Reuben SMITH, Nettleden, circa 1810

September, 2007

Rebecca Critcher (rebfoxy @t of Twickenham, writes: In the Hudnall section you mention the 1881 census, Reuben Smith is mentioned, he is my G,G,G Grandfather! You say he has his wife and 3 boarders living with him. It is actually his eldest daughter Sarah, his daughter Anne who has married William Munden and their first child Nellie. My question would be, where can I look at the Nettleden church records to go back further than 1841 census?

Because of Nettleden's unusual position relating to the Buckinghamshire/Hertfordshire border there are problems of knowing where to look for records - and following your request I have updated the Nettleden page. However, if you are interested in finding information about Reuben's birth/baptism you will have undoubtedly seen the help page Where is my ancestor's baptism before 1837? and I suspect that any difficulties you are having are more likely to be related to the information given on this page.

Reuben's name gives a strong clue as to why his birth details may be hard (if not impossible) to find. Many non-conformist's gave their children Old Testament Christian names which were rarely used by families who had their children baptised in the Church of England. Reuben is one of the names which suggest a non-conformist baptism as the reason for a non-appearance in any Parish (i.e. Church of England) registers.  As you often find cousins with similar names (see The Inheritance of Single Christian Names) it is worth looking for other Reuben Smiths born in the area at around the same date to assess their religious association.

If we look for "Reuben Smith" in Bedfordshire using the IGI on familysearch we fine 23 references to what is almost certainly the same individual although there is some variation over dates. All but one are submitted entries.

Repeating the process for Bucks  we find two references to a christening at Stoke Mandeville in 1804, three to a baptism in Mentmore in 1821 and one to a baptism in Stoke Mandeville in 1828. All are submitted entries and none come directly from parish registers.

In Hertfordshire there were two entries - Aspenden in 1797 and Braughing in 1826. Both these are from parish registers.

So some of the geographically closest possible namesake cousins have strong descendant links with the Latter Day Saints (hence the submitted entries) but are not listed in the local parish registers. Circa 1850 there were strong LDS links with this area of Beds/Buck/Herts - see FLITTON, Flamstead, To USA in 1868 and WALKER, Flamstead, 19th Century. It may be that the LDS records of "Reuben Smith" in Beds and Bucks arise because initially a Smith was a member of the LDS in the mid 19th century and recorded his ancestors in the LDS church archives.  If these people are cousins of your Reuben Smith it may be that there is information in the LDS church archives that could help you. However it may simply indicated that your Reuben came from a non-conformist family (only some of which joined the LDS) and there are no records surviving of his birth/baptism.

Records such as land tax and manorial records might help, but they are likely to be complicated by the cross-county border problems associated with Nettleden.

Sorry I can't be more helpful.

There is a web page for Nettleden

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


Page created September 2007