MALES, Hertford, circa 1855

May, 2004

Philip Males (aa63 @t of  Droylsden, Manchester, writes: I am trying to trace the GRO index of my Great Grandfather's Birth. He appears to have been born in or around 1855 as he shows up in the 1901 Census as William Males age 46 born in Hertford, Herts. He married on the 14th Oct 1876 (in West Hackney) and was shown as William George Males aged 21 with a father George Males (deceased). I've tried findmypast, FreeBMD, Ancestry.Com and the LDS Family Search sites but with no success. 

In cases such as this it is useful to have as much background information as possible, as occupations can indicate social class, and may indicate mobility, while if someone gets married in a chapel this can indicate the likely religious leanings of the parents.

For this reason I started by looking in the index of the 1901 census and found your William as a chemical labourer in living in Barking. He should have been included and married in the 1881 census and a search for a suitable William Males born in Hertfordshire proved negative. Because there may have been a problem in indexing I did a search for any male Males born in Hertfordshire around 1855 and found two George Males born in Hertford in about 1855. Both were married!

The first involved what I assume is a damaged page, which I would never have found if I had specified a first name in the search. (It is always useful to consider that enrty may contain spelling errors - and this is an extreme example why.) It showed the following people were living at 64 Lett Road, West Ham, Essex:

 Name  Relation Marital Status Gender Age Birthplace Occupation
 ... GOODE   Head   M   Male   47   LeicesterMiddx  Artificer 
 ... GOODE   Wife   M   Female   41   Maidstone, KentMiddx GOODE   Son      Female   17   Ponders End, Middx   Jute Weaver 
 ... GOODE   Daur      Female   12   Ponders End, Middx   Scholar 
 ...ur GOODE   Son      Male   10   Ponders End, Middx   Scholar S GOODE   Son      Male   8   Enfield Lock, Middx   Scholar 
 ... GOODE   Son      Male   6   Enfield Lock, Middx   Scholar 
 ...isa GOODE   Daur      Female   3   Stratford, Essex   Scholar 
 ...ander DUTHIE   Lodger      Male   24   Scotland   Oil Tester 
 ...orge MALES   Lodger   M   Male   26   Hertford, Herts   Tin Man 

If this was the only entry I found I might have stopped and gone no further - but remembering the examples in Right Name, Wrong Body I looked further to find a second George Males living at 3 Brook Street, Tottenham, Middlesex:

 Name  Relation Marital Status Gender Age Birthplace Occupation
 George MALES   Head   M   Male   26   Hertford, Herts   Sugar Factory Operative 
 Mary J. MALES   Wife   M   Female   18   (British Subject), India   Sugar Factory Operative 
 William J. MALES   Son   U   Male   3   Tottenham, Middx    
 Ernest J. C. MALES   Son   U   Male   1   Tottenham, Middx    
 Mary WILSON   Mother In Law   M   Female   50   Liverpool, Lancs  Nurse Dom Serv 
 Frank JORGE   Lodger   U   Male   19   Handon, Cambs   Bricklayers Labr 
 Frederick TAYLOR   Lodger   U   Male   33   Standon, Herts  Bricklayers Labr 
 Henrietta WHEELER   Lodger   U   Female   16   Tottenham, Middx   Ind Rubber Factory Operative 

This is an interesting household because of the young age of the wife (except that this may be an indexing problem so the microfilm should be checked), plus the links to India and Lancashire. As there were William and Ernest Males in Barking in 1901 which fit the description of the sons I assume that this must be your family.  The presence of the mother-in-law suggests George's wife was previously Mary Wilson.

As you had drawn a blank looking for the GRO certificate I had a look for the baptisms on familysearch. George Frederick Males was baptised at All Saints and Saint John, Hertford, on 28th May 1854, the son of Ephraim and Anna Maria Males. This is clearly not your William - and is presumably the tin man (tinker) of the 1881 census.

