Answers to Questions


ORGAR/ORGER, Much Hadham area, 17th/18th centuries

April, 2011



Much Hadham

Brian Stacey (brianstacey @t writes from Johannesburg, South Africa, saying:

I am a keen, amateur genealogist in Johannesburg, South Africa, and am currently researching my family ancestry. I am exploring the genealogy of the Orgar/Orger family, to whom I am related through my great-grandmother, Mary Stacey (nee Orgar). I have found that there was a considerable presence of the Orgars in Hertfordshire for many centuries, particularly in Ware, the village of Much Hadham and surrounding areas.

I have done a fair amount of investigation, and have uncovered a large amount of detail, but I have reached a point where I need some focussed assistance and local knowledge, and I discovered your most interesting website, Genealogy in Hertfordshire, on the web! I have already received some assistance from Fiona Bengston, whom I contacted through the Manuden, Essex, web site, but I am now looking for information even further back in time.

Most of my own research has been done through family papers and the Internet using IGI, but now I would like to ask your assistance, as I am very remotely distant from my area of interest!

A brief summary of my analysis so far is:

I. My great-grandmother, Mary Ann Martin Orger, born 1855 in Much Hadham to William and Betsey Orger
II. William Orger, born 1818 in Little Hadham to John and Martha Orger
III. John Orger, born in 1793 in Much Hadham to Goldsmith and Rebecca Orger
IV. Goldsmith Orger, born in 1768 in Manuden, Essex, to William and Martha Orger
V. William Orger (Augur), born in 1741 in Manuden to Samuel and Elizabeth Orger
VI. Samuel Orger, born in 1700 in Great Hormead to Saml (Samuel) and Eliz (Elizabeth)
VII. Saml Orger married Eliz Randall on 26 July 1699 in Great Hormead

At this point, I cannot with certainty identify the previous generation, as there are a few facts that I cannot reconcile.

1. There are two records that show:
a. Samuel Orger, born 1684 in Albury to Samuel Orger (father)
b. Samuel Orgar, born 1685 in Much Hadham to Daniel and Mary Orgar
2. A daughter, Mary, was born in 1704 Great Hormead to Saml and Eliz
3. A number of children were born to Samuel Orgar and Mary in Much Hadham, with the first, Mary born in 1707 - I suspect that this Samuel is the son of Daniel (ref 1b), as I have an extract from the Much Hadham Parish Magazine of October 1905, which states:

The Orgars are an instance of how a family varies, being very numerous at one time and existing on a single thread at others. They came to Hadham at the time of the Commonwealth apparently, 1654 onwards; though there was a Grace Orgar who married Richard Stympson in 1605. The record begins with the baptism of Elizabeth, the daughter of Henry Orgar in 1654, and with the marriage of Ann Elizabeth Orgar in 1655. Henry had the misfortune to lose his son Henry at the age of nine in 1664, and named his next son Henry in 1666, but he died the same year. There were thirteen children in his family. The next eldest son, Daniel, married and had a family of four about 1680, and Daniel's son Samuel married about 1707, and was the father of thirteen children, like his grandfather. From 1734 onwards, we have another family of thirteen, the children of William and Martha Orgar. Altogether there were down to 1820 twenty families mentioned in the Baptismal Register, twenty-one marriages, and sixty-one funerals. For 170 years that shows us the Orgars were numerous in Hadham during the eighteenth century

I would like to know whether you could delve into the following questions:

1. Is it possible that the Samuel Orger born 1684 in Albury, married in 1699 and is the correct father of William Orger, born in 1700 (ref VI, VII above)? If so, this would have made him only 15 when he married!! If there are any records to support this, I would love to know.

This is an area where the warnings in Right Name, Wrong Body? need to be considered. On the information I currently have your guess is as good as mine. However I suspect that in this case, and possibly others, you actually mean Samuel Orger was baptised in 1684 - and assumed that he born shortly before. While most baptisms took place a month or so after birth, baptisms of grown children and even adults are not unknown. One should also remember that most people at the time were illiterate and one can't be certain he knew his own age exactly. I am uncertain what cannon law said about the minimum age of marriage at this date - but 15 might have been acceptable.

2. Is there any more detail of the birth of Samuel Orger, such as the mother's name?

Checking the register (by viewing the microfilm at your local LDS Family History Centre or an online request for a copy entry from HALS) will allow you see exactly what it says. Many early registers did not record the mother's name, and where it is not shown on familysearch it is almost certainly not recorded in the register. However the register might show other information - such as whether it was a private baptism (baby not expected to live so minister rushed to the house to baptise it before it died - check burial register for a matching entry) or whether it was a grown child rather than an infant baptism.

3. Are there any other relevant records that would provide additional information about the earlier ancestry? IGI has a large number of references to Orgers living between 1500 and 1700 in Hertford, but without more accurate confirmation, it is difficult to derive any family relationships.

