Monday, May 20, 2013

Hit a Brick Wall? Looking for a way round

Help Desk
Coreen has been researching her ancestor Walter Hewitt - who was born in about 1774 and had a number of children baptised at Shenley between 1804 and 1809. She can't find any record of his birth and has checked the obvious sources at HALS and he may have been the Walter mentioned in a removal in 1782. 

Unfortunately there are no surviving birth/baptism records for many people born before civil registration, especially when there are no census returns to suggest a place of birth. My analysis in HEWITT, Shenley Area, 1780-1851 does not come up with an immediate answer - but illustrates the kinds of questions one should be asking when you are trying to work your way round this kind of problem. 

Was the Lucy Hewitt who married in Hatfield in 1802 his sister and did she survive until the 1851 census?
Could the Mary Marston who witnessed his wedding at Abbots Langley in 1798 be his mother - now married?
And was the other witness, James Smith, a relative?
Was the 6 year old Sarah Yeoman at South Mimms in the 1841 census his granddaughter?
And if so did he have a daughter, Elizabeth, born in London Colney in about 1803?

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