Answers to Questions


SCHOOLING, Standon, circa 1936

March, 2011




Cyril Andrews (cyril.a @t  wrote about his ancestor Isaac Schooling, who was born in 1836 and married to Emily and had four children, Albert, George, Emily and Caroline. He  was a soldier in the Royal Artillery and his last posting was to Golspie, Sutherland, Scotland where he died of consumption with his two daughters in 1872. The problem was that in the 1871 census his place of birth was given as "Sagham, Herts."

This is a good example of how place names can become unrecognisable in the census when the person who write down the answers has difficulty in understanding the accent of the person he is recording.

In 1871 Isaac Schooling was a bombardier (the Artillery equivalent of a private in the Infantry) living in Scotland. He was born in Hertfordshire, undoubtedly spoke with a strong Hertfordshire accent, and was almost certainly illiterate. The census enumerator would have spoken with a strong Scottish accent, and may well not have known the name of a single village in Hertfordshire. He would also know that while he was required to record the place of birth he would also know that the place name he wrote would never be used for any statistics. He would never have thought anyone would be worrying about the accuracy of what he wrote 140  years later.

 Under these circumstances what are the chances of a small Hertfordshire village name being recorded in a recognisable form?

So what town or village was recorded as Sagham?

Fortunately this is an easy one to solve as Isaac Schooling is a rare name. He can be found in the 1851 census  living in Much Hadham. He was 15 and born in Standon (which became Sagham in 1871), while his 12 year old sister Emma was born in Much Hadham. The head of household was his 62 year old grandmother, Mary Schooling, who was born in Munden.

Clearly Sagham could be Standon - but as Isaac live in Much Hadham as a child it could equally be Hadham. It is not uncommon for people to identify the first place they can remember to be the place where they were born. Fortunately this doesn't matter.

Isaac is harder to find in the 1841 census as the surname has been recorded as Scharling. However a search for all the Isaac born in Hertfordshire finds him. He was in Much Hadham and his parents were James (30) and Eliza (25). Isaac had a sister - Emma (3) and brother George (6 months).

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

March 2011   Page created