Answers to Questions


WARD, Braughing/Buntingford, Mid 18th century

March, 2008




Iris (issda @t of Essex writes: I have been researching, for some time, now, and had virtually given up on one side of the family. The "Wards" came from Braughing, originally.  I have all the details of the family forward, on from this time, but am stuck, now, on one person, Robert Ward, from Braughing. I know that he married Elizabeth Kimpton in Layston, (I understand that this is now Buntingford) on 27 June 1753. Elizabeth was baptised at Braughing on 13 January 1725.  Her parents were William and Odella (although there are variations of the name and the way that it is spelt). She had a sister, Mary.

What I would like to find out is Robert's parents, and where they were from.  I have tried the IGI site, and found a Robert Ward,  born 1732 Cheshunt Herts. batch C072252 dates 1559-1792 source call 0991371 film. His parents, on this one were Jeremiah and Mary. Is it possible that Robert was originally from Cheshunt. Or do you think that this person is completely different. 

The name Robert Ward is unfortunately rather common and there is a real danger of getting the wrong one (see Right Name, Wrong Body?) unless you research the problem systematically.

First of all you need to collect all the information you can about Robert. As you say he came from Braughing I assume this information came from the 1753 marriage register - in which case you will also know the names of the witnesses (it is possible that one of the witnesses might be related to Robert), whether Robert could write his own name (an indication of education). and whether the marriage was by banns or license (if a license survives it may give information on his parents). His children's names (Robert, Elizabeth, William, Mary, Kimpton, George, Fanny) could well include that of his father (see The Inheritance of Single Christian Names) and if you are lucky the baptismal register may include additional information not included in the familysearch indexes. (It might be worth checking the registers of Braughing and Layston to see if Robert is there but for some  reason not included in familysearch.) The burial register at Layston may include information on his death, and also on members of his family (perhaps even his parents, although the relationship is not likely to be recorded). The militia lists could include his occupation, and may also indicate his age (or year of death) when his name ceases to appear on the list. As occupations tended to run in families, and can be hard to determine in the mid 18th century, the occupation of his children (if known) may provide further clues the kind of man Robert was. Clues as to social status can be very helpful (see All Things Bright and Beautiful - A Social Comment)

You will also need to look closely at possible candidates from familysearch - remembering that you Robert may not be there (see Where is my ancestor's baptism before 1837?). In each case where there it might be your Robert you need to make sure that the child who was baptised was eligible to marry in Layston in 1753. For instance it is not uncommon to find people whose supposed ancestor died in infancy - and they had forgotten to check the burial registers before assuming the name must be that of their ancestor!

You mention the Robert Ward who was baptised in Cheshunt in 1732, as a possibility but it is not clear why you have not mentioned the Robert Ward who was born in Biggleswade, Bedfordshire, in 1723, the Robert Ward who was born at Bocking, Essex, in 1729, both of which are a similar distance from Buntingford. Another possibility could be one of the Robert Wards born in Balsham, Cambridgeshire.

There is a web page for Braughing

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

Page created March 2008