Your William George Males was not baptised at All Saints and Saint John, Hertford, until 18th November 1860, the son of George and Eliza Males, and because it was not an infant baptism the date of birth was recorded as 9th January 1855. (Because this is clearly a non-standard entry it is more important than usual to check the microfilm of the register.) Using the IGI batch number with the above record (C072422) I looked for any siblings in the same church register and the dates for the family are revealing.

Mary Ann Males - born 28th Jan 1850 - baptised 16 March 1860

Sarah Eliza Males - born 4th June 1852 - baptised 15 July 1860

William George Males - born 9th January 1855 - baptised 18th November 1860

Arthur Males - [infant] - baptised 18th November 1860

Emily Males - [infant] - baptised 16 March 1862

It would appear that Mary, Sarah and William were not baptised as infants, and it is possible that the fact that they had not been baptised was discovered when Mary and Sarah came up for confirmation. When Arthur was born the minister checked and found William had not been christened either - so baptised him at the same time. Things were "back to normal" when Emily was born.

It may be that the family were equally lax about registering the birth - although I guess you didn't check to find out which years are covered by FreeBMD (there are as yet very few entries for 1855). However now that you know the date and Hertfordshire town of birth of William George Males you should be able to get a copy of his birth certificate from HALS, and I am sure you will find them very helpful.

July, 2004

Philip has provided the following progress report: Thanks to your assistance I obtained the GRO Index and subsequently a copy of my Great Grandfathers birth certificate. From this I traced his parents and obtained a copy of their marriage certificate. It showed that on 11 Nov 1849 at The Parish Church, All Saints, Hertford George Males aged 25, bachelor and labourer of Fore Street, Hertford (father - George Males labourer) was married to Eliza Isaac aged 24, spinster of South Lane Hertford by James W Brick in the presence of Robert Joyce and Martha Bass.

This gives the year of birth of my Great Great Grandfather as c1824. The Males' contacts I now have in Hertfordshire say there is a 90% probability that this is the same George they have on a tree as follows: -

George Ma(i)les christened 4 Mar 1787 at Sandon married to Ann (surname unknown) with children: -

Shadrach christened 7 Feb 1818 at Hertford Saint Andrew.
William christened 19 Aug 1821 at Hertford Saint Andrew.
Elizabeth christened 24 Dec 1826 at Hertford Saint Andrew.
George christened 24 Dec 1826 at Hertford Saint Andrew. <- link?

With what you have previously mentioned about it being discovered later that people are not baptised I wonder if you have access to any other information which will either confirm the 90% probability of the link or at least set me off down another route.

I think you should treat 90% as meaning very likely with no contradictory evidence, such as other unexplained people with the same name and compatible ages being reported as being in the are. The problem is that the further we go back the thinner the records, and the more likely that people will be mis-identified. As you research back some ancestral branches come to a dead stop because you cannot find any relevant earlier information, while other branches may run into a bevy of possible candidates, with no indication which is the desired ancestor. Sometimes a problem emerges because two separate researchers claim the same person as their ancestor - but only one can be right. Errors are most likely with myopic ancestor hunters who simply look for likely names and ignore all information about siblings and cousins - which is where confusion os most likely to occur.

In this case I can only give some general advice - see How can you be certain about ... and some of the pages linked to it.

September, 2004

Philip Males (aa63 @t writes: Just thought I would let you know of further progress I have made. I managed to get site of the Parish records for Hertford St Andrew through the local LDS Church. I found the baptism entries for the two people below (mentioned in previous correspondence):-

Elizabeth christened 24 Dec 1826 at Hertford Saint Andrew.
George christened 24 Dec 1826 at Hertford Saint Andrew.

Next to the entry for George was a note written by the rector which said "Said by the parents to have been born in Feb 1824 and appears to be about that age". I think this increases the 90% probability that it is my Great Great Grandfather.

This demonstrates why it is always worth looking at the microfilms of the original registers.

There is a web page for Hertford

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