CARTER, Kings Langley

April 2001



Kings Langley

PLEASE NOTE: When this question was asked the amount of information available online was very restricted and the only census available (on a CD) was the 1881 census. The answer given below should be carefully checked using the additional information now readily available online.

On 13th April, 2001 William Stratton (bill.stratton @t of Canada said that his ancestor Thomas CARTER married Sarah Hufton on the 9th May 1777 at Brant Broughton in Lincolnshire and had been advised that there might be a link with the Carter family of Kings Langley.


There have been people with the name CARTER in Kings Langley from at least the 16th century and maybe earlier, as the following extract from Kings Langley, A Hertfordshire Village shows:

Historically the Carters were an important local family who began as ordinary peasants and farm labourers. They gradually increased their wealth over the centuries until by the 16th century two of the Carters, both called Thomas, had achieved considerable prosperity. One farmed at Pingelsgate Farm, the other owned the local mill and windmill. Both owned other large parcels of farmland, including Jefferies Farm. Thomas Carter of the mill lived in the impressive farmhouse at Pale Farm. Other members of the Carter Family had become involved in brewing and the Two Brewers Inn, dating from the 16th. century, was built on land belonging to a John Carter of Pingelsgate.

Encouraged by the family's prosperity Francis and John Carter established themselves in London as early as 1612. In 1635 two sons emigrated to America on the ship 'Safety'. One of the brothers, Thomas, became a successful planter in Virginia whilst the other, John, was even more successful in securing some very rich farmland. His son, Robert Carter, managed the farms to great effect and known as 'King Carter'. He was to use as many as one thousand slaves became on an eventual holding of 3,000 acres, King Carter invested his farming profits in a merchant banking empire and was one of America's first millionaires. In 1977 Robert's father, John, was proved by Debretts to have been the direct ancestor of Jimmy Carter, 39th President of the USA.

Unfortunately Carter is a very common surname in the UK - for instance there are over 2000 Thomas Carter listed on the 1881 census. In the absence of any evidence to the contrary, the chances that there is any relationship to your Thomas is virtually nil. I can but assume that your informant is a time-waster who has heard of President Jimmy Carter and his ancestry, but has very little real understanding of serious UK genealogy. Unlike the New World - where there was good land for anyone with initiative and a willingness to travel (if you ignore the rights of the natives), all land in England has been owned by someone for over a thousand years, and mobility for the majority of people was limited to a few miles. Even in 1881 - when mobility had significantly increased because the railways had been in existence for over 40 years - there was only one person called Carter living in the whole of Lincolnshire who was born anywhere in Hertfordshire. Your Thomas Carter was almost certainly born within 15-20 miles of Brant Broughton and you would be well advised to junk any advice you get that he was from much further away unless good quality contemporary evidence is given.


For more information on the Carter connection see The Carters of Kings Langley - The ancestors of US President Jimmy Carter.