Tag Archives: Harding

Becoming a Harding

Stuck at home for a sick day is the perfect opportunity to poke around my family tree.

A while back I received an email that the Surrey History Centre records had been put Ancestry, which meant that I could browse and explore to my hearts content. I immediately assumed that my tree would have little green leaves shaking all over  the place because so many of my ancestors on both sides came from county Surrey in England. Of course the records would immediately match up.

Only they didn’t.

It didn’t stop my interest in family history though and I continued to soak in every single copy of the tv series “Who Do You Think You Are” I can find. As a little background, the show is a documentary that shows celebrities researching into their past to find their ancestors. Many times they are searching for where they came from, or if there are any interesting occupations. Nearly all of them are trying to figure out why they are the way they are.

Shaun Majumder – A Canadian Comedian from Newfoundland who researched how his family came to Newfoundland

Truth be told, it was the airing of the Canadian version on the CBC with Shaun Majumder that intrigued me to start looking deeper at my family tree. It was the first I had ever seen and it really peaked my curiosity. He came from Newfoundland, a strange place for someone with a Hindu father and he wanted to explore his roots. I loved that the show showed celebrities as real people and that it really delved into the who they are at their base. Because in reality, that is what I want to do as well.

And so, lying in bed sick it seemed like it was the perfect time to watch some more episodes and log back onto ancestry. There are a few trouble spots on my tree and for some reason, my sick day made it a priority to have a good look at those branches of the tree that haven’t moved very far.

Moving up my Hill tree, I had the name of my great grandfather, and had previously tracked his father George and even George’s father George. But the line went cold. In the three months around when George was born, there we 10 George Hill’s born. That makes life really difficult to track!

My only saving grace is knowing the town where my family was from. The Hill side came from Surrey county in the U.K. The men generally were farmers – on censuses as Ag Lab (Agricultural Labourer). Knowing that makes me believe that chances are, they didn’t move very far from Surrey until my Great Grandfather Charles did in 1908.

I took my chances and decided to start searching again to see if the Surrey records had been uploaded and matched. I found pay dirt.

Marriage Record of George Hill and Emma Harding 2 Oct 1852

Marriage Record of George Hill and Emma Harding 2 Oct 1852

I found the marriage certificate of my third great grandfather, George Hill to Emma Harding, making her my third great grandmother. To review the document, the marriage took place at Addlestone Church in the parish of Chertsey in the county of Surrey on October 2, 1852.   Doing a little research, I’ve come to realize this would have to be St. Paul’s Church, as the other churches weren’t built until after this time.


The clear details regarding George Hill and Emma Harding
The clear details regarding George Hill and Emma Harding

George Hill was a bachelor and worked as a labourer. At the time of the wedding, he lived in Woodham which is a very small village in Surrey. If it’s little now, I’m sure it was even smaller then! His father’s name was Henry Hill and unfortunately, there isn’t any mention of his mother. 

Dear Emma Harding worked as a servant and lived in Addlestone, a hop skip and a jump away from Woodham. The document notes her as a spinster, which means that she had never married.

The "x" indicates the mark for my ancestors George Hill and Emma Harding on their marriage certificate in 1852
The “x” indicates the mark for my ancestors George Hill and Emma Harding on their marriage certificate in 1852

It is interesting that when they ask for age, the record only indicates “of full age.” This may be that records were not the best in the time and they may not have known their official ages. It is clear by the “x” for their mark on the page, that poor George and Emma could not write their own names, and neither could one of the witnesses. However the second witness, a Martha Jennings, has left a clear signature on the page.

The item I was the most excited about, was a new family member. At the far end of the page, it lists the name and profession of each of their father’s. I had found that George’s father was Henry, however I had no idea what Emma’s father’s name was until I found this document. Stephen Harding, a carpenter. A new ancestor to research and a new name to add to my already growing list of names. How wonderful indeed!