Documents which usually do not survive

Old Herts


Information on one's ancestors, and where they lived or worked, can often turn up in unexpected places, and it may well be that there are old papers in a family attic which help to add some flesh to the bones of one's ancestors. The aim of this section is to look at some of the paper documents that would normally have been thrown away, but which may have survived, possibly because of sentimental or other reasons. 

Receipt relating to mortgage, 1809 (Thomas Smith, Edward Garrett, St Albans)

A Receipt for 10,000 from 1851 (Hutton of Frogmore Lodge)

George Austin's Cash Book 1877-1877

Mr Nettleton's Grand Concert, St Albans, 1883 (flyer)

The Harpenden Brewery Letter, 1891

The Diseases of Sheep 1895 (William Cooper & Nephew, Berkhamsted)

S. D. Simkins & Sons, Hitchin (Advert on envelope)

A Grocer's Invoice,  Hemel Hempstead, 1900

The Tradesmen's Local Advertiser, circa 1900 (Harpenden advertisements)

Jackson, the Buntingford Butchers c 1900 (prices of meat)

Coal for St Albans Midland Railway Station, 1900

Joseph WILES of St Albans, 1816-1903, 1900

Statement of Account, 1902 - John Hamilton, Buntingford (Heading trade paper)

Roast Pheasant & Chips (A hotel menu from 1909)

Wiles & Lewis, 1909 (Heading trade paper)

Conservative Party Event at St Albans, 1910

Summer Holidays 1912 (Some early home photographs)

Some Milkman's Humour (Newspaper cuttings from scrap book)

Billeting in Berkhamsted in the First World War

An empty envelope identifies a school and a pupil in 1915

Xmas Cards and the St Albans Military Tribunal, 1916

Hertfordshire Girl Guides' County Rally 1920 (at Tewin)

H.R.H The Duchess of York opens Hospital Wing 1929 (at Hitchin. Includes a history of the Hospital and many local business advertisements.)

Apsley Envelope Mills Social & Dance 1931 (John Dickinson)

World War II Ration Books 1943

The Bernard Shaw Special 1955 (Excursion Train Ticket to Harpenden East, and a photograph of the train)

Cassio Dramatic Society - The King and I - Watford 1967 (Theatre Programme)

Battle of Barnet Quincentenary 1971 (Event Programme with some local history content)

Invitation to Opening of Popefield Farm, Colney Heath, St Albans, 1981 (Link with Jesus Christ Superstar!)

Most families have collections of items such as these, along with old photographs, postcards and newspaper cuttings, and they can throw light on the activities on earlier generations, as such ephemeral items are only kept because they meant something special to the person who decided to keep them. Unfortunately their significance is rarely identified and they end up in the rubbish when the owner dies. If you come across such a collection it is well worth looking carefully as even if the ephemera mean nothing to you there could be other people who could find them of interest - and the online auction eBay provides an excellent way of linking old paper items with someone who will appreciate them. Even an old railway ticket can be of value!

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

Page updated August 2014