Answers to Questions


OLIVER, Hemel Hempstead area, 1851-1901

January, 2010



Hemel Hempstead

Sue Harpham (sue.harpham @t of Southampton writes: Charles Robert Oliver  was born, we think, between 1850-1870 and owned and lived in a cottage at Ford Tring.  He owned all six cottages.  His wife was called Florence Maria and his daughter Amelia Annie who at some time lived at Felden Farm.  We think Charles Robert Oliver was a farmer.  He had a son Thomas Newins who died about 1948.  We cannot find an exact birth date or death record for him. We have found our information through family, libraries and records but have now drawn a blank.

Much of the information you are looking for is readily available online, or can be ordered online, using techniques described in the tutorial. I cannot provide you with "free" copies of chargeable material for contractual reasons - but I can summaries what you would find using the Ancestry and FreeBMD web sites so you know where to look. Relevant names. places and dates for the period 1851-1901 are:

  • In the 1851 census Thomas Oliver (Charles Robert Oliver's father?) was a farmer living with wife Jane at Bod's End, Hemel Hempstead.

  • In 1852 a Jane Oliver died in the Hemel Hempstead area.

  • In 1858 Thomas Oliver married Mary Bail (Charles Robert Oliver's mother?) in the Hemel Hempstead area. [query - was Mary Bail a widow - as later census shows she had 4 children before marrying Thomas Oliver.]

  • In the 1861 census Thomas Oliver was a farmer at Bod's End Farm, between Warner's End and Ward's End, with wife Mary, 3 year old Amelia, and four "Bale" step children.

  • In 1861 (after the census) Charles Robert Oliver was born in the Hemel Hempstead area.

  • In 1863 a Mary Oliver died at Hemel Hempstead.

  • In the 1871 census Thomas Oliver (now a widower) was selling beer in Catlin Street, Hemel Hempstead with children "Martha Oliver" ("Martha Bale" in 1861), Amelia and Charles.

  • In 1879 a Charles Oliver married an Ellen Dickson in the Hemel Hempstead area.

  • In 1880 a Thomas Oliver aged 76 died in the Hemel Hempstead area.

  • In the 1881 census Charles R Oliver (gardener) and his wife Ellen were living at 3 Roughdown Villas, Boxmoor, Hemel Hempstead.

  • In the 1891 census Charles and Ellen were living at Green End, Hemel Hempstead, with 6 young children. He was employed as a stockman.

  • In the 1901 census Charles and Ellen were living at Felden, Bovingdon, near Hemel Hempstead with 10 children. Charles was described as a farmer and dairyman employing staff.

  • A check of the FreeBMD index provides the following registered names for the children born before 1901: Amy Dixon, Tom Newens, Lionel Charles, Ernest William, Amelia Jane, Alice May, Doris Ellen, Violet Mary, Louise Irene.

In the case of the birth, marriage and death index records, the index is free but you may well want to purchase the relevant certificates. It may well be that Ancestry is available free in your local public library. In addition I note that Charles Robert Oliver was in Hertfordshire at the time of the 1911 census.

By looking up the above records yourself, and seeing how they fit together, you will gain the skills to find much more about your ancestors - and you may well find it difficult to stop researching your forebears!

There are some further points:

  • All the evidence up to 1901 shows the Charles' wife was called Ellen - perhaps she died and he later remarried someone called Florence Maria.

  • There is a farm (and a reservoir) called Tringford near Tring but there do not appear to be any cottages associated with it - there are some about half a mile away at Little Tring.

  • For the 20th century it is difficult to check who owner a farm,. who was a tenant, and who was the sub-tenant or bailiff. However it is very likely that circa 1900 Tringford farm was part of the Rothschild estate as they owned nearly all the farms in the area. A quick check of some early 20th century trade directories failed to reveal an Oliver in the Tring area - but that does not mean that Charles did not have a connection with the area.

  • A check of old trade directories (and the censuses above)  suggests that farmers called Oliver farmed in the Ward's End and Bod's End area of Hemel Hempstead from at least between 1851 and 1937 and possibly longer. This may have continued until the area was built over to form the new town of Hemel Hempstead.

January 2010 - Page created