England (Counties as in 1851-1901) => England => Gloucestershire => Topic started by: lydiaann on Monday 20 December 21 16:39 GMT (UK)

Title: Seeking Daniel Riddiford French – and is this his real name?
Post by: lydiaann on Monday 20 December 21 16:39 GMT (UK)

The first we know for sure of Daniel Riddiford French comes from the marriage records, when he wed Maria Stephens (b. 1807 Stonehouse) on 24 April, 1828, in Stonehouse, Glos.  He signs his name as above.  They go on to have 4 children named as follows:
29 Mar, 1829, Emily Riddiford French
4 Jul, 1830, Henry Riddiford French
5 Feb, 1832, Ellen Riddiford French
11 Aug, 1833, Thomas Riddiford French
On all of these baptismal records, the father is Daniel Riddiford French, and the mother is Maria French.  Then, for some reason, the name ‘French’ is discarded and their next 4 children are simply:
19 Apr, 1835, Lydia Riddiford
26 Feb 1837, Isabella Riddiford
3 Jun, 1839, Oliver Riddiford
1841, probably late April, Albert Riddiford (6 weeks old at the time of the census).
The first two of these records show “father: Daniel; mother, Maria f. (?formerly) Stephens”.  The third (Oliver) shows “father: Daniel Riddiford; mother Maria f. Stephens.
With Albert, Daniel is presumed dead and there doesn’t appear to be a baptism for him, just the BMD ‘Albert Riddiford’ (he died aged 3).
Daniel is not on the 1841 or subsequent censuses. 
So, what happened between August 1833 and April 1835 to cause Daniel to drop ‘French’ from his name and from his subsequent children’s names, and for Maria to revert from Maria French to Maria f. Stephens? A scandal too far, perhaps?  And why cannot we find a birth or a death for Daniel?  We have an 1841 census for the family (minus Daniel) with a Hester Riddiford, aged 50 (thus born 1786-1791).  This would be too young to be Daniel’s mother, perhaps she is Daniel’s sister.  We have a single baptismal record for a “Hester Riddiford, aged 19” (which would tie in with the 1841 census Hester), no parents’ or sponsors’ names.  Why so late? Was she about to be married? – we have no marriage record for her.
Things we know for sure: ‘our’ Daniel is not the Daniel b. 1787-8 in Uley, son of Daniel Riddiford and Esther Hopkins (he was deported to Australia as a convict), nor is he the son of William R. and Elizabeth Hopkins. ‘Our’ Daniel and family lived all their lives in Stonehouse, where Daniel was a ‘cloth worker’.  Speculation of one of us is that Daniel may have been the illegitimate son of a Mr. Riddiford and a Ms. French and maybe one, or both, had died in the 1833-35 period so he could be who he wanted to be.  However, it doesn't matter what theory is put forward, we are still no closer.  So, Chatters, if you fancy a quiz other than 'Only Connect', this is it.  Any solutions anyone can put forward would be appreciated so much!

Thank you
Title: Re: Seeking Daniel Riddiford French – and is this his real name?
Post by: Kay99 on Monday 20 December 21 17:12 GMT (UK)
You may have seen this but just is case - Could this be Daniel's death   :-\

GRO Ref: 1842  J Quarter  STROUD  Volume 11  Page 330

Title: Re: Seeking Daniel Riddiford French – and is this his real name?
Post by: Capetown on Monday 20 December 21 17:53 GMT (UK)
Alias surnames were very common in Gloucestershire -


GRO Index

RIDDIFORD, Albert - mother's maiden name: STEPHENS

GRO INDEX : 1841 J Quarter in STROUD, Volume 11, Page 409


Danl & Maria first appear on the Gloucestershire Non-Conformist Register  in 1835

Lydia RIDDIFORD - baptism - 19 April 1835 - born 1 January 1835 -
parents: Daniel & Maria (maiden name) STEPHENS - abode: Stonehouse, occupation: Clothworker

Oliver RIDDEFORD - baptism 3 June 1838 - born 9 March 1838


There is another another  couple on the Non-conformist register for Stroud

FRENCH, parents, George Daniel & Maria - (GRO INDEX, Mother's maiden name: ESSINGTON)

Fanny  FRENCH - baptism 13 August 1844 - aged 10 weeks
Matilda FRENCH - 30 June 1846 - aged 1 month


George Daniel FRENCH born 8 October 1819 - baptised - 26 December 1819 - Stonehouse - parents Daniel & Deborah)  (Non-conformist)

Title: Re: Seeking Daniel Riddiford French – and is this his real name?
Post by: Capetown on Monday 20 December 21 20:50 GMT (UK)
'regarding, George Daniel FRENCH - born 8 October 1819 - Stonehouse, parents: Daniel & Deborah

There is a marriage at Uley - 15 October 1804

Daniel FRENCH to Deborah WAKEFIELD



Baptism at North Nibley - 2 January 1820

Hester RIDIFORD - mother, Hester - occupation: Spinner, - no father's name listed

Gloucestershire Genelogical Database, lists a Overseers Report for Hester RIDDIFORD - 1819 North Nibley.
Title: Re: Seeking Daniel Riddiford French – and is this his real name?
Post by: lydiaann on Wednesday 22 December 21 15:09 GMT (UK)
Thank you both for your replies to this ever-more vexing question!  I apologise for not replying yesterday but, as I am sure you both know, it's 'kinda busy' right now!

