Tag Archives: Surrey

12 Months, 12 Ancestors – George Hill

Note: this is the seventh installment in my own version of #52ancestors where geneabloggers have been asked to write about a different ancestor every week for a year. To understand the concept, read my blog entry from January 19, 2014.

In honour of my father on his birthday today, I have decided to take my July installment of #12Ancestors into his family tree to look into one of his great-grandfather’s.

George Hill

Here is how I am related to this George Hill:

  1. Corina (Hill) Harris (me)
  2. Howard Lloyd Hill (my dad)
  3. Albert William Hill (my grandfather)
  4. Charles Edmunds Hill (my great-grandfather)
  5. George Hill (my 2x great-grandfather)
  6. George Hill (my 3x great-grandfather)

Hailing from the small village of Pyrford, Surrey, England, my 3x great grandfather was the seventh child of Henry Robert Hill and Elizabeth Bamblett. He was baptized 20 Nov 1833.

As far as English villages go, Pyrford was a small one and hasn’t changed too much over the last 200 years even though it is fairly close to London. In 1833, only 10 other children were baptized in Pyrford, most likely at St Nicholas’ Church.

St Nicholas Church in Pyrford, Surrey, England
St Nicholas Church in Pyrford, Surrey, England

The church itself is one of the main reasons Pyrford is on my list of must see places should I ever make the trek to England from Canada. Built around 1140 AD, the church is a fantastic example of a complete Norman church. For more information, visit the current website for the church here.

Part of the census from 1851 listing George Hill and his parents.
Part of the census from 1851 listing George Hill and his parents.

I have found census records from The National Archives indicating that at the age of 17, George was living with his older brother William who was 16 years his senior, his parents Henry and Elizabeth and two lodgers, Elizabeth Bamblett and James Bullen. From other research I have done, it appears Elizabeth Bamblett would be his grandmother, even though they have her listed as a lodger. George, William and Henry are all listed as “Agricultural Labourer.” A fancy word for farmer. In Pyrford, this was a very common profession. (Click on the census image to enlarge.)

Fast forward a few years and George finds himself in church once again as he marries Emma Harding. He a bachelor, she a spinster, the two joined in matrimony on 2 Oct 1852. (See this post previously listed in The History of Me for more details.)

Together, George and Emma had 8 children. Their oldest, George (my 2x Great Grandfather) was born in 1854 just two years after their marriage. He was followed by Elizabeth (1856), William (1857), Anne (1861), Mary Ellen (1865), Edith (1868), Agnes (1870) and Esther (1873).

George Hill, Family History, Pyrford, Surrey, 1881
George Hill and his family still at home in the 1881 Census.

By the 1887 census, George’s life was going really well. At the age of 47, he is living at Green Farm in Pyrford with his family and is listed as a farmer of 100 acres, employing 6 men and 2 boys. This seemed huge to me. 100 acres? No other census records for the Hill family show us as having any kind of money but here it is in black and white. (Click on the census image to enlarge.)

In the 1901 census, George and Emma’s children have all flown the coup. They are living alone at Green Farm. George, aged 68, has shifted back to being just an agricultural labourer. Reviewing the census names surrounding George and Emma, it becomes strongly apparent just how much the Hill family had expanded and taken over the Pyrford Green. Nearly all the houses had someone named Hill living in them.

Only a 102 short years ago this week, George took his final breath. He passed away on 15 Jul 1912 at the age of 78. He was buried in the cemetery outside St. Nicholas’ Church on July 18th of the same year.

Thanks to Ancestry.ca, I was able to find this index of his will:

George Hill, Will, Probate, Mary Baker, Pyrford, Surrey
George Hill’s will from the England and Wales National Probate Calendar (Index of Wills and Administrations), 1858-1966

Mary Baker, wife of James Baker, was George’s 5th child christened Mary Ellen. She inherited his effects and as of the 1911 census, George and Emma lived with her. George’s occupation in 1911 is listed as “Market Gardener Retired” and I’m sure he rather enjoyed living with his daughter and grand-children.

As we near the 102nd anniversary of his passing, I’d like to pay homage to my 3x Great Grandfather. Judging by all the Hill men in my family, I imagine he would have dark hair and a twinkle in his eye. Knowing he was a market gardener, I believe he was a hard working man who strived to ensure his family was well fed and taken care of. I’m certain, he’d be incredibly proud of my dad, his 2x great-grandson and all he has done to take care of his family and to keep them together through the years. I know I’m certainly proud to say he’s my father.

Happy birthday Dad!

Howard Hill, Tractor, Dad
My dad, Howard (Howie) Hill on his very own John Deere Tractor happily working away in 2005.

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!