Answers to Questions


IZARD, Hunsden, mid-18th century

January, 2008




Margaret Holmes (margaret.holmes4 @t ntlworld.com) of Worthing, West Sussex,  writes: I am looking for the burial of Marcy Izard. She and her husband Thomas lived in Hunsdon until at least 1752. They had several children including - Thomas, William, Jane, John, Marcy and Elizabeth. However neither Marcy nor Thomas were buried in Hunsdon neither were William or son Thomas. The above information comes from the Parish website for Hunsdon and IGI. Any ideas as to how I can find Marcy and family? (I think that brothers William and Thomas MAY have ended up in Shropshire. If so Thomas is my gt gt gt gt Grandfather.)

First a general point. The sources you mention are all modern indexes of ancient handwritten documents which are available on microfilm at your local LDS Family History Centre, and elsewhere These documents were written at a time when most people could not read and write and there was not the need for accurate documentation that we take for granted today. There is a general rule (which too many people ignore at their peril) that you should confirm the accuracy of the index entries by referring to the original documents wherever possible, as they may contain addition information. There is another advantage of doing this - in that it brings home the difficulties and possible inaccuracies associated with the original documents.

It is also appropriate to note that the majority of people born in Hertfordshire in the 18th century would have died within a day's walk of their birthplace, and the way that the poor laws worked made it hard for the less well off to move. The likelihood of the average person born in Hertfordshire ending up in Shropshire without good cause is very low but not impossible. See My Ancestors Emigrated from Hertfordshire

Probably because I have significant experience in using original documents, my interpretation of the Hunsdon register database and the IGI (on family search) is different to yours and I give below my assessment of ALL the Izard information for Hunsdon for this period from these sources, as it makes a very good example of how to tackle the problem of family reconstruction.

Event Name Relationship Date Interpretation
Marriage Thomas Izard married Mary Brooks 21 SEP 1739 Thomas and "Marcy"
Christening William Izard son of Thomas and Marcy 20 APR 1740 Possibly the William who died in 1791
Christening Thomas Izard son of Thomas and Mary 06 SEP 1741 Died 1742
Burial Thomas. Izard   27 MAR 1742 Infant burial
Christening Ann Iszard daughter of Thomas and Marcy 09 JAN 1743 Died 1766
Christening Thomas Izard son of Thomas and Marcy 02 SEP 1744 No reference to death
Christening Marcy Izard daughter of Thomas and Marcy 04 MAY 1746 ? Married John Burges in 1780
Christening John Izard son of Thomas and Marcy 02 APR 1749 Died 1750
Burial John Izzard   18 May 1750 Infant burial
Christening Elizabeth Izzard daughter of Thomas and Martha 16 AUG 1752 Died 1752
Burial Elizabeth Izard   26 FEB 1753 Infant burial
Burial Martha Izard wife of Thomas a labourer 06 JUL 1760 Death of Marcy (AKA Mary & Martha)
Burial Richard Izard Baseborn child of Ann 27 OCT 1762 Infant burial, presumably of unbaptised child
Christening James Izard son of Ann 01 JAN 1764 Another baseborn child for Ann. Orphaned in 1766
Burial Ann Izard daughter of Thomas, Labourer 10 NOV 1766  
Burial Thomas Izard Labourer 13 NOV 1766 Death of the widower of Marcy. almost certainly of the same infectious disease that killed his daughter
Christening William Izard Adult Christening born 25 Oct 1737 15 DEC 1777 Could this be the William christened in 1740 ???
Marriage Martha Izard James Burges 10 DEC 1780 Presumably the Marcy Izard christened 1746
Burial William Izard   14 MAR 1791 Possibly the William born 1737

Assumption 1: All references to "Iszard", "Izard" and "Izzard" are to the surname Izard.

Assumption 2: I assume that Thomas's wife was referred to as "Marcy", "Mary" or "Martha", although the "Mary" references may be a mis-reading of "Marcy".  Action: check handwriting for Mary/Marcy in registers. Conclusion: Thomas senior's wife Marcy Izard was buried in 1760.

Assumption 3: Where a child's baptism is followed shortly by a burial, but no age indication is given, it is assumed that the child died unless there is no conflicting "claim" that the deceased could have been someone else. Conclusion: The following children would appear to have reached adulthood: William (1740), Ann (1743), Thomas (1744), Marcy (1746).

Assumption 4: The two burials within days were to father and daughter. Conclusion: Thomas senior was buried in 1766.

Assumption 5: The Martha Izard who married in 1780 was the Marcy Izard christened in 1746

Assumption 6: The William who was buried in 1791 could be either the William christened in 1740, or the one born in 1737 and baptised as an adult in 1777.

Assumption 7: The William christened in 1740 and the one who was christened in 1777 are one and the same person. Problem 1: People were not meant to be baptised into the Church of England more than once - however it did occasionally happen. Problem 2: Is the birth year of 1737 be correct? If William was illiterate he might remember his birthday but there may have been some uncertainty over his age when he was baptised - particularly because of the confusion caused by the change in the calendar in 1752. Another possibility would be a mis-transcription with 1739 having been misread 1737. Action: Check Register. Conclusion: The William who died  in 1791 was probably the one christened in 1740 - but further confirmation should be obtained if possible.

Review: This reconstruction explains every Izard entry in the Hunsdon registers (at least as far as they are indexed) and every Izard individual's fate is known except the son William, and the grandson James.

Suggested Confirmation Action: Militia Lists. These exist from 1757 to 1801 and are returns of able-bodied men eligible for military service. If my assumptions are correct Thomas Izard senior should appear in the earliest lists, but may drop out in 1762 - when the upper age limit was reduced to 45. William Izard should start in one of the earlier years the eligible minimum age was 18. The entries may continue until he was 45 - but could stop if he was selected for the Militia. His brother, Thomas Izard junior, should appear from 1762, assuming that he was still living in Hunsdon, and could indicate how long he stayed in the village.

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

Page created January 2008