KINGHAM, Nash Mills, Abbots Langley, early 19th century

November, 2007

Barbara Adair (adair @t of Ottawa, Canada, writes: I found Henry Kingham on the 1841 Census but he died in 1845 at age 33 before the 51 Census so do not have a birth place.  He was married to Mary Ann Ward and had six children. The eldest child was William George born 1832 and was my husband's  Great Grandfather.  I have searched many Parish Records but cannot find a Henry who fits the time frame to ascertain his parents.

If Henry Kingham's baptism is missing from the most relevant sources you need to collect as much information about him as possible, as this may suggest where to look. Some of the more relevant help files in your situation are:

The first thing you know about Henry Kingham is his marriage in Hemel Hempstead in 1832 and, if you haven't already done so. it is essential to find out what the register actually says. It will give the parish of residence of the bride and groom - and this may suggest where Henry came from. It may also give you a copy of his signature (or his mark if he was illiterate). The witnesses can also be important as they were often brothers or sisters (sometimes "in law"). If you look at the Hemel Hempstead register microfilm at your nearest LDS Family History Centre (address on familysearch) it is worth looking at least 5 years either side to see if Henry Kingham, Mary Ward (or Kingham after the marriage) or any of the witnesses were witnesses at other marriages. Other Kingham or Ward marriages may share witnesses - and may give clues to people who may be brothers and sisters - and who therefore share Henry's parents.

The Inheritance of Christian Names suggests that Henry probably named one of his children after his father and, while you didn't give the names, I gather the children were William, Mary Ann, Alfred, John, Louisa and Jabez.

Social status is also important - as there was little social mobility (see All Things Bright and Beautiful - A Social Comment). The 1841 census, below, shows that Henry was born in Hertfordshire and that he and Mary both worked in the local paper factory (see The Endless Web and other references to the paper industry in the Gade Valley) and would be towards the lower end of the social scale.

Name Age Occupation Born Herts
Henry Kingham 25 Paper fact Y
Mary do 25 do Y
William do 8   Y
Alfred do 4   Y
John do 2   Y

The above census suggests another avenue to explore. Why wasn't 6 year old Mary Ann at home in 1841? She was too young to be working so perhaps she staying with her grandparents or an uncle or aunt? If so this may suggest another approach to Henry's parents. No guarantee that you will find her but worth looking. (But beware indexing errors - for instance a Mary Ann Kingham, aged 19 in the 1851 census is incorrectly indexed on Ancestry as Mary Ann Mingrone.)

Where is my ancestor's baptism before 1837? suggests that not all children were baptised and some may have been baptised in non-conformist chapels where the records have not survived. It is therefore relevant to see if Henry and Mary Ann were actively associated with the Church of England - because if they were not there is a high chance their own births/baptisms are not on record. A useful test is to see if their children were baptised in an Anglican church. At first sight it would be easy to assume the family were regular church goers because all six children were baptised, three in St Mary's, Hemel Hempstead, and three in St Lawrence, Abbots Langley.

A closer look suggests thing were not that simple. The three oldest children were baptised together in September 1837 and the three youngest were baptised together in June 1845. If the family were regular church goers each child would have been baptised shortly after birth - so we can conclude that the family were not regular communicants with the Church of England. So why were the children baptised when they were?

Civil registration started in July 1837, and initially many people would not know how it worked. I do not know the birth date of Alfred Kingham, but if it was on or before 30th June 1837 it would not need to be registered. If he was born later in the year it should have been registered in Watford. A check of the records shows that no Alfred Kingham was registered in the second half of 1837. So, and this is speculation, did Henry or Mary travel to Hemel Hempstead to register (Nash Mills was right on the border between the Watford and Hemel Hempstead registration area). When they got there they went to the Church, rather than the Registry Office - and the Vicar welcomed them with open arms - and said "I'll do the older two for you as well". The family thought they had done everything correctly. the children were baptised in the Church of England, and Alfred Kingham's birth was never properly registered.

You don't say when in 1845 Henry died or what he died of (It could be interesting if you got his death certificate) - but could the final batch of baptisms have been triggered because of Henry's death or illness brought the family in contact with the local minister?

So what next? If, as your question suggests, there is no possibly relevant baptisms on the main indexes (familysearch and the British Vital Records Index) it may well be that Henry came from a family which didn't routinely baptise their children at the local parish church. It is clear that a number of Kingham families lived in the area and your best approach could be to try and reconstruct all the Kingham families to see where Henry might have fitted in. Once you have built up a more detailed picture, including information from the marriage registers, it may be possible to suggest places where there might be further information.

January, 2008

Barbara Adair (adair @t wrote again saying: Most of this research was done many years ago and mainly by my husband whose maternal family the Kinghams are.  I have tried to find a death registration for Henry so that I could buy a death Certificate but got no date or index number.  I had found Mary Ann Emma Kingham in the 1841 census as you recommended.  Seems the women in the family usually went my their second names as most were Marys.  Emma Kingham, age 7, was with Ann Billington age 65 in Heath Cottages, Hemel Hempstead.  Her mother Mary Ann Ward Kingham was the daughter of Samuel Ward and Mary Ann Billington. Born in 1815 and baptised 24 Aug 1817 in the Box Lane Independent Chapel in Hemel.
BUT  I also have Samuel Ward, Widower, marrying Rebecca Rolph on 19 April 1813.  Something does not fit does it?  Henry and Mary Ann's marriage was witnessed by George Child and Louisa Billington ChildHenry and Mary Ann were the witnesses at the marriage of Harriet to William Hoar, she was daughter of Thomas Kingham and Sarah ?