Kay99:  Yes, I do have this record sitting in my shoebox but, as Daniel disappeared prior to the 1841 census (June 1841) and this record shows a death of 2Q1842, I don't believe it belongs to 'my' Daniel.  As this was before 1855 and the official registration of BMDs, I don't believe asking for a copy of the 'certificate' or page of the baptismal record, would provide any further information on this score.  I am keeping it in situ though, just in case...stranger things have happened and new records seem to be turning up all the time on Ancestry.  I don't suppose you know if there was a newspaper around that time?  I know a lot of them started up around 1840-1850 so there may be hope!


Yes, I do have the notes about George Daniel French and Maria Essington - again in my Shoebox - (what a useful storage area that is, trouble is that mine is about 100 pages long right now!!) and of GD's parents, Daniel French and Deborah Wakefield.  I have traced them 'forward' a little (I discovered that GD had an older brother, Frederick) but there would appear to be no connection between them and Daniel and Maria.  The main 'sticking point' here is the constant use of Riddiford as a middle name for the first 4 children and then as a surname for the last 4 (you quote the GROs for the last 3); where does it come from?  And, as I said, the first mention of Daniel and Maria is their marriage in 1807 but it is difficult to pinpoint Daniel's birth and parents...maybe a stork or a cabbage patch should spring to mind :-\

I did not have the details of the Hester Riddiford baptism in 1820, thank you for that.  She, of course, could be the one who herself was baptised in N. Nibley at the age of 19 who is the mother of the second Hester and, with no father mentioned and still retaining the name Riddiford, it is possible the child was illegitimate.  Again, I shall try pushing 'forward' on that one...I don't think there is enough information to go 'sideways' or 'backward', but who knows!!

I will keep probing this on and off and if I find anything else, I will be sure to let you know!  In the meantime, thank you both so much for taking time to look at this and I wish you and yours all the best of Christmas and a happier 2022 for us all!  Take care and stay safe.


Title: Re: Seeking Daniel Riddiford French – and is this his real name?
Post by: Capetown on Wednesday 22 December 21 16:09 GMT (UK)
GRO INDEX stands for

General Register Office

This is where you can order certificates, but you can just register and use to search for births and deaths and for births, you can find out the mother's maiden name (sometimes this surname is blank, usually because the mother wasn't married).


British Newspapers on line

You can have 3 free goes at reading an article and searching for Daniel RIDDIFORD, Gloucestershire

there are 3 items, published, 25 July 1840, 1 August 1840 and 8 August 1840 - in the Gloucester Journal.  FindmyPast has this facility for free

As I don't subscribed - can only read a part of the articles

Saturday 1 August 1840

Stonehouse, Gloucestershire

Dwelling-houses with Brew-houses mod other officcs and large Gardens, in the occupation of Messrs. Charles MARTIN and Daniel RIDDIFORD; also considerable range of buildings adjoining, used Workshops.  Slaughter-house, and Stables; together with three pieces
Title: Re: Seeking Daniel Riddiford French – and is this his real name?
Post by: lydiaann on Wednesday 22 December 21 16:32 GMT (UK)
Sorry, Capetown.  The question 'where does it come from' related to the name Riddiford, common to each child - I probably confused you (I often confuse myself too!).  I do know about the GRO.  Thanks for the info on the newspapers - I think it's time for me to re-ignite my subs to the Archive - who knows, I may be able to find a little more about this family!  I had cancelled it a few years ago as I had garnered all I could from it, but now my trees are more advanced it should help I think; it sounds as though the 3 articles you mentioned could give me a head start!
Title: Re: Seeking Daniel Riddiford French – and is this his real name?
Post by: Capetown on Wednesday 22 December 21 16:36 GMT (UK)
As I mentioned before, it could well be an alias surname.....

I have HEWER alias RODBORNE (various spelling of the surname RODBORNE) - and a Researcher years ago, said the reasons for Alias' had been lost in time.  Some of the Wills have HEWER other RODBORNE and my x Grandmother's marriage entry has the two surnames (1821) -