NORRIS, Northchurch, circa 1800

May 2001




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.

Kendra (Kendra352000 @t of Freno, California is looking for the parents of his gggg grandfather Joseph Norris who married Mary Harding of Bovingdon on 1 July 1808 at Northchurch. One possibility is Joseph Norris who married. Mary Bass 5 June, 1769 at Northchurch. He asks where would be a good place(s) to look to verify this info. and or find out about my family in England?

You give no information as to your sources, so I guess you have simply been using indexes without checking the sources.

The marriage between Joseph Norris and Mary Bass on 5 June, 1769 at Northchurch (from familysearch) clearly needs checking. When the "North Church" marriage registers were indexed on the IGI this marriage was not included among them. The entry you have found is a private submission - and my experience is that many of this kind of submission are very error prone. I think you have no option is to check the microfilm of the marriage registers for Northchurch, and also the LDS source quoted on familysearch. It is worth mentioning that the witnesses at a marriage are often relatives and comparing signatures between the marriages of possible relatives can be a useful additional clue.

It is possible that the Joseph Norris who married Mary Harding on 1st July 1808 (from the VRI index) at Northchurch was the Joseph Harding who was baptised at Northchurch on 6 Sep 1789 (from familysearch). The index gives no parent name, which is unusual - and there may be an explanation in the register. For instance it could have been an adult christening or Joseph may have been a foundling. Alternatively it may have been an indexing fault. However it is unlikely (but by no means impossible) that the Joseph baptised in 1789 was the son for the couple who married in 1769 - as one would expect a son named after the father - see The Inheritance of Christian Names. You need to check the microfilm of the Northchurch baptism registers for the appropriate period.

You should be able to arrange to see the relevant microfilms at your nearest LDS Family History Centre - there are 4 in Freno - for addresses and opening times see familysearch.

Note that both Bovingdon and Northchurch share boundaries with Berkhamsted, while Berkhamsted and Bovingdon share boundaries with Chesham, Bucks. See NORRIS, Berkhamsted, 19th century and you may need to look at Buckinghamshire records.


In demonstrating the new National Burial Index CD the Norris family burials in Berkhamsted & Northchurch were used as an example. The index produces the following entry:








Berkhamsted, St Peter

It is possible, allowing for minor errors in age, for this to have been the Joseph Norris who was baptised in 1789 - in which case he could not have married Mary Harding in 1809.