ROLFE, Tring, 1860-1885

March, 2005

Richard Proctor (richard @t of Reigate, Surrey, writes: My great grand father Robert John Proctor married Sarah Jane Rolfe on 11th. January 1885 in Reigate Surrey. Her farther was William Rolfe. On the 1901 census Sarah is shown as aged 40 and born in Tring Hertfordshire.

In trying to trace Sarah's father and mother I have found two Sarah Rolfes. One was born about 1862 in Tring and her father was William and her mother was Hannah. The other was born in December 1860 and her father was William Rolfe and her mother Jane Proctor. On the 1871 census Jane Rolfe is shown  as daughter of John Proctor living in Puttenham. Also shown is Jane Rolfe grandaughter and Drusilla E Rolfe granddaughter. John Proctor was my great great great grandfather.

I have Sarah Jane Rolfe's birth certificate showing her mother as Jane Rolfe formerly Proctor and her father as William Rolfe. I also have Robert and Sarah's marriage certificate showing Priscilla Rolfe as a witness.

Can you help me to determine if Robert and Sarah were cousins with Sarah's mother and Robert's father Daniel as sister and brother with John Proctor being their grandfather or was my great grand mother the other Sarah Rolfe.

Family cousin networks can get very complex - see Who is related to Who? and several related people with identical names and similar ages can be  living close to each other - see Right Name, Wrong Body? In answering this question I will assume that there were only two Sarah (Jane) Rolfe born near Tring circa 1861, and that the records are accurate and complete.

We know that at the beginning of January 1885 there was one Sarah Rolfe who was a spinster. so it is sensible to ask what the status of the other might be.

  1. Dead - possibly died in infancy or childhood 
  2. Already married (or at least living as husband and wife)
  3. Unmarried - living with parents
  4. Unmarried - in service, etc.
  5. Gone away (for instance emigrated.) 

While we can't easily ask the question for January 1885, we can ask it for census night 1881 - using the index to try and locate the second Sarah.

Searching throughout England for Sarah Rolfe or Jane Rolfe born in Hertfordshire or nearby Buckinghamshire within 5 years of 1861 only comes up with Sarah, living at 3 Alma Places, Frogmore Street, Tring.

William ROLFE Head 68 Labourer (Invalid) Tring
Hannah ROLFE Wife 64   Tring
Edward ROLFE Son 21 General Labourer Tring
Sarah ROLFE Daur 19 Straw Plaiter Tring
Arthur ROLFE Grandson 7 Scholar Tring
Mary Ann ROLFE Grandaur 5 Scholar Tring

and another at Green End Street, Aston Clinton, Bucks

 Job ROLFE   Head   59  Aston Clinton  Straw Dealer (Pltg) 
 Ann ROLFE   Wife   53  Aston Clinton  Straw Dealers Wife 
 Sarah ROLFE   Daughter   17  Aston Clinton  Straw Plaiter 
 Isabella ROLFE   Daughter   10  Aston Clinton  Scholar

This would appear to be yet another Sarah Rolfe - but fortunately her father is not called William!

This all suggests that Sarah, daughter of William and Hannah was available for marriage in 1881, but Sarah, daughter of William and Jane Proctor was not. Of course the failure to find someone in the census is not proof positive that they were not there and you might like to look further. For instance Sarah (born 1860) should be recorded in the 1861 census - possibly at the address where she was born, and if the parents are found but not the baby a search for death or burial would be appropriate. You also do not mention occupations (which will be on birth and marriage certificates and in census returns) as these sometimes can be a distinguishing factor.

There is a web page for Tring

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


Page created March 2005