Answers to Questions


RACKLIFF (& variants), Rickmansworth, 19th century

April, 2005




David Roberts (dmr132516 @t of Bromley, Kent, writes: I need to trace the birth Parish records of a Henry Racklyeft (spelt Radclyffe in the 1871 census and Rackleft on his death certificate in 1875) who was born in somewhere between 1811 and 1816 in Rickmansworth, Herts. I need to establish who Henry's parents were because at the moment he doesn't seem to fit anywhere at all! I am used to hunting the microfilm at the London Metropolitan Archives, and the Guildhall Museum for London Parish records (most of my family are from central London or Rotherhithe) - but I have not been able to find out where to access the relevant parish records.

Hertfordshire is no different to other counties (where they still exist as administrative units) in that its Records Office acts as a repository for parish records. See the HALS page on this web site for details - and get a copy of the book Tracing Your Family History in Hertfordshire which introduces their holdings.

As Henry Racklyeft/Radclyffe/Racklett is not listed on familysearch you should look at the page Where is my ancestor's baptism before 1837? for some ideas. You should also be aware of the closeness of the Middlesex and Buckinghamshire boarders.

I have checked several sources and the name Rackliff(e) - presumably another variant - was definitely in the area early in the 19th century.

The National Burial Index lists the following burials for St Mary the Virgin, Rickmansworth

William Rackliff   3 Oct 1800
Richard Rackliff 53 24 Feb 1822
John Rackliffe 16m 20 Jan 1824
Benjamin Rackliff 49 10 March 1839
Sarah Rackliffe 91 20 Dec 1846

The 1881 census shows a Benjm. Rackliff (63 year old widower, born Rickmansworth) as publican of the "Chequers", Rickmansworth, with his unmarried sister Lydia (56, born Rickmansworth) as housekeeper, and an unmarried niece, Amelia Russell (40, Rickmansworth).

I also note that the 1866 Post Office Directory lists Benjamin Rackliff at "Sportsman", Chorleywood, Rickmansworth, while the 1882 Kelly's Directory shows a George Ratcliffe, beer retailer, at Swillett, Chorley Wood.

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