Key Topics

Undertaker's Records

HORN, Hemel Hempstead, early 20th century

The records of private businesses seldom survive, but occasionally they do, and the business records of an undertaker are likely to be of particular interest. It is therefore interesting to note that the records of Horn & Co, Marlowes, Hemel Hempstead, have survived, and are now with the Dacorum Heritage Trust

The information in their index is typified by the following sample entries:

REF: 190
DECEASED / policeman : Alder. Thomas James
DATE OF DEATH: 2 December 1913
NOTE: He was 62 years old and the funeral took place at the cemetery on 6 December
ADDRESS: 4 Church Street, Hemel Hempstead
RELATIVE/FRIEND: wife : Alder, Emily

REF: 61
DECEASED : Ambrose, Elizabeth
DATE OF DEATH: 12.3.1912
NOTE: She was 85 years old and the funeral was held at the cemetery on 16 March.
ADDRESS: Hemel Hempstead Workhouse
RELATIVE / FRIEND: husband (late) : Ambrose, William
NOTE: To be buried in late relative's grave:-
RELATIVE / FRIEND: relative (late) : Olney, Mrs.

REF 352
DECEASED : Ayre, Marjorie Rose
DATE OF DEATH: 5.8.1915
NOTE: She was 14 years old and the funeral took place at the Apsley St. Mary's churchyard on 12.8.1915.
ADDRESS: 16 Bridge Street, Hemel Hempstead
RELATIVE / FRIEND: parent : Ayre, John Macdonald and Ayre, Rosa

I decided to check the file out by looking for the death's of people who my mother had remembered when we wrote the book, The London Gunners come to Town, which describes Hemel Hempstead in the First World War.

Joseph Kimich was the father of one of my mother's school friends, and one day he left his jewellery shop and was killed on the railway line shortly afterwards. The story was that he had killed himself because people with German origins were being interned, and he was afraid that the same would happen to him. The record on file is minimal:

REF: 303
Deceased : Kimich, Joseph
DATE OF DEATH: 2.3.1915
NOTE: He was 44 years old and the funeral took place at the church and cemetery on 6.3.1915.

When my mother was small her parents employed Ann Brunsdon as a nanny. During the war Ann married and had Nancy - and my mother often joined them on walks. Nancy died in the Spanish Flue pandemic of 1918.

REF 124
Deceased: Richardson, Nancy Elizabeth
DATE OF DEATH: 21.11.1918
NOTE: She was 3 years old and the funeral took place at the cemetery on 25.11.1918
ADDRESS: Vine Cottage, Cemetery Hill, Hemel Hempstead
Father: Richardson, William John

The process of indexing these records is not complete but if your ancestor died in Hemel Hempstead in the first half of the 20th century there is a chance that these records could provide useful supplementary information. Contact Dacorum Heritage Trust for further details.

If you can add to the information given above tell me. In particular I would be interested to know of other surviving Hertfordshire undertaker records.


Page updated March 2006