SMITH, Hoddesdon area, Early 19th century

January, 2007

Brian C. Smith (inshalla75 @t of Wadeford, Somerset, writes: We are trying to locate the parents and family (and their home address) of James Smith, born in Hoddesdon around 1818 (approx) to George Smith, a gardener. James later moved to Paddington where he became coachman to the Vice Chancellor of England, Richard Kindersley, a member of the Privy Council to Queen Victoria. While in service James married Jane Davy (of Kittleford, Somerset). They were my Great Grand-parents. George Smith is proving to be something of a stumbling block in our tracing back of the family as we have managed to get most trees back to around 1500!! - but then, with a name like Smith, one expects problems!

You don't provide any sources but I guess you have James Smith's  place of birth from one or more census return from 1851 on, and his father's name and occupation from James' marriage certificate. You also don't gives the names of any of James' children - while the page The Inheritance of Single Christian Names indicates that this can provide an important clue.

However I suspect your difficulty relate to either (a) your lack of knowledge of Hertfordshire geography and neighbouring parishes (b) taking census ages too precisely - particularly in families where members were likely to be illiterate, or (3) assuming that because the surname was Smith it must be particularly difficult - have a look at the topic "Right Name, Wrong Body" and you will see that in a given locality even very uncommon surnames can sometimes cause problems.

On getting your message I decided to search the 1841 census for Hertfordshire, using Ancestry, looking for a George Smith of a vaguely  suitable age. There were 21 - and only one of these was close to Hoddesdon. On looking at the page image I found that the following household had been living at Flamstead End, Cheshunt:

Name Age Occupation Born Herts
Joseph Blanks 50 Shopkeeper Yes
George Smith 55 Gardener No
Sarah do 50   Yes
James do 15   Yes
George do 12   Yes
Charlotte do 7   Yes

Familysearch shows this James to have been baptised at Broxbourne on 17th October 1824, with George and John Smith baptised 16th November 1828  (what happened to John?) and Charlotte christened 10th of November 1833. The best fit marriage is the George Smith who married Sarah Moss at Wormley and if this is the right George there were possibly older children.- perhaps baptised in Wormley.

A quick spot check shows that James, George and Charlotte all gave a birthplace of Hoddesdon in the 1861 census, assuming my identifications are correct.

There are web pages for Broxbourne, Cheshunt, Flamstead End, Hoddesdon and Wormley

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