As recorded in
The Gentleman's Magazine
Extracted and annotated by Alan Ruston
Family History Society
Special Publication No 8
Hertfordshire Obituaries 1801 - 1837 as recorded in The Gentleman's Magazine is a useful addition to the 18th c. collection published in Hertfordshire 1731-1800 as recorded in the Gentleman's Magazine, edited by Arthur Jones, Hertfordshire Publications, 1993. These two volumes together contain all the Hertfordshire obituaries which were published from 1731. when the magazine first appeared, to the end of 1837, by which time civil registration had commenced and all deaths could be traced in public records. The listing provides a reference to most of the important and notable personages of the period in Hertfordshire, yet not all were from "the great and the good". Some editing has been necessary but some obituaries are striking and these have been set out in full. The surname in each case has been shown in capital letters and is that which has the Hertfordshire connection. Some people whose deaths are recorded may not have died in the county nor had much apparent connection with it. However if their relatives are shown who have a county connection they have been included. Location no longer within the county like Totteridge have been included.
This is a very useful book in that it completes the coverage of Obituaries from the Gentleman's Magazine up to 1837, and also includes references to additional information in burial registers, and elsewhere. If you know the name of the person who died it is excellent because of the name index at the end.
However, from my point of view, a major opportunity has been lost. Take the following obituary:
2 April, 1819. At Standon, Herts, Richard GOFF, at the extraordinary age of 113years. He left a wife in her 47th year, and three children, the eldest of which is but 17 and the youngest 2½ years old. Goff is a native of Ireland. He attended Royston and Stortford markets for many years. His hair and beard were very white, which gave him a patriarchal appearance; and he appeared sensible to the last. His portrait has lately been published.
This is easily found if you know you are looking for someone called GOFF. Unfortunately there is no place index, and no general index. This means that there is no way you can find this entry if you are interested in the history of Standon, people with connections with Ireland, or what to know who died at a particularly great age. Those dying overseas, or after a career abroad cannot be identifies and I have noted cases where a widow has died and her maiden name (mention in the obituary) is not indexed. As the text was undoubtedly produced on a word processor the generation of proper indexes is not that difficult - or if the text was issued on a CD it would be possible to do a text search for place names, etc.
Page created February 2009