Answers to Questions


FROST/KIFF, London Colney, 1851-1881

May, 2004



London Colney

St Peters

St Albans

Lynda Bracegirdle (bracegirdle1 @t writes: I am trying to locate a marriage certificate for my Gt Grandparents Elijah Frost and Ann Kiff. I had a search done by Gov. Family Records Office and obtained my Grandmothers birth certificate. As I knew the names of her siblings, I checked the 1881 census which confirmed I had the right family. Birth years for Elijah & Ann are given as 1852. The first child's birth year is given as 1872, which would make Elijah & Ann approx 19 give or take a year. I have checked marriage records on 1837 online- from 1868 to 1876. As I do not have any idea of approx marriage date Gov. Rec. Office. said they use same index as findmypast. So I am not sure where else I can now check. According to my mother who is 97, her mothers family were all from St. Albans, my Gt. Grandfather was born in Necton, Norfolk. Their address in census is 6 Mullingar Terrace, St. Peter, St. Albans. In 1887 their address was White Lion Inn, London Colney. Coincidentally Robert Frost and his family lived in White Lion Inn in 1881. I think this may have been the father/or some relation of Elijah. Which leads me to think Elijah and Anns' marriage would be in St. Albans. Watford was mentioned by my mother, but am not sure of the connection. I have also checked English Origins site, there is no match listed.

The first thing to do is to check where the marriage is likely to have taken place, and to realise that St Peter's Parish was in fact two rather different places. Part of the parish was in the borough (later city) of St Albans, and part was very rural, and consisted of a number of hamlets. A look at the 1881 census shows the following "adjacent" households in or close to London Colney:

5 Mullingar Terrace: John Kiff, 21, born Smallford (a nearby hamlet), agricultural labourer, plus wife and son [Possibly Ann Frost, nee Kiff's brother]

6 Mullingar Terrace: William Atkins, 23, born London Colney, carrier

6 Mullingar Terrace: Elijah Frost. 29, born Norfolk, agricultural labourer; wife Ann, 26, born St Albans, and family

Mount Pleasant House: William Bennett, 46, born Weston, Machinist employing 1 man

White Lion Inn: Robert Frost, 56,  born Necton, Norfolk, Farm Foreman (bailiff), plus wife and children born in Necton, St Albans and London Colney. [Probably Elijah Frost's parents - who apparently came to St Albans some 20 years earlier]

In addition the IGI at familysearch shows that Ann Kiff was born on 9th March 1855 and baptised at London Colney on 6 May 1855, the daughter of George and Sarah Kiff. The 1851 census shows George and Sarah living in London Colney with her mother (Sarah Eames) and brothers (surname Porter) - all born in the St Albans area.

All the evidence points to both families being strongly associated with London Colney and the St Albans area for many years and would expect the marriage to have taken place locally, particularly as the families were not well off (as judged by their occupations). Almost certainly this was in London Colney.

If this is the case why didn't you find it? On the page on civil registration there is a suggestion that you look at "A Comedy of Errors and weep." There are very many errors in the indexes and if you ask for a certificate you only get it if the information you provide corresponds exactly with the certificate - so the less information you provide the greater the chance of finding what you want!!!

A check on FreeBMD immediately produced the reference you required: Elijah Frost married in the St Albans registration area in the January-March quarter of 1871, the reference being St Albans 3a 546. By clicking on the page number you get the other people whose marriage is recorded on the same page. There is only one name - Ann Kilt - obviously a transcription error made in 1871. It should be noted that the "correct" version of the certificate will be the one in the parish register (which will also have the original signatures), and because of the number of times the text had to be copied by the Victorian scribes the G.R.O. copy is most likely to contain transcription errors.

If you had asked for the certificate for Elijah Frost you would have got it. If you asked for Elijah Frost AND Ann Kiff you would not get it because the names you provided did not exactly match the index.

When you get the certificate (which you can do from HALS) let me know what church it was - I bet it was London Colney.


A few days after posting the above Lynda contacted me to say that: Elijah Frost and Ann Kiff were married on 25th December 1871 at London Colney Church. She continued I am surprised that marriages took place on Christmas Day.

Marriages on Christmas Day were not that unusual. At least for the poorer rural families at the time Christmas would still be a day of religious celebration. It was one of the few days in the year that the couple (and their relatives) were not working. In addition all their close relatives were probably going to be in the church in any case (or were living too far away to come whenever the wedding was held).


When the certificate arrived Lynda Wrote: I received the Marriage Cert for Elijah Frost and Ann Kiff (it does look like KILT) Their fathers' names were Robert Frost and Thomas Kiff. According to the cert., Ann was 19, I have obtained a birth cert for Ann Kiff dob 11/05/1853, parents names Thomas Kiff and Susan Kiff (formerly Cockle at least that is what is looks like)
Their address is given as Fish Pool Street, St. Michaels. As Ann married Elijah in 1871, and we have Census rec., for Robert Frost and family, I checked the 1881 Census for Thomas & Susan Kiff but no match. I have located a marriage record for Robert Frost in Norwich, 1851 plus possible birth record of Elijah in 1853. It is sad to think Elijah Frost and Susan Kiff could not write their names, X is recorded as their mark. I wonder what they would make of life today?

The names Kiff and Cockle (Cockel) appear in the 1851 census for the St Albans area In particular Susan Kiff (39, married, straw plaiter, born St Michael) was living in the St Michael part of Fishpool Street with three children (all born St Michael) - James (16, trimming weaver), Mary A (11, hat maker) and Eliza (3). No sign of the husband (presumably Thomas Kiff if this is the right Susan) but he may have been away on business. (Perhaps he was away selling the straw hats made by the family!)

March, 2006

Melanie Anderson (Mellyjamorgan @t writes:  I happened to be looking at the 1881 census for my great great great grandfather Robert Frost who moved to The White Lion Inn, London Colney with his wife Mary Anne Lowe who were both born in Norfolk around 1825, when I thought I would look at their neighbours. When I did I came across Elijah Frost that I had no record of. It was Robert's daughter Christiana b1854 that married Frederick Atkins b1855 London Colney She was his 2nd wife. I also noticed that in the 6, Mullinger Terrace house there lived a William Atkins b1858. I know Frederick had 8 brothers and sisters but haven't yet found them I wondered if William was one of them and possibly this is how Christiana met Frederick. If you need anymore information feel free to get in touch.

I have passed your message to Lynda - so that you can exchange information.

April, 2006

Chris Bradley (c_jfbradley @t writes: Elija Frost was my great grandfather. Robert Frost at the White Lion was his father. Elija's uncle John (see Colney Heath) both came down from Necton about 1857. My gran and my grandfather on my mother's side are both Frosts so i am my own cousin. Elija married again a Julia Grover and I am related to this family. I still live in St Albans. Others related please e mail.

I have passed your message to Lynda and Melanie - so that you can exchange information.

January, 2009

See KIFF, St Albans & Tasmania, Mid 19th century for a major update

Page updated March 2006