BEDFORD, Berkhamsted, 19th century

July, 2004

Evelyn Bryant (evndav @t who lives on the outskirts of Melbourne wants to find out more about her husband's g.grandparents, Daniel BEDFORD, and Mary GLENISTER (b. c. 1805 according to the 1851 Census), and particularly Daniel, about who little is known. In an exchange of information she provided the following data, which I have simplified and edited:

Joseph Bedford (1846-1923)

Birth certificate
When and where born: Twenty first of March, 1846 at Berkhamstead
Name Joseph, Male. 
Father Daniel BEDFORD.
Name, surname and maiden surname of mother: Mary Bedford formerly Glenister:
Occupation of Father: Farmer,
Signature, description and residence of informant: The mark X Mary Bedford, Mother, Berkhamstead.
Registered: Seventeenth of April, 1846
Signature of Registrar, S. Crew.

Marriage Certificate
Marriage solemnized at the Parish Church in the Parish of Penn Street, in the County of Buckingham.
Date of marriage: Dec. 23, 1869.
Name & Surname: Joseph Bedford, age 21, Bachelor, Farmer, of Hughenden.
Father's name, Daniel Bedford, Deceased, Farmer.
Fanny Salter, 18, spinster, no occupation, of Holmer Green, Penn Street.
Father's Name Charles Salter, Labourer.
Signed Joseph Bedford, Fanny Salter.  In the presence of us, David Bedford (Joseph's brother) and Sarah Tilbury (Fanny's married sister). Married in the Parish Church according to the Rites and Ceremonies of the Established Church, by License, by T. BAYLEY.

Emigration to Australia
Joseph BEDFORD, his wife Fanny (nee SALTER) and six children migrated to Queensland in the late 1870's, and there are many BEDFORD descendants.  Two more children were born to them after they arrived. My husband remembers his g.grandmother, the above Fanny Bedford (SALTER) saying with a great deal of contempt that the horses in the stables (back home in England) were housed better than they (her family) were when they arrived and settled in Queensland.  She lived to be a quite old blind lady, tightly corsetted and always dressed in black.

Death Certificate.
Joseph's Death Certificate, from Queensland Australia, names his father as Daniel BEDFORD, farmer, and his mother's maiden name as Mary Glenester (spelling a bit awry).  His age at death was 77 years 1 month 14 days.  He was a dairyman in Mackay, Qld.

The 1851 Census Return

Canal Side High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire

Mary BEDFORD W HD 46 yrs, Female, Grocer, born. Berkhampstead, HRT
Daniel BEDFORD SO   13yrs, Male,   Shopboy, b. Berkhampstead
David BEDFORD SO   11yrs, Male Scholar, b. Berkhampstead
Joseph BEDFORD    SO 5yrs, Male Scholar, b. Berkhampstead
Betsy GLENISTER U     SI 37yrs, Female, ---, B. Berkhampstead
Mary Ann MAULL   M        NI 27yrs, Female, ----, born Leighton Buzard, BDF
William Charles MAULL,      NE   31yrs, Male, ----, born Kennington, SRY
William SHURMANN, Unmarried, Nephew, age 22, M, Occupation (Grocer) Servant, born Berkhamstead HRT
Matilda HURDON, U, Age 16, F, Servant, Birthplace not listed.
Benjamin STRANGE, unmarried, Lodger, age 25, M, Chairmaker, Birth Wycombe, BKM.
William BARNS, Unmarried, Lodger, age 22, Chairmaker, Birth Wycombe, BKM.

As can be seen, Mary is a widow, which is why Evelyn knows so little about Daniel Bedford. However there are there are some important clues which may be significant.

(1) The recently widowed Mary is running a grocer's shop, and lodgings, and employs two servants. While she may have had cash flow problems she was not in penury after her husband's death. The fact that Joseph was able to return to farming also suggests that the family was not poor.

(2) Why a grocer's shop?  My first reaction (which might be wrong) is that as Mary was illiterate (she couldn't sign her name on Joseph's birth certificate) I would have thought she would have had problems in running a shop. ...

