shows that Samuel and Martha's children were baptised in the parish church at Cheshunt, and the children who died in infancy were buried there. Sometimes the names can be a clue as names were often passed down in families. (see The Inheritance of Single Christian Names) They were William (1823), Benjamin (1824), [?? the Samuel who died in 1825 aged 1??], Thomas (1827), Martha (1828), Elizabeth 1829 (died 1832), Hannah (1831), David (1833), Dorcus (1834, died 1835), Daniel (1835) and Jane Sarah (1837 died 1839). 

I also checked the name Searing and it is not indexed in Cussans for the Hertford Hundred (which includes Cheshunt and Wormley) despite the fact that he lists a considerable number of tombstone inscriptions for Cheshunt. As your Samuel 1787-1856 left a will I might have expected a tombstone sufficiently prominent to be listed if he was buried at St  Marys, but the negative is not strong evidence on its own to have any great significance.

As you say Samuel 1787-1856 was a farmer I looked at the 1851 Post Office Directory, as this sometimes can be useful. There is no Samuel listed but it shows that there was a William Searing, carter, in Cheshunt Street, Cheshunt. There are no Searings listed for Wormley, and none listed as farmers in Hertfordshire, Essex or Middlesex. However the 1851 directory was less comprehensive than later ones and in some towns and villages ignored farmers. 

The 1866 Post Office Directory lists three Searings in Cheshunt

Searing William & Daniel, farmers, Rickless Farm
Searing John, beer retailer, Turnford
Searing Thomas, Farmer, Flamstead End

I don't have ready access to the 1851 census (possibly you have seen it) but checked the 1881 census. I noted a retired farmer, Thomas Searing (aged 59, born Cheshunt) living in Appleby Street, and wonder if this could the Thomas, son of Daniel and Martha - bearing in mind that census ages are not always correct. I also note that Samuel Searing (born 1812) is a journeyman carpenter living at Wormley West End and that two other Searings (none the children of Samuel and Martha) have related occupations: viz Daniel (1821, timber carter), William (1838, timber carter). Others were typically in labouring occupations.

Working Hypothesis: Having had a quick search of familysearch it seems that a Thomas Searing came to Wormley in about 1710, at a time when there was no-one with the same name in the area. By the 19th century the numbers are consistent with them all being his descendants. One branch had prospered and become farmers, others were involved in working with timber, while the rest were in labourers. The number of individuals are small enough to attempt a family reconstruction, which will highlight the gaps (i.e. how many do not have easily identified parents, etc.) and the alternative interpretations.

March, 2006

Terri Richardson (markandterri @t writes: Our family has been researching the Searing family for about 20 years in Cheshunt and Wormley. I desend down from Thomas Searing and Hannah Wakeland who married in Wormley 10 Aug 1660. I don't have all the birth years but do have the marriage dates and christening dates where they have been registered. If I can be of any help to you let me know and we can swap info.

I have forwarded this helpful message to John Howes

May, 2011

Paul Searing (paul.searing @t of Bedford writes: I would like also to be able to contribute to any Searing family tree research as I to come from the Searing line, like Terri my link is very close (Terri & I have exchanged some details) many of my descendants are buried in Cheshunt (Bury Green and St. Marys) I would be happy to exchange information, We have related Searing's that went to America also.

There are web page for Cheshunt and Wormley

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