It is important to realises that the The Inheritance of Christian Names. means that you may find many cousins with identical names - See Right Name, Wrong Body?

If you look at the 1841 census you will find the following living in the area. Remember that the age is recorded in 5 year steps - and in these cases "not Herts" may well be because they were born in Bucks.

Name Age Location Born
Samuel Ward 75 Abbots Langley, Herts not Herts
Samuel Ward 55 Hemel Hempstead, Herts not Herts
Samuel Ward 50 Chesham, Bucks Bucks
Samuel Ward 45 Chesham, Bucks Bucks
Samuel Ward 35 Abbots Langley, Herts not Herts

There is no reason why one Samuel Ward should not marry Rebecca Rolph at the same time that another is married to Mary Ann Billington. The problem when this happens is to collect sufficient information to be able to find out which Samuel is which. Before 1837, especially if some of the people are non-conformists, one can come to a dead end because there are too many people with the name of your ancestor and no way for finding out which is which.

July, 2008

Barbara Adair (adair @t wrote: Still chasing Henry.  I found an entry in the 1851 census showing Henry's son William George Kingham living with William and Ann Ricketts. Ann Ricketts was Henry's daughter so if Wm. is a nephew it must mean that Ann is his Aunt and Henry is her brother.  I have the baptism info. for Ann and sister Harriet, where is the info. for Henry?  The parents were Thomas Kingham and Sarah Gudgin? but they were married in Dec. 1815 which is a bit late for Henry's projected birth in 1812. 

Before replying I will fill in a few details you did not mention in your message because, in part, I do not agree with your conclusions.

 The 1851 census lists William Ricket (36, paper maker, born Hempstead), Ann Ricket (wife, 26, born Hempstead) and William G Kingham (nephew, 16, paper maker, born Watford). Familysearch lists William Rickett marrying Ann Kingham on 22nd April, 1841 at Hemel Hempstead. I agree thus far - and congratulate you on finding what was an unexpected and easy to overlook clue.

Familysearch also lists 4 records relating to the birth/baptism of an Ann Kingham (born circa 1825) at Hemel Hempstead, and another at Watford which we can ignore:

Ann Kingham Birth 1824 Albion Place, Hemel Hempstead Thomas & Sarah LDS Submission (1943-1965)
Hannah Kingham Baptism 30 March 1825 Hemel Hempstead Thomas & Sarah extraction
Hannah Kingham Baptism 30 March 1825 Albion Place, Hemel Hempstead Thomas & Sarah LDS Submission (1943-1965)
Ann Kingham Baptism 3 April 1827 Hemel Hempstead Thomas & Sarah (aged 2) extraction
Ann Kingham Birth 1 Mar 1828 Watford Francis & Elizabeth LDS Submission

My first reaction to the above is something "funny" is going on - as this combination of entries looks like a typical "Right Name Wrong Body" trap - with there being two Thomas Kinghams - both married to a Sarah and both having daughters called Ann. I decided to explore further.

The 1841 census was held in June and shows Ann Rickett (19 or 17?) at Albion Place, Hemel Hempstead, with Thomas Kingham (77, labourer) and Sarah Kingham (65). There is no sign of William Rickett, but it is likely that this was the newly married Ann Kingham with her parents. When she was born her father was 58/60 and  and her mother 46/48 (very late, and Ann was probably a surprise,  but it is not impossible and maybe the census ages are a few years out). This would suggest that Ann Kingham's parents were the Thomas Kingham who married Sarah Latchford at nearby Great Gaddesden and Nettleden on 9th April 1799.

Familysearch shows the the following baptisms to Thomas and Sarah Kingham between 1799 and 1823 at Hemel Hempstead

Catherine 1806 born/baptised/buried
Jane 1813  
John 7 Nov 1819  
Harriett 7 Nov 1819  

This is not a normal distribution of children one would expect for a fertile couple if they were regular members of the Church of England. Catherine may have only been baptised because she was born with severe problems and had to be quickly baptised, perhaps as a private baptism at home, before her inevitable death. (The parish register entry might include a marginal note which would not be picked up in the index.) In addition one must realise that John and Harriett could easily be the children of the Thomas and Sarah Kingham who married in 1815.

My guess is that the family were not regular church goers and that there could have been other children who were born between 1799 and 1813 who were never baptised in the Church of England, if they were baptised at all. If we assume the 1851 census entry for William as correct it is very likely that your Henry was an unbaptised son of Thomas and Sarah, born circa 1810.

There was one other thing I spotted. A Thomas Kingham married Ann Ayre at Hemel Hempstead in 1789 and Thomas Kingham, daughter of Thomas and Ann was baptised at Great Gaddesden on the 29th March 1795. Perhaps Ann died and Thomas senior married Sarah Latchford. Some years later, in 1815, Thomas junior married Sarah Gudgin. In 1824 Thomas senior (of Albion Place) and his Sarah had a daughter Ann while in 1825 Thomas junior and his Sarah also had a daughter called Ann. This would make the Ann Kingham born in 1824 the aunt of the Ann Kingham born in 1825.

It should be noted that the above suggested reconstruction of what happened is based on index entries from familysearch. These have not been checked against the registers which may include further information which could make the matter clearer one way or another. There are also some other potential leads for you to explore.

In particular you may find something to indicate whether Henry and Harriett were brother and sister or uncle and niece. Whichever it is, the fact that Henry was witness at Harriett's wedding strongly suggests that Henry and Harriet were closely related and that the above is on the right track.

There are web pages for Abbots Langley, Great Gaddesden and Hemel Hempstead

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


Page updated July 2008