THOMPSON, St Albans area, 19th century

April, 2013



St Albans


James Thompson (james @t write from London saying: I am doing some research on my family tree.  My great great great grandfather, William Thompson married Elizabeth Wollatt on 5 June 1833 at Sandridge Hertfordshire.  My guess is that it was perhaps at St Leonard's Church. I was wanting to get hold of the records of the marriage to find their ages, and hopefully their parents names to trace back another generation and perhaps beyond. I know from a subsequent birth certificate of Samuel (my great great grandfather) that in 1841 William was a "Boot and Shoe Maker" and his residence was "St Peters".

Your full query suggests that you are unaware of the normal arrangement for documents such as parish registers and for your Hertfordshire ancestors I can strongly recommend the book Tracing Your Family History in Hertfordshire. In fact since this book was written a lot of information is now online (or in the process of going online) including some of the Hertfordshire Parish registers.

As the registers are online (or should be online later in the year) on the site FindMyPast this is the place to start looking. Let me tell you what you should be able to find in a few hours ...

Samuel's Parents William and Elizabeth are listed as living in St Peters Street, St Albans in the 1841, 1851, 1861 and 1871, censuses, together with their family. Their children were Ellen, Joseph, Mary (may have died young), Samuel, William, Catherine, George and Annie. William senior seemed uncertain of his age - but was probably the William Thompson, son of William and Mary Thompson who was baptised in the Abbey Church on 28th April, 1805, - and you can see an image of the actual register online. Elizabeth was a widow in the 1881 and 1891 census and missing from the 1901 census - but you can find the approximate date and order reference for their death certificates using FreeBMD  - William dying in 1875 and Elizabeth dying in 1895. (The burial may be online as well - I didn't check FindMyPast).

The census provides a lot of useful information and for instance I note that Samuel, his wife, and family, were living in Yorkshire in 1871, and once you have got the hang of it you may be able to chase up most of the family.

However the Sandridge registers are not yet online on FindMyPast but are in part indexed (but no image) of the free site familysearch. Because the marriage was before 1837 it tells you nothing about the parents - but some 30 years ago I was researching Sandridge farming families and noted that Elizabeth Woollatt married William Thompson in 1833 and (what familysearch does not tell you) the witnesses were George Woollatt, Catherine Beaumont, and Jonathan Parsons. I also recorded the baptism of Elizabeth Woollatt at Sandridge on the 15th January, 1812 the daughter of Samuel and Eleanor - and unfortunately, because it was before 1813, the father's occupation is not recorded. Of course, if you visit HALS you will be able to see the registers on microfilm - or possibly on a terminal, and can order copies online.

The point is that there is a wealth of material relevant to your ancestors and their families available - once you learn how to find it - and the information I have given should be enough to get you started. And once you have found out how to do the easy bits you will be in a good position to tackle the harder problems that turn up in everyone's family tree.

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

April 2013   Page created