(3) ... But perhaps William Shurmann was doing the paperwork? He may have been related to Jerimiah Shermon (27, born Berkhamsted) who was a grocer in Northchurch in the 1851 census. The family may have been helping out.

(4) The census return confirms the Glenister link, and suggests two other surnames, Maull and Shurmann/Shermon, which might provide clues later.

The Marriage

The British Vital Records Index records the marriage of Daniel Glenister and Mary Glenister on 7 March 1835 at Flamstead, Herts. (Flamstead is about 5 miles North East of Berkhamsted.) 

Which Daniel?

Evelyn has identified two possible Daniel Bedford, but there appear to have been others. Relevant references are:

(1) We know that there was Daniel Bedford, husband of Mary Glenister, who was presumably in the area when Joseph was born. He could be one of the following.

(2) A Daniel Bedford, was buried at the Berkhamsted Baptist Church on 8 June 1848. Evelyn has purchased the death certificate,  No. 158, for 1848, Reg. District Berkhamstead, in the county of Hertford.
When and where he died: Third June 1848, The Common, Berkhamstead, age 77years,.
Occupation, Farmer, Cause of death, Disease of Bowels, 4 weeks, certified. 
Signature, description and residence of informant, X the mark of Sarah Bedford, present at the Death Berkhamstead. Registered, Sixth June 1848, Registrar: S. Crew.

This Daniel was a farmer, but was a lot older than Mary and if he was married to Mary I would have expected her to be the person who registered the death. He is old enough to be Mary's father-in-law. He may have been the Daniel who married Sarah Bounds at St James, Paddington on 2 October 1825 (Baptists and other non-conformists often went to London to get married - as they didn't want to get married in the local Church of England church.) Sarah may well have been the 78 year old widow (born Chesham, Bucks) living in Gossoms End, Berkhamsted (close to main part of Northchurch) with her grandson Joseph Nash at the time of the 1851 census. I rule him out as being unlikely.

(3) Daniel Bedford, aged 62, was buried at St Mary's, Northchurch,  on 25 August 1846. He is about 20 years older than Mary which is not impossible, but he may alternatively be Daniel below.

(4) According to familysearch a Daniel Bedford married a Mary Dean at Northchurch on 25 January 1829. This appears to be based on information submitted by an LDS member rather than a register extract, so needs checking. It could mean that there were two Daniel/Mary Bedford couples living in the Northchurch/Berkhamsted area around 1840. Alternatively it may be that Mary (Dean) died and Daniel was a widower when he married Mary Glenister. What is clear is that neither couple are in the Berkhamsted area at the time of the 1851 census.

(5) While obviously not the right one, there was a 32 year old bachelor farm labourer called Daniel Bedford, born and living at Northchurch, in the 1851 census. He was presumably the son of John and Mary Bedford, born and baptised in Berkhamsted in 1821.

Care is needed to be sure which Daniel we are looking at in any individual record- and there may well be problems in unravelling the ancestry much further if they were baptists whose records have not survived. Checking the following records seems most appropriate.

(A) The microfilm of the Flamstead register entry needs to be examined, as it will give the couple's parishes, whether Daniel was a bachelor or a widower, and the names of some of the witnesses.

(B) This is a case where the 1841 census, despite its comparative lack of detail, could prove invaluable, as we should be able to find the right Daniel and Mary and get at least an approximate age for Daniel. If there are children born before 1835 this would suggest an earlier marriage.

(C) It is possible that Daniel left a will, and if so it could be very helpful. HALS will have an index of Hertfordshire wills.

(D) You try to trace the LDS information (you may be able to get a microfilm of it at your nearest LDS Family History Centre). It looks as if someone has already done some research on members of the Bedford family in the Berkhamsted area.

(E) The 1846 death certificate may help - it will give Daniel's occupation and the name of the informant (Mary?)

(F) The references to Maull and Shermon (various spellings) may be Glenister or in-law Bedford links. If the later, they could help identify some of Daniel's siblings.

There are web pages for Berkhamsted and Northchurch

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