At this point I suggest you look at I've hit a brick wall ...  which discusses the different general options. Basically what you are faced with is a vast jigsaw puzzle, covering several related families, with many missing pieces (some in critical positions) and many pieces which might fit in several places (for instance when several different people have the same name). 

The problem is that the earlier you get the less record survive, and what is available can vary widely from parish to parish and many of the relevant documents are not only not available online, but are also not indexed. In some cases there may be parish documents on microfilm on request at your local LDS Family History Centre. Manorial documents may include family relationship information but most will simply give names, perhaps with occupation, etc, which may help characterise particular individuals which can be linked with parish register indexes - such as familysearch. If you want to delve into such records you will find the book Tracing Your Family History in Hertfordshire very helpful. .

Below I quote extracts from available indexes of court records to show the types of information that you might find. Note that while the entries tell you more about individuals there is not one entry that includes the age or details of a family relative.

Court Records 1588-1825 - Surname ONGAR

Hertfordshire Quarter Sessions 1588-1619

CD index, produced by the Herts Family History Society, of documents held at HALS.

The following are the only references

11 Jan 1601/2: John Orgar of Little Hadham was a jury defaulter (Ref 14-034)

19 Oct 1608: John Orgar, carpenter, of Furneux Pelham, acted a surety for Thomas More of Furneux Pelham, carpenter, in a case where the victim was John Inglesby, bricklayer of Watton-at-Stone. (20-021)

9 Jan 1608/9: John Orger was Hundred Juror (20-027)

Calendar of Assize Records: Hertfordshire Indictments - James I

Book giving details of documents held in the National Archives

The following are the only references

Hertford Assize, 20 March 1607

Discharged Recognizances: John Orger of Little Hadham and George Hoye of Albury, yeomen, for the appearance of Robert Sabine, jun., of Little Hadham, limeburner. Taken 24 November

Hertford Assize, 8 July 1608

Discharged Recognizances: John Orger and William Wright, yeomen, of Little Hadham, for the good behaviour of Edward Stacy, of Little Hadham, husbandman, Taken 6 Mar 1608 by Sit Arthur Capell, J.P.

Hertford Assize, 7 March 1614

Discharged Recognizances: Andrew Kingsley, haberdasher, Henry Warner, fishmonger, Edward Whyte. Yeoman, Edward Hobbs, mercer, John Hobbes, tailor, and William Tristram, collarmaker, of Hitchin, and Adam Orgar of Stevenage, locksmith, to give evidence against Richard Lynden of Stevenage, tailor. Taken 26 Jan 1614 by Edward Poulter and Ralph Ratcliffe, J.P.s.

Hertford Assize, 14 March 1623

William Brett of Waltham, Essex, labourer, indicted for grand larceny. On 1 May 1622 at Sawbridgeworth he stole 6 sheep (30s), a ram (5s) and 2 lambs (4s) from Samuel Petchie, and 7 sheep (35s) and 5 lambs (10s) from George Orgar. On 12 Feb. 1625, at Much Hadham, Brett, of Much Hadham, stole 17 sheep (51s) from Richard Godson, and 10 sheep (30s) from Moses Williams. Guilty, claimed clergy but couldn't read, to hang.

Calendar of Hertfordshire Session Records

10 books covering some of the material held at HALS

A CD is available of the first 8 volumes

The following is a small selection of Orgar entries

At Quarter Sessions on 10th April 1681

That -- Kensey, widow, and -- Orger, widow, both of Great Hadham, did not attend Divine Service.

At Quarter Session on 16th April 1694

Upon information that Henry Orger of Great Hadham "is of bad behaviour and keepeth ill orders and rules in his house," it is ordered that the constables of Great Hadham shall "charge him" not to sell beer or ale any longer at his peril, and that they shall "pull downe his signe which he now hath."

At the Quarter Sessions at Herford on 6th April 1752

"It appearing unto this court that the Gallows belonging to the County is now become rotten and quite decayed and like to fall down," it is ordered that Thomas Orger of Hertford, carpenter, shall "set up a new Gallows in a Strong Substantial and Workmanlike Manner of the Form, Height and Width of the Present Gallows, at or near the place where the present Gallows now stands."

At the Quarter Sessions 7th April 1766

Indictments: John Orgar, alias Orgar, of Furneux Pelham, yeoman, for indecently assaulting Sarah Thake, then a spinster, and now the wife of John Chipperfield. [Guilty; fined 6s 8d.]

At the Easter Quarter Sessions 1800

Bridge repairs: 10 16s 6d for Braughin Bridge, 9s 10d for Wademill Bridge, and 3 10s for Hadham Bridge, to Thomas Bangs, John Dickerson and Samuel Orgar, carpenters, respectively.

Michaelmas 1825

Recognizances: ..., Ann, wife of Thomas Warman, to prosecute James Baker Ogar, of Great Hadham, carpenter, ...

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

April 2011   Page created